Odd PDF problem - url.htm - Mozilla

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Thread: Odd PDF problem - url.htm

  1. Odd PDF problem - url.htm

    I a have started having strange problems with opening .pdf files in
    Firefox; it used to work fine, then it suddenly would appear to do
    nothing when trying to open it in-line (in fact the previous screen
    contents would still be there). Clicking on BACK took me to the previous
    page, as expected. Shutting down firefox and starting again seems* to
    fix it for a while, then pdfs that were okay before have the problem.
    Opening the pdf in a separate tab seems* to work!

    The oddest is: using "Save link as", tries to save a file called
    url.pdf, not the .pdf that it should.

    This happened with 2.0.0.6, and still happened under 2.0.0.7

    Any help gratefully accepted!

    Mark Aitchison


    * "seems to" means it has happened a couple of times at least
    P.S. Isn't it funny that the dictionary with firefox doesn't have
    firefox as a valid word!

  2. Re: Odd PDF problem - url.htm

    Mark Aitchison wrote:
    > I a have started having strange problems with opening .pdf files in
    > Firefox; it used to work fine, then it suddenly would appear to do
    > nothing when trying to open it in-line (in fact the previous screen
    > contents would still be there). Clicking on BACK took me to the previous
    > page, as expected. Shutting down firefox and starting again seems* to
    > fix it for a while, then pdfs that were okay before have the problem.
    > Opening the pdf in a separate tab seems* to work!


    You don't mention which plugin you are using.

    If you are using the Adobe Reader plugin, then I have found that opening
    Reader and going to, I think its Edit -> Preferences -> Internet, and
    UNchecking 'Allow fast web view', solved my issues with it. Since then,
    I've had no problems with it.

    > The oddest is: using "Save link as", tries to save a file called
    > url.pdf, not the .pdf that it should.


    Can you provide a link to a page where this occurs?

    > This happened with 2.0.0.6, and still happened under 2.0.0.7
    >
    > Any help gratefully accepted!
    >
    > Mark Aitchison
    >
    >
    > * "seems to" means it has happened a couple of times at least
    > P.S. Isn't it funny that the dictionary with firefox doesn't have
    > firefox as a valid word!


    --
    Alex K.

  3. Re: Odd PDF problem - url.htm due to google?

    Ah! I see what is going on. Just don't know why.

    It only happens with google searched (www.google.com, www.google.co.nz);

    If I google for: CD4518 pdf, for example and hover the mouse over any
    that start with [PDF] I get something like:

    www.rainbowkits.com/cat-kits-206.pdf

    As soon as I left- or right-click (even before choosing "Save Link As"),
    I see it changes to something like:

    http://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&ct=...9HNEB81-pTVdgQ

    and it stays like that from then on... whenever I mouse-over I see the
    new link in the search results. If I Open any pdf in a new tab it opens
    okay, but if I open it in this tab it often doesn't work (doesn't
    repaint the screen; doesn't respond to scrolling etc, only to
    back-to-previous-page), except some times - including some times after I
    first open it in a different tab it can then also open in this one.

    But "Save Link As" never works; just has "url.htm".

    Everything is fine for links to .pdf files on other websites.

    So I looked at the html I was getting from google; I see it includes...

    href="http://www.datasheetarchive.com/pdf/cd4511-datasheet/cd4511-datasheet.html"
    class=l onmousedown="return
    rwt(this,'','','res','1','AFQjCNEezBgsIjDmId3w8CYK OEtDY9Z5kA','&sig2=yD8IG4txgQzSrSpyldD6lQ')">CD4511
    datasheet :: PDF

    cellspacing=0>
    DatasheetArchive.com
    supplies datasheets and information for electronic components and
    semiconductors. CD4511 datasheet.
    class=a>www.datasheetarchive.com/pdf/cd4511-datasheet/cd4511-datasheet.html


    which must be doing it. I don't recall changing my google preference
    recently - is this something that happens to anyone else??

    Mark Aitchison, Christchurch.

