Monday, April 12, 2010

iPhone app worthy of "WOW!" and a Chrome fix

They thought it wouldn't get through the mysterious Apple approval process, but Opera Mini is officially available for (free) download at the App Store. And boy is it a whole new ball game for regular ole 3G (non-3GS) owners. It's friggin blazing fast. It feels like my iPhone did when I got it - instantly launches, instantly renders the page, and just a great experience all around. The only downside is that your bookmarks don't automatically sync. I'm betting there's some type of limited access to user info, like bookmarks, that Apple prohibits, but that's totally speculation. There is syncing built in, but only to an Opera account, so I'll have to look into ways of getting that to sync with Firefox or Chrome. The desktop Opera app is actually very good, and similarly speedy. Alas, every time I try to stray away from Firefox I end up running back for the add ons. But, definitely worth checking out if you haven't.

(And as an aside, if you have Firefox on your PC, get this add-on. You're welcome!)

Next up, Google Chrome. I've been using Chrome for DNI related stuff and Firefox for my everyday browser. One thing that had been driving me NUTS was that using my mouse's 'back' button jumped me back two pages instead of one. Every friggin time. Maddening!
So, a little ninja intuition after a hearty googling returned plenty of people with the problem, but no solutions that worked for me, and I figured out how to fix this issue. This might not work for everyone, but I figured that there were 500+ page forum threads on the topic and a few people might be helped by this.

The problem for me was that my mouse (Logitech G9) had the 'Back' and 'Forward' commands bound to the Back and Forward buttons. And the problem with that is...? It appears that Chrome will detect that you have a multibutton mouse and execute the back and forward commands if the appropriate button is pressed. BUT, somewhere in the process of drivers, mouse software (SetPoint 5 or 6 in my case), and Chrome handling mouse events, the button press is detected as a 'back button press' AND 'execute the back command'. In other words, Chrome says, "Hey! That's a spiffy mouse! I'll hook into that button and do what comes natural." But, the Logitech software says, "I don't know what's going on, and I don't care. All I know is that when you hit that button, I send the 'back dat ass up' command." You hit the button, Chrome backs up a page, and the mouse software sends the back command, making Chrome back up another page.

The solution: bind the mouse button to GenericButton4 (for back) and 5 (for forward), or the equivalent in your mouse's software. It might even be listed as 'no function' or 'do nothing' or 'default'. If you use the Back binding in other programs, this can be a pain because it forces you to choose whether Chrome works or your other programs work.

So, try getting Chrome to work and then go about using your PC as normal. If you're missing the back command in some programs, you have a couple options.
  • If you have a mouse with customizable software, like the Logitech SetPoint software, make a special profile for Chrome, set the mouse buttons accordingly, and use application switching detection. This is what I ended up doing.
  • If you have a tilt scroll wheel, the kind that lets you scroll left and right, you probably don;t use the function (I've had the function on my mice for about 5 years and have used it about a dozen times total). Rebind the left right scroll to forward and back or genericbutton4 and 5.
  • You can try searching out some freeware, like this program: X-Mouse (note: I've never tried this, so no idea if it will blow up your computer and eat your children)
  • AutoHotkey might be a decent option if nothing is working and you're minutes from a a Chrome Navigation Bug Induced Triple Shotgun Homicide. Much more technical, but I would bet the actual script would be pretty simple.
  • Search out a registry tweak, though if the above didn't help this probably won't either.
Hope that helps someone out there!

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