A note about WUWT fonts, readability, etc

Click to enlarge

UPDATE: 3/11 see the experiment I’m trying above.

In the last couple of days, I’ve gotten several notes from people complaining they have trouble reading WUWT. See sample provided by a reader at left. It seems to make some posts go all caps and small washed out font.

I have no control over this as I’m hosted on the free wordpress.com web service and they constantly upgrade their platform with the latest updates. I suspect some recent upgrade has created a browser incompatibility with older browsers.

Again, I have no control over this, but I do have suggestions.

I’ve traced the problem I believe, so let me offer what I think is a solution. If you are one of those folks that refuses to upgrade from ancient browsers like IE6 and run on 512MB of memory on XP service pack 1, then there’s nothing I can do to help you.

The problem seems centric to IE8 and Windows XP systems, though does seem to show up slightly on IE8 with Windows 7.

I run Firefox, latest version, and never see any of the issues described. I also run Chrome, latest version with no trouble. May I suggest readers having problems try these?

The latest version of Java might also help, as would be upgrades to latest service packs and patches, etc. if you have not done so. Older machines running Windows XP would also benefit from browser upgrades, and would run better especially if you can increase RAM memory. What typically happens in large posts with a lot of comments is that the user can’t load it all due to memory limitations. I’ve found that 2GB RAM in Windows XP is the sweet spot. Memory is cheap these days, and is your best bank for buck performance upgrade.

While it would be nice if I had complete control over all the web elements and server side things, it would mean I’d have even less time for myself since I’d have to manage my own server, and then I’d be having posts on BOTS and HTAcess like Lucia has been doing lately. The trade off given the traffic volume that WUWT handles is more than worth a few upgrade glitches than can be solved by keeping up with the latest browsers and OS patches. This is why we moved Steve McIntyre’s Climate Audit off a private server to wordpress.com, because keeping CA up and running on high traffic was difficult.

Of course if somebody has solved the problem themselves by some other means I have not thought of, please advise.

Thanks for your consideration – Anthony

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Mike Bromley the Canucklehead
March 10, 2012 12:55 pm

Get a Mac….lol
REPLY: Or a Windows 7 machine at 1/3 of the price. To be fair, older versions of Safari had issues too. – Anthony

March 10, 2012 1:00 pm

WordPress blogs are also working flawlessly on IE9, under Windows 7, with auto update turned on so that the latest OS patches are always installed as soon as they become available.

March 10, 2012 1:04 pm

I don’t understand those that feel like they should complain when they are too lazy to keep their PC’s and related software up to date. You can’t expect everything to run on Windows 3.1 forever…

Keith W.
March 10, 2012 1:06 pm

I am running fine with Windows XP SP3 using Mozilla Firefox, although my laptop does not even begin to come close to the 2 gb range for RAM. Read all the complaints, but never noticed the problem. So I assumed it was something with the user end rather than source provided. Since I am in computer technical support, I am very familiar with user id10T problems.

a jones
March 10, 2012 1:08 pm

I run a rather ancient system on XP and Firefox both of which get automatic free updates as and when. I have not observed this problem. The only glitch I get is when Tips and Notes gets rather full and slows to a crawl. Altho’ I seldom use it Opera on test handles this very well with scarcely a stutter.
Kindest Regards

March 10, 2012 1:14 pm

I own (and made a nice living with) Windows-based PCs. While deciding which direction to go in 1993, I chose Windows based on price and features of what I needed at the time. However, I recognized the elegance and “hip” factor of the Apple products…so I bought their STOCK instead.
I’m early-retired now, lol, and still own ZERO Apple products!

Ted Swart
March 10, 2012 1:14 pm

Glad to hear that you use Firefox Anthony. Up freedom. I use Fedora plus Firefox and have never had any trouble. Everything is beautifully legible.

Craig Goodrich
March 10, 2012 1:16 pm

On XP sp2 with latest Chrome, Firefox, and the last version of MSIE that will run — no problems. Check your default font settings.

Roy UK
March 10, 2012 1:18 pm

I have not had any problems, I run with Firefox. I have done so for the last 8 years and in case you dont know, it really is free. Check it out at Mozilla.org.

James Reid from Arding
March 10, 2012 1:25 pm

I run Windows 7 with IE9 and all the latest updates (I do use Chrome as well and several XP machines). Several days ago on Win7 IE9 I did experience the symptoms that others have noted. I suspect one of the WordPress admins might have been messing about with settings in the middle of the night US time – I almost made some comments but then it stopped so I didn’t bother. I don’t think font changes are going to happen spontaneously in old versions of web browsers… this is a fundamental function of a web rendering engine so it is likely to be caused by changes happening server side not at the client (just my thoughts for what they are worth).
BTW I was also viewing some WUWT stuff using my android phone around the same time and the fonts were fine – I imagine smartphone access uses different code off the WordPress site.
It didn’t have any effect on the message though :-). Please keep up the great work Anthony and helpers!

March 10, 2012 1:28 pm

Running IE8 on XP Pro SP3, both completely updated, on a PC with 2G RAM, I´ve experienced this problem too. If I find a solution I will leave another reply here.

March 10, 2012 1:29 pm

I tend to use either Opera or Chrome (or sometimes midori, xxxterm, lynx, links, elinks, dillo, or netsurf. Rarely firefox) on FreeBSD or Linux, & I’ve not had any readability problems on this site.
I hope this doesn’t make me sounds like too much of a 1970s dinosaur.

The Sage
March 10, 2012 1:30 pm

I haven’t waded through all the page structure, but that image with the problem looks like what you’d get when a closing tag has been lost in the HTML, and the style it’s rendered in continues to run until something else overrides it.
Running the front page through the validator at http://validator.w3.org shows a number of broken tags, including “No p element in scope but a p end tag seen” and “Unclosed element strong.” which will cause different behaviours in different browsers.
>The latest version of Java might also help…
While keeping everything patched up to date is good from a security standpoint, it’s not likely to have any impact on how text is rendered, Java especially.

