* Posts by Marco Fontani

139 posts • joined 3 Dec 2012

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'Gimme Gimme Gimme' Easter egg in man breaks automated tests at 00:30

Marco Fontani

why would an automated test want to run 'man' without any parameters

It didn't. The automated process mentioned in the article needed to run man -w to get the "man path".

As per the article,

When you run man without specifying the page or with -w, it outputs 'gimme gimme gimme' to stderr, but only at 00:30."

So, running man -w (a perfectly sensible thing to do to get the man path) triggered it, which led to the problem.

IMHO, if it outputed the easter egg only on a man invocation, it wouldn't have caused any such problem, and removing the easter egg altogether is unwarranted. Just don't make it work on man -w and make it work on man alone. My $0.02.

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New Forum Wishlist - but read roadmap first

Marco Fontani

Re: Idea for hiding/changing the look of certain commentards posts

You can easily do that today using JS – instead of CSS, as CSS doesn't support styling of a parent div based on properties of a child element.

$('.post .author a[href*="/53495/"]').parent().parent().css('background-color', 'pink')

That's all your posts on any forum page (but not on your own user's page) styled with a pink background.

Any "user scripts" addon should allow you to add the above and have it work.

If you don't like using jQuery (although we load it on all forums pages, so it will currently always be available) you can always Just Use Plain JS, provided your browser supports querySelectorAll:

(function(){ var posts = document.querySelectorAll('.post .author a[href*="/53495/"]');for(var i=0;i<posts.length;i++){posts[i].parentNode.parentNode.style.backgroundColor = 'pink'} })()

... or whatever floats your boat.

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What's with the blasted captchas?

Marco Fontani

Why, when I'm ALREADY logged in to the Reg, have I suddenly started getting bloody irritating, crappy captchas?

We've had CAPTCHAs for various things since at least 2013, and they're usually only shown when "something triggers".

This "something" ranges from what you were doing at that time, your browser signature, your country, your ISP, your IP address, etc.

If it "started this morning" for you, the reason may range from having changed some of your browser settings or having switched to a different VPN than usual, to simply having posted some "trigger words" which make the web application firewall show the CAPTCHA, to err on the safe side before allowing the request through.

If you'd like to discuss this in detail, could you follow our problem reporting page and send us an email at webmaster@?

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Commentards booted off m.register?

Marco Fontani

Re: m redirecting to www?

Then you seem to have a bug, because it's not working like that.

We hear you.

We've now tuned our edition setting functionality a little bit further as to not disrupt the navigation flow on mobile devices.

So, if you're on a mobile device and visit – say – the homepage, then go on a story and click the comments links, you'll be shown the mobile site. If on that same story you click the masthead logo or a section index page, you'll get the mobile version.

To have the same happen on your desktop size device, you'll have to opt in and click the "Mobile website" link at the bottom of most pages (not article pages, as those only exist on www now, and they're responsive).

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Marco Fontani

Re: Commentards booted off m.register?

Nope, the link to comments should display fine so long as the article allows them.

The AMP page comments link isn't styled, though - as we're pretty restricted when it comes to style on AMP pages… and the AMP pages kinda mimic the mobile page layout.

Are you sure you're looking at an article page on the mobile site, and not at an AMP page?

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Ye Bug List

Marco Fontani

Yes. I even closed the browser session and re-opened. I know that posts don't immediately turn up in the threads, but they also weren't showing when I clicked on the "my posts" link.

Your request to post… well, a "post" on a forum… is "done" (shows up on the forum, shows up on "my posts", etc) only when it's been completely processed by our backend.

Until then, it's just a JSON file on a disk, nothing more.

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Marco Fontani

The posts don't update immediately like they used to.. Some server side caching I suspect

Your "requests" to post a comment, or edit a comment, are placed into a "FIFO queue" along with other things.

If the queue is not empty, your post may take a little while to show up on the site - depending on how many requests there are before yours, their type, and how long they take to be processed.

As the message shown after your post has been sent says, "be patient".

On top of that, if we're making sweeping changes to our backends, we may temporarily stop the processing of new forum posts. You're still able to post, and your posts will be recorded - they'll just not appear on the site until maintenance is complete.

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Marco Fontani

Re: Odd HTML error.

I've tracked this down. Your original submitted text contained newlines at the end of the href, just before the ending double quote… which in turn later made the auto-paragraphs feature spit out horribly invalid HTML.

