Firefox Weirdness

Our Systems folks upgraded the code running Stats web site they let us use. This morning, was the first time I looked at it since the upgrade.

Naturally, it was not working for me. Figuring it was my Mozilla Firefox’s fault, I tried the same web page in Flock. (Firefox with some other apps but none of Add-Ons, formerly the Extensions really plug-ins, I use in Firefox.) Flock showed it fine, so I “knew” one of three Add-Ons Extensions had to be the culprit: Greasemonkey, NoScript, or FasterFox. I disabled all three and found the site worked as it should. So I enabled each in turn. The site still works.

Enabling one of the three should have rebroken the web site. That this failed to happen could mean:

  1. Add-Ons Extensions did not break it. Something out of my control did.
  2. Add-Ons Extensions did not break it. Something I don’t remember changing did.
  3. Disabling and enabling Add-Ons Extensions changes their configuration and their impact on pages.

Annoying.

Mozilla Prism Self-Signed SSL Issue

I have been looking to use Prism. A gotcha I hit was it balked at any site using a self-signed SSL certificate. A recommendation was to copy the cert8.db file from a Firefox  profile to a Prism profile. This actually worked.

Locating it is a bit of a pain in the ass on Windows. It is in what would be a hidden folder, so some layers have to be opened up just to get to it. Copy from <user>/Application Data/Mozilla/profiles/default  to <user>/Application Data/Prism/default.

Excellent. Now it is a fair evaluation.

Netscape to Die… Finally!

Just posted an internal email about what we ought to do about the End-of-Service announcement for Netscape. Usage of Netscape browsers has plummet even as Firefox as increased. Its finally hit the floor such that even AOL has given up on it. Why did they make NN 9? A snapshot of its use relative to total hits for the past ~30.5 days at two of the sites we run:

                   CVIEW             OVIEW
  Browser       Hits     %        Hits    %
  Netscape 7  108,739  0.18%    186,105  0.22%
   -- Mac       6,319  0.01%     33,249  0.04%
  Netscape 8   56,655  0.09%     85,817  0.10%
  Netscape 9        0  0.00%          0  0.00%

My first web browser was Netscape 1. Every version up to Netscape 7.0 was at one time my primary web browser until I switched finally to Mozilla Firefox in 2004. Browser crashes are not unknown in testing, so to loose my place with other stuff (wikis, notes, documentation) frustrates even myself, so I still use NN7.2 for testing.

There hasn’t been an update to NN 7.2 in 3 years, so EOS doesn’t really mean anything to those using it still. So, I don’t expect anyone to do anything. I haven’t heard demands that we provide support for NN8, so I doubt NN7 will be much different.

Too bad, it came in with a whimper and will go out with a whimper.

links for 2007-11-23

VM(Night)Mare

So, I need to install software on a couple servers which don’t exist. They are virtual: VMWare ESX. I can see and login to the web site. However, its frustrating to consistently get a working console. I get a partial page with “Error on page.” Going to the error reveals:

Browser#ResponseReceived(): invalid content type text/html (status 200) while processing vmNavigatorXml.do

What I have tried so far.

  1. Firefox 2.x is unsupported. I tried it; it didn’t work.
  2. So I tried IE6. That worked fine. Over a week later it doesn’t. Oh…kay…
  3. Figured iehttpheaders could have been the culprit. It was the last thing changed, so I removed it. Didn’t help.
  4. I tried Firefox 2.x again. No good.
  5. I tried Netscape 7.2. No good.
  6. Called workstation support, works for him, I removed IE6 and added it back. It worked! For a day.
  7. So I removed IE6 again and put it back. It didn’t help.
  8. Checked McAfee Buffer Overflow Protection. Still disabled.
  9. So I installed IE7. Still doesn’t completely load the page.
  10. So, I tried PortableApps Firefox 1.0.8 (which is on the supported list). No dice.
  11. I noticed I have multiple version of Java, I removed all but the next to latest, Java 1.6.0. No good.
  12. I removed all the versions of Java. No help.
  13. Figured out there is a VMWare plugin.
  14. Disabled the plugin in IE7. Nothing.
  15. Found where the plugin is installed. Uninstalled it. Now when I visit, I don’t get a request to install it.
  16. So I don’t have the plugin. Nor can I install it.

For you Apple Switchers who read this. Macs are not on the supported list. Though, Linux is!

I’ve wasted most of two afternoons on this.

Live HTTP Headers Equivalent for IE

UPDATED: The below content is outdated due to being ancient. This post will stick around to help people get to the new version: Live HTTP Headers Equivalent for IE or Edge 2016



I looove the Live HTTP Headers extension for Firefox. (Yes, I will marry it some day.) It works beautifully and always gives me what I want.

So we have this issue of people experiencing an issue of downloading office files from Vista. From the conversation we know the problem occurs with:

  1. Microsoft Windows XP and Vista
  2. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 and 7
  3. Microsoft Office 2007 and maybe 2003

So Firefox is unaffected and behaves as expected (a Microsoft Engineer told us because Firefox is less secure?). The Live HTTP Headers will not help diagnose because Firefox works. Oh… And the solution of “Use Firefox” has been rejected by the affected parties. So, we need an equivalent for MS IE to get our users to install.

