The Official GPF FAQ

Last updated September 28, 2012

Hey, gang! Got a question about GPF? How it works, where I get ideas, how much wood would a woodchuck chuck...? Then this is the place to start. We get tons of mail regarding the strip and the site, but a lot of questions can be easily answered by reading this FAQ first. If you can't find the answer to the question you're asking, then by all means drop us a line and we'll try and answer you ASAP. But you can save us both a little time by checking here first!

General Categories

About the Strip
About the Site
About the Author

Questions by Category

About the Strip

About the Site

About the Author

Answers to Questions

What exactly is GPF anyway?

General Protection Fault (usually abbreviated GPF) is the (hopefully) humorous cartoon creation of Jeffrey T. Darlington, filled with intelligent humor, realistic characters, and sentient slime molds. To learn more about the strip itself, please read the following sections of our site: About GPF, the GPF Wiki, Behind the Scenes, and the Comic Archive.

For those interested, GPF gets its name from the dreaded "general protection fault" error in Intel x86 and related processors and most familiar to regular users of the Microsoft Windows. The error has been called many different things over the years ("unrecoverable application error", GPF, "illegal operation", "segmentation fault"), but they're all essentially the same thing. From Wikipedia:

If the processor detects a protection violation it stops executing the code and sends a General Protection Fault interrupt. In most cases the operating system will simply remove the failing process from the execution queue, signal the user and continue executing another program. If however the operating system fails to catch the General Protection Fault, i.e. another protection violation occurs before the operating system returns from the previous General Protection Fault-interrupt, the processor will signal a double fault (interrupt vector 8, a typical BSOD scenario). If yet another failure occurs, the processor will shut down (see triple fault). It will then only respond to a reset (that is, pressing the reset-button) or init (rebooting the entire system) and non-maskable interrupts (unless it has previously failed when handing NMI-interrupts, in which case it will ignore these too).

While the term "general protection fault" has gone out of use over the years as Windows has "matured" (and tried harder and harder to hide the guts of the computer from less savvy users), we still think the analogy is perfect. :) [Top]

Is it "GPF", "General Protection Fault", or "GPF Comics"? I've seen it written all three ways...

Officially, the name of the comic strip itself is "General Protection Fault". This is our "formal" name and, by association, the name of the site. "GPF" is the "official" (i.e. preferred) abbreviation of the full name. Please do not uses spaces ("G P F") or periods ("G.P.F.") in the abbreviation. As an example, if you're writing an article about the strip and you refer to it by name, we prefer that you use the full title for links and for the first time the comic is mentioned, but it's OK to use the acronym for the rest of the article. "GPF Comics" is a sort of unofficial "doing business as" title we sometimes use for the "company" or "business" behind the comic. Please do not use "GPF Comics" when referencing the comic itself or linking to the site. Lots of folks have done this over the years, especially because that's the way our domain name reads, but this hurts our search engine optimization and general "brand recognition".

Where did this strip come from?

GPF started pretty much by accident. During a brief period of time at work where there was nothing to do, I let a recently-hired coworker use my PC to Web surf. During that time, I took out my handy notepad and pen and took to doing what I often do when there's nothing else to do: draw. Before long, I had created an entire cast of characters, their personalities, and the entire premise behind why they were together. Over the next year, I accumulated over 400+ sample comic strips based on these characters, so I decided to turn it into a real strip and publish it on the Web.

For a more in-depth view into GPF's history, read our Behind the Scenes page. Subscribers to GPF Premium can get a more in-depth look at how the strip is made in the Premium-exclusive Behind the Scenes section. [Top]

How can I quickly get up to speed on what's going on?

That's a difficult question to answer. GPF is usually broken up into individual stories ranging from one week to several months or even a year or more in length, and mostly these stories are self-contained. However, the strip does have a semi-serial nature, in that past events can dramatically affect future story arcs. You can get a quick introduction to the core cast by reading the Main Characters category of the Wiki. The Story Index also has a brief summary of each story, but both this page and the Wiki may contain spoilers. True knowledge only comes with deep research. Once you've read these, take time to delve into the Comics Archive. This is the only way to truly understand the complex stories that may have developed over time. [Top]

Who are the members of the cast?

The "main" cast occasionally fluctuates over time as some characters come and go, such as finding other jobs, going on the lam from major world governments, or getting kidnapped by aliens. The original core members of the cast include Nick, Ki, Fooker, Dwayne, and Trudy, with Fred the Slime Mold and his "spawn"/"girlfriend" Persephone soon to follow. However, times change and so do faces in the strip, as secondary characters have been promoted to "principle" status: Sharon, Dexter, and Trent. For a better look at each one, please check out the Main Characters category of the Wiki. There, you can also find little nuggets of info about some of the more interesting reoccurring secondary characters. [Top]

Who's your favorite GPF character?

It really depends on what mood I'm in. I love each and every member of the cast for very different reasons. Nick is... well, Nick is basically me. Ki is also based very closely on my wife. Fooker is an amalgam of many of my friends and is just fun to draw and work with. Dwayne is noble and honorable (if a bit clueless) and I admire him and his enthusiasm. Fred is just pure fun; he lets me say and do things I could only dream of doing. And Trudy... it's always fun to have a purely evil person around. She makes for interesting situations. All in all, I feel the cast is small, robust, and even, and I love them all as a whole. [Top]

Where does GPF take place? Where is GPF Software located?

The exact location of GPF Software is specifically vague. In this way, it's easy for readers to believe that the characters could very well live in their own home town (which some readers have actually accused me of). However, it's safe to assume that GPF takes place somewhere on the eastern seaboard of the United States, since several clues have surfaced as such throughout the strip. [Top]

Where do you get your ideas?

From just about anywhere. :) Life can be strange sometimes, and can throw you some really strange stuff. Some ideas come to me from things that have happened to me personally, at work or elsewhere in life. Others come from stories my friends tell me, or just a humorous idea they may mention ("It would be really neat if Fred would....") Parodies are, well, parodies. What can I say?

I have always had an imagination that was constantly stuck in hyperdrive. From those first stick-figure comics I drew in church bulletins to the comic books I drew in high school and college, I've always let my imagination lead me to where it wanted to go. I strongly suggest that, every now and then, you let your imagination do the driving for you, too.

I should add that while I'm honored that my little strip has sparked so many imaginations among those of you reading, I ask that you not send me your story suggestions for legal and copyright reasons. I don't want to be accused of stealing someone else's ideas, even if I really came up with the same thing completely independently. [Top]

Do you do this for money?

Well, that's kind of the idea, I hope. :) Right now, we have four main money-making schemes in place: Web site advertising, sales from book compilations and our online store, and subscriptions through our GPF Premium service. Other than these sources, we receive no money for bringing GPF lovingly to you every day. We certainly don't charge you for reading the strip here online. :) We are exploring other potential revenue avenues, but nothing has been finalized yet.

By what process do you create the strip?

There's a rather detailed behind-the-scenes article that explains the process I go through to create the strip. However, I don't have a lot of time to keep it updated, so it's a tad out of date. There is a much more exhaustive and up-to-date version available for our GPF Premium subscribers, and since people pay for that version I'm more motivated to keep it current. [Top]

Can I copy this GPF strip and use it in my newsletter, on my web page, etc.?

Not without permission. All GPF strips are copyrighted and remain the sole possession of me, Jeffrey T. Darlington. I have no problem with people copying a picture and mailing it to a friend, or referring them to our URL (preferred), but you cannot publish a GPF strip online or in print without express written permission. For more information on our copyright issues, please read our Copyright Info page. [Top]

Is it okay for me to post one or two strips at the office, on the school bulletin board, etc.?

Yes, within reason. If you have a favorite GPF strip that you'd like to keep within easy eye-shot, it would be a great honor to me if you printed it out and posted it up. It's one of those things a lot of us cartoonists dream about. :) But please only do this sparingly. Do not post the daily strip, printed and updated every day, in a public place. A single, isolated strip or two is no problem, but a regularly updated posting is. And whenever you post a strip, please make sure all the copyright information and the site URL are still visible.

You can also e-mail a strip to a few friends. Just don't make a regular habit of it. Mass e-mailing of GPF on a regular basis without express permission isn't kosher. And you may NOT place a strip on a web site in any manner without express written permission to do so. [Top]

Is it okay for me to programmatically get the daily strip off your site? Is this what you consider "copyright infringement?"

We define "programmatic harvesting" of the strip to be the use of some method of systematic calculation (i.e., JavaScript in a Web page, Perl or PHP on a server, some external script or program on your hard drive, etc.) that isolates a GPF strip from its normal context (i.e., the main page or normal archive page) for redisplay independent of the original context or independently downloaded without the download of the surrounding context material (i.e., the HTML page, archive navigation, advertising, etc.). This is usually encountered in one of two situations: private personal use (i.e., speeding up your daily comic reading by gathering all your favorite strips on a single page, usually stored on your local hard drive) and public redisplay (i.e., "inlining" the strip on a publicly accessible Web site, regardless of whether the intention is for private use or not).

