MacInTouch Amazon link...

Safari, Firefox & other web browsers

Channels
Security, Troubleshooting, Products
I started to "upgrade" to Firefox 65 today and it refused to proceed unless I used admin privileges to let it install some vague new "Helper Tool". Vague is being generous, I couldn't find any mention of it in the release notes or with a quick web search. Anyone know what Mozilla is trying to do?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I started to "upgrade" to Firefox 65 today and it refused to proceed unless I used admin privileges to let it install some vague new "Helper Tool". Vague is being generous...,
This popped up in a quick search:
Martin Brinkmann/Ghacks said:
Application Update Service Helper new Firefox system add-on
Application Update Service Helper is a new system add-on for the Firefox web browser that is pushed to all Firefox 50 or newer versions of the browser.

System add-ons work in many regards like regular add-ons that users install manually. They are installed and maintained independently from the browser core which is the greatest advantage.

This enables Mozilla to push updates to the browser without having to ship a new version of Firefox. The effect is that updates reach user systems faster and without service interruption.

Updates may modify preferences of the browser among other things.

One downside of system add-ons is that users don't have control over them in Firefox. While you can go ahead and delete the respective directories on the local system, there is no option currently to disable them directly from within Firefox.
 


I started to "upgrade" to Firefox 65 today and it refused to proceed unless I used admin privileges to let it install some vague new "Helper Tool".
Did you update from within Firefox or download an installer? I did the former and did not get such a request. I selected "About Firefox...", agreed to the 65 update, watched it download and then clicked restart. I feel quite confident that nothing ever requested my admin password during that time period.

I have also searched my entire boot drive for anything containing "mozilla" and "helper tool" with nothing found. I'm afraid I can't deal with "vague" here... I need the exact name of that helper tool to give you any better answer.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I started to "upgrade" to Firefox 65 today and it refused to proceed unless I used admin privileges to let it install some vague new "Helper Tool".
Entering about:support in the Firefox browser showed this:
...
Firefox Features
...
Application Update Service Helper 2.0 aushelper@mozilla.org
I also poked around my macOS Sierra system and found this this file in my Firefox ESR app:
Bash:
ls -la /Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/Resources/browser/features/aushelper@mozilla.org.xpi
(There was also this interesting folder:)
Bash:
ls -la /Library/PrivilegedHelperTools
 


So evidently the reason I didn't experience this with 56 is because it came with my update to 50 several months ago.

Checking preferences, I see I have changed it to "Check for updates but let you choose to install them" so I didn't notice any differences to my update experience. I suspect that add-ons and perhaps other things may be updating automatically, but not the app itself.
 


Did you update from within Firefox or download an installer? I did the former and did not get such a request. I selected "About Firefox...", agreed to the 65 update, watched it download and then clicked restart. I feel quite confident that nothing ever requested my admin password during that time period.

I have also searched my entire boot drive for anything containing "mozilla" and "helper tool" with nothing found. I'm afraid I can't deal with "vague" here... I need the exact name of that helper tool to give you any better answer.
The link that Ric showed was for version 50, and since I was at version 64, I must have installed that helper a long time ago. This is a new request.

My change to version 65 was done from within Firefox, starting with About Firefox and accepting the offered update.

The name of the Helper Tool is unknown to me; the screen said "Helper Tool" with no hint of any other identifying information.
 



(There was also this interesting folder:)
Bash:
ls -la /Library/PrivilegedHelperTools
I think that folder has been around for awhile. In my Mojave install I see helpers for Pacifist, Carbon Copy Cloner, iStatMenus, Disk Sensei, amongst others. Or do you mean it is just "interesting" in the context of a Firefox install?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Or do you mean it is just "interesting" in the context of a Firefox install?
I just meant that it was "interesting" that such a folder exists to hold "priviliged helpers", not really understanding exactly how they become "priviliged" or how that process relates to them being located in a special folder.
 


I just meant that it was "interesting" that such a folder exists to hold "priviliged helpers", not really understanding exactly how they become "priviliged" or how that process relates to them being located in a special folder.
Privileged helpers have been a thing for several OS's, having been Apple's recommended way of giving an app a means to obtain limited system level privileges without having to ask for admin passwords each time the app needs them. The helper app(s) are placed in that folder by either an installer or the first time the app is launched, and requires admin approval at that time.
 


I administer a small web site for a non-profit organization, and we’re having problems with jpegs that I cannot figure out. Many of the pages have text and thumbnail images, and the thumbnails are links to a larger jpeg. On Safari 12.0.3, the thumbnails appear correctly, but clicking the link simply brings up a blank page with a tiny question mark in a blue box at the center top of the page. The links work fine in Firefox and Chrome, displaying the larger jpeg properly.

I downloaded one of the large jpeg files from the web site. When I try to open it in Preview, I get the message: “The file xxxx could not be opened. It may be damaged or use a file format that Preview doesn’t recognize.” I opened that file successfully in Graphic Converter. I then simply clicked “Save” in Graphic Converter. It did not ask me if I wanted to replace the file. After that, I can open the file in Preview.

