How to fix Firefox Sync issues by resetting your data

Firefox has a refresh feature, which resets some non-essential data to help fix and prevent issues you have using Firefox. Your Firefox Sync data does not get reset, but there may be cases when resetting that data will help fix issues. It will erase data on the server, but don’t worry; your local data will stay intact.

  1. Open the Firefox Settings page (about:preferences), and select the Firefox Account panel.
  2. Click Disconnect, then click Just Disconnect to make sure you’re not signed in.
  3. Click Sign in.
  4. Enter your Firefox Account email address, then click Continue.
  5. Click the Forgot password link.
  6. Enter your Firefox Account address, and click Begin Reset to receive a password reset email.
  7. Follow the instructions in your reset email to change your password.

After you’ve reset your password and reconnected Firefox to your account, your local data will be uploaded to the server.

How to edit Firefox for iOS bookmarks

Using Bookmarks in Firefox for iOS is relatively simple. When visiting a page, you can add it to your bookmarks list. When you pull up your list, the page title will appear as one of the list items. In some cases, the page title or URL may not be exactly what you want to bookmark. For example, if I go to Dark Sky and bookmark it, the bookmark URL will include my current GPS coordinates, and the bookmark title will include my current address.

But I don’t want the bookmark to be specific to my location! In Firefox for iOS, there doesn’t appear to be a way to edit the bookmark title and URL…or is there?

To edit Firefox for iOS bookmarks, you’ll need to edit them on the Windows/Mac/Linux version (aka Desktop).

  1. If you don’t already have a Firefox account set up, set it up and sync your bookmarks to the desktop version of Firefox.
  2. Open Firefox on your desktop and open the Library window.
    Click the Library button , then go to Bookmarks and click Show All Bookmarks.
  3. In the sidebar, select Mobile Bookmarks. It should be the last item in the list. That folder contains your Firefox for iOS bookmarks.
  4. Edit your mobile bookmarks. You can even add folders!

Your bookmarks in Firefox for iOS should be automatically updated.

Firefox now supports the macOS share menu

Firefox 61 has a great new feature on macOS, and I don’t think it’s getting enough attention. Maybe it’s not a big deal for most other users, but it is for me!

Firefox now supports the macOS share menu. This means you can send the current page you are viewing to another application. For instance, you can add a link to your Things 3 or Omnifocus inbox, add a page to Apple Notes, send a link to Evernote, send a link to someone using messages, or share a link to a social network.

To share a page in Firefox, open the Page Actions menu (aka. the three dots), and go to the Share menu.

Why we participate in support

Why do you participate in user support?
Have you ever wondered why any of the people who answer support questions, and write documentation take the time to do it?

This is a followup to a post I wrote about dealing with disgruntled users.

Firefox is a tool of Mozilla to influence an industry toward open standards, and against software silos. By having enough market share in the browser world, web-developers are forced to support open standards.
Users will not use Firefox if they do not know how to use it, or if it is not working as expected. Support exists to retain users. If their experience of using Firefox is bad, we’re here to make it good, so they continue to use Firefox.

That experience includes user support. The goal is not only to help users with their problems, but remove any negative feeling they may have had. That should be the priority of every person participating in support.

Dealing with disgruntled users is an inherent part of user support. In those cases, it is important to remind ourselves what the user wants to achieve, and what it takes to make their experience a pleasant one.

In the end, users will be more willing to forgive individual issues out of fondness of the company. That passion for helping users will attract others, and the community will grow.

Who uses voice control?

Voice control (Siri, Google Now, Amazon Echo, etc.) is not a very useful feature to me, and wonder if I’m in the minority.

Why it is not useful:

  • I live with other people.
    • Sometimes one of the people I live with or myself may be sleeping. If someone speaks out loud to the TV or phone, that might wake the other up.
    • Even when everyone is awake, that doesn’t mean we are together. It annoys me when someone talks to the TV while watching basketball. I don’t want to find out how annoying it would be to listen to someone in another room tell the TV or their phone what to do.
  • I work with other people.
    • If I’m having lunch, and a co-worker wants to look something up on his/her phone, I don’t want to hear them speak their queries out loud. I actually have coworkers that use their phones as boomboxes to listen to music while eating lunch, as if no-one else can hear it, or everyone has the same taste in music, or everyone wants to listen to music at all during lunch.

The only times I use Siri are:

  • When I am in the car.
  • When I am speaking with others in a social setting, like a pub, and we want to look something up pertaining to the conversation.
  • When I’m alone

When I saw Apple introduce tvOS, the dependence on Siri turned me off from upgrading my Apple TV.

Am I in the minority here?

I get the feeling I’m not. I cannot recall anyone I know using Siri for other anything than entertainment with friends. Controlling devices with your voice in public must be Larry David’s worst nightmare.

Reply to Walt Mossberg – Native apps vs web apps

I recently listened to an episode of the Ctrl-Walt-Delete podcast, in which Walt Mossberg and Nilay Patel talked about web browsers vs native mobile apps. There was something Walt said that I have to comment on, because I disagree with it, and a tweet just isn’t enough. 🙂

When explaining why most people use native mobile apps, he argued that the main reason is because an app (when done right) offers a more focused experience, He cited Google Maps as an example.

I don’t think it’s that complex. I think it has more to do with how fast you can get there. If I want to use Google Maps, it’s quicker and more convenient to tap on the Google Maps icon than it is to tap on the browser, then pull up a list of bookmarks, and tap on the Google Maps bookmark. That has nothing to do with the experience of using the app.

I’m not saying that’s the only reason people use native mobile apps. I think most other differences have a minor effect on the user’s decision, and how fast and convenient it is to get to the app is probably the biggest factor.

Do you need to install Flash anymore?

If someone asks “Do I need Java“, my answer is a) most people don’t need it, and b) to find out if you need it, remove it. I did that many years ago and haven’t needed it. I’ve been hoping to reach the same point with Flash. I’d try disabling it, but there are two sites I regularly visit, which sometimes require Flash – Youtube and Facebook (for videos). Last year, Youtube switched to HTML5, and recently I found that Facebook started using HTML5 for videos, so I decided to try disabling Flash again. This time, I was pleasantly surprised at how many websites no longer use Flash. DrillPressView.com is a great example.

Using Firefox on a late 2013 Macbook Pro, here is a list of sites I’ve found work well with Flash disabled:

  • Youtube
  • Facebook
  • Thestar.com
  • Instagram
  • CNN
  • CNET
  • Vimeo
  • Dailymotion

There are still some holdouts. In my case, I’m really affected by CTV Toronto News requiring Flash. I also wanted to watch an episode of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, and that required Flash. Others:

  • BBC
  • Hulu

I emailed CTV, and here’s the response:
At this time we currently do not have any future plans to support HTML5. Regardless, your comments have been forwarded to our technical team for review.

I’ve decided to switch back to thestar.com for local [Toronto] news, now that they’re over their Rob Ford obsession.

And with that, I can keep Flash disabled. Every now and then I may require it to view some web content, but for the most part, I don’t need it.
Flash has been thought of as a must-have plugin, but after disabling it, that wasn’t the case for me. A lot of the web has already switched to HTML5. Try disabling Flash for yourself, and enjoy so much more battery life!