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How I Stopped Chrome for iOS from Crashing on Startup

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UPDATE March 12, 2013: Google has released an update to Chrome for iOS to fix the startup crash through the App Store.
Google recently released Chrome version 25 for the iPhone and iPad, and as great as the new features might be, many users are reporting that the app crashes on start up. I am one of these
users, but I think I found a fix for the issue, which seems to revolve around the syncing protocol, specifically Google anonymous data collection. In order to do this though, you must be quick.

1: Uninstall Chrome for iOS by holding down the icon on the home screen until the icon start to jiggle. Then click on the little x in the top left corner of the app.

2: Reinstall the app from Apple’s App Store.

3: Open the app and hit check “Send Anonymous Usage Data”. Many users in the comments are saying that they had to accept Google’s “Anonymous Usage Data” option on the Terms of Service page in order to get this to work. I did not have to do this on my end, but so far it seems I am the exception. Click “Accept and Continue” when the Terms of Service pop up.

4. When the Google sign-in screen pops up, hit skip.

This is how I got the app to work for me. I had tried just the reinstall, but that still crashed the app for me. It was only when I skipped the login screen that I could once again use Chrome for iOS. I can also confirm that I was afterwards able to re-login to my Google Account and begin syncing Chrome again as normal.

It is interesting to note the the majority of those of people having this problem, though certainly not all, are users using a jailbroken device. Whether or not this is an issue with the jailbreak, with Chrome, or with both has yet to be seen. It has also been verified that Cydia apps/tweaks like BrowserChooser seem to be having no effect in either causing or eliminating the crashes.

Let me know if this worked for you or if you have any other methods that worked. And please share this so we can help others. Hopefully this issue will be resolved soon.

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How to Change Your Browser’s User Agent on a Mac:

It came to light recently that Orbitz.com has been directing Mac users of their site to more expensive hotels and services compared to those of PC’s.  The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Orbitz is doing this because Mac users were already buying more expensive hotels and so Orbitz is just doing this for them automatically.  Other websites like Priceline and Expedia say they do not profile customers based on their operating system.

This begs the question whether or not your can get around something like this.  I certainly hope other websites decided to pick up on this trend of profiling sales based on operating system, but it is not necessarily bad.  Download websites do this to help you download apps to your operating system automatically rather than manually sorting apps by OS.  Websites also do this to change the website if you are using a mobile browser on a smartphone or tablet.

However, you can change the user agent of almost every browser.  This feature is usually for developers and is added to test website or web app functionality or just for people to get websites to work properly without switching browsers.  Here is how to change user agents in Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera on the Mac.

Wall Street Journal story: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304458604577488822667325882.html

App of the Week: SRWare Iron

Whether or not you like them, Google makes a lot of great and influential products.  Among them, Chrome has really moved the browser market forward with its minimalist design, fast update cycle, and rapid growth.  However, for all of Chrome’s goodness, some people are concerned about Google’s hand in it.  They worry about Google keeping records of their visits, if their personal information is going to be sold to advertisers, etc. (I mean, the other big browsers don’t put a user agreement for you to agree to first).  Many still want to test the power and speed of Chrome.  Simple put, they want Chrome minus Google.  The solution comes from Germany (don’t worry, it’s in English too).

SRWare is a German company that takes Google Chrome’s code and strips Google out of the code and puts it out as the browser called Iron.  Iron still has all the speed of Chrome, you can still sync Iron across computers with Google’s sync feature in the browser, and still install Chrome extensions and apps (or you can use Iron’s own little repository).  While I still use Rockmelt as my primary browser, Iron is a great Chrome substitute, especially for people who are very privacy conscious.  I actually used Iron before Rockmelt as my primary browser and I loved it.

SRWare Iron Logo

That being said, there are a few things in Iron that just don’t seem right.  First of all, every major browser has either an auto-update feature, or at least has a way of notifying you of updates.  Iron doesn’t, at all.  If you want to see if there is an update, you need to check their downloads page occasionally, or follow them on Twitter.  At least some easier way of notifying us of updates would be nice.