I’ve asked two other people to check the site, and they have gotten the same results. I’m pretty sure this was not a problem a few years ago when I took over administration of the site, so something might have changed in the way macOS handles jpegs in the interim.

Does anyone know how I can fix the problem without touching and reuploading all the jpegs?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I administer a small web site for a non-profit organization, and we’re having problems with jpegs that I cannot figure out....
I wonder if this might be a server-side problem with file types. You can check the info with the curl command, e.g.:
Bash:
curl -Is https://www.macintouch.com/logo.png | grep  'Content-Type'
(Replace this URL with the URL of your problematic JPEG.)
 


I administer a small web site for a non-profit organization, and we’re having problems with jpegs that I cannot figure out. Many of the pages have text and thumbnail images, and the thumbnails are links to a larger jpeg. On Safari 12.0.3, the thumbnails appear correctly, but clicking the link simply brings up a blank page with a tiny question mark in a blue box at the center top of the page. The links work fine in Firefox and Chrome, displaying the larger jpeg properly. I downloaded one of the large jpeg files from the web site. When I try to open it in Preview, I get the message: “The file xxxx could not be opened. It may be damaged or use a file format that Preview doesn’t recognize.” I opened that file successfully in Graphic Converter. I then simply clicked “Save” in Graphic Converter. It did not ask me if I wanted to replace the file. After that, I can open the file in Preview.
I’ve asked two other people to check the site, and they have gotten the same results. I’m pretty sure this was not a problem a few years ago when I took over administration of the site, so something might have changed in the way macOS handles jpegs in the interim.
Does anyone know how I can fix the problem without touching and reuploading all the jpegs?
One thing I would check is the color space of the JPEGs. I've seen goofy things when JPEGs are saved as CMYK instead of RGB.
 


Thank you, Ric and Bryan. Ric, the response to the curl command is 'image/jpeg' and Bryan, Photoshop Elements says the image is RGB.

Any other thoughts?
 





Good idea, Todd. Thank you. Just go to http://www.graphics-stamps.org and click on any of the thumbnail images.
So, I tested on the following platforms: El Capitan, Sierra, and High Sierra with both Safari and Chrome on each. All Chrome rendered the JPEGs, Safari 11/QuickLook/Preview on El Cap rendered it, and Safari 12/QuickLook/Preview on Sierra and High Sierra all did not render. I download the JPEG file with both Safari and Chrome on several of them, and they all had the same MD5 checksum.

The fact that the file was exactly the same in all instances, but with different render results on different platforms, made me rule out anything going on with the server, and suspect the file itself. Running it through jpeginfo (on a Linux machine) gave the following results:
Bash:
$ jpeginfo -c bulgaria0384.jpg
bulgaria0384.jpg  Corrupt JPEG data: 2 extraneous bytes before marker 0xe0  639 x 882  24bit JFIF  N  219575  [WARNING]
So, basically, the JPEG files are corrupt, not adhering to the JPEG specification. Chrome and El Cap are apparently ignoring the corruption and rendering the file anyway. Safari/QuickLook/Preview probably all rely on the same image rendering framework in the OS, which probably had an update in Sierra that makes it more strict in not attempting to render corrupt files, in order to protect against potential arbitrary code execution in maliciously-crafted malformed image files.
 




Ric Ford

MacInTouch
All Chrome rendered the JPEGs, Safari 11/QuickLook/Preview on El Cap rendered it, and Safari 12/QuickLook/Preview on Sierra and High Sierra all did not render.
Firefox rendered the JPEGs on both macOS Sierra and macOS Mojave. Safari failed to render them on the same systems.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
All Chrome rendered the JPEGs, Safari 11/QuickLook/Preview on El Cap rendered it, and Safari 12/QuickLook/Preview on Sierra and High Sierra all did not render.
Firefox rendered the JPEGs on both macOS Sierra and macOS Mojave. Safari failed to render them on the same systems.
 



This morning while using Safari (El Cap), the tabs suddenly switched from descriptive text names to meaningless icons. How do I make it behave properly where it shows the website description? Suggestions welcome!
 


This morning while using Safari (El Cap), the tabs suddenly switched from descriptive text names to meaningless icons. How do I make it behave properly where it shows the website description? Suggestions welcome!
This morning while using Safari (El Cap), the tabs suddenly switched from descriptive text names to meaningless icons. How do I make it behave properly where it shows the website description? Suggestions welcome!
Safari > Preferences > Tabs > Show website icons in tabs...

Does that fix it?
 


Good idea, Todd. Thank you. Just go to http://www.graphics-stamps.org and click on any of the thumbnail images.
Thank you, Todd! I would never have figured this out myself, having neither the knowledge nor access to Linux. Thanks to Ric and everyone else for the helpful responses.
There are alternatives to Linux.
  • The complex alternative is to install Homebrew and then jpeginfo. One can get detailed results as noted previously.
  • The simpler alternative is to download an image directly, using Safari for example, Control-clicking and selecting "Download Linked File". Attempting to open a 'damaged' image in Preview will result in a error message similar to
Finder/Preview said:
The file "bulgaria0384.jpg could not be opened.
It may be damaged or use a file format that Preview doesn't recognize.
It seems that Postel's law must be tempered by security considerations.
 


