(* = my screen flashes once when I start playing a video and then again when I stop; I believe this is something in the GPU; I've tried to turn off all GPU acceleration for video playback, but it's hard to be sure I've got it all because video is such a cluster-fluck; furthermore the damn ATI catalyst has lots of "smart" override modes where it tries to turn on GPU acceleration even when you didn't ask for it, and do things like automatic interlace fixing and "smooth video", all of which I try to turn off but again it's hard to say for sure that I've actually de-fucked the driver (god damnit, give me a fucking video card driver that just does what the D3D calls tell it to do, don't fucking change the mip mode or anti-alias mode or any such shit); in the end I think I tracked it down (**) )
... so after trying various things I figured I would try changing to the newest version of the Shark codecs. Big mistake. It installs Bing and Ask toolbars without asking permission. Fucker. Nicely, Firefox blocks those addons now, but Firefox doesn't let you uninstall blocked addons which is a bit annoying (you can of course uninstall manually).
(** = I'm pretty sure the problem was the ATI "PowerPlay" clock changing feature. Then the GPU load changes, it clocks up, and when it changes the clock rate your screen flashes. If I just put the GPU at max clock all the time, then I don't get any flashes. This sort of sucks, because I do want to use PowerPlay but I don't want any damn screen flash. The big problem with leaving the GPU at full clock for me is that it makes the machine hotter, which causes the fans to step up to their higher speeds, which makes them quite noisey; with GPU in power save mode the machine is very quiet indeed; I'm also not sure why the GPU has to clock up to play video, is it because some fucker is still using GPU acceleration? or would it do that even with just CPU playback?).
(BTW a lot of people have noticed a similar problem with Flash Player since v10 ; they turned on GPU acceleration for video by default, and now your screen pops when you start and stop flash videos. You can fix it by turning off hardware acceleration in the Flash setting).
Hey bone heads! You don't need to hardware accelerate something that plays back just fine on the CPU! Especially when "hardware accelerate" means "break" as it inevitably does because GPU drivers/users are just always fucked up.
Sometimes I wish you could still buy/use cards like the sweet old Matrox 2d-only cards that just never had any problems. I used to always buy those cards for my home machines back in the Voodoo days and they were solid as a rock.
On a related malware note, for a while now I've been doing "safe browsing" by running Firefox from my ram disk. That way any changes made to my profile by malignant sites just go away when I reboot. I started doing this because of Firefox's insistence on thrashing my disk for its SQL db, and discovered the safety as a side effect.
For example, when you stumble on an attack site, it can be dangerous to even close the window to that site (because they can run on-close triggers). It's better if you just don't click any popup or do anything at all. Instead I run a batch that does :
pskill -t firefox.exe call dele -r s:\* call setup_firefox_ramdisk.bat(s: is my ramdisk that I run firefox from).
The other nice safety feature is that you can wipe cookies and all saved/cached state whenever you want. I used to try to browse with things like Flash completely disabled, no cookies, etc. but it's just impossible to use the modern internet that way. But I still don't want any website to remember my settings ever, so I start from a clean slate each time. (actually I start from whatever saved state that I want, so I saved the state with my google login saved). It's way better than actually browsing with no cookies or even just clearing your browser cache periodically.
On a more positive note, I found this and love it :
I'm now using these rules :
youtube.com##div[id="comments-view"] thestranger.com##div[id="BrowseComments"] seattleweekly.com##div[id="comments"]
I really would like to hide comments for *every* site I ever go to. I find that hearing from the common man is absolutely toxic. Sometimes it is just infuriating and depressing how terrible they are, when they say things that are racist or ignorant or small minded or just petty bickering about Justin Bieber. But even when the comments aren't as obviously toxic, they are still very bad for the brain, because you are influenced by them whether you think so or not, and that influence is almost always negative.