Posts tagged with firefox

Firefox cool extensions: Sync, & microformats

These Firefox extensions just keep getting more innovative and useful. Here’s the latest additions to my ever-growing Firefox arsenal.

Google Browser Sync

If, like me, you find yourself wondering what the URL was of that site you visited/bookmarked on your other machine/os/virtual machine then this extension is for you. You can choose to sync bookmarks, history, cookies and passwords (if you really want – they are encrypted) across your copies of Firefox. Great for us MacBook owners using Boot Camp and Firefox :) . Extension

Social networking is all the rage at the moment and an easy way to get in is to start using to manage your bookmarks – well at least the ones you don’t mind other people knowing about. You can tag bookmarks and also let know who your friends are. By doing this you should discover great bookmarks you didn’t know about. This is all very well but unless it’s just a click or two away nobody will bother and so in comes the Extension for Firefox.

Tails and microformats

Microformats are something on the horizon that should take off in a big way. Basically they are small useful nuggets of recordable information that are often embedded in web pages. Examples include contact details, calendar events, etc. It’s early days yet although even Mr Gates sees the value in microformats and proposals for other microformat such as driving instructions are under way. In the mean time grab hold of a copy of Tails and see what the fuss is about.


Great Windows, Firefox and Web finds

Getting a new machine often spurs me to go out and find some new tools and utilities. Here’s some recent finds:


DiskMon – see disk activity

One of the great tools from SysInternals that provides low level disk i/o information but more importantly can minimize to the system tray and provide you with a disk activity in the absence of an LED.

John’s Background Switcher – brighten your desktop

Another desktop wallpaper changer but this one can head off to Flickr to grab the images. As Flickr contains photos of just about anything you might want to specify a couple of tags to get the sort of things you like. GrinGod suggests HDR as a good starting tag and I’m inclined to agree.


Gmail Manager – don’t miss a message

This Firefox extension is essential if you want to use Gmail as your primary system. It provides the ability to switch between accounts as well as putting an unread count in the status bar and fixing all the mailto: links to head to Gmail compose. It can also pop up Outlook style new mail notifications trumping a sound of your choice if your co-workers don’t mind your laptop making odd sounds throughout the day.

Adblock Filterset.G Updater – keep ads at bay

Adblock is an essential tool to keep the distracting annoying advertisement pollution at bay. Setting up the rules however can be a boring and long affair but Filterset.G Updater will do that for you by downing a master list off the net. Nice.

Web sites


I’ve been looking for an on-line news reader for some time and have been generally unimpressed with Google’s offering. Bloglines didn’t appeal to me but Rojo however looks pretty cool. Create an account, find the blogs you want (it knows about many of them already), tag them into categories if you like and off you go.

You can also Add Mojo to blog posts to get them noticed by others and tag individual stories if you like. The interface is pretty clear and easy to use and very Ajax.


I’ve actually known about this for some time but never got round to mentioning it here. Pandora is like a personalized radio station – you tell it the names of a few bands you like and it uses it’s human-crafted database of artist techniques/styles/traits to build you a radio station of like music. At any point you can say you don’t want any more from this band or add additional artists in and the station will Intelligently adjust again.


Firefox for power users, part 2

Here are a few more useful bits and pieces to improve you browsing experience if you’re a Firefox user.


This great extension provides a framework that allows scripts to run against web pages from your own machine. The upshot of this is…

There are many many more at GreaseMonkeyUserScripts.


Put icons next to some menu items to bring the UI a bit more in line with Microsoft’s tools.


Download multiple files, images etc. from a single click.

Other browsers

Mac users may want to check out Camino which uses the Gecko rendering engine inside a native Cocoa application. It’s pretty fast and cool although it can’t use any of the Firefox plug-ins. Another alternative browser is OmniWeb which uses the Safari rendering engine but provides many more useful commands, options and facilities than Safari itself.

Microsoft fans will have to wait a little longer until the public Internet Explorer 7 betas turn up. We’ve been promised fixed PNG transparencies and improved CSS handling. In related news Bill Gates has been trying Firefox


Just a quick note to praise the free Windows blogging application Zoundry that allows WYSIWYG style editing. I’ve managed to use it to clean up some of the previous postings too. Now if only it had a spell checker and auto-pasted in the clipboard URL when you create a hyper link…

My Visual Studio 2005 Beta 2 DVDs arrived Saturday free of charge courtesy of Microsoft. I’ve just installed them alongside SQL Developer 2005 and will hopefully be posting some tit-bits soon. One heads up is to install IIS before VS2005. The VS2005 installer won’t warn you or error however the SQL 2005 installer will tell you it’s a prerequisite if you want Reporting Services. If you install IIS after VS2005 and before SQL 2005 you’ll receive an unidentified error for the Reporting Services installation.


Firefox for power users

If you’ve been using Firefox for a while you might like to look at some of these tips and tricks to get more from your web browser. If you’re not using Firefox to find out what all the hoopla is about.

Get newer, optimized builds

Firefox, like most applications, is compiled without optimizations for specific processors. Some third parties such as Moox make processor-specific optimized builds available for download.

As well as the Firefox 1.0 release you can also download a trunk build. These are built directly against the source tree the developers use and can sometimes be rather unstable although the 20050206 one I’m using has been pretty good except for a view source bug. Make a backup of your %USERPROFILE%\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox directory first and unpack the trunk version somewhere new to give it a whirl.

If you don’t understand those just instructions you might want to wait for the any-day-now Firefox 1.0.1 release although it contains only essential bug-fixes.

Watch activity

We all know sometimes pages take a few seconds to load and knowing how many files to load and the current transfer rate is something geeks love to know. Firefox’s extensions architecture allows third-parties to add such functionality, so grab Extended Statusbar.

Optimise performance

The network settings in Firefox are a little on the conservative side for broadband users. As with Internet Explorer tweaking you can allow more simultaneous connections (it’s the HTTP connection and pipelining section although the other tuning tips are certainly worth considering).

Once done, visiting a page will start loading all images used on a page together rather than just two at a time. It will also mean you can download more than two files simultaneously from the same web site.

Block advertisements

Advertisements have gone too far, they’re now incredible obtrusive, annoying and can often cause pages to load slowly. Get rid of them with the AdBlock extension.

Learn shortcuts

Switching from the keyboard to the mouse to perform a single operation is incredibly slow. Get used to the following short cut keys Ctrl on Windows, Command on Mac OS X.

  • F Find text in the page (IE too)
  • N New window (IE too)
  • L Position to the address bar (F4 in IE)
  • K Position to the search bar
  • B Open bookmarks sidebar
  • H Open history sidebar

Tabbed-window specific short cuts:

  • T Open a new tab
  • W Close current tab
  • 1 to , Jump to specific tab
  • Tab, Cycle between tabs

Web development

If you develop web sites for a living then the Web Developer extension is essential. Features include:

  • Editing and identifying cascading style sheets (CSS) on the fly
  • Disabling forms, images, JavaScript, CSS
  • Validating page and CSS structure
  • Examining HTTP response headers
  • Modifying cookies
  • Highlighting page structure and layout

Windows corporate use

Check out the Microsoft installer (MSI) package and Group Policy integration project.