Archive | December, 2008

Keep in Touch with Friendbar

Connect with Your Facebook and Twitter FriendsNeed an easier way to keep in touch with your friends on the Web?  You have your Twitter add-ons and your Facebook add-ons.  What about one that promises to connect them all?  That is what the Friendbar add-on for Firefox is all about.

The nice thing here is that it displays a running stream of text and photo updates from Facebook and Twitter right on the toolbar, and allows you to post updates and reply from the toolbar itself.

Some of the features included are:

  • View your Facebook and Twitter updates, right on Friendbar
  • Get a stream of your friends Facebook photos right on Friendbar
  • Roll over the photos to view an enlarged version
  • Click on the enlarged photo (or album name) to visit the photo or albums web page
  • Get an alert when a new message arrives
  • Send Twits and Facebook updates from Friendbar (separately or both together)
  • Automatically create a tiny URL for the web page you are viewing
  • Click on links in text updates to open the link in a new tab
  • Toggle Text updates and Photos on and off

For those people out there having a hard time managing their friends from one web site to the next, this experimental add-on from Firefox can come in really handy.  I would like to see them add support for other social networks down the line – but since this is still a brand spanking new add-on for Firefox, I am sure even more updates are yet to come.

You can pick the Friendbar up via the Firefox add-ons web site.

Firefox Plans to Turn Web Apps into Desktop Apps

Remember Prism?  It was the Mozilla powered application that let you turn any web page into a desktop application.  Not much has happened since it was released, however many other browsers have started looking in that direction (merging the web and the desktop program list).  So what about Firefox?

Turning Web Apps into Desktop Apps

It appears there are plans to include “Prism-like features” into a future release of Firefox.

The plan thus far is to help users discover when they might want to make a web application into a desktop application.  For example, if you use Google Reader a lot – after so many uses, Firefox may suggest to you, “Would you like to make Google Reader a desktop application?” or “Would you like to add Google Reader to your Quick Launch bar?”.

I like the idea – and I can’t wait to see it happen.  How about you?  (Source: Download Squad)

Turn Your Firefox into an Arcade

Firefox Arcade GamesAfter all the stress of the holidays, and before you start getting stressed about taxes – you need a way to relax.  How do I relax?  I play games.  Want to turn Firefox into your own personal arcade?  Here are a more than a few extensions to help you along the way.

PONG! Multiplayer – Play a game of PONG! while you are waiting. (also see the PingPong add-on)

Cards – A collection of patience (i.e. single-player) card games. Included are: Aces Up, Black Widow, Canfield, Demon, Double Klondike, Double Solitaire, Grounds for Divorce, Fan, Forty Thieves, FreeCell, Golf, Gypsy, Klondike, Maze, Mod 3, Montana…

Pacman – The Retro Extension. Yet another Pacman-clone. (Also check out PagMan)

Clines – Clines, a little game. (with dots!)

Mozteroids – Mozteroids is a variant of the computer game classic Asteroids.

Xultris – Xultris is a variant of the computer game classic Tetris.

Snake – Snake is a clone of the popular Snake or Worm…

Xoom – a top-down racing game with simple graphics, but tons of fun.

Red vs. Blue – The goal of this little game is to sort all red dots to left side and all blue dots to right side. Do this as fast as possible.

Froggr – Froggr is a clone of the classic Frogger.

There are tons of free flash games out there too, so to help you with those – I have another add-on that is worth mentioning.  Flash Game Maximizer does exactly what it claims to do.  It maximizes the flash game you are playing to fill the entire browser.   Also, you can’t forget about FireNES, which (last time I checked) allowed you to play tons of old NES titles.

Have any other favorite games you can play from within Firefox?

