Posts tagged ‘Firefox’


Microsoft Internet Explorer 9: the worst browser on the scene

15.03.2011

Microsoft has released its Internet Explorer 9 to much fanfare at SXSW. I’m really not sure what the fuss is, because it appears, as usual, the browser hasn’t been tested.
   Here it is on my Asus laptop, running Vista.

IE9

That’s apparently my company’s home page. Looks slightly different to how Firefox, Chrome and Opera display it:

Firefox

   I might dislike Chrome but at least that browser shows something other than pitch black with a few tiny details.
   Let’s go to the most well known website in the world. Surely IE9 can display that and that its beta testers must have been to Google. Unless Google is banned at Microsoft and everyone uses Bing. Here’s what Google’s home page looks like:

IE9

I knew Microsoft was aiming for a minimalist look, but isn’t that taking it a bit far?
   You won’t see it on the screen shot above but there is a blinking cursor. You can begin typing, but nothing echoes on the screen. On pressing ‘Enter’, you do get a search page, and, lo and behold, it resembles the usual Google results’ page—kind of.

IE9

   What if I scroll down?

IE9

   Conclusion, based on one machine that can run every other browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 is a load of cobblers. I managed to crash it twice on the first two web pages I visited, within the first two minutes. The rest, you see above. I couldn’t be arsed doing more with it.
   Mr Gates, if you want to come back to me when your team has actually tested your browser, I will be happy to give it another shot.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in business, internet, technology, USA | 15 Comments »


Hopefully the last Firefox 3 blog post

05.03.2011

Since discovering that Firefox 4 Beta 13 is stable, I have spent less time with Firefox 3·6, the buggiest, most oft-crashing program I have ever used in 30 years of computing.
   But I used it today enough times to net myself five crashes, though this is above average. The ‘unmark purple’ bug that plagued me for so long has disappeared, which indicates it was an error with an extension (Flash, maybe?), and the average of four per day has decreased to two to three (on the days I use Firefox 3·6 exclusively).
   However, since the ’quake, I have still netted a number of errors, and apart from one, there is no pattern to them. Here are the last 13 on this machine (I’ve used it a bit more on my laptop, which doesn’t have 4 Beta):

1 × [@ nsTArray::IndexOf >(nsAppShellWindowEnumerator* const&, unsigned int, nsDefaultComparator::RemoveObject(imgCacheEntry*) ]
1 × [@ InterlockedCompareExchange ]
1 × [@ PR_AtomicDecrement | nsSupportsCStringImpl::Release() ]
1 × [@ hang | mozilla::plugins::PPluginScriptableObjectParent::CallHasProperty(mozilla::plugins::PPluginIdentifierParent*, bool*) ]
1 × [@ hang | [email protected] ]
1 × [@ nsRuleNode::WalkRuleTree(nsStyleStructID, nsStyleContext*, nsRuleData*, nsCSSStruct*) ]
1 × [@ WrappedNativeProtoMarker ]
1 × [@ F_592283983_____________________________________________ ]
1 × [@ nsExpirationTracker::RemoveObject(gfxTextRun*) ]

   I have no idea what any of this means, but to the layman it suggests the gremlins are everywhere in the program. (The defence by Firefox proponents in claiming that post-3·5 versions are the most stable releases falls on deaf ears here: 3·0 and 3·6·10 crashed far less often.)
   I’ll sure be glad when Firefox 4 rolls out, and I have been really impressed by the bug-fighting and beta-testing programmers. They have actually listened to what I have to say and confirmed that most of the bugs I have reported existed. It’s already a darned sight better than Chrome and its nearly-every-session ‘Aw, snap’ pages, of which no screen shot can be taken.
   But based on the above crashes, there is, of course, no mystery on why Chrome’s market share has increased and Firefox’s has decreased. Chrome crashes, but not as often—and most won’t care about its typographic problems or the lack of support. Mozilla needs to get 4 out ASAP: the more 3 crashes—and judging by the comments in Bugzilla, the rate of crashing remains remarkably high—the more likely users will hop over to the competition.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in business, design, internet, technology, USA | No Comments »


