Sunday, April 19, 2009

Parish Notice: Help

A reader writes on the Spectator blog...

I want to read what Iain Dale says about this but when I log onto his site my Firefox browser goes into overdrive and uses 97% of my computer's resources. I have to switch him off to get back to a normal 5%. What's he got on that website? It's not doing him any favours.

Can anyone enlighten me as to why this happens to this person's computer when they log on here?

87 comments:

john_713 said...

I'm, not sure but mine does the same. My firefox memory usages goes from around 80mb to 250+mb when I load your site.

Henry Legg said...

Im using safari and reading it fine can u put up the link on that broadcasting house and what sort of time?

Mitch said...

mines fine 1% use perhaps a virus/spyware or just bill gates usual bloatware.

Anonymous said...

I have had problems with Firefox before on certain websites. I switched to Opera and had no further problems. Firefox just collapses on certain websites but no idea why.

Anonymous said...

I use firefox on a macbook, no problems at all. Computers, eh? They'll never catch on.

Paul Halsall said...

perhaps because you are pulling in 60 youtube images with your embedding?

Sue said...

I use google chrome and its fine!

Rab C. Nesbitt said...

Being the technophobe that I am, I have no idea what you are on about!!

Demetrius said...

All I get is a loud snoring sound.

Bill said...

Mac mini, 2gb ram, firefox. Usage goes to 50% whilst site loading, then settles down to anything between 2.5% - 15%

Bhoddisattva said...

Works fine for me (Firefox 3.0.8, XP SP3) and briefly goes up to 20-40% of CPU resource before settling back down but your reader:
a) May have an antivirus that goes mad on such a page
b) Have anti-spyware (Spybot in particular has an extension that monitors things and this - Teatimer - can eat up resource)
c) Is the readers PC just overloaded? Has it been restarted recently? Has it sufficient memory?

As a PS Iain - the link under the main/current story to EMAIL appears broken when one clicks on it.

Anonymous said...

Noticed last night that Firefox slows down while loading all the Youtube clips on your music list.

Anonymous said...

I've had nasty problems before with Firefox and sites running Google addins like Adwords. Installing the AdBlock Plus and Flashblock plug-ins seems to stop the problem

Mostly Ordinary said...

Is he using a ad blocking plug in?

penwing said...

Possibly something to do with the number of youtube clips you posted with your 100 best songs list? I know it gave me problems reading through RSS (Googlereader) in Firefox.

Alex
x x

John Smith said...

It's probably an advert, but I've just tried the site using an adblocker and without, with no problems.

Firefox can get a bit fat if there are images and what not in a tab - have any new flash ads been added? They're pretty good at stacking up the memory usage.

David Low said...

Iain, it's almost certainly all those embedded YouTube videos you've posted over the last couple of days.

I read your site via RSS and hadn't really noticed them because I skipped those particular posts :-)

Mark Reckons said...

I've been having problems with Firefox taking up too much memory, often resulting in me having to kill it and as I often visit this site and have more than one IDD tab open at once (and then leave them open because that's how I tend to browse) I wonder if it is this site that causes the problem.

I will do some experimenting and get back to you.

Alex Agius said...

I view your site with firefox v3.0.8 and not had any problems, page loads quickly and all features available.

sobers said...

I use Firefox, and never had any problems on this site. Has he updated Firefox recently, or is it an old version?

Oliver Drew said...

I've had no problems. Are they sure it's not just temporary whilst all the ads etc are loaded? There are a fair amount of graphics and video's to be loaded and it might be loading the software that runs the plugins that is increasing the memory and processor load on their machines rather than the website per se?

Dave Green said...

A sidebar packed with streaming video and Flash widgets does no favours whatsoever for users on sub-lightning-speed internet connections.

Lenty said...

Not sure Iain, I can only tell you that with firefox my computer handles your page pretty much like any other, only slightly more usage, standard amount i'd expect from all the widgets and videos.

DC said...

Using Chrome and like Firefox it suffers from a massive jump in memory usage when I load your site.

Morus said...

I used to get the same problem on Liberal Conspiracy with both Firefox and IE7.

