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Aha! A Clue — Why Now?
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Aha! A Clue

Update: It appears to have been the Adobe Flash plug-in that “broke” as a result of the recent upgrades to either Windows or Firefox.  I had to force Adobe to give me the latest version, as their site said everything was wonderful with the old version I had.

My computer doesn’t like leaving Seeing The Forest.  This is the apparent culprit in the Firefox “deaths”.

Running Windows XP Service Pack 2 with all patches, including the last emergency patch, and Firefox 3.0.3, when I leave “Forest”, Firefox dies.

The site has a lot of feeds running as well as video content, so I don’t know which one might be the culprit, but if someone else with Firefox could verify the problem it would be nice.  It consistently happens from my machine.

While I normally have several tabs open, I tried it with only one, a local links page, and when I close the tab the browser dies.  It is a warm and fuzzy feeling when you finally get a repeatable pattern that you can test.


1 LadyMin { 10.28.08 at 10:13 am }

If this is any help … I use Firefox ver and the page works for me. No crashes. I used multiple tabs and let all the feeds load.

I tried ver 3 but some of my extensions wouldn’t work so I went back to 2.

2 Steve Bates { 10.28.08 at 10:13 am }

Indeed, being able to reproduce the failure consistently is good news. But FWIW, I cannot reproduce it here. My setup is a bit different; I’m running XP SP3.

With all those gewgaws and doohickeys on Seeing the Forest, I wonder if it has to do with the version of one of your plug-ins or add-ons. Just for fun… and because it solved a problem for me… try disabling and re-enabling Shockwave Flash: some older versions work most of the time but occasionally break. I’ve read that the one that works most reliably is… you guessed it… the pre-release of the next version. But try the disable/re-enable first. It worked for me.

3 Bryan { 10.28.08 at 10:34 am }

Thanks for the information. I use only the plug-ins that came with the browser, nothing extra and no add-ons or extensions.

The Shockwave version is 9.0 r124, and disabling and then enabling had no effect.

I’ll just check the site in a separate window until I have more time to deal with whatever is happening. It’s not like it’s a “mission critical” web site, and at least I know to avoid it.

4 Kryten42 { 10.28.08 at 10:36 am }

I tried visiting ‘Seeing the Forest’ Bryan. I didn’t have any trouble going there or leaving. But I use Minefield and SP3 (and also, the feeds don’t bother me unless I allow them. I use Ad-Block Plus with a huge filter list and NoScript, and some of my own security. I never see ad’s… Unless I want to). 😉

I even tried it with 18 other tabs loaded (which is usually enough to make ff unstable). Worked fine (though I have 2GB RAM on this system now, 19 tabs uses about 700MB RAM!) LOL

5 fallenmonk { 10.28.08 at 10:54 am }

No problem with Forest for me with FF3.0.3.

6 John B. { 10.28.08 at 1:31 pm }

Using XP with SP3 , I’ve had the same experience as Bryan, although only intermittently — maybe three times a week — and not just with Seeing the Forest, and not always with Seeing the Forest. Clock to leave and Bam! the browser disappears in a wink. It has to be something in FF. My chosen approach is (1) use SeaMonkey as much as possible; and (2) wait for FF to fix whatever is wrong.

7 John B. { 10.28.08 at 1:32 pm }

Click to leave… I meant.

8 Bryan { 10.28.08 at 4:44 pm }

I may have found the problem – Adobe Flash. I upgraded to the latest version manually and it stopped happening.

I mistyped up above: I didn’t have Shockwave loaded before, only Flash. Adobe must have been using something that relied on a problem area in either FF or XP, and when it was fixed, everything died.

Given that I run fairly vanilla versions of software to avoid problems, and have never had any infection take hold on this box [knock on formica over chipboard] it’s a real PITA to have this sort of thing happen.

9 Moi { 10.28.08 at 10:30 pm }

I also stay fairly vanilla with software, Bryan. I only have a few extensions on FF that I use – but one thing that isn’t an extension that works great is that I always open links in new tabs. That prevents a lot of FF crashing when leaving sites.

Don’t Download SP3!!!!! 😀

10 Bryan { 10.29.08 at 12:00 am }

I uses tabs as my default, but this problem was taking down everything.

I read about and commented on your problem, Moi. It is incredible the range of equipment that was left out of this update. You have to wonder what kind of testing they did, if any.

11 Kryten42 { 10.29.08 at 1:56 am }

Curiously Bryan… I’ve been testing various menu systems including some simple flash based ones in various browsers. I had trouble in FF 3.0.3 and went back to 3.0.1 then 2.0.x etc. The problems are difficult to reproduce exactly. So I did some research. It seems FF is still plagued with overflow error causing bugs (this was notorious in FF 1.x.x). It’s not as bad in v3, but still a problem. To get some consistent results in FF with even simple flash menu’s, I had to create a filter to turn off flash animation when FF was used. Not a perfect solution… but it seems to have helped. *sigh* This could be responsible for your troubles too. 🙂 It could also explain why I have very few crashes since installing Ad-block Plus, NoScript and FlashBlock, as anything with Flash or even GIF animation is disabled by default, and I just click on the place marker if I want to see the flash (such as a Youtube vid). 🙂 I find I don’t have any problems with Opera 9.6 (so far!)

12 Steve Bates { 10.29.08 at 11:20 am }

Curiously enough, this morning I got Adobe’s auto-notification of the upgrade to Shockwave Flash 10.0r12, and allowed it to install. Reports on the forums are that this fixes the problem I was having, so that there should be no need for an occasional disable/re-enable. If it doesn’t fix it, I’ll let you know.

13 Bryan { 10.29.08 at 11:27 am }

That’s what I installed yesterday, and it seems to have fixed the problem.

14 Badtux { 10.30.08 at 1:16 am }

I am *so* glad I’m using a Mac…

15 Kryten42 { 10.30.08 at 1:31 am }

Hah! Yeah… I have an old G4 Titanium Powerbook. It works. 🙂 But… most of what I do is for people with Windoze! *shrug* So… I have little choice.

And… I was a Service Manager for an Apple Centre for a couple years… So I know the Mac’s weaknesses and problems too! Their biggest problem, is Apple. LOL Just like Windoze biggest is M$! I would NEVER, ever buy the first or even second release of anything for Apple. Apple think the Same as M$… people who buy them are not *customers*, they are beta testers! When the iPod first came out, there was a *secret* mod done almost every month for a while. The customers rarely noticed (except some problem suddenly went away), but us poor service people sure did!

On the whole though… A good Mac and OS-X is preferable to a Windoze PC. I only have Windoze on 1 PC, the other is Linux and very stable. 😉

16 Bryan { 10.30.08 at 3:17 pm }

Obviously it is a better and more stable environment if you control both the hardware and software. I prefer Linux because it remains stable on almost anything you cobble together, and you don’t sign away your firstborn, or mortgage your house to get it.

If I could just convince my clients…