Local harvesting for personal use is strongly discouraged. While we admire your ingenuity and technical skill in creating such a script or program, please understand that removing our strips from the surrounding material—especially the advertising—can significantly impact us financially. When you download our strips without the accompanying banner ads, you essentially rob us of desperately needed income that keeps our site online, serving up free online entertainment for you and thousands of others. See this FAQ question for a more detailed explanation of how this hurts us financially.

"Inlining" the strip into a publicly accessible Web site not only deprives us of much needed ad revenue, but also raises the question of possible copyright infringement. If a Web site can be compared to a print publication, inlining our strips would be equivalent to cutting out an illustration from your favorite magazine and pasting it into your own document. Obviously, the magazine would want to be compensated for the use of its material and would seek legal action if it felt its intellectual property were being used without its permission. This is how we at GPF interpret U.S. and international copyright law and we feel it is a fair and logical extension of existing statutes. As such, we view the use of any image from this site on any other publicly available Web site—be it a personal site, commercial, a blog, forum, social network, or any other publicly available Web page—without our express written permission to be a violation of U.S. and international copyright law and we will pursue our rights in a court of law if necessary. We also feel that this interpretation extends to mass redistribution of the strip via e-mail outside of our own established official channels.

Note that we distinguish the use of local harvesting for private use (i.e., the files are only available on your hard drive and can't be accessed from Internet users at large) from private use of a publicly accessible Web site. Even if your private harvesting page/script is stored in a "hidden" location on your Web server, we consider it publicly accessible and therefore in violation of our copyrights if that page can be accessed by anyone on the Internet with minimal effort. Simply hiding the URL by obscuring it (such as changing the link color) does not effectively hide the page, as search engines can still easily index your harvesting page and return it in someone's search results. "Hiding by obscurity" (that is, no direct links from your usually accessible pages) is not considered private by our definition, as your page can still be accessed through log files and similar means. Using password protected directories on a publicly accessible server would be considered private and not infringing by our definition, but the practice is still discouraged for reasons already stated.

As already mentioned, we have the right to protect our intellectual property and we will exercise that right if we feel it has been infringed upon. We don't like to be all mean and nasty about it, but we feel that we have a very valuable service to the online community and we want to protect its very fragile financial stability. We do have the capacity to block anyone from accessing our strips directly without going through one of our pages, but we have not exercised that functionality yet and we hope not to. Please don't be the one that forces us to cross that line. [Top]

How can I tell which Web sites out there use GPF with your permission?

I know I've been a stickler on copyrights for years now, and some of you may be wondering, "Well, what about such and such site? I've seen GPF there. Are they doing this without permission?" Well, here's the official rule: At the moment, no external site has been granted permission to display the regularly updated comic, so any site that displays our current strip (updated each day) does so without our permission and in our view may be in violation of copyright law. There are a few isolated sites that display a single, static GPF strip with our permission and these sites have been asked to place a "used with permission" statement below the strip. All other sites—especially those that display the current (and updated) daily strip—do NOT have our permission, nor will it be granted to them in the foreseeable future.

If you ever find a site that does shows our strip without permission, please tell us about it. It's virtually impossible for us to track down all such sites ourselves, and any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Feel free to contact me any time you find such a site. [Top]

I'd like to host the daily GPF strip on my site. Can I have your permission to do so?

Now that we've left Keenspot, this possibility is more open than it used to be. However, only sites that have been granted explicit written permission will be able to do so without fear of legal entanglements. NO EXCEPTIONS. Please see the Syndication page for details. [Top]

Why are some comics in color while others are black and white?

When I first started GPF, it was my hope that it would somehow, by some bizarre miracle, be syndicated. While I personally doubt this will ever happen (I haven't actively tried to sell the comic to a syndicate), we do have several books in print, which to me is even better. :) And, because printing in black and white is a lot cheaper than printing in color, it made more sense in the beginning to keep the comic in gray scale. This remained the case for the first five years, until we switched to full color all week long during Year Six. Unfortunately, part way through Year Seven I was forced by time constraints to reduce the daily strips back down to gray scale, and they remained that way through Year Eight (for consistency purposes). In Year Nine and onwards, the comics will return to gray scale, simply to make comic production more time efficient.

At this time, we have no plans for going back and colorizing the gray scale comics, so if you really, really want to see them in color, feel free to print the images out and attack them with a box of crayons. [Top]

Why are there no Sunday comics early and late in the archives?

Looking back in the archives, you'll notice that between September 2000 and October 2001, we only ran one Sunday strip per month. Starting November 4, 2001, we began running full-color Sunday strips every week. The reason for the slow adoption of Sundays was primarily an issue of time, because they take so much extra effort beyond what is required for the gray scale strips. Another factor was computing power, because the larger strips combined with a higher color depth and the high resolution needed for eventual printing requires some serious processor and memory crunching. But we slowly eased them into the schedule, and we were pleased that they didn't slowed us down much.

In Year Nine, I found myself much more pressed for time to produce the comic, as I now had a son to help take care of. So starting with the beginning of that year, I ditched the color strips entirely to streamline the production process. Hopefully, this won't be a permanent situation.

We used to maintain a "Sunday Comic Index" that allowed people to find the older Sunday-style comics before they became a regular feature. Over time, this page became less and less relevant, so we've decided to completely remove this page. If you really want to find these old strips, check out the Archives by Date page. These comics updated on the first Sunday of each month in 2000 and 2001, so they shouldn't be too hard to find. [Top]

What's a "Faultie?" I keep seeing that term used around this site....

A Faultie is a wonderful, brilliant, intelligent, and often highly creative individual who just happens to be a devoted fan of GPF. There are no other requirements for the title, which means Faulties can come from incredibly diverse and interesting backgrounds. This diversity gives Faulties their strength, while the common bond of reading and enjoying GPF draws ordinarily uncommon elements into one cohesive body of readers.

There is no initiation to become a Faultie; simply read the strip and enjoy it. Some denizens on the forum may experience a brief hazing ritual called "poking the newbie," but this is mostly harmless. One word of warning, however: Simply reading the strip may become habit forming, and some individuals have exhibited extreme cases of obsession, including caring so deeply for the characters that they flame the cartoonist when something bad happens to them, or posting excessively to our forum. There is no cure for these symptoms... the main comfort of those afflicted with this condition is to communicate with other Faulties and share their joys and sorrows. [Top]

I draw an online comic and I'd like to use one of your characters in a cameo. Is that okay?

Cameos of GPF characters are generally okay with me, provided you abide by a few minor standards:

  • You give credit where credit due. Make sure to note the character is created and copyrighted by me (Jeffrey T. Darlington), note that he/she/it is from GPF, and provide an appropriate link back to our site. Do not claim the characters as your own.
  • You may not use the characters in any fashion deemed inappropriate or in poor taste. Inappropriate use may include nudity, sexual promiscuity, inebriation through drugs or alcohol, and use of obscene, offensive, or hateful language, or any additional use that in my judgment I may consider inappropriate. If you think your strip may "borderline" on one of these issues, please let me preview it before it "goes live" to the public.

Please note that this permission for using a GPF character in a cameo appearance does not imply or guarantee any form of reciprocal link back to your site. (Some sites do this simply to fish for links from "bigger" comics, a practice I'm not too fond of.) [Top]

Can I draw you some GPF fan art or write some GPF fan fiction?

We have no problems with fan art or fan fiction (also known as "fanfics"), provided you abide by the same general rules set forth for cameos. You must provide a copyright statement that explicitly lists me as the owner of the characters and agree to the rules of conduct listed above. In addition, we ask that you do not earn monetary reimbursement from this content; you may not charge any sort of fee to access the file, nor may you collect money from advertisements, donations, or other similar forums of revenue in association with the image or story. Of course, we proudly display fan art on our GPF Fan Art page, and may link to outstanding fan fiction from the Linked List. [Top]

I'd like to use a GPF character as a forum or IM avatar. Is that okay?

Absolutely. We have no problems with fans using our characters for forum or IM avatars, so long as you follow a few simple rules:

  • You must host the actual image from your own Web server or upload the file to the forum server. Please do not inline images directly from our server. Bandwidth bandits will not be tolerated.
  • You may edit the image within certain limits. You may crop or resize the image to the appropriate size required by the forum, and you may change minor details such as the colors of clothing, etc. You may not alter the image in any fashion that may be deemed as inappropriate use (see the cameos question).
  • You may not claim credit as the originator of the art. This is not necessarily a requirement to put a GPF copyright statement on the image or a return link to the comic, but you may not claim the image as your own work, nor use it to link to a different site. A link to GPF in your sig line would be appreciated, but not required.

[Top]

Is there a way for me to get an e-mail subscription to the strip, so it's delivered to my inbox every day?

Not at this time. We used to provide such a service to subscribers of Keenspot PREMIUM, but that part of PREMIUM was full of glitches and never really worked as expected. We hope to eventually provide this service again for subscribers to our GPF Premium service, but it's very unlikely it will ever be free. Premium folks should watch the News and the Rumor Mill for announcements.

Why don't we provide this service for free? Well, to make a long story short, e-mail subscription services are not cost effective and basically lose money. In order to offset the bandwidth costs accumulated by sending out all those e-mails, we could attempt to place advertising in each e-mail. Unfortunately, in most cases such advertising doesn't work or is blocked by default, which means we don't get compensated for the bandwidth spent. However, with the additional income of GPF Premium, I'd be much more comfortable opening up the service to loyal subscribers. [Top]

Is there an RSS feed for the comic?