March 10, 2012 1:38 pm

I often visit WUWT using Chrome Lite and Opera on my Android phone without any problems, although the latter has become more sluggish (upgraded to version 12)
The same applies to XP SP3 + Firefox 10 on my computer at home.
(Upgrade Windows? No, why? It works fine as it is and I’m not in need of a newer and more powerful computer, despite the tech geek I am …)

Ben U.
March 10, 2012 1:40 pm

People can try clicking View, Page Style, No Style.

Aussie Luke Warm
March 10, 2012 1:44 pm

Just made the switch away from IE8. All fine now. Thanks Anthony.

March 10, 2012 1:44 pm

Just do a cntrl+ (i.e. press control and the + symbol) to increase the font scaling (in which ever browser you have)

March 10, 2012 1:45 pm

I’m running xp with firefox 10 no problems.

March 10, 2012 1:48 pm

I have Win7 and Firefox, and I haven’t encountered these issues with WUWT. For those who have problems reading some sites, I would recommend the plug-in offered by http://www.readability.com/
It will remove most of the formatting and many images, leaving plan unadorned text in a font and background that you can adjust somewhat for your reading comfort. I don’t use this with WUWT, but many sites suddenly become readable with my fading eyes. 🙂

Brian R
March 10, 2012 1:53 pm

I’ve mostly used Firefox on my 64-bit version of Window 7 and have not experienced any problems. Recently I’ve started using a 64-bit port of Firefox called Pale Moon. Since there is now a 64-bit version of Flash and Java, I thought I give it a try. No problems with any site I’ve visited.

March 10, 2012 2:00 pm

Opera 11.61, Windows XP. No problems.

March 10, 2012 2:02 pm

>The latest version of Java might also help…
While keeping everything patched up to date is good from a security standpoint, it’s not likely to have any impact on how text is rendered, Java especially.

Disabling javascript (no relation), on the other hand, does wonders for how the web is rendered.
Poorly designed commenting systems hardest hit.

Papy Boomer, Chelsea, Québec, canada
March 10, 2012 2:06 pm

I run Win XP with IE7. I had the problem mentionned. But a miracle happen. After reading your article and closing the second tab in IE, everything became normal (around 5:00 p.m.) Québec EST hour.
Just to talk about it at WUWT, the problem i s solved. You are very strong Anthony.
PapyBoomer, Chelsea, Canada

March 10, 2012 2:11 pm

I’m actually running Firefox 3.6 (because Google spell check won’t run on versions past 5.0) and I have no problem.

March 10, 2012 2:16 pm

I am using Windows 7, IE8 and 4 Gb of RAM and although the main article on this page looks normal, as soon as the comments appear they are all in very small, light grey block capitals. As is almost all the text in all subsequent articles. Almost unreadable.
My laptop is regularly and automatically updated with Windows updates, so I wonder whether a very recent update is to blame? This problem started very, very recently – like yesterday or today.

Brad R
March 10, 2012 2:20 pm

Opera 11.60 on Debian Linux; no problems.

March 10, 2012 2:24 pm

have had same problem on both work and home pc’s – one on W7 and one on XP – both on IE8, so I’m guessing it’s a IE8 issue? will have to check my laptops too.
It started a few days ago (a week I think), but seemed intermittent!

March 10, 2012 2:27 pm

“ancient browsers like IE6” ???
What are they doing??
Logging into AOL???
21st century people

March 10, 2012 2:28 pm

just pasting this as an experiment (comments box is in Times New Roman) but rest of comments are in small caps! (thats the symptom I’m having anyway)
I agree with this post (copy and pasted below) so will be interesting to see if anyone sees a different font between the two parts?…
matthu says:
March 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm
I am using Windows 7, IE8 and 4 Gb of RAM and although the main article on this page looks normal, as soon as the comments appear they are all in very small, light grey block capitals. As is almost all the text in all subsequent articles. Almost unreadable.
(note – as I’ve pasted – its reformatted to Times New Roman – so I guess not!)

Steptoe Fan
March 10, 2012 2:29 pm

Windows XP service pak 2, with up grades, 2 Mb memory and latest Firefox.
no problems, font and load are fine and have been stable.
Why upgrade Windows ? Pay Msoft money to get newer and then have to help them debug their ‘latest and greatest’ ?? You must be joking, right ? !

Crispin in Johannesburg
March 10, 2012 2:30 pm

W7, lots of RAM, IE 9.0.8112
Problems from today – tiny caps, almost unreadable.
What were there thinking??
The posts above in this thread are ‘normal’ but not so some of the threads below on the main page, the one on the Guardian for example.

Alan Bates
March 10, 2012 2:31 pm

Vista*, IE9, 1Gb. No problems.
*I know, I know. Windows 7 was not available and XP came at extra cost. Never had any of the Vista problems.

March 10, 2012 2:32 pm

No issues here with this Lenovo touch-tablet running 7, or the transformer, or any of my XP or other 7 machines with FF. I was having some issues the last few days with Ads auto popping on my Bionic however. Keep up the good work Anthony and let me know if you need any investors 🙂

March 10, 2012 2:35 pm

Get a Mac….lol
REPLY: Or a Windows 7 machine at 1/3 of the price. To be fair, older versions of Safari had issues too. – Anthony

Or Ubuntu with Chromium or Firefox or Opera for free. Free is a good price.

March 10, 2012 2:38 pm

6 year old machine running on XP and latest iteration of Firefox, no problems here.

March 10, 2012 2:40 pm

Opera browser here and have not be problems to report.

March 10, 2012 2:45 pm

I am normally using FireFox and have no issues reading WUWT under Windows XP or Linux Kubuntu 11.10 (posting this from Kubuntu). I also have the old IE6 on Windows XP and now I can see the WUWT fonts look weird in that old browser. The XP machine has 2GB RAM.
Get FireFox would be my advice. With FireFox and Xmarks, bookmark synchronisation it is fully automatic even for browsers running different OS’es. I dropped IE years ago and have no regrets.

March 10, 2012 2:45 pm

strange – just been to Josh’s wind cartoon thread – all comments in small caps again – then came back to this thread and all is normal again! bloomin annoying!