  4. Re: Odd PDF problem - url.htm due to google?

    On 9/19/2007 4:06 AM, Mark Aitchison wrote:
    > Ah! I see what is going on. Just don't know why.
    >
    > It only happens with google searched (www.google.com, www.google.co.nz);
    >
    > If I google for: CD4518 pdf, for example and hover the mouse over any
    > that start with [PDF] I get something like:
    >
    > www.rainbowkits.com/cat-kits-206.pdf
    >
    > As soon as I left- or right-click (even before choosing "Save Link As"),
    > I see it changes to something like:
    >
    > http://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&ct=...9HNEB81-pTVdgQ
    >
    >
    > and it stays like that from then on... whenever I mouse-over I see the
    > new link in the search results. If I Open any pdf in a new tab it opens
    > okay, but if I open it in this tab it often doesn't work (doesn't
    > repaint the screen; doesn't respond to scrolling etc, only to
    > back-to-previous-page), except some times - including some times after I
    > first open it in a different tab it can then also open in this one.
    >
    > But "Save Link As" never works; just has "url.htm".
    >
    > Everything is fine for links to .pdf files on other websites.
    >
    > So I looked at the html I was getting from google; I see it includes...
    >
    >

    > href="http://www.datasheetarchive.com/pdf/cd4511-datasheet/cd4511-datasheet.html"
    > class=l onmousedown="return
    > rwt(this,'','','res','1','AFQjCNEezBgsIjDmId3w8CYK OEtDY9Z5kA','&sig2=yD8IG4txgQzSrSpyldD6lQ')">CD4511
    > datasheet :: PDF

    > cellspacing=0>
    DatasheetArchive.com
    > supplies datasheets and information for electronic components and
    > semiconductors. CD4511 datasheet.
    > class=a>www.datasheetarchive.com/pdf/cd4511-datasheet/cd4511-datasheet.html
    >
    >
    > which must be doing it. I don't recall changing my google preference
    > recently - is this something that happens to anyone else??
    >
    > Mark Aitchison, Christchurch.


    My experience with Google is that many times when I click on a link, I
    get a "page not found" error. If I copy the URL and paste it into a
    tab, it works fine.

    --
    Irwin

    Please do not use my email address to make requests for help.

    Knowledge Base: http://kb.mozillazine.org/Main_Page

  5. Really puzzling; Google+Firefox problem with changing urls? was:

    Further to my problem: most of the problem seems to be due to google
    searches changing for me, depending on whether I am logged into google
    at the time or not. There still seems to be a problem with Firefox in
    sometimes not handling what happens.

    Here's what is going on:

    1. At times*, google search results pages contain script coding to
    CHANGE THE URL of found pages as soon as you click on them. They change
    from something like www.xyz.com to:

    http://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&ct=...LhpTQviHh5-uPw

    so (I guess) google gets to see what sites you actually go to after a
    search. (I don't think it ever says it will do this, and their web
    history facility description sounds like it definitely does not use
    this, so I'm a bit surprised/upset by this, btw).

    2. Firefox tends to translate this l-o-n-g url into "url.htm", e.g. when
    it comes to saving it - meaning the type (extension) is lost if we are
    looking to download a .pdf file etc. I suspect it also accounts for
    firefox sometimes getting totally stuck trying to display .pdf files and
    other special file types (because it must be also loosing the MIME type
    as well??).

    3. But there could still be some other fault in Firefox meaning it has
    difficulty displaying acrobat files at times. I haven't nailed it down
    to a really good pattern, but it does seem to benefit from firefox being
    restarted.

    * When does google do this? Only when I log into my google account. I
    don't know what firefox addons or google account services I could have
    that would do this, but it just seems to happen.

    Ideas?

    Does anyone else get this?

    Mark.

  6. Re: Really puzzling; Google+Firefox problem with changing urls? was:

    9/21/2007 12:40 AM I read Mark Aitchison wrote
    > Further to my problem: most of the problem seems to be due to google
    > searches changing for me, depending on whether I am logged into google
    > at the time or not. There still seems to be a problem with Firefox in
    > sometimes not handling what happens.
    >
    > Here's what is going on:
    >
    > 1. At times*, google search results pages contain script coding to
    > CHANGE THE URL of found pages as soon as you click on them. They
    > change from something like www.xyz.com to:
    >
    > http://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&ct=...LhpTQviHh5-uPw
    >
    >
    > so (I guess) google gets to see what sites you actually go to after a
    > search. (I don't think it ever says it will do this, and their web
    > history facility description sounds like it definitely does not use
    > this, so I'm a bit surprised/upset by this, btw).
    >
    > 2. Firefox tends to translate this l-o-n-g url into "url.htm", e.g.
    > when it comes to saving it - meaning the type (extension) is lost if
    > we are looking to download a .pdf file etc. I suspect it also
    > accounts for firefox sometimes getting totally stuck trying to display
    > .pdf files and other special file types (because it must be also
    > loosing the MIME type as well??).
    >
    > 3. But there could still be some other fault in Firefox meaning it has
    > difficulty displaying acrobat files at times. I haven't nailed it down
    > to a really good pattern, but it does seem to benefit from firefox
    > being restarted.
    >
    > * When does google do this? Only when I log into my google account. I
    > don't know what firefox addons or google account services I could have
    > that would do this, but it just seems to happen.
    >
    > Ideas?
    >
    > Does anyone else get this?
    >
    > Mark.

