Bug report thread

Found something wrong with a sibilant intake of breath or an associated site I run? Please report it here. I try to get everything operating as well as I possibly can, but there will always be oversights. Right now, when people report them, they tend to do so all over the place and it’s hard to keep track.

This covers all types of errors not directly related to a particular post: compatibility errors, access errors, formatting errors, etc.

Those who contribute here will earn fame and fortune. Well, my appreciation, at least. If you posted an unresolved issue on another post, please copy it over here.

Many thanks.

[Update: 8 October 2006] This is no longer the proper location for reporting bugs. From now on, use the bug reporting page within the Sindarkwiki.

[Update 2 September 2010] Unfortunately, due to terribly spam problems, I had to lock down the wiki. Now, only authorized users can edit it. For anybody else, please post any problems with the site on this comment thread.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

64 thoughts on “Bug report thread”

  1. 10,000 points to anyone who can help solve the following problem:

    Back when I used Blogger for content management, it generated two types of static HTML pages: post pages and archive pages.

    The post pages were (and are) kept in folders within the root directory of http://www.sindark.com, sorted first by year, then by numerical month, then as a collection of files. The archive pages were (and are) kept within a folder called http://www.sindark.com/archive. Within that folder, there is one static HTML page for each month of this blog.

    All of these pages have been indexed by Google.

    When I switched to WordPress, I gave it control over http://www.sindark.com, putting a file called index.php in the root directory. I moved the no-longer updated Blogger version to http://www.sindark.com/blogger. It generated a new set of post and archive pages there.

    Google has not indexed these.

    I want to get rid of the original pages and automatically redirect people to the new locations, after they find them through Google. I suspect I can do this through htaccess, but I don’t know the syntax.

    Can anybody help?

    Many thanks.

  2. I hasten to add – though Meghan will already been entirely familiar – that, like on Who’s Line is it Anyway?, the points I issue are notional.

  3. B,

    As far as I know, this question has nothing to do with PHP or MySQL.

    It might be a helpful book, regardless.

  4. On another note, the background colour of some of the comments doesn’t work very well with the font and links colours – or at least on my computer at work.

  5. Jo,

    Re: htaccess

    Since I do have both post and archive pages, the technique described in that thread doesn’t really apply. Also, I want to direct people from the old location of the Blogger pages to the new location of the Blogger pages – not to the equivalent WP pages.

    Re: fonts and comments,

    Compatibility is always an incredibly difficult thing to deal with. I test regularly on Firefox and IE6, where this template mostly works well (best in Firefox). I also use Safari to have a look, but it gets pretty mangled. In terms of rending pages, Safari is absolutely the worst browser out there. The latest version of Opera also seems to work for this template.

    Which browser and version are you using?

  6. It’s IE6 on windows – the colour’s just a bit dark.

    As for the blogger stuff, I’d just say delete them. It won’t take google long to pick up the new URLs

  7. Brightness and darkness are especially tricky, since there are so many bad and poorly adjusted monitors out there. For contrast, especially, the cheap new LCD monitors cropping up everywhere are especially bad. I shudder to see some of my nicer photos displayed upon them.

    As for the URLs, when I shifted my blog from sindark.blogspot.com to sindark.com, it took Google more than three months to figure it out, and longer to assign PageRanks. I think figuring out how to forward by htaccess is a rather better option.

  8. @God,

    I tried that. It breaks WordPress, because WordPress also uses 2005 and 2006 as directories:


    I need one that redirects people to /blogger/2006/ for files ending in .html and leaves people where they are for files ending in .php

  9. Note to self: write a post explaining RSS syndication for those who have no idea what it is. Teach them how to subscribe to this blog in different ways.

  10. I fixed the crazy formatting that had arisen on the my photos page.

    I don’t trust the WordPress WYSIWYG editor. It has done some really screwy stuff on my watch. It is especially bad at closing formatting tags.

  11. Since such a large number of people find a certain photo of Tallinn through Google Image Search and, since they haven’t updated their DB since I switched to WordPress, I added the following small redirect to my htaccess file to take them to the right page:

    Redirect 301 /archive/2005_12_01_sibilant_archive.html http://www.sindark.com/2005/12/18/tallinn/

    It would be better to have redirects for all the old permalinks, but to do so is beyond my level of expertise. One Google Image Search finally comes to comprehend the new structure, perhaps things will start working on their own.

  12. Note to self: make a static page like the ‘my photos’ page that links to collections of entries from all the trips described here. My travels, or somesuch.

  13. “Note to self: make a static page like the ‘my photos’ page that links to collections of entries from all the trips described here. My travels, or somesuch.”


    A good long-term project might be to re-vamp or redo the template for my second year at Oxford. That would need a new template entirely, modified and personalized.

  14. One task for the future: verify ownership of my feed in BlogLines. This requires adding some code to my template and other code to a post.

  15. You should separate bug reports from general housekeeping issues.

  16. verify ownership of my feed in BlogLines. This requires adding some code to my template and other code to a post.

    Done. Also, I added a reduced version of my banner to the top of the main BlogLines feed.

  17. The Penny Arcade link on my links page is broken.

    Fixed, though there is a spelling error at the bottom of that page: “Version 1.72 – 14 Augusr 2006”

  18. “EternalBlog removed due to lack of updates”

    Seth says he is going to start posting again, so I restored him to the blogroll.

