Bit by Bitly!

A bizarre bug in a Firefox plugin pretty much 86ed this blog for anyone using IE in the last month or so. I installed the Bitly Preview Firefox plug-in, which expands shortened urls in web pages so you can see where they’ll take you. Seemed useful, since I’m active on Twitter and they show up there all the time.

Anyway, this plugin apparently had a bug. If you had the 1.1 version installed, and you edited anything in a rich text editor (like, um, the one I’m writing this post in), it would toss a little javascript code in after your text. The code wasn’t malicious – it was pretty ineffectual – but Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, versions 6 and 7, were completely dumbfounded by it (MS admits that this is a bug and say that they’ve fixed it in IE8). Anyone visiting the blog in those browsers recently has been hit with a pop-up error complaining that the page can’t be displayed. This blog is not the biggest destination site on the web, and I’m pretty sure that most of you are reading this in the comfort of your own RSS reader (you should be – look for my upcoming Idealware article explaining how and why, if you aren’t).

Anyway, the fix was to remove or upgrade the bitly plugin; load up PHPMyAdmin on my server and run the query:

select * from wp_posts where post_content like ‘%bitly%’;

then, since I only had a handful of matches (my last five posts), select them all and remove the line at the bottom of each post, which was a script containing the text:

s.bit.ly/bitlypreview.js

Definitely one of the odder glitches I’ve experienced!

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