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The more you know, the more you don’t know

This content is a little crusty, having been with me through 3 separate platform changes. Formatting may be rough, and I am slightly less stupid today than when I wrote it.
13 Feb 2009

Trouble logging into anything Google from Firefox

400 Bad Request

That’s what I keep getting everywhere I go in the Google universe for the past several days using Firefox (using latest stable release, v3.0.6). I know I’m not the only one, I’ve found a plethora of recent support posts discussing the same issue. Normally I’m the one writing here to say “Hey, look out for this one, here’s how to handle it.” But this time I’m at a loss. I automatically attribute any and all odd Firefox behavior to my ridiculous extension collection. There are so many, and sometimes one of them will get out of date and go all bull-china-shop on me. So I start disabling the most likely suspects…then a few more…finally all of them. Google still won’t behave. I go so far as to reset my Firefox profile (Beginners: try the safe way; Experts: go full monty). I log in once, but the behavior rapidly returns within a couple sessions (didn’t even have to restart). Then I started looking at more systemic fixes, and I discover that clearing cache and cookies will fix the problem (with or without extensions in the picture), but again only lasts a few sessions. Since the problem is definitely with cache and/or cookies, I’m pretty much out of moves. I have no cookie or cache manager plugins that could be responsible, so this one rests squarely at Firefox’s furry feet. At first I blamed Google, but then I saw similar behavior when trying to log into the Webmin interface I use for some servers. Logging in just kicks right back to the login prompt, with no errors. In the meantime, I’ve switched all my logged-in Google activities (GMail, Analytics, etc.) over to Chrome, where I’ve had no problems whatsoever. I never used Chrome for routine browsing; the lack of extensions — notably AdBlock Plus and Firebug — really makes it unappealing. However I must admit that the overall UI is fantastic. If the Mozilla team doesn’t figure this cookie issue out soon, or if Google gets their act together and starts allowing Firefox plugins, I may make the full switch. Still, I’d like to get back to a single window if possible, so if anyone has any other suggestions, I’m all ears. Update: I’ve now reinstalled Firefox as well, to no avail. Until I find a permanent solution, I’ve installed another add-on called Clear Private Data, which gives you an icon to do exactly that. Now whenever Firefox acts up, I hit the button and continue. It still happens with ridiculous regularity, but at least the browser stays usable.

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