Safari has no problems with either site, though yours is slower to load than the others because of the amount of graphical objects. (blogroll, video links etc).

Jabba the Cat said...

Install Adblock and Little Snitch if on a Mac. On a PC, Adblock and a decent firewall like the one in NOD32, making sure the Windows firewall is disabled.

I run circa 20 tabs concurrently 24/7 on both the Mac and PC and only have to unload and reload Firefox on the Mac about once a week(Mac memory management sucks).

The PC Firefox is only restarted when Windows XP is rebooted which is maybe every one to two months.

Fluffy said...

One known problem is advertising downloads. [Sky used to be a nightmare to load.]

A similar issue was mentioned many months ago @ PB.com - albeit with mobile devices. Have you set an exclusion file to reject such band-width intrusions...?

[Please check th PB archives, as my laptop battery is about to go t1t5-up.]

Anonymous said...

Probably one of the numerous add-ons such as the video or widget.

They use a lot of resources - but do any of your readers actually use them?

Anonymous said...

My computer doesn't like pages that are very heavy on the Flash content. And currently you have a shed load of YouTube videos embedded.

Curbishlyauto said...

I've been having the same problems with FireFox, I've used MacScan and ClamXav but cannot find anything untoward. So I've switched to a proxy and using Safari and...no problems.

Advertising Sellout said...

It'll be something to do with one of the widgets down the right hand side of the page, which keeps a live stream of HTTP traffic going even once the page has loaded... I'd turn them off one by one to see which one is doing it (although my money would be on the Amazon slideshow widget).

Gotta be careful with 'pieces of flair'... http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000587.html

-Ed

Adrian said...

Works fine with firefox for me, and always has. And during the whole Dollygate scandal I've been visiting more than usual.

Great commentary - shame about the music list. ;-)

Btw, why is the word I have to type to verify this post "ratshyte"? Sounds a bit rude for a nice Conservative blog!

Alex said...

A bad installation of Java is a likely culprit in these circumstances. It can cause the Java-driven widgets on your site to go into indefinite CPU cycles. Completely uninstalling Java (not as straightforward) as it might seem) and downloading the latest version from sun.com often does the trick.

someday said...

Might have something to do with the Flash adverts using a lot of memory.

I suggest that he uses Flashblock http://flashblock.mozdev.org/ and take measures to reduce memory usage

Fidothedog said...

I know that Firefox has issues with flash and some javascript apps, but other than that no idea.

IanVisits said...

As others have said, almost certainly the YouTube video clips.

If I disable my FlashBlock plug-in, then the memory use when pulling down the ytimg files (youtube server) does spike alarmingly.

crimeficreader said...

I have migrated to a new PC since yesterday. Your site, and the immense load of it, prompted another phone call to Virgin to set me up. I believe the imports of your favourite tunes were the killer. My previous IE & PC did not have the capacity to load it at all. I had to switch off.

Prior to then, it was your videos on the site that had me waiting more than a wee long while for page load.

But boy, am I happy with this new PC. I can now access your site with bountiful easability!

Word verification asks for "rewirds" which makes me think of "weirds", and Labour, come to that!

The Boiling Frog said...

Your site seems fine to me Iain, haven't been able to get onto Guido's all morning though.

Steve said...

**SOLUTION**
Install the noscript add-on for firefox. Make sure javascript from blogspot.com is forbidden and blooger.com is allowed. Something from blogspot.com is trying to load and can't which sends firefox into a tizzy.

Steve Horgan said...

Some numbers, URL, pagesize, loadtime:

iaindale.blogspot.com, 322.83KB, 0.34 seconds www.bbc.co.uk/news, 78.3KB, 1.3 seconds
www.horgan.co.uk, 81.02KB, 0.58 seconds
www.order-order.com, 78.42KB, 1.16 seconds
conservativehome.blogs.com, 64KB, 0.6 seconds

This is using the tools on www.iwebtool.com. it suggests that Iain's site has a very large page size, but also that is runs on a pretty good server setup. However, this still may lead to problems depending on the client. So, looking at the blog on an iphone or lower bandwidth or less powerful device would still be more difficult because of the amount of data. Then there are other potential factors based on the nature of the data, if it requires additional processing on the client for special effects and media, which Iain does use quite a bit of.

