Page Compression + Display Problems
By default, and if your browser supports it (it does), all pages on this site are compressed at the server using a load-balanced compression algorithm before being sent to your browser. Now, this is a good deal for you, for the site & also for the internet. Consider the following:
Compression Page size Delivery
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50% one half twice as fast
67% one third three times as fast
75% one fourth four times as fast
80% one fifth five times as fast
This page typically shrinks by 76% at level 9 & some of the other pages are better than 80%. The compression possibilities for any page can be checked out here. Of course, there is a downside for some...
In general, any browser which supports HTTP/1.1 (and some earlier ones) should support gzip-compression. However, like all boys and girls, there are some that say they do but don’t. The compression routines try to accommodate these buggy browsers, but cannot be perfect. If you find that pages just show a blank sheet (whatever) then your only choice is to get a better browser--any modern one will do--as very few have problems, and it speeds up this site enormously.
Installing the Real player on early versions of Internet Explorer will cause endless problems with many web-sites due to it (the player) interfering with the decompression of compressed pages; other plug-ins can cause similar problems. The advice for MSIE 6 is to install Service-Pack-1 (that is, SP1 for Internet Explorer). MSIE 5.5 involves a Registry hack. There is more information at this page.
Search Engine Problems
The site used to provide a means to switch off compression for every page if desired. That then caused each page to be duplicated (both compressed + non-compressed versions) and that seemed to cause the site to be penalised on Google. So the switch was removed and, now, it is like-it-or-lump-it. Sorry.
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