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Since I installed 3.6.12, I'm getting pop ups, and yes they are checked off to be blocked and the exception list id empty

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I now get annoying pop ups all of the time..not on everypage..but too many.

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Do a malware check with a few malware scan programs.
You need to use all programs because each detects different malware.
Make sure that you update each program to get the latest version of the database before doing a scan.

See also "Spyware on Windows": http://kb.mozillazine.org/Popups_not_blocked and What to do when searches take you to the wrong search website

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I have the opposite problem. With popup blocker on but with exceptions, those sites where I want popups will not work. Instead Firefox just hangs as if its loading the page. With popup blocker turned off, the popups would work... Except now even that has stopped working. Firefox hangs...