Everything You Need to Know about the TidBITS 2018 Infrastructure

I am running iOS 11.3 on an iPad Pro and had 4 attempts to change my password.

I found your site to be running very slow which caused the problem of failed attempts.

The emails with links took several minutes to arrive.

Regarding white text on black backgrounds I have iBooks and Kindle set that way.

My eyesight is 20/20 and is tested every year. However, I wear Photocromic glasses whenever I am outside and have done since I was 15. There may be a link.

Sorry, I should clarify, I have no affiliation with TidBITS, just a long-time subscriber/supporter trying to offer suggestions on this public forum. According to Adam, who is one of TidBITS’s founders, there were performance issues with the site. From the outside, I certainly wouldn’t expect a modern iPad Pro with 11.3 to have problems with the site, maybe @ace can provide further insight. It might help him if you have an idea of the rough timing when you had problems with the password and slow site (e.g. last night? this morning?).

Congrats on the new site…
BUT I’m having multiple problems with older browsers. I didn’t see any specifications about browser (or MacOS) limitations anywhere. The primary issue that I encountered (aside from the password issue, see below) is that none of the menus are functional in the older browsers. (I’ve tried three: Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. I usually work with a production system with old system software because of compatibility issues with older software.) Your old site did work in all… and I’ve never encountered this problem with other current WordPress sites. (I do have Sierra installed on a partition, so I could possibly use it for doing anything with the TidBITS site, but it is rather inconvenient – given that I don’t have problems with other sites. I’m not willing to boot up into Sierra at the moment, tho’.)

Also, I never received any notification about logging in… and didn’t realize that I had to do anything until I saw the posting on TidBITS-Talk. Apparently, even tho’ I get TidBITS-Talk through my gmail account, when trying to log in, I had to use my ancient AOL account. I’m in but things don’t seem to be working smoothly… had to log in several times before I could post to this discussion, and when trying to ‘edit’ my account, I got ‘thrown’ back to your Home page. (Related to this, is there any way to change my ‘official’ email address to my gmail address? … or do I have to re-register and possibly re-pay? Changing my official email address is why I attempted to edit my profile.) BUT, remember all these problems occur with older browsers.

Out of interest, how old are these older browsers?

Hi Jolin,

Yes, you are correct; I absolutely should not have been so sarcastic. It was very rude, and I sincerely apologize.

I have currently six other open trouble tickets, three of which have been going for weeks, and even months; and each of those has gone on needlessly long because the tier one support insisted on several rounds of FAQ, RTFM, and ‘we’re not seeing any issues or similar reports…’; as a former Tier 3 support specialist, IT manager and programmer with four decades of eyebrow-deep computer experience, my patience for ‘did you try flipping the power switch?’ was completely worn before your kind attempt to suggest a valid solution.

it’s not an excuse, just an offer of explanation from a(n apparently now I’m a) crotchety old man. Your feedback is appreciated, and I will endeavor to recheck my attitude, store my frustrations and not attack genuine offers of help.

Again, I’m sorry; I hope you can accept my apology.

Kind Regards and Happy Wednesday

Frederico (Ha! autocomplete just worked! I guess you just have to behave civilly in this forum!) (:


LOL! As I just observed in my apology to Jolin, suddenly macOS Text Replacement is working in Safari today; I haven’t even restarted Safari from yesterday; nothing but a new tab (of which I tried a few yesterday). Weird; unless somehow I downloaded new, fresh JS libraries from you today or something, nothing on my side has changed. In any case, I’m happy.

Site is snappy too, and I have no plans to change my generated password, so consider me good.



I have verified that old iPad browsers (original iPad and iPad 2) don’t support the menus. I presume the same would be true of desktop browsers, but it’s very hard to keep old browsers around for testing to know how far back that goes.

What versions are you using @aliamm? I can’t promise anything, but if there are easy fixes, we’ll do what we can to make things work further back.

Performance problems have continued to dog us, and they may be responsible for some of the login issues as well. We keep making changes to try to fix things. There’s no need to log in other than to make comments for now, so if you have trouble, just wait a bit and try again.

With regard to the reset password emails, some people are seeing delays, where the message shows up 30-60 minutes later. Not ideal, obviously, but not something we can control. Worse is when ISPs are blocking the messages as spam. We can look that up in SendGrid, but there’s nothing we can do at the moment to prevent it — you’ll just have to complain to your ISP that their spam filters are blocking legitimate mail.

No problem, we all have bad days, and I can imagine how frustrating that all must be. Thanks for the apology. :wink:

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My ‘production’ system, which is what I normally run, is a late 2012 Mac mini running 10.8.5 (to maintain software compatibility with several programs that I don’t want to replace… or subscribe to). The browsers are as follows:
Firefox 48.0.2
Safaria 6.0.5
Chrome 49.0.2623.112 (64-bit)

As mentioned in my posting, other sites work just fine. I have gotten notifications about using older browsers, but as far as I can tell those sites still work as they have always worked. Also, I haven’t encountered problems with WordPress sites except for TidBITS.

