How to run two versions of Firefox on Mac OSX concurrently

Running two versions of a browser on one machine is something that should be easy… but not always. Recently I needed to assist with deploying a fix to a slightly larger userbase than normal and provide the ability for Mac OSX users to concurrently run two versions of Firefox.

Therefore after researching this in my own time this weekend I have thrown together these simple launchers to make the process far more easy for everyone. If you follow the steps below you should be up and running in no time. Before we begin though PLEASE back up your existing Firefox Profile.

Firstly download the two versions of Firefox you want, for the latest build see the Latest Downloads page, or for the previous build see the Older Downloads page. Following that get your hands on the launchers I have created: Firefox Workaround Zip File.

The Easy Way:

Assumptions: You already have one version of Firefox installed on your machine and that you would like to run Firefox 3 and Firefox 4.

  1. If you have the older version of Firefox installed on your machine open the applications folder, click the existing Firefox Application and rename it to “Firefox 3”. Then install the new version of Firefox in the applications folder.
  2. If you have the newer version installed and want to install the older version along side, rather than dragging and dropping the old version to your applications folder to install. Drag it to your desktop first, rename it to Firefox 3 and then move it to the applications folder after it is renamed.
  3. Open Terminal and run “/Applications/Firefox\ -profilemanager -no-remote” this will load the Firefox 3 Profile Manager.
  4. You will have one profile already showing. If you wish to keep this for the latest version rename it to “Firefox-4” then create a new profile along side this called “Firefox-3” the names and case are important as the scripts use these to auto run the different versions. It should now look like this:
  5. Extract the Firefox Workaround Zip File to a location of your choosing. The two launchers can then be dragged onto your dock to use them for Launching the two versions of Firefox concurrently.

The Hard Way: so the assumptions above don’t apply?

OK so I am a realist, the above will only work for the aforementioned versions of Firefox and we would like to give you the ability to make some changes, or you want to name the folders differently (or whatever issues you may have).

  1. After you have downloaded the Firefox Workaround Zip File extract it to the Desktop
  2. Run Applications –> Automator
  3. Choose to open an existing workflow
  4. Open the Firefox 3 file extracted from the above zip
  5. In the script there are two things you can edit the ‘-a “Firefox 3″‘ defines the application name so if you wish to change the application name you can do so there, the ‘-P “Firefox-3″‘ defines the profile to use.
  6. As an example if you wish to call the application Firefox Old with a profile name of Original Firefox you would write:
  7. Save the scripts and they can now be used.

Because I am nice – A generic version of the loaders:

I figured that it might be nice to have a version of the loaders that will load any version of Firefox, one old and one new. Therefore if you download the Firefox Workaround Generic you can use the following settings:

New Firefox:
Application Name: Firefox
Profile Name: Firefox Default

Old Firefox:
Application Name: Firefox Old
Profile Name: Firefox Old

This should allow you to not have to continuously overwrite the loaders if you wish to have this available as a permanent solution. Then when a new major version is released, before you upgrade just replace the application names.

Let me know if you have any feedback or ways of improving this.


Telstra’s new MyAccount portal, leaking customer data?

With privacy a large concern for consumers today, you can imagine my surprise when I logged into My Telstra account to see another person’s account information including account numbers, outstanding amounts, telephone numbers and associated information. Today I noticed the release of Telstra’s new MyAccount portal which I assume happened overnight. Curious I attempted to log in and after an hour and several tries later I managed to get into the new site and have a poke around. Although there does seem to be some general teething issues (which were mentioned to the @Telstra twitter account) it seemed rather shmick.

However upon logging in a bit later this morning to see if the issues were resolved I was concerned when seeing another customer’s account data presented to me rather than my own. In the two screenshots below you can see the first does not have a matching name or account number (and shows three separate services) belonging to Samantha and the second screenshot shows my actual account which has a matching name and account number.

As this only occurred once it is unknown if this issue is widespread. Telstra has been contacted for comment via Twitter (hey I am not a Journo so I don’t know the official channel) but has yet to respond. So have a look at the below images (click to enlarge) what are your thoughts, as a Telstra customer myself I am less than impressed and am curious to see how they will resolve my concerns.

12:45pm – Greg from the Telstra Customer Service Team is reviewing my account and reviewing the reported issues. Further details to follow as they arise.
2:40pm – Greg has phoned me and the team has been analysing my account over the past hour (and are continuing to do so). At this stage it looks as though it has only affected my account and not others.

[rokbox thumb=”” title=”Telstra MyAccount showing Different Account Details” album=”telstra”][/rokbox]


[rokbox thumb=”” title=”Correct Telstra MyAccount View” album=”telstra”][/rokbox]

Dropbox is a student’s best friend… A Flash Drive always ends in tears

Sign of a Lost Flash DriveAn all too common occurrence… Students have lost their thesis, major work or other assignments as they left their USB key in a computer lab or have suffered at the hand of data corruption (or even as I have done once, human stupidity).

Ever since I worked back on the helpdesk all those years ago where floppy disks and (dare I say it) ZIP disks were the rage, I have seen many cases of students losing their form of portable media and many hours work. Another case I see all too often is that form of portable media becoming corrupt or accidentally erased and once again a student losing enough time and effort to bring even the roughest and toughest blokes to tears.

So today I want to ask EVERY SINGLE UNIVERSITY STUDENT OUT THERE to supplement your portable media with a free account from Dropbox. Free accounts come with 2GB of online storage where you can store your files and transfer them between home and uni.

The key benefits of Dropbox include:

  • You can’t lose the storage medium (save forgetting your account details) which means no more signs like this one up around uni begging for the return of a lost USB thumbdrive.
  • Dropbox stores historical versions of a file so if you ever accidentally upload a corrupt version you can get the previous copy back so you have not lost all your work.
  • You can sync Dropbox between devices such as the iPhone, iPad, home/work computers and so on to ensure that you can access your files anywhere and they will automagically be kept in sync.
  • Files can be accessed straight from the web without having to download any special software while you are at uni
  • Lastly you can created shared folders with your other group partners to share files that you are working on, no more emailing 30 copies around and forgetting which one is the most recent, just go to Dropbox and access the latest version or upload a new one. The version history is also a blessing for those doing group work after someone deletes a section which you worked immensely hard on and want to get back (can you tell I have experienced this one personally).

So please, save my sanity and do away with your USB thumbdrives, USB Keys, flashdrives, floppy disks, ZIP disks, and any other form of medium that can easily be lost and/or corrupted. A little time spent after each hard study session uploading your documents can save you many tears down the track and it is easy and most of all FREE!

I will happily admit that I am throwing in a referral link here so I can try to get some more free space on Dropbox… why, because I use it every day. So if you don’t have an account sign up for one today and protect your uni work.

To sign up to Dropbox and give me a few hundred extra free MB as a referral click here.

If you wish to visit Dropbox without giving me a freebie click here.


(if you have read this far I congratulate you… I just wanted to say if anyone IS still using floppy disks or ZIP disks for storing essential (read ANY) data then I will cry)