Abbreviated Load: why won't my computer let me see the entire page?
February 27, 2007 6:05 PM   Subscribe

Why am I the only person not allowed to see this particular page? My computer refuses to load it more than a third of the way.

Back in August, I happened upon this page. I was using the computer I sit at now, and everything worked fine. I read it, I added it to my

In early January I went back to the page only to see it was acting strangely. This is what it looked like. Clearly, lacking some content. I went back and forth with the site author about the error, who tested it on all browsers and platforms and said everything worked fine for him. I moved on hoping the error would fix itself. It hasn't.

The weird thing is, every other page on this blog, presumably with the same layout, works just fine for me. It's just this one page that gets to a certain point and stops.

I've tried with javascript, without javascript, clearing my cache, scanning for all sorts of malware, nothing helps. Is anyone else having this problem? Any ideas how to fix it?

Windows XP Pro, error occurs in both IE (6) and Firefox (1.5).

(I'm a web developer by trade, so the fact that I can't figure this out is starting to drive me a little looney tunes.)
posted by Famous to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
I can load the entire page and it runs nice and fast but I get a corrupted background that oddly overlaps the text and has nasty gray bands every fifth of the way. That's with Firefox on OS X. It has about 1000 comments and is particularly long. Perhaps the insane page depth plus the CSS is causing issues.

What happens if you use a command line client like curl, wget, or even Lynx to grab the textual content? Do you get the full HTML document?

It wouldn't surprise me if your ISP is silently caching / proxying Web content (I had an ISP like this many years ago) and the page is somehow freaking out their proxy, but I'm not suggesting that's the problem. Grabbing the full textual content with something like curl or wget would go some way to prove this.
posted by wackybrit at 6:21 PM on February 27, 2007

Have you tried turning off any ad-blocking software that you might have?
posted by anaelith at 6:37 PM on February 27, 2007

I have IE 6 and it loads fine for me... Sorry I don't have any advice, but wanted to let you know that it works for another IE 6 user, so it's evidently not an IE problem.
posted by amyms at 7:39 PM on February 27, 2007

Response by poster: I just used wget to download the text (brilliant idea!), and was able to get the whole page. Yay, sorta. I was half hoping to blame the whole thing on my ISP (ha) but it looks like it's something on my machine after all. Hm.

I don't have any system-wide ad-blocking software. I have some ad-blocking extensions set up in Firefox, but that wouldn't effect IE, unless there is some freaky crossover effect no one has told me about.

I do have Norton Antivirus (sans ad-blocking option) but I disabled it to see if it had any effect; it didn't.

Sorry I don't have any advice, but wanted to let you know that it works for another IE 6 user

Thank you. Every little data point helps.
posted by Famous at 7:57 PM on February 27, 2007

Now compare the full text you got with wget with the partial source you're getting in a browser. Where is it stopping? Is it in the same place each time?
posted by Partial Law at 8:07 PM on February 27, 2007

Response by poster: Oh yeah, it's totally the same place each time. Right here (even though the arguements for renderWebCam() are new each time, obviously):
if (hasFlash && currentstyle == 'live') {
        renderWebCam ('11726357','Light+Rain+and+39ºF+/+4ºC');
So where does it halt? Right before
That makes no sense to me.
posted by Famous at 8:14 PM on February 27, 2007

Being a network nerd, I'd trap the whole Firefox transaction and the wget transaction on wireshark and see if anything looks suspicious. It sounds like a premature termination possibly caused by a panicky firewall or virus scanner.

Good luck. I'm trying to debug an equally weird network transfer problem.
posted by chairface at 8:35 PM on February 27, 2007

This sounds like the classic "filtering all ICMP indiscriminantly breaks pMTU-d". It means some moron configured filtering of ICMP without knowing what they were doing.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:03 PM on February 27, 2007

Response by poster: So I skimmed that link, and I think I at least half-understand it. It sounds about right. I think.
posted by Famous at 6:03 PM on March 1, 2007

The symptom of bad filtering is that web pages below a certain size work fine, but anything large gets truncated; and it can happen with only certain sites (or just one site.) You can determine for sure if this is the problem by temporarily setting your MTU to something below the default 1500. It doesn't have to be significantly lower, something like 1400 would work fine because in my experience the problem is usually caused by DSL links that have a MTU of 8 less than the default. If that fixes it, then it means the admin of the system at some hop between you and the destination site (or perhaps the admin of the destination site) has over-anxious ICMP filtering.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:40 AM on March 2, 2007

I forgot to mention that to adjust the MTU you just edit a registry key (and probably restart, or at least disable-then-re-enable the connection.) Details here.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:43 AM on March 2, 2007

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