Bug report thread


in Geek stuff, Internet matters

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.

{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

Milan May 22, 2006 at 7:40 pm

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.

Milan May 22, 2006 at 8:01 pm

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.

B May 22, 2006 at 9:12 pm
Milan May 22, 2006 at 9:23 pm


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

It might be a helpful book, regardless.

Jo May 23, 2006 at 2:37 pm
Jo May 23, 2006 at 2:38 pm


This might help…

Jo May 23, 2006 at 2:39 pm

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.

Milan May 23, 2006 at 4:37 pm


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?

Jo May 23, 2006 at 5:07 pm

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

Milan May 23, 2006 at 5:11 pm

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.

Benevolent Computer God May 23, 2006 at 5:27 pm

# BEGIN Custom
Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^sindark.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.sindark.com/$1 [L,R=301]

Redirect 301 /archive http://www.sindark.com/blogger/archive/
Redirect 301 /2005 http://www.sindark.com/blogger/2005/
Redirect 301 /2006 http://www.sindark.com/blogger/2005/
# END Custom

That should do it.

Milan May 23, 2006 at 5:34 pm


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

Milan May 23, 2006 at 5:35 pm

That first bit is helpful, also.

For the confused, it redirects people who go to http://sindark.com to http://www.sindark.com.

This is good for search engines.

Milan May 23, 2006 at 7:31 pm

I posted this issue on Ask Metafilter, as well.

Milan June 6, 2006 at 2:04 am

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.

Milan June 18, 2006 at 1:59 pm
Milan June 25, 2006 at 10:19 pm

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.

Milan July 19, 2006 at 10:29 pm

I fixed some previously broken links on the sham LiveJournal.

Milan August 11, 2006 at 12:58 pm

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.

Milan August 11, 2006 at 2:02 pm

One wrinkle in the above, people looking for other images from that month will all get sent to the most commonly sought one.

Milan August 13, 2006 at 3:36 pm

The Penny Arcade link on my links page is broken.

Milan August 23, 2006 at 9:01 pm

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.

Milan August 26, 2006 at 12:23 pm

Favicon not appearing beside your feeds in BlogLines? See this.

Milan August 30, 2006 at 5:14 pm

“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.

Milan September 1, 2006 at 2:18 pm

Blogroll updated:

EternalBlog removed due to lack of updates

Bookworm, in vino veritas, and Vatican in IR added

Milan September 1, 2006 at 3:22 pm

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.

Anonymous September 1, 2006 at 4:02 pm

You should separate bug reports from general housekeeping issues.

Milan September 3, 2006 at 12:18 am

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.

Milan September 3, 2006 at 12:19 am

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”

Milan September 3, 2006 at 12:28 am

“EternalBlog removed due to lack of updates”

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

Anonymous September 29, 2006 at 2:34 pm

http://www.taylorowen.com/ is not longer updated.

Cut it from your blogroll.

Milan October 4, 2006 at 3:25 pm

…a hand reaches from the sky and, with a vermillion flash, it is done.

R.K. October 4, 2006 at 3:19 pm

Fix the links in this comment.

Milan October 7, 2006 at 12:07 am

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

Milan August 15, 2008 at 12:19 am
Matt September 2, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Has the site font changed? It is a terribly unreadable today.

Milan September 2, 2010 at 1:15 pm

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.

Milan September 2, 2010 at 1:16 pm

I am trying Nobile on BuryCoal. How does that look?

To me, it certainly looks better on a Mac, but is tolerable in XP.

. September 2, 2010 at 1:22 pm

“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.”

. September 2, 2010 at 1:23 pm

“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.”

Milan September 2, 2010 at 1:32 pm

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.

Matt September 2, 2010 at 1:44 pm

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.

Milan September 2, 2010 at 1:46 pm

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.

Milan September 2, 2010 at 1:47 pm

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

Matt September 2, 2010 at 2:15 pm

I don’t have access to a Mac at work. I can check at home, however.

Milan September 2, 2010 at 2:16 pm

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

Matt September 2, 2010 at 2:18 pm

(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.

Milan September 2, 2010 at 2:21 pm

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.

Milan September 9, 2010 at 3:20 pm

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.

Milan December 2, 2012 at 12:13 am

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.

a December 2, 2012 at 12:14 am

Comment test from an Intel Mac running Safari.

b December 2, 2012 at 12:15 am

And Chrome

d December 2, 2012 at 12:19 am

Safari on iPhone

e December 2, 2012 at 12:44 am

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”

f December 2, 2012 at 12:49 am

Test via OnionBrowser for iOS.

No error messages upon loading.

Milan December 2, 2012 at 12:51 am

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

f December 2, 2012 at 12:51 am

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

g December 2, 2012 at 12:54 am

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

h December 2, 2012 at 12:56 am

h December 2, 2012 at 12:56 am

<!– 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) –>

Milan December 2, 2012 at 12:58 am

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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