Monday, September 19, 2022

On Blogs Downloading Files to Your Computer - Administrivia

This has become a bigger pain in the ass as the days have gone by.  

Let me back up for a minute in case some of you haven't seen it yet.  About 10 days ago, I noticed a problem with Irish's blog - The Feral Irishman.  It would download a file to my computer instead of opening the blog to read.  The only way I could get the blog to load was to copy the blog name from a file on my computer ( ) and manually enter it into the URL bar.  Within about a day, Irish himself posted about hearing it from other people and doing some research into getting it fixed.  

The important part about this is that both of us use what Google (as Blogger) calls a gadget.  It's a little software plugin that we "drag and drop" into the place we want it to be on the page as you see it.  Irish shows in that link how he started by putting just his blog name (as I show it above) into the gadget and the gadget software wouldn't accept it.  By accepting an offer from the gadget, it changed to this:

Which is how his blog showed up in my Blogger gadget.  I thought that was a problem at first, but soon noticed that out of all the blogs I have in the list, most ended in the same string:  .../feeds/posts/default.  Only Irish's blog would try to load a file.  That didn't make much sense to me, so looking a little farther, Irish suggested we add ?alt=rss to the end of "default" - no space between them.  That fixed his blog. 

In the 10 days since, a few blogs have started doing exactly what his did to start this all - loading a file onto my machine.  I didn't keep track, but I think I've changed a bunch of the blogs in my two lists (the "Reading and Reciprocal" blog list and the "Florida bloggers" list.  The most recent were Virtual Mirage, Adaptive Curmudgeon, Stilton's Place, 357 Magnum, The Abode of McThag, Area Ocho, along with Wilder Wealthy & Wise yesterday and this morning, Bayou Renaissance Man.  I looked at BRM's blog this morning with a URL ending in /posts/default, and within a half hour, it stopped working with that when Mrs. Graybeard went to look at it.  I added the "?alt=rss" and got it right back.  

Unfortunately, whatever Google/Blogger is doing in the background only shows up when the list misbehaves.  Even more bizarre, the same fix doesn't always work, and I've had to fumble around a few times to get a URL that works.  

Suffice it to say this is weird, doesn't make much sense, and is a PITA.  I'll try to keep the blog lists working, but might not be here all day every day and I've seen things like the way BRM blog stopped working properly minutes after I used it.  The people with their own domain name, or on Wordpress seem to be less affected by this, although Area Ocho and Liberty's Torch both required that I poke around to get them working.  Of course, you might well be seeing this happening around the whole blogosphere and not just here. 

If you're wondering what's happening, so am I. 

A random selection of blogs from the "Blog List gadget" on my side.  Note how there's no fixed rule on what they look like. 


  1. I have my IT guy looking into it.

  2. All of the Blogger sites seem to be loading rather slowly today for some reason. Other websites appear to be normal.

  3. Ah, that explains soooo much. Lots of non-leftist bullsquatty sites are slowed way down.

  4. The way I see the blog (staying signed in all the time) is instead of "Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)" is
    "Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)" which seems different.

    Aren't you glad you know all this now? I can't tell you how glad I am. ;-) Can you point out a book or other place to read that might help resolve things like this?

  5. Blogger won't even let me open "layout" where that blogroll gadget is.
    Keeps running a fast blue line on the top of the page.

    1. I've had that a bunch of times. It usually goes away if I sit there. Not sure if it's 10 or 20 seconds, but it's not minutes.

      Like others have said, everything about Blogger is slower than it should be.

  6. I couldn't even comment two days ago.