I've "fixed" your original post, and I've made it so that newlines found within those hrefs now constitute an error.

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Marco Fontani

Re: @Drew Spurious Blank lines at end of comments

Could you email us at webmaster@ this domain?

See https://www.theregister.co.uk/Page/problem.html for the kind of information we'll likely need, i.e. the exact url you're seeing this on, the browser, IP, etc. etc.

Look forward to hearing from you!

The Webmaster ;)

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Marco Fontani

Re: Website unusable at the moment

Specifically the NetApp animation, that takes about 3 minutes to load.

I've alerted our ad/ops team to this, thanks for your report!

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Marco Fontani

Re: Smartphone app

Who messed with the CSS. The font sizes seem to be too big especially on comments.

We did.

The font size for article and comments body was quite a bit too small, and it's been set to ~16px, which is a good legible size for them.

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Marco Fontani

Re: Anti-Ddos and missing images

On frequent occasions I'm missing images all over the website and I've now got a 5 second block when trying to load anything. What gives?!

Could you please email at webmaster@ with the contents of https://www.theregister.co.uk/cdn-cgi/trace please? Unless you're connecting from a bad reputation IP, that shouldn't happen.

Might it be you're connecting via tor? In that case, you might want to load at least once https://regmedia.co.uk/ so that Cloudflare can check your browser, and set a cookie which will allow your browser to load everything fine. Of course, if you then go and delete your cookies every time you close the browser, you might have to go through this again…

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Marco Fontani

Re: Smartphone app

Also searching the app store I couldn't obviously find the app - has it been discontinued in favour of the mobile site?

The apps should've shown a "sticky article" for a couple weeks, saying that the API was getting discontinued at the end of January. All of them have been pulled from the respective app store, and the API has now been discontinued.

Use the mobile site instead.

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Official: Perl the most hated programming language, say devs

Marco Fontani

Re: Python whitespace

There's tremendous value (for any language) to get something that can really lint your code, preferably inline in your editor. It looks like lack of that is one of the complaints against PERL?

Dunno what to say, I use (neo)vim and ale is perfectly capable of linting both my and ElReg's Perl (not "PERL") modules and scripts using both perl -c to check the syntax, and perlcritic (with per-projects overrides in .perlcriticrc) to ensure nothing too unwieldy is being typed. Coupled with a simple pre-commit hook to, again, check syntax and ensure we're not committing too much crap, it seems like kinda what you'd have with any other language, unfortunately sans "completion hints" as it's an interpreted language, and omnicompletion really only seems to work for the most basic of classes.

I've got something similar setup for HTML, JS, CSS and SASS using the exact same system, so Perl isn't an outlier here.

Rather, I feel that there's not enough options in perltidy to match my or ElReg's "house style", unfortunately. I'd love for Perl to have something as pleasant to use, and read, as gofmt, but unfortunately perltidy doesn't seem to be enough for me. I might just have weird syntax preferences!

And I am keenly aware it's super hard for most people to read and understand a PERL program of any real complexity.

IMVHO, you can write maintainable or unmaintainable code in any language. I've seen scary stuff in C, C++, Perl, ASM, and I've seen maintainable code in ASM, Perl, C++, C. /shrug

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Marco Fontani

Re: Perl.... Arrggh

I started to learn perl - from books - and it was the worst experience ever. (in regards to what i was learning from a book, that is).

I'd recommend you read Moden Perl, then. Good book to read if you already know how to program and don't need your hand held.

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Marco Fontani

Re: common::sense

Now if only I didn't have to open files with 'open FILE, "&lt;:encoding(UTF-8)", $fn' every time ...

You might want to look into utf8:all, then :)

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Marco Fontani

Re: common::sense

$ perl -le 'use utf8; my $a = { 私 => "あな た"}; print $a->{"私"};'

Wide character in print at -e line 1.

あなた

That "use utf8" only told Perl that your _program_ is encoded thusly, and did nothing to say that your standard output or standard error should output utf8.

$ perl -le'use utf8; binmode *STDOUT, ":encoding(UTF-8)"; my $a = { 私 => "あな た"}; print $a->{"私"};'

あな た

There you go, no warning.

