Wednesday, July 26, 2006

This Blog Keeps Disappearing...

I'm told by some correspondents over the last few days that they can't access the site. They get the left hand column but that's it - or sometimes the content appears at the bottom of the left hand column. otherwise it's the left hand column and a big white space with no words. We had this once before and it was because I had used an over-large picture. That can't be the cause of it this time. I'm at a loss over it, to be honest - could it be something to do with the browser some people use? I think Guido is having similar issues. Any suggestions gratefully received.

UPDATE: 23.20 Thanks to all who have explained what is happening. I'm not sure I understand it all, but the message seems to be clear. Move from Blogger. I've emailed Rachel Whetstone at Google to ask her who deals with Blogger in the UK, because if Guido, I and others move platforms it's not exactly great publicity for them, is it? I have also now removed a lot of the extraneous material on the site - Flickr, Neocounter etc, so that may quicken things up a bit. You'll also only be able to see the last four days posts on screen, but the rest are accessible in the Archive, which you can find at the bottom of the right hand column. The computer I am using here at the BBC doesn't display the right hand column so I can't move it up now, in case it doesn't work, but I will do it tomorrow morning. Let's see if all that helps speed the screen download.

53 comments:

Chrisco said...

It has happened me a few times with your blog Iain, but the blog is not disappearing, it's just not formatting correctly. The text is all there, you just have to scroll WAY WAY down before it appears.

Maggie Thatcher Fan said...

Ive had that problem too.
I look at your website dozens of times a day as I'm a confirmed reader. I reboot my PC and I clear my history files down at the same time (right click on Internet explorer and chose delete files and tick all offline content. Not only does it seem to speed up my PC, it also clears a lot of space too(not that I need it)
This may be nonsense, but it's what I do... and it seems to work.

It was a blessing that your site wasn't visible yesterday anyway, with that GHASTLY Spurs shirt,... yuck.

Anonymous said...

I think it's just slow Iain, your page is too big, you need to trim trim trim as your heroine Maggie would have said! Let's cut out some of the deadwood, particularly the endless grovelling references to LibDems and Maggie and the ludicrous obsession with Precott, who is universally adored.

Sabretache said...

I had similar problems whilst tweeking my stylesheet to get to how it is now. I found no easy answer. Often my right hand column would start at the bottom of the central text area depending on how wide I made the entire browser window and it varied as between IE6 and Firefox. I've now optimised it for Firefox and a 128 x 960 resolution. I have concluded that is one of the vagaries of using CCS with dynamic width columns - all browsers handle them slightly differently. I believe that is why all the MSM sites use a fixed width format.

Anonymous said...

Ive had no probls personally, nut have on occasion had that problem with other sites, try clearing the (IE) cache and then try the site again.

Also if anybody is having that problem while using IE it is an awful browser, try a superior model...

http://www.avantbrowser.com/

Anonymous said...

It always takes ages to fully load the middle section. Luckily it's normally worth the wait!

Jaz said...

Number 10 is censoring your site ;)

If only....

Croydonian said...

I've had no trouble here with Firefox, XP and broadband ever.

Anonymous said...

It's Blogger.com. They've had problems from the very start with popular blogs, since Google has to move your site from one of its servers to a more under-used server, and basically this depends on the level of network traffic your site takes in. Kinda complicated, but your best bet would be to move to a self-hosted blog. You can get one of those plans for a tenner a month; they're that cheap.

Tom said...

Used to experience the same problems as ‘chrisco’ described above, what ever you did sorted the fault long ago.
The only problem remaining is the constant change of colour in the header and the somewhat disconcerting photo on the left which appears to project further from the screen each time I log on.

David Taylor said...

Blogger is crap and unreliable. Use TypePad - much better, much more profesional.

You could forward the blogspot address to a new typepad blog automatically so you wouldnt los eany hits.

dizzy said...

Iain, it's just blogger. They are doing some very strange things with their platform atm.

leon said...

Yep, it’s happened a few times with both your sites. It might be bandwidth issues but more likely is the thing they have in common: they’re both Blogger Blogs.

Time to move to Wordpress I reckon (you can keep all your posts from here as they can be integrated seamlessly)!

Davide Simonetti said...

Iain,

I think for a blog as big and widely-read as yours you should consider someting other than blogger which does often have problems of this sort. I know it would be a real drag to transfer everything over to something else and then inform everyone of the new URL, but it might be worth it at the end of the day.