Firefox 4 Beta 13 passes my tests

24.02.2011

Firefox 4 Beta 13 works, and I have not found any bugs with it.
   I may be wrong, but I believe this is the last beta before release.
   What’s amazing is that the bugs I have been complaining about for a long time have each been fixed. In other words, the reporting system works.
   While for many versions, most of the Beta 4 text was unreadable, eventually bug reports to both Mozilla Support and Bugzilla got things on the radar.
   That took a bit too long for my liking, and you do have to persist. But once I was “in the system”, things got resolved fairly quickly.
   One of the Mozilla boffins created a patch that I could use to tell him what fonts I was using, to trouble-shoot the unreadable UI.
   When those font issues were fixed, I noticed that there were still some errant numerals—a bug that Chrome also has. The difference: at Mozilla, it got fixed. Someone (Jonathan Kew) believed me, had at the back of his mind what it was, and wrote code to sort it out.
   We all worked it out together, with a layman like me providing screen shots and some public domain fonts on request, and the real experts then doing the hard yards.
   The main thing was that I was believed and it was confirmed, on each occasion, that I had a valid complaint.
   Unlike a certain other browser from a company which, I must say, did a good job with the Google Person Finder in the wake of the Christchurch earthquake.
   I don’t deny they do good sometimes—it’s just that they slip up far too often other times.
   The Chrome bug reporting and forums are about as useless as those for Blogger.
   Features I’m discovering in Beta 13 are really nice, now that I am no longer being distracted by the wrong fonts displaying.
   The box in which I am entering this text can be resized—not something I could do on Chrome or Firefox 3.
   More fonts’ kerning pairs are being read (see above left): someone at Mozilla likes typography. Some text-sized pairs look a little tight, but that’s a small complaint.
   Some alternative characters in OpenType fonts are showing up—whether that was intended or not, I don’t know. But it seems Firefox 4 is, at least, accessing them.
   It’s not a memory hog: I estimate the memory usage is on a par with Firefox 3.
   The promise of Firefox being reliable seems to have been realized: it took me days to crash Beta 12, and Beta 13 is so far, so good.
   The user interface is cleaner—not Chrome-clean, but pretty good.
   The speed seems improved, though I still feel Chrome is quicker. But I’d rather wait the extra hundredth of a second and have the page displayed properly.
   Hopefully, once installed on my system, Firefox 4 is going to work a treat. Well done, guys.
   If you’re going to have speedy R&D, it sure pays to have a system which embraces user experiences, working as much in parallel with your own team as possible.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in business, culture, design, internet, technology, USA | 2 Comments »


Type-changing bug identified—not that it matters next to Christchurch

22.02.2011

It’s quite pathetic to be blogging about something like this on the day of the Christchurch earthquake, but Jonathan Kew, who has kept on the font-changing bug in the Firefox 4 betas after I mentioned it to him, has created a patch that sorts the problem out. Apparently, it applies to old PS1 fonts: Firefox was rejecting the glyph index 31 in these fonts.
   Jonathan is a real ally to the type community, and understands the industry’s needs very well. We’re lucky to have a guy like that involved in browser development. Here’s hoping for approval for the patch.

I’ll repeat parts of what we wrote on the Lucire site today: ‘New Zealand Red Cross is accepting donations …
   â€˜Twitter updates can be found at hashtag #eqnz.
   â€˜Google has a Person Finder for those who are looking for people or wish to report they are OK.’

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in design, internet, New Zealand, technology | No Comments »


The real experts are fixing Firefox 4

25.01.2011

Good news: there have been more developments with Mozilla as they work on the rather serious bug (the one where you can’t read a damn thing) in Firefox 4 Beta.
   John Daggett at Mozilla created logging to help identify the problem, and I ran the latest nightly build to get the logs back to him. We’ve identified the troublesome area. Another expert, Jonathan Kew, today identified what caused the break and has created a patch.
   I’m glad this finally got to the attention of the people that matter. Once it did, the fixes are proceeding apace. I have to admit it took a while, and the initial filings of the bug seemed to have been ignored, but once it got into the system after Boris asked me to cc him, the Firefox initiés are trying to make the next incarnation of the browser top-notch.
   I believe it took reporting it to both Mozilla Support and Bugzilla before it got noticed—that’s the strategy I’ll take in future if there’s a bug of this nature.
   I also kept the buggy Beta installed, so I could help with troubleshooting.
   For once, I’m looking forward to the next Firefox Beta with optimism. It might even be worth holding on to till the final release.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in internet, technology, USA | No Comments »


