Browser updates, and what (nuisance) they can bring (back)

Yes, they can. You sit there peacefully, things are working ..well.. ok, then all of a sudden a new browser update is downloaded and automatically installed. The browser restarts, and ..whoa... font rendering SNAFU! This is a lot of gab that eventually might lead to a solution for you as well. you might have to scroll a little bit to get there. Or click this link to get right to the issue/problem, and the solution (plus some more gab).

Yes, SNAFU happened this morning, a minor one alright. Not a big one, but as they sometimes come, big enough to make one have to spend at least an hour or so trying to solve a problem. Updates you see, yes of course you know, may unsettle things, bring what was in balance AND working, out of balance and, subsequently, NOT working.

Old habits die.....etc etc.

I am, maybe for old habit's sake, stuck, using Firefox as my primary browser. Because I like the user interface, the functionality, the lay-out, the vast number of add-ons and plug-ins available. Of which I admittedly use very few and therefore... *cough*, well anyway Firefox is my main references point. But since working with web stuff, design and such, one cannot blindly settle for one impression alone. No matter my personal prefs and views I need to check that things looks, feels and works good with all other browsers. And of course. I need to check that it does so on tablets and (smart?)phones too. Mentioned in an earlier blob.. I mean blog,  preferences might influence design, but that is as one says, at least in this context, something completely different.

Right, the (returning) problem - Firefox update

So this morning, while a) gulping, b)sipping mug #2 Firefox decided it was high time to update itself. Now, normally such doesn't alarm me, at least not half as much as other updates that takes place, with or without my control. When it comes to web applications, CMS, eCommerce solutions and so forth,  never let anything update itself, or perform updates, before having tested things. I know this is a sticky point for Wordpress lovers, updates happens while the master sleeps. This might work for the most part, but it also one day might result in fatalities. It all depends what you run, and what you build.

Anyhow, completely besides the point, where was I.. ah yes, Firefox.... (coffee break)......

(back).... so the update seemed to work nicely, that was until I looked over some websites I am working on. Startled I noticed that certain menus/fonts were distorted when a certain mode. A mode created by a script that minimizes the menu when you scroll down a page. Nifty stuff by the way, but the newest Firefox update didn't like it at all. After some troubleshooting, and checking with other browsers, things looked fine in Chrome/Chromium* it became clear that it had to be dependent on a correlation between the graphics driver/settings and the browser itself.

Firefox solution - hardware acceleration off

When rendering of fonts or font faces are wrong, this is what to do. Having researched my problem, which incidentally could be reproduced on another computer after updating Firefox, I found an old(er) support article that brought back memories.

=> Clicking Options, under General settings you'll find the settings regarding hardware acceleration (screen shot right).

If things look like shit, certain fonts all of a sudden are almost unreadable, uncheck the box & restart browser. Hey Presto(!) the fonts are looking normal again, however others might now look slightly different (but be readable). Why this happens all of a sudden? Changes in your browser, graphics drivers, screen resolution and such, possibly not at the same time. Yes sometimes a step forward might seem a step back, but such is the life of tech, when things change in one place, it might upset what works elsewhere.

You know Murphy's Law I presume? " If anything can go wrong, it will". However.. this is a minor (yet annoying) SNAFU.

NB! Windows 7/8 owners might need to make adjustments to their Clear Type text tuner settings. Or switch it off. What settings work the best is of course subjective.

Internet Exploder - same problem, slightly different wording

Can you tell I am not a huge fan on IE? Anyway, an awful lot are using it so therefore, to achieve the same results:

=> Tools>Internet Options>Advanced: Check box for "Use software rendering instead of GPU rendering". It then says you have to restart the browser for changes to take effect. In my case IE appeared to be working normal, with or without this function enabled. And that, dear reader (do I have any?) concludes today's ToDo; a whole lot of nothing for a little bit of something.

Have a pleasant day! :)

P.S. (later the same day): Windows all of a sudden suggested to update my graphics card software with drivers. Contrary to normal reflex decided to, for once, let it do so. Result: previously affected fonts again look normal in Firefox with the Hardware accelration enabled (see above). But the software for controlling the graphics card is gonzo.

You win some, and you lose some :)