It is, of course, asking for trouble to expect any web site to be problem free and at present this one can pose problems to people trying to register, log-in or subscribe (see the 2nd question below). However, apart from that (!), this site should have fewer problems than any of its earlier versions (possibly apart from the very first version of the site which was so simple that there was little that could go wrong with it). To avoid delay & problems with the release of this site in 2014, I had to scale back some initial hopes for the site (see ‘Possible changes in the future’ on History of the site) but I was keen to make sure that the site was kept simple enough to operate well for everyone. HOWEVER, as indicated by that 2nd question below, this has not been as successful as was initially thought. The long-term solution – to build a site from scratch that delivers what is needed to display our Families Database in a way that is robust enough to deal with all future changes in all of the main browers – is a huge challenge and may take some time to resolve.
PBG note: The main challenge I face with the site is keeping it fully compatible with many different browers. Many people use just one browser, perhaps the one that came free with the computer when they bought it. However, browsers do vary and sometimes that makes a difference. I suggest that, if you are having problems with this site (or any other site) with one particular browser, do not be shy of trying another browser. This applies to many sites, not just this one!
I distinguish between questions seeking help for dealing with problems and questions that merely ask for advice on how to do something. It is possible that you have an issue that you view as a problem but I view as a misunderstanding that can be dealt with best through providing an answer to a question. This page is for helping people sort out what I view as problems. If it does not cover an issue you think I should have addressed, or if you are seeking advice on the way this site works, please see the other page in this Support section and/or the pages in the Frequenty Asked Questions (FAQ) section. In particular, if you have a question about your Membership, please see Membership FAQ. Finally, don’t forget the final question below – “I’ve tried everything but am still having problems. Can you help?”. Over the years quite a few problems have been reported to me by site visitors that were sorted simply by them forcing their browsers to clear a cookie blockage and ‘see’ a page properly.
This question applies to the simple situation before the problems covered by the next question below.
The following covers the most common situations. The Answer may well be because:
1. you have never registered an account with us.
– Unless you have completed our registration process, our system will not see you as having registered an account with us. Please do not confuse this site with any other site!
2. any account you registered with us has been deleted.
– It is rare for us to delete registered accounts but we will do so if we view any of its details as suspiciously like spam. I apologise if this has happened to you by mistake.
3. you are using the wrong Username or Password.
– see Membership FAQ for advice on how to change your registered Username, Password, or Email address.
4. your account has been suspended.
– It is rare for us to have disputes with anyone. However, over the years there has been a very small number of people who have tried to cheat us in one way or another. We have banned them from registering with us.
5. either you have left yourself logged-in to your account somewhere else or someone else is using your account.
– You will be able to open this site in different tabs or windows of the same computer and even on different computers which share an IP address. However, like many other sites, to protect ourselves from people just sharing their account with others, we do not allow the site to be opened from different IP addresses at the same time.
The IP address is the address used by your computer (or computer network) to identify it on the Internet. Without it, it would not be possible to have what you want to see directed to your computer. Every time you enter any site, your IP address is reported to the site. From this, our site’s systems is able to check what your IP address is when you login and so can stop your account being used by more than one IP address at a time.
From mid/late-2017 until early-2018, we received occasional reports of people having problems registering or logging-in or completing payment. It may be that the underlying problem was that we were operating under the http://protocol so that, since we upgraded to using the https:// protocol in October 2018, such problems have disappeared. However, it was clear that only some people were affected in the past as others (most?) were able to register, log-in & pay without any difficulty. That led us to suspect that there was more than one issue involved which means that we are not confident that there are not other issues still to be resolved (for some browsers). In case that is the case, we keep below the suggestions we had made previously which we know did work for some people..
REGISTRATION AND PAYMENT
As reported on History of the site, this site was redone in 2014 to make it better at dealing with changes made by different browsers. It appears that this was not as successful as it initially appeared. We suspect that some browsers (not least Firefox?) have made changes that do not suit this site. This appears not to be causing the Logging-in problems, for which see below, but it does seem to make it impossible for some people to Register or Complete Payment. If you suspect that that applies to you, you may wish to try another browser ** but don’t forget that we can register accounts & process payments manually and that you can pay us in ways that do not need the automatic registration & payment process (see Using PayPal to transfer funds to Stirnet and Payments by Bank Transfer or Sterling Cheque). There are days when Peter will be slow to respond to emails but most days he will respond quite quickly to Membership issues (see Contact Us).
