Web-Browsing Sluggishes on Mac: Disable DNS IPv6 in Firefox
NOTE: Images with an icon next to them have been artificially shrunk to better fit your screen; click the icon to restore them, in place, to their regular size.

So, I'm still getting set up and settled in with my new Mac, and thought I'd share one item I came across. I found that a smattering of web sites were very sluggish — hanging when trying to resolve their names or fetch pages and such — with both Firefox and Safari on the new Mac, while at the same time they were fine from my Windows box.

I'm not sure how I figured it out, but I found that in Firefox's about:config manual settings area, if I change network.dns.disableIPv6 from the default false to true, everything was fine in Firefox. I generally don't use Safari, so am not sure whether it has similar configurations.

I'm not a network engineer and this is not my area of knowledge, so I don't know whether this relates to my computer, my home network/router, or my ISP, but it solved sporadic problems I was seeing on both my Mac Pro hard-wired desktop and WiFi-connected MacBook laptop.

There are some Mac annoyances that I have not figured out, so I'll list them here to solicit ideas..

  • I can't figure out how to put a border around a Terminal window. OSX currently provides a drop shadow to isolate it from whatever it's above, but it's invisible if the background color of the Terminal is black, and the window it's partially over is also black (such as when two Terminal windows overlap). This is maddening... you can't see where one window ends and another begins. Being able to set a 1px border around the window would completely solve everything, but they don't seem to allow for it. Maybe I should run xterms, which have allowed for it for almost 20 years.

  • Every time I download something and try to install it, I get the pablum "you downloaded this from the Internet... did you ask your Mommy and Daddy whether it's okay to run it?" dialog. Is there a way to tell OSX that I'm a big boy and disable this annoyance?

  • You can cancel out of most dialogs in Windows by pressing the ESC key, a convenience I've grown to enjoy. Is there some kind of magic setting in OSX that enables this behavior?

Thoughts on any of these, or other tips and tricks, would be appreciated.

All 10 comments so far, oldest first...

For Terminal, try using a very dark grey (for example “Lead” in the crayons) – this feels “black” enough for me, while getting some value from the drop shadow.

iTerm (http://iterm.sourceforge.net/) seems to work well for many – might be worth a try. Regarding xTerm’s, I always found Apple’s X11 felt clunky (things like copy and paste were never so reliable), so xTerm never quite cut it for me.

— comment by Gavin on November 6th, 2009 at 3:43pm JST (8 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

Second the recommendation for iTerm. Haven’t tried this… but I am about to: http://pseudogreen.org/blog/yes_leopard_i_want_to_open_it_already.html

— comment by Mark Denovich on November 6th, 2009 at 7:29pm JST (8 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

the defacto site for answers for this type of question is http://www.macosxhints.com/. Generally if its not there you can’t do it.

I’m sure I’ve seen somewhere that you can turn off that ‘ask to open’ thing but can’t remember where.

keyboard handling in os x is a mess – you’re supposed to use the mouse – one thing that will help is turning on full keyboard access. in preferences type ‘full key’ into the search box and that will highlight the keyboard preference, click it and pick the ‘Keyboard shortcuts’ tab, then choose ‘All controls” at the bottom. This will at least let you tab around all the controls in the dialog.

Normally a blue glowing button accepts enter (which you must have found) but a button with a blue border around it can be actioned by pressing the space bar.

These guidelines http://developer.apple.com/mac/library/DOCUMENTATION/UserExperience/Conceptual/AppleHIGuidelines/XHIGIntro/XHIGIntro.html are the Apple Human Interface Guidelines – that mac apps should adhere to, these probably contain a lot of info – i just haven’t got around to reading it yet.

— comment by bg on November 6th, 2009 at 7:37pm JST (8 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

having said the above – i’ve just done some reading of the aforementioned spec and esc does cancel dialogs. perhaps you need full keyboard access on for it to work – i’m an idiot sorry!

— comment by bg on November 6th, 2009 at 7:50pm JST (8 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

As for the network.dns.disableIPv6 thingie, I found this http://en.kioskea.net/faq/sujet-758-myth-disable-ipv6-will-speed-internet-connections, which provides an explanation. Cheers from Spain.

Thanks, that link is very helpful. I’ve gone ahead and disabled IPv6 at the OS level for my connection, so hopefully that’ll take care of that for good. —Jeffrey

— comment by Highlord on November 6th, 2009 at 8:44pm JST (8 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

The idea behind the “downloaded from the internet” message is not to annoy you, but to give you a warning if someone has managed to get some “drive by” malware onto your system without your knowing….so long as if you got the message when you were not expecting it you did not ignore it. On the other hand, I’m not aware that any malware of this type exists for OSX…

The idea behind the message is to look out for user’s safety, but the idea behind not having a “show this warning every time” checkbox that can be unchecked by a savvy user like myself is to annoy me. —Jeffrey

— comment by Howard Messing on November 6th, 2009 at 10:50pm JST (8 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

It will take a while to get used to a Mac, but eventually, you’ll learn to love it. That usually happens when you unlearn the windows habits and learn OS-X habits.

For terminal, I’d suggest visor, if you’re a heavy user of the terminal. It’s the greatest thing since sliced bread – http://visor.binaryage.com/.

— comment by Greg Cain on November 7th, 2009 at 2:04am JST (8 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

Even though, as Jeff has so often mentioned, his mother is not computer-savvy, I still sometimes read his blog and the comments. I so appreciate it when someone mentions the country they are from when they post a comment. Makes it so much more interesting, don’t you think? Cheers right back to you, Highlord in Spain! Thank you.

— comment by Grandma Friedl, Ohio, USA on November 7th, 2009 at 3:12am JST (8 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

Download warning, this is a bit of a backwards workaround for it…


Also have you thought about getting IPv6 setup with your ISP? It is sort of the future that’ll never happy if folks don’t start supporting it now.

Additionally I’m curious, what did you use to color calibrate your new display?

I suppose I’m lame, but I just don’t care about IPv6 if IPv4 continues to work. I haven’t calibrated my display yet, but I have a hardware calibration device that I intend to get around to using some day soon… —Jeffrey

— comment by Rubin Starset on November 7th, 2009 at 2:41pm JST (8 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

You can disable the quarantine warning on a per-file-type basis. See this page for details.

— comment by Jeremy on November 9th, 2009 at 10:30am JST (8 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink
Leave a comment...

All comments are invisible to others until Jeffrey approves them.

Please mention what part of the world you're writing from, if you don't mind. It's always interesting to see where people are visiting from.

You can use basic HTML; be sure to close tags properly.

Subscribe without commenting