Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Porn Mode

300 words on

In version 2 Safari introduced Porn Mode, aka ‘Private Browsing’, a mode where the sites you visit can’t access existing cookies or write new ones and where – conveniently – your browsing history will not be saved. And as the inofficial name suggests, this seems quite clearly aimed at daddy visiting sites on the family computer which he doesn’t want to leave evidence for. At least what the mode doesn’t exactly qualify as ‘private’ in any half-way ambitious sense of the word. Safari doesn’t seem to use anonymising services when running in Porn Mode and I somewhat suspect that Google has your addresses, browser type and habits nailed down so firmly by now that they don’t really need their cookies anymore to invade your privacy…

Anyway, since the X.5 update Safari had the annoying habit of forgetting cookies all the time. And with the cookies gone, so are all the automatic login features. Which in turn makes the modern web a royally inconvenient mess. As I had plenty of crashes and kernel panics since installing the final version of X.5, I never managed to figure out what was going wrong there, but luckily I spotted a message by Gus Mueller who mentioned that visiting Apple’s bug report web site is what kills the cookies. Oh, sweet irony. Googling this up led me to unsanity who describe this problem for Intel Macs in detail. The fact that the web’s bigmouths haven’t reported that problem loudly yet, also seems to suggest that they are not voicing their software critiques in a helpful and constructive way.

Although there is no solution to the problem yet, I think Safari’s Porn Mode can be put to good use here. Just turn it on before visiting Apple’s bug reporter and your cookies should remain untouched.

November 20, 2007, 11:35

Tagged as software.


Comment by Jeff Johnson: User icon

Note that every time I’ve tested private browsing mode (on Tiger), including within the last few months, it has allowed new cookies to be created that remain after private browsing is no longer on. I haven’t tested on Leopard yet, but I wouldn’t recommend trusting it.

November 20, 2007, 17:11

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