We’re ba-a-ack

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Last updated on June 6th, 2017 at 02:23 am

“Mother? What is it? I’m coming, Mother!” (shriek shriek shriek shriek…)

Yes, the site was totally down, due to a hailstorm on the mysql database caused by evil spammers. All together now: “Spammers must die! SPAMMERS MUST DIE!”

Anyway… for future reference please put this link in your bookmarks; it’s where I will post updates in case the site cacks out. Which I hope won’t happen again, or at least not for a very long time, now that things have been moved to a different server.

PS: I’ve been attempting to make the site more readable and easier to navigate through. The font is set at Verdana/Arial/sans-serif at 12 pts and you can make it larger or smaller with your browser “increase/decrease text” menu option. The line height is set at 150%, to cut down on that crowded look. The big “Tim Blair” in the header at the top of every page is now a link to the main site page. More visual ease to come. If anyone has any suggestions on what would make the site easier for them to read/see/stare at for hours on end please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments where they MAY (note the emphasis) be implemented to the best of my ability. Please keep in mind that I’m no credentialed web maven, nor have I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express recently.

Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 01/25/2005 at 09:32 PM
    1. Comment spammers need their fingernails yanked out.

      Oh, what the hell,


      Posted by Spiny Norman on 01/25 at 09:44 PM • permalink


    1. But where’s the big blank spot at the top of the page this time? ;-P

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 01/25 at 09:47 PM • permalink


    1. The site does look nicer.

      Incidentally, I think the government should pay a bounty on spammers. Get the hackers to do something useful for society, and hunt down spammers for money. I’m quite serious about this—I think it could work.

      Posted by Evil Pundit on 01/25 at 09:51 PM • permalink


    1. Well, I like it.  Well done.

      The only thing that needs work is the poll.  Tim, you need a new poll – the cheese thing is old.
      If you’d like, maybe we could come up with one for you …..

      Posted by JayC on 01/25 at 09:55 PM • permalink


    1. Rightly or wrongly, I had assumed that someone was paying for the cheese and was to plite to say anything about it.

      Butsince you mention it ………………

      Posted by jlc on 01/25 at 10:09 PM • permalink


    1. Yeah, yeah “perview is my fiend”

      Posted by jlc on 01/25 at 10:10 PM • permalink


    1. As to suggestions: these are just ideas, I think the existing site is fine —

      More smileys? I have collected a huge variety of useful ones that I’d be happy to pass along if you want them. I use them on my political discussion forum.

      Another possibility: Latest comments on the front page (such as those at the top right corner of my blog).

      But these are just “icing-on-the-cake” type ideas. The blog as it is, is very fine.

      Posted by Evil Pundit on 01/25 at 10:10 PM • permalink


    1. Do trackbacks work now?

      Posted by Leigh on 01/25 at 10:23 PM • permalink


    1. Re smileys and latest comments—I can add those two things if Tim wants. Actually I had wanted to add more smileys anyway. You can never have too many smileys! The latest comments I’ll add if Tim wants and/or has no objection.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 01/25 at 10:23 PM • permalink


    1. Leigh: trackbacks should work. I haven’t tried them yet.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 01/25 at 10:23 PM • permalink


    1. Andrea, if you register on my forum you can see the collection of smileys I have. I’m quite proud of it actually.

      Sorry about the registration bit, but we had some severe troll problems and so we had to introduce it.

      Posted by Evil Pundit on 01/25 at 10:29 PM • permalink


    1. Oh I’m not going to complain about registration! Registration rocks.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 01/25 at 10:35 PM • permalink


    1. For those lucky enough to browse with Mozilla Firefox, if you want to increase the size of the font and you have a mouse with a scroll wheel…

      Hold down Ctrl and use the scroll wheel to increase or decrease font size as much as you like. This is great for people with really high screen resolutions where many web pages end up with teeny print.  I love it.

      This semi-works in IE, though it only ramps up the fonts about 3 sizes before stopping.

