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Saturday, October 23, 2004

Technical blegs

For some reason that I can't figure out, I can never access James Lileks' excellent weblog, The Bleat, from my home PCs. 

I always get "The page cannot be displayed.  The page you are looking for is currently unavailable. The Web site might be experiencing technical difficulties, or you may need to adjust your browser settings." I don't seem to have that problem with any other URLs.  I don't have any website blocking software on my PCs, and although the DSL router that I use to network my two PCs has the ability to block designated URLs, I haven't designated any.  A half-hour spent on the phone with my ISP's technical assistance folks was completely unproductive (ending up, predictably, with "perhaps you need to reinstall your operating system").  I can access Lileks' URL if I go through anonymizer.com, but that's a pain.  I'm using Internet Explorer 6.0 and Windows ME (yucky, I know). Any hints from my more technically gifted readers on how I might fix this?

One of my readers also emailed me some time ago to say my RSS feed isn't working.  I have that option turned on via TypePad, but don't use an aggregator myself, and I'm not even sure how to see whether this is working or not.  Can anyone confirm whether this is a problem or not, and if so, suggest how to fix it?

Update (Sun Oct 24 @ 1:30am):   I figured some of y'all would be able to shed light on the subject!  Much thanks to those who've confirmed that my RSS feed is working, and to all those who've made suggestions in emails or comments below about the Lileks problem.  I've tried several of the proposed solutions with no success; and (I shoulda thought of this myself ) I've tried pinging and trace-routing to his server from a DOS window, but timed out.  So I think it's an ISP issue, rather than something unique to my home PCs or DSL router or browser, and I've emailed Lileks' ISP with an inquiry.  I'll update here when and if I get a reply.  (I don't intend to trouble Lileks himself about it โ€” it'd probably generate another one of those service calls he's always writing about, and I'd rather he focus his attention on his upcoming Senate campaign.)

Update (Sun Oct 24 @ 1:35pm):  Impressive response time from EV1.net's tech support guy โ€” two emails in twelve hours on a weekend.  From the first:

The IP range 70.241.70.x/xx is not blocked in our network. Please provide the following so that we may investigate this issue further.

1. A trace route from your IP to the server you cannot reach
2. A trace route from your IP to a neighboring IP on the same subnet as the server you cannot reach
3. A trace route from your IP to mail.ev1.net

From the second, after I'd complied:

The last hop in your trace is the switch that this server is operating on. This would indicate that you are probably being blocked by the server. Please contact the webmaster of the site you are trying to reach for more information.

Since I've never bombarded Lileks with emails, nor written anti-Hummel screeds, I'm reluctant to believe that he's blocked my IP address on purpose.  Alas, though, it seems I've no choice but to trouble the candidate himself.

Posted by Beldar at 05:24 PM in Weblogs | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Technical blegs and sent a trackback ping are listed here:


(1) trappedinmn made the following comment | Oct 23, 2004 5:40:44 PM | Permalink

beldar: do you have the Google toolbar installed on IE? if so, can you access the URL by typing it into the Google search box? I assume you've done the perfunctory clearing of cache, cookies, etc. -

(2) Doug made the following comment | Oct 23, 2004 5:47:12 PM | Permalink

Strange. Since Anonymizer hides your IP address from Lilek's site and you have DSL that has a static IP, one could assume that Lilek is blocking your IP address:-)

A more constructive suggestion would be to download Mozilla and see if using a difference browser makes a difference.

(3) sammy small made the following comment | Oct 23, 2004 6:14:15 PM | Permalink

I can sympathize but have obvious solution. I have a similar problem with a Fidelity site. I can get it on my XP pc but not on my 98II unit with all the same support installs. They are both on a cable modem with the same wireless network. Strange. I haven't found anyone who can tell me what to look for in the configurations that would make a difference.

Good luck. I'll check back to check out suggestions.

(4) bill made the following comment | Oct 23, 2004 6:15:39 PM | Permalink

beldar, this may seem like cheating, but if you can get to instapundit and scroll down his list of links you'll come to james lileks. You can reach the bleat from there. Also, try lileks.com.

(5) Gary Poppitz made the following comment | Oct 23, 2004 6:31:30 PM | Permalink

Solve most of your web problems, dump MS and go MAC.

Next issue, I get your RSS feed just fine.

(6) gary made the following comment | Oct 23, 2004 6:32:55 PM | Permalink

I have had you on Bloglines rdf feed for the last month or so. If that's RSS, it has worked just fine.

(7) CERDIP made the following comment | Oct 23, 2004 7:28:28 PM | Permalink

Beldar, I had a similar problem. It seems its his ISP that is blocking certain domains- I'd emailed Lileks and he told me nope, he's not doing any blocking.

