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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

is this site crashing your browser?

I’ve had reports from one reader that something new here in the last few days is causing his Internet Explorer browser to crash intermittently. It’s possible that it could be a new ad in the rotation. Or something else that I simply can’t figure out. (Or possibly something unique to that one user’s browser situation.)

If you have had crashes and you’re able to offer any specific details about how you’re crashing, what error messages or crash reports you might be getting, and what ads are on the page when it crashes (email me a screengrab, if you can), please let me know either in comments here or by email.

Thanks.



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  • Bill

    http://img.skitch.com/20100716-j7ya6gqn4cnejka1xns7s8t2g5.jpg

    Firefox crashed. Missed the error message. Just crashed once…so far.

  • I haven’t been able to go on this site at work for two days. TWO DAYS I SAY! ARGH! Have had to do actual WORK!

    Obviously no problem at home, where I’m on Chrome. At work, we have an outdated version of IE (or so my GM Card site tells me) which I can’t do anything about.

    The page starts to load, then stops with the bottom half of the screen black, then freezes. I have to shut down the browser and restart it before I can do anything else. When I shut it down, I get the message that “This program is not responding.” Duh. I did notice that.

    Hope you fix it so I can go back to enjoying the site at work! (But don’t tell…)

  • Keith

    I’m the one having problems with IE8. I’ve narrowed it down to a problem with trying to refresh the Flickfilosopher top page. Hasn’t been a problem in the past, just in the last few days. The browser just stops responding and I have to open Task Manager and End Process on the IE process that is sitting at 50% CPU usage. The affected tab recovers and things are fine. Loading a new page seems to be ok. Tried Shift-F5 and even that crashs.

    Tried on a second machine I have and it crashed trying to load the top page.

    I went through and opened every article and tried refreshing each of them, but didn’t have any problems. Seems to be isolated to the top page. With all the new articles being posted, won’t be long before there will be complete turnover on the top page. Will see if the problem resolves.

    Was writing this when I saw the two previous posts on my other machine’s browser. Apparently, it’s not just me or with IE.

  • Keith

    I just had the problem trying to load the main Flickfilosopher page again and it froze before it finished loading all the pics for the Bias Meter and nothing could be seen below the “a terrible mess of my own imagination and shortcomings in life” message bar. If it was the ad loading at the top, then it didn’t get far enough to see what it was because that area was blank too.

    I’m guessing the problem is pretty close to the top of the page. Double check around the Bias Meter and the message below it (when was that last changed?).

  • Chloe

    mine has been crashing for about 5 days… it is an unknow error message though, so my computer has no idea what’s going on. It was fine about a week ago though.

  • aquila6

    IE8 on Windows 7 crashes for me, as well, about half of the time. The crash is really more of a hang — the program just freezes up with no error message. Switching to Compatibility Mode does NOT help.

  • Lisa

    I’m on firefox at home no problems and IE at work – occasionally the main page has a little trouble downloading (exactly as others have described) but it eventually works. I usually access the site through my emails to see what other people have said about a thread I’ve posted on.

  • Dokeo

    I’m getting the same result as Weimlady. It crashes IE to the point where it won’t even close normally. When I go into Task Manager to force the program to end, there are always two lines of IE trying to access the site. I don’t know why IE is doubling, but of course it’s not something I’m going to bring up to IT!

    Going in through a review on imdb has kinda worked – I’ve been able sometimes to get to the main page from there, though it still crashes often.

    Also, ditto what Keith described, with loading stopping just after the Bias meter. The bottom of my screen also says something like “Waiting for flickfilosopher……”

    No problems at all on Firefox at home.

  • Lisa

    To clarify I’m in the UK – the page has only a little trouble downloading – no page freezing/computer crashing/no waiting for message

  • LaSargenta

    Me too. Interestingly, crashes IE, but when I’m on my crackberry, it doesn’t crash it, it just won’t load whole pages. I can get your articles, but it stops at the ad and won’t show me the comments. I have to refresh several times to get those.

    Never could get a screen grab. Usually just blank and frozen. No error message because I have to go to the task manager and shut it down.