Pour a Black Glaze on Firefox

If you are in search for a new dark theme to replace your Christmas themed one you got last week, have no fear – I have a good one for you.  Glaze Black is a simple and flat theme for Firefox.  Oh, did I mention it is black too?  You can oooooh and awww at the screenshot below:

Glaze Black theme for Firefox

As you can see, it has a very simple look and feel to it (which is something I like to look for in a theme, personally).  You can pick it up on the Firefox Add-ons web site and be sure to stop by and see the creator of the theme at theme-oasis.org.

As a ‘bit of an extra tip – you can pick up a white version of this same theme here.

Merry Christmas from Firefox Facts

Santa Love the Web Hosting ShowThis year for Christmas, I am doing things a little differently.  Instead of actually getting presents for the thousands of readers we have coming in here daily (or my favorite 5,000 or so that subscribe to the free RSS feed).  I wanted to give you the gift of two of my other projects you may or may not know about.

Mitchelaneous

This is my blog filled with geek candy.  More personal and of the wall in nature, this is my personal spot to rant and rave about any miscellaneous thing that might cross my mind.  From web development help to custom desktop icons – I am sure there is something for everybody to enjoy here.

My Favorite Mitchelaneous Posts of the Year:

You can subscribe to Mitchelaneous.com for free by plugging it’s RSS feed into your favorite news reader of choice.  Here are a few subscription buttons to help you in that process:

Add to Google Reader or Homepage Add to netvibes Add to Pageflakes Subscribe in Bloglines

The Web Hosting Show

The Web Hosting Show is my weekly podcast on and about the wacky world of web hosting.  From news, to help and even some shopping tips – I like to help people get the most out of their hosting accounts – while having a little fun along the way.

My Favorite Web Hosting Show Posts of the Year:

You can subscribe to WebHostingShow.com for free by plugging the RSS feed into your favorite news reader of choice.  Here are a few subscription buttons to help you in that process:

Add to Google Reader or Homepage Add to netvibes Add to Pageflakes Subscribe in Bloglines

Thanks to one and all for making Firefox Facts one of the most popular Firefox blogs out there in the world today.  Hope you all have a happy holiday, and I promise to keep delivering you the best of the Firefox world day after day.

The Colorful Themes of Avant.Garde

I have no clue what avant.garde stands for,  but I do have to say – no matter what you call it, this theme is colorful and unique.

avant.garde Theme for Firefox

I think that the theme creator describes the inspiration for this theme much better than I could do.   So I made a theme based on the humble spiral, and I wanted it to be colorful and fun, but also inherently functional and practical. There are certainly colorful and fun themes out there, and there are definitely practical themes out there, but never both. Why? Or more to the point, why not? As one more surprise to toss in there – there are several flavors of this theme to choose too.

Choose Your Favorite Theme Flavor!

Verde (Green Version) Mandarino (Orange) Lilla (Purple) Blu (Blue) Argento (White) Rosa (Pink) Nero (Black) Classic (as seen above)

Click on the thumbnail above to check out that theme’s page on the Firefox Add-ons site.  They are experimental themes, so you may have to login to Firefox’s site before you can download.  I am looking forwad to seeing more themes by this interesting designer.  Also, interested in hearing what you think about them too.

Trouble Removing a Firefox Add-on?

Need Help Removing Add-ons?Ever have a Firefox add-on that just did not want to leave your PC?  Most of the extensions to Firefox are really easy to remove, however sometimes you run into a situation where one is so bad or tricky, it just doesn’t want to let go.  Here are some of the common ways to remove an add-on from Firefox.

The Traditional Way

The way you usually uninstall add-ons from Firefox is to go to Tools and then Add-ons from the menu bar.  In the next Window, you should see your extensions (if not, hit the “Extensions” tab at the top).  Now click on the one you wish to remove, and hit the button labeled “Uninstall”.  You can do this several times if you need to get rid of several add-ons.  Now, simply restart Firefox and your add-on in question should be removed.

Try Removing the Add-on via Safe Mode

Close out Firefox, and start up using Firefox’s safe mode.  Try to use the traditional steps above then to remove the addon that is bugging you.

