Archive | October, 2008

25 Tweaks for Your Firefox Status Bar

status-bar-tweaks

Want to add a few more features and functionality to your Firefox status bar?  Here are a some common tweaks you may want to make, and how you can get them added to your own browser.

Extended Statusbar – check out speed, percentage, time and loaded size and more

Organize Status Bar – clear the clutter out of your status bar

Cookie Button – C is for cookie, and this add-on makes it easy enough to access cookie permissions.  (ok, so it doesn’t make a good song)

Calculator-Bar – adds a calculator to your status bar (big surprise there, right?)

Unshorten – see the real location of a short URL (such as tinyurl.com/something) in your browser

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PopupMaster – places the popup blocker icon in the status bar, regardless of site settings

Router Status – give you the status of your router in the toolbar or status bar

ShowIP – shows your IP address and some more cool tools

Daily Dilbert – instant access to the Dilbert comic strip of the day

Dcurrency – currency exchange rates in the status bar

Live IP Address – Your current IP address in your status bar

TabCounter – gives you the number of tabs you currently have open

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Viral Threat Level – adds an image to the status bar that indicates the current viral threat level of the internet

YMail Notifier – notifies you when you get new mail to your Yahoo! e-mail account

SportsFox – latest sport scores for your favorite teams

Prefswitch – quickly activate/deactivate settings like CSS, JavaScript and more

Dictionary Switcher – toggles between the installed dictionaries and displays the currently selected dictionary in the status bar

US Department of Homeland Insecurity Idiocy Level – yes, that is a long name for an add-on

Status-bar Calculator – another status bar calculator (in case you need two)

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Open Tab Count – counts the number of open tabs you have, just in case you forgot

Word Count Plus – counts number of words in selected text

Dictionary – comes in handy when you quickly want to find the meaning of a word

TwitterFox – notifies you of your friends’ statuses of Twitter

IsAdmin – shows whether the application is running with administrator privileges, by means of an icon in the status bar

Firesizer – allows you to resize the window to specific dimensions

Have a favorite I might have missed?  Let me know via the comments and maybe we can get this list up even higher.

BONUS! – Go check out 25 More Tweaks for Your Firefox Status Bar!

Become a Better Typist with Firefox

http://www.firefoxfacts.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/mostwanted.pngNeed to brush up on your typing skills? 

Having both my free time projects and my job very keyboard focused, I have developed a pretty good skill at typing.  Here recently though, I have been looking at a lot of free solutions to help my two nephews get more familiar with typing on a keyboard.  Lets face it, by the time they are grown (unless we finally develop that mind reading technology) typing will become as important as learning how to write.

That is where the Numpad Typing Drills and Addictive Typing Lessons (both add-ons for Firefox) come into play.

Click on the screen shots to get a closer look at each Firefox add-on:

Addictive Typing Lessons  Numpad Typing Drills

So if you want to become a better typist, or you know somebody who you would like to teach, these two add-ons are the perfect (and free) way to get the task done.

+ Pickup Numpad Typing Drills for Firefox

+ Pickup Addictive Typing Lessons for Firefox

Both extensions are great tools in helping even the best typists become better at their craft.  Spruce up on your own typing skills and give both of these add-ons a shot.

Smart Bookmarks Bar

Running out of room in your bookmarks toolbar?  You could do some spring cleaning – but winter is quickly coming upon us.  Next idea?  Well the Smart Bookmarks Bar add-on for Firefox promises to simplify your cluttered bookmark rat’s nest.

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It shrinks your bookmarks down to only the favicons.  So what?  Well, the magic happens when you hover over one of the bookmarks.  Bookmark names will be displayed when you mouse over them.  Pretty nifty, right?

You can pick up the Smart Bookmarks Bar on the Firefox Add-ons web site.

