Thursday, March 17, 2005

Curse you, Blogger!

Blogger is driving me nuts this week.

Yet another brilliant pearl from the keyboard of Orac was in production last night (medically related as promised), and Blogger was so incredibly slow that it was intolerable. I learned early on that it's highly advisable to hit "Save as Draft" every so often or risk losing the post I'm working on. For long or very important posts (like Grand Rounds), I'm very careful to write it in Microsoft Word first, then transfer it to Blogger to add the formatting and links and do the final editing. So, halfway through what was to be today's post, I saved my draft. No problem. I then went on to write the rest of it, after which I hit "Save as Draft."

Nothing happened for several seconds. Then several minutes. Then what seemed like a very long time. I waited. And waited. Then waited some more. It was getting late. I finally gave up. Finally, I went to bed, leaving the browser chugging away, trying to save the post. (I have seen Blogger on occasion take an hour to save a post or republish my blog; so I was not worried. I figured it would be saved, and I could post it before going to work.)

When I got up, what was there? Nothing except a "Document contains no data" error message. Where was my post? Gone. Fortunately, I had started it in Word and had part of it to work from, but it still means that I have to reconstruct it, and there's no time to do it until tonight or over the weekend. It will appear, but I fear it may not be as good as it might have been.

I have to ask the experienced bloggers around here: Are you having the same problems with Blogger? Should I pay the money and move my blog to Typepad? What are the advantages of Typepad over Blogger?

Now, fortunately, I usually have some miscellaneous posts lying around unused for just this sort of situation (or for when Orac has a case of writer's block or has no time to post); so I appropriated a backup today. As you may know, I've mentioned the Carnival of the Godless before, in which the articles tend to be critical of religion. Although I seem to be slowly drifting towards agnosticism, I haven't become a complete heathen yet, likely much to the disappointment of a few of the atheists who frequent my blog. (I still even go to Mass occasionally.) The other day, I stumbled across the Science and Christianity Showcase, a new blog carnival. I wondered: Can it tell us how one can reconcile religion with a life dedicated to science? (I never really understood how the conflict between science and religion got so out of hand, anyway. Many prominent scientists throughout history have been religious and could reconcile their observations of the natural world with their religion. Louis Pasteur, for example, was a devout Catholic and was reported to have died with his Crucifix in his hand after having requested that the story of the life of St. Vincent de Paul be read to him.)

Unfortunately, this new blog carnival (at least its first edition) is a very mixed bag. A couple of the articles in the Science and Christianity Showcase are of the simplistic and embarrassingly anti-intellectual "Why does the grass grow--because God makes it grow" variety, making me wonder if the persons writing them are truly scientists. Others are more thoughtful and nuanced, such as this article on quantum physics or this one on why science can't prove or disprove the existence of God. Most are in-between. Shockingly, there wasn't a single post primarily about evolution, which is the flash-point for the conflict between science and fundamentalist religion in the U.S. today. In fact, evolution was hardly mentioned. I have to wonder why, given its prominence in the conflict between science and religion. I might keep an eye on this carnival, to see how it goes, as I have been with the Carnival of the Godless, which has been generally good quality, even though I often don't agree with the content of some of the posts. It will probably get better.

I just hope that the two carnivals never come in contact with each other; they might annihilate each other, like matter and antimatter...

10 example(s) of insolence returned:


At 3/17/2005 1:21 PM, Blogger PZ Myers said...

likely much to the disappointment of a few of the atheists who frequent my blogUm, atheists are rarely evangelical. If you want to believe in a living dead man on a stick, that's your business, and I promise I won't be at all perturbed if you don't deconvert.

As for the blogger question: blogger just plain sucks, but at least it takes all the maintenance worries off your hands, and its free. I've gone in the opposite direction and maintain my own server and do all of the software tweaking on my own, and there are some substantial compromises there -- having to learn how to optimize an httpd.conf file was not among the things I ever dreamed of someday doing.

 

At 3/17/2005 2:40 PM, Blogger Dr. Craig Hildreth said...

Dave, last night I lost 2/3 of a post on Blogger - when I hit "publish" it disappeared. You should see the crease on my forehead from banging it against my desk! I agree it is a frustrating program, but I'm too intelligence-challenged to make the leap to TypePad. -Craig

 

At 3/17/2005 2:43 PM, Blogger Josh Rosenau said...

Use a blog editor like ecto. You write the post in a WYSIWYG editor, and then post the final product to blogger (or whatever).

 

At 3/17/2005 3:38 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Like PZ I run my own blog, but using a standard hosting service. It's easy, once you've done the initial config (and nowadays that's generally not too hard, and definitely doesn't include httpd.conf files!), no more expensive than typepad, gives you greater control if you need it, and you get your own web and email address too! (How about oracknows.com ?)

I'll even offer up some spare space I have if you like - my host comes with wordpress as an auto-install, so the only thing you need to do is import your old posts and generally make the place your own. Let me know if you're interested (email is the name I posted with, plus a domain of twoseat dot com)

 

At 3/17/2005 5:13 PM, Blogger Anne said...

Blogger did the same thing to me yesterday. I tried several times but blogger couldn't save anything at all. I even tried another computer and I turned my firewall off, nothing helped me. I was really fucked up about this, but today it´s normal again. What a waste. :)

 

At 3/17/2005 6:51 PM, Blogger Orac said...

PZ: Heh heh. I know you're just trying to get a rise out of me. Do you know that I sometimes post comments like that just to see who's reading? In any case, thanks for your input. Unfortunately (or fortunately, as the case may be) I simply don't have the time or technical expertise to set up my own server and learn all that stuff that you do. More power to you for being able to do it.

Craig and Anne: You both have my sympathy; it would seem all Blogger users are having the same problems recently.

Josh: Thanks for the advice. I'll try ecto out when I get some time.

Paul: Thanks for the offer. It's tempting. If my Blogger woes continue too long, I may just take you up on it...

 

At 3/17/2005 10:01 PM, Blogger Jo said...

Do what I do: post at 0330. Very few problems in the wee hours. Or not.

 

At 3/19/2005 3:15 AM, Blogger Radagast said...

I've also had the same problem with Blogger in the past few weeks, and know the pain of losing posts. I compose most of my posts in Blogger, though I learned long ago to _always_ copy the html of my posts into Notepad before I try to save as a draft, spell-check, or publish. I haven't lost a post in months, largely thanks to using Notepad.

While I haven't used any of the other hosting services, it just doesn't seem like they're worth the time or money in comparison to Blogger.

 

At 3/19/2005 12:16 PM, Blogger The Lioness said...

A word of caution: blogger has a bug that sometimes delets most of the template (happened to me twice). Should that happen to you, you will basically lose your blog and when you access your page it will look grey or blue but your blog will be gone. This is why I advise everyone to save their template as a Word .doc, just in case. I had and it was what saved me. (Lost blogs can be accessed through the Cached Pages of Google but it means having to repost everything again and all special formatting will be lost)

 

At 3/20/2005 1:12 PM, Blogger Orac said...

Thanks for the warning. I do have a backup of my template, but I haven't updated it in a while. Your comment has reminded me to do so.

 

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