Mozilla just can’t catch any slack; the new, memory-improved Firefox 7.0 is barely off the virtual printing presses and already some users are complaining that the thing is crash-tastic. Not so fast: Mozilla pays attention to those crash reports that users send back, you see, and the company noticed that McAfee’s ScriptScan add-on was the cause of a lot of those fatal errors. In fact, ScriptScan was creating such a high volume of crashes that Mozilla tossed the add-on in their blocklist yesterday.
Spanair flight number JK 5022, which crashed seconds after taking off from Madrid's Barajas airport on August 20, 2008, may have been doomed by a malware-infected mainframe responsible for identifying technical snags, it has now emerged. A preliminary probe into the cause of the crash that killed 154 people had pinned the blame on pilot error.
But according to a recent report in Spanish daily El Pais, the malware-toting mainframe may have had a significant role in the crash. A couple of technical problems passed under the radar a day before the crash. However, had the computer been in rude health, it would have not only helped technicians identify the snags but also prompted them to ground the ill-fated plane. An investigation commission is expected to submit its final report in December.
Mozilla today released Firefox 3.6.4, the latest version of its flagship browser, and in so doing entered the crash protection club. This version stands out from its predecessors mainly due to the way it tackles plug-in crashes.
Firefox will now remain unaffected by plug-in crashes as the latest version does not run plug-ins inside the same process as the browser – Chrome and Safari already include this feature. So instead of the browser reeling under the weight of a crashing plug-in, it holds firm and notifies the user of the crash. The user can even reload the plug-in without interrupting the ongoing browsing session.
“At this time Firefox offers crash protection for Adobe Flash, Apple Quicktime and Microsoft Silverlight on Windows and Linux computers. Support for other plugins and operating systems will become available in a future Firefox release,” Mozilla's Mike Bletzner wrote in a blog entry announcing the release.
One of the hardest elements of Google Chrome I had to come to terms with, upon switching to the browser after years of using Firefox, was its lack of support for session management. I'm a pretty prolific user of tabs--I usually keep hordes of tabbed windows open at any given time as a sort of "bookmark but not really" method for reminding myself to check out said sites once I have a little bit more time.
However, this lifestyle isn't without its flaws. A browser crash here, an errant reset there, or some silly screw-up on my part (like closing the main browser window that's full of tabs before closing an ancillary pop-up window) has often brought forth heartache. Tabs disappear. An entire week's worth of browsing and collecting (or hording) vanishes within seconds. Tears are shed. Information is forever lost.
Chrome hasn't been the best of browsers when it comes to tab management... but all that's about to change thanks to one, simple extension!
If there's one thing I hate, it's plugin problems. That's plug-ins as in browser plugins, or one of the few reasons why I switched from Mozilla Firefox to Google Chrome for my default browser. In Chrome, a crashing plugin only affects itself; the rest of the browser is spared the messy issues (and random shutdown) that arise from problems on a page. The worst that can happen is that the actual tab your own shuts down: the rest of your browsing experience should remain unaffected by a plugin catastrophe.
Well, Firefox is borrowing a page from Google's book of process isolation, for that's the exact technique that Mozilla has built into the Lorentz version of its popular browser. The various tabs you open in Firefox Lorentz remain isolated from each other's wicked ways, in that crashing plugins will only affect the page or tab they're on--prompting a gray fade-out of your screen and an automatic reload, if you so choose. The rest of your multi-tab browser will stay exactly the same as it was pre-crash.
Or, to be specific, I hate pulling up PDFs in my browser. No matter the reader or the complexity of the file, something invariably goes wrong whenever a PDF file crosses over the barrier between Internet and desktop. Unless you have a sharp eye for what you're clicking on (or a helpful icon to guide your path), you always run the risk of accidentally slapping a PDF into a new tab whenever you're surfing around in the ol' Firefox browser.
PDFs by themselves aren't evil. And sometimes you'll want to actually open a PDF via Firefox instead of taking the extra time to download it to your desktop and open up a reader. What Firefox lacks, in this regard, is control--ways to separate a unique PDF download from the typical bevy of files you grab on a daily basis.