8 Ways to Open Text as a Link

Turn Text to Links in Firefox One of those pesky things that bug me is when somebody writes a link in that I want to click, but there is no HTML code included to make it into a click-able link.  Thankfully several add-ons for Firefox have figured out how to turn URLs and e-mail addresses not marked up as a link into things I can click on.

There are eight add-ons for Firefox that do this job very well.  The only problem is that there is not that much difference between them.

Know of a number nine I might have missed?  I wouldn’t be surprised.  This seems like a very popular idea to do for a Firefox extension for some reason.  Since today is my birthday, just consider these eight gems your present from me.

Foxmarks Introduces Password Sync

One of my favorite features of the old Google Browser Sync was the ability to sync my passwords between my laptop and desktop computers.  Till now, no other program has gotten that right.  That was the case till Foxmarks decided to roll out this new feature.

Password Synchronization is an optional feature for the newest version of Foxmarks that allows you to simply and securely synchronize your saved passwords. 

password-sync

Since this feature is turned off by default, how do you activate it? 

  1. Open the Foxmarks Settings dialog (located in Tools > Foxmarks > Settings…).
  2. Click on the “Sync” tab.
  3. Select the checkbox labeled “Passwords”. You will be guided through a quick and easy password synchronization setup flow.

Big congrats goes out to Foxmarks for making a damn good add-on even better.

Combine Stop and Reload in Firefox

10_after Tired of having the stop button taking up too much room in Firefox?  Well, you could remove it from the interface all together or hide it, until you need it.  The Smart Stop/Reload extension for Firefox will combine your stop and reload buttons into one.

This is to save you toolbar space, plain and simple.  To avoid unintended reloads, the button is disabled for a split second when a page has finished loading.

For those of you who might have the Stylish extension installed, you have a few more options when it comes to combining the stop and reload buttons.  Pick up the Stylish add-on then try these user styles out:

I like anything that helps me remove the browser clutter, so take your pick out of these suggestions – and if you have anymore, feel free to leave a comment and suggest!

A Slew of Firefox News (Mobile, Firefox 3.1, Better Session Restore)

fennec_splash_small Tis’ the season to be getting more Mozilla and Firefox news than I can handle!  Here are some of the most recent Firefox headlines to catch my eye.

Firefox for Windows Mobile images surface

But Mozilla says a Windows Mobile version of Fennec is on its way and that an Alpha release could come within the next few weeks. And now a few screenshots have surfaced which would seem to indicate that at least someone is already running Fennec on a Windows Mobile phone.

Firefox 3.1 to Include Smarter Session Restore

The nightly builds of Firefox 3.1 have added a significant improvement to the session restore dialog you normally see after a crashed browsing session. The upshot: Rather than displaying a modal dialog that requires you to restore your old session or start from scratch, Firefox will display an about:sessionrestore tab in which you can selectively disable any tab or window from the previous session before you continue with the restore.

Mozilla announces Developer Tools Labs

Ajaxian founders, Dion Almaer and Ben Galbraith, are joining the Mozilla Corporation as full time employees to lead the new Developer Tools Labs, a project similar to Mozilla Labs that will focus on researching and developing “tools that increase developer productivity, enable compelling user experiences, and promote the use of open standards.”, said Mozilla’s Chris Beard in a blog post.

Mozilla locks in Firefox 3.1 feature list

Three weeks ago, the company said it would insert four to five more weeks into the timetable, part of a reaction to changes in the browser market, including the introduction by Google Inc. of its Chrome browser. Then, Mozilla said it would probably use the time to add a privacy mode and to punch up its TraceMonkey JavaScript engine performance.  A private browsing mode and fast JavaScript execution were touted by Google last month when it launched Chrome.

Resize and Reposition Your Browser with JavaScript

resize-browser Don’t you have it when you have lost your perfect spot for your browser window in your desktop layout and you have to put it back by dragging it over, then resizing each corner till it is back in that perfect spot yet again?  Well, with the help of a little JavaScript you can take the mess out of resizing and repositioning your browser.