My experience is that using Firefox on a fast computer with a fast internet connection for Iain's blog is fine. For a slower device it is better to use RSS.

Anonymous said...

There are a large number of flash-based adverts and other "twiddly bits" on your blog which requires GPU video acceleration for it to work without overstraining a modest (older) computer. My laptop for example (but not my desktop) suffers from this on your blog. All the moving, flashing, blinking things you have come at a price, processing wise.

What I do is disallow flash on your blog page - it will reduce your advertising revenue but at least it works on my getting-rather-old-now laptop. As he is using firefox, I recommend the NoScript plugin (available at http://noscript.net). That enables you selectively to pick what webpages, and what flash devices on what webpages, will be allowed and what will not.

Peter said...

Probably a flash object - Perhaps the YouTube video. Some version of Firefox use lots of memory. Get him to install FlashBlock, or see if using a later version of Firefox helps.

dugald said...

I use firefox and look at the website every day and have never noticed any problem or difference

mike said...

using Firefox under XP, and my CPU usage goes from about 10% to over 60% when I load the site; stays that way even when Firefox tells me the site is fully loaded
Mike Moore

Clive said...

Noscript is an essential plugin for firefox. With it you can choose what or what not to see. Given that your site is pulling code from 13 different sources, I put money on it being one of the following:

Youtube
Amazon
Adserve
Blogspot

Snip said...

I'm no expert, but I've just had a tinker with your page in Firebug. When you take out the U-Tube music posts, the processor usage goes right down. Taking out all the other Flash stuff has no noticeable effect.

The problem should go away once they scroll off the bottom - so get posting!

niconoclast said...

The very worst site to navigate ever! Usually takes five minutes before you can scroll down.Totally dysfunctional -especially if you are computer illiterate and don't know how to get round all the gremlins.

Mark Reckons said...

Iain,

Just done a quick test like I promised and with a few browser instances and tabs open I was at about 90MB for Firefox in the processes in Windows Task Manager. then I changed one of the already open browser windows to point at IDD and it shot up to 288MB.

I think you do have a problem although I cannot explain why not all Firefox users are seeing the same thing.

Intersetingly for the first few seconds, your site only made the amount go up to about 93MB (i.e. an increase of 3MB). It was only when the side bar stuff started populating that the amount shot up by almost 200MB. That seems to tally with some of the advice you have received here.

Good luck with trying to resolve this. Do you have any technical help for this?

Simon Gardner said...

Use Camino folks; you know it makes sense.

Mike Law said...

Mine does the same and it is the embeded YouTube stuff.

Doug said...

Firefox 3.8 is very buggy - a very poor release from Mozilla.

However with Firefox 3.7 I also see memory usage shoot up and processor usage fluctuating from 50-70%.

anonaLon said...

Iain,

I'm surprised you've only just realised you have a problem with this.

You've often got so much data on your page that my laptop freezes when I open your Blog. Especially yesterday when you listed all those Youtube videos!

Read Iain's Blog? = You need to buy some more RAM!!

A.

Delphius1 said...

I get the same: 50% usage on your home page, then down to 1% when I click on a post and enter the comments section.

Must be something on your home page.

Anonymous said...

Can't give any technical details I'm afraid, but I have noticed for a while that your site slows down my computer too. I suspect the widgets - the Times blogs have them too and my browser has the same problem there. Get rid - they're really not very useful, they only provide another ten links or so apiece anyway.

Mike Rouse said...

Over-zealous use of embedded content, Iain. Too many Active components. The problem will resolve when the YouTube content drops off the first page or you manually reduce the number of Active components.

Anonymous said...

It's always been fine for me, until yesterday when all the music videos appeared. Ever since, very slow (and off-putting).

David Farrer said...

The Telegraph site has started to confuse my iMac.

I guess Guido's behind this...

Colm Linehan said...

