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Bug LaTeX loading freezes system for ~1 min

  1. Oct 4, 2012 #1

    Mute

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    I'm not sure if this is really a bug with the forum software as opposed to some incompatibility with my browser, but whenever I load the forums for the first time after booting up my computer, any page with latex on it will freeze my computer, sometimes for over a minute, while the latex plugin(?) loads.

    Has anyone else encountered this issue, and is there a fix or way to load the math plugin more smoothly so that it doesn't freeze up everything while it loads? I would really love to be able to keep using my laptop while the browser renders the math.

    I'm using Chrome and running Windows 7 when this occurs. If I boot up into Ubuntu instead, I do not encounter the same problem with Firefox.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 4, 2012 #2
    I run Chrome on Win7 with no problems. Do you get any messages?
     
  4. Oct 5, 2012 #3

    gabbagabbahey

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    What makes you suspect that the [itex]\LaTeX[/itex] is the culprit? My first guess would have been a malicious, or just poorly written script in one of the ads on the site. Which could also explain why Greg isn't having anyproblems, as I doubt he sees the same ads we do.
     
  5. Oct 5, 2012 #4

    PAllen

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    I'll add the obvious suggestion: contribute to PF, and no more ads. Better experience all around.
     
  6. Oct 5, 2012 #5

    Borg

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    Hmm. This sounds a lot like a freeze that I experience also. One freeze after I've started the computer and then it doesn't happen again. I'll have to see if it's occurring during a LaTeX load. I have Win7 w/ Firefox 3.6.16 - yes, I know it's ancient.
     
  7. Oct 6, 2012 #6

    lisab

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    It happens with my home laptop the same way. Once it goes through one freeze-up it's fine after that. I run Chrome.

    I seem to remember this being reported in the past...or am I imagining it :confused:?

    I sometimes get a message but it flashes up so quickly it's not readable.
     
  8. Oct 6, 2012 #7

    Mute

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    Not that I'm aware of. There are no pop-up messages or anything, at least. The system just hangs up for a minute or so.

    The system only freezes up when I load a page with TeX on it. If I start up my laptop and load PF and I browse, say, the Career services forum first, nothing freezes. It's only once I go to a page with rendered LaTeX that it locks up. If I go to a math forum and there's a title with latex in it, everything freezes; if there are no titles with Latex in them, then the system only locks up once I go into a thread with the LaTeX.

    Also, this only happens once following booting up the computer. Even if I close the browser entirely and come back it won't freeze up again.

    So, for these reasons I believe it is my browser loading the math the first time that is the issue.

    To be honest I don't mind (or notice) ads very much, unless they start taking up the whole screen or talking, which I don't think has happened on PF. In any event, I don't suspect it's the ads causing a problem. However, it is probably about time I contributed...

    At least I'm not the only one!

    Where does the message show up? I haven't noticed one before, but maybe I'm always just looking somewhere else when the system freezes. Also, I am using a laptop as well... I don't know why that would make a difference, though.
     
  9. Oct 6, 2012 #8

    Borg

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    I don't see a message either. The entire system freezes up for me such that I can't move my mouse and other displays freeze. For example, I have Zone Alarm which normally shows a display like an audio equilizer when it's processing web pages. Even that display freezes. I still don't know if this only happens when I visit PF because it hasn't happened to me since I've posted about it. :rolleyes:
     
  10. Oct 6, 2012 #9

    lisab

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    It's right in the middle of the screen, and it's for a split second - literally you could blink and miss it. All I can catch is this guy:

    http://poosk.com/wp-content/themes/poosk/images/SadTab.jpg [Broken]

    But a lot smaller!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  11. Oct 7, 2012 #10
    Nope...you are not imagining it. This was reported way back when the new latex system was being tested: https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=3316213&postcount=150

    Nothing was done about it and I still continue to have the same problem everyday...so I got used to it :uhh:
     
  12. Oct 7, 2012 #11

    Borek

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    Problem is this happens rarely, on rare configurations (it is not just a OS/browser combination, as other people using Chrome on Vista/Seven have seen no problems), and with a code we don't manage. All we can do is to forward the error reports to MathJax developers. My guess is that they have no idea what is happening for the same reasons - it is some rare glitch, very difficult to reproduce without access to the particular computer on which it happens.

