I’m going to let you in on a little secret that we nerds learned but often forget. That secret is “Don’t let your cookies get too stale”. That is what this post is about, but it is not what you think it is.
Cookies can pile up before you know it. Some are good cookies and some are not. Sometimes you just have to “throw the baby out with the bath water”, and throw the whole batch out and start over again. Ok, enough of this silliness. 🤪
What I am talking about are cookies inside your computer. The common belief is that cookies got their name from the story of Hansel and Gretel, who were able to mark their trail through a dark forest by dropping cookie crumbs behind them. That is a neat analogy if you ask me, so I will stick with that one.
Let me give you a little idea of why some cookies are good and why some can be bad, or at least annoying. Then there are those that I call covert cookies, or maybe black-ops cookies. But, here is a more official definition.
Who puts cookies on your computer? For the most part the sites you visit put cookies there. Technically they reside in your browser so are not really controlling your computer, but more often give the site you are visited some history about you and where you have been.
One of the good side of cookies are the ones that remember you visited a particular site and don’t have to ask you who you are every time you visit them. They find their cookie already in your browser and extract that info from it.
Before I go any further down this cookie trail, I want to make sure you know just what a browser is. Browsers are the tools you use to connect to most sites on the Internet. They come in several flavors, the most popular is the Google browser. It has about over half the market share. Here is a graph of competitors and how big a market share they have.
Google is the inventor of the search engine algorithm that absolutely dominates the Internet. They started out with a couple of true genius coders who found a way to very quickly find needles in a haystack. Their tool caused a paradigm shift in how we use the Internet today. In fact, when you search for something on the Internet the typical term is that you “Google it”.
Safari, which is Apple Computer’s version is a very distant second in the market. I am convinced that they are there because people just use what is in front of them and don’t try to find an alternative. If it works that good enough. For me, Safari just doesn’t have the features I want to make my Internet browsing easy.
Third place goes to Microsoft Internet Explorer. Microsoft, like Apple put their browser on every Windows machine. They used to have the dominant share but lost it due to the lack of innovations and improvements. Finally, Firefox, which is my default browser has about 6.5% of the market. Opera is on the list but I have virtually no knowledge of that one.
I have probably used Google for the majority of the last ten years, but now I am a Firefox user. The reason for that is because Firefox goes to extremes to protect us from intrusive cookies. Those as shown below.
Now that you know about browsers and cookies, let me finally get to the point of this post. I know you are saying “It’s about time!!” but this stuff is complicated to explain to non-nerds. 🤓
The more sites you visit, the more cookies you have inside your browser. I have been using Firefox now for over a year and even with their tracking protections I recently found that I had thousands of cookies in my browser! The problem with that is that when they build up they tend to turn into a giant hairball! When that happens strange things start happening. In my case, one of the problems was not being able to log into make comments on a fellow blogger’s website that is on a Google server. All of a sudden I could no longer leave comments. Another problem was I suddenly started getting asked to log into a site every time I visited it which is several times day. I should have remembered that these types of problems were telling me that it was time to clean out the cookie jar. Maybe I should put a 3 month reminders in my calendar to do that. (I just did)…
Long story short, don’t let cookies reside on your browser forever. I cleared all my cookies and now things are working right again. But, the downside to cleaning out your cookies is that you will have to log in to most of the sites you visit for the first time after the purge to re-establish you cookie identity.
Since this post is getting absurdly long I will cover why I dropped the Google browser and went with Firefox in a soon-to-come post. That is a long story in itself.
Clean out your browser cookie jar on a regular basis.