I read via RSS and hadn't noticed, but as an exercise, I opened the story about Dizzy while monitoring CPU and the music videos story. It's the music videos. When I opened the Dizzy story, I did have an initial burst of CPU, including up to 90% when the downfall video was loading, but it quickly returned to normal. On the story with all the music videos, my CPU utilisation went up to 70% and stayed there.

IUnknown said...

It appears when the second ad (flash) is loading from what I gather (Damian's Downfall).

The page size increases PC memory around 224 Mb using Internet Explorer.

Ads and embedded flash objects can cause page load performance problems as it loads the embedded objects on your page while pulling data from a remote website.

My old Pentium II PCs died a death with sites embedded with large amounts of Flash and Javascript - such as Telegraph and Graniad CiF pages.

All my new PCs, such as the I7s with 6Gb running Vista 64bit have no problems!

Paul Halsall said...

Iain, you may been the first major blogger to have committed blogicide due to a surfeit of YouTubes.

It's almost medieval. Gout cannot be far behind.

John said...

This is simple computer problems - nothing to do with your site.

As someone who frequents the firefox forums and who files and discusses bugs with others, i'm getting sick of seeing "this website makes my firefox crash/freeze/use 100% of CPU" reports only for no-one else to be able to reproduce it.

The simple conclusion is that despite everyone using Windows, not everyone's install is in the same state after months of use. Add to that radically different specs across the spectrum and you have errors for some and not others.

So ignore this Iain. If his computer hasn't been defragged for months or if he's using a custom theme etc.. and it's caused problems, then it's his problem not yours.

If you get caught up in rubbish like this it will never end, which is why most of these bug reports over at Mozilla are now marked WONTFIX.

RM said...

I use Chrome. I can see site fine but my fan and cpu usage goes into overddrive. happened since all youtube links put on

Inspector Morse said...

I use Firefox on a Mac, with NoScript and AdBlockPlus.

The following scripts are all disabled:
YouTube
Google-analytics
Twitter
Advertserv
Widgetbox
WidgetServer

Consequently I have no problems with the site, but without these blocks it is obvious that the CPU would be stretched for a while.

The Morningstar said...

It is a Flash Issue, and is probably caused by one of the adverts, get flashblock.

I had a similar problem a while back due to the Sky HD adverts on the Times website.

Des said...

Had trouble getting on for the last two days with IE7 presume it is a new ad? This has happened before.
Have a fairly old system though.

Facchetti said...

Paul Halsall is right. Your site links to a large number of external IP addresses and many commence the download of rich media content (images or video. That means our PCs have to open all these connections before your page is fully loaded. This extra effort will be more noticeable on the dumber, noisier machines, like mine. You will find a spike of activity when you load the site and then it calms down when the full page is loaded into RAM.
You may want to shift some content on to a second level/archive so the opening page is not quite as deep and demanding.
Best wishes
Luca

Humpty Dumpty said...

Hmm, use FF, coming onto front page, CPU is around 40%, came into this thread and dropped to 6% - I, too, suspect it's the YouTube thing, all those favourite tunes, lol!

denverthen said...

My programmer brother agrees with John above but adds that the person in question should probably buy a better computer :)

Or if s/he has a good computer, empty the "temporary internet" folder in Firefox - which "knackers scripts when full"(?!)

And check drives thoroughly for spywear and rootkits.

It's not a website issue.

bgprior said...

It's the Flash (and other) plugins. I am on linux with Firefox, so I can use top to view which processes are eating the cycles, and it's not firefox itself, it's npviewer, which handles the plugins. As Paul says, embedding loads of YouTube clips on a single page is not smart. What's wrong with links? That's pretty much the point of hypertext.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Iain loads the pages with a lot of stuff

Firefox has some very irritating side effects, one of them being that not every site developer considers it when designing pages. This is particularly true of old established platforms. Often a site looks shite in Firefox and perfect on IE.

Anyway, cut to the chase.

You need two tools that you can download from Firefox:

They are Adblock plus and NoScript.

You will still get the energy sapping but to a far lesser extent.

You are probably very lucky otherwise - I have to contend with less than one megabit of internet speed, due to being in the middle of nowhere. Where I live, there is no such thing as a quickie.

Anonymous said...

