Welcome to The New Old New Thing, 2010 edition


The blog server folks tell me that the upgrade is complete. Thanks for your patience. I'm told they will throw the switch early this afternoon.

The new URL for this site after the switchover will be http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/, although there should be 301 redirects at all the old URLs so your existing links will still work. My colleague Michael Kaplan might say that the extra B is for badass. Or maybe it stands for bewildering. Or broken.

Speaking of broken, you'll probably find a bunch of broken links, ugly layout, and other lameness (Pre-emptive snarky comment: that is, lameness beyond the normal lameness that gets posted here every weekday). I tried to fix some of the more egregious ones, but I couldn't get to them all, and I'm sure I missed a bunch too.

Feel free to add comments to this entry pointing out any errors introduced by the migration (once they turn comments back on), and I'll see what I can do, although it may take a while since this isn't my day job.

Known problems:

  • Starred comments are broken.
  • Links to comments are broken. Not only are they lost during the redirect, but the pagination of comments means that the comment doesn't even appear on the page you get redirected to. Update: Links to comments work as of January 1, 2011.
Comments (48)
  1. Dan Bugglin says:

    Site is really slow, this will probably be addressed.

    All your bog post links to specific comments using anchors no longer work… looks like individual comments can't be linked to anymore.  Probably something easy to fix with themeing tweaks.  If all the comment ids are the same.

  2. Mark Steward says:

    Everyone knows /b/ stands for "random".

    en.wikipedia.org/…/4chan

  3. skSdnW says:

    So we are forced to login now?

    [Looks like anonymous comments have been re-enabled. You just had to wait a few hours for everything to settle down. -Raymond]
  4. Yuhong Bao says:

    Comments still seem to be disabled on this article:

    blogs.msdn.com/…/10013609.aspx

  5. Mike Dunn says:

    I've noticed a couple of problems:

    * Post titles don't look like links. You have to figure out that the titles are clickable in order to get to the comments.

    * When reading a post (and you're *not* in the comment view), you can't see the post's categories (such as "Non-Computer" for this post).

    #1 should be a CSS tweak. I don't know if #2 is something you can control.

    On the positive side, they kept the feature where you can use an abbreviated form of a post's URL: blogs.msdn.com/9977246.aspx

    [(1) CSS has been tweaked. (2) Sadly, I don't control the removal of Categories from the front page… -Raymond]
  6. Endurion says:

    Oohh, a new marketingism: "Favorite this post"

    I need to commentise on that.

    Not your fault, but forced login to comment is bad.

  7. Drak says:

    It looks like the comment 'blocks' don't have any padding on the right side anymore Raymond. Your own comments hug the border of the comment block, and in some cases where the word breaks right at the edge of the block the last letter also lies against the border. Probably an easy CSS fix though :)

    [Fixed. As you suspected, an easy CSS tweak. -Raymond]
  8. Anonymuos says:

    Troll rant at the guy who runs the blog server (not at you): Welcome to clicking Next..next..next on pages with lots of comments. I thought 2010=evolution=less clicking required. Did you get bitten by the Windows 7 Taskbar team who likes to group, organize and simplify everything so more clicks are needed.

  9. RobertWrayUK says:

    "Comments still seem to be disabled on this article:

    blogs.msdn.com/…/10013609.aspx"

    Quite possibly a preemptive strike against a stream of comments littered with "BTW" containing minutiae regarding Windows 3.11…

    [Dingdingding. -Raymond]
  10. Wladimir Palant says:

    The main page lists 9 (nine!) RSS feeds. The article page even has ten. And the important ones are near the bottom. Not sure whether you can fix this but I guess that "Search" and "Home" are irrelevant to anybody coming to your blog, same goes for your Activities and Group Activities (there aren't any anyway) – that's six top entries! The articles feed should be at the very top and providing it both in RSS and Atom formats is pointless (I have yet to see an RSS feed reader incapable of reading the somewhat more modern Atom format).

  11. Gabe says:

    Wow, it looks really bad in IE6. The "Post" button is particularly commical.

