MeFi Computer Freezes Completely December 17, 2008 2:10 PM   Subscribe

When I try to open mefi on my computer at home, the system freezes.

This was initially happening only in firefox (both 3.04, and I updated to 3.05 right as I was trying to resolve the problem). After a few seconds in the homepage, sometimes it'll freeze. Other times it freezes when I attempt to click a link. I'm using WinXP.

I've disabled my addons (initially thinking one my updated addons was the culprit).

However, I tried it on Chrome, and it crashed as well.

Basically, my whole system freezes up. No other site is doing this to me.

I did upgrade my RAM recently, but I'm sure I've visited mefi between my upgrade and when this started happening, though I can't be positive.

I haven't tried deleting cookies, etc... I will try that tonight. But it's just odd that it causes a complete system freeze, and only MeFi.

Anyone else having this problem?
posted by symbioid to Bugs at 2:10 PM (22 comments total)

posted by fixedgear at 2:21 PM on December 17, 2008

IE7/XP here... no problems.
posted by Artw at 2:35 PM on December 17, 2008

If Metafilter is responsible for this problem, I will change my name to Cooter.
posted by Kwine at 2:36 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

What kind of desk are you using?
posted by swift at 2:39 PM on December 17, 2008 [4 favorites]

symbioid, have you seen this?
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:44 PM on December 17, 2008

Get out of the room, get out now!!!

Dunno. I've experienced nothing like that. Though faulty ram can often cause really weird things to happen, though it seems unlikely. However if that's the most recent change you've made to the machine that you can think of, I'd remove it and see what happens just for the hell of it. Stranger things have happened.
posted by Elmore at 2:45 PM on December 17, 2008

You might see if there's a difference between logged in and logged out for you. There is extra processing overhead associated with loading the MeFi front page for members vs. non-members, but not too much beyond loading some extra external JavaScript files. Still, if your system processor is maxed out it probably could make a difference.

If you find that there is a difference, try installing the noscript extension. That should block JavaScript from loading. You'll still be able to log in, but you won't be able to use some of the features at the site such as favoriting and flagging. That might let you at least browse/comment here without a crash.

And you might try googling around for articles about maximizing system performance. This sounds like a processing issue to me as a wild stab in the dark. So you might see if there are some background processes or programs running that you can disable as you browse. I don't think there's anything unusual we're doing on this end to cause your crash.
posted by pb (staff) at 2:52 PM on December 17, 2008

General troubleshooting steps [and questions to answer when you get a chance]

- does this happen on different browsers and/or computers in your house?
- does this happen on other computers elsewhere?
- did you turn greasemonkey off and does it still happen?
- did you disable all your addons in FF and does it still happen?
- does this happen on the subsites like as well as
- did you clear your cache and try again?
- did you delete all MeFi cookies and try again?
- did you do anything right before this started happening?
- are you sure?

Generally speaking unless we see it happening with more than one person, we'll likely tell you to keep trying things.

A few things that make MeFi special (in simple-looking blogland, though certainly not if you're looking at sites like boingboing and the digg/reddit family of websites] include the calling of pages from secure and non-secure servers [I think this is true for non-mods too, yes?] and calling of some scripts from whatever the googleserver is for that and the fmpub server for some of the pages with Federated Media ads on them. So each page is making a lot of requests to a lot of different sites just to load a standard MeFi front page and sometimes someone gets hung up on one of them because of an overzealous googleblocker or some such.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:56 PM on December 17, 2008

the calling of pages from secure and non-secure servers...I think this is true for non-mods too, yes?

Nope, we don't serve any secure pages once you're logged in. But we do use a secure site for login. (Though, yeah, admins have a mix.)
posted by pb (staff) at 3:02 PM on December 17, 2008

Also, download, install and run Memcheck to see if there is a problem with your new RAM.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:18 PM on December 17, 2008

IE, Vista- no.
posted by Zambrano at 3:21 PM on December 17, 2008

posted by waraw at 3:37 PM on December 17, 2008

When I try to open mefi on my computer at home, the system freezes.

That's because you're only supposed to look at it at work, silly.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:23 PM on December 17, 2008 [4 favorites]

Hmm. Well, I am in Opera right now. It works just fine.

I tried merely logging in, and it froze.

I should emphasize, it's not a CPU usage issue. I mean, the whole system itself literally freezes. No alt-tab, no mouse control, nothing. I have to do a hard reboot.

So, Opera appears to work just fine, FF always seems to crash, and it appears Chrome crashed on me as well (IIRC, Chrome uses Webkit, no?) I haven't tried IE.

I did disable all my addons.

I have tried FF at work and it works just fine (that's where I initially posted it -- a WinXP machine). It's only FF at my home (also a Win XP) computer. I haven't tried Linux yet, but I bet it'll be fine in there.

If it were just FF then I wouldn't be as shocked, but due to the fact that Chrome is crashing I'm stumped. Which is why I wonder if it's memory. I'll try memcheck as Effigy2000 suggested (though, Effigy, I think you have the wrong memcheck!)

I have tried various ways of opening the site. I've done it without any addons enabled (including greasemonkey) -- I've had other tabs open. I've had it so only mefi was open. I've opened mefi from a bookmark. I've manually typed into the address bar.

I don't recall actually trying the subsites, so I will try that and see if it locks up. But at this point, I'm guessing it's memory... Yet, I'm stumped as to why it's only MeFi and why only in FF and Chrome. That's the strange thing. And this has happened over and over, reboot after reboot. I'd guess that memory is changing each time, so it shouldn't all be located in the exact same place at the exact same time.

The only difference between any of these occurrences is how far into the viewing/login process I can get before it freezes on me. hmm...
posted by symbioid at 4:35 PM on December 17, 2008

"When I try to open mefi on my computer at home, the system freezes"
It is very cold in Portland also. Have you tried closing the Windows?
posted by Cranberry at 4:38 PM on December 17, 2008

Dunno about Memcheck, but I think you might want Memtest86.
posted by box at 4:41 PM on December 17, 2008

yer toobs are blogged, yer gonna hafta refroob it.

do it twice then turn it over.
posted by blue_beetle at 4:51 PM on December 17, 2008

MF and FF are smooth as silk on my XP Core2Duo lappy (well, it's a MacBook with Boot Camp).

Your problem is a stumper, but you might try the following: create a new user account on your box, then log out and log back in as the new user. See if the behavior continues with your browsers.
posted by porn in the woods at 5:10 PM on December 17, 2008


Have you paid your December 'service fee' to the cabal? They need a little extra for the holidays.
posted by lukemeister at 6:51 PM on December 17, 2008

If doing something completely innocuous makes your computer completely unresponsive, you should prepare yourself to buy new hardware. When did you last back up? I have had dying systems make corrupted-but-recoverable backups, but you may have different luck.

Oh, I see you have recently installed new RAM. Do you still have the old RAM around? If you "downgrade" and the problem goes away, you shouldn't have trouble arguing for a refund or an exchange.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 7:03 AM on December 18, 2008

That happens when I open Awful site.
posted by Zambrano at 9:23 AM on December 18, 2008

Still posting from Opera...

Well, I logged into Ubuntu (8.10) and firefox froze up there. So, it's definitely something with FF and MeFi.

I did notice Ubuntu boot installs CheckMem86 or whatever, so I might try that.

But weird it's in 2 different OSes.

I am thinking of "downgrading" ram to check out... I've also now run spybot on my system (yet to do a virus check). But I seriously doubt it's that, since Linux is also causing a problem.

It's so freaking WEIRD!
posted by symbioid at 4:27 PM on December 18, 2008

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