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Monday, February 05, 2007

Out with the old and in with the new (yet another PSA)

It should be as simple as breathing... but for some reason I keep getting emailed complaints from people saying they can't see my new posts. 

Actually, that's not exactly true.  They usually email me complaining bitterly that I haven't updated my site in a week or more... which leads me to understand that their computer simply isn't showing them my new content.


OK, here's the deal people:  Your browser (you know... the program - Internet Explorer, Firefox, Netscape, Opera, etc. -  with which you view the web) has something called 'cache'.  Cache is a snapshot of each page you've viewed that your computer stores just in case you want to use the 'back' button to return to it.  That way you won't have to wait for it to load from its source again.

The annoying part of your browser storing a cached version of each page you view is that when when you return to a particular site every day (ahem...like mine), and your browser doesn't realize you've come back looking for new content.  It thinks (OK, strictly speaking browsers don't actually think... so sue me!), that perhaps you simply want to see the same page you previously viewed... and it dutifully shows you that page from its stored memory (cache).

As a matter of habit you should try to dump your browser's cache at least once a day... especially if you do a lot of web surfing.  All those stored pages can slow you down and will just cause frustration if you go back to a site looking for fresh content. 

For those who don't know how to dump all their cache, simply find the tools or preferences menu on your browser and poke around a little bit.  There should be a button there allowing you to delete temporary Internet files and/or cache.  In that section you should also be able to set your preferences for how much cache your computer stores and how often your browser should look for a new version of any given web page (every time).

However, if you ever visit my site (or any other site, for that matter) and you are faced with stale content... a quick and simple trick that will instantly dump the stored version of the page and force your browser to go load the latest version is to hold down the Control key and press F5.

Don't thank me... I'm a giver.


Posted by David Bogner on February 5, 2007 | Permalink


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hi trepp...for a few days i couldn't access your blog or val's...but it must have been a blogspot problem...tfew here you are...thought i lost you...vey...stay safe...missed you

Posted by: m | Feb 5, 2007 10:05:52 AM

Mac users should press shift while hitting your browser refresh key.

Posted by: zahava | Feb 5, 2007 11:27:41 AM

Actually, my problem getting to you isn't a problem with my browser (FF), it's a problem between my ISP and SixApart/LiveJournal/Typepad/Vox. But they're working on it. (posting on one of those rare times I can access it).

Posted by: jennifer | Feb 5, 2007 12:56:04 PM

I have to admit I'm offended. How could you fail to mention Safari in your list of browsers.;)

Posted by: Jonah | Feb 5, 2007 1:57:51 PM

Hmm... I usually dump my cache every six months or so, and then only by accident... No wonder I've been having so many problems! : )

Posted by: Irina | Feb 5, 2007 7:56:11 PM


1) CTRL-F5 is not always the 'hard refresh' command for every browser and Operating System, but frequently some variant including F5 is.

2) If your system is configured well, you won't need to clear your cache (though of course you can). Generally, if you load all of your daily sites from bookmark groups (this is probably what most Mozilla or Firefox users do), you won't have an issue. There are other tricks to make sure you don't have to clear the cache or refresh a page to see new content; ask your friendly neighborhood computer person (or a child under the age of 15).

As for m: Uh, Treppenwitz isn't on blogspot, so blogspot's notorious downtime won't affect him.

Oh, and one last thing: Is there really anyone who still uses Netscape? ;)

Posted by: matlabfreak | Feb 5, 2007 8:05:22 PM


Now, what I really want to know is, which one is the 'Any' key?


Posted by: K Newman | Feb 5, 2007 9:00:50 PM

we used to have that problem in the office (we use a browser based system to process the work), and we "got rid" of it by setting up the internet options to check for newer versions of stored pages automatically.

Tools => internet options => on the general tab, click on settings for temporary pages, then make sure it is clicked on automatically, then click OK.

i think this is better than looking at stale old pages and remembering to click on reload.

David S.

PS: unless you know of a reason why this does not work.

Posted by: David S | Feb 5, 2007 10:23:52 PM

I knew about the cache, but thanks for the Ctrl-F5!

Posted by: Ezzie | Feb 6, 2007 6:51:58 AM

Off-topic: I picked your blog to use for my Tuesday colors of my blogroll. See OTA - Treppenwitz. There is no cash prize or award or medal. Just photos whose colors are similar to your home blog page.

Posted by: planck's constant | Feb 6, 2007 8:15:13 AM

Yikes, I see this topic really resonated with readers. NOT!

m... Well, I'm glad you're back!

Zahava... I assumed that Mac users were tech-savvy enough to have this one figured out. ;-)

jennifer... Did I mention I hate my host? Glad you got through.

Jonah... I was writing this on the fly and I think I had a mental block against Safari as it is the browser my wife uses (against all my advice. :-)

Irina... I'd be interested to know if you notice a difference in the performance now.

matlabfreak... If people were up to configuring their system's correctly they wouldn't be sending me emails asking why I hadn't posted in two weeks! But that aside, I'm sure there will be many readers who will benefit from your advice. Thanks. And no, I think the last known Netscape user died last year of carpel tunnels.

K Newman... Don't ask... A family member who shall remain nameless asked me that one.

David S... Thanks... I was assuming someone would step up and spell it out.

Ezzie... as I said; Don't thank me... I'm a giver. :-)

planck's constant... Wow... color me flattered! And by the way... where the heck have you been hiding all that great content?! Consider yourself blogrolled!!!

Posted by: treppenwitz | Feb 6, 2007 3:33:01 PM

Yes, it does!

Posted by: Irina | Feb 7, 2007 5:54:14 AM

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