Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Best Wishes for A Very Merry Christmas 
and a Wonderful New Year!!!

Happily, I'm taking a little break to visit with family, but I'm greatly looking forward to catching up with all my favourite blogs and stitchers in 2015!

Don't forget to visit The 2014 Online Advent Calendar at Serendipitous Stitching to see some stitchy holiday goodness! There's still two days left to go.

I participated for the first time last year, and I made a free Blackwor Poinsettia Ornament with Finishing Tutorial that is perfect for some last minute stitching:

Click on the photo to go to the post and download the pattern :)

Important: I just noticed that the Dropbox site that hosts the file now comes up with a pop-up window asking you to sign it - you do not have to sign in to view or download the pattern - just click the "x" in the corner! Sorry for any confusion.

If you don't have the time to stitch both sides, either design would be nice on its own!

Exciting News: Jo is also hosting a new SAL this year called Gifted Gorgeousness:

Just click on the button to read all about it and sign-up if you wish! I think this is a wonderful incentive to stitch all that Very Special Stash that has been gifted to you. I've joined in myself with the great casual monthly drop-in option! I've been very fortunate to have received some lovely stitchy gifts over the last few years, and I'm hoping to squeeze in at least one or two among the Sampler of Samplers next year :)

Happy Holidays!!! Hope Santa is Good To You ;)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Blogger Glitch: Comment Verification

This is just a really quick post to share some information for other Bloggers. While trying to catch up with my blog reading today, I noticed a new Number Verification screen, even on blogs that did not usually use Word Verification. Then I replied to the comments on my last post and found this new CAPTCHA on my very own blog!

So I did a little investigating :) And it turns out that it's a known Blogger glitch.

A CAPTCHA is a security setting that requires the commenter to "Please prove you're not a robot" by keying in the sequence of letters and numbers displayed in the image above the textbox. This is called "Word Verification", and can be turned on or off by the blog administrator, according to preference. The idea is to cut down on spammy comments. A typical Word Verification box looks like this:

There is a block of distorted letters on the left, and a box with numbers on the right. To leave a comment, you have to translate both the letters AND numbers correctly. I've never understood why the distorted letters can't be actual words or phrases that would be easier to understand, and I often have an embrassingly hard time figuring them out, even though most people can evidently get the right combination quickly.

In this particular CAPTCHA, which I saved a few months ago, I couldn't read the number part at ALL, hence the question marks :) Thankfully you can reload the images (just click on the Refresh circle arrow to the right of the box), but to me they seem to be getting harder to read! The new Number Verification looks like this:

It's only a short number combination, with no letters at all, and is so much easier to read! I'd actually be really happy if they replaced Word Verification with this :)

However, the problem is that it is the result of a glitch in the Blogger Code from a recent Update. The full discussion in the Blogger Help Forum is here, and Chuck Croll, who advises in the Forum as "Nitecruzer", has written a must-read post about it here on his blog, The Real Blogger Status, which will be updated with new info ASAP.

Basically, if you have your comments set to pop up in a new window - like I do - instead of embedded at the bottom of your post AND do not moderate your comments (I do not allow anonymous comments, but otherwise I don't moderate), this new CAPTCHA is automatically added to your Comments form and turning OFF "Word Verifcation" will not remove it.

Unfortunately, the Number Verification CAPTCHA is a fake - you may be able to ignore it entirely and publish as normal, so it's not actually a functioning security feature! You can change to embedded comments to make it go away for now, or check your Cookies following the steps suggested in the posts linked above.

This is a minor change, and Google is always busy, so I wouldn't expect a fix anytime soon. My issue is not with the glitch itself, it's with the lack of communication from Google about it. It's scary to open your Dashboard and find a new feature you didn't add - especially when it doesn't even work! - and it can cause real panic when you discover that you cannot remove it. That's one of the signs of a hacked blog, after all!

It may also be confusing to readers trying to leave a comment! And if you're trying to comment on multiple posts (like, say, catching up with your blog reading) it may be a little bit tedious to keep typing numbers, although at least they aren't letters LOL ;)

So please share this information with other Bloggers you know, in hopes that any misunderstanding or frustration can be avoided :)