Why Resize and Reposition Firefox Automatically?

When working I usually like to keep up a chat window, a notepad program and Firefox.  The notes and chat can stay a little smaller, stacked on top of each other on the side but Firefox needs to be in the left over big space.  So this is the JavaScript I used to put in in its spot:

javascript:resizeTo(1024,1000);self.moveTo(640,10);

That says to keep the browser 1024 in width, 1000 pixels high and to move to to the desktop location of 640 pixels left and 10 pixels down.  If you used:

javascript:resizeTo(1024,1000);self.moveTo(0,0);

That would set it up to be in the top left corner.  Depending on your screen size those last two numbers are what you want to change to get the position right and the first two number would be your browser size.  There is probably some mathematical way to figure out the right number for the position you want – but if your like me you just changed the numbers around till you got it in the position you need.  What if you wanted the browser height to be all the way from the top of the screen to the bottom?  In that case you could change the second number in resizeTo (in both examples that would be the 1000) to screen.availHeight.

javascript:resizeTo(1024,screen.availHeight);self.moveTo(0,0);

Notice now that by copy and pasting this into your address bar and hitting enter will make the browser as tall as it can be, with the width of 1024 pixels and in the left side of the screen.

How do You Create the Resizing Bookmark?

Now how can you create a bookmark to do this in Firefox?  Simple.  Right-click on your bookmarks toolbar, and select “New Bookmark”.  Name can be anything.  I call mine – Resize Browser.  Location is where you want to type in the JavaScript string above.  In keyword, type in a simple tag such a “r” or “resize”.  That way when you type in “r” into the address bar – it will automatically resize Firefox back to your perfect location.   Description can be left blank.  Hit the Add button, and you are done.

In the memory of every great cooking show I have ever seen, let me take a page out of their book and give you a link to drag into your bookmark toolbar so you can see the effects of this simple desktop organizational hack:

Now I know somebody will bring up the fact that a number of extensions will do this same action too.  This provides a way of simply adding the feature in without the need of another add-on.

javascript-settings Having Problems? 

To use these JavaScript tips, remember you have to have JavaScript enabled in your Firefox options.  Go to Tools > Options and then the Content Tab.  Make sure there is a check mark next to “Enable JavaScript”.  Also, in the Advanced settings be sure to allow scripts to move or resize existing windows.

With a little help from JavaScript and some creativity you will never lose your favorite browser size on your desktop.

Play and Download YouTube Videos Inside Google Search

Say, you like the fact that Google has started to thumbnail YouTube results in search, but you just want a ‘bit more.  GoogleTube, an add-on for Firefox, will allow you to play the YouTube videos inside of the Google search results window.

GoogleTube Screenshot

Once installed, all you have to do is hit the YouTube icon next to the search result link.  Instantly the video starts playing, without the need to open up a new tab or window.  Also, you can also download the video and view more information regarding the video (date added, views, rating, comments) directly from the search results.

The player can be configured to suit your needs too.  You can select player colors, player size and these additional options:

  • Allow auto play
  • Show player border
  • Show tiny icon on the status bar
  • Show download button
  • Show more information button
  • Choose where to show the video (next to link, under link, ect)

It is a simple extension that does a simple task very well. You can pick up GoogleTube on the Firefox Add-ons web site. 

Spell Check All Text Fields in Firefox

What do you do about misspelling words in text boxes?  Well, you use the built-in Firefox spell check feature.  However, by default it does not work with ALL text fields.  That can simply be rectified though your about:config settings.

spell-check-everything

Just type in about:config into your address bar to get started.  Next, into the filter text box, type in layout.spell.  That should bring up the preference name layout.spellcheckDefault. Right-click it, and then select “Modify”.  Change the 1 (default value) to 2 and you should be all set. 

Firefox’s built in spell check will now check all text fields, no matter where or how they are used on the web site in question.