Personally, I don't use the Firefox start page but instead change it to "Google" as my home page. The Google page starts quickly and doesn't have fancy doo-dads to load. Open FF, click on "Tools", choose "Options", then click on the "General" tab. In the "Home Page/Locations" section, type: http://www.google.com , then click on OK.
Assuming this is still your Windows XP HOME machine, then follow the steps in the links below to enable Java and install the newest Script Engine. It should help the blank picture issue.
Click on the link to Sun's Java below, then click on the ''Download JRE 5.0 Update 6'' download link that is in the ''JRE 5.0 Update 6 includes the JVM technology'' section. Download the full ''Windows Offline Installation'' file to your desktop,(about 15 MB), scan it with your antivirus (just to be sure it's clean), then install Java 1.5 from the installer.
AFter that, since you didn't tell us which version of Windows you're using, please download and install the updated Script engine from the appropriate link below:
Windows Script 5.6 for Windows 2000 and XP
At the link above, you'll need to validate your version of XP which isn't a problem as long as its legal.
After everything is installed, then open the Control Panel, double click on the ''Internet Options'' icon, then click on the ''Advanced'' tab. When that loads, scroll down to the ''Java(Sun)'' section and make sure there is a CHECK mark next to: ''Use Java,....''. Click on Apply. Then scroll to the ''Multimedia'' section and place a CHECK mark in the ''Play Sounds In Web Pages'', ''Play videos in Web Pages'', & ''Show pictures'' box and UNCHECK the box next to ''Show download Placeholders:'', then click on Apply, then Ok. Next, under the "Security" tab, make sure the "Internet" properties are set to "Medium"
Hope this helps.