It Done Broke.

Google Gears & Firefox Working Again

Google Gears (0.5.29) has just been released and now works with Firefox 3.5.  I’ve only tested it so far with WordPress.

Flashblock & MySpace

Flashblock 1.5.8
Firefox 3.x+

I find MySpace is only tolerable if you have the Flashblock add-on in Firefox.  My primary complaint is the preponderance of Flash media players assaulting your senses all on auto-play.  Some clowns have auto-play on all the media on their page and the hilarious cacophony of their favourite Daily Show clip blasting along side a Slipknot/SystemOfADown/Gwar medley is just sometimes too much.  My secondary complaint is with the Flash Player in Firefox 3.x+ on a Mac which, for some reason seems to wind up the CPU making any other activity on your computer a chore.  So Flashblock allows me to whip around the site without slowing down unless I really want to hear MGMT again (which seems to be inserted into every second page) .

Recently, MySpace’s media player started doing something strange with Flashblock on Firefox.  If you click on the Flashblock placeholder icon, the <div> where the media player should re-appear goes blank and nothing fills the space.  However…music will start playing (if it’s on auto-play).  So you can’t stop it, nor can you change songs.  Whitelisting in Flashblock works…but that’s not a solution.  MySpace is the whole reason I installed Flashblock in the first place.

It’s not Flash dependent: I’ve tried it with Flash 9 & 10 and on Windows and OSX.  I haven’t tried it with many versions of Firefox – just 3.0.5 and 3.1b2.

A related issue has been flagged as a bug in the Camino Bugzilla database.

There is some speculation that there is some code in the new MySpace player that can be addressed by the MediaWrap plugin. This didn’t solve anything for me.

Update: One of the Flashblock developers, Philip Chee, has gotten back to me about this and they’re looking into it.  They’re not pointing fingers since it’s not obvious who’s side of the court this ball is in.  However, if anybody knows how to actually get ahold of the MySpace admins it would probably help to get to the bottom of this (do you just send Tom a message on the site?  After all, he’s “friend”, right?).  The Flashblock Bugzilla report is filed here, but Philip recommends tracking the bug on the Camino site.

Update 2: I’m running AdBlock Plus as well, as I’m sure a lot of people are who don’t like noise in their browser.   I tried disabling AdBlock Plus for that page and the player reappeared when I refreshed the page.  However, it doesn’t behave consistently and sometimes loads, sometimes doesn’t.

Update 3: Seems like Philip may have found a solution described on the Mozdev site.  The Flash player settings manager has a tab called “Global Storage Settings”.  Follow Philip’s instructions but if your “Allow 3rd party…” checkbox is already checked (like mine was), toggle it off and then on again.

Firefox Add-On Inquisitor

Inquisitor 1.0.2

Inquisitor 1.0.2 is a pretty little add-on that spruces up your Firefox Search Box (similar to Glims for Safari). It’s fairly quick. However, it’s being developed by Yahoo! and even though it gives you the option to use Google as the default search engine it doesn’t respect that choice in the context menu. If you select a word or phrase and right-click, it will show you “Search for ____” but ultimately will bring you to Yahoo! search page. This seems like a bug.  At the very least, it’s inconsiderate and possibly offensive to the very sensitive user who actually expects their preferences to be honoured.

The Search Box behaviour seems fine.

Shared Thomson PC Server

If you have a BT wireless router/modem you might have noticed a strange PC server called Thomson sharing on your network.  Apparently, the router is running an undocumented version of Samba and sharing out the USB port as a network drive.  I can’t find any actual documentation to verify this.

Apparently, this router was, as of firmware version 6.2.6B vulnerable to hijacking via a cross-site scripting attack (which NoScript would ostensibly prevent).  *sigh*


I’ve been trying to be responsible by using NoScript, a Firefox add-on.  Its supposed to stop malicious Javascript code and cross-site scripting (among a host of other nasty web bugs) from ruining your life.  I understand and appreciate that this is an important and noble goal.  However, it uses preemptive blocking, meaning that every single website on the internet (or 99% anyway) is broken until you tell NoScript not to break it.

I’m sure the author of NoScript would argue that the internet is broken the *other* way around and its a far lesser evil to do the extra clicking.  But I’ve just come to my wits end with trying to figure out why, so often, I’m wondering why a button doesn’t click or menus are NOT MENUS.  So I’ve disabled it for now until my life gets ruined by cross-site scripting.

Twitter: crankietech

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