Archive | August, 2008

HandyTags – Useful Tag Suggestions for Bookmarks

HandyTag As another Extend Firefox 3 contest winner, HandyTag deserves a look.  This add-on for Firefox provides a complete set of the most relevant keywords when you bookmark a page.  Where do these keywords come from?  Many different sources from around the Web.

This comes in handy when you bookmark a page, and your not sure exactly with what words it should be tagged with (or you don’t want to take the time to think it out).  There is no need for straining your brain to think of descriptive tags any longer with this extension.

You can pick HandyTag up on the Firefox Add-ons web site and learn more about HandyTag on the official web site.  It is still sandboxed on Firefox’s web site, so if you need a login to try it out, be sure to checkout these bugmenot username and password combinations.

Drawing Diagrams with Pencil

After winning the Extend Firefox 3 contest, I thought it might be worth checking out Pencil to see what all the buzz was about.  This add-on for Firefox is an open source tool for creating diagrams and GUI prototyping that everybody can use.  As they put it, “With the power of the underlying Mozilla Gecko engine, Pencil turns your excellent Firefox 3 browser into a sketching tool with just a 400-kilobyte installation package”.

Selected-home

Some of the features included are:

  • Built-in stencils for diagraming and prototyping
  • Multi-page document with background page
  • On-screen text editing with rich-text supports
  • PNG rasterizing
  • Undo/redo supports

If your a little lost, or just getting started, they also have a great series of tutorials to help you learn a little more:

Working with Shapes – Brief introductions to Pencil functionalities in dealing with shapes to create diagrams.

Working with Documents – Instructions on how to work with documents, pages and export them into rasterized images.

Working with External Objects – Details on the Pencil supports for external images, rich text contents.

If anything Pencil shows you the power of what Firefox can do, with a little creativity.  You can learn more about the project at the official web site and pickup the extension on the Firefox Add-ons web site.

Ubiquity – Mashing the Web Naturally

ubiquity Now when you hear mashing or mashups of services, you think of wacky combinations like Yahoogle or Microdigg. A web site or service that awkwardly brings two or more services together.  Ubiquity, a new Firefox add-on from Mozilla wants to turn mashing on it’s head.  How?  They are going to take a more natural approach to it.

Ubiquity takes language based instructions and turns them into action, right where you  need them to be.  This video goes a great job at explaining the add-on and showing it in action:


Ubiquity for Firefox from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

Here are a few more tutorials to get you started:

The initial prototype is a little rough, and not ready for prime time yet.  It does show a lot of promise though, and with a little creativity this type of tool could go a long way.  Ubiquity looks to be another amazing tool to add to the many that have come out of Mozilla Labs.

TraceMonkey

Thanks to a new JavaScript engine (named TraceMonkey) it looks as if Firefox 3.1 is going to be getting a major boost in performance.

Here are the benchmarks thus far:

assorted-benchmarks

Be sure to check out Brendan’s Roadmap Updates for more.  Also here are a few handy links from John Resig on the testing:

So the big question is, will Firefox be able to make Firefox 3.1 even faster in the area of JavaScript?  If you have the nightly build of Firefox 3.1 installed, you can turn TraceMonkey on by going to about:config and then toggle the javascript.options.jit.content setting from false to true.  For the rest of us out there though, this is just one more surprise to look forward to once Firefox 3.1 gets rolled out to the public.

For more info, be sure to check out Firefox 3.1 to Get More JavaScript Speed Optimizations – as the CyberNet team had done a good in-depth look into this and has done the best job at making it make sense to everybody.

Text Area Resizer and Mover

1 Isn’t there already a text area resizer add-on for Firefox?  Yes, there is. Text Area Resizer & Mover however adds some more functionality and class to an already great Firefox add-on idea.

To use the add-on, just resize by right-clicking anywhere inside of the text area.  With this, dragging becomes an really easy task and the often sensible site layout remains untouched.  Here is more help on how to use this extension from the author.

Additionally you can move whole text areas to another place. Double click inside of an area and all areas will get unlocked and movable. The repositioned area will stay fixed on the place of your choice even if you are scrolling the page. Double click once more to lock the areas again. The extension’s options allow some manual adjustments (e.g. use context menu item instead of double click or additional key modifiers for mouse gesture users).

You can pickup Text Area Resizer & Mover at the Firefox Add-ons site or the extension’s official home page.

Firefox 2 Support Ending in Mid-December

firefox For those of you who didn’t like Firefox 3, or haven’t gotten around to updating yet – you only have a few more months left.  On the Firefox 2 download page, Mozilla states:

Firefox 2.0.0.x will be maintained with security and stability updates until mid-December, 2008. All users are strongly encouraged to upgrade to Firefox 3.

Out with the old and in with the new!  Just curious, for those who might be lagging behind, why are you still using Firefox 2?  For the Firefox 3 users, what is your favorite feature you think might win them over? 

(news via CyberNet)

Stylish about:blank Replacements for Firefox

Tired of looking at an empty screen when you load your new tab up?  Well, thanks to the Stylish extension and a few creative people, you can make the about:blank page a little better looking.

First step would be to install the Stylish add-on for Firefox.  Once you have done that, click on one of the links bellow and add it to your own Firefox installation.

5823_after icefox 6921_after 2433_after

2400_after 6710_after 3253_after 5942_after

2329_after 4426_after 1441_after 1792_after

1851_after 8243_after 4156_after 9626_after

For more about:blank replacements, be sure to check out UserStyles.org.

Print Only What You Want in Firefox 3

Checking out Michael Horowitz printing tale of woe from Firefox, I have to say he is right.  Trying to print this page (test it yourself using print preview) looks like a horrible jumbled mess.  Try playing with the example article yourself – it is true!  Hold on, there has to be a fix for printing a badly formatted page, right?

If you said yes, you win… well, you win nothing, but you do have the pride of knowing Firefox is a crafty tool in the right hands.  What I want Michael to do is left-click on his mouse and select all the text he wishes to print.

fix-printing

Got all the text from the article highlighted?  Good.  The next step is to go to the File menu and then select “Print…”. (You can also hit Ctrl + P)  That will bring up the Print Options box.  Under Print range make sure you select “Selection”.

 fix-printing2

Doing so will make sure you are only printing what you have highlighted from the article.  This way you can get rid of the useless junk like the sidebars and headers.  You only print what you need!  Hit the “OK” button and you should only print the article and none of the rest of the information on the web page.

fix-printing3

The final result is a nicely formatted article without any of the rest of the junk you don’t need. 

The Super Essential Ultimate Unofficial MySpace Toolbar

1 How is that for a Firefox add-on name?  Alright, truth be told I might have added a little to it.  The toolbar’s name is really just the Ultimate MySpace Toolbar.  I think my name has a little more flare though.  This MySpace toolbar offers a lot of nice features including:

  • Easily navigate MySpace from anywhere on the web
  • Stay connected to MySpace.com with persistent login
  • Receive notifications with updating messages
  • Clean up messy profile pages with the “Simplify” button
  • Make your profile look good with My Space or Yours.net custom layouts
  • Navigate everything on your MySpace profile and other users MySpace profiles with dual menu controls
    Ok, so where is the catch?  This MySpace toolbar is brought to you by the same people who developed Me.dium.  You get to merge two of the Web’s darlings, MySpace and Me.dium… kind of.  The MySpace toolbar comes with Me.dium’s Social Search, which they describe as “the world’s first crowd-powered search engine”. 
    It will help you keep your finger on the pulse of the entire internet with search results generated by what the crowds are surfing right now!  Just be careful for those oddball Firefox loving freaks out there on MySpace.