Posts Tagged ‘Firefox


Google Chrome won this round.

Google Chrome Icon

Image via Wikipedia

I seem to be a creature of habit. At least to some extent, especially with the tools I am used to working with, and I happen to consider a web browser a tool. The Chrome vs Firefox thing has been on my mind for quite a long time and so far I’ve written two posts about it. The first one being almost three years ago, followed by another one last year. Now, a year later, I come back to the subject. The time between these three posts, proves my initial sentence. I don’t really like to switch tools unless I have to, or unless a new tool is much better than the old one.

The story: My Intel Classmate, after many OS installations, now runs on Mint 11. I know that those of you who follow me regularly do not believe that Mint will be staying for long, but I intend to keep it, really! Mint 11 comes with Firefox 5, a really nice version in my opinion. It has all the improvements 4 did plus the app tabs feature (among others) that I found really really useful. One thing however the guys and gals at Mozilla have not been able to control, is memory usage. At work, I use a 4 core machine with 4 GB RAM, so spending a couple of GB on Firefox, is no big deal. My dual core with 4 GB RAM at home, also running Mint 11, does not seem to mind much either. But the poor little Classmate was having a pretty rough time. At any time, I have Gmail, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter open, while browsing other sites and that proved to be too much for little Chiby. But I want my No Script, remember? I don’t think I can use the web without it…

And then came NotScripts. It does basically what No Script for Firefox does. Blocks java script, plug ins and i-frames. It has white and black lists and allows you to temporarily allow scripts too.

My Classmate is happier than ever. And for the record, I also installed Chrome on the eeePC (that runs Mint 10) with NotScripts and the results there were amazing. I am starting to feel I am owned by Google, but hey, that’s not that bad 😛

PS: I’ve said it before and I will say it again here, I know that there are other browsers as well. I had been a Firefox fan for many years and I would not switch now if it weren’t for memory usage and speed.


Facebook Won’t Let You Like Anything

Just a quickie, because I’m having a little problem here and thought I might share.

It’s been a few days now, that Facebook decided I do not really want to like anything my friends post, or comment or share. I’m lying and you got me… The truth is, that I can’t like anything on my home PC, but while using other computers,  I don’t seem to have any trouble. At home however, every time I click on “Like” this is what I get:

Looks familiar? If it does, try cleaning your browser’s cache… Not really sure what or why, but as soon as I cleared Firefox’s cache and history, everything seems to go much smoother. I’ve gone on a “Like” spree and while it sometimes takes a while to appear, in the end it does. So clear away…


Firefox 4.0 RC “Save and Quit” Feature missing (and how to restore it)

As you probably guessed, I am testing the RC version of Firefox 4. I have installed it on both my work and my home PC, but I haven’t yet tested the synchronization. Do not worry, when I do, I will surely report any problems with it. So far, I am really satisfied with the new version. Apart from the eye candy, which is always welcome but not the one thing that will make me change my mind, there are significant improvements to speed and stability, which I am sure you can read in much better detail elsewhere.

The one thing that I immediately noticed and did not like, was that whenever I had multiple tabs open, there would be an option to save my session upon exit. In the new version however, while there is a warning that multiple tabs are open, it will not give you the option to save your session. When you restart Firefox, if your home page is set to “about:home” (or you open that page yourself), you will see a restore session button, similar to what you might have seen after a crash.

It seems that this is something that other people besides me are concerned about, as a quick search on MozillaZine showed. It also seems that the solution is much simpler than I anticipated:

Open a new tab, type “about:config” in the address bar and after you promise to be careful, search for an option called “browser.showQuitWarning“. When you set it to true, everything will return to how you’re used to.

For more information, be sure to read Paul O’Shannessy’s blog post.


Why do you scare me WordPress?

I am being a  little bit over dramatic, here, but last night I really shit my pants over a WordPress installation that had been upgraded to version 3.1 and I thought I should share.