I eventually fixed my problem by forcing my DHCP server to give me a new IP addy, by shutting my modem down for 36 hours (some people suggest only 24 hours). You have to make sure your shutdown transitions the time (usually midnight) when your ISPs DHCP does its IP reassignemnts. I left my modem off over two misnights in a row (and the 24 hours in between) just to make sure.

I'm not sure why it happened to you, but my troubles began when I traded in my old modem for a new one, and the DHCP server put the new one on a different domain with a new addy, and from that point until recently I was unable to get to Lileks (and a few other sites as well). I suspect that someone had been using the IP address I was given for some nefarious purpose and managed to get it put on Lileks' ISP's filters.

(8) Xrlq made the following comment | Oct 23, 2004 8:17:58 PM | Permalink

I read your blog through Bloglines, which uses RSS. No problems on my end. Don't know about Lileks, though.

(9) Andy made the following comment | Oct 23, 2004 8:32:03 PM | Permalink

I'm guessing ISP blocking (yours, mine, or Lilek's ISP). Not sure why, though. I have the same symptoms from home (verizon dsl), but when I access it through my employer's VPN over the same verizon dsl connection at home, I get to lileks.com just fine.

(10) Al Superczynski made the following comment | Oct 23, 2004 9:19:10 PM | Permalink

Have you tried using the numeric IP address to his main page and linking from there?

(11) AH made the following comment | Oct 23, 2004 10:31:07 PM | Permalink

Me too. It's oddly comforting to find out someone else is having the Lileks problem. I thought I was nuts. Regrettably, neither the number offered, nor lileks.com, nor the Instapundit link, help me. I just hope someone will start quoting him in full.

(12) Andy made the following comment | Oct 23, 2004 10:31:46 PM | Permalink

I reread CERDIP's suggestion. I rebooted my router. This caused the assigned IP to change from 70.17.xx.xxx to 70.18.xx.xxx. Both are assigned to Verizon. I could not ping or trace route to Looks like an ISP is blocking a whole load of verizon IPs.

Other than being a semi regulated monolopy, this seems a bit preemptive. Any ideas on how to figure who is doing the blocking.

(13) Palooka made the following comment | Oct 23, 2004 10:51:49 PM | Permalink

I have the same problem with the Wash Times.

(14) Eric Wilner made the following comment | Oct 23, 2004 11:27:25 PM | Permalink

This points up one of my big gripes with IE - I mean, apart from the endless security holes.
IE doesn't give useful error messages. Regardless of the problem, it gives the same stupid "this page cannot be displayed" page, which is utterly useless for tech support.
Any decent browser will at least report three classes of errors: host name lookup failed, unable to communicate with remote host, and error received from remote host (in the last case, the actual error should be reported). IE discards all this information in favor of the infamous "It didn't work."
While a change of browser (Firefox is a good choice) won't solve the problem at hand, it'll reduce your vulnerablity to the nasties that are floating around in Netland, and also give more informative error messages when things do go wrong.

On the Lileks front, the suggestion to force a change of IP address makes sense, especially if the problem lies in many individual IP addresses having been blocked by Lileks's hosting service. If your ISP's entire address range has been blocked, you're out of luck.
You might try hassling the hosting service... lileks.com resolves to, which, according to arin.net, is in a block assigned to Everyones Internet, Inc., in Houston:
TechName: Williams, Randy
TechPhone: +1-713-400-5400
TechEmail: [email protected]
If they're blocking IP addresses, I'd guess their technical-contact person would know about it.

(15) Dan made the following comment | Oct 24, 2004 1:00:06 AM | Permalink


Not sure what your Internet security sttings are but recent IE upgrades have been playing hell with them. I'd suggestas a first easy step to set all settings to low security and attempt to access the site. I have had a blog or two over time I couldn't access and it has always come down to adjusting my own settings because of something they were running on their page - an add, or some such that was linked to a blocked domain.

(16) Stan made the following comment | Oct 24, 2004 1:06:00 AM | Permalink

I just added your feed to my news aggregator (News Gator), and it automatically picked up your feed (index.rdf) just fine.

No problems with the feed from my end.

(17) FreakBoy made the following comment | Oct 24, 2004 1:18:13 AM | Permalink

'Pinging' lileks.com should indicate whether the problem is network or browser related.

You can do this by clicking the Start button, then clickingRun and typing in cmd (for winxp/2000/nt) or command (for win98/me/95) in the resulting dialog box then clicking ok.

From the Dos prompt the successful execution of the above commands creates, type in ping lileks.com then hit enter. You should see reply from blah blah 5 times. If you see request timed out then the problem is most likely ISP related. Signs point to the filtering mentioned above.

