Sunday, November 22, 2009

Problems Creating Clips In Google Reader

Clips are little “boxes of info” you can create in Google Reader that neatly display your most recent news feeds on your website, blog or Facebook page. You select the feed folder you want to display the content of, click “create clip”, and then customize it to your liking. When you’re satisfied with the look and content, you simply copy the HTML code Reader has created for you and embed it on your web page. The result is a neat little box containing the “x” most recent posts from any given feed. You can see the results over in my right hand border (Tech News, Patriots News, etc.).

Recently I started having problems creating clips. I’d click on create a clip, and nothing would happen except for an “errors on page” message at the bottom of my Explorer window. What’s supposed to happen is that Reader pops a small window that allows you to configure your clip. This was extremely frustrating for me, as I had a clip that had stopped updating. It either contained some bad code, or the source of the feed had stopped sending updates, and I wanted to replace it. There’s not much entertainment value for my readers when the same 5 headlines have been in my Celtics News clip for close to a month.

I did some searching through the Google Reader help files and came up empty, although I did find that people were having a similar issue with the “email a link” function, which is part of the same tool set as “create a clip”. The answer there was to create an exception for Google in your pop up blocker settings, and after reading it, the light went on inside my head.

I remembered that there had been quite a few security fixes pushed down for Explorer recently, and I also remembered that links in my received Gmail documents had started requiring me to “temporarily allow pop ups” too work. Hmmm, a pattern perhaps?


I went into pop up blocker settings, added Google to my allowed sites, and Viola… create a clip was working again!

The screen shot above shows my blocker settings now. To access the settings window, go to “Tools”, “Pop up blocker”, “Pop up blocker settings”, then add the address

As you can see in the screen shot (click to enlarge) this isn’t the first time I’ve had to do this. You can also add wildcards as I did with Verizon. Some of their pages use www22 instead of plain old www, tricky devils, so I entered *

So, my Celtics news clip is working again, I’m happy, and maybe I’ve just made you happy too!

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