    My guess based on the long URL is that the server you are being referred
    to is using an active server page that uses the three parameters
    appended following the www.xyz.com to find and serve the file you want
    to retrieve. Only then will there be a MIME type associated with the
    PDF. Active server pages are one way a web site can defend against site
    leachers.

    --
    Ron K.
    Don't be a fonted,
    it's just type casting

  7. Re: Really puzzling; Google+Firefox problem with changing urls? was:

    Ron K. wrote:
    > 9/21/2007 12:40 AM I read Mark Aitchison wrote
    >> Further to my problem: most of the problem seems to be due to google
    >> searches changing for me, depending on whether I am logged into google
    >> at the time or not. There still seems to be a problem with Firefox in
    >> sometimes not handling what happens.
    >>
    >> Here's what is going on:
    >>
    >> 1. At times*, google search results pages contain script coding to
    >> CHANGE THE URL of found pages as soon as you click on them. They
    >> change from something like www.xyz.com to:
    >>
    >> http://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&ct=...LhpTQviHh5-uPw
    >>
    >>
    >> so (I guess) google gets to see what sites you actually go to after a
    >> search. (I don't think it ever says it will do this, and their web
    >> history facility description sounds like it definitely does not use
    >> this, so I'm a bit surprised/upset by this, btw).
    >>
    >> 2. Firefox tends to translate this l-o-n-g url into "url.htm", e.g.
    >> when it comes to saving it - meaning the type (extension) is lost if
    >> we are looking to download a .pdf file etc. I suspect it also
    >> accounts for firefox sometimes getting totally stuck trying to display
    >> .pdf files and other special file types (because it must be also
    >> loosing the MIME type as well??).
    >>
    >> 3. But there could still be some other fault in Firefox meaning it has
    >> difficulty displaying acrobat files at times. I haven't nailed it down
    >> to a really good pattern, but it does seem to benefit from firefox
    >> being restarted.
    >>
    >> * When does google do this? Only when I log into my google account. I
    >> don't know what firefox addons or google account services I could have
    >> that would do this, but it just seems to happen.
    >>
    >> Ideas?
    >>
    >> Does anyone else get this?
    >>
    >> Mark.

    > My guess based on the long URL is that the server you are being referred
    > to is using an active server page that uses the three parameters
    > appended following the www.xyz.com to find and serve the file you want
    > to retrieve. Only then will there be a MIME type associated with the
    > PDF. Active server pages are one way a web site can defend against site
    > leachers.
    >


    Actually, those parameters are being passed to Google. Here's the
    breakdown, based on the link that the OP posted as an example, above:

    http://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&ct=...LhpTQviHh5-uPw


    http://www.google.co.nz/url
    This is the page that you are initially directed to, at Google, when you
    click on the link.

    The following are the parameters that are passed to the above page,
    which is undoubtedly a PHP script that does the actual redirect to the
    page in question. Note that these parameters are all passed to Google,
    at the above URL. If there were parameters required for the destination
    site, they would be included in the &url= parameter.

    ?sa=t
    Not sure what this is.

    &ct=res
    &cd=1
    res=results, 1 is the first result. If you were to examine the second
    result, this would be 2, third result would be 3, etc.

    The above three parameters do not appear to be user specific.

    &url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.xyz.com%2F
    This is the URL that you would be redirected to, if you were to click
    the link.

    &ei=GknzRsW1LZaugAOssYz5Aw
    &usg=AFQjCNEiAm8yQ4eHvpYXYw9XBM1P3kJpTg
    &sig2=1uOP-oo7LhpTQviHh5-uPw

    These could be user specific, maybe based on a cookie. They could also
    be some kind of metrics, used for analyzing the search performance,
    etc., or, more likely, a combination of the two. But then, who knows?