      Posted by Teresa on 01/25 at 10:59 PM • permalink


    1. Andrea,

      No luck with an attempted trackback ping to this entry, this is the error message Haloscan gave me:

      Pinging /ee/index.php/trackback/1176/JMkh2IjC/... HTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2005 02:58:59 GMT Server: Apache/1.3.33 (Unix) mod_auth_passthrough/1.8 mod_log_bytes/1.2 mod_bwlimited/1.4 PHP/4.3.10 FrontPage/ mod_ssl/2.8.22 OpenSSL/0.9.7a X-Powered-By: PHP/4.3.10 Connection: close Transfer-Encoding: chunked Content-Type: text/html 12a
      Notice: Undefined variable: tb_array in /home/lilith33/public_html/tim2/ee/croc/modules/trackback/mcp.trackback.php on line 455
      1 Trackback unable to be accepted 0 1. Trackback unable to be acceptedtimblair.net /ee/index.php/trackback/1176/JMkh2IjC/

      So, since you’re quite possibly the only person this side of Greenland that knows what that means… good luck!

      Posted by Leigh on 01/25 at 11:01 PM • permalink


    1. Way to go on the new site Andrea, you kept true to the spirit of the old format but it looks sharper!

      Posted by Aaron – Free Will on 01/25 at 11:09 PM • permalink


    1. Huh. I have no idea what that trackback stuff means. I will have to check on it.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 01/25 at 11:12 PM • permalink


    1. OK, the trackbacks work for Movable Type sites (I trackbacked from my own MT blog). It could be that the Haloscan trackback system you’re using is being rejected by Expression Engine—it has throttling on, which limits the number of trackbacks sent. Or Haloscan could be having a problem—don’t they use their own servers for trackbacks like their comment script?

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 01/25 at 11:18 PM • permalink


    1. I forgot: go to the main page and check the trackback link for this post. You’ll see my trackback is there.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 01/25 at 11:19 PM • permalink


    1. Yes, me likey! Much easier on mine olden eyes.
      Thanks, Andrea

      Posted by rinardman on 01/25 at 11:21 PM • permalink


    1. Teresa, thanks for the Firefox tip. Works a charm. 🙂

      Posted by Retread on 01/26 at 12:08 AM • permalink


    1. I pefer verdana/arial/sans-succi myself! I
      have no idea what all that stuff means.
      A trackback?  Is that anything like a crackback block in football?
      Seriously, the site looks great!  This must have been a great deal of work and we all appreciate it.
      Yuuck! Davenport just double faulted to lose the second set.  Bollocks!

      Posted by yojimbo on 01/26 at 12:38 AM • permalink


    1. Happy Australia Day to all of you.

      Posted by yojimbo on 01/26 at 12:41 AM • permalink


    1. Yeah, yeah. Site looks good. But where’s the link to order pizza?

      Posted by basil on 01/26 at 12:51 AM • permalink


    1. No pizza! I’m on a diet so you all must suffer.  😛

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 01/26 at 01:12 AM • permalink


    1. Hooah!  Spleenville is back up!!  :cheese:

      More Smileys!  More Smileys!  :ahhh:

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 01/26 at 01:45 AM • permalink


    1. Hi there,

      I’m a frequent visitor, infrequent commenter.  I love the site and was very annoyed at the recent vanishings.  I need my Tim Blair fix!  If registration is the only way to prevent spammers, then I guess you have to do what you have to do.

      As for suggestions for the site layout etc, I think it looks fine as it is.  But since you ASKED for feedback…

      I see you’ve resized the actual image of the “Anarcho-Stupidist” so that it is now the size it is displayed at, so this suggestion might already be out of date.  I’ve noticed that in the past you sometimes display very large images and just use HTML to resize them within visitors’ browsers.  But when you do this it’s still a very large image.  See the original post at the previous blog which uses the full size image to see what I mean).  The new new blog has posted the same article using a resized jpg – much more efficient and fast-loading.