Thank you, Todd! I would never have figured this out myself, having neither the knowledge nor access to Linux.
Thanks to Ric and everyone else for the helpful responses.
Larry, I've "repaired" the .jpg files for you [...] (I'll remove the files in a couple days, so please download them before then.)

The "repaired" versions are slightly smaller (totalling 958K instead of 1,185K) and there might be some minor decline in quality because of the double conversion and because both .jpg and .png are "lossy" formats, but I think they should work for you.

I "repaired" them by using El Capitan to download the .jpg files, then opened them in Preview and used "Save As" to save them as .png files. The conversion fixed whatever problem modern versions of macOS are detecting. Then I used "Save As" again to convert the .png files back to .jpg files (so you won't have to change the links to them from .jpg to .png). Probably not the best way to do it (I'm not a graphics expert), but easy to do (with access to an El Capitan machine, anyway : )
 


Just installed the latest Safari, 2.1 (13607.1.40.1.5) - macOS 10.13.6 (17G5019)

In many forums, the already read topics are distinguished in colour/shade etc. Since I installed it, this is working inconsistently. Launch Safari, go to page, old topics are altered. Go to another page, they are not altered. Quit and restart, changes are there, go to a new page, no changes. Anyone else?
 


Using the delete/backspace key to go back one page in Safari stopped working after the macOS 10.14.4 update. Using Onyx or Tinkertool to restore the function has not worked.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Using the delete/backspace key to go back one page in Safari stopped working after the macOS 10.14.4 update. Using Onyx or Tinkertool to restore the function has not worked.
I can confirm this issue in Safari 12.1 on my macOS 10.12.6 system, but Delete/Backspace jumps back a page in Firefox 60.6.1esr.

The same is true in macOS Mojave 10.14.4.

Apple did not document this change in its update notes.
 



My hyperlinks don't change color anymore after visiting a site, but the sites show up in History and the click-hold back button pop-up list. I have a little custom list of links hosted on a personal site and now can't see where I've visited. Safari 12.1 on macOS 10.12.6.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
My hyperlinks don't change color anymore after visiting a site...
Color change for visited links is working for me with Safari 12.1 in macOS 10.12.6 on the MacInTouch home page (where they turn from blue to purple after being clicked). But behavior is like you describe - not changing color - on these MiT Community pages. I'm not sure what the difference is, but the MacInTouch Home Page is simple, static HTML.
 


... Now more confused than ever, I'm using both a private window of my small list of links (MacInTouch, CNN, NPR, etc.) and a normal window. Erased all history and cookies. Now the normal window won't change color when a site is visited, but the private window changes link colors on the sites I visited in the normal window. More testing in order.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
... Now more confused than ever, I'm using both a private window of my small list of links (MacInTouch, CNN, NPR, etc.) and a normal window. Erased all history and cookies. Now the normal window won't change color when a site is visited, but the private window changes link colors on the sites I visited in the normal window. More testing in order.
Here's what I'm seeing:
[See update below...]
 


Firefox and iCab, like Safari, show no visited status for links on dynamically generated pages, e.g
https://www.macintouch.com/community/index.php?threads/ssd-fusion-and-flash-drives.777
or
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT209085#52
I think this is due to MacInTouch Community’s CSS. When I added
CSS:
:visited {color: purple !important;}
to my Mozilla browser’s userContent.css, then visited links became purple. You might want to experiment with it. Note there are some weird gotchas about how pseudo-classes interact.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I think this is due to MacInTouch Community’s CSS...
You're completely right. I couldn't find it in the interminable maze of XenForo standard settings but I added an override to match the MacInTouch home page style, and that seems to be working fine now. Thanks for your help!

Weirdly, however, I'm now experiencing the same kind of bizarre behavior seen by G Louie, where pages that didn't show visited link status before in Safari 12.1 now do show that status. And I didn't change anything in Safari. (Is there some kind of weird hidden cache somewhere that's having these effects?)
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Finally. I don't know how many times I've spent a lot of effort on a web form, pressed delete to correct a typo, and had Safari unexpectedly go to the previous page, losing all of my work.
Let's try that here... I'm typing a reply to your message in the editor box in Firefox, and now I'll hit backspace/delete... and nothing happens. I'm still typing. So it's OK here, at least.

After completing my editing and post, I typed backspace/delete, and Firefox went to the previous page, but there was nothing to lose at that point.
 


Backspace as a shortcut to the "back" button also exists in Firefox, but you can disable this functionality with a quick about:config hack, which I always do.

I'm sick of backspace changing pages on me when I thought I was typing in a text box. And besides, I always use Command-left [arrow or bracket] and Command-right [arrow or bracket] for back/forward operations, so I really have no need for any other keystrokes to do this.
 


Amazon disclaimer:
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Latest posts