Back to previous post: The Presidential Book of Lists

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Hot cookies

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

October 11, 2008

Don’t Blink
Posted by Patrick at 11:51 AM *

If, like me, you believe that the HTML “blink” tag is the devil’s work, Lifehacker has you covered: Disabling Blinking Text in Firefox. Takes about twenty seconds, including the time involved in reloading the afflicted page. Better yet, it works on all other pages henceforth.

Comments on Don't Blink:
#1 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 11:53 AM:

-blink-

#2 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 11:57 AM:

-touches xeger, sending him back to Who-knows-when-

#3 ::: The Mad Blinker ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 12:03 PM:

Ahh... You may have stopped my blink tag, but you meddling kids will never defeat my marquee tags. ha. ha. ha.

#4 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 12:08 PM:

It's all my fault. For the record, Jim just made the phrase blink. I was the one who said that as long as he was making that joke, "arguably, the blinking text should be BF ital., in a fine bright red."

I want to make it clear that I understand and respect Patrick's opinions about "blink", and I almost always agree with them. The only exception I observe is for describing authors and their first books. And if I could figure out how to combine "blink" with "coruscating rainbow light", I'd do it -- purely for the sake of accurately conveying how brand-new authors think of their books.

Let me repeat: it's all my fault.

#5 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 12:12 PM:

Being as there isn't an overwhelming number of blinky things on Making Light, and Mr. Macdonald is not normally one for doing annoying things just because, I'll leave the blinky thing on.

And I agree. First books deserve extra attention! Huzzah.

#6 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 12:13 PM:

How very odd. My Safari is just showing the BF ital in a fine bright red--no blinking. I thought Patrick was just performing a public service out of the kindness of his heart.

#7 ::: Daniel Klein ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 12:15 PM:

My first webpage ever, which I wrote when I was 16, back in '96, had a BLINKING MARQUEE (these things scrolling horizontally). And yes, there were also animated gifs of candles. Haven't encountered a blink in the wild for the last decade or so.

#8 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 12:30 PM:

I've removed the blink.

The joke wasn't worth annoying people.

#9 ::: Opher Lubzens ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 12:33 PM:

Thank you for saving my eyes.Is there any similar option for the marquee tag?

#10 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 12:57 PM:

Screw it. I put the blink back.

#12 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 01:17 PM:

Yay for Jim's #10!

The thing about configurable tools is that everyone can have their preferences.

#13 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 01:33 PM:

Animated gifs of candles (and other annoying visuals such as thumbs-up emoticons) can be mercilessly crushed with the Firefox Adblock Plus plugin; you just have to right-click on the offending image and allow the plugin to suppress it forever more.

As for the blink tag, just because someone I respect uses them, it doesn't make it not a sin.

#14 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 01:38 PM:

That's wonderful. I just did it.

Jim, you could make it <font color=red>V</font><font color=orange>e</font><font color=yellow>r</font><font color=green>y </font><font color=blue>F</font><font color=purple>i</font><font color=red>r</font><font color=orange>s</font><font color=yellow>t </font><font color=green>B</font><font color=blue>o</font><font color=purple>o</font><font color=red>k</font>.

#15 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 01:39 PM:

People still use blink? How barbaric.

#16 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 01:40 PM:

*giggles madly*

#17 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 01:41 PM:

Oh, you said you put the blink back while I was working on that one. Never mind.

#18 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 01:48 PM:

It's a shame when you can't precisely remember something that happened on the internet once, but wasn't there some hilarious tag-assault on... I can't remember... dejanews when it first started? google when it tried highlighting/linking words in usenet posts? something like that? I just remember this tag-assault being conducted from rasff... oh, and I remember laughing my ass off at some of the results.

#19 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 02:12 PM:

O.K. I've been saving this. Courtesy of the Internet Archive and the publicity department of Dreamworks SKG, here is the worst misuse of the blink tag in film promotion history. I can just hear the conference with the web designers when this assignment was handed out: "Only Notepad, and if you pick up a copy of Dreamweaver we're going to break all your fingers."

#20 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 02:32 PM:

Thank you.

#21 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 02:35 PM:

Michael @18, there was a period where I defined a custom header for my posts, along the lines of:

X-Get-A-Real-Newsreader: <FONT SIZE=7 COLOR="#FF0000"><BLINK>

...to discourage people from using Netscape Navigator as a Usenet client. It was pretty tough on AOL users, though.

#22 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 02:40 PM:

If it's on now I don't see it, and I haven't run the Disable utility in Firefox 3.0.3.

#23 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 02:42 PM:

Oh. It's in the previous post. Now I gotcha. The cold meds haven't kicked in yet.

#24 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 03:30 PM:

Hah.

I almost forgot about blink tags.

One of the very first web pages I ever made was The Blink Sink.

I moved it from my CMU web space to my io.com web space when I graduated. When I dropped io.com I moved it here.

And it still works!

#25 ::: Caroline sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 03:38 PM:

TexAnne, yeah, I'm using Safari too and it never blinked, not now, not when it was red. Neither does Stefan Jones's Blink Sink.

I suspect Apple has just unilaterally vetoed blink tags. I can't find a preference regarding the blink tag, so I'm pretty sure I didn't tell it to disable blink.

#26 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 03:41 PM:

D'oh! Ignore that "sees spam." I knew that was going to happen. Didn't even catch it on preview.

#27 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 03:51 PM:

TexAnne @ 2 -touches xeger, sending him back to Who-knows-when-

Argh!!! Bad Touch!!! ;) [0]

[0] Okay... I couldn't resist... I apologize!

#28 ::: Steve B ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 04:09 PM:

Bless you.

#29 ::: Nicole TWN ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 04:52 PM:

Blink, and you're DEAD.