March 10, 2012 2:53 pm

IT’S FIXED. I was having a problem, but not any more. I have done nothing.

March 10, 2012 2:58 pm

The problem was happening in Climate Audit as well – but only if you expanded the comments to the very top story, not any of the others. But (for me at least) that problem has been fixed as well.
Everything for me is back to normal.

March 10, 2012 2:59 pm

And now it is broken again … as soon as I submitted that last comment! Funnily, it is broken on Climate Audit as well as here on WUWT.
Somebody is playing silly buggers in the background!

March 10, 2012 3:01 pm

The only slight difference between my comment which appears to have broken it again is that my comment went into moderation. The preceding comments I made did not go into moderation. I am not saying that is relevant, but it may be.

March 10, 2012 3:02 pm

And now it is fixed again, straight after that last comment was submitted. Very odd.

March 10, 2012 3:08 pm

matthu says:
March 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm
IT’S FIXED. I was having a problem, but not any more. I have done nothing.

I just tried this post side by side in FireFox 10.0.2 and IE6.0 on the same XP SP3 machine. The blog comments was originally readable in IE6, but a reload of the page made the fonts in the comments small and unreadable. Cntrl+ does not work to fix the issue in IE6.
The problem comes and goes in IE. Drop IE and move to FireFox if you have the font issue.

Harriet Harridan
March 10, 2012 3:10 pm

I used to have a 512MB laptop running XP. It got so slow I was about to try percussive therapy with a jack hammer. Then, in desperation, I tried a free Linux CD and have never, ever, looked back. Linux is Fast. Linux is Free (both as in price, and as in Liberty). Try downloading this http://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=1937 as a “live” CD – you can try first without installing. You. Will. Not. Regret. It.

Jack Thompson
March 10, 2012 3:14 pm

I use XP and simply switching from IE8 to a newly downloaded Firefox browser has fixed it for me; thank God – and Mozilla.

March 10, 2012 3:23 pm

Mostly it is not adhering to the general scheme of things set by the web “designer”. Rightly noted it is when not running the latest software (which current designs are tested against) or private styles and what.
For instance running an old system withouth proper fonts renders as funny as a updated system with proper fonts removed or an updated system with your own mismanaged compiled style sheet enabled.
So, it need not always, if ever, be a server side problem. :p

Bob Koss
March 10, 2012 3:25 pm

XP with Opera browser. No Problems.

Mike McMillan
March 10, 2012 3:30 pm

XP, Firefox, and Java turned off, no problems.

Danny V
March 10, 2012 3:37 pm

IE8 Windows XP SP3 4GB ram with all up to date drivers. Problem started two days ago and now seems to be fixed. Posts are legible again.

Mr Lynn
March 10, 2012 3:37 pm

No problems with Safari 5.0.5 and Mac OS 10.6.8.
Camino 2.1.1 (a Mozilla browser aimed at Mac users, though Firefox runs fine on Macs, too) reads WUWT well.
Anthony, I doubt you can find a PC equivalent in specs to a given Mac model for “1/3 the cost”. Maybe 2/3 if you scrounge around the refurbs. And remember to factor in the higher cost of anti-virus software, expensive licensing, and more frequent maintenance and replacement. Just ask any IT people about the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of PCs vs. Macs.
/Mr Lynn

March 10, 2012 3:39 pm

Only read a few comments and not happy – we are totally up-to-date with all XP and IE8 and have lots of memory, thank you very much trolls!! Was working fine yesterday but not today….. sorry Anthony, but refuse to switch browsers just because your website is not working anymore.
Unfortunately will stop reading.

March 10, 2012 3:40 pm

I am running Firefox 10.02 via Windows 7 Ultimate (6.1 build 7601) on a Bulldozer 8 core cpu running at 3.9Ghz with 16GB of 1800mhz RAM with a tri-SLI gpu solution.
I understand that this is not in the slightest bit helpful to anyone who is experiencing these formatting issues on WordPress but I just wanted to mention it because dudes, my new PC is a beast!
(sorry ;))

March 10, 2012 3:42 pm

At risk of adding to the workload, “latest comments” have disappeared from the sidebar.
Just an FYI.

Removed on purpose, they go by so fast, not really useful -A

James Ard
March 10, 2012 3:55 pm

It sounds to me like Anthony is being hacked. If Climate Audit is having the same issues you can bet someone is messing with codes.

Robin Hewitt
March 10, 2012 3:55 pm

I’m right up to date but the other machine on my desk has Win 98 with Borland Turbo C. I only mention this because confession is good for the soul. I love Visual Studio but I can still write Z80 in machine code. Time to 76h before I incriminate myself.

Tony McGough
March 10, 2012 4:01 pm

Chromebook – no problems. And wondrous swift …

Danny V
March 10, 2012 4:02 pm

Typed too soon – problem is back.

March 10, 2012 4:04 pm

“REPLY: Removed on purpose, they go by so fast, not really useful -A”
I don’t know, I might have to respectfully disagree.
I usually look at it to gauge the flow of comments/ lively threads.

Darren Watt
March 10, 2012 4:17 pm

The problem appears to be associated with the “GA_Google fill slot”, which allows Google adds to be inserted into the web page.
If the advertisement is inserted, everything is OK. If the advertisement fails to appear, the text following this advertisement space is corrupted. (The problem is intermittent).
IE8, IE9 and IE10 have a compatibility button to allow sites specifically written for IE7 and earlier browsers to be displayed correctly in the newer releases of IE.
Using the IE compatibility button ( to the left of the refresh and stop buttons), resolves the web coding issue and displays the text correctly.
Keep up the good work!

March 10, 2012 4:35 pm

Running WinXP SP2, Firefox 10.0.2 with 4Gb memory (WinXP reports 3.84Gb) and everything is good. No problems whatsoever.

March 10, 2012 4:38 pm

REPLY: Removed on purpose, they go by so fast, not really useful -A
Couldn’t disagree more…..it’s the second thing I check every time
There’s certain people I like to see what they are saying….I check there first, so I can go to the thread and read it………….