Oh, you wanted to warn instead of print? There we go again…

$ perl -le'use utf8; binmode *STDOUT, ":encoding(UTF-8)"; my $a = { 私 => "あな た"}; warn $a->{"私"};'

Wide character in warn at -e line 1.

あな た at -e line 1.

So, you've got to set STDERR to also encode stuff as utf-8:

$ perl -le'use utf8; binmode *STDERR, ":encoding(UTF-8)"; my $a = { 私 => "あな た"}; warn $a->{"私"};'

あな た at -e line 1.

… or just do what we do, and create a module which does the above for you, as unfortunately common::sense removes a little too many warnings that we want to instead keep enabled... and we don't always want or need to have the utf8 encoding layer enabled on either stdout or stderr.

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Computers4Christians miraculously appears on Ubuntu wiki

Marco Fontani
Joke

It has enough problems with the daemons it has

thought they renamed SystemD to SystemG in that distro :/

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El Reg is hiring an intern. Apply now before it closes

Marco Fontani

let's be honest that's only because you're using CloudFlare

The CMS, whitepapers, and other subdomains have been on TLS way before Cloudflare. Neither is on cloudflare currently, either.

"Real" IPv6 is a clusterfuck I'll delay for as long as I can.

If you want to ask more, or discuss etc there's always webmaster@ :)

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Login screen messages

Marco Fontani

This is not current Best Practice™.

I tend to agree, but "El Reg isn't your bank" (or Equifax *cough*) - so we opted to make it easier for users to gauge whether they had already registered with an address or not, or whether they simply placed in the wrong password - rather than giving the exact same confusing message "either email or password was wrong, use a magic eight ball to guess which".

Current Bestest Practice® would likely be to generate a unique email and password per service, so there's that ;)

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CBS's Showtime caught mining crypto-coins in viewers' web browsers

Marco Fontani

Re: BOFH?

If I were to wager a guess, I'd say a marketing plod with the ability to push JS changes (via analytics, tag manager, you-name-it) to production without proper review.

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Stack Overflow + Salary Calculator = your worth

Marco Fontani

Re: No server side development, no Unix

No server side development

Well, there's Javascript which can be used as a server-side development language

/sigh

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What happened to my Silver Badge

Marco Fontani

Re: You've dropped below 100 posts in the last year.

Yup, you have ~76 live posts this year, only a few more for the bronze badge!

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El Reg Topic Forum Layout Problem

Marco Fontani

And fixed :)

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Marco Fontani

Sorry, not seeing on the page you linked to, nor on the actual index page for articles ( https://forums.theregister.co.uk/section/article/ )

Could you please submit a screenshot, and a little information about your browser (the contents of https://www.theregister.co.uk/cdn-cgi/trace would help) to webmaster@ please?

Thanks!

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FREE wildcard HTTPS certs from Let's Encrypt for every Reg reader*

Marco Fontani

Re: Oh, I wish it was just as simple as that

yet the browsers are starting to complain that the site is insecure when logging in. Do I really need HTTPS?

Do you value giving all eavesdroppers on the connection between your computer and your server (both included) the ability to log into that site as yourself and do as they please with it?

… because that's effectively what's happening when you're logging in over HTTP.

It's even worse if you used a password you've re-used elsewhere… as now they also have access to that other thing. Or, worse, things.

Use https, use a password manager and create long, secure passwords… and don't use a password on more than one site.

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Marco Fontani

Re: An admirable effort.

It's nothing more than a generic cert from CloudFlare

Well, not quite "a generic cert"… the certificate contains another couple second-level subdomains in the cert – a "generic wildcard cert" wouldn't be able to secure "m.forums" or "m.search".

Once another CA will make it as frictionless and cost-effective to have the same, I'll reconsider… We already use another wildcard cert on whitepapers, for example – and that's not under cloudflare, it's RapidSSL.

Unfortunately, the above situation means while we probably could also enable HSTS, we'd be doing that using Cloudflare's certs (something I'm neither strongly for or against, but I'd rather those were "our" certs)… and having two different CAs means we can't yet implement HPKP.

I guess once LetsEncrypt starts giving wildcard certs we'd be able to… so long as they offer one cert for all (?:sub)?domains we require ;)

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Marco Fontani

Re: An admirable effort.

Complaining that you hadn't adopted HTTPS on every article in which you tell people to adopt HTTPS was one of the few pleasures I had left in this world!

