Browser Buggeration…

Note :- This was written over a period of days, more or less in real time, which is why some earlier opinions, particularly about Google’s Chrome browser, change towards the end.


For many years I have made use of the comments pages in online newspapers and magazines primarily the Guardian (writing as LePendu**), and most of the rest too (those that aren’t skulking behind paywalls, anyway), under my own name***, from time to time.

**Because I used to spend too much time hanging around CiF. 😉

***The Guardian has no way for users to edit their email address or their user name, the former stupid (the email address I initially used has been out of use for years now, which happens with a lot of people), the latter simply pointless – I want to use my own name, but I don’t want to lose my entire comment history by creating a new account, which is the only option if I want to change either user name or email address. Or both.

At the Mirror, though, I actually appeared to have been shut out.

It started some months ago, I’d type a comment, hit the submit button and get “Sorry, we are unable to publish your comment at this time”. I paraphrase slightly, I can’t recall the exact wording but it’s pretty close. Problem was, “at this time” turned out to mean “ever”.

Then it became impossible for me to log in at all, and still is. You have to do this using a FaceBook account, and the ability to log in to blogs and websites is the only reason I keep my account open as I pretty much loathe everything about FaceAche.

I found that by changing browsers, from Firefox to Opera, I could log in again – until this week, when that, too, stopped working. I can still log in, and access my account, and read comments, but no text entry box appears in the comments section.

There is, I suppose, a possibility that this isn’t personal, as I’ve noticed of late that the Mirror was publishing few comments, so maybe many of us are having similar problems. Maybe the fault lies with FaceAche? It’s certainly undergone a lot of changes recently so perhaps it’s a compatibility issue?

NOTE: Out of idle curiosity I tried to log into the Mirror comments using Chrome – worked perfectly. And while I still feel, as I always have, that Chrome lacks features I consider essential (like the ability to easily import Speed Dial settings from Firefox). Until that happens Chrome will never make it to the dizzy heights of Default Browser status, though it’s rapidly becoming my first choice for online shopping (it even makes Sainsbury’s piss-poor, temperamentally  balky online store fast and more reliable – though the software still loses stuff from my trolley unless I save it every couple of items).

There’s also a massive problem with many Disqus-powered comments pages, across a whole raft of publications, which have simply ceased to exist on Firefox. According to the papers I’ve asked, and who could be bothered to respond (just the Telegraph, in fact), this is a Disqus compatibility cock-up and nothing to do with them, though I do feel that the paper shouldn’t be so keen to abrogate its own responsibility when it comes to getting the problem sorted out.

This, too, was fixed by moving to Opera, but not any more – the only way in (this was before I’d tried Chrome), was for me to create a new account, which means my entire Disqus history is lost, and that pisses me off.

For now, then, FF remains my default browser but I have to admit that Chrome is coming up hard on the rails, if I can get past the Speed Dial snafu, and I think I’ve found a solution, then I’ll have to seriously consider making Chrome my default browser.

It’s meant changing my current FF Speed Dial to an extension called  FVD Speed Dial, so that I can then export it to FVD Speed Dial in Chrome – there is no other way that I’ve been able to find that the basic FF Speed Dial settings can be imported to Chrome, and that, for me, is a major fail.

In fact copying the FVD Speed Dial from FF to Chrome was – again – entirely unintuitive, offering no advice to those of us not of the Geek persuasion, so it was a case of trying the various options to see what worked. Naturally, the option I wanted was the one I tried last!

Anyway, Speed Dial is now installed on Chrome, and my settings have been copied across via a web-based app which was painfully slow but is the only option. Thankfully, it has to be done only once.

And mercifully, copying over the Bookmarks stuck to the system that’s been in common use since god was in short pants. Unfortunately, Chrome doesn’t put it in a sidebar – that feature is already hogged by Google-related crap – so when you open Bookmarks it sprawls all over the open window. Not helpful.

So Chrome, for the next couple of weeks, will be on probation. If it’s as good as it looks as if it’s going to be, I’ll make it the default. If not, I’ll keep it for reading, and commenting in, newspapers and magazines, and shopping online, and I do a lot of both, because, whatever I might still have reservations about, there’s no denying it’s fast.



4 thoughts on “Browser Buggeration…

  1. I’ve been using Chrome for over a year now and find it’s great for me – then again, I don’t use many of the features.
    The Daily Mirror gives me the same wording as you get no matter what browser I use, but I’m fine on any other comments boxes on other online papers etc.
    I’m not a lover of FF as I find it slows my machine down, but Windows is the worst and I don’t use that at all.

    • FF is something of a memory hog (fire up Task Manager and take a look, if you have FF installed – on my machine it’s taking up 2.8GB of memory), so lack of memory might be the culprit. My current machine has 8GB, and FF doesn’t bother it, but if you have 4, or even 2, well, you can see how much you’ll have left for running software after Windows has taken its own huge bite (and I know one guy – are you reading this, Alan? – who’s running Win8 on 512MB – that’s not a typo, it really is half a GB!).

      Mind you, in defence of FF I should say I have well over 100 open tabs!

      Chrome has features? It hides them well! That’s one thing I’ve always disliked about it, it’s pared down to the bone – it doesn’t even have a menu bar. Since I last looked at it, when it was relatively new, they have crammed in more stuff, but for me, at least, it’s utterly useless. For example, the sidebar where the Bookmarks should usefully be is taken up with just 6 Google-related icons, and they’re twice the size of normal icons – they could have reduced them and put them in a row across the top of the window, then the Bookmarks would have had a proper home.

  2. Well you’ve supplied me with an answer to the Disqus comments disappearing from Firefox, so I thank you for that.

    I find that everytime FF do an update, something crops up and I have to change to Chrome for some websites. I’m getting used to Chrome now I suppose, but I still prefer FF.

    • Now I’ve managed to copy over my Speed Dials, I’m much happier with Chrome. It still annoys me, though, but if you put a gun to my head, I couldn’t give you a sensible answer. I suppose it’s just too embryonic compared to the rest – it feels incomplete somehow.

      To be scrupulously fair, it should now be my default browser, but I think I’ll continue to run them side by side. One thing I’m not going to do is sign into Google with Chrome – they record all your settings and, I don’t doubt, everything you do. Sod that.

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