  12. Dave says:

    @Gabe

    The fact that you're using IE6 is "particularly commical [sic]"

    Sorry, couldn't resist. And I know some companies refuse to upgrade to IE 7/8

  13. TomBl says:

    That extra b in the URL is strange, couldn't they have just used something like a URL rewrite rule on the server and keep all the blogs at where they have been? It seems like it would stand for b(log), but that's redundant because the blogs are already at blogs.msdn.com…

    [I'm told it's because the underlying software supports more than just blogs, even though we only use it for blogs. (Except when we don't.) -Raymond]
  14. kp_roth says:

    The blog title at the top (in white up in the header box) still links to the old URL.

    [Fixed, thanks. -Raymond]
  15. Jonathan says:

    IMO, having the "Leave a Comment" above existing comments encourages people not to read existing comments, and probably post dup ones. I think this will increase S/N ratio.

    [Yay, I found the setting to move the "Leave a Comment" box under the existing comments. -Raymond]
  16. GSerg says:

    I'm sad. The font now looks too small and harder to read, and changing the Font setting to Large won't do anything.

    I'm also used to enjoy reading comments and violently scolling up and down to follow a long and interesting discussion, but now there's no button to display all comments at once :(

    [I tried to keep the font the same. What browser are you using? (And I found the setting to put all the comments on one page.) -Raymond]
  17. Jeffrey Bosboom says:

    I also dislike the new comments interface, especially the pages.  I read this blog using Mozilla Thunderbird, but clicking to the next page of comments causes the blog to open in Firefox (there seems to be no way to follow a link and remain in Thunderbird, oddly).

    I agree with Jonathan, the comments box should be below the comments, to encourage people to read what's been posted before reposting existing comments.

  18. kog999 says:

    On the main page i cannot click the number or little comments icon to take me to the directly to the comments, i have to click on article link then click the comments number. When i click on Rate this nothing happens. The Excerpt and Full article view indicators seem to be reversed. What i mean is when I have full article selected the line around the boarder becomes black, and the excerpt becomes white. To me the white boarder make its look like its pressed and the black looks un-pressed. I would rather have the one i selected be white and the other be black. Also +1 for not having the comments in multiple pages.

  19. Nish says:

    Raymond,

    You need to get your own domain and move your blog over there. Your blog's too special to be on this server any longer :-)

  20. Nish says:

    @GSerg

    Instead of using Increase Font-Size, use the zoom tool on the status bar. If you set it to 125% or so you should be good to go.

    Personally speaking, the font size looks the same to me as it used to be (I am on IE 7).

  21. Whatever says:

    Mouse cursor doesn't change to the text version if I hover over comments. It just made my day extra sucky.

  22. Chris says:

    Not that I'm complaining, but shouldn't there be a Captcha for anonymous comments?

  23. Scott says:

    I would really prefer the comments link at the bottom like every other blog ever.  For long posts (over a page long), you read the post, then have to scroll back up to add/read the comments.

  24. Mike Dunn says:

    I've been getting 400 errors from the blogs.msdn.com server (and only that server) for a while, but only in FF on one machine, so I thought it was something peculiar about that machine. But now it's happening on three different machines (all with FF 3.6.x) and IE 7 as well.

  25. John says:

    Just want to voice some of my complaints for feedback purposes.

    1. I much prefer the comment box to be at the bottom for reasons already stated by others.
    2. It was nice to be able to jump directly to the comments from the front page; I can live without it, though.

    3. I understand the reason for it, but I think having comments span multiple pages kind of disrupts the conversation.

    Does the new blog software support threads?  Maybe that would make it easier to reply to individual people instead of adding another comment to a flat group of unrelated comments.  On the other hand, I guess that's more of a forum thing than a blog thing.

  26. Bryan Donlan says:

    Looks like there's no redirect for the old atom feed: blogs.msdn.com/…/atom.aspx (new one predictably at blogs.msdn.com/…/atom.aspx)

    This is kind of unfortunate as people who exclusively browse using feed readers will never even find out about the move…

  27. Dan Bugglin says:

    I myself like the comment box at the top.  I don't have to hunt for it now.  Of course it only encourages posting what someone else already said, since you're less likely to read comments…

    As long as we're on the subject of webpage glitches, something is up with the load time.  I can't even scroll the page in Chrome or IE7 while it's loading until the translate widget appears (not sure if its the culprit or not).

