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Browser Waffling

© January 2009 Anthony Lawrence

Sometime recently I introduced a major error into my pages. It was a silly thing - just a mistype in a css style. What I meant to do was create a "div" with a fixed width of 200px (width:200px) but what I actually typed was "iwidth:200px". People who use vi regularly will smile wryly because they know just how that happened - my fingers bounced on the "i" key and I didn't notice.

I didn't notice because neither Firefox nor Safari cared. My pages looked right and of course the HTML was still valid so even the W3 Validator didn't complain. Silly me, I never do check css.

I seldom check with Internet Explorer. That was my big mistake. That typo caused IE to ignore the div outright. Rather than accepting the rest of its style as valid, IE apparently just throws out the whole thing. I haven't experimented with this to see if that's always true, but that's what seemed to happen here. The consequence was that every page on this site was broken when viewed in IE. Aaargh!

I've done some scouting around the web and found that yes, IE does strange things when it doesn't understand the CSS. Honestly I'd just like to forget IE, but 31% of visitors here still use it. Fortunately 98% of those are at least IE 6, so I can ignore the worst of the IE bugs and problems.

Speaking of Firefox - at least by implication - I'm experiencing a lot of slowdowns and force-quit hangs on Mac OS X. Tragically, it looks like it's the No Script plugin that may be causing this. If I disable that, it seems to work more reliably. I really do NOT want to disable NoScript and I really do not want to give up Firefox.

No, it's not that I dislike Safari or Opera or anything else. It's the plugins like NoScript and the Web Developer Toolbar that keep me on Firefox.

Interestingly, a Google search turns up varying reactions to Firefox on Mac OS X. Some people have the same kinds of problems I do; some insist it never acts up. I did find this:


Never had this problem with Firefox 2.x, only noticed it after installing Firefox 3. Basically on some websites, when Firefox is loading them, it will completely freeze up, so I'm unable to do anything. This usually happens anywhere from 3-10 seconds depending on the website. I am running Firefox with only one addon: NoScript. Otherwise everything is default. I've tried reinstalling once too, didn't help at all.

Some notable websites this happens with:

https://www.google.com/ig (customized google home page, hangs on every refresh)
https://www.imdb.com (doesn't hang all the time)
https://www.photobucket.com (hangs for 10 seconds when viewing my album pages)

It's happened on others, but these are the few that I frequent where it happens A LOT. My google home page it hangs on EVERY PAGE LOAD. And it doesn't help that the page automatically refreshes itself as I get new email from gmail. So I'll be browsing a site with igoogle on another tab, and it'll hang when igoogle refreshes itself.

Does anyone have ANY idea on what is causing this or how to fix it?

That matches what I've seen - I was good until Firefox 3, and now I'm not. The difference is that it doesn't ALWAYS happen - just sometimes. Sometimes restarting Firefox fixes it, sometimes throwing away its preference file fixes it, but it always comes back.

I hope this fixes itself soon.

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Inexpensive and informative Apple related e-books:

Take Control of Numbers

Take Control of Upgrading to El Capitan

Digital Sharing Crash Course

Take Control of OS X Server

Take Control of iCloud

More Articles by © Anthony Lawrence

Fri Jan 9 13:00:20 2009: 5118   NickBarron

Intermittent issues can becoming really annoying.

I use Safari only really. I used to use Firefox occasionally but I find it to big and bloated now, but still see its advantages.


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