By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Flaking out with Firefox 3

For the past month or so I’ve been using Firefox 3 almost exclusively. I’m running version 3.0.4. And though it basically works fine, it does a few things that are flaky.

Example: In just the past day or two, the typeface for stories at changed, and I was not pleased. I even considered writing a post about it. But when I looked at it in Safari, it hadn’t changed. And then, when I went back to Firefox, the change for the worse had magically disappeared.

Example: I happen to like those little icons that appear next to Web-site names in my bookmarks. But the one for the Boston Globe keeps changing. It’s currently a ladybug, of all things.

Firefox works fine; these are just minor aesthetic annoyances. But aesthetics matter. Safari keeps getting better and better, and I’d like to give it an extended workout — but I can’t transfer my Firefox bookmarks to it.

Has anyone else experienced what I’m talking about?


Did Rahm blow the whistle? Did Blago break the law?


In search of a crime


  1. Robin Edgar

    Firefox has crashed on me a few times, once when I was near the end pf writing a longish blog comment. . . Something similar to what you are describing here happened just the other day (as did a crash) but I was not sure that Firefox was the culprit. To be fair, I should disclose that I am using an “obsolete” and “buggy” Pentium 600 that I bought for $50 for internet use.

  2. Al Toid

    I’ve seen some weird things, but for me it had to do with my Firefox add-ons. I’d recommend turning them off and then checking to see if the things that are bothering you still are.

  3. Dan Kennedy

    Al: The only one I’m running is Foxmarks, which is too wonderful for words. But I suppose I could turn it off for a bit.

  4. NewsHound

    I use Firefox almost exclusively. I sometimes use Chrome, too.However, I have an older Toshiba laptop that uses Windows ME. If I go to “My Yahoo” and from there onto a news site the Firefox will do the same thing to the type, annoyingly so, and sometimes crash. So, on that computer I use Opera as the browser. No problems with Opera. But, when on newer computers I do prefer Firefox.

  5. Steve

    I’ve noticed the website mini-icon problem in Firefox on Windows XP. Mini-icons that used to appear for some bookmarks change occasionally. It must be a caching thing in Firefox – I haven’t looked at its code lately.Also on XP, I’ve noticed Firefox sometimes hangs – mostly on active pages when a script gets hung, and sometimes with Ajax pages.On my Mac, I’ve taken to using Safari almost exclusively. I haven’t found an instance where Firefox is better, which means that I haven’t had any recent problems in Safari. I don’t have Safari for XP – maybe I should use that instead.I found the following hint for importing Firefox bookmarks to Safari on a Mac, but I haven’t tried it:”Just go to Safari’s Import Bookmarks… menu and navigate to your Firefox bookmarks file (usually located at ~/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/xxxxxx.default/bookmarks.html).”

  6. Dan Kennedy

    Steve: Thanks. Actually, I found instructions for doing it here. I’m going to play with Safari for a while.

  7. Mike F

    I’ve had site icons change on me as well (for no obvious reason.) Actually, media nation has switched a few times. I find it particularly annoying when scrolling through my bookmarks, since I’m skimming through looking for the familiar icon and can’t find it. In fairness, I have done next to nothing to investigate why this happens – my guess is it’s something simple (and I still would rather have the icons than not.)Overall though, I still prefer it to Chrome right now, and certainly to IE.

  8. Steve Caldwell

    Firefox 3.04 seems to work OK with Ubuntu 8.04 on two year old Dell laptop.Safari is a good web browser but it shares one characteristic with Microsoft Internet Explorer.The combination of a proprietary source code base and a closed development process means that security updates happen less often and are released when the corporate concern (Apple or Microsoft) decides to release them.

  9. MeTheSheeple

    Steve: … develop a robust method of receiving bug reports, dedicate staff to sorting wheat from chaff, investigate, analyze, propose, solve, test, and then distribute. “decides to release” is probably the easiest part … =(

  10. Mike from Norwell

    Newshound, Windows ME will go down in history as just about the worst operating system ever foisted on the public. I wouldn’t point any fingers at Firefox in your situation.

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