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This item is a miscellaneous item
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2015-12-11
 Author: Fergus  Duniho. Home page of The Chess Variant Pages. Missing description[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Fergus Duniho wrote on 2017-10-29 UTC

The site has been down since last night. I noticed it was down last night, but I was unable to use the host's website to fix the problem. So it seems that the problem was with something going on with the host. I rebooted the server this morning and got it working again.


Fergus Duniho wrote on 2017-10-09 UTC

You wouldn't have been getting dating site ads from ebay. All the ebay ads are either pre-selected static images or search ads using pre-selected search terms related to Chess and Chess variants. They were most likely Google ads, which come from a variety of different advertisers. After you complained about the dating site ads, I blocked that category of ads with Google Adsense.


H. G. Muller wrote on 2017-10-09 UTC

Remember I got ads for dating sites on CVP? I am pretty sure now why that was. The link that fetches ads from adn.ebay.com contains a parameter

'&pageTitle=' + _epn__pageTitle

where _epn__pageTitle is the text displayed in the title bar of the window. In this case the title of the window was "Hug Mate", and it must have triggered on that. After the page was renamed to "Paco Shako", the ads stayed away.


Fergus Duniho wrote on 2017-10-01 UTC

You can block ads with an ad blocker like AdBlock Plus. This will stop external ads from places like ebay and Google, and the site will display some in-house ads instead.


H. G. Muller wrote on 2017-10-01 UTC

I have cable internet, via WiFi, but my own speed should not be a problem unless ebay ads are sometimes larger than a gigabyte, I have this on no other websites. And if fetching the data would be slow, I think the message FireFox would display is different (like "Transfering data from ..."). It just seems to be waiting for that server to give any response whatosever. It is a latency problem, not a bandwidth problem.

Now internet is a trecherous swamp, and sometimes connections are bad because of hubs that you are routed over, while others that get their data through another path notice nothing. So it could be that during some hours of the day transatlantic traffic is routed over a hub that has capacity problems, and that I am victim of this.

Nevertheless, the more external sites need to be accesses, the larger the chances that one of them can be slow. So it is very bad that you have to wait for a number of such accesses, so that the slowest (or the sum of all) determines the performance. In FireFox I see the servers it access flash by in the status bar when things work well (and this then still adds up to a delay of 1 sec or so), so there must be a lot.

If the server of, or my conection to chessvariants.com is slow, there isn't anything that can be done. But it would be a great improvement when accessing of other websites from CVP web pages could be done in the background, so that when these servers are (unbearably) slow, the CVP content can already be displayed without waiting for them, and that it just the ads that will appear later. (And then they should not affect the layout of what is already there!) If that cannot be done, I'd rather have no ads at all, and perhaps there should be a user preference where fetching of external ads is suppressed.


Fergus Duniho wrote on 2017-10-01 UTC

How fast is your internet? Do you have cable internet, DSL, or something else? Are you using wifi, or is your computer plugged into your modem or router with an ethernet cable? I have cable internet and normally use a desktop plugged directly to the router with an ethernet cable, but I have noticed that I sometimes have to wait longer on a mobile device.


H. G. Muller wrote on 2017-10-01 UTC

> And that it takes up to a minute before you see something appear, when loading a page from this website, is something going to be done about that?

For something to be done about that, I need to figure out what is causing this problem, and to do that, I first need to replicate it. But I have not had his problem. Pages normally load instantaneously for me. If you want anything to be done about a problem I have never had, you first need to explain to me in detail where and how you experience this problem.

Well I did mention it several times already. It might depend on the time of day, because It doesn't happen always, but it does happen regularly, and when it happens it keeps happening for a period of hours.

And I can make a pretty good guess as to what causes the problem, as while I am staring at a blank screen, waiting for a page to load, FireFox prints in the staus bar "Waiting for adn.ebay.com...". And in the the page source of every page here I see near the top

ebay code deleted

whech references this URL. So what happens is that the ebay.com server during some hours of the day is excruciatingly slow to respond, and that display of any part of the page is apparently dependent of the GET request being fully serviced.


Fergus Duniho wrote on 2017-10-01 UTC

And that it takes up to a minute before you see something appear, when loading a page from this website, is something going to be done about that?

For something to be done about that, I need to figure out what is causing this problem, and to do that, I first need to replicate it. But I have not had his problem. Pages normally load instantaneously for me. If you want anything to be done about a problem I have never had, you first need to explain to me in detail where and how you experience this problem.

There seems to have been a sudden change in the overall style of this website: all variant articles suddenly display with a much bigger font than they used to (and as is used on this comments page). In itself this is not so bad (for people that are half blind, at least). But worse is that this also seems to affect table formatting, spoiling the interactive diagrams by taking a large margin below the images in the squares, for the true-descenders of a large font (which is of course not present in the cell). The diagram explicitely specifies xx-small font-size in each and every <td> element in the board, but apparently this is now overruled by some global setting.

