Tech Q&A: Why some photos are missing from e-mails or websites


Some website photos download more slowly than others, and sometimes you have to wait for them. Why? Website operators long ago learned not to let consumers download all the photos on a website at once. — 123rf.com

Q: I'm sending you an e-mail that I received from an online retailer. It contains some product pictures and some question marks where product pictures should be. This also happens with other e-mails and websites that I view. I'm using the Google Chrome browser, a MacBook Air laptop and Comcast Internet service. What's wrong?

— Jane Zimmermann, Maple Grove, Minn.

A: I was able to see all the images in the e-mail you sent me, even though I also use the Chrome browser and Comcast Internet service. That suggests there's a difference between either our browsers or our Internet connections.

Here are some browser problems you might have:

— Browser congestion. Clear the Chrome browser's cache (previously stored website data) and cookies (bits of code stored in your browser that identify you to websites.) This often helps browser performance. (For directions, see tinyurl.com/2mpus4cb).

— Your version of the Chrome browser may be old. Try updating it or downloading a new copy (see tinyurl.com/3zw6hww8).

— Your security software may be blocking some images from downloading. Try briefly disabling your antivirus software, then see if the missing photos appear on your screen. If they do, you'll need to set the security software to make an "exception" for the website you're viewing. Here are some potential internet connection issues:

— Slow Internet speed can delay the downloading of website pictures, which contain more data than text does. While you have a fast cable Internet connection, there are things that can slow it down, such as Comcast technical issues, Internet congestion problems or bottlenecks in your home computer network (see tinyurl.com/hfk3kauf). Check your actual Internet speed (see tinyurl.com/dxxxht8) against the Internet speed you're paying for.

— Some website photos download more slowly than others, and sometimes you have to wait for them. Why? Website operators long ago learned not to let consumers download all the photos on a website at once. It made the website slow to appear in your browser (meaning you might get bored and look elsewhere) and it was wasteful, because most people didn't view all the pictures.

The solution for website operators was to give top priority to downloading the pictures you first see on the website, and second priority to the photos you would see if you scrolled down the page. As a result, many of the pictures in an online catalogue don't download until you scroll down the page to look at them (website operators refer to this as "lazy loading.") A slowed-down Internet connection will make this worse.

Q: My iPhone connects via Bluetooth to my 2020 Ford Escape. But when I play music, some of the songs are skipped. There seems to be no pattern to the skipping; it happens on songs purchased from iTunes and others copied from CDs. What can I do?

— James Olson, New Hope, Minn.

A: It's most likely a problem with Ford's Sync dashboard software, which connects to your iPhone. Several people have complained that the software skips songs when connected to a phone via Bluetooth. See tinyurl.com/yb4bsx44 for Sync troubleshooting tips and tinyurl.com/d7f64ntv for Sync updating instructions. – Star Tribune/TNS

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