Saturday, July 18, 2009

SOFTWARE: Time to Upgrade to Firefox 3.51

Okay, forget what I said a couple of days ago. Go ahead and upgrade to Firefox 3.51. The update includes a patch for the security bug that reduced Firefox 3.5x to the level of Internet Explorer. Not trustworthy. But the patch came on Thursday and seems to have done the trick.

What I did to upgrade: Backed up my WHOLE system Friday night. Backed up Firefox 3.0.11 via MozBackup 1.49, downloadable from Pavel Cvrcek's site. Then I backed up AGAIN, using FEBE, one of Chuck Baker's great add-ons. (You really should install CLEO, OPIE and FEBE, if you already haven't). Lastly, I installed Password Exporter and then exported my passwords to a file, JUST IN CASE things went south with the upgrade. I have heard reports that passwords can occasionally be lost during the upgrade process from 3.0x to 3.5x.

Now, I ran the 3.51 installer. Since I don't install to 'default' locations, I chose Custom at the appropriate place and then kept pressing next and finish until ... well I was finished. During the rebooting of Firefox, I had some add-ons that were listed as not yet ready for Firefox 3.5x. It was a scarily long list, but I continued. Ran the Check for Updates routine when asked and found a couple of upgrades available. In my case, they were Undo Closed Tab Button and Hide Unvisited. I did the upgrade and booted into Firefox 3.5 for the first time.

And right there was a notice from Hide Unvisited to reboot immediately and it would UNINSTALL itself!!!! It seems that the options Privacy|History setting obviates the need for Hide Unvisited. It set that setting to HISTORY and then went away. Gotta admit I liked the programming of that person!!

I had odd results with Tab Mix Plus during my testing of 3.51. I did try the beta of the version that is supposed to work with 3.5x, but it failed on two of my machines. On the other hand, All-in-One Sidebar, my tab manager of choice before TMP, DOES work with 3.51. And better yet, no TMP means bringing back Tabs Open Relative. The combo of AIOSB and TOR does what TMP does and I like the ability to have a toolbar running down the left side of my application, giving me easy in-place access to things like bookmarks and my add-ons. It collapses in two steps without fanfare and I feel like it's old home week having it back. Plus, I don't have to use tricks to get lots of tabs open in the order that I want them. If I have folder A, Bookmark 1, Bookmark 2, folder B and folder C, and I want to see 1,2,B,C,A open in that order, in TMP I have to middle-click A,C,B,1,2. Not completely mind-boggling, but not as much fun as middle-clicking on them IN THE ORDER I WANT THEM!

So, I uninstalled Tab Mix Plus, enabled Tabs Open Relative and installed All-In-One Sidebar. (all of these add-ins can be found by searching at them at In some cases, you have to read through the page and find the home-page of the add-on and go there for a new/beta version. None of it is too difficult.

That process allowed me to get Automatic Save Folder working, but couldn't save either Line Marker nor Redirect Remover. So, I searched the add-ons page and found Highlighter and NoRedirect to replace them respectively.

After that, I updated User Agent Switcher and then enabled Java Quick Starter, which left two issues of MAJOR concern. NoSquint was vitally necessary while Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant was vitally necessary to dispense with. And wouldn't you know it, both needs were met. I had to go to the NoSquint site via the Add-Ons site at Mozilla. Seems the update version might even be MORE handy. And, while it's wild and wacky, I was able to get rid of the MS Framework crap too.

When you installed Firefox 3.51, it disabled the Framework add-on YOU PROBABLY DIDN'T KNOW YOU HAD. That's right. When you updated Windows a while back and installed the .NET Framework security upgrade, Microsoft installed this Add-on and made it virtually impossible to get rid of the thing. Somewhere, George Orwell's ghost is laughing. You could get rid of it by editing a half-dozen settings in various places, but the next Windows update would put it right back. Well, version 1.0 of the gift from hell wouldn't work in Firefox 3.51, thus was disabled. Still no getting rid of it, but you could ignore it if you wanted.

Not me. I wanted it gone. And here's how you get rid of it. UPGRADE to version 1.1 of Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant!?!?! Yep, upgrade the disabled version to the WORKING newer version!! And then uninstall it! THIS version of the add-on allows itself to be uninstalled. What do the say about two steps backwards, one step forward?

My last little change I had to make in my setup to feel comfortable working in the newest Firefox was to fine tune the toolbars a little (moving some of the icons to the All in One Sidebar vertical toolbar). I also went into the All in One Sidebar and told it not to show the download panel, since Download Statusbar was handling that chore for me these days.

I was done. Here are the list of extensions I currently have installed.

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