Feb 25

I don’t think I’ve ever had a problem with a browser not launching before,  but at some point last year I think I must have installed a dodgy browser extension then uninstalled it. From then on, Firefox just wouldn’t launch for me and I kept getting the Crash Reporter:

Firefox crashed

I tried all kinds of ways to resolve the issue. Having said that, I didn’t know about launching Firefox in Safe Mode (hold down the Shift key while launching Firefox) until just recently and that may have helped. If that doesn’t help,  it does give you an option to restore Firefox to its factory default state while saving essential information. So this may be your best first option if Firefox doesn’t start for you.

Anyway, here’s my troubleshooting routine. I first ran malware scans with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and SUPERAntiSpyware to see if that might be the problem but my system came up clean. I then tried uninstalling Firefox and reinstalling it. I tried uninstalling it using Revo Uninstaller and reinstalling. I tried launching Firefox from a portable version on a USB drive. I tried older versions of Firefox. None of these options worked and I just got the same old Crash Reporter error. I also tried restoring a Firefox profile I had backed up as discussed in my backup routine. That also didn’t work suggesting that both the profile and the backup profile may be corrupt and the cause of the problem.

So it seemed that as well as uninstalling Firefox I should also delete the browser profile. I tried that knowing that I would have to reinstall my Firefox extensions from scratch. This wasn’t a big deal as I’ve been using Chrome for 3 or 4 years now and I’m quite happy with it. But it’s nice to have a working backup browser just in case I ever experience any problems with Chrome. In Windows 7, the Firefox profile is at C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox. So I uninstalled Firefox and deleted everything in this folder. I downloaded the latest Firefox installer and installed Firefox. During the installation, you do get the option to import your bookmarks, history, etc from Chrome, which is nice.

Firefox Import Settings


However, you have to reinstall your Firefox extensions again. Not really a problem in my case, just an opportunity to start again and install just what I actually need. And that was it, Firefox was working again. So the problem was a corrupt profile.

I hope that’s helped in troubleshooting Firefox when it won’t start. Lessons learned? Well I know about Firefox Safe Mode now, and I won’t backup a corrupt Firefox profile over a good one again.

Have you experienced any problems with Firefox not launching? How did you get it working again?

Feb 11
Finding Great Movies to Watch
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I don’t think I’ve mentioned movies in the 300 or so posts up here so far. I don’t torrent movies and streaming isn’t always an option as my internet connection is often too slow at peak times so I’ve found some ways to get great movies for little or no cost without a monthly subscription.

First, if streaming is an option for you, there are a number of sites where you can find full length movies for free. Try Free FilmsViooz, or even try typing  your movie name full length (fill in your movie name) into YouTube. If you use Reddit, there are good subreddits listing full length movies you can stream on Viooz and YouTube.

If streaming movies is a problem for you,  and if you’ve still got an old DVD player hiding away under your TV, there’s another option to pick up DVDs cheaply and give to charity at the same time, at least there is here in the UK.  Charity shops are everywhere here selling donated clothes, books, old CDs and DVDs. If you’ve got the time to go round them, you’ll probably find some great movies on their shelves. Perhaps they’ve been donated because their owners have moved on to streaming or torrenting and don’t need their old DVDs any more. And of course, the money you pay to purchase the DVDs goes to charity. Once you watch the DVD and if it’s not a ‘keeper’, you can always donate it back to your charity shop of choice, so they benefit again.

Not sure if a movie is worth buying? Well, to get round this, I’ve saved a list of Oscar winning movies and IMDb’s top 250 movies as notes in an offline notebook in Evernote on my smartphone so I can spot these movies if I come across them. You can also make up your own list of great movies by searching Google for list of year movies (fill in your year of choice). At the top of the search results, you’ll see a scrolling bar of the movies most frequently mentioned on the web for that year:

movies 2013

You can change the year or select a particular genre at the top right.

Hope that’s given you some ideas for picking up great movies at little or no cost.

Feb 4
Doctor, I Have a Terrible Pain!
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I’m sure GPs must have patients coming in all the time complaining of a terrible pain. Of course a terrible pain to one person might be just a mild discomfort to someone else. I guess the GP should respond, “Okay, on a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 is no pain and 10 is the equivalent of having your leg amputated without anaesthetic, where would your pain be on the scale?”

Well I had what I would class as an 8 on this scale recently. It started as a slight discomfort between my upper jaw and right ear for a couple of weeks. Then one afternoon, I bit into a tangerine on the right side on my mouth. Immediately I experienced an unbelievably intense searing pain behind my right ear. Like someone hammering at a sharp pin behind my ear but it’s hard to explain the intensity of the pain without feeling it for yourself. I dropped to my knees, coughing, clutching the chair leg and groaning with pain. It probably lasted for half a minute before it passed. I got up and eventually recovered. Probably the worst pain I had experienced in my life.

But what was it? I had bitten into something but the pain was behind my ear. Doctor or dentist? I saw them both. The dentist was pretty sure it was trigeminal neuralgia but the doctors I saw weren’t sure. I was treated first for an infection of the salivary gland, then a blood test to rule out polymyalgia rheumatica. I then saw an ENT specialist who said it might not be trigeminal neuralgia and referred me for an MRI scan. The dentist referred me to an oral dentist in the local hospital who diagnosed a temporomandibular joint dysfunction. I had already googled my symptoms and I’m pretty sure it was indeed trigeminal neuralgia. In the meantime, unfortunately I found that biting into meringue also caused the same intense pain.

So by avoiding acidic or sweet foods, I could avoid the busts of pain. Problem is the intense pain then started to occur in short bursts when I was talking, chewing food, turning my head, or even just going to lie down. And finally I got short sharp jolts of pain just when walking around because the nerve is so sensitive to movement. I asked the GP for painkillers for neuralgia and I was initially prescribed 20 mg of amitriptyline daily. That had no effect so the dose was increased to 75 mg daily together with co-codamol and in 2 weeks the pain was almost gone. But it was a worrying time wondering if anything was going to work or if I’d just have to learn to live with it. I have to keep taking the medication for some time to come and I haven’t received the results of the MRI scan yet.

So why the blog post about it? Well, if you ever bite into an orange or meringue and get a searing pain below or behind your ear which brings you to your knees, you might now have some idea what it might be. Just don’t expect your GP to reach a diagnosis straight away. I guess they don’t come across it very often. It affects about 27 people in 100,000. Perhaps when you say you have a terrible pain it’s hard for them to imagine just how severe it is. Thankfully, the right medication and dose may relieve the pain in a few days. There’s a really nice cartoon explaining trigeminal neuralgia here.

Then this thought occurred to me. Just what did they do in years gone by before the advent of the range of medications we have today? It really is a debilitating condition. You can’t talk, chew food, turn your head or walk around without jabs of pain. And I’ve no idea how long the condition would last for. I wonder if they had herbal remedies for this in days gone by? I bet they didn’t. We’re so lucky these days!

Or perhaps you’re reading this and medication hasn’t worked for you in which case I’m really sorry, I know what you’re going through.

Have you ever experienced trigeminal neuralgia? Did you have trouble getting a diagnosis? How were you treated and how long did it last for? Did it recur? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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