    Those parameter names, ei, usg, and sig2, seem to appear in all the
    links. Comparing two different result links shows that the ei value
    stayed the same, but usg and sig2 were both different for each result.

    I did a search, and then examined my cookies to see if I could find any
    of the values mentioned in a link to one of the results, and could not.

    I also noted the same behavior with the links that the OP did. If I was
    not logged in, I got the plain url, if I was logged in, I got the
    redirect url, with the parameters.

    I tried again, with a clean profile, no add-ons, and saw the same
    behavior.

    I repeated the test with IE7, both logged in and logged out. The links
    were exactly the same in both cases, they showed only the destination
    URL, with no redirects, or parameters. Doing a "Save Target As", in
    both situations, resulted in the correct file name for the pdf.

    Using FF & User Agent Switcher, I spoofed IE7 and repeated the same
    search. This time it behaved exactly as IE7 in the test above. The
    underlying link was the direct link to the pdf file, and doing a "Save
    link as" resulted in the proper filename for the pdf.

    So, it appears that Google is changing the links, depending on the
    browser it sees.

    Hmm, I reset User Agent back to FF, and disabled JavaScript. That
    resulted in the link pointing directly to the pdf file, no redirects, no
    parameters, just like IE7.

    It appears that either the JS script that is served for FF, when you are
    logged in, is borked, or FF is not properly handling it.

    Looking at the page source, for both FF and IE, there is a difference,
    as well as a difference when using FF, between being logged in or not,
    in the scripting. As I'm not a JS wizard, I really can't go any further
    with it.

    Perhaps using the NoScript extension and blocking scripts from Google
    would be a temporary solution.
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/722

    Or not logging in to Google.

    Either one would work.

    Of course, the real solution would be for Google to fix their script. :-)

    --
    Alex K.

  8. Re: Really puzzling; Google+Firefox problem with changing urls? was:

    Thanks for that feedback. Yes, it seems google is going out of its way
    to make things fail for FF but not IE (well, probably not trying to do
    that but perhaps they are playing with an "enhancement" that causes
    problems sometimes for us but gives them valuable information; possibly
    not wishing to risk disturbing all the IE users out there until they
    iron out the bugs).

    It is the onmousedown ...rwt( stuff that is doing it; IE gets rwt(..)
    without the parameters to secretly send the click to google instead
    where the browser shows you it should go.

    I can work around it, but I'm not happy - not just that google have
    something to fix, nor even that I find it difficult to complain to them
    about it, but that this seems underhanded, and a betrayal of trust even,
    on the part of google.

    Also, I suspect it might be behind other problems people have with
    various file types in FF that are otherwise put down to unexplained bugs
    in FF (especially if google isn't ensuring the file type is clear to the
    browser, as I _think_ was the case with my problems in reading pdfs at
    times).

    If google does things like this that make me tell the browser to pretend
    to be IE, I guess eventually tallies of browser "market share" are going
    to be quite wrong!

    What is a nice, effective way to ask google to stop doing it?

    Mark.

  9. Re: Really puzzling; Google+Firefox problem with changing urls? was:

    Mark Aitchison wrote:
    > Further to my problem: most of the problem seems to be due to google
    > searches changing for me, depending on whether I am logged into google
    > at the time or not. There still seems to be a problem with Firefox in
    > sometimes not handling what happens.
    >
    > Here's what is going on:
    >
    > 1. At times*, google search results pages contain script coding to
    > CHANGE THE URL of found pages as soon as you click on them. They change
    > from something like www.xyz.com to:
    >
    > http://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&ct=...LhpTQviHh5-uPw
    >
    >
    > so (I guess) google gets to see what sites you actually go to after a
    > search. (I don't think it ever says it will do this, and their web
    > history facility description sounds like it definitely does not use
    > this, so I'm a bit surprised/upset by this, btw).
    >
    > 2. Firefox tends to translate this l-o-n-g url into "url.htm", e.g. when
    > it comes to saving it - meaning the type (extension) is lost if we are
    > looking to download a .pdf file etc. I suspect it also accounts for
    > firefox sometimes getting totally stuck trying to display .pdf files and
    > other special file types (because it must be also loosing the MIME type
    > as well??).
    >
    > 3. But there could still be some other fault in Firefox meaning it has
    > difficulty displaying acrobat files at times. I haven't nailed it down
    > to a really good pattern, but it does seem to benefit from firefox being
    > restarted.
    >
    > * When does google do this? Only when I log into my google account. I
    > don't know what firefox addons or google account services I could have
    > that would do this, but it just seems to happen.
    >
    > Ideas?
    >
    > Does anyone else get this?
    >
    > Mark.

