Archive | September, 2008

Interview with Michel Gutierrez of Video DownloadHelper

11 Video DownloadHelper is by far the most popular of the video downloading add-ons out the for Firefox.  Only proof you need is to check out the most popular downloads page yourself.  It gets 480,759 weekly downloads.  With that in mind, I wanted to talk with the man behind what might be one of the most popular add-ons for Firefox, ever.  Who is this man? Michel Gutierrez is the brain behind the Video DownloadHelper and I was lucky enough to get him cornered to answer a few questions I had about the extension.

Out of all the different, “download the video from that video sharing site” services out there – what does it feel like to be the most popular one, right now?

It’s good and that’s even better to be one of the most popular Firefox extensions overall :)

I started computing in the early 80s on a Sinclair ZX81 (2KB of RAM!) and since then, i wrote many lines of code within a lot of various projects but DownloadHelper is by far the application that got the best success. So when you write a piece of software that will be executed one million times everyday, you for sure feel useful but a bit anxious as you have the responsibility to make this code work flawlessly.

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Grab Color Palettes in Firefox

icon_big Sitting in the left corner of your status bar, until you are ready for it to jump into action Palette Grabber for Firefox, will grab the color scheme for any site on the web you are viewing.

Here is a little more about the extension from the developer:

Palette Grabber is a Firefox extension for web designers. It adds an “Export color palette” command to your Tools menu; selecting this command will extract a color palette for the current page and export it to a Photoshop/Illustrator color palette file. It’s useful for creating mockups of new designs which share a color palette with an existing design.

The Palette Grabber extension supports Photoshop, Flash, PaintShop Pro, GIMP, Adobe Fireworks, and Mac OS X Color Picker palette formats.  You can pick it up from the official web site at http://www.gusprevas.info/palettegrabber/.

Open Documents Online via Firefox

open-it-online Open IT Online, an add-on for Firefox, delivers you what you want.  Well, it delivers you what you want, if you are one of those people who love all these new Online services such as Zoho’s office applications or Google Docs.  Open IT Online allows you to open your documents and images online without the need of any software to be installed.

Here are some of the extension types it can recognize and handle:

  • Documents (*.doc, *.rtf, *.odt, *.sxw)
  • Spreadsheets (*.xls, *.csv, *.ods, *.sxc)
  • Presentations (*.ppt, *.pps, *.odp, *.sxi)
  • Images (*.jpg, *.gif, *.png)

How do you use it?  Well whenever you face a document with the “Open With” option, it will also give you the option to open it Online.  From there you can choose one of the various Web 2.0 tools to view and edit the document in question.

One last really nice feature is that Open IT Online gives you the ability to also see the file size of the document you are about to view.  This is handy in determining if you want to open the file, or not.

You can pick up the Open IT Online extension from the Firefox Add-ons site or learn more about it at OpenItOnline.com.

Yahoo Recommends Firefox 3 Over IE7

Filed under the “whoops! sorry about that!” department of PR over at Yahoo (then again, they haven’t changed it yet either).  It appears when you go to Yahoo.com via Internet Explorer 7, you are given a message to upgrade to Firefox 3.  How nice of them…

yahoo-whoops

Thanks Yahoo, I am sure Mozilla and the Firefox team appreciates the support!

Does Devo for Firefox Whip it? Whip it Good?

Now we took a look at Ubiquity, which looks to be the next mashup tool plus launcher for the Firefox browser.  There is another one, and it’s name is Devo.  Here is a little more about Devo from the developers of the Firefox extensions:

Inspired by Enso and Quicksilver, Devo is a command launcher for Firefox. This extension allows you to perform complex actions & searches on webpages, Firefox and other Firefox extensions in just a few keystrokes.

Now we all know when a problem comes along, you must whip it.

devo-for-firefox

It is easy to see why Devo was un the running for the Extend Firefox 3 contest.

Devo does a darn good job at whipping up a nice launching extension for Firefox.  You can pick it up on Firefox’s Addon web site.  It is still an experimental add-on, so you will need to register at mozilla.org or steal a login from bugmenot to pick this addition to Firefox 3 up.