If necessary, I can boot up into a Sierra partition. I normally don’t go to the TidBITS website, so I don’t know whether it’s worth your time to deal with this. Mainly I just read the TidBITS talk digest that I still get through my gmail account. Mainly, I’d like to change my account’s email address to match, but as far as I can tell, I’d have to do that through the Sierra partition if it’s possible.

Later edit:
I booted up my laptop with a system that’s more current, so here’s some more info:

MacBook Pro (mid 2010)
Yosemite (10.10.5)

menus work
Firefox 58.0.2
Chrome 65.0.3325.181 (Official Build) (64-bit)

menus don’t work
Safari 8.0.8

Adam, I don’t worry about the bandwidth (Ethernet at a National Lab is usually quite snappy), but I do worry about tracking. I seem to recall spammers being able to recognize if a human actually read their email by tracking the loading of remote images containing a unique identifier. If their servers show that image was loaded, they know somebody opened that email. Not just that, thanks to the unique identifier in the image, they know exactly which email address is “alive”.

But I’m by no means an expert. It would be great to hear form you guys if this scenario is real and if so, what else could be done apart from turning off remote image loading. Obviously, if you know something’s spam right away, there’s no need to open the email (which would then load the remote image). But every once in a while opening an email is the only way to check if it’s actually spam.

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My understanding is that spammers don’t care. They’re just spewing spam at every imaginable address they can find or invent — lots of spam I saw on our mail server comes to addresses that never existed and were just being guessed at.

With spam these days, I see no advantage in wasting time or brain cycles on trying to outwit spammers. Just put a good spam filter in front of your mail and accept that it will sometimes fail and catch legitimate mail, and that it will sometimes fail and let spam through. Life is too short and nothing you can do will prevent you from being spammed.

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Thanks for the list of older browsers, @aliamm. I’ll report the menus not working as a bug and see if Eli can fix it.

As far as changing your address, if you send email to support@tidbits.com, Lauri Reinhardt can update it for you. Do note that that won’t affect TidBITS Talk at all, and that the TidBITS Talk mailing list as run through Mailman is going away shortly, replaced with the TidBITS Talk category here on Discourse.

I’ve got a 30" Apple monitor, but I find the new layout and typography to be extremely wasteful of my screen space.

You scroll and you scroll and you scroll.

To me, the best comment format is in Ric Ford’s Macintouch.

Do you mean here in Discourse or on the main TidBITS site? We don’t have a lot of control over Discourse design at the moment — theming Discourse requires a lot of CSS work. That said…

I think Ric is using MyBB. Personally, I think his line lengths are too long. I’m not sure there are that many more vertical lines per screen in his system. But Ric’s a good guy and everyone is welcome to their opinions about what is the most readable.

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Apologies if I missed it–this is a long article/thread–is the TidBITS News iOS app no longer supported? I’m getting an error message about a missing feed. If you’re leaving it behind, perhaps put up one more item that explains the situation?

I like the new look, especially the logo!

I’m running VIenna (Version 3.3.0 :7f06bb62: (6805) ). Each time I hit “mark all threads as read” and Vienna refreshes, all the TidBits links come back again. (Tidbits is not the only site with this problem.) I suspect it’s a bug in Vienna, but thought I’d mention it so you could take a look.

Also, what are you-all using for hardware?

Yes, it’s broken right now due to differences in the feed formats. Check the article linked at the top of this thread.

I think that would be a Vienna bug, although I will say that I’ve been testing our summary and full-text feeds in Vienna, and I haven’t seen this behavior. I’ll pay more attention now.

Well, after composing a message to Lauri, I thought I’d check the site one more time. This time I was able to actually edit my profile to indicate my gmail account as my official email address. So, I’m set there, but I think that Discourse is still using the old AOL address (because of the avatar pic being associated with that account from the ‘old’ days). So, I may have to go through another cycle here.

RE: “…with the TidBITS Talk category here on Discourse”
Are you saying that there won’t be a daily summary any more, and I will have either do an RSS feed or to log in here to follow threads in TidBITS Talk? A lot of the TidBITS Talk discussions don’t relate to articles, so I’m not sure whether I’d bother logging in to read comments about articles, which I haven’t received in years. Will there be something from the weekly mailing that would link to relevant discussions in TidBITS Talk so that I can selectively view threads of interest? From what I see in the article, the TidBITS Talk issue seems to be a work in process.

Glad you got it sorted. I somewhat decoupled WordPress and Discourse so people could have different information in both places, so yes, you probably do have to set your email address here too. Just click your avatar in the upper right corner and then click the gear icon.

There certainly won’t be a Mailman-style digest. However, Discourse has a lot of notification settings and can send email as well, so you could get email notification of new topics and then follow them. I’m really not certain of all the possibilities right now — I’ve had many, many more important details to focus on with the main site. But I’m going to start a thread in the #site-feedback category to see if we can work it out together.