(type in exit and hit return, or click the 'X' in the upper right corner to close the DOS prompt)

If the ping test fails, 2 suggestions for resolution come to mind:

1. Call your ISP. Explain to them that you are unable to browse or even "ping" the www.lileks.com. If they are unable to bring satisfaction

2. If that fails, contact Randy Willaims at the [email protected] email Palooka so excellently mined from DNS, or a phone call if email does not provide good results.

Good Luck.

(18) Scott Kuntzelman made the following comment | Oct 24, 2004 1:35:41 AM | Permalink


One thing I'd suggest is trying to install Mozilla Firefox, which you can download from

The Mozilla Site.

It will co-exist with IE, and it's useful to see whether it's a browser issue or something else. It also has a built-in pop-up blocker and other features - I've relegated IE to my "back-up" browser, and only use it for those few sites that 'insist' that I have to use IE to access them.
Good luck!

(19) steve poling made the following comment | Oct 24, 2004 1:39:55 AM | Permalink

1) can you ping Lileks' site?
2) can you view it using Firefox (or Mozilla)?

Brighter lights than mine have already weighed in on how to do do these things. The tenor of the comments seems to indicate that you won't be able to view using Firefox and maybe not ping, either. This means that your IP address is being discriminated against.

3) what is your IP address?

goto DOS, type ipconfig, jot what it tells you. Give that to some tech guy with your ISP, tell him the problem, that you need a new DHCP lease on a different IP address. redo steps #1 and #2.

(20) CERDIP made the following comment | Oct 24, 2004 9:43:37 AM | Permalink

>>Looks like an ISP is blocking a whole load of verizon IPs.

Andy, the IP addy I had that was blocked was also a 70.xxx.xxx.xxx, althhough not a Verizon one. I'm now on a 69.som.eth.ing.

I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts that Beldar's IP addy is also a 70.xxx.xxx.xxx

(21) Chris97b made the following comment | Oct 24, 2004 2:49:43 PM | Permalink

In my experience, the best way to locate a network / routing issue is a trace route (in windows, go to a dos prompt and type tracert OR ie: tracert www.google.com OR tracert Each line of the output is a network device the connection is being routed through. If it lists a response time, than the connection successfully made it to that device. Find out where it times out, the connection is dying between the last successful hop, and the next device. Many times, the next device will not be obvious, but in a lot of cases, it will die after 1 or 2 hops, at your ISP. If this is the case, they are blocking outbound connections to that site/IP. If it get out of your ISP's net, E-mail the whois contat for the last good hop. Occasionally, it is being blocked further inside their network, and often times they can tell you what the next hop should have been, allowing you to contact whoever is doing the blocking. Also, it's always a good idea to make sure you aren't listed in one of the various spam/security block lists. Check http://www.dnsstuff.com to check your IP. (remember, you can always get your IP by going to a dos prompt and typing winipcfg (for win 95/98/me/2000) or ipconfig (for win XP)

(22) Mark Steel made the following comment | Nov 27, 2004 6:16:40 PM | Permalink

Well, my Systems Administration skills came under fire today from an angry, young Starbucks Customer (I think that might be the nicest thing I can say about him).

I host several *extremely* popular Blog Sites on one of my servers, including Lileks' site and several Tiki and Vintage sites. This server is often a target for Abuse by Anti-Vintage Terrorists, Liberal Leftist Guerillas, Dan Rather Supporters and the ever-persistent Porn King of Paducah, Kentucky.

I can with utmost sincerity assure you, however --- WE ARE NOT BLOCKING ANYONE...

...Unless, of course, your IP address is attacking one of our servers, due to

- a Virus you may not know you have (you should be ashamed!),
- an insecure wireless router at your place which allows unrestricted access to your network by the Anti-Bleatist parked in front of your house (RTMFM!),
- you're actively attacking us (if so, it's harder to do from jail),
- Someone is hijacking your IP as mentioned in a previous post (ground for you to find a new ISP since they obviously aren't preventing and easily preventable problem),
- etc.

Situations like these will sort themselves out in 7 days. Of course, if you keep attacking, we'll keep banning, and you may never get to read The Bleat.

The biggest problem are the latest set of Viruses and Worms. They disable your Virus scanner, and attack different sites. They Spam, and PortScan, and allow other people to use your machine as an instrument to hack other systems. Keep your machines clean --- yes, you DO need better than the AntiVirus that came with Microsoft Plus! for Windows 98. If you're still using McAfee 3, 4, or 5, or Norton Antivirus from 2001, YOU DON'T HAVE ANY VIRUS PROTECTION --- go out and spend $60 NOW! Personally, I recommend Avast! (http://www.avast.com/).

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