Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
Nov 13

Facebook App’s New Internal Browser Sucks!

Facebook's App Settings for external browser

Facebook’s App Settings for external browser

Over the past several days, I updated Facebook on my phone. One of the biggest changes — yet one that I heard little about beforehand — is that Facebook now opens links in the app rather than in your browser. I suspect the idea behind this is to protect users from malicious files and perhaps even scams. However, it also prevents us from using all the features we expect in a modern browser.

This includes private browsing mode and all the options available with a long-click, such as opening a link in a new tab. Although you can readily share any link back to a Facebook post or even a message, opening a link in the app “browser” doesn’t work with a smartphone’s native sharing menu, so sending via text, Bluetooth or email takes a few more clicks.

Plus, links to the Google Play store and YouTube ignore the default settings in my phone. Thanks, Facebook! You can “Save” things to Facebook, but it would be much nicer to access our favorites, especially if you sync browser data across multiple devices.

Perhaps what frustrates me the most is that you’re not able to browse history. I don’t even use favorites all that much because I use the browser on my phone — and tablet — for casual surfing. This morning, I clicked a link in Facebook, wanted to visit it later and promptly lost it because I didn’t “Save” it and there’s no history or any way to return to pages viewed in the internal browser. Arrgh!

Fortunately, you can disable this “feature,” and it’s not difficult. In your App Settings for Facebook, you’ll see an option to open links in an “External” browser. That is, Safari, Firefox, Chrome or whatever browser you prefer on your smartphone or tablet.

I’d love to remove this feature entirely. I’m sure it’s using up precious space on my phone, and it’s definitely causing lag!

May 04

How to Turn off Windows Live Messenger’s SmartScreen

Ever since Windows Live aka MSN Messenger has incorporated that damned “SmartScreen” filter, clicking links has become more of a hassle. Any time your friend sends you a link to LOLcats? You have to click again. More recently, Microsoft updated this page to include something like four links, which point to Microsoft, and made the link to click over to your destination smaller. I don’t get it. And it pisses off Dez.

Microsoft SmartScreen Filter

So I did some searching to find a solution.

Internet Explorer

  1. Click the “Safety” menu from the Command Bar in IE8 and above. If you see no button, right-click on any blank space to turn on the command bar.
  2. Hover over “SmartScreen Filter”.
  3. Choose the option to turn this off.


  1. Install the Greasemonkey Add-on.
  2. Add the SmartScreen removal user script.
  3. Restart Firefox.


  1. Click a link from WLM.
  2. Click “More Info” on the SmartScreen Filter screen.
  3. Select “Don’t Show This Message Again.”

Oct 26

WTF Facebook

Lately, I’ve noticed some new behavior from Facebook. Specifically, when I go to post a link as my status or onto a group, it’s not generating the description and title for the specific link but is only showing the URL and description for the domain. When I post links to this site, it doesn’t even show my blog title, just the URL. When I post a URL to a single post on Reviews by Cole, it shows the domain URL — rather than the post itself — and the description I’ve entered into my SEO plugin. But it works just fine with another blog.

Originally, I thought I may have different settings for each blog on my SEO plugin so I’ve updated them to be identical but only the review blog differed anyway. This blog should still show up normally. And, in fact, when I look at the website properties in Firefox, the titles and descriptions are accurate. Facebook also isn’t bringing up all the thumbnails that it should for the review blog. So whatever system Facebook is using is either having trouble finding this information or ignoring it all together and, if that’s the case, why?

I’ve posted links before that worked normally so I don’t understand the change. Boo.

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