Hong Kong, Chrome: 2 Updates and Pentimenti

Two Honk Kong protests rather than one. And, a workaround for a browser problem.

1) Two weeks ago I shared a photo, via Beijing Cream, of contrasting front-page treatment in the South China Morning Post (which is not run by the Chinese government) and the China Daily (which is) on the 16th anniversary of Hong Kong's transfer to control by the People's Republic of China. The two papers revealed their different editorial approaches -- one featuring celebrations of the anniversary, the other showing protests -- but it turns out that they were reporting on different rallies, not the same one. Apologies for misunderstanding on my part.

2) Last week I noted that the switch from version 27 of Google's Chrome browser, to release 28, had zeroed out Gmail's offline function on my computers, leaving me with absolutely no messages in the inbox rather than too many. For me this was a "reproducible" problem, related to the Chrome 27/28 difference. When I was using 28, Gmail Offline didn't work; if I "de-upgraded," back to 27, it worked again. Then if I re-installed version 28, the problem reappeared.

I heard from the Gmail tech team, which suspected that the root of the problem was a corrupted local storage file. On their advice I did the mail-system counterpart of a cold reboot. I force-purged all cached mail messages from my systems; deleted all extant Chrome versions; did a new install of Chrome 28; and in other ways cleared the decks. Then I re-synched Gmail Offline for my accounts -- and now it works, even with Chrome 28.

The Google team says: See, it was a problem with your cached files! I say, Yeah, but it was a problem that appeared only when I installed Chrome 28. We're both right, and in any case I am glad to have it solved. For safety's sake, if you use Gmail Offline, and are upgrading to Chrome 28, you can go through the purge-and-restore steps described here.

These updates offered For The Record.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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