** The main browsers are Google’s Chrome, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Mozilla’s Firefox, Safari and Opera.
(a) Clicking in the Username box on the Login form should no longer lead to a message or symbol that indicates that the Login is not secure. [This matter is referred to further in the next Question.] Note that, should somehow you still see that message and have refreshed the browser (as suggested in the answer to the next question), and the message obscures the Password part of the Login form, that should not stop you from completing the Login. All you need to do, after entering your Username, is click outside of the form to clear the message and then enter your Password.
(b) Under the login form, for use after you have entered your Username and Password, there is a field “Press Return or Click here to Login”. Clicking on that field is not working properly for everyone. If that affects you, simply press the Return key on your keyboard.
CHANGE OF PASSWORD
If you have forgotten your password and find that the ‘Forgotten Username or Password?’ link on the Login form does not work, Contact Us (by e-mail). Peter cannot see existing passwords but he can manually set you up with a new password. Tell him if you want him to set you up with a particular password as otherwise he will set you up with something simple.
As far as we know, the ‘Change Password’ link on the Account page, which is linked to from the ‘Hi (You)’ link shown at the top-right of each page after you have logged-in, is still working for everyone.
Since mid/late-2021 we have received occasional reports of people having problems logging-in, with the screen going grey. As far as we are aware, that greying is almost certainly part of the normal display of the ‘Login or Register’ option but without that option actually being displayed. We believe that that is almost certainly being caused by a cookie blockage. We deal with cookie blockages in the “I’ve tried everything but am still having problems” point below.
This should not happen any more as we have converted the site from the longstanding http:// protocol to the relatively-modern more secure https:// protocol (process completed in October 2018). If you are still seeing such a message then, unless it is a new problem (!), it is possible that your browser is still showing a cached (old) version of the page. Simply make sure that you refresh your browser’s loading of the page. If the problem continues or you are not sure how to check that you have refreshed your browser properly, see the “I’ve tried everything but am still having problems” point below.
As a general comment about the security of this site, please note that:
– we use an experienced security-conscious Service Provider to host our site (Krystal);
– we pass the site through CloudFlare;
– we never receive credit or payment details about any of our Members as most of our subscriptions pass through PayPal whilst those that do not (receipts by bank transfer or cheque) are not processed through our site’s online systems at all but are done manually); and
– whilst it is of course a good thing that browsers take reasonable steps to ensure that their users are not vulnerable to fraudulent hackers & scamsters, some browsers make such a fuss about such things that it makes you wonder how confident they are in the security of their code!
If you are corresponding directly with Peter, it is likely that he (me) is just being slow to deal with correspondence (see the E-mail Issues section on Contact us).
If you were expecting to receive an automated mail from Stirnet, let me first clarify when it is that our system sends out automated emails to site users:
– when they first register (to confirm details of the registration) but not if they have registered only for FREE status,
– when they have completed a payment (to confirm details thereof), and
– when they have lost a password (to provide them with a link to a page where they may reset the Password).
If you do not receive an automated e-mail, it is likely that your e-mail system has seen that the e-mail was generated automatically, viewed it to be spam, and stopped you from receiving it. To get around that you should be able to tell your e-mail system to accept all e-mails coming from Stirnet.com.
This version of the site does not (yet) send out an automated reminder shortly before a subscription period expires. This is mentioned on both News01 – Changes to the site and the Possible changes in the future note on History of the site.
For more information on cookies, see the Privacy & Cookies page.
If you are unable to open the site at all, please let us know ASAP (!) but, if possible, please make sure that:
– if any ‘Error Message’ is reported by your browser, you provide us with a screen shot of that message (or at least tell us what it says); and
– tell us what browser you were using; and (if possible):
– try the site in another browser and let us know if you experience the same (or similar) problem with that one.
Ensuring that pages are printed properly in each of the main browsers is no easy task! Indeed, it is impossible to be sure that all possible combinations of printers and browsers can be dealt with. Some browsers seem more prone than others to having printing issues. I am reasonably confident that this site should not cause printing problems so, if your printer has a major problem with your present browser, it may be worth your while trying it with another browser. Some of the major browsers force their host computers to update the browsers whenever an update is released so, unless that forcing has been specifically disabled, the points made below about ‘early versions’ should no longer apply.