Thankfully, there's an add-on that fixes that right quick.
There’s a workaround. To keep Chrome on its feet with Gmail running you’ll have to disable the offline option. This requires your going to Options/Under the Hood and removing all of the Gmail-related entires under “Change Gear Settings.” Problem is, you’ll also be removing all of your Gmail offline content.
Another way around the problem, the Download Blog advises: update the browser to the current beta (which will work on the Windows, Linux, and Mac versions), or revert back to a stable build (only for Windows). Windows users can use the Google Chrome Channel Changer to a switch versions.
The Radeon 5xxx series of graphics cards look pretty tempting, both from a specifications and a price perspective. But you might want to hold off on taking the plunge while some recently problems are sorted out. Tom’s Hardware is reporting that “a significant amount of ATI users have taken to the AMD user to user forums to complain about grey screens, crashes and colored-striped hangups.”
Jane McEntegart writes that these reports are appearing in a number of forums, but that AMD's is the best populated, with 40 pages of reports, accompanied with possible solutions. Ultimately, it’s not clear what’s behind all these issues, but the problems seem confined to the HD 5xxxx series (although there are a few mentions of 4xxx cards).
AMD’s response to one user complaint was pretty standard. First, the problem was blamed on a Windows 7 update. Second, ATI is working on the problem. And third, perform a clean reinstall of your graphics drivers. Posters to the forums aren’t convinced, as the problems seem to occur with XP and Vista. Others are suggesting it’s a motherboard issue, possibly related to RAM settings, a voltage problem, or maybe “bad system alchemy.”
In an update McEntegart says: “we're seeing the following model numbers crop up again and again: 4770, 4850, 4870, 5770, 5850 and 5870. The cards seem to be coming from all different companies; the following are the ones we've seen crop up more than a few times from different users: XFX, Sapphire, Diamond, ASUS and HIS.”
All-in-all a little patience for card owners might be in order. AMD's last word on the topic: "As with any issue of this kind, we are testing to determine under what conditions the issue manifests itself, at which point we will be able to determine how to fix the problem if it is related to the graphics card or driver." Translation: stop your whining, we'll get it fixed when we get it fixed.
UPDATE: ATI contacted us today with the following message regarding a fix: “In some instances, systems with ATI Radeon™ HD 5800 and 5700 series graphics may intermittently display a grey screen or vertical banding. We are aware of the issue and have documented it in the ATI Catalyst™ 10.1 release notes. Initial tests indicate that a driver hotfix resolves the issue. We expect to make the hotfix available shortly.”
Who crashed? Who. I'm asking you, who crashed? Yes, Who, that guy over there on first base...
Only the best downloads get their own warm-up comics. And WhoCrashed is one of the best downloads you'll want to have on your system if you want to figure out the source behind your occasional Blue Screens of Fatal Windows Unhappiness. Install this app on your PC and you'll be treated to a little more information than the gobbilty-gook permeating your average BSOD.
WhoCrashed isn't a panacea--it's not going to give you a little button that says "Fix Me," which will automatically heal your system's upset-whatever like a glass of digital Maalox. Consider this app the Sherlock Holmes of freeware (the book, not the Iron Man version). It'll give you clues and suggest a potential culprit for your woes, but it just can't make everything better without a little deduction and sleuthing on your part.
So why, then, would you download WhoCrashed? Click the jump to find out!
eBay says it has since fixed the software SNAFU that caused all the ruckus and promises this was a one-time deal, but that doesn't rectify the situation for sellers who were affected by the outage. To make things right, eBay said it plans on compensating vendors in several different ways.
"To minimize the impact, we'e working to ensure that sellers and buyers whose transactions were affected by the disruptions will be made as whole as possible," said president Lorrie Norrington. "This includes listing fee refunds and protection against negative or neutral buyer feedback as well as detailed seller ratings (DSRs) lower than five starts for impacted sellers, and coupons for buyers of items that were impacted by the disruption."
According to eBay, the surge of holiday shoppers caught the site off guard, which led to the crash.