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May 13, 2006

Whatever & Mac Firefox

Someone who reads the Whatever via the latest version of Firefox for the Mac says he's having trouble bringing up the page on his browser over the last day or so. If you're reading this on Mac, and have the latest version of Firefox, could you fire up Firefox and see if you have any problems? Specifically this problem:

It doesn't load completely--it appears to stop loading about 25% of the way through--and it completely locks up any window it's being loaded inside of. If The Whatever is loaded as one of several simultaneous tabbed windows, it becomes impossible to switch to any of the other tabs or close them individually. If a new "The Whatever" tab is added to a window already full of tabs, again, the whole window and all the tabs become frozen and unusable. The only thing that works is closing the whole window.

I view the Whatever through the latest version Firefox for Mac myself, and I've not noticed any problems, but if enough people are having a similar problem, I need to check out what it might be. Let me know. Thanks.

Update: I think the problem might have been related to the polls I had up. I've pulled them temporarily (i.e., until they fall off the front page), although I left links to where they can still be viewed. Those of you who noted a problem, let me know if that fixes it for you.

Posted by john at May 13, 2006 11:30 AM

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Comments

Lucien | May 13, 2006 11:54 AM

It works fine for me here with 1.5.0.3 on a MacBook Pro.

It could be the length and amount of stuff on your front page, with slower machines or connections it might take a while to load (perhaps even look like it was hanging).

John | May 13, 2006 11:57 AM

Mac IBook, OS 10.4, Firefox 1.5.0.3, DSL
Works fine.

pb. | May 13, 2006 11:59 AM

I'm on a Mac Mini with Firefox 1.5.0.3, all seems fine here too.

oshee | May 13, 2006 12:03 PM

It isn't a problem with Mac's alone. I have a similar problem and I am on a PC using Win XP Pro. Since I downloaded the newest version of Firefox, I've had the problems.

The page I am looking at doesn't necessarily lock up, I just cannot move between tabs any longer. The tabs lock. In order to release them, I have to completely shut down Firefox and reopen.

I haven't noticed it with the Whatever specifically either. Often for me, Yahoo is what seems to overload Firefox and freeze my tabs.

I hope this helps some.

cw | May 13, 2006 12:03 PM

I'm on a G5 tower, 10.4.6, Firefox 1.5.0.2 (not latest), and I have no problem loading the individual entry pages (which I access directly from my RSS reader) but if I go to the main page, I get the lockup. In the browser status bar, it says "Transferring data from my.polls.aol.com." That could just be a coincidence, though.

Dave Munger | May 13, 2006 12:05 PM

I have indeed had some problems with Whatever and Firefox (intel iMac, 1.5.0.3). It tends to hang up on "transferring data from my.polls.aol.com". I think the polling is definitely what trips it up, because if I load up this post specifically, rather than the main page, there's no problem.

John Scalzi | May 13, 2006 12:08 PM

Hmmm. Let me go disable the polls for now.

clvrmnky | May 13, 2006 12:19 PM

There is an ongoing issue with Mozilla-based browsers that cause them to stall on some sites. If you got it, you got it (I don't).

The problem is not strictly related to Firefox or the Mac. It appears there is a complex interaction between the browser and how TCP/IP packets are sent and munged through a NAT router/firewall. I'm willing to be the folks having problems have similar network hardware setups.

One thing to try is to limit how many concurrent TCP/IP connections Firefox opens up when loading up a site. I forget the details, but if you got to about:config you can tweak some hidden (i.e., not controlled by fancy preferences) network.* settings.

I'd recommend disabling http.pipelining to start (in case the server hosting scalzi.com is lying to your browser -- it happens) and tweaking the http.max-connections or http.max-connections-per-server down. Google these for the details.

Specifically, this will help with those cases that are caused by a router freaking out and blocking TCP/IP connections that it feels are not "right" (waves hands because the details are out there on the intarwebs).

This may, in fact, not be the problem for the folks here, but it's a start. That is, the problem is probably not just because of the browser or the OS, but a result of an interaction between the app the networking connection it relies on, and the behaviour of all the net hardware between you and The Whatever.

HTH. If the problem persists I can offer further diagnostic hints offline.

Definitely try one of the other Mozilla based browsers (Camino rules!) and then maybe Safari to see if this is truly a Mozilla thing, or if all busy HTTP connections stall (i.e.,. determine if this is mostly Mozilla, mostly TCP/IP or some undetermined mix of the two).

In a pinch, remember to move your Mozilla user prefs out of the way to make sure it isn't some weird non-default setting at fault. Obviously, make a copy of the old prefs directory to go back to.

Dave Munger | May 13, 2006 12:47 PM

Ahh.. That seems to fix it. Loads up in a jiffy now.

Kevin Q | May 13, 2006 02:33 PM

I was having the same problem, and I was going to drop a note in the previous open comment thread, but it kept locking up on me. Seems to be working just fine now, though.

K

cw | May 14, 2006 12:27 AM

Working fine now for me as well.

Justine Larbalestier | May 14, 2006 05:57 AM

I had the exact same problem with firefox 1.5.0.3 and had to switch to safari to read you.

Noper | November 16, 2006 04:22 PM

Disable silly pipelining. Happens all the time on mine just doing google searches, e.g. Have determined pipelining to be cause of firefox sitting there spinning its wheels (progress icon working) but not connecting. Quit and restart firefox, immediatley works then.

Lisa B | November 29, 2006 11:22 PM

thank you, having the same problem Firefox 2.0 Macbook Pro, Safari works fine, it's usually Amazon.com that kills it but constantly while browsing the internet and looking at various sites..I have all kinds of plugins installed and I don't want to switch to Safari..

batman | February 28, 2007 08:23 AM

I do not think I had this problem at all with Windows 2000 when I upgrade to XP firefox tabs would lock up.

This page locked up on me when I was on digg

http://news.monstersandcritics.com/europe/news/article_1269887.php/Italian_teacher_cuts_off_noisy_kids_tongue

I tried it on Opera no problems

http://www.opera.com/

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