March 10, 2012 4:39 pm

I have encountered this issue on my work PC (Win 7 running IE8) every time it has occured a simple page refresh has fixed the problem.
Thankfully I use Firefox at home so haven’t seen it there.

richard verney
March 10, 2012 4:48 pm

I was thinking of sending you a message regarding the new font and how it has caused readability issues but refrained from doing this since I thought that it may be a server issue beyond your control so I thought that I would wait a bit to see what happened. I run XP and IE8 and noticed the problem for the first time I think on Wednesday. This current post doesn’t seem to have any problems so may be WordPress have carried out a further update.
I appreciate the tips. It is good of you to pass these on.
I don’t like Google because of privacy issues so I will not be using Chrome (although I suspect that all browsers have similar snooping software and data keeping issues so it is no doubt niaive to distrust solely Google). If I encounter further difficulties, I will try Firefox. I know that it has many followers.

March 10, 2012 4:53 pm

I can confirm the behaviour that Darren Watts describes… if the ad is there from Google services, the text that follows is fine. Ironically, the ad that is currently loading is for “FONTS”.

Alan Millar
March 10, 2012 4:57 pm

This is obviously a WordPress issue.
It has started at the same time for loads of different users using different systems. It is not a coincidence!
I am running on Windows Vista with 4GB of memory and the fonts are all over the place.

James of the West
March 10, 2012 5:03 pm

The small faint caps issue seems to happen intermittently and i see it on both Win 7 pro with all updates applied running IE8 with all available updates (my employers banking application does not support IE9) and another machine XP running IE8 so it seems the common thread may be IE8.
I would suggest up to 30% of your readers my use IE8 so expect your stats to decline a little if the problem isnt fixed and they might come back if they upgrade at some point in the future (if they understand the problem). Only a portion of your readers will change browser is the reality – this includes me btw 🙂 .

Bill Jamison
March 10, 2012 5:04 pm

A while back I stopped trying to view WUWT using IE9 due to formatting problems. It worked in Firefox but not IE9. I haven’t checked it a while but after reading this I did – and it works! Everything looks normal again.
So what ever the change was it may have broken it for some and fixed it for others.

March 10, 2012 5:05 pm

Small grey caps in the Comments section are extremely hard to read. Just noticed it today. I haven’t logged into WUWT from my work computer for a while, but its a Saturday, so I “digressed”.
My work PC is running Vista 6.0 and IE7 with no chance of upgrade until the entire organization upgrades…oh well, maybe I will get more work done! 😉

March 10, 2012 5:06 pm

Hmmm…as soon as I posted my comment above, everything miraculously changed to a nice, normal, Times New Roman font!

March 10, 2012 5:11 pm

Sorry Darren… I meant Darren Watt. I found the compatibility view option on my browser under the “Tools” menu. Selecting that did not fix my issue… I thought it had, but selecting it just did a refresh where the ad happened to load correctly, when I reloaded again the ad was gone and fonts were small again.

March 10, 2012 5:40 pm

We had IE9 but I believe we had issues with its changing of language (we are in Japan and my wife is Japanese) so we reverted to IE8.

Darren Watt
March 10, 2012 5:50 pm

@ TimH
Thanks for confirming the relationship with the advertisements.
I can reproduce the problem 100% : –
Compatibility View on – No problems.
Compatibility View off – Intermittent problems.
I only use IE9 and IE10, and the compatibility button only appears if the current web page does not deploy the latest “standards”.
If the browser remains in Compatibility View Mode for that paticular web page, the Compatibility View icon is “lit” with light blue, indicating this status, otherwise the problem remains.

jim devier
March 10, 2012 6:28 pm

” Theres a Squatch’ in these woods!”.

March 10, 2012 6:40 pm

The problem is not your browser or operating system, it is caused by connection speed or a momentary loss of connection causing an incomplete page load. This can happen on wireless connections in particular or if the site you are accessing is experiencing a heavy demand. Purge your cache and reload the page. Should fix it.

March 10, 2012 6:54 pm

IE8 4GB Memory. problem began for me two days ago and is intermittent.
unlike the example at the top of the thread, all comments show as tiny, faint block capitals.
CA has a similar problem, but with LARGER FONT SIZE, faint block capitals all over the homepage, and in comments.
have been to quite a few wordpress blogs, including Air Vent, Autonomous Mind & non-CAGW sites and cannot see similar problem.

March 10, 2012 6:55 pm

Older machines running Windows XP……
Oh come on, older?

March 10, 2012 7:02 pm

a jones
I only have molasses slow in Tips n Notes too. I’ll have to get more RAM.

D. J. Hawkins
March 10, 2012 7:09 pm

Windows Vista Home Premium with SP 2, 2 Gb of RAM, IE8, all updates installed, no issues.

March 10, 2012 7:17 pm

@Darren Watt
I’m Using IE8 in XP (it’s a work thing)… so I’ll have to give Firefox a try if it persists.

March 10, 2012 7:23 pm

“Memory is cheap these days, and is your best bank for buck performance upgrade.”
I believe the term you mean is ‘bang for your buck’.
‘banks for bucks’ has had a negative connotation for me, way before banks became so good at extracting cagw monies.

March 10, 2012 7:28 pm

Haven’t had any these problems with my homemade PC-AT compatible running Boyan BBS software on Novell DOS 7. 😀

March 10, 2012 7:37 pm

The Climate Realist says:
March 10, 2012 at 6:40 pm
The problem is not your browser or operating system, it is caused by connection speed or a momentary loss of connection causing an incomplete page load.

… forgeting the fact that Windows and IExplorer both have a long history of well documented bugs and non-standard issues, due to Microsofts policys (a.k.a. control needs) …
Furthermore, incomplete page load generatesi random results, not similar ones …

Robert in Calgary
March 10, 2012 7:58 pm

Actually, “recent comments” is often the first thing I Iook at.
Please bring it back.

Sun Spot
March 10, 2012 8:13 pm

On my XP latest updates system with IE8, the article is fine but everything after the “Top Posts” is in a strange font and capitol letters. However the problem keeps change\ing in where the odd font and capitals starts. Usually the article is fine but the comments are messed up, this only started about 5 days ago.