There are a couple equivalents for Live HTTP Headers for Internet Explorer:

  1. iehttpheaders has major issues with anti-virus software. I’ve never gotten iehttpheaders to install and or run with McAfee installed (even disabled). I don’t know market share of anti-virus vendors, but I’d bet McAfee is pretty common.
  2. IEWatch is more for web designers and gives way more info than just the headers because it has a broader purpose. Plus its not free. I don’t feel comfortable telling people to install something they are going to have to eventually buy even if they only need it for a couple days.

I don’t think either will meet my needs. 🙁

One of the reasons I want the headers is because I am biased. I trust what the browsers say more than I trust end user recollections. Probably its because I read web logs too much.

Joke: Security Via JavaScript

So, you are a teaching an online class. Students cheating naturally is a concern. How does one prevent them from stealing answers?

  • Code in the online class system? Unfortunately, the makers of the learning management systems lag behind the creativity of cheaters. Plus, they can only control their systems. How do they enforce security in the web browser, desktop / laptop, cell phone, classroom, or any other environment?
  • JavaScript? This is the most laughable solution. I’ve known how to disable JavaScript in browsers I use since 1999. I’ve never met a JS security solution I could not beat by simply turning off JavaScript. With Firefox and the Web Developer toolbar it literally takes two clicks. People like it because its cheap. I guess you get what you pay for in this case.
  • Code in the operating system? Dozens of software applications are designed to prevent cheating by controlling what can be done with the desktop or laptop. Certainly this appears to be the most comprehensive solution. However, it often means students go to a proctored environment. What’s the point of taking a class online if I have to go to a classroom?
  • Cameras? The only solution that deals with the possibility of face-to-face or cell phone type collusions. These operate by the students exhibiting suspicious behavior. Students will have to figure out how to act naturally.

The better the solution, the more expensive and less likely to be purchased. Instead, we’ll use cheesy JavaScripts because students are dumb. They’ll never figure it out. Unless by never you mean with a simple Google search.

Open Letter to Netscape 7.2 Developers

Hi guys,

Um, English typically is read left-to-right and not right-to-left. So when I type in the address box, I’d really appreciate the flow of my typing to work in that direction as well. As a result, I would get “u.view.usg.edu” and not “ude.gsu.weiv.u”.

Killing the process and starting a new one did resolve the issue.

Thanks!

Ezra

P.S. I do normally use Firefox, but I prefer to open Blackboard’s Vista in a separate browser so as to not have that web application potentially interfere with other work.

Ready to Switch?

I was disappointed the only IE competitor mentioned was Firefox. Opera, Safari, and Netscape are well known enough that it would behoove a more balanced view to mention them as well.

My only use of IE lately is replicating a user problem I can’t replicate in Firefox and the very, very infrequent case a web site site doesn’t work in Firefox or Netscape. 🙁 Quite frankly, it scares me to surf with IE. Of course, I am the person my friends call about cleaning up their computer when it runs slow because it is a computer virus, spyware, and adware infested mess. So my fears are based on the horror of cleaning up the after effects of using IE.

Internet Explorer Unsafe for 284 Days in 2006 – Security Fix

For a total 284 days in 2006 (or more than nine months out of the year), exploit code for known, unpatched critical flaws in pre-IE7 versions of the browser was publicly available on the Internet. Likewise, there were at least 98 days last year in which no software fixes from Microsoft were available to fix IE flaws that criminals were actively using to steal personal and financial data from users.

In a total of ten cases last year, instructions detailing how to leverage “critical” vulnerabilities in IE were published online before Microsoft had a patch to fix them.

Microsoft labels software vulnerabilities “critical” — its most severe rating — if the flaws could be exploited to criminal advantage
without any action on the part of the user, or by merely convincing an IE user to click on a link, visit a malicious Web site, or open a
specially crafted e-mail or e-mail attachment.

The small mention of competitors:

In contrast, Internet Explorer’s closest competitor in terms of market share — Mozilla’s Firefox browser — experienced a single period lasting just nine days last year in which exploit code for a serious security hole was posted online before Mozilla shipped a patch to remedy the problem.

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Unplugged for the Holidays

How to spend a long holiday weekend – Lifehacker:

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, most likely you’ve got the day off this coming Monday. I hope you’ll spend it doing as little as possible.

Forget the email, the IM, the RSS feeds, the Google searches, what Wikipedia has to say about the origins of Christmas, installing that latest Firefox update or running a defrag. Unplug and enjoy. You made it through another year and you’re wiser, more experienced and best of all – you’re alive. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done, spend some good quality face time with the people you love, and have a very merry happy festive unplugged weekend. We know we will. Happy holidays to you and yours from all of us here at Lifehacker.

LOL, I unplugged for Thanksgiving (more because I didn’t bring a charger for the lappy) back at home. It was near withdrawl! Yikes. So I haven’t for Christmas. 😛 I’m spending quality time with the family. They are on their computers too!