Actually, now there is. Please understand that this feed is largely informational and only contains the dates for the most recent comic and News updates. There are no "deep links" to actual content, so to read a given strip or news post, you'll still need to follow the link in your browser to read it on the site. As long as GPF is largely advertising supported, this will always be the case. Also note that some times are approximate, so publication timestamps may not be down to the exact second.

There is a separate RSS feed for GPF Premium subscribers that includes additional Premium-exclusive update information. However, you must be a subscriber and enable Premium in your browser to find out what the URL to this feed is.

We are aware of several third-party feeds that redistribute the actual comic images via RSS. However, we would like to point out that these feeds do NOT have our permission to redistribute the comic and thus we consider them in violation of our copyright. (See this FAQ question.) We strongly discourage our readers from using these feeds, no matter how convenient you may find them to be. [Top]

What's the deal with the number six in the comic?

I have no idea what you're talking about. :) [Top]

Why don't you have a [insert racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, or other arbitrary grouping of humanity here] character in the cast?

I've been surprised at how often this question keeps coming up. (Thus the reason it got added to the FAQ.) The GPF cast is a large, dynamic group of characters which is constantly growing and evolving. While the specifics of incidental one-shot characters are generally made up off-the-cuff, any character that will have a significant impact on the story is carefully designed from the genes up. This includes a lot of those "Equal Opportunity" designations, such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and almost any other arbitrary designation mankind has devised to describe itself. The core cast was formulated over a long period of time with careful consideration to these and many other factors, and each time a new character is added I try to see what that character brings to the overall mosaic. I like to think of GPF as having a very diverse cast, not only in these realms but also in many other facets of individuality, such as personality. The bottom line is, if I haven't added a character from a specific social grouping yet, then the story hasn't called for them.

Of course, that usually leads to the question of, "Why can't you just add a token [fill in the blank group] then?" In my opinion, this would be far worse than seemingly ignoring a certain social group. "Token" characters are rarely more than cheap stereotypes and are generally an insult to the group they supposedly represent. GPF, while diverse and rich in its heritage, is not the end-all-be-all of webcomics, and I'm not going to pander to every such request. The GPF cast is large enough as it is, and if a new character is going to be added, it will for the sake of (hopefully) good story telling, not filling quotas. [Top]

I'd like to help translate GPF into another language!

Thank you for love of the strip and willingness to volunteer! Unfortunately, we aren't looking for translators at this time. We've had numerous volunteers step up to volunteer over the years, but usually the process ultimately dies out, either due to a loss of interest on their part or a failure to handle another project on mine. We have no interest in starting up a translation project with anyone who isn't up to the task, and when we're talking years of archives and thousands of comics, that task is gargantuan. So if you really want to volunteer, make sure that this is a commitment you are truly wishing to make.

We hope to eventually create a separate translation FAQ, but here are a few rules that we can think of governing translation projects. Since there is no active projects in place, these rules may be subject to change, but keep in mind that some are immutable.

  • Translations are purely a volunteer effort. We currently do not have the funds to pay for your services. That said, we don't want to take such devotion for granted, and we may be able to grant translators some nice extra perks, like free merchandise, books, or Premium subscriptions. You will be given credit for the translations you perform, and we will also happily link to your own Web site as a way of saying thanks, so long as it doesn't contain offensive or obscene content.
  • We would prefer that all translated comics be hosted on the official GPF site. This isn't necessarily a hard requirement written in stone (it used to be), but it might be said to be "written in Jell-O that's sat in the fridge overnight." We'd prefer to make this site the hub of all things GPF, and hosting the comics here gives us a great deal of control over what gets displayed and how it's displayed. We would provide you with an intermediate space to upload translated comics, which will then be synched with the main server, but we'd prefer that you not place them on any other publicly available Web space. This requirement might be negotiable if you provide compelling enough reasons, but it will definitely be an uphill battle.
  • At a minimum, we would also like a small portion of the GPF site to be translated as well. This would mostly consist of the main page and the archive templates, including all important text and images. This will give the translated site a nice unified look (i.e., no messy mixtures of English and some other language). Any additional HTML changes are not required but encouraged if you have time.

If you feel you can abide by these rules and are a true glutton for punishment, feel free to e-mail me and we'll try to get the process started. [Top]

Can you help me find a particular GPF strip?

Unfortunately, I don't have the time to help you individually in such a search. However, I strongly suggest you try out our Oh No Robot search page, which will let you search dialog, character appearances, scene descriptions, and even some types of comic metadata. GPF Premium subscribers can also search the Author's Notes database. [Top]

What are these "Transcribe this comic" and "Improve transcription" buttons under certain comics?

This is part of our hook into the Oh No Robot comic search engine. See this article in the GPF Wiki to see how you can help out with the transcriptions. [Top]

When does the comic update each day?

The updates occur roughly around midnight, Eastern (USA) time. That's 5AM GMT/UTC, if I remember correctly, or 4AM GMT/UTC when Daylight Saving Time is in effect (March through November). There are various technical reasons why this time may float around within a half-hour to an hour, so if the comic has not updated on time, please be patient and try again in a few minutes. Please don't send us panicked e-mails unless the comic is more than an hour late. [Top]

How come your site asks me to accept a "cookie" when I first arrive?

The current incarnation of the GPF site shouldn't set any unsolicited cookies when you first arrive. We have a policy of never setting cookies without getting your permission first. The GPF site does use cookies occasionally for special features. Some of our games use them extensively, and GPF Premium depends heavily on cookies for its operation. However, these cookies are geared solely to their given task, and record no more information than what they need (game state, customization options, etc.)

There is the possibility, however, that third-party advertisers may set what are called "third-party cookies" in your browser when you load an ad from their servers while visiting our site. These cookies are beyond our control, so we can claim no responsibility for how they may be used. Feel free to disable or block third-party cookies or cookies set by these specific services if you find them bothersome (I do myself). Better yet, why not subscribe to GPF Premium and remove those ads completely? Not only will you remove annoying ads and privacy-invading cookies, but you'll support us better financially. [Top]

I don't like cookies! Why can't you build a decent site without them?

I can build a decent site without them. In fact, in my opinion, I have. As stated above, the GPF site does not use cookies unless they are necessary, and these occasions are totally optional. But cookies offer a handy mechanism for storing information between web pages, which usually cannot store such information across sessions and visits.

Cookies are one of those truly hot topics online. Like any technology, they are neutral in alignment, being neither good nor evil in and of themselves. It is the intent of cookie setter and how they are used that makes them malicious or not. As promised, the GPF web site stores only the information specific to its application (game, Premium, etc.). For the truly cookie-phobic, we invite you to examine each cookie set by our server. We promise you'll find them completely harmless.

Of course, for those who absolutely cannot bear to live with the thought of cookies invading your machine, we suggest you disable accepting cookies within your Web browser itself. You can even block or allow cookies from specific sites, so you can block all sites but ours and still be able to use our features with confidence. Changing these settings vary from browser to browser, so check your browser's documentation to see how to do this. You can also find many pop-up and cookie blockers on the Web if you know where to look. We also strongly suggest that you periodically scan your computer for spyware, which unfortunately occasionally slips in from some of our advertisers. [Top]

Do you have restrictions on who can link to your site and how to do it?

Of course not! Anybody can link to us, if they want to. What you put on your web site is none of my concern, and I will happily accept any link you give us. However, please understand that this doesn't automatically guarantee a reciprocal link. :)

As for how you link to us, again, that's mostly your concern. If you'd like to use an image button or banner, we have a number of them available on the link icons page. If you give us a text link, please use the words "General Protection Fault" (NOT "GPF Comics" and preferably not just "GPF") for the link. Always link to our main page—http://www.gpf-comics.com/—when you link to our site, unless you're linking to a specific page in the archive, a specific News post, etc.. Please do not use any other image from our site for this link, or any form of misleading text. Do not "inline" or link directly to images on our site; if you're linking to a specific comic, link to the entire archive page, not just the image itself.

Please note that, if you use one of our link icons, please download the image and load a copy of it to your own site. Please do not directly link to the image on our server and use it on your page! Bandwidth bandits will not be tolerated! [Top]

How can I get my page listed on your Links Page?

We receive many, many requests for this, and often as not, they're more than we can handle. If you're going to ask for a link, be prepared for a long wait. We try to visit every site that requests and judge it on its content and appropriateness. Requests coming from sites containing offensive, obscene, pornographic, or illegal material, or any site promoting hatred and intolerance toward others will be immediately ignored. Requests coming from online comics will be judged on the quality of the work (both art and story), the content of the site, and the length of time the strip has been online (comic newbies probably need to grow into their strips a little more before we'll link to them). All other sites will be evaluated for content and design.

Keep in mind, we're not a miniature version of Yahoo!, so don't expect us to link to anyone and everyone. If we feel the link would be appropriate, then we'll add it. We want to add sites we feel are of interest to our primary audience, so tumbling circus aardvarks need not apply (unless your site is really, really kewl).