March 10, 2012 8:30 pm

It’s variable. IE8 XP SP3 in a VMWare VM on OS X Lion.
First time I opened the page, I saw the problem. I was asked if I wanted to run a Flash plugin; said yes. When I came back to the page, there was a new post (about Steve McIntyre’s comments). Everything was working. I don’t know if it was running the plugin, or just the refresh of the page.
There was a javascript problem reported.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
March 10, 2012 8:44 pm

James Ard said on March 10, 2012 at 3:55 pm:

It sounds to me like Anthony is being hacked. If Climate Audit is having the same issues you can bet someone is messing with codes.

Shhh! You’re not supposed to notice the side effects of the monitoring software that Homeland Security forced wordpress-dot-com to install by a secret order from the secret anti-terrorism court, that has negligible effects on non-M$ products as M$ is beholden by their government contracts to supply HSA with backdoor access, which is monitoring visitors to sites that are obviously anti-government as evidenced by opposition to increased EPA regulations, opposition to administration economy-building “green energy” initiatives, and denying the validity of government-endorsed research concerning the greatest threat to the US in terms of widespread destruction and casualties, namely global warming.
Dear Lord, I wish I could stick an unambiguous /sarc tag on that, but I can’t as it really could be true, I can believe this administration could use these means to do that using those justifications. God help us all.

March 10, 2012 8:54 pm

I am trying this out, and posting from an older Sony Vaio laptop, circa 1998 running Windows XP with only 192 MB of memory, the max possible on this machine. Everything looks correct. IE8 version. I am using Remote Desktop because the screen backlight stopped working a few months ago.

March 10, 2012 9:15 pm

Host: Older machines running Windows XP would also benefit from browser upgrades, and would run better especially if you can increase RAM memory. What typically happens in large posts with a lot of comments is that the user can’t load it all due to memory limitations.
No problems at all here: Xp SP3, using the latest Opera browser, version 11 something; been running Opera browsers since Version 6 on a ’98SE machine!
Host: I’ve found that 2GB RAM in Windows XP is the sweet spot.
Aye; upgraded this (now old) workhorse Dell OptiPlex GX270 2.8 GHz single CPU to 2 GB of memory from 512MB (the computer was a ‘resurrection’ from work!) last year and things have never been as smooth …
Now, having said that, I am ‘upgrading’ compute resources to another machine – to a pair actually- of Dell OptiPlex 755 Desktops each with a “Core 2 Duo” 3 GHz (E8400) processor, 6 MB L2 cache and the MB outfitted with 4 GB memory … for storage each one came with a 500GB SATA HD … each bought off eBay for ~147 US dollars and maaaaaaaaaaan are they quick ! Oh yeah, a each one also had the factory ATI/Radeon 2400 XT GPU dual-monitor analog/digital capable card as well as the on-board Intel graphics chipset (either one of the other works; selectable at boot time in the BIOS) …
I love the Dell “Service Tag” lookup on their website for their Latitude and OptiPlex series business class products anyway; I don’t know if the consumer grade Dell Dimension PCs have that level of support, but their Business Class OptiPlex series lets one go back ‘in time’ and see what the PC was ‘born’ with and also one has access to all the needed drivers (chipsets, BIOS upgrades, Windows drivers et al) for bringing an OptiPlex system ‘back up’ when installing something like Xp from scratch …

March 10, 2012 9:49 pm

my toshiba satellite laptop internet connection is operating slowly atm – 10 mins to download a pic, screen flashing. possibly there’s an auto update (stormpredator) dominating band width. maybe the CME is/was having an effect.
I posted a comment 15 mins ago on the watergate post. I’ve checked it 7 times, refreshing each time. I’ve received one awaiting moderation, with 4 comments, one no comments and no comment box, and 5 of comment box, 4 comments.
obviously a glitch in the system.

March 10, 2012 10:13 pm

The Tips and Notes page is huge and takes a long time to refresh.
Otherwise the site works fine for me. I have only 240 MB of memory so am still running Win98SE using Opera 9.25. There is no more modern browser that works on Win98SE, and there is no more recent Windows system that can possibly run on my computer, which I will upgrade soon when I have time.
So, get Opera and make sure you have a couple of hundred megabytes of cache.

March 11, 2012 12:19 am

I have had exactly the same problems mentioned here with the article remaining untouched whilst the comments become a different font and in capitals-totally unreadable.
The problem is intermittent however-yesterday was mostly fine. I have IE8 and Windows 7 which are regularly updated.
I also have had a problem whereby it has been impossible to click in the box and activate it in order to make a comment/ This again has been intemnittent and lasted for several days on and off. Its ok (obviously) at the moment.
I have none of these problems on my ipad.

March 11, 2012 12:29 am

On my first visit this morning WUWT was unreadable. On my second it was fine and I posted the comment above.
I return ten minutes later and it is unreadable again, although the text within the ‘leave a reply’ box is perfectly ok.

March 11, 2012 1:14 am

I’ve downloaded and looked at the style-sheets a page from WUWT typically pulls down. All the ones I’ve looked at seem to do it right with a list of fonts and the expected default “sans-serif”. The fonts seem to be set to sans-serified fonts for headings and captions (buttons, data fields etc) only. This means the main text of the page may not be controlled by a style sheet, leaving the font for the the browser’s default font family (or the client system’s default font-family) and size, which, over the years, is usually a system serifed font (eg: times, times new roman or similar).
Now, I haven’t looked at ALL the style sheets, but from the samples I’ve seen, Word Press seems to do it right with a comma-separated font list ending in a default. The problem may then come down to a stylesheet entry somewhere, which I haven’t spotted, which is malformed (such as missing a comma before the default entry) and this could be causing trouble. This should be checked by Word Press.
I use 64-bit Linux systems both at work and at home with various browsers ranging from Konqueror, through Firefox and Opera of various releases. All have been OK (Opera tends to be flaky but as it’s not open source I’m not surprised :-).
I also run Windows XP SP2 as a (32-bit) virtual guest on my work machine because I need the flash library (reliably) for a web site I have to work with which uses flash heavily. I use the default IE but I also run a recent Firefox there. Neither browser on the XP guest has shown problems with WUWT.
Hope this helps, Anthony

Another Ian
March 11, 2012 1:58 am

Darren Watt says:
March 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm
I did this and it fixed the problem for now.
Might note that with IE8 installed and auto-updates I’ve been bombarded with invitations to appreciate the joys of upgrading to IE 8 lately!