    After having a number of problems,making PDF's a pian in the ***,
    I went directly into adobe, disabled displaying in the browserwindow,
    then in FF I deleted the PDF default, and then got the
    window asking which prog?, where I swicthed to the foxit reader.
    After which I have had no problems, even saving the pdf from the foxit
    menus works nicely, and I have not yet had Foxit refuse to display
    one.

  10. Re: Really puzzling; Google+Firefox problem with changing urls? was:

    Mark Aitchison wrote:
    > Thanks for that feedback. Yes, it seems google is going out of its way
    > to make things fail for FF but not IE (well, probably not trying to do
    > that but perhaps they are playing with an "enhancement" that causes
    > problems sometimes for us but gives them valuable information; possibly
    > not wishing to risk disturbing all the IE users out there until they
    > iron out the bugs).
    >
    > It is the onmousedown ...rwt( stuff that is doing it; IE gets rwt(..)
    > without the parameters to secretly send the click to google instead
    > where the browser shows you it should go.
    >
    > I can work around it, but I'm not happy - not just that google have
    > something to fix, nor even that I find it difficult to complain to them
    > about it, but that this seems underhanded, and a betrayal of trust even,
    > on the part of google.
    >
    > Also, I suspect it might be behind other problems people have with
    > various file types in FF that are otherwise put down to unexplained bugs
    > in FF (especially if google isn't ensuring the file type is clear to the
    > browser, as I _think_ was the case with my problems in reading pdfs at
    > times).
    >
    > If google does things like this that make me tell the browser to pretend
    > to be IE, I guess eventually tallies of browser "market share" are going
    > to be quite wrong!
    >
    > What is a nice, effective way to ask google to stop doing it?
    >
    > Mark.


    I don't know, other than posting in their group.

    I poked around to see if there was an email address, but they just seem
    to want to point you to their groups, instead.

    I guess the closest match, group-wise, to the issue is probably:

    http://groups.google.com/group/Googl...g/topics?hl=en

    Maybe a post there will get their attention.

    --
    Alex K.

  11. Re: Really puzzling; Google+Firefox problem with changing urls? was:

    Mark Aitchison wrote:
    > Further to my problem: most of the problem seems to be due to google
    > searches changing for me, depending on whether I am logged into google
    > at the time or not. There still seems to be a problem with Firefox in
    > sometimes not handling what happens.
    >
    > Here's what is going on:
    >
    > 1. At times*, google search results pages contain script coding to
    > CHANGE THE URL of found pages as soon as you click on them. They change
    > from something like www.xyz.com to:
    >
    > http://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&ct=...LhpTQviHh5-uPw
    >
    >
    > so (I guess) google gets to see what sites you actually go to after a
    > search. (I don't think it ever says it will do this, and their web
    > history facility description sounds like it definitely does not use
    > this, so I'm a bit surprised/upset by this, btw).
    >
    > 2. Firefox tends to translate this l-o-n-g url into "url.htm", e.g. when
    > it comes to saving it - meaning the type (extension) is lost if we are
    > looking to download a .pdf file etc. I suspect it also accounts for
    > firefox sometimes getting totally stuck trying to display .pdf files and
    > other special file types (because it must be also loosing the MIME type
    > as well??).
    >
    > 3. But there could still be some other fault in Firefox meaning it has
    > difficulty displaying acrobat files at times. I haven't nailed it down
    > to a really good pattern, but it does seem to benefit from firefox being
    > restarted.
    >
    > * When does google do this? Only when I log into my google account. I
    > don't know what firefox addons or google account services I could have
    > that would do this, but it just seems to happen.
    >
    > Ideas?
    >
    > Does anyone else get this?
    >
    > Mark.


    I do not remember ever seeing Google do something like that, but I do
    not "log in" to Google, and I make sure that Google can not set cookies.
    I also do not use the Google search plugin that comes with Firefox
    because I thought it sent too much information about the browser to
    Google. I use a Scroogle plugin instead, and that works fine. It has
    fewer bells and whistles than Google, but there are no advertising links
    to mess up the results page and they do not keep records of their
    visitors the way Google does.