All it takes is someone to care

24.01.2011

Thank goodness for Boris, who commented on one of my Firefox posts here. Since he’s been on here, he’s asked me to file a new bug report, and he’s now getting a bunch of Mozilla boffins to investigate the font display error that I’ve been having since I’ve begun to download the v. 4 betas. Hooray!
   This is a public thank-you to Boris, for giving a damn, and, from what I can tell, having the expertise and the connections to look in to this bug. The number of techs now working on the bug has increased (from one to four), and I’m finally feeling hopeful about the Mozilla development programme for its next-generation browser.
   I would have hated to have dumped Firefox 4 on release if it was the only program I could not read. The suggestions on the Mozilla support site have included removing Helvetica from one’s font menu, because it had seemed to one of the helpers there that both Helvetica and Lucida were causing problems. (I don’t want to take a dig at this guy because he is, unlike the Google person I wrote about last year, genuinely trying to help.) I pointed out that it seemed to be these two because of their wide installation base and frequent appearances in CSS specs, and the fault still lay with Firefox 4 itself.
   I don’t know whether to call Boris’s attention a fluke or the system working—I had been on this like a dog on a bone, and I guess eventually one of my messages in Bugzilla would get noticed. Whatever the case, I’m grateful for it, and for playing a part in getting a pretty serious bug remedied.
   What I do know is that the equivalent on Chrome has been ignored on the Google forums, so Google has continued to put out a browser that can neither handle SVG font embedding properly (confirmed by Andrew when he tested it) nor display bolds (see my titles at my Tumblr)! The <b> and <strong> codes seem to be foreign to it, unless you program in what they mean in your CSS.
   Assuming the boffins get to the bottom of the Firefox 4 bug, I suspect we will see a very sharp, typographically advanced browser released in the New Year. Let’s hope it doesn’t crash four times a day!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in business, design, internet, technology, USA | 1 Comment »


No surprises as Firefox 4 reaches Beta 10

23.01.2011

Tried Firefox 4 Beta 10 on another computer altogether—the new machine in the office. No font management software on this one, which rules out anything that could have been doing. I don’t need to say much more. The font problem is the same as on Betas 7, 8 and 9; and the fact that Google results’ pages crash the browser may be down to McAfee Site Advisor, which I have installed, according to one of the experts at Mozilla.
   A few people have had a semi-related font issue (here’s one on CNet from 2009, and here is a thread on Mozilla), but seemingly not enough for Mozilla to deem it an issue they need to fix. Pity the other browsers are so below par.

Firefox 4 Beta 10
The Firefox Update loading screen on Firefox 4 Beta 10. Didn’t really need to go beyond this to know that the font-rendering system is stuffed.

PS.: Discovered on the Mozilla site that a grand total of 40 people have this problem. But I am glad I found that a few folks have had this identical issue, at long last. Nothing had surfaced in the search engines before this.

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in design, internet, technology, typography | 1 Comment »


McAfee did good: a software company that didn’t jerk me around in ’10

19.01.2011

A new computer arrived at the office, Firefox 3·6·13 was installed on it. Boom goes the dynamite (thanks, Jen—since I watch very little television I had no idea of this reference). It wasn’t the ‘unmark purple’ bug, either (sample size so far: 1).
   It’s a different set-up to the rest. For starters, it has both Chinese and English OSs. The fonts are installed differently—it’s using no font management software. I intentionally kept it different because, stupid me, I keep wanting to give Firefox the benefit of the doubt!
   I’ve been trying to give it a go since v. 1. With the new computer in, I’ve been going back through our archives to see if there were some programs I had to install. I found Firefox 1 and 2—neither of which, you might recall, passed my typography test (neither does Opera 10·63 or the new 11 that my Dad uses, but that’s another story).
   Firefox 3 was just such a godsend that it’s a shame that it became a crash-prone program after 3·5. It just seems a shame to abandon it after they did some really good work on kerning pairs, alternative glyphs and multilingual support.
   Where there’s a gripe against Mozilla, there’s one against Google. At left, Google Dashboard continues to insist I have one blog. Not to my knowledge: I haven’t had a blog on Blogger for nearly a year. So, just what private information of mine have you held on to, Google? I wrote to you, snail mail, to say I disagreed with your terms and conditions for this service.
   Its brand, in my mind, is in the toilet: I read the official version of why we had to merge our YouTube and Google accounts, and my entire reaction was one of scepticism.
   But, refreshingly, I am very happy with one program. As I installed McAfee on to the new machine, I had to note that it’s only had one major fault over 2010. It’s run largely faultless, or with only very minor niggles, for a considerable amount of time. Given that McAfee is a huge security suite, which I have had my fair share of problems with—including sarcastic tech support idiots earlier this century—it really looks like they listened to a lot of our gripes. It is not perfect, but at least it doesn’t crash four times a day, or slows down to such a crawl that I have to have a second computer on just in case. The one time I had to go to tech support, I had a volunteer (Pete) who was courteous and professional—quite the contrast to the deliberate obtuseness of Google.
   McAfee, in my book, you did good. From someone who has used VirusScan since 1989: keep it up.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in branding, business, internet, marketing, typography, USA | No Comments »


Firefox betas and me: a summary

15.01.2011

For those who found the last post too technical, too long, too boring, or too repetitive, a summary:

Firefox betas and me

Bear in mind I haven’t drawn for a while, except typefaces which I know I can modify (and which I spend a lot more time on). I’m no Hugh MacLeod, OK?

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in humour, internet | No Comments »


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

15.01.2011

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’.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in design, internet, technology, USA | 4 Comments »