Another Ian
March 11, 2012 3:00 am

And then it didn’t and then it did!

Another Ian
March 11, 2012 3:09 am

And it seems it is only the comments that go ack willie unless I hit the compatibility button.
And, re previous post , it took a couple of hits of the compatibility button before things came back to normal after posting a comment. We’ll see what happens this time.

Another Ian
March 11, 2012 3:12 am

Only once this time – but the font looks like it may have changed in the comments box

Another Ian
March 11, 2012 3:14 am

And this time I didn’t have to hit the compatibility button but the font still looks smaller here as with the last posting. Enough for now.

Another Ian
March 11, 2012 3:33 am

Just exited IE and restarted. All seems to work without compatibility button now. Still smaller print size in comments box I think.
Doesn’t seem to be generic WordPress as Jo Nova and Verity Jones sites seem to work PK.
We’ll see when this is posted.

Another Ian
March 11, 2012 3:36 am

Back to compatibility

March 11, 2012 3:36 am

This is not a client-side problem and also not a stylsheet problem. The effect occurs, if a open-tag is not closed properly closed in the content. The same can happen with not closed italic, bold, lowercase, and so on…

Alexej Buergin
March 11, 2012 3:37 am

I run IE AND Firefox AND Chrome on several different computers (always the latest version). At the moment I use mainly Chrome because the last time I checked it loaded big files like Google maps/streetview faster than the othe two, and I like the printing routine.
While all three synchronise bookmarks/favorites with their siblings via internet, I use “Transmute” to have the same favorites/bookmarks on all machines and all browsers.

March 11, 2012 3:44 am

This has nothing to do with the compatibility button.
Here is a solution: Most of the time (if not all the time) a simple refresh fixes the problem (at least temporarily).
The issue seems to have something to do with the googleadservices image being displayed.
I demonstrated this by repeatedly refreshing and taking a screenshot each time. What I found after making multiple screenshots is that the googleadservices image usually changes with every screen refresh but occasionally it tries to display an image that does not display properly and then it corrupts the font for all of the following text on the page.
And this is why a simple screen refresh will usually work: it causes a different googleadservices image to be displayed and simultaneously resolves the font problem.

Hexe Froschbein
March 11, 2012 3:20 am

I don’t have those problems, probably because I use the firefox plug-in ‘NoSquint’ which allows me to set font sizes and colours per site if needed, and it also sets a global policy for appearance which is working far better than the built in preferences.
You can choose between just enlarging the font, or scaling up the entire page.
It’s very handy, whether you’re myopic or not, see here: https://urandom.ca/nosquint/

March 11, 2012 4:37 am

Anthony… looking through WordPress’s CSSs used in your pages and there is a loose “;” that Visual Studio says is an illegal character even in CSS 2.1 verifier. May not be the problem… but it might. Would depend on how long that glitch has been there. See:
“s0.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/post-flair/style.css?m=1331331746g&ver=3” file at the second occurance of the CSS entry “#wpl-mustlogin a”. The loose semicolon is just before this entry. There are some others but most I see should just be ignored but the browsers if they don’t recognize the attributes (most are on shadowed text and such).
I run XP at 2GB with IE8 with nary a problem but being a programmer with little time to mess with a lot of other software I do keep my machine lean, mean, and always with the latest updates.

Paul Coppin
March 11, 2012 5:14 am

As someone who does quite a bit of HTML and a lot on wordpress platforms, writing for IE in any version is a biatch. Microsodt continues to rewirte standards to its own liking, and you forever have to come up with code work-arounds for displays that work in everybody else’s browser, but display poorly in IE. WordPress is especially sensitive to the div tag pair, and it strips a lot of code out of otherwise compatible html. This is problematic. If you’re cutting and pasting “whole code” into the wordpress editor, you might have to cycle through the preview a few times with multiple browsers to see if everything behaved, then go into the raw HTML editor and clean it up. This can be tricky when editing pasted copy.
Font size issues are a nuisance because there so many ways they can be driven into the interpreter. H tags, and font size= tags and certain CSS command sets may not be compatible together, especially if the user is using browser settings for size control. Not all combinations are happy when matched against the native resolution of the video driver.
I’m not much impressed with Chrome, especially so since Google decided to upgrade from occasionally pillaging to full time pillaging of your hardware. Firefox, while my default browser for years, is beginning to suffer from “netscape bloat” and is starting to drift too far from its roots. That said, I have one XP3 box still running FF3 (happily I might add) – most of my others are running FF7 – Its been fun watching FF keep throwing out version upgrades faster than I can get around upgrading. (I run a 5 machine network and between upgrades and backups, there’s not much actual machine time left for client side fun :). I started seeing IE compatibility issues with IE7, but rarely use it now – I think most of my machines are on IE 8 or 9? The one good thing I can say about IE ist that it has a superior image viewer compared to firefox.

Gail Combs
March 11, 2012 5:43 am

I have an ancient machine with Ubuntu & Opera. It works fine except it is slow. (Just updated to ancient from prehistoric for $50 USD)

Jeremy Poynton
March 11, 2012 5:43 am

W7 w Chrome. Blog is fine. However, there are many many out there which seem to believe that a pale grey typeface on a white background is easy to read. Only if you are over 40, only if you have 20/20 sight, folks. Also, it seems that it is de rigeur to have the smallest possible typeface as well. Sure, you can expand it, but…
I point out that there is a good reason books are printed in BLACK and white.