Apart from here and Emerald City, I also write about comics at Comicdom (sorry, Greek only). One of our sites, was upgraded to WordPress version 3.1 recently and as it usually happens I wasn’t paying attention to the emails our administrator sent me. So, it was late last night when I decided to post something. I logged in, clicked on the “New Post” button and dropped my jaw on the floor. This is what I saw:

In case you don’t see anything weird, there were supposed to be a lot of boxes  under the visual editor. I shit my pants. Really. It was late, our admin was probably asleep and I had no idea what to do. I read around the internets for a bit and there were people talking about plug ins that conflict with the new version (as with every new version) and that I should try to deactivate them t0 see if the problem was fixed. Then of course I do not have administrative rights over there, so there was nothing I could do, except clear my cache (as someone suggested) and try with different browsers.

This morning, I was talking with the administrator on the phone and he swore everything was working fine on his end. He tried logging in from two different machines, used both FireFox and Internet Explorer and could see nothing wrong with anything. I still faced the same problem although I was at work, which meant different PC, so I was at total loss as to what could cause the problem. Until I read Otto’s post. I felt so stupid…

Just press the button called “Screen Options” on the top right corner and voila. Check the boxes you want to appear on your screen. The reason behind this, is that with the update, WordPress switched to the default values of every user that had not previously saved their preferences. Mind you, that this goes for every screen that has options, not just the visual editor.

So should you find all your metaboxes missing (this is what they’re called…) just check your screen options before you start tearing plug ins apart.

I still feel so stupid…



Switching to Chrome?

Almost two years ago, I wrote an article, explaining why I would not use Google Chrome. I added a “yet” to the title, because I was sure I would someday reconsider. The time came dear reader, and before you move any further, know this: I still haven’t reached a definite conclusion “yet”!

What I did, was using Chrome while at work and Firefox at home. That way I could easily compare the two on various tasks. My work PC, is kind of old (a plain P4 @ 2,8 – not dual core), perfect for most of the tasks I have to do there, but it started showing it’s age with Firefox and that was the main reason why I started thinking of trying out Chrome.

So, I installed the latest version of Chrome, not the beta, and I have to admit I was impressed. At the download page, Chrome promises these things:

Fast start-up
Google Chrome launches in a snap.

Fast loading
Google Chrome loads web pages quickly.

Fast search
Search the web right from the address bar.

And these things it does. Lighting fast start up, even with multiple (ie, more than ten) tags to restore, fast page load, especially the Google stuff and one place, fast search. No need to type into the little box at the corner. There’s the address bar for everything: Typing web addresses, searching Google (obviously) and searching your history.

But these things, are not new. Chrome was supposed to be fast and secure right from the start, that’s what we had been told back then. If you remember, or if you just clicked the link to my previous post and read it, my biggest problem with Chrome was the lack of extensions and more specifically the lack of No Script. Now, Chrome supports add-ons, so you can safely assume that the first thing I did was to search for No Script for Chrome. Unfortunately, although No Script’s developer is thinking to port it to Chrome and has in fact been contacted by Chrome’s development team,  it is nothing more than a plan for the time being.

To many users out there, this does not seem to be a concern since you can still block annoying adds with AdBlock in Chrome and as for the rest of what No Script does, they seem to be pretty sure that Chrome is more secure than Firefox, so no need to panic over a few java scripts here and there. I am not a browser security expert, so I have no opinion on that matter, but I can tell you that No Script is damn convenient when browsing sites with a ton of scripts and adds and whatnot. Still, for the purpose of my tests, I decided to overlook that and stay with Ad Block.

Another problem I had to tackle, was my bookmarks. I could easily import them to Chrome from Firefox, I knew that already but I wanted to be able to sync my bookmarks between work and home. When there’s only one browser involved, that is no biggie. In fact there are quite a few options to accomplish that. I chose to use Xmarks, a nice Firefox add-on that also has an option to sync your passwords between different computers (though I do not use that feature).  Well, “fortunately”, there’s Xmarks for Chrome, so I installed it and all of my bookmarks appeared just fine. What didn’t work as expected though, was the syncing part. I added a new bookmark on Chrome, but it was nowhere to be found later on Firefox. Since Xmarks is still in beta for Chrome, minor glitches are to be expected, and I believe this will be fixed pretty soon (if not already). For the record, should anyone use Chrome exclusively, there’s built in bookmark syncing, using your Google Account, but I’ve never tested it, so you’re on your own on that one.

Lastly, another (kind of) useful add-on that I’ve started playing around with, is Read It Later. It creates a list of web pages you save to read at a later time and I mostly use it to keep close at hand post material and ideas. One could achieve something similar with a separate bookmark folder I guess, but still, Read It Later also exists on Chrome and works just fine. Oh, mind you, that I do not use the syncing feature that R.I.L. provides, since I need to keep my lists separate.