Another downside is specifically for Mac.  When Google updates Chrome, it usually takes other Chrome-based browsers a few weeks to update, no surprise there, and Iron updates for Linux, Mac, and Windows regularly.  It’s that schedule that bugs me; Windows gets updated in the first couple of weeks, Linux a little after that, but not the Mac version.  The Mac version doesn’t get updated for 2 whole versions of Chrome.  So whereas Windows/Linux Iron updated from Chrome version 9, then to 10, ad then 11, the Mac version updated from 9 to 11.  UPDATE on 8-21-2011: With the release of Iron version 13 for Mac, SRWare announced they are going to update the Mac version of Iron more frequently, and release updates alongside its Windows’ counterpart.

Otherwise Iron is a great browser for people who want Chrome, without the privacy worries that you may have about Google.  Iron works for OSX 10.4, 10.5, 10.6, and 10.7, as well as Windows XP, Vista, and 7, & most major Linux distributions.  You can download it from http://www.srware.net/en/software_srware_iron_download.php

Securing Chrome Browsers

In this video, I look at how to keep Chromium based browsers secure on your Mac. These include Google Chrome, Chromium, Rockmelt, SRWare Iron, and more. Check it out. And if you’re watching these videos and you know someone who uses a Chromium browser, share this with them.

Thanks!

App of the Week: Rockmelt

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the fall of the Flock browser. Flock was the social browser that kept a sidebar to watch your Facebook, Twitter, and other social feeds and blogs. I mentioned another browser in that post that had rivaled Flock, but is now THE social browser: Rockmelt. Rockmelt runs of Chromium, the same engine as Google’s Chrome. It works on Windows, Mac, and also for iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch). It works best with Facebook (it has been called the Facebook browser), but also has sidebar apps for Youtube, Twitter, automatic RSS feed detections, Tumblr, and its own Read-Later feature (which I have found very handy).

It looks mostly like Chrome, but it has small sidebars that are called “Edges”. On the right side is your “App Edge”, which keeps up with your social feeds, Facebook notifications, the Read-It-Later app, and RSS feeds. It also is the place where you’ll see any Chrome extensions you’ve download. On the left side is your “Friend Edge”, which is specifically a feature for Facebook. It allows you to see which of your Facebook friends is online, post to their wall, send messages, and of course chat with them without having to go to the Facebook page. You will also notice that, unlike Chrome, there is the standard “omnibox” (url and search bar combined) and a search bar, with a “Share button separating them. The share button allows you to instantly share the webpage your on with Facebook, Twitter, and/or Tumblr. The search bar allows you to search for anything, but then preloads the top 5 results in the background without you having to load any new tabs.

Since the browser runs on Chromium, it is very fast going from page to page, and the tests done show that it consistently only runs behind Google’s Chrome itself. The browser’s startup time is a little slow, but given the deep connections it has with logging on to Facebook, as well as any other networks Rockmelt connects to, this is understandable. However, compared with the initial version of the browser, it is a definite improvement, as you don’t have to wait for Rockmelt to log into Facebook before doing your browsing. The browser also keeps your connections secure as far as I have found, so not as much need to worry there.

It is important to note though that at this writing, the blog is still in beta, version 2 to be precise. There are still some bugs in the browser, such as occasional log-off hangs, occasional chats not getting sent through the chat app, etc. All and all though, this is a very well built browser. It has continued to grow and get better from its shaky beginnings, and I look forward to further development for what is now MY browser of choice.

You can download Rockmelt here: http://www.rockmelt.com/

Again I’m sorry that I’m late with the post, but things down here in the Southern US haven’t been easy. This past week we had terrible storms across several states, and while I suffered no more than a few leaks, there were several friends of mine who suffered worse. On top of that, its college exam week for around here, which doesn’t help.

Please support the recovery efforts in the South, Japan, and around the world. Thanks.

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