The Cookie Dance

Posted on May 1, 2012


Delete the Cookies

Delete the Cookies

Oh, am I going to gloat about this? YOU DAMN WELL BET I AM!

And what was this nugget of 24 karat genius that I was able to impart to crusading environmental documentarian George Monbiot that cleared the skies and caused the flowers to blossom and so on and so forth?

The Cookie Dance.

The Cookie Dance is probably the most useful tech trick you’ll ever learn, and definitely if you use Firefox. You can skip to the next post if this is old news for you. I learned it way back in the mists of time from Dr Mike, who had an uncanny ability to suss out the most esoteric of problems. The Cookie Dance, however, does not work on the most esoteric of problems; it works on the commonest. And that is why you will use it so often, if you’re not already doing it.

Basically, whenever you are trying to do something simple that always works and it’s not working and there appears to be no reason why, do the Cookie Dance. Examples of when to Cookie Dance:

  • You can’t see the YouTube videos on your page, just space where they should be and they’re all like that.
  • You can’t click on the simple buttons like Like, Publish, Save Draft, Preview, etc
  • You can’t seem to type anything into the box, whether the box is the Title, the Post, or a custom form box.

So, how to Cookie Dance? Simples.

  • Log out of whatever you’re logged in to.
  • Clear your browser cache and cookies.
  • Restart your computer. Do a full restart. Yes, really.

I bet your problem is gone, isn’t it?

To keep this at a completely un-techie level, I’ll just say that particularly when you’ve been online awhile your computer’s memory gets bogged down with too many things in the Temporary Internet Files. Some of those things interfere with the loading of new things. Clearing them all out is a good idea every time you close your browser, but it’s critical if you’re using Firefox, which seems to need this a lot.

So, George Monbiot couldn’t get the G+ Hangout to work until he complained about it on Twitter (lesson #1 in Social Media Lessons from the Homeless) and I gave him the solution. Now you don’t even need to do that!