...what, everyone's beaten me to it? Crap.

#30 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 04:53 PM:

#21 Avram:

Oh, yeah, that sounds right. Maybe the "triggering event" I was thinking of was people discovering all the nefarious uses of the X-Header dealie. I do recall having to knock it off because it was creating havoc for all the AOL users.

It was pretty funny while it lasted, though.

#31 ::: Chris Lawson ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 05:09 PM:

Boston users should disable blink as a matter of personal safety.

#32 ::: Evan Goer ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 05:45 PM:

Forgive the bit of self-pimpery here, but as the longtime custodian of the (infamous in some circles) Page of the Damned, I feel I should chime in. Happy Halloween!

#33 ::: Evan Goer ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 05:57 PM:

As an aside, I actually have found not one but two pages on the entire Internet that actually do use BLINK to good effect:

* The UNIX-Hater's Handbook
* "The Problem With Music" by Steve Albini (scroll to bottom)

That's it, I think.

#34 ::: Felicity ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 06:06 PM:

You just have to be wired in a way of not blinking.

(What, there was no 'this is not a political thread' disclaimer!)

#35 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 07:19 PM:

"The only proper use of the "blink" tag is to demonstrate why the "blink" tag should never be used."

I don't remember who said that, but it wasn't me-

#36 ::: individualfrog ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 09:11 PM:

Was this entry accidentally reposted from 1996? And then changed to Firefox from Netscape Navigator in order to cover it up?

#37 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 09:36 PM:

What you would need for true atrocity is to be able to set an individual blink rate for each tag pair. If I was handier with Javascript I could probably make myself (even more) unpopular.

#38 ::: Arwen ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 10:16 PM:

Michael @ #18, I remember that...it was a coordinated assault on Remarq. There was much merrymaking and tales of html boobytrapping. Reps from Remarq made it clear they didn't understand where they'd gone wrong. I don't know whatever happened to them (reps or company).

#39 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 10:47 PM:

#29 ::: Nicole TWN #29: Blink, and you're DEAD.

Some opponents are so quick that you can only afford to blink one eye at a time during combat.

#40 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2008, 10:58 PM:

Bruce @ 19: here is the worst misuse of the blink tag in film promotion history. I can just hear the conference with the web designers when this assignment was handed out: "Only Notepad, and if you pick up a copy of Dreamweaver we're going to break all your fingers."

And also one of the most awesome uses of the blink tag ever. As a parody of the mid-90's Star Trek fan page it's as spot-on as the film itself was as a loving parody of Star Trek and its fans. It might not look good but it sure does look right.

#42 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2008, 03:04 AM:

What/Who I think of when you say Blink.

#43 ::: whump ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2008, 03:55 AM:

The angels have the browser.

#44 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2008, 04:00 AM:

Thanks a lot. Does anyone know wether there's an equally simple way to set Firefox' graphics mouseover so that it shows the entire picture comment (if there is one) and not just the first part with ellipses at the end? (Whose idea was it to put these ellipses there anyway? Aren't there any xkcd fans among the Firefox developers?)

#45 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2008, 07:39 AM:

The blink tag, like anything else, can be a useful tool (except when it isn't). But, times change. I saw blink and I thought Who not odd HTML tags.

#46 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2008, 08:14 AM:

Thank you.

Michael: I believe we drove Remarq out of business with our tags and poetry, which pretty much serves them right for trying to sell us. If this is true, it's a pretty terrific bit of guerilla theatre too, as well as a pretty cool example of ordinary people uniting to defeat exploitation through better understanding of tech -- as in Little Brother now I come to think of it.

It was very science fictional of us.

#47 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2008, 08:25 AM:

Raphael @ 44: The ellipses are due to a known bug in Firefox which was fixed with version 3. You need to either upgrade to 3 or use the Long Titles add-on if you're stuck with an earlier version.

#48 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2008, 08:33 AM:

Tania @ 42... Ah, the things I missed out on during the decade when I avoided everything related to the X-men...

Clarice was a child when Apocalypse took over Miami. Blink was discovered by Apocalypse's Horseman Mister Sinister and his right-hand, the Dark Beast (...) Blink was briefly transported into the Negative Zone, where she became romantically involved with the amnesic Annihilus, although he forced her to leave when he began to transform back into his original form.

From Miami to the Negative Zone?

#49 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2008, 08:34 AM:

Thanks a lot!

#50 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2008, 11:11 AM:

#38 Arwen & #46 Jo::

Remarq! Yes, of course, that was it. Can't remember if Avram's guerilla tactics were part of that same episode, or what, but I suspect it was.

Ah, those were the days...

#51 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2008, 12:15 PM:

And here I thought my brain was on the blink.

#52 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2008, 04:56 PM:

The Galaxy Quest page seems to be an exercise in building a satirical reality, so I can only guess (and hope) that the blink tag is there for the same reason as the badly resized pictures, lack of anti-aliasing, etc -- to emulate some Star Trek fansites of the day.

#53 ::: Joshua Kronengold ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2008, 02:26 PM:

You know, that was surprisingly easy.

Here you go.

You could stick a blink around it too, but that would be a bit superflous, wouldn't it (plus, it's irritating in a way that just having the shiny rotating colors isn't, quite).

#54 ::: Joshua Kronengold ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2008, 02:41 PM:

Oh, FWIW, just extending the "objects" array and
the actual set of spans would work just fine. For
example, this.

#56 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2008, 09:21 AM:

No, BuffySquirrel is a known member of the community. Check the View All By.

#57 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 05:13 AM:

Oops. Please accept my apology, BuffySquirrel.

#58 ::: Cadbury Moose sights spam ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 06:21 AM:

#59 same link in poster name and post body.

Completely unrelated to the thread.

Choose:
Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.