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Reader and/or Feed Errors

I noticed recently that I was suddenly getting fewer views. I've never gotten a huge number, but there was still a significant dropoff. I thought maybe it was because I wasn't talking much about sewing, which is really my main topic.

But then I went into FeedDemon because it occured to me that it would be a good idea to set up Craigslist watches, since there are things I'm generally on the lookout for but don't check often enough to necessarily catch. And when I synchronized FeedDemon with Google Reader, I noticed that my two most recent posts don't show anything except a title, and that the third one is missing altogether!
Google Reader ErrorGoogle Reader Error
Then I tried to check in Google Reader via the web, and got this error. "That's an error. That's all we know." *sigh*
I had been messing with some RSS settings, but I thought I was messing with the RSS settings for feeds TO my blog not FROM my blog. (I was experimenting with the possibility of setting up a blogroll with the Views module rather than with the Google Reader blogroll widget, which is better than the last one I tried to use, but still not great.)

I'm hoping that the problem was just due to my fiddling, but this "we don't know anything" error from Google Reader is not so promising. So, I guess we'll see. Or not.
Hopefully, somebody will see something!

ETA: It looks like the feed is fine when I use it directly rather than synced through Google Reader or the Blogger dashboard. I think that makes the problem with Google.
EATA(edited again to add): The Networked Blogs ap on Facebook wasn't showing the teasers for those recent entries either. When I did a "pull now" for the feed, that seemed to fix it. So I guess part of the problem was my fiddling with syndication settings and part of it is that Google is behaving strangely [again].

Friend Connect -- Fixed?

The Google Friend Connect module that has been having lots of problems and more problems seems to be working again. I'm not sure what I did different. I uninstalled and reinstalled the Google Friend Connect module, but I did that before, too. I ran the update script, but I did that before, too. It seems to be working in both Firefox and IE now, and I'm not getting any more red error messages. Why? No freaking clue. I'm pretty certain that I only did things that I'd already tried. Maybe Google finally fixed something. I'm not sure if it's going to recognize all of the same usernames, or if it's going to create new ones. When I signed in on IE, it created Maggie_2. But it's behaving better than it was before.

Stupid Search Results (The Evils of SEO)

I've been researching industrial machines for awhile now, mostly searching on Craigslist and then searching for more information on the machines listed. And I'm getting really annoyed by really ridiculous, irrelevant Google search results. Google claims that they now offer an option to block certain domains, but whether it doesn't work in Firefox 4 or they bowed out to complaints from companies that thought they'd get blocked, I don't know.

There seem to be a whole lot of sites, mainly with .info extensions, that are nothing but a populated list of eBay auctions. They all have different domains, but seem to be identical, and what they show isn't pertinent to the domain name. For example, you'll find the exact same things on "sergermachines.info" as on "childssewingmachines.info" and "sewingmachinesbrother.info," etc. And when I'm looking for information on a Singer 111W151, there is absolutely nothing relevant on any of those "sites." Yes, those all show up when I search for information on a particular industrial Singer model. And since they're obviously not affiliated with Brother, I'd think that a domain including "brother" and "sewing machines" would be a trademark infringement. But they can't let that get in the way of their keyword loading, now can they?

I don't have a problem with commercial sites, or with sites that use affiliate programs. Sites selling particular machines are frequently excellent sources of information about those machines. But these aren't sites that are actually selling anything themselves, or providing information about the things that they're showing or making actual recommendations. They don't do anything at all but clog search results; they're keyword clogged add farms. And eBay is easy enough to search, either through their own search, or Google's shopping search, so there is absolutely no reason why any of these ad-farm sites are of any value whatsoever. None, zero, zip, zilch. So WHY can't I easily block these? And why isn't there some way to report that these are not relevant search results? These sites are SEO abuse, nothing more. I thought Google was supposed to get rid of excess results that are too similar to be relevant to finding anything new, but all these site seem to be showing up constantly. Isn't there some way to report this crap?

Online Weirdnesses

I have followers listed on Google again, and the generic Google Friend Connect widget seems to be working. But if I try to turn the GFC module back on, I still get errors. I don't know what the deal is with that.

And about that "Big list of sewing blogs".. the one that I've had a link to on my page forever. I just searched, and I'm not on it! I know I submitted my blog to it ages ago, at the same time as I put up their badge on my site, but apparently they never bothered to add me. I used the find function in my browser, so it's not like I could have just not seen it--I'm not there. I'm a tad unsure as to why. I can't think of any good reason, so it seems likely that maybe the web hiccuped or something and it didn't submit? But there's not room on the form to explain that, just site name, address, and description... and I don't want to come off like I'm spamming them.

Google is Borked

Google friend connect seems to be completely borked. It was working. Now it's not. I've spent all day trying to figure out if there's something wrong on my end, but then Gloria mentioned not being able to comment on her own blog, and GFC is integrated with Blogger, so I'm thinking the problem is with Google and not with me. Google just hasn't bothered to offer any information a to what's dead or why or what can be expected.
So I've been in PR chat cursing and repeatedly dying and doing that bizarre laugh-cry thing that never ceases to make me feel like I've gone completely mad.
But right now I'd just like to punch somebody at Google in the stomach.

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