Status of Forum Technical Questions and Issues

This is where we'll do updates on various technical issues about the forums.

Bandwidth Use on Mobile Networks
@Daybreaker made some software changes Wednesday night, July 23, so that these forums now require only 1% more bandwidth, on average, than Lines. For the technically inclined, it's +200 bytes per page. You'd have to read 100,000 pages per month to reach an incremental 20MB on your data plan. We probably don't have that many pages of content.

As an added bonus, these software changes have improved the page load speed of the forums, so that Google Page Speed now thinks the forums are faster than Lines Chat (an average score of 66 for the forums vs 61 for Lines Chat).

We'll monitor this for a few more days, but I'm pleasantly optimistic.

Battery Life Concerns
@Daybreaker made some tweaks to the colors used on the forums today, so that we expect battery life to be the same for both the forums and Lines Chat, even under very heavy use.

In researching the question, it appears that screen brightness is far more important to battery life than, say, data transfer. Also, the colors used on our web pages play a small part in screen brightness, so we wanted to look at the impact.

We're measuring the brightness of our web pages by looking at the Mean Pixel Intensity value in Photoshop, for iPhone screen captures of Lines Chat and various forum pages.

The Mean Pixel Intensity scale runs from 0 (black) to 255 (pure white). Lines' averages around 200 on this scale. The forums currently average 210-220, depending on the page you're looking at. In practical terms, that means an hour of constant use might take an additional 1% of battery life on the forums, everything else being equal. Or, to put that in perspective, how bright the room is that you're standing in, probably has more influence on your battery life than these forums.

Compatibility with Various Phones and Browsers

  • iPhone 5/5s We're still investigating intermittent issues where the forums don't respond to requests for things like pages, page refreshes, and clicks on links. We're able to reproduce some of these, and it'll be at the top of our list now. The most effective workaround seems to be to re-tap the link, button, or page you want. This affects an unknown number of folks, because it's intermittent.

  • Samsung Galaxy and Android phone owners who use the default Android web browser (10% of our users) There are issues with how the default web browser uses Javascript. It may not be something we can fix. A workaround is to download Chrome, Opera or Firefox. This affects approximately 10% of our total chat community.

  • Internet Explorer 9 and older versions of IE, do not work with the forum software. The workaround is to upgrade to IE11 or IE10, if possible, or install Chrome or Firefox. There are a number of known issues with IE9, and you'll also find better long-term support for IE11 from Microsoft, so there are benefits all around to upgrading browsers anyway. This affects about 2% of our total chat community.

Photo Uploads
This seems to be solved as of Friday, July 25, 2014. The software's default limit was 2MB for photo uploads, which is small compared to the high-quality photos you can get on most smart phones. We upped that limit to 8MB and it seems to be working. Photos larger than 8MB should be cropped or resized before upload. As phone camera quality increases, we'll revisit this limit.

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@Lentesta - I have found better data usage as well using the Opera browser (NOT Opera mini) on my Samsung Galaxy S5, the forums seem pretty readable, and I was able to post on it as well. That is another alternative.

Thanks for keeping on the mobile issue! I usually chat in a few free minutes here & there, and am nowhere near my computer.

Thanks for the update @Lentesta! Appreciate all the effort and updates. and I've noticed that the forums load much faster on my phone now.

Omw to download Chrome for my Galaxy. Hey...isn't there a badge for that?? wink

It is indeed much faster and prettier than the default browser. Yay!

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@DoUWannaBuildAsnowma you should download and/or enable Chrome...do much better!

So Chrome is great but now I can't figure out how to upload pics from my phone. When I hit upload the only source options it gives me are camera, video recorder, voice recorder and Documents. On my default browser there was an option called "my files". Any ideas?

Hope even with hard facts people still dont think that the data usage is much higher still.. lol

Badge earned! We need a bell here. Thanks!

Glad to hear some solid info about the data usage concerns. The biggest problem I'm having with the new forum is not the total data requested, but rather the number of times I have to request data. I regularly "Line" while commuting (in a bus - no Lining While Driving), so I am constantly moving from cell to cell with varying levels of connectivity. As the old Lines app would load an entire page of Chat at a time, I could spend a good amount reading through threads before I had to request the next page. With the new forum I have to request data on a thread-by-thread basis, so there are many more times where I'm looking at a "spinning wheel" waiting for a better connection.

Also, with the notifications and all the new features the forum is a massive time-suck. However, that's my problem, not an issue with the interface/technology. smiley

Ah, ok @brklinck. That might be either configurable, or something we can request. Let me ask @daybreaker.

I've requested it before, and the discourse team didnt seem to think the constant updating was a battery issue. They did at least seem open to the idea of a mobile version that was barebones and only manually updated though. But it would still be months away.

It might be possible to present a super low-bandwidth, read-only, text-only digest... for people who just want to read through everything with no frills. The "Read Only" part is what would make this easy.

@MissiMouse Mine does that too. Just click on documents and you'll be able to see your gallery.

@len - "domestique"? Are you riding in the TDF now?

That's where I heard the title used, and I think it's an apt description of what I do. smile

Thanks @ThatDisneyGuy_outer1. I see now. Actually much easier than how I was getting them via my default browser, too.

Yea, and if you select camera you can actually post a photo you are taking right then, sort of like instagram.

@MissiMouse Welcome to this most exclusive club! OYE!! smile

I'm still using the default "Internet" browser on my S4, not a fan of Chrome (doesn't work right w/my web mail & I don't like having to click twice & scroll just to get to navigation buttons, do you know a way around that?)

I may re-try Chrome again later this week, but I've noticed a positive difference already on the default browser. If "Click on that again" is the worst thing... I guess I'll be okay, esp. w/the increase in speed. It's not "pretty", but I can be patient while hoping Ten & the team get it figured out.

@daybreaker agree with @brklinck 100%. Thanks for your efforts in this endeavor. Text-only digest would rock!

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@ejj you really should give chrome a chance! It looks so much better and it's definitely faster. I have Gmail and Google everything though, so maybe it's not as convenient for you if you don't. You could just use Chrome for this and do everything else in your default browser. It's probably what I will do, since all my bookmarks and stuff are in default.