  • stingraylady

    Mine’s been crashing for about two weeks. I live in upstate New York and I’m using windows 7 and an earthlink toolbar. Oddly, I can always get to the site after closing out the browser and trying again.

  • doa766

    seems to work just fine with chrome

  • jufy

    I am glad it is not just me but that does not help the issue. I have not been able to view anything but your heading for most of the week. It just will not load. I have to restart my computer every time. I love the site and keep trying but very frustrated.

  • JoshDM

    I’ve been having problems but it’s because the Funny or Die embed is blocked by a proxy I have to go through. To solve that, put the video past the jump.

  • Brian

    Smooth sailing on Firefox 3.6.6/Windows XP.

  • Nina

    Like Brian , I’m using Firefox 3.6.6/Windows XP & only occasionally have problems. I will tell you that those damn animated ads do cause problems. THE NYT site, when it had ’em, caused hangups ALL THE TIME & the page wouldn’t load. It may be your site’s problem too.

  • stryker1121

    For the last week I have been unable to get the site on my home ‘puter…i use Internet Explorer (don’t know what version). When I log on, your banner appears and then the screen just freezes. I’m unable to click away and must close Internet Explorer entirely before being able to get back on the ‘Net. My work computer has Safari and I’m able to access your site from there.

    Thanks, MaryAnn!

  • Daniel

    Crashing rather spectacularly on Internet Explorer. Firefox and Safari seem to be okay for now. I’ve been having the problem for about two days.

  • Chris

    No problems whatsoever using a mac; I usually use NetNewsWire, an RSS reader, to view your site, but I’ve also had no problems using Camino, which is mozilla-based

  • MaryAnn

    I’m sorry so many people are having problems (I wish someone had told me sooner!). But everything that you all are describing in maddeningly vague. If the problem is only happening on the front page, then it’s not an ad, because the ads don’t know what page they’re on (and animated ads show up randomly on any page — and yes, I know how annoying the ads can be, but until there’s some other way to make money on the Web, we’re all stuck with them).

    The *only* thing that is even *remotely* unusual on the front page is the Funny or Die video. (I’ve run those before, but maybe people had problems then and never mentioned it. Or maybe Funny or Die has changed its scripts.) So I’ve moved that off the main page. Please try to replicate whatever problems you’ve been having and let me know here whether you’re still crashing.

    If you’re still crashing, I’ll have to figure out something else. Keith mentioned the Bias Meter and the little tagline beneath that, but those are plain HTML with nothing exotic at all in them. If those are causing browsers to crash, then the Web is doomed.

  • Althea

    I’ve had no problems – I’m on Firefox – but I also have AdBlock Plus, which may mean that it is something in the advertising. It says there are 15 items blocked. May be one of those things.

  • I_Sell_Books

    I’ve not had any crashes here or at home. We’re using the latest version of Firefox, whatever it might be.

  • MaryAnn

    I’ve had no problems – I’m on Firefox – but I also have AdBlock Plus, which may mean that it is something in the advertising. It says there are 15 items blocked. May be one of those things.

    I’m always disappointed to hear that people use adblockers at sites they enjoy. The ads are how I get paid. Don’t I deserve to get paid for my work, especially if you’re enjoying it?

  • Keith

    Still having the main page crash trying to load. Since it happens every time now, I’m sure it’s not an ad and it isn’t the Funny or Die, since that was moved (which didn’t cause me any problems when I refreshed the from that article’s page last night).

    The main Flickfilosopher does seem to load up fine once I end stuck processes (I have Task Manager sorted for highest process CPU speed at the top and it is always the one stuck at using 50% CPU). Don’t know enough about HTML and browser workings to say why it hangs on the initial load or a refresh. It has never hung recovering the tab this way.

    My thoughts about the message area, or something else in the title area is that some sort of weird control character got inadvertently saved there, possibly when the message area was updated. Might want to take a close look at/even retype or change anything like that they may have been changed in the last week and see what happens. If I knew more about source code, I’d look it over myself. Something has changed there recently. Don’t overlook something just because you don’t think there should be a problem there.