    Such things happen. I have sold tens of thousands copied of my dyslexia programs in the last 15 years. Sometimes people report glitches that are impossible to reproduce even on identical computers with identical OS. In once particular case my programs were working on several computers in school - all computers were bough at the same time, from the same source, in the same configuration. The only computer that the program refused to work on was the computer used by the school dyslexia and speech therapist. After reinstalling OS to no avail we just switched computers when nobody was looking :wink:
     
  13. Oct 7, 2012 #12

    Jonathan Scott

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    I've seen this several times, using Chrome, and I'm fairly sure it is something to do with loading web fonts when I haven't visited any pages with LaTeX on for some time. The machine just locks out completely (not even responding to mouse movements) for up to two minutes, but then it seems to be fine. When it first happened, I thought the system had crashed, but I'm getting used to it.
     
  14. Oct 7, 2012 #13
    I have sent the devs this thread to look at. I also see MathJax 2.1 beta is out and it appears to address a ton of issues.

     
  15. Oct 20, 2012 #14

    Borg

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    I didn't have this freeze for a while but it's occurred over the last several days whenever I went to the Random Thoughts thread. jhae2.718 has LaTeX in his signature and had a few posts there recently.
     
  16. Oct 20, 2012 #15
    Anything strange about his latex? I'll load the beta on Monday.
     
  17. Oct 20, 2012 #16

    Borg

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    Not that I know of. This thread was the first that I had been able to connect it to Latex. Now that I know where it freezes consistantly for me, I'll be sure to check how the beta loads on Monday.
     
  18. Oct 24, 2012 #17

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    I haven't had time to browse the forums this week to see if the new beta has changed anything, but I found that this xkcd page:

    http://what-if.xkcd.com/16/

    which has latex on it also freezes my system while the math loads. (I visited the page after restarting my computer and before coming to the forums, so it definitely appears to have something to do with the loading of latex)

    EDIT: So I just visited the forums after turning on my computer, and the freezing still occurred upon loading this thread with LaTeX in it. (at time of loading only first post is/was there)
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  19. Oct 26, 2012 #18
    We are now using MathJax 2.1 Please let me know if you still get the freeze.
     
  20. Oct 26, 2012 #19

    Borg

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    I went to the first page of this thread and it froze. My XP work computer doesn't freeze even though I have the same ancient version of Firefox on it. Oh well.
     
  21. Oct 26, 2012 #20
    Is there anything in a debug or error log? Why not upgrade FF?
     
  22. Oct 26, 2012 #21

    Borg

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    No, I haven't seen any errors. I think that it just gets stuck while loading and there isn't really any error. It's a fascinating problem but I haven't tried to seriously debug it. Maybe I'll turn on Firebug one of these days to see what's trying to load when it freezes. I don't upgrade because of work requirements on the web applications that I work with.

    BTW, I'm just commenting in case it helps others. It doesn't really bother me but it's nice to know what has been causing it to occur.
     
  23. Oct 26, 2012 #22

    lisab

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  25. Oct 28, 2012 #24

    Borg

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    I think that I may have figured this out. I did some reading about the MathJax software yesterday and noticed that it prefers to use specific fonts but will still work if it doesn't find them. My XP work computer that doesn't freeze is much older and likely has additional fonts installed that are more compatible with MathJax. From the MathJax Font Help page
    I suspect that on certain computer configurations, Windows (or the browser) gets confused while trying to figure out which font to use if you don't have the STIX font installed or something close. Once it figures out what to use, it doesn't lock up again until you've restarted your computer. I would bet that you can recreate the freeze at will by clearing your browser cache and revisiting the page.

    So I followed the instruction on the help page to download and install the fonts. The zip file has two folders of fonts. I didn't know if Windows would figure out the directories so I copied the contents of both folders into the C:\Windows\Fonts directory. Today, I went straight to the page that Lisab linked to and had no freeze.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2012
  26. Oct 28, 2012 #25

    Mute

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    I have installed the fonts and will check whether or not this resolves the problem, hopefully tomorrow. Thanks for finding this out!
     
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