Posts tagged with firefox - page 2

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.

[)amien

Phishing with IDN’s

Currently “hot news” is the fact that Firefox, Mozilla and Safari browsers have been demonstrated as susceptible to a new form of phishing attack.

Basically all these browsers support International Domain Names (IDN) that let you use the full Unicode set of foreign characters and symbols, and some of these foreign characters while technically different from the Latin ones look identical. In the case demonstrated they have used the Arabic a to replace a Latin a in “PayPal” to get another site. This isn’t really anything new, even the original RFC commented on how this would be a problem and the IETF issued guidelines that would have limited their scope if only Verisign actually implemented them. (Specifically the guideline for preventing mixing of languages within a domain name would reduce the scope for attack considerably).

One thing that is amusing is the Internet Explorer fans reaction that their browser isn’t susceptible. This is true but only because Microsoft hasn’t added IDN support to IE, instead recommending you install a third-party plug-in to do it.

Head over to Verisign, install the plug-in, and you too can have exactly the same “exploit”.

Some 12 hours later it appears the rest of the world twigs and Secunia issues this advisory.

[)amien

Reflections, Christmas 2004

Christmas came and went and now once again the end of year looms menacingly just a day away.

My Amazon wish-list saved me from the tedious “What do you want?” “I don’t know” exchanges that seem to plague this time of year. I had a similar experience with a rather gorgeous Swiss woman before eventually surprising her with a lovely piece of original artwork depicting a sailing yacht. She also became the first person I’ve subjected to my Christmas family dinner which actually turned out rather well.

I decided to purchase my mother a new PC this year too, the previous AMD system having died from a combination of abuses. They were dying to get back on-line so I brought them a Shuttle SB65G2 from the good folks at Aria who shipped it quickly to Guernsey (VAT free). Loaded up with XP2, Firefox and Thunderbird it will hopefully last a little longer. The main problem with building PC’s of course is explaining to people why Word and Excel aren’t installed and that short of paying £300 they won’t be getting them.. or they could plump for just Word at £72 as part of the Works bundle or try OpenOffice for free.

And back onto Amazon… why is it that after rating some 228 DVDs, books and CDs it still suggests crap like Van Helsing, Garfield and The Haunted Mansion. Either a) There are no more DVDs I’d like left to buy b) People can’t be predicted with an algorithm or c) Amazon likes to put rubbish in with real statistical data in an attempt to shift it.

Have a great new year,

[)amien