    Good luck, we’ll get it figured out.

  • I use Chrome and never had any issues with the site.

    Although I don’t personally use them, a lot of people use ad blockers because most trojans and viruses are distributed via ads. I wouldn’t take it too personally with people using adblock as they are usually just paranoid about getting viruses and such. Ads get a bad rep that way, its like how people used to just keep their doors unlocked but then a few people get robbed and now everyone has a deadbolt and multiple locks.

  • MaryAnn

    Don’t know enough about HTML and browser workings to say why it hangs on the initial load or a refresh.

    Unfortunately, neither do I.

    My thoughts about the message area, or something else in the title area is that some sort of weird control character got inadvertently saved there, possibly when the message area was updated.

    I retyped the tagline, but I think everything was fine there.

    Might want to take a close look at/even retype or change anything like that they may have been changed in the last week and see what happens. If I knew more about source code, I’d look it over myself. Something has changed there recently. Don’t overlook something just because you don’t think there should be a problem there.

    I deleted the “what I’m watching” stuff, which changed in the last couple of days. Again, there was nothing there that should be causing a problem, but try refreshing (remember to force the page to refresh to make sure you’re getting the latest version) and see what happens.

  • MaryAnn

    I wouldn’t take it too personally with people using adblock as they are usually just paranoid about getting viruses and such.

    So, if I don’t carry my wallet around because I’m afraid of getting mugged, it would be okay for me to expect a merchant to give me something for free? I mean, he shouldn’t take it personally: it’s not like I don’t *want* to pay him, the situation simply is that I’ve decided it’s too unsafe to carry money on my person.

  • Kat

    I’m using Firefox with AdBlock but this site is on my Whitelist (meaning AdBlock is disabled) and I’m having no problems. So it can’t be one of the ads which makes the site okay for Firefox.
    I tried accessing the site with IE and had no major problems except the youtube links not being displayed (also getting different ads in my native language), but that’s probably explained by my paranoid browser settings.
    Which brings me to another possible culprit: scripts (Java script, various plugins). If I remember correctly Firefox and IE don’t handle scripts the same way but I’m not tech-savy enough to be sure about this.

  • MaryAnn

    Which brings me to another possible culprit: scripts (Java script, various plugins).

    None of those have changed on my end. Of course, it’s always a good idea to make sure that you’re using the latest version of your browser and your plugins.

  • So, if I don’t carry my wallet around because I’m afraid of getting mugged, it would be okay for me to expect a merchant to give me something for free? I mean, he shouldn’t take it personally: it’s not like I don’t *want* to pay him, the situation simply is that I’ve decided it’s too unsafe to carry money on my person

    No not at all, everyone wants to be paid and I’ll never judge someone for wanting the ad revenue from their site. I have ads on my site as well although it doesn’t get nearly as many hits as yours. Its just internet safety and fear have generated this paranoia and just like there are people that shoplift there will be people that use adblock.

    The threat of viruses and keyloggers is a big factor in the realm of the internet. Trojans can empty a bank account, access personal information on facebook and can grant someone access to your e-mail account to send spam, more viruses, and links to sites containing more keylogging software.

    While I don’t advocate Adblock I can see why some people use it. Its just one of those things you really can’t control. You can only hope that people after visiting your site and liking the content will whitelist it and allow ads to be seen.

  • MaryAnn

    Its just one of those things you really can’t control.

    Oh, I’m aware of that.

  • All is well now at work! I don’t know whether it was just the front page before because I could never get beyond it.

  • Orangutan

    The only problems I ever have with this site are on my Droid Eris. I’ll zoom in so I can actually read things and hit a link without using a needle, but when I tap where the link should be, I end up tapping a massively huge area that inevitably takes me to Amazon. I’m figuring this is probably more a problem with the Droid browser than your end, though.

  • Althea

    Sorry about the AdBlock issue. Even though you have mentioned the ads and getting paid before, it didn’t really register because I never click on ads at all.

