Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Firefox: Heal Thyself

Mozilla, fix your browser.

Something has gone terribly wrong with the latest version of the Mozilla Firefox internet browser, or I'm a lizard. And since I'm not all green, scaly and heavily armed above and below except, old fool, for that bare patch in the hollow of my left breast that is as bare as a snail out of its shell, I know there's something amiss.

This is the error of concern:

For me, I started getting this error, cascade fashion, this weekend, after I upgraded my Firefox browser to version 3.5. At first, I thought, well, I do have a lot of stuff crammed on my computer, I do have a lot of things running, and it's been a leetle while since I ran an anti-virus check. So I got to doing some long-overdue maintenance.

But this is a virtual memory problem, not a hard drive problem. Scratch the first thingy.

Yes, I have a lot of things running. But I did not get this error prior to upgrading to the 3.5 version. Scratch the second thingy.

And the virus scan checked out. No problems there.

So, Firefox, what's broken?

Firefox forums are not all that helpful. There are, obviously, a ton of people cramming the message boards with pleas for help, and the moderators, it seems, are getting snippy. They break the first cardinal rule of tech support, or at least the first rule in my book. They're telling us they can't reproduce the problem.

Why is that my problem?

I'm sorry I don't have a fancypants ocmputer like you probably do, you know, the one that cost you more than a grand because you're really into this stuff, as opposed to folks like me, who buy cheapie off-the-shelf systems and just go with them because, hey, we can't all be computer geeks. Surely, O Firefox gurus, someone out there in open-source land has a K-car computer like mine and can run a few tests without getting snippy in the forums.

Like all geeks, they want more information. So here's mine:

It doesn't matter what URL I go to, I get the error. Sometimes multiple times. Gmail seems so far to be the worst one for me, and tell me that takes up a lot of virtual memory. But truth be told, I have hit that error on every site I've visited, from CNN.com to Facebook to my blog to local news channels to Yahoo Mail. Telling you what URL I'm on won't help; I may as well send you an entire list of the Internet.

What plugins amd I running? IT DOES NOT MATTER. Firefox pre-3.5 was running just fine with the plugins I had running. Now it's broken.

I know this is open source. I know there are people out there doing this for the hell of it, that they;'re not getting paid. You signed up for that. I did not. I'm telling you want I know, and all we are getting is "we need more information, just saying 'Me too!' won't solve the problem.

Here's my solution: Go to Wal-Mart. Buy a K-car computer. Load up the newest version of Firefox and then you tell me what happens. I'll bet you'll be able to reproduce that error under those circumstances.

I am, by the way, reverting to using Internet Explorer to write this post and to check my e-mail. I'm not getting any errors.

Firefox, heal thyself.

Update No. 1: Am now downloading Firefox 3.5.4, in the hopes that will fix the problem.

Update No. 2: So far, so good. I'm now using 3.5.4, but I had to re-start my computer to get it to work. So far, no errors. Will continue browsing and see what happens. I'd really like this to work, because Firefox is preferable to IE. Safari's okay, but Firefox is what I like.

Update No 3: Watching "Whose Line is it Anyway" on YouTube. All seems well.

Final Update: OK. Things look good. But could I find a suggestion anywhere from the Mozilla folks to try to upload again? Nope.

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