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Cookies and Caches
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Cookies
Checking Your Cookie Settings in Internet Explorer 6
Checking Your Cookie Settings in Internet Explorer 5 or 5.5
Checking Your Cookie Settings in Netscape 6
Checking Your Cookie Settings in Netscape 4.7 or lower
Deleting the Forum Cookies
Caches
Checking Your Cache Settings in Internet Explorer
Checking Your Cache Settings in Netscape
What the Cache Settings Mean

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Cookies

You must accept cookies in order for this board to work properly. Cookies store your username, your password, and your language preference; as well of keeping track of when you were last in a forum, thereby telling you how many new posts are in each forum when you're at the Main Index. Cookies are not harmful, and the cookies set by these forums do not track any information about you beyond what's stated above. If you are interested in learning more about cookies, we suggest Cookie Central. This page and this page, in particular, are good informational starting points.

Also, please note that cookies are not perfect. They can become corrupt, and they can do all sorts of wacky little things. If you suddenly find yourself logged out, for example, that's due to Wacky Cookies. (That's just our name for it.) The odds that this can be blamed on the program itself are very, very slim; it's just a drawback of cookies. If you experience such trouble, you'll want to delete the forum's cookies so that they can be reset. See below for easy directions.

If you wish to ensure that your browser is enabled to accept cookies, do the following:

Checking Cookie Settings in Internet Explorer 6:
  1. Click on 'Tools' in the menu at the top of your browser. A short list of options will appear.
  2. Click on 'Internet Options.' A box of options will appear.
  3. Click on the 'Privacy' tab, third from the left.
  4. You'll see three buttons: 'Import,' 'Advanced,' and 'Default.'
    • If the 'Default' button is greyed out (you can't click it), then you'll also see a slider bar and a level name. Any level on the slider bar is acceptable EXCEPT 'Block All Cookies.'
    • If 'Default' IS a clickable button, or if you simply want to customize your settings, click on 'Advanced.' Make sure 'First Party Cookies' is set to 'Accept.' Click 'OK.'
  5. Close the Internet Options box by clicking 'OK' at the bottom.
Checking Cookie Settings in Internet Explorer 5.0 and 5.5 (Older versions should be similar):
  1. Click on 'Tools' in the menu at the top of your browser. A short list of options will appear.
  2. Click on 'Internet Options.' A box of options will appear.
  3. Click on the 'Security' tab.
  4. Click the 'Custom Level' Button.
  5. Scroll down to the 'Cookies' section, and select 'Enable' for both options.
  6. Click 'OK' to save these changes.
  7. When the alert popup appears verifing that you want to save these changes, click 'Yes' to continue.
  8. Close the Internet Options box by clicking 'OK' at the bottom.
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Checking Cookie Settings in Netscape 6 or higher:
  1. Click on 'Edit' in the menu at the top of your browser. A short list of options will appear.
  2. Click on 'Preferences.' A box of options will appear.
  3. Double-click on 'Privacy and Security' at the left. More options will appear below it.
  4. Click on 'Cookies' under the 'Privacy and Security' heading. Various options will appear on the right.
  5. Check the box for either 'Enable all cookies' or 'Enable all cookies for the originating web site only.'
  6. If you wish, you can also check the box for 'Warn me before accepting a cookie.' This will prompt you with a pop up every time a site tries to set a cookie. If you select this, make sure you accept the cookies from this site when prompted, or the forums will not work properly.
  7. Click 'OK' to make the change and exit the Preferences.
Checking Cookie Settings in Netscape 4.7 (Older versions should be similar):
  1. Click on 'Edit' in the menu at the top of your browser. A short list of options will appear.
  2. Click on 'Preferences.' A box of options will appear.
  3. Click on 'Advanced' at the left. The options at right will change.
  4. Toward the bottom, you'll see the section for Cookies. Check the box for either 'Accept all cookies' or 'Accept only cookies that get sent back to the originating server.'
  5. If you wish, you can also check the box for 'Warn me before accepting a cookie.' This will prompt you with a pop up every time a site tries to set a cookie. If you select this, make sure you accept the cookies from this site, or the forums will not work properly.
  6. Click 'OK' to make the change and exit the Preferences.
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Deleting the Forum Cookies

It may become necessary to delete the cookies that the forum has set for you. The most common reasons that this would be necessary are:

  1. Your username was changed (only if you requested it).
  2. You registered for a new username (regardless of whether the old username was deleted).
  3. Bad luck - cookies sometimes become corrupted and behave incorrectly.

In the case of reasons 1 and 2, the problem is that your cookies feed the system your old name, which conflicts with your new name.

To delete the cookies that the forum has set for you, go here. Scroll down a bit, and you'll see a link which says, "Yes, I want to delete my cookies for the forum." Click that link - you'll receive a confirmation that your cookies have been deleted. Be sure to close all windows of your browser afterwards for the change to take effect. Please note that this will not delete all of the cookies you have on your computer; it will only delete the cookies set by these forums.

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Caches

You may find it useful to have a basic understanding of caching, and checking your cache settings.

Whenever you visit a page on the Internet, it's stored to your cache (Explorer calls it your temporary internet files). If an item is stored in your cache, then the next time your browser needs to load that item, it can pull it up a lot quicker, because it's coming from your own hard drive, not a computer many miles away.