What about asking Tim Ireland to design something for you? He did an excellent job on Boris Johnson's and Craig Murray's blogs.

leon said...

Here ya go, check it out: http://wordpress.org/

Anonymous said...

I find that the "Visitors Online" display overlaps a couple of characters into the "blog" column.

[Opera 9.00]

colm said...

Yeah, I suspect it's blogger. Your RSS feed keeps messing up too. The links go to somewhere completely wrong.

dizzy said...

actually, I think some of your non-blogger hosted content may well be causing problems too Iain. Many of your adds, and flik stuff comes from alternate networks. All it takes - for the viewer - is for there to be a routing problem from their service provider to say flikr and it will make your site hang for ages. ISP often have peering issues which blip things like this, and when you add mutliple sourced images etc on a site you will inetivably get multiple latency based on multiple routes.

Add Blogger being a bit crap over the past few days and you've got a recipe for a disaster and bugger to troubleshoot.

John Sandell said...

No probs here (Mac/Safari) with the content not appearing, but it's slow as the page is very heavy now, and the ads appear long before the content. Apart from the 'Visitors online' box encroaching on the centre column.

Paul Linford said...

It's definitely blogger that's been the problem over the past few days. That said, I think your blog takes longer to load Iain because there are more pictures on it.

Adam said...

It's crashing Firefox on a Mac every time I try to access it. Working just fine in Safari, though.

hacker said...

It may be getting a bit too long and being accessed a little more than blogger.com have allowed for. Just a thought...

bt said...

A Tory blog shifting to the left with lots of blank spaces .... thought that was down to policies, not problems...

vikki said...

Prescott?

mise said...

I would like to advocate wordpress also. It is 100% reliable.

I have trouble accessing here quite often and you suggested that it might be my PC Iain, but it can't be everybody's PC.

Indigo said...

Oops, I have just commented to the wrong post - see two chapters down, for comments on the sizes of your "thumbnail" images.

leon said...

To continue my Wordpress evangelism, here’s the FAQ on it, which should help anyone considering moving to it to weigh up the pros and cons: http://faq.wordpress.com/

Fred Funk said...

Iain, I've always been surprised you and Guido use blogger considering your hit rates. I would consider a move to a more reliable blog service.

beethoven writes said...

It happened to me once but I clicked refresh and the page reappeared. There have been some big problems with Blogger on Monday and I couldn't publish either.

I take it that rumours that you will be the next David Copperfield are unfounded?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I've had problems viewing the blog over the past 3 days here in Italy. I tried to access it from the local computer shop, too, just to make sure it wasn't my computer that was the trouble. Anyway, glad to have you back, Iain!

Matt said...

I use Netscape and have never had the problem. Do have a problem though with laptop (and me) overheating every time you blog the PM miught not go to jail. Say it aint so!

james higham said...

I lost your blog for some time but it's OK now.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...must be something to do with your ill-advised attempt to switch to having a Red-Top to the homepage.. Does this presage a change in style / politics ??

'Daley ate my hamster'

'Everything in the garden is rosey - by the next PM - Prezza'

What was wrong with the old colour?

Worried the old 'green' colour was going to upset the anti-cameroons?

Lagwolf said...

My blog is having similar problems.

David Aberdeen said...

I've been reading your blog with no problems with IE 7 (Beta 3), Opera 9 and Mozilla Firefox 1.5 if that info helps, so I don't know why there are any problems.

Man in a shed said...

I agree with colm, you RSS feed no longer leads to individual blogs but to the whole blog. I use RSS to screen what I'm going to read, so its a handicape. No idea why you've developed this problem, but you last change to your template is where to start. Sorry I can't be more helpful.

Verity said...

I was unable to access it for around two days. Sometimes, I would get an image of a headline for an intriguing split second - then nothing. I even called my techie to come round and he said it was the resolution.

Also, he scrolled down past all the icons and ads on the left, and when it got to the bottom, the whole blog appeared.

Anyway, the problem's cleared up now and I can access it instantly with no problems.

If you change blog companies, I hope you change to one that allows Other in its options, as the current one does, because I do not register with blog companies.

Anyway, the problem has cleared up. It comes up instantly, and the whole thing is instantly visible.

Ed said...