If you feel you can't live without a link to you from our page, then contact me with who you are, what your site is about, and its URL. We'll take a look at it, and try let you know what we think. If we do not feel a link is appropriate, you may or may not receive an e-mail explaining why; sometimes I'm very busy, and sometimes link requests get lost in the shuffle. And just because we won't provide a link doesn't mean you don't have a great site; something about your site or its content just didn't fit with what we're looking for. [Top]

As of this writing, we are not interested in hosting any manner of affiliate or paid links, or "swapping links" with sites with little or no common ground with us. Requests for such links will be silently ignored. If you're really desperate to get a link from us and you've got a little money to burn, you can bid for one of our Project Wonderful ad slots. See our Advertising page for more details.

I love this game! Can I make a copy of it and use it on my site?

All software on our site, including games and system software (such as the archive and daily strip scripts) are covered under the same copyrights as our comic strips unless otherwise noted. You can get more copyright information here. We'll be tickled pink if you would forward the URL of one of our games to a friend, or even link to our game from your site, but you cannot copy our games and use them on your site without permission.

The only exception to this rule is the "offline" versions of certain games on the Downloads page. You can download these and copy them to as many computers as you want, so long as the game remains unaltered and it is not placed online in any form except as the distribution archive. This and other issues are covered in each game's copyright statements. [Top]

How do I use the archive navigation?

Our archive navigation follows many of the de facto conventions you'll find on other webcomic sites. The buttons above and below the strip work much like a DVD, CD, or MP3 player. The "rewind" button takes you to the first strip, the "reverse play" (previous) button takes you to the strip before the currently displayed strip, the "play" (next) button takes you to the strip after the current one, and the "fast forward" button takes you to the main page and today's strip. The story drop-down box takes you directly to the start of any given story line. Story lines within a given year may be "rolled up" under a Year heading when you are currently outside that Year. For example, to access stories in Year One, you may need to first choose Year One and click the Go button, then proceed to the Year One story you want to go to.

The Story Index lists all stories in the archive with a brief summary and links to the first strip in the story. There is also an Archives By Date page that displays a bunch of little calendars so you can hop directly to a given date with ease. The Archive main page contains additional links for searching the archives and finding additional content that may exist outside the main archive. [Top]

Why don't you have a weekly archive like some other comics do?

Actually, we do. However, this option is only available to subscribers of GPF Premium. In order to use the weekly archives, you need to enable Premium in your browser, then click on the "W" link in any archive calendar in the regular archives or on the Archive by Date page. At that point, you will have "switched modes" from daily to weekly and all navigation buttons and the story line drop-down will operate in weekly mode. You can switch back to daily mode by clicking an individual day in the calendar. Please note that many of the non-navigation links to the archive elsewhere within the site always point to individual strips in daily mode, since this will be the primary way most folks will see the strip.

Why do we not have this service freely available to all readers? To make a very long, complicated story short, it's all about economics. As explained in the "bandwidth bandit" question below in more detail, we must carefully balance bandwidth expenditures verses revenue streams, which usually means advertising. What we end up with is a bandwidth-to-adview ratio, or "How much bandwidth can I pay for with each adview?" If this ratio strays too high, we effectively lose money because we're paying more for bandwidth than we make in ad revenue. Thus, we have to keep our pages relatively lean and keep this delicate balance in check in order not to go bankrupt.

The best way to balance the archives is to show a single strip per page. By far, the strips are the largest chuck of bandwidth per archive page. If we put more than one strip per page, we increase the bandwidth used without increasing the number of ads per page. (Ad companies are usually very strict in the number of ads you can use per page, so this number cannot change.) Add to this fact that we reduce the number of total pages shown (usually by a factor of six), and the bandwidth-to-adview ratio is blown completely out of proportion. Any gain made in bandwidth by sending out fewer pages of HTML is effectively lost by six times (or more) the bandwidth used for multiple strips per page.

Thus, weekly archives are a serious detriment to our bottom line, especially with a site that generates as much traffic as GPF. However, with GPF Premium, the extra subscription revenue offsets the loss in ad dollars, giving us more freedom to create "heavier" pages like a weekly archive. While I always want my readers to have the best possible comic reading experience, I hope you will realize that free-access weekly archives are inefficient for our current business model. [Top]

I have an old slow modem, and your archives are so slow! Can you provide me with an archive of all the strips so I can read them off-line?

Short answer: No. Long answer: While I hate to see any reader inconvenienced by slow connections or site congestion, please understand that creating a giant compressed archive file of all GPF strips is financially unsound. The "bandwidth bandit" question answers this more fully, but creating one huge downloadable file represents a tremendous drain on our bandwidth resources, which translates into a serious financial loss if it happens too often. At our last analysis, there are nearly 200MB of strips in our archives, and by the time you read this it's probably grown beyond that substantially. Downloads such as this that are not compensated for by advertising revenue seriously hurt us as a business. And while some readers have suggested I simply e-mail them the archive, a 200MB+ file is far too large for most e-mail servers to handle. It also represents a serious drain on my time to recreate such an archive each time it's requested.

There are, of course, other ways around this problem. A GPF Premium subscription removes ads from our pages, making them load faster. In addition, you can always purchase our nifty books, which are far easier to read off-line, especially when away from the computer. They are roughly grouped by year, so you can pick up on the site where the last book leaves off. Of course, simple patience is the easiest and cheapest solution. [Top]

I'm looking to advertise on a popular entertainment site. Is there anyway I can advertise here on GPF?

Sure. Check out our Advertising Info page for the full details. [Top]

Do you support and endorse all the companies and organizations that advertise on this site?

Since there can be several layers of abstraction between us here at GPF and the companies that advertise on our site, we have only marginal control of exactly who advertises here. Because of that fact, we refuse to say we endorse or support any company or organization that advertises here. If you'd like more information on this topic, please read through this section of our Privacy Statement. [Top]

I've noticed "pop-up" advertisements appearing your site. You know, the ones that open in a separate browser window? Those are very annoying. I thought you said you banned all pop-up ads....

We do, when we know about them. For the record, it is GPF's policy to ban all pop-up advertisements when they appear. Pop-ups are annoying, and quite often contain JavaScript that crashes browsers or interferes with your typical browsing experience. Fortunately, the pop-up (and its dreaded sibling, the "pop-under") is becoming passé and is slowly going out of style. Unfortunately, our advertisers don't make it easy for us to avoid or get rid of them when they appear. Although we have explicitly asked them to ban all pop-ups sent to our site, some still slip through the cracks. This is compounded by the fact that we have multiple ad supplying networks, each running many different campaigns at the same time, making tracking down any one campaign extremely difficult. Therefore, it is important to remember we cannot block a pop-up ad until we know about it, and we know which ad to block. We can't block an ad until after it has started to appear. Usually, we watch our site a lot more closely than you do (really), and we usually find out about pop-ups before you do. You usually only see the residuals, where we've officially blocked the ad, but we have to wait for the request to work through the advertiser's system.

So, first of all, be patient. Many times, the pop-up has already been blocked when you first see it. If a pop-up continues to persist, please make a post on the Site Problem Reports forum; do NOT e-mail me to report them, because your e-mail will probably be overlooked or ignored. I rarely respond to such messages. When you post, include as much information about the ad as possible: what ad was shown (as detailed a description as you can, or a screenshot if possible), it's URL if at all possible (where it's loaded from, not just where it points to), what page you were on when the pop-up was launched, and what other ads appears on the page. If at all possible, do not have any other browser windows or tabs open at the time; if you have multiple windows/tabs open, it is virutally impossible to identify which site is the "source" of the offending ad. If you have Firefox and the DOM Inspector or Firebug extensions installed, be prepared to use it to delve deeply into the nested ad codes to find the real source of the problem. (Many of our ad feeds chain into one another as "defaults", so the ad you see may have passed through several hands before it gets to you.) The Developer Tools in Internet Explorer 8 may also be useful.

When you report an ad, please be civil. Keep in mind that we do not display pop-ups voluntarily, so threats and flames about your hatred of pop-ups will only get ignored. I hate pop-ups just as much as—or more than—you do, so preaching to the choir won't help.

Of course, one way to avoid all ad-related problems here at GPF is to get a GPF Premium subscription. By default, Premium disables all ads, including pop-ups, malware-laiden banners, and other misbehaving links. I hate to sound like we're holding your browser for ransom, blackmailing you into subscribing, but it really is a much better GPF experience. [Top]

There's this ad that shows up that keeps misbehaving....

For the record, it is GPF's policy to ban all advertisements that rely on annoying, deceptive, or malicious tactics. Follow the instructions above for reporting pop-up ads to report other sorts of misbehaving advertisements. [Top]

Your site installed spyware on my computer!

For those who do not know, "spyware" is software that is installed on someone's computer without their knowledge that usually tracks user activities and sends them to marketers. This could be as simple as a tracking cookie in your Web browser, or as surreptitious as a key logger. We at GPF are strongly opposed to spyware of any form and would never subject our readers to something we consider unethical. However, it could be possible that one of our advertisers has included spyware in one of their ads, or that you picked up this spyware from another site. (Yes, we've been blamed for installing spyware on someone's machine when it was eventually proven to come from somewhere else.) If you suspect that an ad on our site has installed spyware on your system, please use to procedure in the above FAQ question to report the ad so it can be blocked. We also strongly suggest that you never browse the Web without an active anti-virus program running and that you use a spyware removal tool such as Spybot - Search & Destroy to periodically search for and remove spyware. [Top]

What exactly is GPF Premium, and how is it different from Keenspot PREMIUM?

