Tag Archives: web browsers

Firefox 10 Aurora Add On Compatibility

So Firefox 8 has been released meaning Firefox 9 is now in beta and Firefox 10 is now on the Aurora channel. Trouble is, even if you are using compatibility reporter from the add ons site, most of your add ons will now be disabled. This is because compatibility reporter only supported up to Firefox 9. Anyway the fix is simple.

  1. Open a new tab
  2. Type about:config in the url bar and press enter
  3. Click the I’ll be careful, I promise! button
  4. Right click anywhere on the list that appears and select New then Boolean.
  5. For the preference name put extensions.checkCompatibility.10.0a and click OK
  6. Now select false and click OK
  7. Now do the same again but this time name it extensions.checkCompatibility.10.0
  8. Again set it to false.

Now close Firefox and when you restart all your extensions should be working again.

Zuma Blitz on IE9

OK I’ve noticed a few people a searching for information about Zuma Blitz on IE9. I did notice this issue myself when I first tried IE9. The main problem is the hardware acceleration that comes turned on by default in IE9 which results in Zuma, and anything else Flash intensive, being really jerky and laggy unless you are on a pretty powerful computer. This is because both Flash and the web browser are using hardware acceleration and competing for your graphic cards processor. This also applies to Firefox 4. Anyway you can try to improve things by disabling the hardware acceleration in either the browser or in Flash.

To disable it in the browser go to Internet options by either clicking the gear cog on the right hand side of IE9s toolbar or go to your control panel. Once open click on the Advanced tab. The very first option is Use software rendering instead of GPU rendering* so tick that. You will then have to restart IE9. Hopefully Zuma Blitz will be a bit more tolerable now.

To disable it in Flash simply go to a web page that has Flash in it and right click on the flash. From the menu that appears select Settings… and then deselect the Enable hardware acceleration option.

So first try disabling one. If that doesn’t work re-enable the one you disabled and disable the other one. If it’s still jerky try disabling them both.

If all else fails you can always just uninstall IE9 and go back to IE8 or try one of the other browsers such as Firefox, Chrome or Opera.

Internet Explorer 9

So Microsoft has finally unleashed Internet Explorer 9 on the world. It comes with a faster JavaScript engine that can actually compete with the likes of Chrome and Firefox 4. It is also the first released browser to have hardware acceleration. Firefox, Chrome and Opera also have browsers with this but they are still either in alpha, beta or release candidate. It also has HTML 5 and CSS 3. Brand new user interface as well that I think will get a lot of complaints from the usual “we don’t like change” people.

Now on to the downsides.

Their video tag will only play .h264 files. Originally the specifications stated that the video tag would use the open source OGG codec but then Apple complained and so any codec could be used. Not that the fact both Apple and Microsoft own parts of the .h264 licences or anything. Now Google has purchased a company that was working on a new codec called WebM and has made it freely available with Firefox already supporting it as well as Chrome. Microsoft say they refuse to support WebM until Google can guarantee there will be no patent claims against WebM in the future. This is typical MS hypocrisy since their own licence for letting you use .h264 clearly states they offer no such guarantee themselves.

No support for the text-shadow CSS despite the fact Internet Explorer has offered text shadow as one of it’s filters since IE5.5.

Flash can be very laggy. My current favourite game, Zuma Blitz, is damn near impossible to play due to it being so jerky. This is possibly down to the hardware acceleration as Firefox 4 also suffers from this.


Still I think for most people who only use IE this will be a major breath of fresh air.

IE9 Preview

IE9 Preview

IE9 Preview

Microsoft has released a preview version of Internet Explorer 9. It shows it’s CSS 3 support as well as it’s much improved JavaScript engine called Chakra. It also has support for some HTML 5. Certainly a big change from IE8. It is only a basic browser with no navigation menu and you have to use Ctrl + O to open a URL or file. You can read more about it on the MSDN IE blog or download it from here.

Microsoft has made it’s own range of tests that you can run and they can be found at the IE9 test drive site. It’s good to see how your current browser handles these tests as well.

Spyware Block Lists

For years now I have used both SpywareBlaster and SpyBot to immunise my web browsers against malware. They both do this by adding a list of known malware sites to the blocked list of your web browser and, in the case of Spybot, also adding them to the hosts file. They also help to stop tracking cookies which are used to log what type of websites you visited.