    Comparison example: blogs.msdn.com/…/virtual_pc_guy is always responsive while loading.

    If it is the widget I would suggest replacing it with a simple dropdown of languages and have an onchange event (or use a button with onclick) generate the proper url and set location.href to it.  Can't get more lightweight than that.

    … Oh wow, the widget uses a BMP embedded in a data uri as its background image on Chrome.

  28. As Whatever points out, the cursor doesn't change to a text cursor when over comments. This is due to the <div> that wraps the comments (which has id "ctl00_content_ctl00_fragment_4997_ctl01_ctl00_ctl02_ctl05_DelayedFeedbackList", at least on this page) having a style attribute setting the CSS cursor property to "default". I removed the attribute using Firebug: nothing broke that I could see and the cursor started behaving normally, so that attribute should be removed.

    When going to blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing the server responds with a 301 Moved Permanently to blogs.msdn.com/…/default.aspx, which in turn responds with a 301 Moved Permanently to blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing which finally responds with a 200 OK and the content. The first redirect should just go to the right place. Then again, that's presumably something the controllers of the blog software will have to sort out.

    [Unfortuantely, it looks like the "cursor:default" is being applied by some script so I can't change it from CSS. Didn't realize people got all that worked up about it. -Raymond]
  29. Nick says:

    I'll second the dislike of paged comments.

    Also, good grief.  Does EVERY WEBSITE IN THE UNIVERSE have to link to Facebook?  The pervasiveness of these retarded "sharing" buttons is unhealthy for my blood pressure.  I guess I'll do up a Stylish style to hide those and the dinky little avatar pictures.  For the curious:

    @namespace url(http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml);

    @-moz-document domain("blogs.msdn.com") {

     div.ShareThisMainPanel {

       display: none !important;

     }

     span.avatar {

       display: none !important;

     }

     div.full-post-outer {

       margin-left: auto !important;

     }

    }

    Will do it.

    [I found the setting to remove the social networking junk. I'll see what happens with the avatars. If after a few weeks nobody uses them, then I'll nuke them too. -Raymond]
  30. Rolf Kristensen says:

    The RSS feed of all the MSDN blogs have stopped working with yahoo pipes. Guess this is intentional :)

    [My guess is that you need to update to the new feed URL. -Raymond]
  31. GSerg says:

    > [I tried to keep the font the same. What browser are you using? -Raymond]

    I'm on IE7, XP SP3.

    Here's a screenshot of the old font size, taken from webarchive, compared to the current size: img696.imageshack.us/…/nowandthen.gif

  32. cheong00 says:

    [I'm told it's because the underlying software supports more than just blogs, even though we only use it for blogs. (Except when we don't.) -Raymond]

    But that doesn't sound like good explanation… IIS of Windows Server versions has been able to configure multiple "sites" to listen to different domain names long long ago.

    Say my company has company website host on the same server as exchange, I can configure my company website on another site instance so it can only be visited from http://www.<company domain name> and the OWA can only be visited from mail.<company domain name>.

    [You're talking about something different. I'm talking about the software that maps paths to content not the domain name resolution. -Raymond]
  33. Me again says:

    The feel is like the blog was moved to Vista, and we all know what Vista does.

  34. Rick C says:

    Also, it would be nice if the blog software got with the times and had links to the next/prev posts.

  35. >You're talking about something different. I'm talking about the software that maps paths to content not the domain name resolution.

    No, he is talking about the software that maps paths to content. This has nothing to do with domain name resolution.