You may have noticed that sometimes we'll announce that a new episode is posted, and then someone will say that the link is not in the Episode List (or it may have happened to you). This is because their browser gave them a cached copy of the page, so they didn't see the new link. Maybe they had been to that page just a short while ago, or maybe they had their settings set to Never, or maybe it was set to Automatically and Explorer "decided" that it didn't need to be refreshed.

Whenever you want to be sure that you're viewing a fresh copy of a page (not out of your cache), you can click your browser's 'Refresh' button, or right click and choose it (it's 'Reload' in Netscape). This will download a fresh copy of the page. If you want to be really sure that the page is fresh, including all images (see next paragraph), then hold down the 'Shift' key on your keyboard while you click 'Refresh' or 'Reload.'

Images stick in caches better. You may remember when we added the text to the images in these forums, thereby making them bigger — some of you saw the old images, but at strange sizes. This was because your browser got the updated page / HTML from our server (telling it the new size of the image), but the images themselves kept loading out of cache. Sometimes you have to refresh quite a few times to get an image to freshen.

Caching is the reason that if you view go to the post list of a forum, then click on a post, then use your browser's back button to go back to the post list, you'll see the exact same post list you saw before -- the post you just read will still show as new, and any new posts won't yet appear. Going back takes you to the page out of your cache, which is a good thing for it's own purposes. However, to navigate the boards, you generally don't want to view the cached pages -- you want them fresh, so you can see new posts. For this reason, you should use the navigation built into the pages -- the 'Up One Level' button, the 'Jump to' box below some pages, the links at the left or the top, etc.

Caching is also the reason why occasionally, when you hit the back button after spell checking or previewing a post, the post disappears. This is unfortunate and irrational - for some reason, the post is somehow expiring from your cache (it's not in there anymore). Our research has failed to turn up any reasons for this, only other people saying there's no reason for it. It's unpredictable, but fortunately not too common.

If you wish to check your cache settings, here's how:

Checking Cache Settings in Internet Explorer 5.0 (Other versions should be similar, though not exactly the same):
  1. Click on 'Tools' in the menu at the top of your browser. A short list of options will appear.
  2. Click on 'Internet Options.' A box of options will appear.
  3. In the middle of the box that pops up, you'll see a section called 'Temporary Internet Files.' There are two buttons there, 'Delete Files' and 'Settings.' Click on 'Settings.'
  4. Another screen will pop up, and at the top, it says 'Check for newer versions of stored pages.' There are four options:

    Every visit to the page
    Every time you start Internet Explorer
    Automatically
    Never
  5. It is highly recommend that you select 'Every time you start Internet Explorer.' See below for details on what this means.
  6. Click 'OK' at the bottom to close that screen and save your settings.
  7. Close the Internet Options box by clicking 'OK' again at the bottom.
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Checking Cache Settings in Netscape 4.7 (Other versions should be similar):
  1. Click on 'Edit' in the menu at the top of your browser. A short list of options will appear.
  2. Click on 'Preferences.' A box of options will appear.
  3. Look for 'Advanced' at the left. If it has a plus sign (+) to the left of it, click the plus sign.
  4. Now you should see the word 'Cache' directly below 'Advanced' -- click on 'Cache.'
  5. Toward the bottom of the screen, you will see 'Document in cache is compared to document on network.' There are three options:

    Once per session
    Every time
    Never
  6. It is highly recommend that you select 'Once per session.' See below for details on what this means.
  7. Click 'OK' to save the settings and exit the Preferences.
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What the Cache Settings Mean

If you set your cache settings to 'Never': If you visit a lot of the same sites over and over again, your surfing would be somewhat faster... any page or image that you had already been to would come straight from the cache on your hard drive, instead of being downloaded from the server. However, this means that if those pages had been changed in any way, you wouldn't know it. Depending on your cache size and how full it is, you could be seeing the exact same page that you saw months ago. Personally, we wish that 'Never' wasn't even an option.

If you set your cache settings to 'Every visit to the page' (Explorer) or 'Every time' (Netscape), then you're basically not using your cache at all. Every time you visit a page (including when you hit the "Back" button, which means previewing and spell checking won't be an option for you), your browser will download the content from the server. This means that you would always be viewing fresh content, but your surfing would be slower.

Setting it to Automatically (which is only a feature of Explorer 5.0, and which I think is the default for that browser) is sort of like checking every time you visit the page, except that it's supposed to be "smarter," and decide for you if it should check or not. I don't quite understand the details of how it decides, but every source I've checked with advises against this setting.

Most people (ourselves included) would strongly recommend selecting 'Every time you start Internet Explorer' (Explorer, of course) or 'Once per session' (Netscape). Let's say that you visit our What's New page today. If you came back tomorrow, Explorer would download the page from our server, and you'd get a fresh version (so if we'd made another update, you'd see it). Then if you came back an hour later (assuming you kept Explorer open the whole time), you'd get the page from your cache, so it would load faster, but if we had made another change in that hour (possible, but not all that likely), you wouldn't see it. This is a good compromise -- makes your surfing somewhat faster, but you don't end up seeing a bunch of terribly outdated content.

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