Monday, May 30, 2016

Twitter Mobile on TenFourFox

You may have noticed Twitter recently updated their mobile site when accessing it in TenFourFox. It used to look like this (old convo, don't know if anything came of it):

And now it looks like this:

The problem, as with most website "upgrades," is it's slow as molasses. Gone is the zippiness. Instead, we get a mobile site that's almost as slow as the regular site. So I boxed with FoxBox to see if it helped, and I found something interesting. I get a paired down, much faster version of Twitter:

Then I went back to TenFourFox and used User Agent Switcher to change the user agent to an iPhone 3 and found the same paired-down site. Interesting, so it's a user agent issue. The iPhone 3 solution isn't wholly satisfactory as it breaks some other sites, but after some trial and error, I found that the user agent for TenFourFox 37 gives me the same stripped-down, fast Twitter, so apparently Twitter Mobile only gives you the new layout if your user agent is TenFourFox 38 or higher.

I wanted to change the user agent to v. 37 permanently so I wouldn't have to switch user agents back and forth between sites, but User Agent Switcher has a bug/feature where it reverts to the default version after closing a window. So I did it the manual way, which is to enter about:config in the address bar and press return, type useragent in the search field, right click on some white space and choose New --> String from the menu. Enter this for the preference name:


Then enter this for the string (no line breaks):

Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; PPC Mac OS X 10.4; rv:37.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/37.0 TenFourFox/7450

(UPDATE: I should add to revert to default, right-click on the preference and select "Reset".)

With this I'm all set, until sites warn me my version of Firefox is too old*, please update, etc., etc. Maybe by then there'll be some kind of site-specific user agent switching available, either built in or as an add-on. I'm sure Dr. Kaiser or somebody can whip that up on a lunch break, ha ha. (2ND UPDATE: this add-on is what I was looking for. Upon further review, this is too buggy.)

Anyway, this has been another episode of cling to PowerPC forever. I recently weighed my upgrade options, looking at a Mac Mini, a Macbook Air, and a Thinkpad, but I didn't find them appealing. With new Macs, I'd have to accept no Firewire, no Classic, no PowerPC support, not even Rosetta, and Apple's increasingly buggy software. With a Thinkpad and Linux, it'd be much the same.

I'll just stay right here in my lawn chair.

*this may also interfere with add-ons auto updating until you update the version string to a version the add-on supports.


  1. Have recently discovered you can 'Hack' your FoxBoxes to get a LOT more speed out of them. Based on a set of Tweaks for TenFourFox at:

    here is a replacement "prefs.js" file to drop into the Application Support folder after the apps has been run once (must be run once to create the profile '********.default' folder).

    Enables many high-level performance increases like Pipelining that can double speeds on networks that support it and even advanced color-management.

    Just installed on 1.67 G4 PowerBook and it is so fast that the owner can now have Twitter, Facebook and Yahoo open, and they are the actual sites (not mobile versions)!

    Comes with good Read Me!

  2. Dan I would go with a Lenovo if you are considering an upgrade. You will get better specs than a modern Mac for less cost. For the price Apple is asking modern Macs are just not worth it unless you are committed to their ecosystem. Then go to Craigslist, you can always find good deals there.

    1. A Lenovo sounds solid, yeah. But that would mean leaving the Mac platform which I haven't done in...ever. I think I'll keep putting off that decision, but I still scan product reviews, store sites when I'm curious.

    2. Have you considered an AmigaOne? I have thought about it but for the price I would rather get a machine from System76

    3. AmigaOnes are awfully expensive, and I think I'd rather have a laptop that I can double as a desktop and hook it up to my external monitor. Which is exactly what I have with my Powerbook. I don't do any video editing or modern gaming (mid-late '90s games were my golden age), but browsing the modern web is essential, so as long as my Powerbook can still handle it I'll wait.

      I'll look at sites like System76 for my window shopping fix :)

  3. Awesome Adam as always. Me too have that Powerbook model so will try it out

  4. When tenfourfox finally goes the way of Classilla (ie better than nothing but not that awesome either) you should strongly consider a Chromebook. Sure you are locked into Googles evil ecosystem, but on the other hand you have a cheap capable web machine, and your Powerbook will still be able to do all of its non web based stuff until it experiences a major hardware failure. Gallium OS is a Lubuntu based Linux distro designed to replace (or be installed alongside ChromeOS)that will give you VLC, Firefox etc. I own a acer cb3-111 Chromebook and have 16.04 Ubuntu XFCE installed in a chroot for Firefox, VLC, and rhythmbox. Honestly the chroot is a little buggy, and every once and awhile Google will update something in the ChromeOS that breaks everything in the Chroot. Usually the fix is just to install a newer chroot file. It has HDMI out so could run an external monitor. Just a thought.

  5. Sorry to double post, but it should be mentioned that the Google Play store is coming to ChromeOS later this year so most but not all Android apps will run natively in the ChromeOS. So you may be able to run the Android Firefox, Microsoft Office mobile for Android etc. System 76 machines look awesome but are kinda overpriced. I like the look of the Purism laptops myself, though they are not fully opensource,the bootloader is still proprietary Intel management crap that can turn you computer on remotely even if its powered off, as well as remotely access and remove all your data etc. If having a coreboot laptop is important to you than these older core2duo Thinkpads from the UK might work.

    Dan: No affiliation

    1. Beware with Purism. Their hardware only works with their OS. Put any other distro and you will have trackpad and fan issues.