Monday, 8 September 2014

I thought I'd lost access to Blogger (and with it my whole blog)

I've used the Google Chrome browser on my Windows PC for over twelve months now, and it's functioned pretty well. I would say it's the best Windows browser I've ever used.

I installed it on my two successive Android phones, and on my Android tablet, and it's been a similar heartening story. Smaller screens are of course a challenge for any browser, and the big issue (apart from speed) is how they render. I want to see easily-read text on a page that closely resembles the style of the Windows version, text nicely wrapped around any pictures there may be, and easy zooming so that inserting the cursor, or tapping on screen buttons or options, isn't hit-or-miss. Well, I got that with the Android version of Chrome. I also got something rather nice: I could edit my blog posts in 'compose mode' and didn't have to switch to 'html mode'. This made (for instance) selecting text, and adding bold or italics, and then immediately seeing the effect, very straightforward. As easy really as doing it on the PC. Thus posting on my phone while away on holiday became a doddle.

However...

A few days back, Chrome for Android was updated. At first this seemed no different from any other routine update. Then I noticed that I was being shut out of Blogger. I couldn't sign in. Which meant that I could read all my blog posts up to the moment of installing the update, but could not now create any new ones, nor do anything to rescue my posts.

I should explain that I have two Google accounts. The original one was set up in February 2009, and linked to a non-Google email address, driftwoodbeach@tiscali.co.uk. That account (which carries the blog) pre-dates the creation in May 2009 of my Gmail account, lucymelford@gmail.com, which would otherwise be the natural 'home' for a blog using the Blogger platform. From May 2009, I stopped using driftwoodbeach as an active email address. Tiscali was later on taken over by Talk Talk, and sometime after that driftwoodbeach stopped existing as an email address. It's gone forever from the Internet.

It remains immortalised in Blogger though. But it's potentially dangerous to link anything to an email address that no longer exists.

I keep wondering how feasible it might be to transfer my posts from this blog (dangerously linked to the vanished driftwoodbeach) to a new blog on Blogger linked (more suitably) with lucymelford@gmail.com. It is indeed possible to export the posts and comments - I don't know about the pictures - but it would be a potentially hazardous step to take. I haven't much faith in the transfer going through perfectly, and bringing with it everything I'd like to see.

And I really don't want to set up a new blog linked, yes, to my Gmail account - but suddenly disconnected from all my readers and followers - and any other links, such as hyperlinks to Wikipedia articles and YouTube videos.

Less importantly (but still a consideration) the new blog would presumably commence with all statistics reset. And yet I do sorely want to see that magic 500,000 pageview figure! Silly, I know; but hey, I'm human, and this is one of the few writing-and-publishing achievements within my grasp.

But if I don't set up a new blog, Google must maintain two accounts till kingdom come, and forever give me the ability to switch between them at will. Fat chance in the long run, I'm thinking.

It's clear that Google really wants you to have only one account, and for that to be 'upgraded' to Google Plus, its pet social networking website, its challenge to Facebook. From what I can see, Google Plus is a more congenial proposition than Facebook. But I don't want to do social networking - or at least not in the Google Plus or Facebook way - and I don't want Google Plus taking over my phone and tablet. So on several counts, I'm swimming against the Google tide here!

Getting back to my Blogger access problem. I found I could sign in using lucymelford@gmail.com, but of course there was no Blogger account linked with that email address, and therefore no access. I could sign out of lucymelford@gmail.com, and then select driftwoodbeach@tiscali.co.uk as an alternative sign-in option - it was offered - but that didn't work any more.

At this point, I began to get rather worried.

What to do? I forced myself to think clearly. What if I tried another browser on the phone and tablet? Both had a built-in browser. And both were protected against malware by F-Secure - and F-Secure provided a 'safe' browser in that package. Well, would you believe it, all was fine using either the built-in browser or the F-Secure 'safe' browser. Hah! A decent two-pronged workaround. And, very obviously, the fault lay entirely with the updated Android version of Chrome. Idiots.

I wiped Chrome off the phone and tablet at once. And then immediately missed it! The alternatives were worthy, but not as slick. 

But I had another idea. What would happen if I now installed a completely new version of Chrome? As if giving it a whirl for the very first time? And so I found Chrome Beta. This is the 'experimental' version of Chrome that lets you try out features not yet fully proven for the standard version. Frankly, I couldn't see the difference, but then I wasn't using any of those 'advanced' features. And lo and behold, Chrome Beta let me sign on using the driftwoodbeach address!

So at this very moment I am back in business, as this post proves. I've lost all the bookmarks that the old Chrome browser had, on the phone and tablet that is, but that's the only snag. (If it is a snag - one tends to set up way too many bookmarks!) I can anyway build them up again as needed. And the experience has let me discover fallback solutions to any further problems with Chrome.

I am sure that one shouldn't be spending time on things like this. But I am not going to opt out of modern technology, just because it is full of glitches and sometimes hard to understand.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Lucy. This is not the first time I have read of such a problem. The answer seems to be to go to settings and allow another user to have access to the blog. You have to set up another email account and be that other user...

    Google is trying to be something of a bully linking everything together but you are not obliged to actually use G+, if the G+ home page comes up you simply go to the nine spots symbol top right of the page for google services and click the more because "Blogger" is hidden on the second window! I have read that it is possible to change the new collaborator email to be the principle blog email but do not take my word for it.

    Sadly google reader was killed off and it was always possible to recover blogs from there, progress!

    I wondered where you had been for a few days so have added a few visits to your final leg to 500,000...

    Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Ruby.

    My quest for fame and popularity is of course insatiable, and the next goal will be 1,000,000 page views, and after that...

    Lucy

    ReplyDelete

This blog is public, and I expect comments from many sources and points of view. They will be welcome if sincere, well-expressed and add something worthwhile to the post. If not, they face removal.

Ideally I want to hear from bloggers, who, like myself, are knowable as real people and can be contacted. Anyone whose identity is questionable or impossible to verify may have their comments removed. Commercially-inspired comments will certainly be deleted - I do not allow free advertising.

Whoever you are, if you wish to make a private comment, rather than a public one, then do consider emailing me - see my Blogger Profile for the address.

Lucy Melford