Can it be prevented that global style settings corrupt my own HTML?

I have been working on improving the typography of the site today. If you need a specific font size, I suggest you use absolute values instead of relative values. Inspecting the generated source on one of your diagrams, it looks like you might have already done this. I saw a font size of 7px for each TD instead of xx-small.


Greg Strong wrote on 2017-09-30 UTC

And that it takes up to a minute before you see something appear, when loading a page from this website, is something going to be done about that?

I don't experience this at all.

There seems to have been a sudden change in the overall style of this website: all variant articles suddenly display with a much bigger font than they used to (and as is used on this comments page). In itself this is not so bad (for people that are half blind, at least). But worse is that this also seems to affect table formatting, spoiling the interactive diagrams by taking a large margin below the images in the squares, for the true-descenders of a large font (which is of course not present in the cell). The diagram explicitely specifies xx-small font-size in each and every <td> element in the board, but apparently this is now overruled by some global setting.

I don't notice any change, at least nothing obvious.  Can you point me to a page that is exhibiting this behavior?


H. G. Muller wrote on 2017-09-30 UTC

And that it takes up to a minute before you see something appear, when loading a page from this website, is something going to be done about that?

Something else:

There seems to have been a sudden change in the overall style of this website: all variant articles suddenly display with a much bigger font than they used to (and as is used on this comments page). In itself this is not so bad (for people that are half blind, at least). But worse is that this also seems to affect table formatting, spoiling the interactive diagrams by taking a large margin below the images in the squares, for the true-descenders of a large font (which is of course not present in the cell). The diagram explicitely specifies xx-small font-size in each and every <td> element in the board, but apparently this is now overruled by some global setting.

Can it be prevented that global style settings corrupt my own HTML?


V. Reinhart wrote on 2017-09-30 UTC

Ads look reasonable to me. Not any worse of better than plenty of other websites. (But I'm surprised the ad for House of Staunton Variant Kits leads with a blurry photo - probably related to ad creator - not CVP).

But since we're on the topic of "presentation" would it be possible for CVP to have a few forum topics in categories (rather than all mixed together)? Categories can include "Variant games", "Report web page problems", and "Tournaments" (for example).

Sometimes it seems the majority of discussion is about problems, and not variant chess playing itself.

But to close with a "Plus" - I like the look of the new opening page.  Great work to the editors!


Greg Strong wrote on 2017-09-30 UTC

Confirmed.  I've never seen anything like this here.  I've seen no video or animated ads at all, and most, if not all, are chess-related.  H. G., I'm sorry to say that I think you have malware.  Unfortunately, browsers getting pwned is a common problem.  I have this issue right now on my wife's Windows machine - popups and ads that are certainly not coming from the page she's visiting.  And full scans with both Webroot and MalwareBytes turned up no infections :(  I haven't seen this happen on a Linux machine, though, and I run no AV software at all on them.


Aurelian Florea wrote on 2017-09-30 UTC

No sleezy ads here, mostly house of staunton and amazon :)!


Fergus Duniho wrote on 2017-09-29 UTC

I don't see the Google ads as much as you do, because American vistors get a bunch of Amazon ads that people in other countries don't get. Anyway, I checked the blocked categories for Adsense, and dating sites was one of the few sensitive categories I hadn't blocked. Since I figured married people might feel more uncomfortable about seeing these than I would, I went ahead and blocked this category too.


Fergus Duniho wrote on 2017-09-29 UTC

Don't you think that if ads made me wait 20 seconds to load a page I would be doing something about it? I don't experience that problem. If you do have this problem, tell me as much as you can to help me replicate it.


H. G. Muller wrote on 2017-09-29 UTC

I am not amused that I get ads for sleezy dating sites with my Chess-variant articles. It cannot be my own surfing behavior that gives rise to this. Do other people get that too?

I understand that collecting funds to maintain this website is of some concern. But I do think we have to ask ourselves how much we are prepared to degrade CVP just for money grabbing. The fact that the ads force you to wait some 20-sec before a new page displays is already way over the line, IMO...


Fergus Duniho wrote on 2017-09-16 UTC

Since I hardly ever use my laptop for anything but streaming music, I checked some pages out on Firefox there, and I saw the same thing. I then narrowed the window on my desktop for Chrome and Waterfox, and I saw the same problem. Although you don't know much about CSS, you correctly diagnosed the problem. I was missing code for ASIDE.leftcol and for ASIDE.rightcol for the width ranges where only one gets shown. Since this worked in the past, I figure that at one time I had previously defined these in the CSS file, and I must have edited that out later. It should now be fixed.


H. G. Muller wrote on 2017-09-16 UTC

I see it on all pages; home page, comments page, view single comment, submission forms, alphabetical index, individual articles... I see now that this does not happen on my desktop; there the ebay ad displays in the left side bar, instead of left-aligned in a header above the page content. (I know the ad was actually using full page width, because there is a sentence above it, like "buy now", which was centered in the page, not above the ad.) I am using FireFox 54.0.1 (32-bit) on that laptop. (My desktop uses 55.0.3.) I tried to flush the browser cache with Shift+Reload, to make sure I am using an up-to-date CSS file, but the behavior persists.