Chrome Who? Get Chrome’s Best Features in Firefox!

The team at Lifehacker have posted a great list of extensions you can use to enable some of Google Chrome’s best features inside of Firefox.

The internet is atwitter with Google Chrome’s innovative new features, but there was no clear winner in our speed test comparing Firefox and Chrome—which means your choice of browser may depend solely on features. Apart from a few specific issues (namely process management), many of Chrome’s best features are already available in Firefox 3, proving yet again the power of extensibility. From incognito browsing and the streamlined download manager to URL highlighting and improved search, let’s take a look at how you can bring some of Google Chrome’s best features to Firefox.

Here is a simple rundown of the tools mentioned:

Check out Enable Chrome’s Best Features in Firefox via Lifehacker.

Interview With the Mind Behind NoScript

ss0 So what type of questions would you have for the mind behind NoScript?  I recently got to chat with Giorgio Maone, the creator of possibly the most popular security related extension for Firefox.

Why would the random Firefox user off the street be using NoScript?

Firefox is an extremely safe browser, because it can take advantage of an open and agile development process, a very security-minded core development team and a multi-vendor security coordination group, including people from major Linux distributions and IT integrators, which I’m also a member of. This ensures that many experts with different backgrounds and points of view are steadily discussing about making Firefox safer and stronger, and that discussion quickly translates in bug fixing and enhancement code.

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Add-on Steals Internet Explorer 8’s New Feature

webchunks-for-firefox Not sure how closely you are following Internet Explorer 8 development, but they do have one cool new feature called Web Slices.  This will let you subscribe to only a section of a web page, and easily delete them when they are no longer needed.  You can now use this Internet Explorer 8 feature of the future now in Firefox.

WebChunks is a Firefox 3’s implementation of Microsoft Web Slices.  It allows you to “follow” an area of a web page through a dedicated feed bookmarked in a new toolbar. Clicking on the toolbar entry shows the information related to your choice in a popup, without the need to open a complete web page.

Where would you use this in the real world?

Now the famous example of this is eBay.  Lets say you wanted to follow an item you were bidding on, but you only wanted to follow the box that had the actual auction information in it.  WebChunks allows you to just watch that section.  When the auction is over, delete it.

Still lost?  Don’t be worried,  I was too.  Check out the developer’s tutorial on how to use the WebChunks add-on for more information on the idea.  For me, this new feature is on the fence of being useful on one side and un-necessary on the other.

This add-on was a runner up in the Extend Firefox 3 contest.  Check out this past post to see some of the other winners.

Badges for Favicons

Think of that wasted space in your tab bar.  You know, where the favicon for the web site your visiting rests.  Isn’t there enough room there to fit in a little more information about the web site you are visiting?

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The new Firefox add-on Badges on Favicon takes advantage of that idea very well.  It allows you to put a rounded badge over the tab favicon of some pages.  Where does this come in handy?  Well what if you could see in your tab the number of unread Gmail messages you had?  Or how about if it told you how many new posts were in Google Reader?

Nuggets of Information for Your Tabs

The extension uses little scripts, called badgets. The badgets define both the appearance of the badge (color, position, size of the text, etc.) and how to get the data from the current page. The extension comes with three sample badgets that work with Gmail, iGoogle Reader Gadget and Zenbe. But you can install your own badgets and even create your own for your preferred site.

This add-on was also a runner up in the Extend Firefox 3 contest.  It is still listed as “experimental” so you might need to visit BugMeNot for a user name and password (or sign up on Mozilla.org) to use before trying to download.

Turn Firefox into Netscape Communicator

Here is a retro theme for you, make Firefox go back in time to the Netscape era:

foxscape.

Foxscape is a full featured retro theme for Firefox based on Netscape Communicator 4.8 on Windows.  To be honest, I never did use the old Netscape very much.  Never did like the look of it.  You know what?  Now I can not like the look of it again!

foxscape2

I am sure this theme will tug on the classic heart strings of somebody out there.  If your missing the first generation of the browser wars, and you want to relive being the loser – give Foxscape a shot.