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March 4, 2002

If only this power could be used for good One of the admirable aspects of the blogiverse is that high-quality technical support is generally just minutes away. Last night’s mention of small travails brought helpful email almost immediately from Dan Hartung, Avram Grumer, and Graydon Saunders. This morning’s email is from Alan Hamilton—known to GEnie SFRT alumni as Starfall—and has this to say about the Mozilla/Netscape mystery:
This is one of those cases where Netscape is technically correct, but everyone does it the “wrong” way so it has trouble with a lot of pages. The problem is the mime type returned by your server for the styles-site.css file. Panix is returning “text/plain”, not “text/css”. Netscape is picky about its mime types, so it refuses the style sheet thinking it’s just a plain text document. IE tends to rely more on the file extentions, so a “text/plain” with an extention of .css taken as a style sheet even though the mime type says it isn’t. […]

There are two ways to get around this… get Panix to add text/css to its mime types, or you can add (or edit) a file called “.htaccess” (with the leaded dot) and put “AddType text/css css” in it. This is a control file for the Apache web server, and tells it you want to send text/css for all files ending in “.css”.

I created the “.htaccess” file, and, well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. Mozilla for Mac OS X now renders the page just fine. If you’re a Netscape or Mozilla user and this page still isn’t loading correctly, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Meanwhile, I’m reminded of the old observation that the most effective way to get accurate information on Usenet isn’t to ask for it, it’s to get into a newsgroup and post inaccurate information, preferably in a really annoying tone of voice. Likewise, public haplessness appears to be a highly effective strategy for eliciting terrific advice and help from friends and acquaintances on the Web. This may be one of those pieces of dark knowledge it’s best not to know too well. [09:06 AM]

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