Checkout Add/Remove Programs

This might change some (depending on what version of Windows you are using) but these general directions should get you to the right spot.  Click on the start menu (or windows globe) and go to the control panel.  From there, you want to go to the “Add/Remove Programs” settings.  Scroll down this list and see if you see the extension in question here that you can not remove via Firefox.  Some toolbars and add-ons install themselves here, rather than the traditional add-ons menu from inside of Firefox.

Last (but not least) Remove the Add-on Manually

You can also remove add-ons manually, but I would leave this as a last resort.  You will need to navigate to your Firefox profile folder.  Once you make it there, look for a folder called “extensions”.  Inside of that folder, you will see more folders with names that look like random ‘bit of text thrown together.  Each folder represents an extension that has been installed. Go through each folder, and look for install.rdf.  Open that up in your standard notepad program and it should tell you the name of the extension you are looking at.  If you can’t find it, search the install.rdf for the phrase “em:name”.  After that, the name of the extension should be given.  You may also find a few themes inside this folder too.  Once you find an install.rdf that matches that addon you want to remove, you can delete that extensions entire folder.

As you noticed, this pretty much covered things for the Windows people to some extent.  If any Apple or Linux fans want to let me know how they do things, please drop in a comment and share with the group!

Faster Refreshing for Live Bookmarks

Live Bookmarks in ActionHow do you get Firefox’s live bookmarks to refresh faster?  By default, the Live Bookmarks are set to refresh every 60 minutes to check for new headlines.  However, if you want to get your news a little quicker, there is a tweak you can do to make the process go a little faster.

In the address bar, type in about:config, and then hit enter.

At the warning, click the button that says, “I’ll be careful, I promise!”.  Now you are ready to do some configuration changes.  We want to setup a new option though, so right-click anywhere inside of the about:config screen and then go to New > Integer.

For the preference name type in:

browser.bookmarks.livemark_refresh_seconds

Now, for the value, you will need to add your time up by seconds.  For example, if you wanted it to be reloaded every two minutes you would type in 120 (because there are 120 seconds in two minutes).  The smallest number you can put in here is 60 seconds.  If you put in anything lower, Firefox will slap you in the face – and then say, “Oh yeah, you wanted to put in ’60′ right?”.

You can also reload a Live Bookmark manually to by right-clicking it and choosing “Reload Live Bookmark”.  However that isn’t nearly as fun as diving into about:config.

Quicker Web Searches with Searchy

Need a quicker way to search the Web?

Searchy add-on for Firefox

Searchy, a new experimental add-on for Firefox will allow you to do that in a very stylish and unique way.  Once you get it installed, just hit Ctrl+Shift+K to bring up the Searchy search box, then type in what you are looking for.  You will get the results in real time as you type.

Also, another neat tip is that you can use “@” before your search to just search the web site you are on at the time.  If your not in love with the keyboard combo you must use to get it to search – that can easily be changed in the options.

It might not re-invent searching, however Searchy does give a pretty (and unique) new face to something we all do every single day.  To learn more about the development of the extension, be sure to check out the Searchy’s official web site.

Kid Friendly Browsing with KidZui

Looking for a way to keep the kids busy while you wrap the Christmas presents this year?

kidzui - browsing for kids

KidZui is an addition to Firefox that with one click turns the browser into a kid-safe environment with over a million kid-friendly websites, games, pictures, and YouTube videos.  I do have to say that this service might be a nice gateway to allow younger kids to get on the Web without much need to worry.

Another feature they pride themselves on is when locked down, KidZui prevents kids from closing the browser, downloading files, or opening other applications.

The free Firefox extension is a gateway into a free vs paid membership situation.  If you get a membership via the Kidzui web site, you can get a few more features.  You can see a comparison of the free features versus the paid features via their membership page.  You might also want to check out an alternative extension Glubble for Families.

If you have young ones around the house, KidZui might be worth playing with.