March 11, 2012 5:46 am

Ummm, ignore most of the advice in this thread’s comments. This is most certainly not a client side problem! When something suddenly occurs on multiple client computers with differing configurations (OS, browsers), where the odds of them all having somehow screwing their systems up at the same time and in the exact same way are infinitesimal, the answer lies on the server side. Since Climate Audit is also affected that rules out anything specific either there or at WUWT. What do they have in common? WordPress.
The only thing that can temporarily convert the appearance of a webpage that contains normal mixed-case text to something else (lowercase or upper case) is a CSS style sheet Text-Transform property. There is a high probability that WordPress is simply changing their global CSS style sheets and made an error. Most likely it only affects MSIE because of all the manual kludges (browser specific branching) that these ‘programmers’ insert into style sheets (and/or javascript branching code to pull in specific styles), this is done to account for rendering differences between all the browsers. Personally I think that stuff should never have been done, instead webpages should have been written browser neutral forcing each browser to catch up or die, but I digress.
It is very bad debugging practice for people to jump right in when a bug surfaces and then start radically changing configurations on the client side (computers, browsers, fonts, settings …). This only masks a usually simple problem. You’re supposed identify symptoms and reduce to the common denominator, not fly off half-cocked. People with blogs hosted on WordPress should be gathering specific data from their readers who have this problem and especially when it is reproducible. This information then needs to go straight to WordPress. There is no way that they are going to let a bug stand that affects MSIE, no way.
Finally, there is no reason that people should be a slave to one browser. This nonsense about ‘switch to xxx’ is ridiculous. I have icons right in front of me for Opera, Firefox, Chrome and MSIE. They all happily co-exist. Often times you may want to use them simultaneously. When a bug shows up, you have other browsers to fall back on! You have free choice, why not use it?

March 11, 2012 6:07 am

I thought I was going crazy a couple days ago when fonts started changing. Thank goodness…
Changing fonts seems to cause a visceral response in people — me too.
With Firefox, if I experiment with the advanced font sizes & types, and toggle the “Allow pages to use their own fonts” option, I can get it to acceptable views, tho still not quite the same. More experimenting in order…
On a few sites like Roy Spencer’s site, I have to change the View/Page Style to “No style” instead of “Basic page style” to view all the comments.

March 11, 2012 6:39 am

Good move to let WordPress.com do your hosting. It is world class, and they take care of their customers. As to the browser, if people think they are avoiding problems by using an older browser like IE6, they are severely mistaken.
Like you, I use the latest Firefox and Chrome. IE9 is turning out to be a good product, too. If somebody is still running XP with a gig or so of memory, they are probably OK. If they cannot afford to upgrade to Windows 7, a very good system, then they need to consider changing to Linux.
There is no need to consider a Mac, unless they have too much money this month. It doesn’t buy any advantages, at all.

March 11, 2012 6:48 am

Microsoft is focusing on HTML 5, so there will never ever again be compatibility problems.
It is also a next generation platform that WUWT (and WordPress) really needs to be upgraded to for various reasons such as interactive graphics.
A good article that helps explain why this technology is important, and the future, can be found here:
My Smartphone (Windows Phone), my BlackBerry PlayBook, and of course my desktop computer (Windows 7/8, IE9/10) all support HTML 5.
You also no longer need adobe flash and you can play video without a plug in.
I am not an html / web programmer, I am an app developer who started programming in the early 1980s with Fortran, then Modula 2, C, C++ and C#. And I don’t like Java. So some of my info on web stuff could be wrong.

March 11, 2012 6:49 am

It comes and goes on a range of computers and systems. Usually disappears if you refresh.

March 11, 2012 8:00 am

I was surprised to be told that I was running an old system, since I only bought this, my first computer, three years ago. I suppose that’s a long time in computing! Anyway, I have downloaded IE9 and some of the WUWT threads are ok and some are still washed out. I suppose I’ll have to wait a day or two and see how new threads work out.

March 11, 2012 8:04 am

On posting my last comment at 8:00 the damn thing switched into ‘washed-out’ mode! I left WUWT and immediately fired it up again and now it’s ok. I don’t get this.

March 11, 2012 9:11 am

Thanks for all the tips herein.
Hopefully the possibilities and findings illuminated here will illustrate to anyone developing or purchasing software the necessity of Keeping It Simple for Success. Users of WordPress should communicate that to WordPress, though I acknowledge it is difficult to persuade the provider of a n/c service.
Perhaps more donations would faciitate Anthony being able to run WordPress on his own server to have control over version of SW thus revert until WordPress fixes the bugs with a new version.

March 11, 2012 9:30 am

Blade is right. The common denominator in all these problems is WordPress. WP constantly diddles with it’s software, sometimes causing problems in the process. It’s like never ending beta software. Complaints made to: http://en.support.wordpress.com/contact might help resolve this problem.

March 11, 2012 10:30 am

A suggestion for users is to Refresh (F5 or View|Refresh (ALT V R in sequence) in MSIE8. Beware you may have to do that more than once, I’ve seen it make things worse.
I’ve also seen part of a page normal and the rest
The font appears to be Verdana, a common one on the Internet, but the problem is faintness not font, the fainteness comes from the font colour being gray not black (which is usually the default but who knows what web weenies are doing).
Using IE9 may or may not be wise, I’d have to investigate what it actually is intended to do – last I heard it had a different orientation than previous versions, and wait for bugs to be fixed.
Generally speaking, I am averse to software upgrades due to the poor track record of developers, especially third parties like WordPress. A key problem is the “two-year-old-and-the-hammer” syndrome of adding gimmicks instead of solidifying basic code. Graphics is a common area of playing around – look at the myriad of fonts in Windows alone.
Many organizations clung to Windows XP due stability and compatibility with custom software, but Windows 7 should be better than Vista for those attributes.
Users should be upgrading to SP3 which is n/c, and keeping Windows Update up to date, I’d be surprised that many regular visitors to WUWT have SP1 that Anthoney mentionned.

dave ward
March 11, 2012 10:43 am

I’m running XP Home SP3 with 1Gb RAM on a 6 year old laptop. WUWT is fine with Firefox 10.0.2 and Palemoon (a Firefox clone) 3.6.30. Also OK (but rather washed out text) in IE8. However, when I use IE Tab within Firefox I get the tiny font in the comments that others are complaining about.