* Are you using Internet Explorer as your browser? If so please see the question below for people using that browser.
* Are you using an early version of Opera as your browser? If so then your printer might print out a blank page. It appears that Opera treats the start of a table as a page break. Although this also affects a few other pages in the site, it is particularly relevant to the data pages in our Families Database because we use tables to present the genie data. We view this issue as a quirk of Opera that has to be lived with.
* Are you using an early version of Firefox? If so then you may experience printing problems with many sites. We recommend that you update the browser.
General Tip: Our preferred way to print pages is to use Ctrl+P (holding down the Control key and then pressing p).
Microsoft was not liked by web site programmers in the past because they were slow to adopt international programming standards. However, recent versions of Internet Explorer (IE) have significantly improved their compliance with such standards. Like most other web sites, we do not try to support versions of IE before IE8 and I understand that even Microsoft has stopped supporting versions up to and including IE10. [This last updated 17.12.17.]
The following should not apply to this site any longer. They did in the past so I have kept the information in case it is helpful with your dealings with other sites.
If you see the message “Internet Explorer cannot open the Internet site …. Operation aborted” when you enter a web site, it is likely that you are using IE8 and that it is not switching into its compatibility mode, perhaps because you have a very early edition of that version. To access the page you wanted, click the OK on that message and you will be taken to a Microsoft page entitled “Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage” which contains a box with ‘Diagnose Connection Problems’. Ignore that and just click on the Back Arrow at the top left of your browser. That should take you back to the page you wanted after which you should be able to move around the database without any more problems. As mentioned above, you should see the error message only if you have an IE8 browser which does not switch into compatibility mode. If you think that your browser may be “remembering the problem”, see the last question below. Otherwise, we suggest that you either upgrade to the most recent version of IE or try another browser.
Some people have/had problems in viewing certain web sites when using some versions of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (such as IE9). To get around this, Microsoft developed a Compatibility Mode which was more flexible in dealing with such sites than its Standard Mode. To turn that on, whilst viewing the site, click on the Tools Menu and enter ‘Compatibility View settings’ then simply click on the Add button there to add the relevant site to the sites for which ‘Compatibility View’ is applied.
Some versions of IE provide an option to print all documents linked to the current page. If that option has been turned on and you are trying to print out a page from the Families Database, the printer may try to print the whole database. Given that the database contains well over 6,000 pages, that is likely to cause your printer and hence your computer a bit of a problem, probably making it freeze. You may be able to exit the freeze by using the standard Ctrl+Alt+Del combination and ending the printer application. If that does not work then you may have to turn off the computer and start again. To avoid this problem, simply click on your Print control, go to the Options tab, and ensure that the ‘Print all linked documents’ box has not been turned on. If it has been turned on, just turn it off.
I am reasonably confident that, except as reported above, all of the basics of this site will work well for just about everybody. However, even if every site you have recently visited is perfect in every way, it seems that sometimes a ‘gremlin’ can arrive in your computer through some form of Internet ‘glitch’. If you are having a problem, having tried (and properly followed) anything suggested above that seems to be applicable, it is possible that the problem has in fact been solved but you are not able to see that because your computer’s memory has stored the problem and is repeating it, perhaps because of some kind of ‘cookie blockage’. This is surprisingly common. Normally, simple steps clear it:
– hold down the ‘Ctrl’ key on your keyboard and press F5 (this should force your browser to refresh its look at the page, an alternative to this is Ctrl+Shift+R).
– make sure you are logged-out from this site, close down your browser, and start again.
– if that doesn’t work, repeat it but also close down your computer and leave it off for several seconds before starting again.
– if that doesn’t work, repeat it but also close down your computer and leave it off for at least an hour before starting again.
– if that doesn’t work, clear your browser’s cached memory of pages recently visited and start again.
– if that doesn’t work, try another browser. **
** The most popular browsers are Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer & Edge. They are all very impressive but they are different from each other. [Trying to allow for those differences can be a nightmare for web site developers.] However, as evidenced by the frequency of updates that they issue, they don’t always get everything right and sometimes an update can make some things worse than they were before.