Do web pages in Google Chrome look odd to you?

Do web pages in Google Chrome look odd to you? That’s because the latest build for Mac OSX has turned off subpixel rendering, apparently.

At the “macro” level, fonts as rendered by Chrome look thinner. Subjectively, they are not as legible. They also look slightly washed out.

At the “micro” level, if you magnify the Chrome and Safari snippets a few times, you will see that Safari uses subpixel rendering: loosely speaking, this means that the “edges” of character shapes (glyphs) are actually drawn in different colors, not just different tones of grays. On the other hand, Chrome seems to have inexplicably switched to purely grayscale rendering of fonts.

A curious case of spam traffic

Very odd — my web stats are showing a _huge_ number of referrals coming via searches from over the last day or so. What’s strange is that in each case, the search terms and other query parameters are identical — all that differs is the referring subdomain (e.g.,,, and the claimed IP address of the person doing the searching, which is different with every query. When checked against a geoIP database, most of the visiting IP addresses seem to be allocated to Saudi Arabia or Iran, but the occasional one comes through that claims to be from the UK or USA.

Given the frequency and similarity of the referring URLs for each request, I think I’m probably safe in guessing that the IP addresses are being spoofed.

I just wish I knew why… All the queries are directed to one page, and Akismet’s spam filters aren’t picking up any unusual commenting activity on there.

The only other thing I can think of is that someone may be attempting some form of click fraud activity on the CPC ads on that page. For as long as that remains an option, then for obvious reasons I won’t divulge which page is under attack (and through which search keywords).

How not to write news stories, part 1: Don’t lie in your first sentence!

From IT site [The Register](

> Facebook users may no longer be able to hide after the website announced it is launching a service that enables anyone to view member profiles.

Except they haven’t. And it’s easy to see they haven’t. If you’re a Facebook user, there’s a huge block of text, plus an illustration, to show what actually will be going on. And, in easy to understand language, how to take action if you want to change something.

A new facility has been enabled that allows searching for someone by name to be undertaken by people who aren’t logged in. If someone searches for you, and finds your details, **all they see is your thumbnail profile picture and your name**, plus the usual links on the right-hand side: Send message, Poke, etc. However, any further action requires either logging in or registration.

So, what resemblance does that have to “a service that enables anyone to view member profiles”? None. To view a member profile, you need to be a Facebook member as before. And all the existing privacy controls that hide whether or not people can view your profile remain in place, so even if you _are_ logged in to Facebook, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to see the contents of somebody else’s profile.

Also, in a few weeks, pages containing these sort of search results will be indexable by major search engines. Which means that **all they will be indexing is your name, a thumbnail image of you (if you have one) and the fact that you (or someone who shares your name) has a profile on Facebook**. And this can be very easily opted out of.

I’m sure there are people who say this service should be opt-in, rather than opt-out — fair enough. Opting out with plenty of notice (remember, these search results are not yet visible to search engines, and won’t be for a while) seems a very professional way of handling things to me.

However, Charlie Taylor, author of The Register’s piece, says:

> [Facebook site engineer Phil Fung] also downplayed the importance of the decision to open up information to the general public.

I’d say that, rather than anything being ‘downplayed’, Fung was being truthful, which is more than Taylor’s trumped-up piece of writing is.

Journalism like this horrifies me. It’s bad enough that people have been trained to think that starting a news story from an easily checkable inaccuracy is okay. It’s even worse that editors either sanction, or encourage, such sloppiness. Is it incompetence or deliberate deception? Either way, it’s not what you’d call professional.