GPF Premium is a subscription service for GPF. It is both a means of generating extra revenue for the comic and a reward system for loyal Faulties. It helps support us by removing the middle man (namely various ad companies) from the equation and sending your subscription dollars directly to us. With no ad broker in the middle, there's no one to take a cut and we get all the money you spend. In exchange for your added support, GPF Premium is chock full of spiffy extras, including ad-free browsing of the entire site, weekly archives, author's notes on individual strips, exclusive downloads and merchandise, advance news through the Rumor Mill, and a regularly updating look at behind-the-scenes art and concept sketches from my sketchbook. We are constantly adding new features, which makes your Premium subscription grow more valuable all the time. Check out the Premium index link above to get the current list of goodies.

In its original inception, GPF Premium was our local extension of Keenspot PREMIUM, Keenspot's ad-free subscription service. When we left Keenspot, we decided to implement our own Premium service as part of our declaration of independence. This unfortunately means that subscribers to Keenspot PREMIUM must now subscribe to GPF Premium separately; there is no "grandfathering" into the new system. However, since many of you have expressed reservations at having Keenspot dip into our profits, so to speak, this also means that you no longer have to worry about this anymore.

If you don't have GPF Premium but want to learn more, click the GPF Premium link above or check out the Premium FAQ. [Top]

Is Keenspot PREMIUM really of any benefit to GPF? What if I just want to support your strip, and not all these other strips I don't read?

Well... technically, not anymore. GPF is now independent of Keenspot, so we receive no support from Keenspot PREMIUM anymore. For that matter, Keenspot PREMIUM no longer exists; Keenspot discontinued the service in 2008. If you'd like the same functionality (and so much more) as our old Keenspot PREMIUM content, please subscribe to GPF Premium instead. [Top]

Keenspot PREMIUM doesn't work with my browser! What's going on?

It's not our problem anymore, as we're no longer a part of Keenspot. How about trying GPF Premium instead? [Top]

I have a question about GPF Premium that isn't answered here....

Try checking out the GPF Premium FAQ. [Top]

Is there an iPhone, Android, webOS, or other mobile phone app for GPF?

Not at the moment, and we don't really plan on making one. "Why?" you may ask. Well, that's because the GPF site now has an optimized view especially for mobile browsers. We figure you guys are smart enough to put our URL into your mobile browser and try it for yourself, and there's no point cluttering up your precious memory space with bloated images best served from "the cloud". [Top]

Is the GPF site accessible to mobile browsers?

Yep. If you attempt to access the GPF site using a device recognized as a mobile browser, you'll be transparently bounced to a special mobile-optimized version of the site. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the full site, but that's because we've trimmed out all the fluff to let you get to the content in the most efficient way possible. Fire up your favorite pocket-sized computing device and give it a try. [Top]

What content is available on the GPF Mobile site?

Quite a bit, and we're adding more all the time. The Comic Archive, News archive, forum, and wiki are all available, as well as a few scattered support pages. There's quite a few GPF Premium features working too. However, many of the less-trafficked or high-bandwidth pages have been omitted for now. [Top]

What GPF Premium features are available on the GPF Mobile site?

Currently, both the Rumor Mill and Jeff's Sketchbook features are available on the mobile site. Ads are also disabled when Premium is enabled. The High-Def comics and GPFConCam videos will not be available for bandwidth reasons (on your end, not ours), and many of the less-trafficked exclusives are currently considered a low priority until there's a higher demand for them. [Top]

My mobile device has a spiffy desktop-like browser on steroids. What if I don't want your dinky little mobile-optimized version of the site?

No problem. Just visit the mobile version of the site and look for a link at the bottom of any page that will you tell the main GPF site not to bounce you to the mobile site. This action will require your mobile browser to accept persistent cookies, so make sure your browser supports this (most do). You can specify the duration of the cookie, anywhere from one hour to ten years(!). The next time you visit the GPF site, you should get the full version. Note that this may require a manual refresh or clearing your browser's cache. If you wish to restore access to the mobile site, simply let the cookie expire or delete it. [Top]

I tried visiting the mobile site in my desktop browser and got bounced back to the full site.

Then don't do that. The ads that run on the mobile site don't work in desktop browsers, so we intentionally disable access to non-mobile browsers. [Top]

GPF Mobile doesn't recognize my mobile browser. I keep getting bounced to the full site.

Our browser detection methods are very thorough and ought to catch the overwhelming majority of mobile devices. If you keep getting the full site instead of the mobile site (and you're actually using a mobile device), contact us and we'll see what we can do. We'll probably ask you to provide us with a little bit of information about your device and to help us debug the fix. [Top]

I have a question specific to GPF Mobile that's not answered here.

Try visiting the mobile site with your mobile device and looking at the mobile-specific FAQ there. It will probably answer your question. If not, contact Jeff and we'll see about adding it. [Top]

I use frames to help navigate my frequently visited sites, but the GPF site always tries to break out of my frames! Why?!?

The GPF site includes a small piece of JavaScript intended to prevent other sites from "framing" it, or putting it within a frameset they define. The JavaScript recognizes when the GPF site has appeared in somebody else's frame and immediately promotes it to the top most frame level, usually replacing the frameset in the window.

Why have we done this? Well, truth be told, framing someone else's site is just plain rude and considered bad "netiquette." It gives the (false) impression to visitors to your site that our site is part of your content. It can also wreck havoc on the framed site's links, especially if the framed site uses frames itself. It adds an undue layer of complexity that your visitors should not have to endure. And, in some cases, court battles have been fought and won making certain uses of framing illegal. Framing also clobbers contextual advertising (that is, ads based on the content of the page), making it less effective and potentially lessening the framed site's revenue.

But what if you're framing only for your own personal use, and not on a publicly available website? Well, personally, I don't have a problem with this use of framing; it's actually a smart and nifty way to approach the problem of navigating across multiple disparate sites. Unfortunately, there is no way for us to tell whether you're framing our site privately, or through your public website. Trust me, I've tried. The security model implemented by most browsers makes it impossible to distinguish from within a frame whether or not the page framing ours is another Web site or a locally hosted file. Since there's no way to determine this information, for our sake we took the more cautious route and therefore attempt to disable all framing.

If this policy adversely affects you, there are a few workarounds you can try. The first and most obvious is to disable JavaScript in your browser. This stops the frame busting code dead in its tracks. Unfortunately, it also cripples your browsing experience, especially if you go to multiple sites before or after ours that depend on scripting. The GPF site itself uses very little JavaScript, so another possibility is to selectively disable JavaScript just for our site. This, however, may potentially break the few parts of our site that do use scripting, so only proceed with this option with caution.

Another suggestion for folks who use framing for private use is to open the GPF site in a separate window instead of a frame. This can easily be achieved by changing the TARGET field of your GPF HTML anchor link to something like TARGET="_blank". This only adds a few seconds to your old browsing routine, where you switch to the new window, read the strip, and then close it.

Better yet, why not try a Web browser that supports tabbed browsing and grouped bookmarks, like Firefox, Safari, Opera, or Google Chrome? Heck, even Microsoft Internet Explorer supports tabs now. With these features, you can click on a single bookmark and open all your favorite comics in multiple tabs of the same browser window, without the fuss and bother of coding your own frameset. This is how I surf my own morning comics, and I highly recommend it. [Top]

What is a "bandwidth bandit"? And why are you so concerned about them?

A "bandwidth bandit" is an individual who links images off of someone else's server. When they design their pages, they create their HTML <img> tags with the src field pointing to a different server. (Example: <img src="http://www.gpf-comics.com/images/gpf_seal.gif" />) While this practice is encouraged by some services (banner exchanges, banner ads, some web rings), it can have a serious detrimental effect on certain sites. Like it or not, GPF is one of those sites.

Why does this present a problem? GPF carefully balances our bandwidth output with advertising revenue. "Deep linking" an image from another site causes that site to use precious bandwidth without compensating it with ad revenue from the original page. In essence, it's as if the deep-linker is "stealing" our bandwidth and ad revenue from us. While one person "inlining" one image may not seem like much, it can certainly add up. For example, if a rather popular site inlines one of our strips (~40kB in size) and that site has 10,000 unique visitors a day, then GPF must send out over 400MB of data a day that we have to pay for and which isn't compensated for with ad revenue. If bandwidth costs 1¢/MB (a grossly conservative estimate), that's $4 a day we have to pay out of pocket that we don't make back. That may not seem like much, but start charting its growth over time. That's approximately $120 a month, or $1440 a year. Multiply this by several inlining sites, and you have a serious hole in revenue. For a site with razor-thin profit margins, this can be the difference between life and death. This, of course, is the primary reason why we do not let other sites display our daily strip without permission.

