Fixing NewsBlur’s “Story” Pane When Browsing Securely on Firefox 23

Ever since the shuttering of Google Reader, I’ve been an avid, several-times-a-day user of NewsBlur, which while it isn’t free if you have over sixty-four feeds, has served my purposes nicely.

One of my favorite features of NewsBlur is its ability to load the actual page a feed entry refers to within a frame of its news reader.

Certain feeds, such as the Dilbert Daily Strip feed, don’t display the content itself, encouraging subscribers to click through to the actual site. With Google Reader, that’s just what I had to do: click through. NewsBlur’s “Story” feature, though, allowed the viewing of these “click through” feed entries from within NewsBlur’s interface, which was fantastic!

Unfortunately, recently I noticed this feature stop working. Clicking “Story” and then choosing a feed entry to read resulted in a blank pane where the story was supposed to show up.

a blank 'Story' pane on NewsBlur
See that big blank space, below the gray line? Yeah, that should just not happen.

After a lot of trial and error, I discovered this issue was related to my recent upgrading to Firefox 23. In version 23, a new feature was introduced which blocks mixed content on encrypted sites to help ensure secure web browsing.

the Firefox mixed content warning
The “Shield” icon in the address bar calls out that Firefox has blocked mixed content.

This resulted in an unintended incompatibility with a setting I had set on NewsBlur: “Only use a secure https connection.”

screenshot of NewsBlur's preferences showing the SSL option
NewsBlur’s SSL option

That setting forced my browsing to take place on, causing any time I attempted to load content from elsewhere — such as feed stories in the “Story” pain — to register as “mixed” content with Firefox. Firefox flags it as insecure and blocks the content. This. Is. Annoying.

Fortunately, this is a known problem with Mozilla, the makers of Firefox, and may not always be an issue.

Til it is fixed, however, I’m able to browse NewsBlur as usual, “Story” pane and all, by disabling the “Only use a secure https connection” setting. For the time being, I also disabled my installation of the HTTPS Everywhere browser add-on, until Firefox’s “mixed content” blocking is updated to be a bit less intrusive.

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