Toasting the iMac and Firefox, and the usable browser window

September 27, 2006

I’ve toasted a bunch of things lately. Luckily, non-fatally.

First it was the iMac. I thought I’d try Bootcamp and install a dualboot with Windows XP. All the Bootcamp docs said to use XP with SP2 on the disk. “What the heck,” said little Jaanus. “XP is XP, I’ll just use an old boxed vanilla XP which I happen to have, nevermind that it doesn’t have SP2”. And off I went, repartitioned the drive with Bootcamp, started installing XP…

Then there was a weird moment when XP asked me to install on a 128G partition. I have a 250G drive and had made a 32G partition for XP. So this was weird. But what the hell, I thought, this wouldn’t be the first time where XP got its math wrong, so we just dash ahead and install. Ummm… bad idea.

So the XP install completed, and it rebooted, and then… “cannot boot, insert disk” or something. Yep, I’d messed up the boot record, and could now boot neither in Mac OS X nor in XP. Crap. Well, at least I didn’t have any valuable data on that PC, so I was free to restore it from scratch with the Mac OS X installer disks.

It wasn’t so easy because initially the OS X considered my iMac to be a seriously toasted brick and refused to install on any partition that I fed it. I’m not sure what I did, but eventually I could install OS X again and try Bootcamp again with XP SP2. This time it went better, XP showed the correct partition size and installed fine. Hurrah, I got dualboot OS X and XP now, with support for the iSight and all that fancy stuff. Rocks.

So… then Firefox started messing with me. At home first. When I tried to start it after a previous session, it automatically crashed. Great automation. Not so great if you need to actually use it. And no way to recover except to kill your profile. Phew, nothing much was stored in the profile so no great losses.

Then the SAME thing in my other, work PC. Firefox dies on startup. This was no longer funny because I actually had some necessary bookmarks in this profile. (Which again proves the point that keeping data on the client side SUCKS. I want to simply go to an online service (.Mac for PC, anyone?) and hit “restore” to recover my whole thing without going through a zillion configurations. Nope. Doesn’t exist.) Sooo… at least the bookmarks.html file in the profile was good (this is where FF keeps the bookmarks), so make a backup of that, nuke the profile and restart. Then replace bookmarks.html with the old one and you’re almost there. Except that there are no extensions or customizations so you need to redo that stuff.

Ok, there was one good outcome of this whole Firefox frenzy. I was forced to redo and rethink my toolbars and extensions. And I found you can place bookmark folders straight on the menu folder (yay!) which helped me save a whole toolbar. I honestly don’t think you can get more minimalistic than this. And still have weather reports. Let me know what else I could nuke from here while still keeping it usable :)

my browser layout