Isn’t the web a wonderful thing? I had a few strange problems reading the home page of this site a couple of weeks ago, but they appeared to go away and I thought no more of it. However, the Mozilla browser I’m using was masking the problem, loading the page from its cache and displaying it.
What I found today, however, was that requests were returning a “null” page that fooled Mozilla into displaying the cache, even when I explicitly refreshed the page. The offline version on my notebook was OK, using Internet Explorer, but using IE on the live version returned an error. I used the Babelfish service to verify that the problem wasn’t in my connection: that operates by loading the page from my server to theirs, with no interference from my connection, and that also failed.
I eventually solved it by rebuilding my home page, by cutting out all the HTML, pasting chunks back in, and uploading. By elimination, it appears that the King Crimson News Network (KCNN) Java applet was causing the problem, and it all looks OK now. I had meant to remove it anyway, since it was very CPU-intensive when displaying headlines and could have brought an older PC to its knees – which would have been slightly inconsiderate of me.