Thursday, December 02, 2010

Blogger, Layered Security, And Your Newly Installed / Upgraded Browser

The concept of layered security, as causing various problems with Blogger logins, with commenting, with Stats, and with Template Designer, will make some blog owners so desperate, that they are willing to try mysterious incantations and maybe even sacrificing an elephant, to get any of those applications working on their computers. Some blogger "experts" are so helpful, that they have come with an almost equally mysterious hint
Install the latest version of Firefox (Use Internet Explorer, Chrome, what have you, instead). I did that, and it worked for me!

What is intriguing here is an observable lack of consistency. Each "solution" will work for some bloggers when applied one way, and for others differently.
  • Some folks report problems with Firefox, with the problems solved by installing Chrome.
  • Others report Chrome as impossible to use with Blogger - but installing Firefox made their problems go away.
  • And still others report problems with Firefox - but upgrading Firefox to the latest version - now, that's the ticket!
  • One or two report
    I had already installed the latest version - but I tried an older version, and everything is working!

What the heck?

When we see dissonant scenarios like this, look at the broader picture. In reality, none of these solutions was the defining factor.

So why, oh sage of the Blogosphere, did these solutions work for anybody?

The answer is very simple, really. As we use our browsers, we get various advices from our friends, and acquaintances, about the perfect way to protect our computers from the malware threat of the month. An add-on here, a setting there, and we're safe. Why bother to remember about what we just installed, or tweaked? Just enjoy the feeling, and keep on surfing. No problem - until the latest version of Blogger comes out, with more features that are more sensitive to our layered security.

Desperately trying to get Blogger to work, we install a new browser, or upgrade our current browser. And alla kazaam - our problems are gone! Now if we had kept a log of what add-on we had installed, or what setting change you made, when protecting ourself so long ago, we could check our newly installed or upgraded browser - and we will, quite probably, find that we are no longer protected, using the same add-ons or settings as before.

What we will find, if we check the add-on list, the install logs, or the settings, is that the new or upgraded browser no longer has the previously installed add-ons or settings. Install processes are notorious for dropping add-ons (that's third party code, of course) or changing settings (that's non standard!).

Anybody who has been using Firefox for any amount of time will remember upgrading, then clearing the Firefox profile. The add-ons used in Firefox are configured in the profile - when we would upgrade to a new version, clearing the profile and removing all add-ons helped assure a clean install.

Nowadays, the Firefox upgrade process resets add-ons and settings, so we don't need to clear the profile. If an add-on or setting was interfering with Blogger, the upgrade resets the problem - and Blogger works again. At least, until we try another tweak.

Learn how true layered security should work, when applied properly. Then cancel the elephant sacrifice, and check your add-ons and settings. There's no magic, here.

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