Jack Yan
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The Persuader

My personal blog, started in 2006.



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15.01.2011

Jack tries another Firefox beta—we all know what happens next

Title says it all. Except this time, it’s not just the fonts. No link in a Google results page is clickable: in fact, Google hangs the entire browser (though I can still scroll up and down—yay). The program, after clicking on the close icon, stays in the Task Manager for at least 10 minutes (I force-closed it after that). The fonts are, as before, unresolved:

Firefox 4 Beta 9 display
Firefox 4 Beta 9 display
Firefox 4 Beta 9 display
Firefox 4 Beta 9 display
Firefox 4 Beta 9 display

   But, I hear you say, these are all sites that you have done, Jack, or which you’ve modified, so it’s obviously you being crap at web design. (Forgetting for a moment that these sites all work on Firefox 3, IE8 and Opera; Chrome has some difficulties with embedded fonts.)
   Fair call. Let’s look at some other sites, then, done by people who have collectively forgotten more about web design than I have ever learned. For this exercise I won’t pick sites that have specified Verdana and Georgia, because, for some reason, they work fine. Must be Mozilla cosying up to Microsoft or something.
   Aisle One. They know a bit about web design.

Firefox 4 Beta 9 display

Hmm. Or This Next?

Firefox 4 Beta 9 display

Now, Creative Review. Surely they will have a good choice of typefaces and have it all working.

Firefox 4 Beta 9 display

Maybe not.
   Or, you might say, it’s your fonts, Jack. You’ve specified fonts you’ve designed and they’re obviously not as good as the stuff from your competitors. (Ignoring that of the above, the text set in Lucire works on the This Next site, and my fonts appear in the embedded lines in our own company’s sites.)
   I thought Khoi Vinh, the former design director of The New York Times, would know what he was doing. Here’s how his blog looks:

Firefox 4 Beta 9 display

In fact, the only typeface that displays correctly is one of mine. Linotype Helvetica does not.
   How about Adobe Systems? They make fonts, and they use specify them on their own site.

Firefox 4 Beta 9 display

Ditto: my font appears, theirs doesn’t. (The Adobe home page is fine: its Myriad embedded font comes down OK; for the Reader page, I have Myriad installed, and I can’t see it in the top line.)
   I’m back on the crash-prone Firefox 3 and when I get a bit of time, I’ll send this feedback on to the developers. I hope they get the font issue fixed but in three betas, they haven’t. And I have to search on Duck Duck Go (no complaints there) because Google doesn’t work with Firefox 4.
   Given my concerns about Google over the last wee while, that’s one error I can live with—but I doubt if 99-plus per cent of netizens will.

PS. Here is the nearest bug I could find, and it has been going on since Beta 1. This user is seeing Neue Helvetica displayed as gibberish—not boxes, but random characters in the correct font. The advice from some Firefox users on the support forum is ‘delete Helvetica, use Arial’. This, to a design professional, is the same as ‘have toothache, pull out all teeth’.

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Filed under: design, internet, technology, USA—Jack Yan @ 06.39

4 Responses to ‘Jack tries another Firefox beta—we all know what happens next’

  1. jaklumen says:

    Well, again, I’m wondering how much Mozilla is supporting things on the Windows side. Cross-platform software is a bit of a myth; there’s always heavy tweaking to do for each OS.

    I thought Verdana was a hipster thing, though.

  2. Jack Yan says:

    What gets me, Jak, is that this is something they sorted out beautifully for v. 3: Firefox is, typographically, the best browser on the market, bar none. How they managed to mess something quite simple up, I don’t know.
       Verdana is kind of Web 1·0.

  3. Boris says:

    Jack, if the issue is not always linked to Neue Helvetica, I recommend filing a separate bug for this. Please add me to the CC list (just put “:bz” in the CC list field while filing or after filing). I’ll make sure the bug gets directed to the right people and such.

    If you can also come up with as small a page as possible that shows the problem, that would be really helpful!

  4. Jack Yan says:

    Boris, thank you—I’m happy someone out there who knows more about Firefox cares! I have already filed a separate bug but I will do one more—it’ll be great to get this to the right people.

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