  19. Note to self:

    There is an abortive installation of MediaWiki 1.7.1 at http://www.sindark.com/wiki

    It cannot be installed, at present, because GoDaddy doesn’t include PHP 5.0.0

    The plan was to use it to a) replace this bug thread b) amalgamate some thesis related stuff c) experiment with a wiki

  20. I tried switching it to Cardo – one of the fonts in Google’s Open Font Directory.

    Cardo looks great on Macs, presumably because of the suxpixel rendering built into Quartz. On ordinary Windows XP machines, it looks pretty thin and spidery. It is a bit better if you use ClearType.

    I will switch it back to Georgia for now.

  21. “On Macs, the situation is relatively simple. Rendering layer of OSX, Quartz, uses subpixel rendering, as ClearType does. However, the results are strikingly different. Fonts or Macs seem to be more “full” and closer to the original designs of typefaces. Windows users can check OSX rendering by downloading Safari, which has its own font rendering engine, similar to the one used on Macs.

    However, many Windows users complain that Mac’s/Safari’s rendering is inferior to Windows’: that text is blurred and harder to read on a screen. It’s not surprising that Mac users argue for the opposite. Joel Spolsky discussed these differences in his article Font smoothing, anti-aliasing, and sub-pixel rendering.”

  22. “Apple and Microsoft have always disagreed in how to display fonts on computer displays. Today, both companies are using sub-pixel rendering to coax sharper-looking fonts out of typical low resolution screens. Where they differ is in philosophy.

    * Apple generally believes that the goal of the algorithm should be to preserve the design of the typeface as much as possible, even at the cost of a little bit of blurriness.

    * Microsoft generally believes that the shape of each letter should be hammered into pixel boundaries to prevent blur and improve readability, even at the cost of not being true to the typeface.

    Now, on to the question of what people prefer. Jeff Atwood’s post from yesterday comparing the two font technologies side-by-side generated rather predictable heat: Apple users liked Apple’s system, while Windows users liked Microsoft’s system. This is not just standard fanboyism; it reflects the fact that when you ask people to choose a style or design that they prefer, unless they are trained, they will generally choose the one that looks most familiar. In most matters of taste, when you do preference surveys, you’ll find that most people don’t really know what to choose, and will opt for the one that seems most familiar. This goes for anything from silverware (people pick out the patterns that match the silverware they had growing up) to typefaces to graphic design: unless people are trained to know what to look for, they’re going to pick the one that is most familiar.”

  23. Georgia, incidentally, looks best in Windows XP with ClearType off – presumably because it is a typeface that was designed to get hammered into pixels, rather than sub-pixel rendered.

  24. I am trying Nobile on BuryCoal. How does that look?
    To me, it certainly looks better on a Mac, but is tolerable in XP.

    It looks okay. I find it a bit densely packed. The spaces are hard to distinguish.

  25. It is frustrating that fonts render so differently depending on the combination of OS, settings, and browser.

    Smartphones are yet another difficulty. To me, at least, the Droid fonts look good on my Mac and on my Nokia phone, but not very good on Windows machines.

    Sometimes, such frustrations make me want to just render every page as a PNG, despite how it would be strange and terribly impractical.

  26. Try having a look at Nobile in Safari, which uses Apple’s font rendering system regardless of OS.

  27. The Windows version of Safari also uses Apple’s rendering system, though it might require administrator privileges to install.

  28. (A Mac, or Safari. They aren’t mutually exclusive).

    As an aside, I took a look at burycoal on my Nexus One. The font you’re using looks nice on it. I find it renders fonts exceptionally well, perhaps due to its pen-tile pixel arrangement, which has been criticized for colour reproduction, but praised for readability.

  29. Measured per square centimetre, some cell phone displays have great resolution compared to monitors and (especially) televisions.

    For instance, my 17″ LCD monitor at work has a native resolution of 1280×1024.

    By contrast, the 3.5″ display on an iPhone 4 is 960×640.

    With web typefaces, there seems to be a trade-off between style and accessibility. You can always count on Georgia and Verdana to be legible, though they are used on a billion sites and look tired. If you switch to something more novel, it might not work well for users in some situations.

  30. I am turning off Nobile on BuryCoal. It looks great on Macs and mobile phones, but rotten on Windows PCs. Given the sheer number of those accessing the site, sticking with the font isn’t sensible.

    Back to boring old Verdana.

  31. My wiki – as you may recall – was destroyed by malware. As a result, the bug report thread there is unavailable.

    Some changes I am trying with the site may disrupt the user experience.

    For a couple of reasons, I am going to try running this whole site via HTTPS.

    You may experience changes in browser behaviour. If it is problematic, please leave a comment here or contact me.

    Please tell me if there are problems like being unable to leave comments on posts.

  32. Test via the TOR Browser Bundle:

    Brings up an alert window:

    Security Warning

    You have requested an encrypted page that contains some unencrypted information. Information that you see or enter on this page could easily be read by a third party.”

    Then offers a checkbox option to disable warnings about a page being encrypted.

    Button at the bottom of the window: “OK”

  33. Note – that last temporarily eaten by Akismet, despite not containing URLs. Probably because of prior suspicious activity from the same TOR exit node.

  34. It also spits up a WordPress 404 error page after someone using OnionBrowser posts a comment.

  35. No obvious horrible caching consequences, however!

    WordPress with HTTPS seems to play at least reasonably nice with WP Super Cache, and pageloads seem OK on most browsers

  36. <!– Dynamic page generated in 0.644 seconds. –>
    <!– Page not cached by WP Super Cache. Check your settings page. Not caching requests by known users. (See Advanced Settings page) –>

  37. The setup may be killing caching for everyone. The site doesn’t seem intolerably slow, so that may not be a terrible problem.

    Please let me know if (a) the site isn’t working properly (b) the site is very slow to load.

    If you can check the page source within your browser and let me know if you are being served cached pages, that would also be helpful.

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