BTW, the behavior that I usually have to wait 20-60 sec before seeing more than a blank screen after loading a page, while the browser says "waiting for adn.ebay.com", persists on all my machines.

For the record: The CSS file this page links to is http://www.chessvariants.com/g/globalindex.css

My laptop's screen width is 1366. I hardly know anything about CSS, but it seems this would make the following lines in that CSS file apply to me:

@media screen and (min-width: 1331px) and (max-width: 1535px) {
	ASIDE.rightcol {display: none;}
	ASIDE.middle, MAIN {float: right; max-width: calc(100% - 340px); margin-left: auto; margin-right: 1ex;}
	MAIN ARTICLE {float: right;}
}

 

There is no definition of ASIDE.leftcol there, which according to the page source is the HTML element and class used for the ebay ad:

<ASIDE CLASS="leftcol">
<P ALIGN=CENTER><B>Nu Kopen:</B></P>
<script type="text/javascript" src='http://adn.ebay.com/files/js/min/jquery-1.6.2-min.js'></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src='http://adn.ebay.com/files/js/min/ebay_activeContent-min.js'></script>
<script charset="utf-8" type="text/javascript">
document.write( *** UNDISPLYABLY LONG LINE *** );
</script><SCRIPT>
if (window.canShowAds === undefined) {
	document.write(`<FIGURE>
<FIGCAPTION>Musketeer Chess Fortress and Unicorn Kit Bundled with HOS Luxury Plastic Chess Pieces</FIGCAPTION>
<A HREF="http://www.houseofstaunton.com/******** TITLE="Musketeer Chess Fortress and Unicorn Kit ..."></A>
</FIGURE>

<FIGURE>
<FIGCAPTION>Musketeer Chess Dragon and Spider Kit Bundled with HOS Luxury Plastic Chess Pieces</FIGCAPTION>
<A HREF="http://www.houseofstaunton.com/****** TITLE="Musketeer Chess Dragon and Spider Kit ..."></A>
</FIGURE>
`);
}
</SCRIPT>
</ASIDE>

 

Can this be a problem?


Fergus Duniho wrote on 2017-09-16 UTC

I just successfully logged in with both Firefox and Chrome in Linux Mint 18, using the Login menu.


Greg Strong wrote on 2017-09-16 UTC

I've seen this too, but only on old pages that didn't reference the new CSS (which I've fixed when I've seen them.)

H.G., can you give me an example page giving you the problem?  I have a ton of different VMs and browsers on hand I can test with.

I am having a new problem, although I haven't delved too deeply yet.  My primarly Linux machine isn't letting me log into the CVP through the login menu.  It gives me a redirection error.  My Win7 machine doesn't have this problem.  On the Linux machine, I'm still OK, though, by making a move in GC, which results in me getting a cookie confirming I'm logged in.  Then I can operate normally.  I will research more and follow up.


Fergus Duniho wrote on 2017-09-15 UTC

I just checked some pages with Waterfox in Windows 7 and Firefox in Linux Mint, but I didn't see the problem you described. Are you using any extensions that affect the CSS of a page? Or are you seeing this only on select pages that haven't been edited recently? I have sometimes found pages that look wrong thanks to missing a line that includes the global.css file. If you're having this problem with recently edited pages, such as What is a Chess Variant?, then try disabling your extensions to see if that makes a difference.


H. G. Muller wrote on 2017-09-15 UTC

Space between logo and menu is OK for me. (I use FireFox.) What I see is something like

LOGO                               PlayChessVariantsOnLine

menuBar...................................................................................................Donate

ebay ad

bla bla

bla bla

bla bla

bla bla

bla bla

bla bla

bla bla

 
 

 Actual content

 ............................................

............................................

............................................

............................................

............................................

............................................

............................................

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............................................


Fergus Duniho wrote on 2017-09-15 UTC

I looked at the site in Internet Explorer and saw it displaying improperly, putting lots of space between the logo and the menu. I added height and width values to the logo image, and that fixed the display.


Fergus Duniho wrote on 2017-09-15 UTC

I haven't seen what you're describing. Can you give me a screen shot and tell me what browser you're using and anything else that is relevant like screen size or which extensions are running?


H. G. Muller wrote on 2017-09-15 UTC

Lately the formatting of the pages here has become very strange. Instead of having ads next to, or above the actual content, it seems like the page is a 2x2 table (below the menu bar) with an ad in the upper-left corner, which pushes te actual content to the lower-right cell. So that there are large areas of blank space both right of and below the ad. As the ad is usually an ebay ad of large height, it pushes all content off the display of my laptop, so that I don't have the slightest idea which page I am on without scrolling down. And there the content is needlessly narrow, with a large amount of unused space next to it.


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