Inlining even a small image can be troublesome if the inlining site generates a lot of traffic. The more uncompensated bandwidth we must pay ourselves, the less stable our income is. When we're paying more for uncompensated bandwidth than we're making in ad revenue, we have a serious problem that, if left unchecked, could lead to us shutting down our site. If we can't pay for it, it ain't going to exist, pure and simple. This is why I feel so strongly about this topic, and why I've been so adamant about inlining in the past. It's not about exposure of the strip or promotion... it's about the site's financial survival.

This is why I ask that if you use any image from GPF (like our link icons), that you make a local copy of the image and serve it from your own machine. This is also why I discourage programmatically harvesting strips and why I'm extremely peeved with comic inliners. If you host a site that inlines GPF strips, don't think that you're trying to help us gain exposure. Instead, you're bleeding us dry and potentially killing that which you're trying to "promote". Inlining is a serious drain on our continued existence, and we will resort to legal action if it becomes necessary. [Top]

I think there's something wrong with the site....

Obviously if you're reading this now, you're not having problems, at least with this page. :) But I get many e-mails from readers all the time who think there's a problem with the site, when it's really a local problem with their machine or a network problem that neither of us can do anything about. So I thought I'd throw this in the FAQ in hopes that it will help you debug the problem before you bother me about it. I watch the site pretty carefully, so odds are if there really is a problem, I'll see it before you do. But if we can eliminate the obvious possibilities first, that will help in debugging what's gone wrong.

First, make sure the problem isn't with your browser. Sometimes browsers don't render HTML properly if it arrives corrupted or incomplete. Try refreshing the page, and if that doesn't work, try clearing your browser's cache. If the problem continues to persist, then the page could have been cached by a proxy server used by your ISP or your corporate gateway to the Internet. Try to verify the problem by having a friend access the page from a different machine that uses a different connection to the Internet. Odds are if the problem can't be duplicated by your friend, then it's probably local to your machine or your Internet connection.

If you cannot access the site at all, try some simple network debugging first. Try using a network ping (ping www.gpf-comics.com at almost any command prompt) and see if you can get a response. Response times of 200 milliseconds or less are usually acceptable; if they are much higher, there could be a lot of network congestion between you and our server. If you can't get a response through ping, try doing a traceroute (tracert www.gpf-comics.com in Windows, traceroute www.gpf-comics.com in most UNIX-like systems, including Mac OS; if you'd rather not use the command line on Mac OS, try the Network Utility). This traces a path between your machine and the GPF server. If responses begin to time out (no response or "stars" for times) before it reaches us, then there could be a network problem with some router on the Internet between you and our machine. Try checking the Internet Traffic Report and see if any outages have been reported in your area.

If you continue to have problems, then definitely report them. The ideal place to do so is the Site Problem Reports forum, where it's easier to cut down on repeat problem reports. Obviously, if you can't get to the forum, that won't work; in that case, shoot me an e-mail to let me know. (I will likely create a thread in the Site Problem forum anyway as a means of tracking the problem.) Either way, provide as much information as possible: Include your operating system and browser versions, ping and traceroute results, your current IP address (or the IP you had when the problem occurred), and as thorough of a description of the problem as you can give. The more information you can give me up front, the quicker we'll be able to find out what's wrong. [Top]

There is also a very slight possibility that you have inherited an IP address that we have actively blocked. In some cases, we intentionally block IP addresses that have actively tried to attack or exploit our server, cutting them off at our firewall and completely dropping all of their packets. To such an address, the GPF server would appear to be completely offline, as if it didn't even exist. If this is the case, you have our apologies. We never intended to prevent legitimate readers from reaching the site. However, we strongly recommend that you investigate a new ISP in a more reputable neighborhood that shuts down bots, zombies, and malicious hackers. We also recommend that you scan your computer thoroughly for viruses and malware to make sure it wasn't you that attacked us; a compromised computer can be used to attack many others, regardless of the physical owner's knowledge or consent.

Does the GPF site support IPv6?

Why, yes, it does! In July 2011, we completed a server move from one hosting service to another. In that move we also managed to acquire support for IPv6. GPF provides a dual-stack networking implementation, so the same site is accessible from both a public IPv4 address and an IPv6 one. Most users should be able to access the site transparently over either protocol without noticing any difference.

If you encounter problems with our IPv6 site, you can test your access to either the IPv6 or IPv4 IPs using ping or traceroute. Follow the general instructions found here, only substitute ipv4.gpf-comics.com for the IPv4 address or ipv6.gpf-comics.com for the IPv6 address. These sub-domains only point to the IP in question, while the other sub-domains ("www", "mobile", etc.) have both an A and an AAAA record in the DNS, thus pointing to both IPs. Note that some operating systems separate out the IPv6 versions of ping and traceroute into separate executables (on Linux, these are ping6 and traceroute6); on Windows, use the "-4" and "-6" flags to force a specific protocol. Also note that the "ipvn" sub-domains are meant primarily for debugging purposes and should not be used for browsing the site in general. While you should be able to load the site from these domains, it will do everything in its power to move you back to the "www" domain.

You can learn more about IPv6 from this Wikipedia article. [Top]

I thought GPF was part of Keenspot. Did you leave or something?

Yes, GPF is now independent of Keenspot, arguably the largest and most recognizable online comic collective. Actually, we've come full circle; we were independently hosted before we were invited to join Keen, so we're back where we started from.

Why the move? Well, it's been a long time coming, and it's been something I've been working on for a very long time. If you're looking for juicy gossip on internal Keenspot mudslinging, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed. The parting was amicable (at least as far as I'm concerned), and my primary motivation was that I felt GPF and Keenspot were heading in different directions and sticking around would not be advantageous for either of us. I've formed many friendships at Keenspot, some of which continue to this day even though others have left Keen before me. I certainly wish everyone at Keenspot success in all their endeavors and I hope Keen continues on to its goal of making the "best d@#% comics on the Web".

Hopefully, the transition from our Keen-driven site to this one will be smooth. You are likely to find many internal links have changed (mostly from files with a ".html" extension to a ".php" extension), but there should be plenty of server-side redirects in place to make old links continue to work. (If not, feel free to report broken links.) The biggest change will be the move from Keenspot PREMIUM to our new in-house GPF Premium service. Unfortunately, subscribers to Keenspot PREMIUM could not be easily "grandfathered" into our new system, so you'll be forced to create a new account with us. [Top]

Is there a way to validate that this e-mail that claims to come from GPF really did come from GPF?

We use a number of standard mail validation and authentication techniques to prove that genuine messages really did originate from the GPF servers. All our outgoing mail can be validated by DMARC, SPF, and DKIM, while my personal messages and all messages generated by GPF Premium should be signed with the relevant OpenPGP keys. If any of these methods of authentication fail, it is likely that the message in question is a forgery and should not be trusted.

SPF or Sender Policy Framework is an e-mail validation system designed to prevent spam "spoofing" by verifying the sender's IP address. SPF allows administrators to specify which hosts are allowed to send mail from a given domain by creating a specific SPF record (or TXT record) in the Domain Name System (DNS). Mail exchangers use the DNS to check that mail from a given domain is being sent by a host sanctioned by that domain's administrators. GPF's DNS entries include an SPF record that lists all valid originators for our outgoing mail. Many mail servers and client programs that support SPF place the results of this test in the "Received-SPF" and "Authentication-Results" headers; a valid message will usually include a "pass" token in "Received-SPF" and a "spf=pass" token in "Authentication-Results". You can learn more about SPF from this Wikipedia article.

DKIM or DomainKeys Identified Mail is a method of associating a domain name to an e-mail, thereby allowing an organization to take responsibility for the message in a way that can be validated by the recipient. The validation technique is based on public-key cryptography: The signer claims responsibility for the message by adding a domain name and affixing a digital signature of it and the message. The value is placed in the "DKIM-Signature:" header field of the message. The verifier recovers the signer's public key using DNS and verifies the signature. Many mail servers and client programs that support DKIM authentication place the result of this test in the "Authentication-Results" header; a valid message will usually include a "dkim=pass" token here. GPF uses several DKIM keys to represent all possible sources of our outgoing mail. You can learn more about DKIM from this Wikipedia article.

DMARC, or "Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance", is a technical specification that effectively combines SPF and DKIM into a policy that informs recipients on whether a given message claiming to come from a domain should be trusted. In effect, a receiving mail server can perform by an SPF and DKIM check on an incoming message, then compare the results against the policy the sending domain publishes in a special DNS record. If the supposed sender has a DMARC policy, the receiver can then deal with the message according to that policy. DMARC policies can delare whether messages that fail these checks should be monitored, treated as spam, or rejected outright. GPF has a DMARC policy in place which currently instructs receiving servers to treat all e-mail that fails SPF and DKIM checks as spam. How this policy gets enforced, however, is up to the organizations that maintain the receiving mail servers. You can learn more about DMARC from this Wikipedia article.