I know what it is! I put flash.quantserve.com in my hosts file and the problem went away.

Martin said...

If I access this site using my Linux web book which runs Firefox it shut crashes.

Anonymous said...

This user needs to make sure he uses Firefox 3. Otherwise, memory management may be an issue.

However, the site is pretty heavy. I wonder if this experience coincided with Iain's Top 100 songs and the embedded videos. For us 80's guys, it's a price worth paying!

jbw said...

Just been reading your blog for the first time and saw your help request.
Shortly after 'logging on' I had a message come up wanting access to 'steadyoffload.com'. Maybe this is where your problems are.

(Safari on a MacOS 10.5 - Little Snitch is your friend!)

Tom said...

Tory Bear is the absolute worst for this.

subrosa said...

'As a PS Iain - the link under the main/current story to EMAIL appears broken when one clicks on it.'

It's been that way a few days. I emailed Iain about it because I wanted to link to an article but he's like me and didn't know what to do.

Don't pay your techies this week Iain :)

Anonymous said...

Bloody brilliant. You site has been taking yonks to load, but downloading adblock plus and noscript has cured the problem. I can look at you 10 times a day now, rather than once!

Chalcedon said...

I use firefox too. Only using max 5% of resources 0% - 5% variable). Maybe their cache is full?

Jamie said...

It's the global waming conspiracy again, Iain - they're out to get you. Only wooly-minded environmentalists would use Firefox, proper car-driving petrol-heads use nothing but Microsoft and therefore browse with Internet Explorer.
I could be wrong though. Might be the Jacqui Smith videos you embedded...

Verity said...

Same here. My Firefox memory usage goes though the roof and Windows butts in to say it has to extend my memory.

Then the whole system freezes and I have to switch it off manually because can't move the mouse to commands, and restart it.

I spent about 15 minutes trying to engage with it yesterday and gave up.

Nightmare.

bobby said...

iain,

didn't read all previous comments so not sure if this has been said... there are a lot of posts on your blog, the scroll bar on the right when the main page loads shows this and most of your posts contain embedded plugins for various sites. these two factors combined will cause the browser to use a lot of memory when loading your site. most modern computers will be fine but anything with 512m ram or less will struggle.

you can either archive older posts earlier to reduce the number of entries on your blogs front page, stop embedding links into your posts and use a standard link to the original content, or both.

i would suggest just reducing the number of embedded links.

bgprior said...

Jamie, Shome mishtake, shurely? Don't you mean only corporate serfs use IE, freedom-lovers use Firefox?

And to Wrinkled Weasel, does that mean that where pages don't display well on IE (e.g. if the left-hand side of the comments column is chopped off), that is the fault of Microsoft? Or should people avoid treating web-pages like print or video, keep the absolute positioning and embedded media to a minimum, and produce pages that are convenient for everyone?

Michael said...

One reason why I only ever visit your site to view comments, I read your stuff in Google Reader - as said before it's a flash problem, youtube causes it as well.

Thatsnews said...

I have no problem with Firefox and your site, Iain.

Though if anyone does, they could try using Google Chrome, Safari, Opera, or even Internet Explorer.

Paul Canning said...

... can't believe I'm the first to say this.

Your site loads its component stuff in order. This means that if you've got something which has to be fetched from elsewhere (not blogger) it may well wait, and wait.

That's why youtube embeds can sometimes hold things up.

FYI: I just had a longish wait as your twitter stuff at the top was taking its time. Same issue.

Simple answer, which I learnt the hard way on my blog, was to move the neat stuff I want to *after* the content which the users want.

So even though your page size is rather large at least people can read your posts while their machine calms down.

Make a bit more sense?

I'm gay geek for hire, available for weddings, parties, barmitzvas :]

The Grim Reaper said...

Don't know why, but your blog does take time to load when my connection's a little slower than normal. I've never understood, for instance, why your blogroll has to consist of pictures instead of text. Still, your blog...

Francis said...

It's almost certainly a flash issue. It happens to me on Iain's site and also usually at timesonline.

I did some investigations a year ro two back and concluded that it was sloppy flash programmers but I forget what I deduced they were doing that they shouldn't have,