Not wishing to get too technical on y'all, I can explain - it's the sheer wonderfulness of CSS layers at play. Advocates prefer using CSS layers to lay out content (as opposed to the more old fashioned method of using tables) as it delineates content according to context rather than cartesian location on the page. Gulp.

That's all well and good in theory, and makes a lot of sense on paper - and on the likes of Firefox and so forth it's all fine.

Unfortunately on mainstream browsers like IE it doesn't quite work properly and will sometimes randomly break for no apparent reason. That's what's happened here.

If you want proof, take a look at BBC News - which uses HTML 4.01 tabular layouts - and compare it to Sky News - which uses CSS layers. Which loads and displays quicker on IE? Yep, you've guessed it - the old fashioned BBC News HTML ...

For that reason, at our agency we always advocate using XHTML 1.0 - but with tables rather than CSS layers for layout - at least until Microsoft get their act together.

I have no idea if this approach is possible with blogspot.com or not - if not, perhaps a transition to another platform might be in order...?

Anonymous said...

I've had a bit and it just seems to get stuck loading the page before it gets to the middle content. When I've noticed it happening, it usually says in the status bar that it is trying to load the Flikr stuff.

Ted said...

I find on both Mac Safari & Firefox that I also see it get stuck (usually on on Flickr) - but just hit reload or refresh and it appears quickly second time round. Same with Guido's blog.

Might be pushing up your reload stats though.....

Anonymous said...

ed - I use Firefox at work and home and have experienced the problems being described at both. So I don't think it's simply a case of this being some CSS problem that is fine on Firefox but not so on IE.

Gregor said...

Iain, I too use blogger, however I keep all the html, pictures, everything, on my own server. Blogger allows you to do this. I have no trouble ever from my blog. Perhaps you should do the same?

A friend of mine recommends netplan as a good host company. You can buy a simple hosting plan for a hundred quid or so, it's all you'd need.

Also if you do add images you could use a free image hosting service, such as imageshack.us or you could put them up on your own hosting e.g. my profile picture is hosted at gregor.org.uk/images/greghat.jpg

Platform9 said...

Oh dear... are people really still using Internet Explorer?

mise said...

Iain----in your update you seem to be worried about the effect that your moving would have on blogger rather than listening to your readers who are having the problems with your blog.
Have you even LOOKED at wordpress? Someone even kindly gave you the link to their FAQs.
I think you will lose a lot more readers if you continue with blogger.
Just my humble opinion.

Anonymous said...

If your serious about keeping the blog going buy your own URL and get your web page hosted by someone reliable and install Wordpress as your blogging software.

Tom said...

In fact I see you already have your own website so just get Wordpress installed and use iaindale.com/blog

Anonymous said...

Oh yes Iain, obviously Google will be totally wetting themselves at the thought of two tory bloggers leaving them! Gosh I bet at this very moment in Palo Alto there is a top-level meeting of nerds going on to discuss that very subject! Sort of like the US missiles being flown via Glasgow - the ForSec is complaining - that will cause such shock waves in the Pentagon! They have Glasgow marked on their maps as "Logistical Supply Stopover Unit 1B". Similarly, Google have all UK blogs listed as "Limited small-country feature, sell to Rupert Murdoch at first opportunity". The shame of it!

Anonymous said...

Well we have no option but to use Internet Explorer at work, and I found that I was having real formatting problems if I had the Favourites window open (all the text down the left hand side, waaay down the page). As soon as I closed the favourites window, everything snapped back into place.

JohnJo said...

"Flickr, Neocounter etc" - yes Iain. Like I mailed in when you first started. That kind of stuff was slowing your site down to almost painful degrees. Glad to hear you've finally dumped it.

leon said...

Iain, you said in your update:

"if Guido, I and others move platforms it's not exactly great publicity for them, is it?"

Who cares!? If a company doesn't provide a good service and another does why shouldn't you move to them (isn't that the essence of the free market?)?

Blogger is widely regarded (in my experience of IT people and bloggers) as nursery for first time bloggers. Most people drop it as soon as they get into blogging proper for more stable and professional looking wares.

Seriously, give moving some real thought, you wont regret it!

Mike Wood said...

If you move to self-hosting, you could have a single site for your blog, your articles and your other stuff.

Anonymous said...

pay some money for a decent service you tight cnut

Views from the UK 2006 said...

Just started to blog on blogger, it seems when you do something new, it does not appear on blogger search, just shows old stuff, but on the whole its not bad just seems to be very slow.