    My computer had been seriously underpowered (until recently – and $400 later), and many sites were a huge nuisance with ads in the way, plus being prone to crash or at least seize up. AdBlock was a godsend. I could disable it on your site, but if I still didn’t click any ads, would it make a difference?

  • MaryAnn

    I could disable it on your site, but if I still didn’t click any ads, would it make a difference?

    Yes! Many, many ads pay on an impression basis, which means it just has to show up on a page and does NOT require a click to pay out.

    And just for an idea of what kind of money we’re talking about, the effective cost-per-thousand-impressions at the moment here is between 34 and 39 cents. That means for every *thousand times* an ad shows, I get paid somewhere between 34 and 39 cents.

    This is why page views are so vital: you need a *lot* of them to garner any sort of meaningful revenue. This site generates the kind of traffic that a small to midsize magazine — that is, a magazine that would have been employing a dozen or more people, likely many more than that — would once have been happy to have, and if I earn $250 a month from the banner ads, that’s a good month. It’s not a lot of money, so every penny counts.

  • bronxbee

    i’ve also had problems with this crashing (or rather, freezing) my broswer at work where i have to use crummy Microsoft Outlook/Explorer. i have no problems at home, where i have Firefox.

  • MaryAnn

    I could disable it on your site, but if I still didn’t click any ads, would it make a difference?

    Yes! Many, many ads pay on an impression basis, which means it just has to show up on a page and does NOT require a click to pay out.

    And just for an idea of what kind of money we’re talking about, the effective cost-per-thousand-impressions at the moment here is between 34 and 39 cents. That means for every *thousand times* an ad shows, I get paid somewhere between 34 and 39 cents.

    This is why page views are so vital: you need a *lot* of them to garner any sort of meaningful revenue. This site generates the kind of traffic that a small to midsize magazine — that is, a magazine that would have been employing a dozen or more people, likely many more than that — would once have been happy to have, and if I earn $250 a month from the banner ads, that’s a good month. It’s not a lot of money, so every penny counts.

  • Keith

    Seems to be fixed now. I got a crash a moment ago, but I think that was a refreshing a page I had up from earlier this morning when I suspended the system before going out for the day. I’ve since loaded the main Flickfilosopher page in other tabs and whole new browser windows and no more crashing. I even refreshed them all several times and they reload just fine. Even tried brining it up in IE6 on an older XP box I have, no problems there either.

    Was out all day at the museum with my mother and nephew so just getting to check it now. Whatever you did removed the problem code. I read what you changed. Sounds like nothing it should have been a problem in any of those areas, but apparantly that’s where it was. That’s the problem with coding errors, they can hide where you least expect them. Glad it is fixed now :)

  • judy

    It is working now!! thank you!

  • MaryAnn

    Okay, now, I’ve added back the Amazon “I’m watching” links with — hopefully — any weird coding gone. Please try to reload the main page and see if you have any problems.

  • Althea

    For you, MaryAnn, I puts back the ads. So far no crash, all well. Good things to have learned. Cheers.

  • Well, sorry to be a downer, but I’ve been having problems just like Weimlady and Keith since about Thursday, and they are unchanged as of Saturday morning. It does seem to be on the front page primarily, hanging up on the top or left side ad banner. Happens on both an XP and a Windows 7 machine, both with the latest IE8, and I don’t block ads.

  • MaryAnn

    Okay, innpchan, I’ve taken the “I’m watching” links back out again. Still crashing?

  • Yup, and it seems to be crashing on

    “downloading picture http: log10,doubleverify.com”

    That’s a partial command line, as I got it from (my brain’s) memory as it was crashing. Hope it helps.

    Once again, after the initial crash, it seems to work better.

  • MaryAnn

    Anyone else still crashing?

    doubleverify.com is an ad thing. So I suspect that whatever problem innpchan is having is not connecte to the “I’m watching” links.

  • JoshDM

    http: log10,doubleverify.com”

    I haven’t looked @ the code, but the comma after log10 is probably supposed to be a period. Also missing the // after the : in http:.

  • I’ve tried three or four times throughout the day with no problems.

    Looks like you got it!

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