Posts tagged ‘Mozilla’


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.

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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
   ‘Twitter updates can be found at hashtag #eqnz.
   ‘Google has a Person Finder for those who are looking for people or wish to report they are OK.’

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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’.

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


Finally, confirmation that Firefox is crashing a lot

21.12.2010

After discovering about:crashes and Bugzilla, I’ll be finishing 2010 with some vindication that Firefox is, indeed, a buggy, crash-prone browser.
   At Bugzilla, where Firefox bugs are filed, the “unmark purple” bug that has been giving me so much grief over the last few months, which has crashed Firefox up to 11 times a day for me, is crashing the browser a lot.
   It’s not the only bug, but it is perhaps the most prevalent one for me.
   A gentleman named Gordon Hemsley, who had experienced this bug on an earlier version of Firefox, has uncovered more in the Bugzilla site as I chatted with him about my experiences (my emphases):

In the past week, there have been over 3600 crashes of this sort in 3.6.13 on Windows. In the past month, ~4900.
   It does appear that there is a significant difference between build 2010113000 and build 2010120300, in terms of the number of crashes, though that may be a result of the disparity between number of users of those builds.
   Interestingly, there is a large number of crashes for 3.5.15, and significantly smaller for 3.5.16.

   Other crashes are related to other aspects of the program. However, there you have it. I’m certainly not alone and there is something wrong with Firefox—never mind the company’s claims about how much more stable the latest ones are. My experience doesn’t gel with that claim, nor does that of many other people, if there are 3,600 crashes of this type per week now. I just seem to be ahead of the curve.

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Posted in internet, technology, USA | 3 Comments »


What others write about their Firefox crashes; Chrome is the oddity with font-face

16.12.2010

Mozilla Crash Reports

It has been interesting reading the comments from other disgruntled Firefox users over the ‘unmark purple’ error (nsXULControllers::cycleCollection::UnmarkPurple(nsISupports*))—now that I can trace the majority of my crashes to this.
   Yesterday, Mozilla’s Crash Reports’ site crashed (rather fitting), and today, the CSS wouldn’t load, which allowed me to read what others wrote on the Crash Reporter dialogue box.
   Unhappy Firefox users who are finding our favourite browser plagued with endless problems. As there was no mention of ‘unmark purple’ in the 3·6·13 change-log, I presume we’re going to continue to suffer till Firefox 4 comes out. (Beta 8 is due out around the 21st now, delayed by several weeks.)
   Here is a selection of comments, complete with typos. One is from me (guess which one; no prizes offered):

why is this happenign so much lately…at least once a day..I get disconnected from Firefox

Really got fed up with this. Why this is happening again and again?

Yet again…c’mon Mozilla!!!!

and again

god .. whats wrong with mymozila .. ???

i CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’VE DONE THIS!

Two crashes in two days. Nothing unusual at all. Flash, of course.

After the update.. this is 3. crash.. // güncelleme sonrası 3. oldu çöküşü oldu.

it just went off air

Well, looks like your 3·6·13 update didn’t solve the crashes. Plug-in container crashed at the same time.

boom goes the dynamite

   The positive Firefox news today is that we implemented our first font-face, at the Lucire website. We’ve been experimenting with font embedding ever since Microsoft WEFT at the turn of the century, and the results were always variable.
   They are by no means consistent today, because I’ve noticed that it works in Firefox, IE8 (before it crashes, but, then, it is Microsoft; and without kerning) and Opera 11 Beta (also sans kerning). Despite the presence of SVG files and references to them in the stylesheet, and the assurance that it is now switched on by default, it does not work on Chrome. No surprises there, with Google’s ever-buggy, typographer-unfriendly browser, though I am willing to accept the possibility that we mucked up on the CSS spec.
   It’s the Royal Wedding headline that has a font-face spec, set to JY Fiduci:

Lucire with font-face
Firefox 3·6·13

Lucire with font-face
Chrome 8

Lucire with font-face
Opera 11 Beta

Lucire with font-face
Microsoft Internet Explorer 8

   Big thanks this week to Andrew, who installed some of the Lucire font family to see if he could experience what I do with these browsers. Interestingly, he did not encounter Opera’s ligature and quotation-mark bug (where any word containing a ligature changes font, and where quotation marks and apostrophes display in another font altogether) on any browser, though we did learn that Firefox 4 and IE8 were the only two browsers that picked, on his computer, the right weight for some of the specified type. He could see the installed fonts in his Chrome menu, unlike me. However, he was able to confirm that soft hyphens were not being picked up by Chrome—they were being displayed as regular hyphens, mid-line. (You can see this in the Chrome screen shot above.)
   Another friend, Steven, was able to confirm Chrome’s failure to switch fonts when it encountered a change in language. Thank you, gentlemen, and for those who called to help earlier, for giving me the benefit of the doubt.

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Posted in design, internet, publishing, technology, typography, USA | 3 Comments »