Anyway I was updating them both today and I got to thinking, "How often do they check that the sites in their block lists are still active?" At present SpyBot is saying it has immunised me against 130712 sites and SpywareBlaster says 13138 sites. So I decided to test a random selection of 20 sites they have blocked. Out of the 20 all the domains had now expired and pointed to nothing (resulting in a oops message in the browser) or they were now a domain landing page. That’s one of these stupid pages you sometimes end up on when you mistype a web address which has a list of links loosely based upon the domain name.

I know both of these programs are free but would it be to hard for them to write a program that checks their list every so often to remove dead domains? The reason I say this is because Internet Explorers block list is stored in the registry and this can slow down your computers boot up time. Also the more sites are blocked the slower your web browser may become. SO come on programmers. Just write a program that runs through your list once a month and see if they are still active or not.

Another Day, Another Internet Explorer Exploit

When Internet Explorer 8 came out Microsoft said they had seriously improved security and that it was now one of the safest web browsers to use. Apparently they were wrong. According to the Guardian newspaper here in the UK an exploit in Internet Explorer was used in the recent attack on Google’s systems in China.


So why keep using it? There are plenty of excellent alternatives these days. Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Flock and you could even use Apple’s Safari although it uses a stupid amount of memory on Windows.

Windows 7 Browser Selection

I recently posted how Windows 7 in Europe was going to come without a browser. Apparently now it is looking like instead of having no browsers you will be asked to select a browser when you install Windows 7 and it will then install your chosen web browser. No word yet on which browsers will be offered. Personally I think nearly everyone will select to install Internet Explorer anyways as there are still a lot of sites (such as banks) that demand you use IE.


Windows 7 E Comes Without IE

Apparently when Windows 7 is released the European version will not have Internet Explorer included. The Windows 7 E moniker is just to indicate it is the European version and might be dropped before official release. This is apparently in response to the antitrust suit Opera filed against Microsoft for bundling IE as part of Windows. Personally I think that’s just Opera crying because they have an extremely pitiful share of the browser market. So manufacturers are now expected to add a web browser to Windows 7 when they preinstall it on the machines. Funny how all this happens just as Mozilla have added the ability for companies to brand Firefox.

Personally I can’t see many manufacturers not including Internet Explorer since it’s what most people are used to and there are still a few sites, such as some banks etc, that stil wont let you log in with anything but IE or, for some god forsaken reason, Netscape.


Safari 4 and Firefox 3.5b99

Well Apple has gone and released the memory hog that is Safari 4. It does look good but given that it uses a ridiculous amount of memory I think I will pass. It has some nice features that only work on a mac. Go figure.

Also Mozilla has released a new version of Firefox 3.5. It is marked as beta 99 but is basically something between a beta and a release candidate. it has improvements to Tracemonkey, the engine used to clean up memory usage but not sure it works that good at removing things from memory it no longer requires.

Now Google Chrome has excellent memory handling it’s just a shame it’s options are sparse, it has no extension support (even IE supports extensions/plug ins) (apparently as of version 2 it does) and the rendering engine, WebKit, is far from perfect. Sites like Facebook can prove a nightmare at times when it’s divs disappear behind it’s ad bar.

I’ve personally decided to give Firefox a break and use Flock for a few weeks.

Bad Web Devs

I’m a hobbyist web developer and nothing annoys me more than web sites that have obviously paid for someone to build their sites but whoever has built it has done a half arsed job.

My main gripe at the moment is sites that require you to have cookies enabled but have terrible code in place for if you don’t.

A good example is Game who put you in to an infinite redirect loop if you have cookies disabled. In fact you have to enable cookies on their site to see the page that tells you that you needs cookies enabled to view the site :|

Another bad one I just found, and this one is really really bad, is download.com. You don’t need cookies to view the site but if you have them disabled and click through to view a programs page your browsers memory usage goes through the roof. I tested this in Firefox 3.1 b3, IE8 and Chrome. With all three browsers I had to use task manager to close them thanks to download.com’s sloppy web code.

So please, if you are going to write a site that requires that visitors accept cookies, make sure you have good code in place to handle people like me who have cookies disabled.

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