So, all my major requirements were covered, right? So, the speed tests over at Life Hacker show that Chrome is indeed faster than Firefox, right? So, that means that I can switch, right? Wrong… Unfortunately, wrong…

You see, there’s a bug in Chrome (or at least I think it’s a bug) that made my daily routine unbearable. For some reason, it cannot work well with WordPress. Apart from the fact that posting and moving around in dashboard is slow as hell, when I tried to upload images, they would not show at all in the post preview. When I published a post, all was the way it supposed  to be, but you understand that, writing something without actually knowing how it will look like, is major. I don’t know if that’s relevant, but Sun does not officially support Chrome yet.

Well, maybe, at a later time I will return with a third post on the subject, but for now I’ll stick (once more) with the Fox 😉

PS: Keep what I said about bookmark syncing, there’s an idea that I want to try, and I will get back on the matter…


Manually Install Adobe Flash on Ubuntu

Just a quick one, hoping to save you some trouble, in case you have problems installing Adobe Flash Player for Firefox on Ubuntu.

For the past half hour, I have been trying to install it either from Adobe’s download page or from Synaptic Pachage Manager, with no success whatsoever.

What did work for me was to manually install it, and I would suggest you do the same, in case you experience difficulties too. In order to do that first you need to download the .tar.gz package from Adobe. Click the above link, go to the download page and from the drop down list, select .tar.gz.

Save and extract the file someplace (eg /tmp)

Now, you need to copy the extracted to firefox’s plug in directory. You need to be root to do that.

Open a terminal and type:

sudo cp /tmp/ /usr/lib/firefox/plugins

It will ask you for the root password, just type it and you’re good to go. I didn’t even had to resrtart firefox.

UPDATE (5 Feb 2010): After an eeeBuntu re-install, I had to re-install flash for firefox too. With firefox v. 3.0 (I haven’t updated yet), flash plug in installed directly from Adobe with no problems.


Internet explorer 8 and Flash…

I use Firefox. Let me say that again. I USE FIREFOX!

However, there are people who still use IE, either because they don’t know of any other browsers* or because they like it. It’s not my job to convence them otherwise. So, when somebody asks me to help them update their laptop, I will not change any of their programs, including browsers.

So, to set True Story Mode on, I was given an ACER laptop and I was told to check it a bit, see if there’s anything wrong with it, you know, the usual process. One of the things I generally tend to do, is updating the machines people give me for two reasons: a) There are some critical updates that will make a windows box a bit safer and more stable and b) because someone who has paid for an OS should enjoy all the services provided by the developer (sic). When it asked me to install IE8, I did what I had to do: I asked the owner…

Yes, of cource I want that! A collegue installed it and said it is fantastic! 

Whatever… I’ve had problems of my own with IE8, but it was on a Vista Buisness machine, this laptop was with XP, so I did what I was told. Well, some time later, the laptop was updated, the owner had the brand new browser that was supposed to be fantastic and I was done.

Well… almost done… One of the firtst things the owner did when I gave the laptop back, was visiting mySpace, to check out some hot new band or something. In order to view the mySpace music player, you have to upgrade your flash player. No problem, it’s been done many times, piece of cake, right?

Wrong! The standard procedure, to install flash player 10 from within IE, will not work. At least it did not work in my case, to the point that IE froze and I could only kill the process through Task Manager. A little bit of Google search shows that many more have the same problem. To tell you the truth, I did not bother to look for a tried solution, to see what others did, I did what seemed to me more logical:

I downloaded the stand alone installer from Adobe’s site. I closed IE, run the installer and presto. Flash player was updated to version 10.

Not sure what the problem is. I really don’t care, I just wanted to get my job done and frankly why should anyone care? The average user will only follow instructions provided by the developers (in this case Adobe) and when he sees his browser freezing, will not know what to do.


So, let me say this once more: I USE FIREFOX!

PS: This is not a FF vs IE post. I know that FF has problems too, I know there are other browsers as well, I know that IE will be patched sometime soon. I just don’t like being called again because someone cannot update their flash player…

February 2019
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Yeah, I got one o’ those…