      As a broadband user it doesn’t really affect me, but I remember what it was like to be on a modem and to wonder why an apparently small image was taking an eternity to download.  I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t link to larger images – please do.  I would never have noticed the bear hat if I hadn’t viewed the full-size image in the original post.  🙂

      There seems to be a lot of wasted space on the left-hand column on the main page.  Maybe resize the Bulletin banner to the same width as the BlogAd?  Perhaps even move it up to the top area which is mostly blank?  Perhaps the PayPal button should be there too.

      Ultimately, like everything, font choice is a matter of personal choice.  Personally, I like to follow font guidelines designed for print even on the web.  That is, serif fonts for main text, and sans serif for headings etc.  The standard wisdom being that the serifs make large blocks of text easier to read.  But there is opinion that at some font sizes sans serif works better <em>on screen</e> even for large blocks of text.  But opinion is divided.  Oh, and allowing visitors to resize the text within their browser is definetely the right decision.  It gives me the irrits when a web designer prevents me from resizing text for my needs.

      All the best,


      Posted by Skevos Mavros on 01/26 at 01:49 AM • permalink


    1. Hmm, given my typos above, maybe I could suggest the ability for registered users to edit their own comments?  🙂

      Posted by Skevos Mavros on 01/26 at 01:51 AM • permalink


    1. Preview is your friend, Skev!  😉

      Tim requested the Verdana font, by the way. Gotta go with Tim’s choice! A lot of other people said they found it easier to read too. And about the images—yes, I have already resized one.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 01/26 at 02:00 AM • permalink


    1. I’ve got a coupla suggestions:

      hover-underline on the hyperlinks, and/or take out the maroon highlighting on the rollovers (or change the text color from gray to white)

      Mostly personal preference, but you did ask… 😉

      Posted by david on 01/26 at 03:40 AM • permalink


    1. Evil that link to Political Animal is fraught with complex procedures; I was logged in but puter crashed so had to relog in but cant remember details cause I changed them (as they always advise you to do and its your fault if you dont spammers hackers etc) so I applied for new details but was blocked because old details still in system but I cant remember them……

      Posted by rog2 on 01/26 at 04:32 AM • permalink


    1. The default “Notify me of follow-up comments’’ generates O(N^2) mails for N comments, eg. 5000 mails for 100 comments.  I don’t know if that puts the site in spammer filter territory or not, but maybe a default No would be better.

      Posted by rhhardin on 01/26 at 05:40 AM • permalink


    1. So how do I de-default the fault (my head hurts)

      Posted by rog2 on 01/26 at 05:56 AM • permalink


    1. Skev’s right. We need the ability to edit our spelling. I often blog drunk (especially at Inner Margolia) which can reduce one’s inhibitions towards spelling.

      Posted by Karl Fidel Adams-Kingston on 01/26 at 07:07 AM • permalink


    1. The new layout is very nice.

      The front page looks very well on a Pocket-PC, but the comment page does not (too wide so I have to scroll sideways, which is not on) – and reading this site without the comments would be unthinkable!

      Since a PDA accessing the Internet over wireless is somewhat s-l-o-w, I agree very much with the above comment re large images.

      Posted by jorgen on 01/26 at 07:29 AM • permalink


    1. Hey: someone calling himself “Aussieman” attempted to sign up. Either he put in the wrong email address, or he didn’t read the message about needing to use a REAL EMAIL ADDRESS. Dude, if you have a yahoo account, check your login; the message I got says you don’t: “This user doesn’t have a yahoo.com.au account ( aussieman@yahoo.com.au).”

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 01/26 at 08:14 AM • permalink


    1. The only suggestion I would make is to allow links to open in another window. I’ve seen some blogs that have a clicky button on the main page – you can choose whether you want to use the same window or a new window for links.

