Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Solution to all your Blogger Beta/New Blogger problem

Well, the main one, anyway.

Since I switched to the new Blogger, the thing that has bothered me most is signing in and out of my multiple Gmail accounts all the time. I have a pseudonymous account that is tied to this blog, and a real-name one that I use for real life email. If I accidentally post a comment on someone's blog without checking which account I am signed into, this can lead to embarrassing, undeletable comments left under my real name.

Also, I can't be editing this blog in one tab and open another to briefly check my real-life email.

The solution

Finally I have discovered a solution to this problem, which, while somewhat clunky, looks like it is going to work for me. And because I love you all so much, I am going to share my super-secret strategy.

Step 1: Use Firefox.

Step 2: Download this Firefox extension (ProfileSwitcher).

Step 3: Go to the File menu in Firefox and open up the newly listed Profile Manager.

Step 4: Set yourself up a new profile. Call it something like "blogging".

Step 5: Create two shortcuts to Firefox on your desktop. Name one of them "default" or "non-blogging" or something, and use this for your non-pseudonymous surfing. You can stay logged into your real life Google/Gmail account in this version of the browser all the time.

Step 6: Right-click on the other shortcut and select "properties". Name it "blogging" or similar. Paste -P blogging -no-remote onto the end of whatever is listed under "target" (it will initially say something ending in firefox.exe" so will become ...firefox.exe" -P blogging -no-remote). Replace the word "blogging" in there with whatever you named your new profile if you called it something else.

You're done! You should now have two shortcuts to Firefox, each of which opens in a different profile.

Okay, so how does this solve my problem?

You can now open up Firefox via the "blogging" shortcut whenever you want to read blogs/post to yours, or do anything pseudonymous. You can stay logged in to your Google account under your pseudonym in this window, and still open Firefox via the "default" shortcut in a separate window to do real life surfing.

In other words you can have Firefox running in two windows at once, each of which has you logged into Google under a different name. It's not as elegant as being able to open a new tab as a different user, but I still think it is a big improvement over having to log in and out all the time.

Note for Mac users

I know nothing about Macs, but the guy who made the ProfileSwitcher extension claims it only works for Windows and Linux. You can still do all this jiggery pokery on a Mac, but will need to use the command line and do different things for the shortcut, I guess. You can find some instructions here.

If you go to that last link, you'll see that I stole the info on how to set up two Firefox profiles from Lifehacker (plus the link to the ProfileSwitcher extension from the comments there). But Lifehacker doesn't see any reason why you'd want to run both profiles at once, whereas I think it's a great solution to a problem that's been plaguing me for months.


Mosilager said...

I just use opera and ff at the same time for that, or IEtab if I'm feeling adventurous. but your way is very convenient if you have >3 accounts, or if you completely hate ie and opera.

StyleyGeek said...

I never thought of using Opera as an extra browser.

I hate IE so much (although the new version isn't so bad). I am a tab addict (usually have 10-20 tabs open at once) and the old IE frustrated me by not having tabs.

But yeah, I should have thought about Opera and other browsers (does Opera have tabs?)

LaKisha said...

A very annoying problem indeed! I use ff and Internet Explorer at the same time.

Ronin said...

Oh c'mon.. dont deny us the pleasure of seeign your name in a post where u hammer the maintenance guy and the Dean at ur Uni with you real name :) and for fun just remember to put your phone no and address in ur signature as well. :))) Now THAT would be some post.. ...lol

Mosilager said...

opera has tabs and mouse gestures built in. It also seems a little faster than FF or IE at rendering webpages (I haven't timed it though, may just be my opinion). I don't use it regularly because it doesn't have adblock. I like IE7... but firefox just has all the love because of the cool extensions.

shrinkykitten said...

I tried to post a comment yesterday - but couldn't. But I too use two browsers, and this avoids problems as well (I use firefox and safari - both use tabs, safari is only for macs0.

StyleyGeek said...

Dammit. I can't believe everyone else thought of the two-browser solution and never suggested it to me! I could have been not having this issue for the last few months.

I guess you all thought I was smart enough to figure it out on my own. In future, please don't over-estimate my intelligence :)

Sam said...

Several browsers open simultaneously is old good trick. Now I'm using several profiles of FF, also running 2 & 3 at once.

But for your situation Gmail forwarding will suffice, I use it for years without a glitch (althoug I use it to pool my mail from different Gmail accounts, you can use it with a lot of 3rd party email providers).

What is really useful, is that you can handle mail with corresponding credentials, so you can send out mails from 10 different accounts, right from your currently open account.

sam said...

I've just started to use gmail notifier, and considering dedicated browser for gmail (on Mac).

But also might ditch this altogether, if I'll manage to submit myself to GTD hardline.

StyleyGeek said...

Sam, gmail fowarding doesn't solve the problem at all. First, you still have to log in and out of each account to make sure you comment under the right name, and to access your own blog.

Secondly and more worryingly, when you select one of your other addresses to respond to a mail from, gmail puts a tag like, "This email was sent from DEFAULTADDRESS on behalf of NAME". So if I responded to a work mail from my blog address, my blog pseudonym would still be there somewhere for the reader to see, and vice versa if I used my personal gmail account to respond to a blog email.