OpenPGP is an Internet standard (RFC 4880) for encrypting and decrypting data using strong public-key cryptography. It can also be used to generate and validate digital signatures, which is our primary use of the technology. (Encryption requires that both parties exchange public keys, and since most folks don't share their public keys with us we fall back to simply using signing as a means of proving authenticity.) Although I've been know to send out quick replies unsigned on extremely rare occasions (such as from my phone or other times I'm away from my laptop), I prefer and make a great effort to sign each message with my private key before sending it out. Similarly, all messages generated by the GPF Premium system are signed with a key that is refreshed at regular intervals (usually every six months). Since the ratio of OpenPGP users to our entire reader base is pretty small, we don't expect most people to use it as a primary form of authentication, but it's there for those who think it's important (like us). We use GNU Privacy Guard or GnuPG as our OpenPGP client of choice. All GPF-related public keys can be found here. You can learn more about OpenPGP from this Wikipedia article. [Top]

I sent you an e-mail a long time ago, but you never responded....

Then you have my sincerest apology. I receive a lot of mail now, and while I try to respond to every message sent to me, sometimes a message or two can slip through the cracks. If this happens, it's not that I don't feel you're worthy enough to deserve a response; it's just that I'm incredibly busy, and I occasionally have to pick and choose who I respond to.

Sometimes I get general comments like "I love your strip!" that I feel don't necessarily require a response. I try to respond to these, but these often get dropped first if the volume is heavy. If you have a burning question, I try to respond quickly; if I don't respond, then please resend your message, because it was probably accidentally missed. If you're looking for a link request, please read this FAQ question for more details. If you're asking to host GPF on your site, please read this FAQ question to find out why your request was ignored. If you write me just to flame me, you probably won't get a response at all; if you have constructive criticism, I'll gladly hear it, but destructive criticism usually just wastes both our bandwidth.

There's also the slim chance that your message may have been flagged as spam. I try to go through my spam folder periodically to make sure this doesn't happen, but when you get 3000+ spam e-mails a week, that can get pretty daunting. I have several layers of spam filtering in place, and in rare cases legitimate messages may never reach my inbox. I strongly suggest that when writing me, you make sure to make your subject line descriptive enough so I know you're talking about the strip; don't just put "hi" or "hello" as the subject, or no subject line at all, because I receive so much spam with those subject lines that they get trashed almost immediately. The more descriptive you make your subject line, the easier it will be to sift from the avalanche. [Top]

I sent you an e-mail and it got bounced as spam. What gives?

Due in large part to this site, I get a huge amount of spam, ordering in the thousands of messages per week. As such, I can't function without several layers of spam filters. One of these layers includes a feature to "bounce" e-mail messages that meet certain criteria as spam. The tests that cause these bounces tend to have a very low number of false positives (in the order of fractions of a percent), but false positives can still occur. If your message gets bounced back to you, then it never even got past the first filtration layer and I never saw it. While I do monitor the bounce logs on this filter, it's especially difficult to pick out legitimate addresses when I've never seen them before.

In general, the filters mentioned above usually only bounce messages if a machine in that ISP's IP address pool has actually been caught sending real spam. Thus, if your message isn't getting through, it could be that your ISP is either knowingly or unknowingly harboring a spammer among their clients. You might want to contact your ISP and show them the headers of your returned message (especially the header "X-Sift-Reason" if it exists) so they can track down the culprit. In the meantime, there are a few alternative methods to contacting me. The easiest for most folks to get to is through the forum, either through a public thread or a private message. [Top]

When I got an e-mail from you, it had this weird random junk attached to it. What gives?

All my outgoing mail now contains a digital cryptographic GnuPG signature. This is less of a need to send encrypted messages and more of a means for verification that e-mail sent from my addresses actually came from me and not somebody else. Likewise, all automatically generated messages sent from GPF Premium are cryptographically signed to verify their authenticity. If you would like the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing that something actually came from me, feel free to verify the signed message against my public key. If you could care less about such shady tin-foil hat dealings, feel free to ignore the signature and blindly assume I'm some sort of conspiracy nut (which I'm not, but you're still free to assume so if you really want to.)

The only exceptions to this rule are certain computer-generated e-mails, such as order confirmations from the GPF Store or receipts generated by PayPal for payments to the Tip Jar. Since we have no way of automatically signing such messages (indeed, PayPal messages are generated by PayPal servers, so we have no part in generating them), they cannot be signed. If you would really like to verify a message that supposedly comes from me but doesn't contain a digital signature, feel free to forward the message to me, and I'll look it over and confirm or deny it with a signature attached to my reply.

See this FAQ for more info about validating e-mail that claims to come from GPF. [Top]

Do you use instant messaging, like ICQ or AIM? Can I add you to my buddy list?

Yes, I do use instant messaging, but only to communicate with friends, family, and a few select others. In general, I do not give out my screen names to others. Even if you happen to look me up and find my screen name (which isn't really all that hard), don't expect me to authorize access for you. Please understand that I don't have time to chat with every single person online, and it's nothing personal.

Update: You can now find me on Twitter if you are so inclined. I usually only use the Web interface and I only "@reply" when I feel there's a real need, but at least I'm on there. [Top]

Stop spamming me, you @#^&*!

We here at GPF are vehemently opposed to the practice of sending bulk unsolicited commercial e-mail, or "spamming." As of victim of spam myself (I personally receive several thousand spams per week), I am opposed to spam in all its vicious forms and am personally deeply appalled that anyone would even think of accusing me of sending spam. Unfortunately, spammers don't make this easy—for neither me nor you—and I have received the occasional complaint that I sent someone spam.

However, it is common practice for spammers to "spoof" or fraudulently put false header information in their e-mails. Often, they will create random strings for the sender's address that won't trace back to any given server. However, they have also been known to take e-mails from their own victim lists and place those as the sender. This means that quite often, the spam you received "from" me was probably also sent to me... quite possibly saying it was "from" you. If you ever wonder if an e-mail comes from me or not, see this FAQ to validate its authenticity.

As noted by our privacy policy, no data that we may occasionally collect through surveys, forums, our store, etc., will ever be sold or given out to third parties. We would never spam anyone, intentionally or unintentionally, so rest assured that you didn't get that spam for us. However, we can highly recommend that you try out some spam filtering or blocking software, such as SpamAssassin, to alleviate some of your suffering. [Top]

You sent me a virus, you @#^&*!

We're sincerely sorry that you received a virus. However, while I won't be so conceited to say it's impossible that I sent it to you, I will say it's highly improbable. We here at GPF are so diligent (i.e., paranoid) in keeping our systems up-to-date and virus free that we can safely say we have never been infected by any viruses in the past (yep, even the big ones), and the likelihood that we've actually passed one along to you is pretty much nil.

It's a very common practice among virus writers to search not only through victims' address books for new addresses to infect, but to also to search their browser caches. Many viruses will parse e-mail addresses from cached Web pages and not only send the virus to them but also pick a random e-mail address from your address book (or browser cache) and put it as the sender. This makes the source of the infection very difficult to track, and can make it appear that I sent you a virus when I really didn't. Most likely, someone you know visited GPF, became infected, and the virus picked you as a victim and my address as the sender. If you ever wonder if an e-mail comes from me or not, see this FAQ to validate its authenticity.

While e-mail-borne viruses are slowly going out of fashion with hackers, the threat still exists, so it pays to remain diligent. My suggestions? Just the usual recommendations. Purchase anti-virus software and keep it up-to-date. (Update it at a bare minimum of once or twice a week and preferably once a day.) Turn off scripting and unnecessary features in your e-mail client (such as MS Outlook's preview pane). Get a software firewall or, even better, a hardware firewall or cable/DSL router and configure it to disallow unwanted traffic in and out of our network connection. Never ever ever EVER open an e-mail attachment from someone you don't know, or even from someone you do know when you're not expecting it. And please don't take your frustrations out on an innocent cartoonist. [Top]

Will you draw me an autographed picture and send it to me, please?

I'm sorry, but I usually do not have time to grant such requests. At this moment, I'm usually extremely busy juggling real life and the comic, and I have very little time to devote to extra drawings. Perhaps, in the future when I don't have essentially two jobs to hold down, I may reconsider, but not for a while. This goes for all commission work as well, related to GPF or not. [Top]

When did you first start working with comic strips?

Oh, probably when I first picked up a writing utensil. I've been drawing cartoons all my life. The first cartoons I remember drawing were a series of Star Wars and Doctor Who comics in a small spiral-bound notepad. All the characters were stick figures and the stories were very short and simplistic, but hey, it was fun. Not bad for a seven year old.

When I was making the transition from elementary school to junior high school, I created my first major comic character. Although he's changed considerably over the years, I still plan to use him eventually. (I can't tell you any more, 'cause then it won't be a surprise!) Most of my influence has been in comic books, although I dabbled into comic strips a little. I even tried to get published in the local newspaper while in junior high, but that failed pretty quickly. I still have the rejection letter. [Top]

Do you have plans for any other online comics?

Absolutely. I don't know how soon any of them will get off the ground, but I do have several major ideas in the design department. Right now, I'm having enough trouble keeping up with the day job and GPF, let alone trying to launch another strip. All my other ideas are a bit grander in scope and will require a lot more attention than GPF. I may even be forced to drop GPF altogether if I pursue them. Needless to say, I don't like that alternative. (Or, I could quit my day job, but right now that's not a viable alternative, either.) [Top]

All right, Mister Geeky Cartoonist... What's your favorite OS?

