Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Beware the Red Herring (or just don’t assume!)

cartoon fishy

I tend to stick with the newest versions of Firefox (which means using the Beta or Aurora offerings) just because I am nosey, and want to see what’s new or upcoming.

This is usually not a problem, and even with the dozens of AddOns I use tends to run without any real hassle. Major revisions to Aurora can see the odd insurmountable problem (at the moment, for example, it will not load any old/previous sessions), so I fall back onto the Beta – but this appeared to fail in very odd way a week ago.

I thought it had stopped registering clicks on buttons and check boxes towards the left of the browser window, then found that everything in a strip about 150 px wide was being ignored.

At first, I had assumed some sort of odd coding error as it was only buttons and boxes, and tried the usual method of disabling recent changes and updates. This usually identifies an offender, which can then be disabled until and update arrives. But in this case, rolling back both browser and AddOns didn’t help, no matter how far back I went.

Then I fired up a program that used hotspots on the left, rather than buttons or boxes, and found it was being completely ignored as well, and that was when I learned the whole left column of 150 px or so was ‘dead’, to any mouse action.

Without a blow-by-blow account of a period of head-scratching, I eventually found the cause was down to an invisible side-bar, which was overlying that left side of the browser window, and is down to some sort of oddity in a twin-sidebar AddOn I use. This gives me my main sidebar on the right (triggered by the mouse pointer touching the right of the window), and could give me a secondary sidebar on the left – IF I used it, but I don’t, because there’s a bug or incompatibility with something else that makes it close as soon as it opens.

Digging into the setting and options, I eventually found that this left sidebar was activated BUT invisible. Since it flies out OVER the browser window, it normally catches any clicks, but since it was invisible, there was nothing to show it was there and stopping clicks being heard by the browser beneath.

De-activating the (invisible) left sidebar restored all the formerly ‘missing’ options.

And provided a handy reminded that apparent symptoms are NOT always what they appear to be.

If you don’t know that the Red Herring is a Scottish invention… well, you should!

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May 14, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

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