The most common complaint du jour is lack of IPv6 support, you can jump right in!

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Shiny AJAX up/downvoting

Marco Fontani

Re: Please don't

I've got the gold badger and everything

You're welcome to install NetBSD on it ;)

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Marco Fontani

Re: Please don't

ElReg's current methodology behind thumbing people is all but useless.

… as it's always been :)

up/downvotes "just" serve as an indication of whether commentards are liking or not a given comment.

I just need the tool to see who's downvoted me

Ain't gonna happen.

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Marco Fontani

This is going to be addressed Soon®: we'll be showing a slightly different icon depending on which way you up/downvoted a post

The time has come ;)

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Marco Fontani

I just upvoted everyone. Then logged out and back in again. And was allowed to upvote everyone again. Hooray!

You've always been allowed to "do" that.

I say "do" as our forums code simply "records your vote preference", and then kicks off a separate task to actually "make it so".

In the end, the last vote wins and gets recorded – as each "per forum post, per user" vote can be expressed only once, but you can change your mind anytime.

Unfortunately, the front-end code isn't currently showing which way you voted, so by tricking things a little you can make it appear as if you managed to (up- or) down-vote somebody into oblivion… but in reality, so long as you're using the same user account to make your "tests", all you've accomplished in the end is to choose whether to upvote or downvote a post.

This is going to be addressed Soon®: we'll be showing a slightly different icon depending on which way you up/downvoted a post (even with JS disabled, obviously), and (while still allowing you to re-cast your vote anytime) the numbers should be quite a bit more clear in the end – as the JS will also be able to take into consideration whether you had or hadn't already up/downvoted a post – and it not being currently able to do so is the source of the "visual bug".

The other "bug" is that we don't currently have a way for you to reverse your vote choice, i.e. if you upvote somebody then you decided that you actually didn't want to either upvote nor downvote the post, you can't go back to "no vote preference given": once up- or down-voted a post, you can only pick which way to vote. We're unlikely to fix this anytime soon, to be honest. Little to gain for a very small corner case.

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Marco Fontani

But you can't upvote, downvote, then upvote again

Well spotted! You now can ;)

Re the feature request – yes, it's been something we've had on the back burner for a while, along with showing which way you voted – if you did – on posts.

It'll come soon®

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Software dev bombshell: Programmers who use spaces earn MORE than those who use tabs

Marco Fontani

Re: My code won't run but the spaces are great

Whilst tabs or spaces makes no difference to the compiler/interpreter

*cough* Makefiles *cough*

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Kill Google AMP before it KILLS the web

Marco Fontani

Re: Oh, meant to say - the Reg site is really slow on mobile

The thing that annoys me about El Reg comments pages, much as I love the content, is the Web 1.54382 design of voting…

Yup, that's coming Soon®

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China launches aircraft carrier the length of 2.1 brontosaurs

Marco Fontani

Re: Bollocks

There seems to be a bug in El Reg's unit conversion page : It clocks the brontosausus at 138 m instead of the more reasonnable 22 m.

Thanks for pointing this out! It looks like this specific unit conversion has been wrong for quite a long time.

I've just now updated it to have a more meaningful value, i.e. exactly 157 linguine.

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Y'know CSS was to kill off HTML table layout? Well, second time's a charm: Meet CSS Grid

Marco Fontani

Re: <table>

Hopefully El Reg will keep it 90s by still using the default HTML 4.0 table style...

I don't get it, sorry – HTML tables are still valid in HTML5, and are/should be used when presenting tabular data.

Granted, the table in that article looks like crap and it uses attributes which shouldn't really be used in HTML5 – but that's the default rendering of a table in a browser, mind you…

IMVHO, using tables for tabular data like in that article is totally fine, but using it to lay stuff out is not. What are your thoughts?

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I need an ISP that offers IPv6. Virgin Media: Whatevs, nerd

Marco Fontani

Re: Smartphone app

A better goal would be to deploy it and not have people notice. It should just work.

Precisely why I wrote he will notice. Not "everybody" ;)

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Marco Fontani
Trollface

Re: Smartphone app

El Reg still only seems to be IPv4

If you're that sharp-eyed, I'm sure you'll have noticed that the images domain, regmedia.co.uk, is available over IPv6 ;)

IPv6 will be coming to ElReg in the not-too-distant future (read: soon®)… likely as soon as I get a new, "shiny round tuit" to do the deployment of it as painlessly as possible. We've had a Git branch for it since ~2015 or so… but it's not ready yet. When it is, you'll notice.