Saw this one coming. Right now, I don't have a favorite operating system. I mainly use Microsoft Windows XP, but this is mainly because I have way too much software that I rely heavily upon to switch cold-turkey to another OS. I have experience with a bunch of other OS's (see my résumé for an idea), and I think I like UNIX-clones the best. I have growing experience with Red Hat and Fedora Linux, having performed several installations. I'm still learning, though, so it'll be a while before I'm a kernel hacker. Once I feel comfortable enough with it, I might convert to Linux completely, but not yet. [Top]

Who are Pandora, Minerva, Demeter, Zeus, Diana, Apollo, Hermes, Athena, and Hera? I keep finding references to them every now and then....

These are my wife's and my "children"... well, they were until we started producing the biological kind. These computers comprise our current and historical home network, and are all named after Greek and/or Roman mythological beings. Historical members of the Darlington home network include Pandora, Minerva, Demeter, Zeus, Apollo, and Diana. The current three active machines are Ares, Hera, and Athena. For some odd reason, desktops always seem to be female while laptops tend to be male; we didn't plan it that way, but the convention became the de facto standard. All are connected to each other by a small home Ethernet/WiFi (802.11n) network, which plugs into a Linksys router, which in turn plugs into our cable modem. Therefore, all are Internet-connected with a nifty broadband connection. Aw... yeah....

We usually have three "primary" machines that carry the bulk of our in-house duties. The current Big Three are:

  • Ares is our latest addition and current "alpha" laptop. He's a Lenovo ThinkPad X201 Tablet PC with a quad-core Intel Core i7 2.13GHz, 8GB RAM, 500GB HD, DVD±RW DL, built-in 802.11a/g/n WiFi, and built-in fingerprint reader running Windows 7 Professional. As a Tablet PC, I am able to rotate his display into a "tablet" configuration and draw directly on the screen, eliminating the awkward tablet + laptop combination I had to maintain with Apollo and my (unnamed) Wacom Intuos3. Ares is now responsible for virtually all GPF comic development as well as handling my mail and travel needs.
  • Hera is our current "alpha" desktop. She's a Lenovo ThinkCentre with an Intel Core2 Quad Q9400 2.66GHz processor, 4GB RAM, 1TB across two HDs, DVD±RW DL, Blu-ray burner, and ATI Radeon HD 3470 with 512MB RAM. She largely replaces Athena in most of her desktop PC functions (gaming, video editing/conversion, etc.) and also acts as our primary file server since our external terabyte drive is chained off of her.
  • Athena is our "alpha" Linux machine, primarily serving as the home server. She's a Lenovo ThinkCentre with an AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ dual-core processor, 4GB RAM, 500GB HD, DVD±RW DL, and ATI Radeon X1300 with 256MB RAM. She currently runs Fedora 11. As the main Linux box, Athena serves as a file server, web server, DNS, print server, and SSH gateway, among many other things. She also tends to do lots of automated tasks such as occasional batch image processing.

For posterity, our previous machines included:

  • Pandora was a generic AMD 486 100MHz PC with 32MB RAM, about 3GB drive space, and last ran Red Hat Linux 7.1. She was occasionally referred to as "the Server of Mirth and Mayhem!" and yes, she was the inspiration for this strip. Unfortunately, her advanced age eventually caught up with her (she was my old college machine), and she has since been sent off to the local hazardous waste facility to be recycled. May she rest in pieces....
  • Minerva was a HP Pavilion Pentium II 450MHz with 384MB RAM, and 12GB hard drive last running Fedora Core 3. She was instrumental in the creation of the first two GPF books, as well as the first two years of the comic (back when she was a Windows 98 machine, though). She was very faithful, if a bit quirky sometimes. She has also outlived her usefulness and was sent off to be recycled at the same time as Pandora. Mysteriously, though, her CPU managed to escape the hazmat folks and is currently floating around somewhere in our office.
  • Demeter is an IBM Aptiva with a Pentium III 800MHz, 512MB RAM, 160GB HD, DVD and CD-RW drives, and an aging nVidia video card. She served as our primary DNS, Web, and file server and last ran Fedora Core 5. Surprisingly, Demeter never really did much in the way of GPF comic work, as most of the work I would have done on her I did with Zeus. Demeter also held the distinction of hosting both the GPF Store and my personal blog at one time, although both of these sites have moved on to more "professional" hosting. She did prove instrumental in the development of our post-Keenspot site by serving as my primary development server. Demeter is how officially retired and her ultimate fate is unknown, although she did briefly shine when she was pressed back into service as the main Linux box when Diana failed.
  • "The girls" were eventually joined by Zeus, an IBM ThinkPad m21 with a Pentium III (800?MHz), 512MB RAM, 30GB HD, and DVD. He ran Windows 2000 Professional. Zeus was used primarily when we traveled and has crossed the country with me several times en route to various shows and cons. Surprisingly, he was responsible for most of the exclusive images for Books #3 and #4, including the covers. He was also responsible for most GPF strips through Years 5 & 6 because it's a lot easier to sit on the living room couch in front of the big screen TV with him in my lap than Diana. Zeus has officially been retired, especially since he's developed a bizarre hard disk problem that causes him to go haywire when he's been running for just a few minutes. He currently sits on a shelf in the top of my closet, his hard drive securely wiped and gathering dust.
  • Apollo was Zeus' replacement. He's an IBM ThinkPad R51 with a Pentium 4M 1.6GHz, 2GB RAM, 80GB HD, DVD/CD-RW, an ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 with 32MB RAM, and built-in 802.11g WiFi. Apollo currently runs Windows XP Pro (although he might be brainwashed into a Linux box if I eventually get my way). He took over most of Zeus' roles and has traveled extensively with us to cons and such. He also handled the vast majority of GPF comic development during his tenure, mostly combination with my Intuos3 tablet. Most of his duties are now being handled by Hermes, so his current fate is unclear. He too has developed some hardware quirks that have made him unusable.
  • Diana was an IBM ThinkCenter with a Pentium 4 3.06GHz, 2GB RAM, 420GB HD, DVD, DVD±RW DL, and a ATI Radeon X700 Pro graphics card with 256MB RAM. She first ran Windows XP, then Fedora Linux. She never really did much with the strip aside from act as a file server or perform the occasional video conversion. She was retired when she developed an unknown hardware fault and repeated failed to boot. Her hard drives we moved into Diana to keep our network up and running. She is currently gathering dust in our basement until I get a chance to find out what exactly went wrong with her.
  • Hermes is our current "beta" laptop. He's a Lenovo ThinkPad X61 Tablet PC with an Intel Core2 Duo 1.8GHz, 4GB RAM, 180GB HD, DVD/CD-RW, built-in 802.11a/g/n WiFi, and built-in fingerprint reader running Windows XP Professional. Like Ares, he's a Tablet PC and was my first; it was with Hermes that I made the transition from a half analog, half digital process to a fully digital process. Hermes is now retired from comic work and is primarily used by my son as his unofficial Tux Paint machine.

There are currently two servers in the official GPF server farm, graciously hosted by Linode and located off-site. One (Tyche) is exclusively dedicated to GPF while the other (Zelos) hosts most of my lower-traffic sites like the blog. Both run Fedora Linux. Previous server names used include Nike. [Top]

Tell me about Randi the Wonder Kitty, Kiki the Boo Wonder, and Tilley: Kitty of Mystery.

Randi (seen here, here, and here) was my wife's cat who fortunately adopted me as well. I could't draw without her playing with her tail, taking a nap, or staring up at me from down in the floor. Unfortunately, the only other place you could find her was usually in my lap, which didn't make for optimal drawing conditions. Sadly, Randi passed away in December 2010 after a long decline due to diabetes and eventual congestive heart failure. As GPF's unofficial mascot since the beginning, Randi will be sorely missed. She was the inspiration for Ki's pet of the same name, although her comic self's coloration was simplified to make drawing her easier.

Kiki is the other half of our feline dynamic duo. Historically, she and Randi averaged at least a couple cat fights a day, but otherwise they got along great. Kiki was adopted from a local animal shelter and we brought her home to keep Randi company during our long days at work. She enjoyed playing so much that she constantly meowed at you if you came anywhere within a twenty foot radius of where her toys are stored. (Okay, it's more like anywhere in the house.) Her nickname is "Squeaky Kiki" for obvious reasons. She has mellowed a bit with age, but remains the Boo Wonder nonetheless. Both Randi and Kiki guest starred in our Web Comics Appreciation Day 2001 comic.

Following Randi's passing, Kiki became increasingly lonesome. She was not used to being a solitary cat, having always had Randi around and, before that, her brothers and sisters. After about a year, we finally adopted a kitten named Tilley from a different animal shelter in January 2012. Tilley is a brown and gray striped tabby who is full of energy and spunk. Her nickname quickly became "Silly Tilley"; I'll leave it up to your imagination as to why. Where Kiki has slowly become quieter over the years, Tilley has taken up the challenge and more than made up for her silence with squeakiness. She especially enjoys looking at birds in the bird feeder in our backyard and taking naps in "Mommy's" lap. [Top]

Okay, wise guy, how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

One cord per hour, provided optimal wood chucking conditions. [Top]