Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Rant: Auto-Refresh News Sites

I was reading and article at www.computerweekly.com this morning, who, like many other news sites, seems to think that they need to force a server side refresh on the whole page every five minutes to reload an article so that I can have the latest, greatest, news in some ticker.

In this case the problem was that their server is flaky, and on refresh, it gave me a "Server Too Busy" error! So now instead of getting to read the article (which was apparently in necessity of updating because the content of individual articles changes so frequently), I get to stare at an error message generated by a Microsoft Web Server.

This is just the most infuriating case in a string of annoyances with auto-refreshing news pages.

One thing I consistently find annoying is how Google News has to refresh the news listing on me, while I'm browsing through the article summaries.

Indeed, it always seems to do it when I am about to click on the link to an article I think would be very interesting to read, and it always seems that that article has rolled off the bottom of the list and I have to dig around if I want to read it!

Now the question on my mind is "why"? Why do we need to have our news updated so frequently (or at all)? Did so many important things happen in the course of the ten minutes I was reading the site that I need to have it updated?

And if I'm that addicted to news, what am I going to do for the hours that I'm actually working? Or for that matter, how do I possibly think I could make it through a nights sleep!

Or is it that they think we are so freakin' lazy that we can't hit 'refresh' several hours later to reload the page if we want to be ten extra minutes up to date with the cutting edge news?


Michael Minerva said...

Thanks a lot for your post. One problem though. I am setting this up on an Mac OS X server edition and there does not seem to be a directory /etc/apache2/other
I navigated to etc then apache2 but this directory does not contain a directory called other. Should I put the .conf file somewhere else? Thanks again

Anonymous said...

I agree...auto refresh of google news is a big pain in the a**. Besides disappearing articles, if I leave a tab open on the google news page, when it refreshes my entire computer locks up. Even something as simple as my solitaire game freezes up until the refresh is done.