Windows 10: Microfreezes in Games

For the past few weeks, I noticed microfreezes or microstutters in games. Gameplay would “halt” for maybe half a second, then resume normally.

This affected multiple games, so I knew it was a problem with my PC. I checked everything I could – deinstalled applications, made sure nothing “weird” ran in the background, checked the logs, and tried to catch one of the freezes with resource monitors. No luck. I also ruled out thermal issues.

In the end, I found the cause by sheer luck: I noticed that every time I had one of those stutters or microfreezes, my desktop wallpaper on my off-hand screen would change. I disabled wallpaper slideshows and lo and behold: No more microfreezes.

Why this feature would cause a problem, I have no idea. It certainly hasn’t been an issue in the past. I am not sure if it’s related to the Windows 10 “May Update” – I think the freezes occurred before I installed that update.

System: AMD Ryzen 3900X, NVIDIA GTX 1080, Windows 10 Professional 64bit. All patches and drivers up-to-date.

WordPress: Site not Secure despite SSL Certificate

I’ve recently migrated all my sites to use SSL (I know, it’s long overdue) and despite the SSL-Certificates being valid and working, Chrome and Firefox would show my sites as “not secure”. (No padlock icon.)

After some digging, I discovered that WordPress really doesn’t play very nicely with SSL. Lots of themes, plugins, etc will use hard-coded or generated, absolute, http:// URLs, with no regards to what the site is actually using. Worse, posts may include absolute URLs in links to content.

Instead of fixing all themes, plugins, and content manually (or with a clever script), one easy solution is to include the following line in your .htaccess:

Header always set Content-Security-Policy "upgrade-insecure-requests;"

This will cause the users’ browsers to convert all insecure http-Links to https automatically. So far, it seems to work perfectly fine.

Blogger/Blogspot can’t detect WordPress RSS feed

So I just had an interesting problem where a Blogger/Blogspot blog I help maintain couldn’t detect the RSS feed of a WordPress blog I help maintain.

The error message was “Could not detect a feed for this URL”.

It turns out the problem was two-fold. First: One of the files in the WordPress theme added an empty line at the top of the RSS feed.

Second: I had to update a post on the WordPress blog because *something* in the entire chain was caching the RSS feed!

So, if you have the same problem, run your RSS file through a validator, check if there are any leading empty lines, and make sure to update some post to regenerate the feed to avoid caching.

Scrivener: Installation freezes up

I was testing the writing software Scrivener (for Windows), and ran into an issue. The installer would just freeze up completely on start. It would run, eat CPU time, and show up in the task list, but ultimately never showed any GUI.

Once it randomly worked, the application Scrivener itself had the same problem.

I then tried the Scrivener 3.0 Beta and it had the exact same issue.

Thanks to assistance from Scrivener’s support team, I was able to identify the cause: I had Wacom drivers dating from 2017 installed, as they were the latest for an old tablet I own. Uninstalling them solved the issue. The drivers for my current Wacom tablet do not interfere with Scrivener.

Hopefully, the Scrivener developers will fix this at some point, but until then: If you try to install or run Scrivener and it doesn’t work at all, make sure you do not have old Wacom drivers installed.

WordPress Images Not Showing

Another odd problem I had when migrating a WordPress blog to a new server is that some images would not display. It wasn’t that no image were showing; only some did not display. I have not found the root cause, but a solution.

It turns out that something happened to the thumbnails, i.e. resized versions of images. The easiest solution was to force WordPress to regenetate them.

For this, I used the Regenerate Thumbnails plugin by Alex Mills. Make sure to disable the option “Skip regenerating existing correctly sized thumbnails (faster).

After the plugin completed, all images were showing correctly again.

WordPress Redirect Loop

I’m currently in the process of migrating WordPress to a new server, and I made a somewhat silly mistake.

Basically, after setting up my virtualhost, wordpress, etc I ran into a redirect loop, where the site would always redirect from the actual name of my blog (“example.com”) to a signup page, and the signup page would then redirect to itself.

I was at my wits’ end, so I enabled debugging by adding:

define(‘WP_DEBUG_LOG’, true);

and changing this line to “true”:

define(‘WP_DEBUG’, true);
This creates a logfile called “debug.log” in your wp-content subdirectory.And lo and behold, it turns out I had forgotten to actually import my MySQL data. ?

18-Nov-2018 10:07:46 UTC] WordPress database error Table ‘wordpress.wp_blogs’ doesn’t exist for query SELECT  blog_id FROM wp_blogs  WHERE domain IN ( ‘blog.example.net’ ) AND path IN ( ‘/wp-signup.php/’, ‘/’ )  ORDER BY CHAR_LENGTH(path) DESC LIMIT 1 made by require(‘wp-load.php’), require_once(‘wp-config.php’), require_once(‘wp-settings.php’), require(‘wp-includes/ms-settings.php’), ms_load_current_site_and_network, get_site_by_path, get_sites, WP_Site_Query->query, WP_Site_Query->get_sites, WP_Site_Query->get_site_ids
I know how it happened – I redid my migration from scratch and took a break of a few days just before that step – and it’s unlikely someone else might run into this exact problem.
However, the steps to debug it are still valuable – had I done that in the first place, I might have saved myself quite a bit of time.

YouTube: Playback Stops with Spinning Loading Circle

For a couple of weeks I had a problem where YouTube playback stopped, and the video player would only display a spinning circle.
It turns out that this is a bug with the video player when Hardware Acceleration is enabled in Chrome (and possibly other browsers).

To turn off hardware acceleration, go to Menu –> Settings –> Advanced.

In the “System” section, find “Use hardware acceleration when available” and turn it off.

Seems to have fixed the problem for me so far, at the cost of higher CPU load.
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Skyrim: Wrye Bash “Wrye Bash could not find a game to manage. Please use -o command line argument to specify the game path”

After an update of Skyrim Special Edition, I got the following error message attempting to run Wrye Bash:

Wrye Bash could not find a game to manage. Please use -o command line argument to specify the game path

The solution was to run the game’s launcher – The update had removed the Skyrim SE settings. Normally, this is what you do anyway when you launch the game through Steam, but I am using SKSE and Nexus Mod Manager, which normally bypass the launcher.