March 11, 2012 12:38 pm

Oddly enough, I’m banning connections that leave user agents for really ancient browsers. I mean stuff from 1995!
I think some of the bot farms are operated by people who got a hold of really, really old pc’s, installed really old web browsers and write a script to crawl around and leave spam. I’ve periodically banned real people (especially in the UK owing to their networking system) — but I have yet to find a real person who is reading blogs using a 1995 machine!
BTW: I am setting up a page for people to unban themselves tomorrow.

Crispin in Johannesburg
March 11, 2012 12:44 pm

Identical to others with problems: “I run Windows 7 with IE9 and all the latest updates . Several days ago on Win7 IE9 I did experience the symptoms that others have noted.”
Agreed that is was the posts from commenters that were in small caps. That was true even 3 hours ago. This page looks normal.

March 11, 2012 12:51 pm

I experienced the “font” problem regularly with IE8, never with Firefox on the same machine, updated everything… MS has had ongoing problems with the renderer, updated numerous times over the years
IE8 is behaving itself now that you have turned off the GoogleAds, my guess would be that it’s been an IE8 problem.
Thanks for WUWT, best read.

March 11, 2012 12:56 pm

I have a WordPress.com blog, and have never had a problem with people reading my posts or comments. But, I don’t even get a fraction of the traffic Anthony gets. For those not familiar with WordPress, there are two versions.
First, there is the WordPress.com version where you sign up for a free account, choose your theme, and let the WP people host it. WordPress.com hosts over 400,000 sites, and generally delivers world class service.
Secondly, the most popular WordPress software is available for download on WordPress.org. You download the software, and then upload it to the hosting company you choose. Most larger hosting companies will install it for you along with the necessary MySQL database application.
The difference is that when you use the “.org” software, you have an almost infinite degree of freedom to customize the core software and theme in any way you want. Most developers will go this route to give their clients a site customized to their requirements.
Anthony has hosted his own server. With the traffic he receives, management of the site and bandwidth can become problematic. He has been at WordPress.com for a while now, and I have never had a problem with his site.
As someone mentioned, if there is a font problem,it may be in the WP CSS files. Maybe if Anthony experiments with a different theme the problem would disappear, but with his traffic, this could be a disaster.
The latest software trend on the web is to design sites that are responsive sites, i.e., sites that change their presentation for best effect on either PC., tablet computers, or smart phones. Many WordPress.com themes now have this feature built in. So, implementing responsive web features with CSS3 and HTML5 could be messing with someone’s fonts. I would not be surprised.
That said, I use alternately a dual core laptop with FF and Chrome, a Dell desktop with quad-core i7 processor using FF and Chrome, and a Kindle Fire tablet. What’s Up With That looks fine on all of those devices.
You cannot say with certainty that the problem rests totally with the server since a high percentage of users have no problem. The age old problem of different browsers rendering differently makes more sense.

John Wright
March 11, 2012 1:19 pm

No trouble with fonts but over the last week or so I’ve been getting a very annoying pop-up that takes the whole screen. The only cure I’ve found is to refresh. I’m on Safari 4.1.3.

Darren Watt
March 11, 2012 2:06 pm

@ Anthony
Now that the Google Advertisements are turned off, I no longer experience any problems with IE9 or IE10 with Compatibility View either turned off or on.
The INTEL version of Windows 8 has two IE10 versions installed as standard. One IE10 is for the new METRO interface (plug-ins not allowed), and one for the traditional Desktop. Both experienced problems, and both could be resolved with the Compatibility View button.
IE9 on Windows 7 also experiences no problems now, but could also “work around” the problem previously by using Compatibility View.

Cherry Pick
March 11, 2012 3:57 pm

I have no problems in reading this blog.
Asus EEE PC 10″ mini laptop with Firefox 10 on Ubuntu 10.04 is fast and OK. Its successor might be Asus Transformer – a tablet with a keyboard.
Nokia N9 with its original browser on Linux Meego is fast and OK. Font could be smaller so that I can see more text at a time.
When I want to get better picture of 500 replies, I use a desktop PC with multiple monitors e.g. full HD 24″. Firefox on Linux there too. I am considering larger monitors with higher resolution and turned 90 degrees to read like a book.

March 11, 2012 3:57 pm

With Ads on again, the problem, for me, is back again 🙂

March 11, 2012 4:00 pm

wayne says:
March 11, 2012 at 4:37 am
Anthony… looking through WordPress’s CSSs used in your pages and there is a loose “;” that Visual Studio says is an illegal character even in CSS 2.1 verifier. May not be the problem… but it might. Would depend on how long that glitch has been there. See:
“s0.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/post-flair/style.css?m=1331331746g&ver=3″ file at the second occurance of the CSS entry “#wpl-mustlogin a”. The loose semicolon is just before this entry. There are some others but most I see should just be ignored but the browsers if they don’t recognize the attributes (most are on shadowed text and such).
I dusted off IE 6.0 today and had a quick look with that. It came up with a script error (javascript?)
” An error has occurred in a script on this page!
Line: 2
Char: 1
Error: Object expected.
Code: 0
Do you want to continue running scripts on this page?”
I haven’t time to verify it or look further into it at the moment but if someone else can …?

Darren Watt
March 11, 2012 5:19 pm

@ Anthony
Google Advertisements are back, and so is text problem.
However, Compatibility View is a “workaround” for IE.

March 12, 2012 12:27 am

Ya wanna play ?

Pavel Panenka
March 12, 2012 12:42 am

On Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 9 the font problem occurs after some advertisements. After re-reading the page (F5) often disappears. It never occurs ot the same machine and Google Chrome. I would suspect different interpretation of Javasctipt code.

March 12, 2012 2:56 am

Aruond 14 hours ago things were ok; now the intermittent washout is back. I appreciate that you have enough on your plate, Mr Watts, so thanks for trying to sort this.

March 13, 2012 6:38 am

I wonder how much of this is just mischief goo-goo-l is doing to undercut their competitor?

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