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Can you...

Marco Fontani

You can go on your account page, and click the big "Delete Account" button, or go to https://account.theregister.co.uk/delete/

You'll need to be logged in and provide your password to do that, of course.

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504 Gateway Time-out

Marco Fontani

Looks like Cloudflare, our CDN, made a boo-boo at that time :|

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Is it me?????

Marco Fontani

Sorry for the trouble, it looks a SNAFU happened somewhere :|

The apps should've been displaying a message in the app in the last few _weeks_of January, mentioning that the API (and the apps with it) would cease to work at the end of January. Here is the message:

Apps users, a short note to announce that The Register is shutting down all apps with effect from January 31. We appreciate your eyeballs and owe you an explanation.

Our iOS app is serviceable but our Windows and Android apps are not fit for purpose - and have not been for a long time. it is not a good use of our money to rectify this.

Traffic via apps is low - a typical experience for news publishers - and effectively impossible to monetise unless we charge for downloads.

That’s not happening.

We have a small dev team and we need to focus resources. That means we are not futzing around, for instance to ensure that our apps are https compliant. The team’s next big project is to make The Register fully responsive.

In the meantime recommend that you read us on the mobile web at https://m.theregister.co.uk/.

Drew Cullen,

El Reg®

As it's now February, it has indeed ceased to work.

AFAICT all the apps have since also been pulled from the respective app stores. You will likely want to uninstall the app from your mobile phone, as it's not going to work anymore.

You'll likely want to continue to read The Register on our mobile site; see above for the link.

I suggest you go to https://www.theregister.co.uk/ and click on the "mobile website" button at the bottom, as that'll ensure that any The Register URLs you open will then always be displayed on the mobile site - without having to manually switch between "www" and "m".

Apologies for the inconvenience caused,

The Webmaster ;)

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Cloudbleed: Big web brands 'leaked crypto keys, personal secrets' thanks to Cloudflare bug

Marco Fontani

Re: In any case...

... why should anybody be publishing malformed HTML? Haven't they heard of HTMLtidy?

Yes, but most distributions carry a very old version which croaks horribly with the most common things naïve writers throw at it: "broken html" input (AKA "tagsoup"), and HTML5 tags :|

Getting from "shitty tagsoup" to "well-formed HTML" is harder than it looks at first ;)

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So, the new font, then

Marco Fontani

When will you embiggen the font?

Possibly Soon®

Font size has been embiggened on both article body and forums posts.

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Marco Fontani

When will you embiggen the font?

Possibly Soon®

Meanwhile, you can always zoom in (CTRL+ or CMD+); most browsers will remember and use the zoom preference per-domain.

The site uses relative sizes for all its parts aside from the base font size, so zooming in/out literally makes everything bigger or smaller, with the same ratio.

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Mobile site on desktop

Marco Fontani

Re: Mobile site on desktop

Go to the bottom of the page; you'll see a big "Mobile website" button. Click that, and you'll then "stick" to the mobile site (for all pages for which there _is_ a mobile site version of).

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Google's Chrome is about to get rather in-your-face about HTTPS

Marco Fontani

Re: Double agenda?

So now a website which doesn't use HTTPS gets labeled insecure by default?

Only if it contains something that looks like a log-in or sign-up form, for now

… as a man-in-the-middle would easily be able to change where the insecure form goes to, and you'd be none the wiser you'd be sending your personal details or log-in details to Mallory

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Oh, the things Vim could teach Silicon Valley's code slingers

Marco Fontani

Re: As a long-time Vim user (since 2005 or so)

meh, ed is so much better!

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https on thereg

Marco Fontani

Just recently, forums link on articles link to the https version of forums, so quite a few more users are getting the https version, and all seems smooth so far.

Also, the linked-to version for AMP pages and the "mobile size" pages is the https version.

In time, we'll be switching a few more links to https, but so far… smooth sailing ;)

Thanks for the help so far!

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Marco Fontani

Right now, all forums related should be fully usable over https: things done on forums (post, create topic, edit post) redirect to the https version, all RHS links are to the https version (but not yet articles' forum link, or the overall forums list).

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