Software

Getting Google’s Firefox Bookmark Sync to Work

For the last six months or so, I’ve been using Firefox as my Web browser; not because I have any objection to Safari, but because, by virtue of the del.icio.us extension, Del.ico.us is integrated into the browser in the nicest ways.

But I miss being able to sync my bookmarks between computers, the way I can with Safari via .Mac.

Given my fondness for Firefox, bookmarks, and syncing, Google’s recent release of an extension to sync Firefox bookmarks on Google’s server struck me as something worth checking out. The installation’s pretty straightforward, though you do need a Google account (there’s an opportunity to create one during the install), and you need to create a PIN. You should definitely check out the Settings — I’m not too keen on storing my passwords or cookies, so I’m only syncing my bookmarks. I note, as well, that the PIN seems to be sent in clear text.

Once I set up my account, I tried syncing; it failed, numerous times.

I would see an “Updating server” message in the progress indicator, but a
minute or so later I received an error message:

Error 51 ‘Request timeout.

This happened even when Firefox was the only open application.

I’m on DSL, so I didn’t think it was a network issue, but I do have many bookmarks, mostly sorted into folders; I’d estimate several hundred bookmarks, but less than a thousand.

I posted my query on the Google Group for the syncing extension, and found I was not alone. A Windows user posted a fix; changing the timing in a local file.

So I went spelunking, to see where Googles stores the timing instruction for the sync process on Macs. I found it in the Library of my User Home directory. The path is:

˜Library/Application Support/Firefox/
Profiles/xxxx.default/extensions
@google.com/lib/browserstate.js

If you’re getting the same error, and you want to live dangerously, here’s what to do.

  1. Make a copy of the file, Just in Case; I just zipped the original.
  2. Then using BBedit, TextWrangler or another ASCII friendly editor, like the Property List Editor.app, search for:
  3. UPDATE_TIMEOUT=60000

  4. That’s one minute; I changed it to 36000 or six minutes, and saved.
  5. Then I re-launched Firefox.

Works fine now, though of course, now I want to try the Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer.

Update:I can’t figure out how to get the path to display properly; I’ve had to artificially insert line breaks to get it to display, because, of course, it looks like a single word to a Web browser. Thanks Bruce.


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