      I have no idea how to do this. Just saw it and thought it was neat-o

      Posted by birdwoman on 01/26 at 09:06 AM • permalink


    1. Interesting idea about selectable new windows on links.  But please make the default as opening external links in the same window.  Pleeaase?  I dislike it when web sites open new windows for external links.  It’s not as bad as MIDI music on a web page, but close.

      If I want a new window I’ll right-click the link and tell my browser that’s what I want.  Or, since I use Mozilla’s Firefox, I middle-click on most links and they open in a new tab.  So much better.

      Similarly, please don’t start using javascript etc in links either.  Ugh.  🙂

      Posted by Skevos Mavros on 01/26 at 09:17 AM • permalink


    1. My suggestion for improvement: no more improvements.  The continued quest for perfection is wreaking havoc.  I was fine with Tim’s old site.  If Tim’s weren’t one of the best blogs out there, I might have found it not worth the effort to follow him from site to site and format to format.

      Posted by Bud Norton on 01/26 at 09:20 AM • permalink


    1. As adults, we should be able to express our emotions using the magic of swearing, without resorting to those fucking smiley faces.:vampire:

      Concerning comments spam: if you use Haloscan, it doesn’t go through the search engines, so everyone leaves you alone.

      Posted by Harry Hutton on 01/26 at 09:35 AM • permalink


    1. Firefox users:

      The most useful online Firefox Help page includes links to ‘Keyboard Shortcuts’, ‘Tips & Tricks’, ‘Mouse Shortcuts’ and more.  It is a good page to bookmark.

      The Keyboard Shortcuts will, for example, inform you that the text size can be increased by Ctrl++ and decreased by Ctrl+-.

      (Note that the +/- keys on the keypad work as do the +/- keys to the left of the Backspace key (do not do Ctrl+Shift++, that does nothing).)

      Also you might want to paw around in either or both of the local Help files.  What you want to do here is ‘F1’ or ‘Help/Help Contents’ or, alternatively, ‘Help/For Internet Explorer Users’.

      Oddly enough the help available for Firefox is quite helpful contrary to my usual experience.

      There are, of course, peculiarities which are probably inherent in the help mechanism itself.  For instance a search of the help file for ‘font size’ finds nothing while ‘text size’ will lead to the toolbar ‘View/Text Size’ and ‘Mouse Shortcuts’ but not ‘Keyboard Shortcuts’.

      Posted by Uncle Bill on 01/26 at 09:37 AM • permalink


    1. I for one welcome our new Verdana-using overlords …

      But I do have a request/suggestion about way links appear. At present, non-visited links are underlined in dark blue but are otherwise visually identical to visited links. How about using the foreground color instead? Purple is traditional …

      More importantly: thanks, Andrea, for all your work on this entertaining and informative site!

      Posted by Chris Chittleborough on 01/26 at 09:58 AM • permalink


    1. Sorry rog; I was celebrating Australia Day by becoming mindlessly drunk (as Aussies do). I’ll try to sort it out tomorrow.

      Posted by Evil Pundit on 01/26 at 01:15 PM • permalink


    1. Oo!  Smileys!!  :snake:

      Thanks for the lifeline, Andrea.  I was wondering around out there in the wilderness for a while.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 01/26 at 04:13 PM • permalink


    1. I like it all.  I like the content, the font, the layout, the ‘must register to comment’ feature… did I mention I like the content?

      In the “nice to have” category of enhancements (I know – that’s kiss-of-death) I would like to have the “<<” (scroll next), MAIN, and “>>” (scroll previous)buttons back at the top of the article/comments page.  Thanks!

      Posted by debo on 01/26 at 08:22 PM • permalink


  1. Looks good. 🙂

    Smiley faces are nice, but what about Assicons, and Titicons, or Frownies?

    Another suggestion: I only found this page by accident. Maybe you could put a final post up on timblair.net/weblog.php, pointing people here?

    Posted by TimT on 01/27 at 03:50 AM • permalink