    It's possible that the software ignores the domain part of the URL; that would be because it's either poor software or working within some other constraint. One (weak) example of such a constraint is that it makes it slightly easier to serve things like robots.txt or favicon.ico which must always be at the root – you don't have to special-case them in the rewrite rules if you use a subdirectory for everything else. It has to be said though that the only software I've ever seen where I buy this argument is MediaWiki. This is because it's recommended to configure it similarly to Wikipedia, where they really want /wiki/robots.txt to be different to /robots.txt

    [Feel free to file a feature request with Telligent. -Raymond]
  36. Chris says:

    Jesus monkey-fightin' Christ, this is starting to piss me off. If you cannot turn of comment pagination, can you at least move the page selector to the top?

  37. Someone You Know says:

    In Firefox, I can now no longer scroll vertically by clicking the mouse wheel and moving the mouse itself up and down.

    If I click the mouse wheel while on this page, it will only scroll horizontally. It works fine in Internet Explorer 8.

  38. Voo says:

    Same problem as last poster.. if I want to scroll the site/articles down/up I always get the sideway.. whatever you call it. Happens with FF 3.6.3, works fine with IE8 64bit.

    Not the slightest idea what causes something like that, but annoying.. hopefully easily fixable.

  39. jeremy says:

    I'm sad the convoluted tag line that used to be in the top right corner is gone.  How else am I supposed to know if this is a .net blog or not?  

  40. M says:

    In category view (eg: blogs.msdn.com/…/code) the poster's image ('avatar') covers part of the post title

    [Fixed, thanks. -Raymond]
  41. GSerg says:

    This is a test comment.

    If it succeeds to appear, please note that since pagination was turned off, comments sometimes get eaten. You'd click Post, the page would refresh, but the green box saying thank you would not appear, nor would you comment.

    Aneurin Price appears to have the same issue.

  42. JohnJS says:

    No more subtitle :-(.

    Unless that means that the New Old New Thing now lets us enrich our learns ;-).

  43. Someone You Know says:

    Middle-click scrolling in Firefox now seems to be working correctly. Thanks, whoever fixed it.

  44. >Same problem as last poster.. if I want to scroll the site/articles down/up I always get the sideway.. whatever you call it. Happens with FF 3.6.3, works fine with IE8 64bit.

    Works for me with the same version of Firefox (on both XP x64 and Vista, not that I can see any reason that would make a difference).

    Also, it's good to see the pagination gone. On the other hand my last post yesterday got eaten, so it's a mixed bag really :P

    Anyway what I wanted to say is that the we all secretly know that the real reason for the blog needing the leading /b/ in the path is just that the blog developers couldn't be bothered to fix it so it doesn't, but that *there is nothing wrong with that*. There seems to be a stigma attached to saying 'I never bothered with that feature', which we should try to avoid. Rather than making up some handwavy excuse, developers shouldn't feel embarrassed to point out that all features start at minus 100 points: blogs.msdn.com/…/57985.aspx

    BTW when searching for that reference I discovered that the search box searches *every* blog on blogs.msdn.com. Possibly I'm being dense, but I didn't notice a way to restrict it to this blog, which makes it rather useless. I resorted to Google.

  45. Nick says:

    [I found the setting to remove the social networking junk. I'll see what happens with the avatars. If after a few weeks nobody uses them, then I'll nuke them too.]

    Much obliged, thank you.  Thanks also for moving the comment box and ditching pagination.

  46. Mark Hurd says:

    Test comment — am I signed in? The link at the top right still says "sign in".

  47. Mark Hurd says:

    *Now* I'm signed in, but note that a strict reading of the Terms of Use I just agreed to means I can't use any information gleaned from these blogs for work purposes!

    Under PERSONAL AND NON-COMMERCIAL USE LIMITATION:

    Unless otherwise specified, the Services are for your personal and non-commercial use. You may not … copy, distribute, … perform, reproduce, … create derivative works from, … any information, software, products or services obtained from the Services.

    (Occluded definitely fair limitations.)

    I hope there is another ToU specific to blogs that does allow their content to be used for commercial purposes, just not for redisplay of the content of the blogs to other audiences.

    Note also that it does explicitly exclude downloads who defer to an EULA that should be included with every download.

  48. Andres says:

    Where is the captcha?

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