Archive | May, 2009

Smart Zooming in Firefox

Smart zooming in Firefox

One feature I really love in Firefox, that probably does not get the credit it deserves, is the smart zooming features.  A feature that was new to Firefox 3, this allows you to zoom an entire page to make it larger or smaller.  You may need to make a site larger to make it easier to read, or you might make it smaller to fit within the screen real estate of your smaller monitors (for examples, those people out there who may have netbooks).

There are several ways you can zoom into or out of the page you are on.

Keyboard:

(make the page bigger) Ctrl and the + Key

(make the page smaller) Ctrl and the – Key

Mouse:

(make the page bigger) Hold the Ctrl Key and Scroll Up

(make the page smaller) Hold the Ctrl Key and Scroll Down

Toolbar:

View > Zoom > Zoom In

View > Zoom > Zoom Out

One more zooming trick that Firefox has up its sleeve is the ability to only zoom in on text, leaving graphics their normal sizes.  To do that, go to View > Zoom and select “Zoom Text Only”.  To reset a page’s specific zoom level (large or small), go to View > Zoom > Reset or hit Ctrl and the 0 key.  Firefox will remember which pages you have larger too.  So for example, you could zoom into FirefoxFacts.com, but when you visit WebHostingShow.com, it would still be at its normal size.  Your preferences are remembered for each site you visit.

Easier Multiple Tab Handling

There are many extensions out there that allow you to tweak your tabs, however not many will let you close multiple tabs all in one swift movement.  The Multiple Tab Handler extension for Firefox does that and a lot more.

Select Multiple Tabs!

The idea here is simple, to provide the user with any easier way to handle multiple tabs at once.  This is so you can highlight more than one tab, then reload them, close them and so on.  Once the Multiple Tab Handler add-on is installed, when you press the mouse button and drag over tabs (you should wait a while to start drag after you press down the button!), they are selected. After you release the button, the popup to choose command will be shown.  

Multiple tabs can be dragged and moved if you select multiple tabs by Ctrl-click or Shift-click before you start to drag.  Once you have selected the tabs you want to work with, here are some of the actions you can take:

  • Close selected tabs
  • Close not-selected tabs
  • Reload selected tabs
  • Duplicate selected tabs
  • Move selected tabs to a new window
  • Bookmark selected tabs

For those of us who move backwards and forwards through multiple tabs all day long, this extension for Firefox is well worth downloading.  You can pickup the Multiple Tab Handler add-on for Firefox on the Firefox Add-ons site.

TinyURL Generator

create shorter links, easily!

There are dozens of add-ons for Firefox that will generate any number of tiny URLs from any number of link shortening services.  With that said, I have one more to toss into the category, that may be a little more visually pleasing than some others I have shown you in the past.  The TinyURL Generator is a tiny extension in its own right that allows you to quickly.. well, generate a TinyURL to share.

It creates a TinyURL for the page you are currently viewing in the background.  The URL created is then copied to your clipboard, so that you can paste it anywhere you might need it instantly.  Here are a few more ways you can generate your sharable links:

  • Simply click the icon. A TinyURL is created as defined in the options dialog (default is normal TinyURL)
  • Right-Click the icon. This will give you the choice to create a normal TinyURL or one which is ‘Previewable’. The default type is shown in bold. This can be changed using the Optioins dialog.
  • Right Click any link on a page and select ‘Create TinyURL’ to create a TinyURL for the link destination.

You too can pickup the TinyURL Generator add-on for Firefox on the Firefox Add-ons web site.  For more link shortener extensions be sure to check out our list of the best URL shorteners for Firefox.

Easily Download Music and Videos from YouTube

Download videos or music for free!

The extension, NetVideoHunter, promises you a world of easy to download videos and music from any YouTube-like video sharing web site.  With it, you can download media from places such as YouTube, MySpace, Google Video, Metacafe, Dailymotion and more.

One more nice feature that comes with this add-on is that before you download any video or music, you can play it in a built-in media player.  It has both fullscreen and video smoothing capabilities too, to make your viewing experience just that much better.

Here is a video tutorial on how to get the most out of NetVideoHunter:

Now, truth be told – there are a lot of extensions out there that promise to make content downloading easy and painless, however many fail in a number of ways.  NetVideoHunter however, has yet to disappoint.  If you have your own favorite media downloader for Firefox, feel free to share!

Give Your Firefox That Wooden Look

Walnut2 for Firefox

How much wood would a Firefox chuck if a Firefox could chuck wood?  Walnut2 is one of those themes I have overlooked in the past, because I am not exactly the biggest fan of the over themed themes (I am looking at you Red Cats).  On the other hand though, Walnut2 is a well designed theme, so deserves its spot with the best of the best in the theme archive.

Other than having a great detailed design, this theme also includes support for DOMInspector, chatzilla, stumbleupon, downloadstatusbar, fission, forecastfox, downloadmgr, calendar, quicknote, offline, googlebar, MAB, and more.

If your looking for a wooden wallpaper to match up with your wooden Firefox, be sure to check out my 25 favorite ways to make your desktop wooden.  So love it, or hate it?  Download the Walnut2 theme for Firefox and give me your thoughts and feedback on it.

Introducing Jetpack for Firefox

Ever wanted to write your own Firefox extension, but thought the process was too drawn out or difficult to do?  Jetpack is looking to use open Web technologies to enhance the browser.  The idea here is that if you can make a web page, you will be able to build an add-on for Firefox.

This video does a great job at giving you a basic walk-though of what Jetpack development looks like thus far:

Mozilla Labs Jetpack – Intro & Tutorial from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

Overall, I am really excited about this!  I always love to tweak away at Firefox using tools like Greasemonkey and Stylish (which Jetpack reminds me of, in a sense of being simple ways to extend the browser).

Word of warning, this is an extremely early release of the software, that is still being designed and developed.  This version that is out now is pretty much just for the developers and testers who want to start getting their hands dirty.

Grab Jetpack, and play around with it yourself.  It might not be for everybody, however should really help to inspire those of us who like to tweak around with our browser to make it work for us.

The Amazing Stratini Themes for Firefox

I can’t get it out of my head that this modern and compact theme sounds like a great magician.  I want to call it the Amazing Stratini!  What is its first trick?  To turn your Firefox installation into a better looking browser.  Actually, there are now two different flavors of the Stratini theme, one is the original (which is more compact) and the other is more padded and spaced out.

Here is a little more about the themes in question from the developer:

What basically started as a small project to simplify and shrink the default Strata Theme has turned into a distinct theme. The icons are designed around the simplified Stop, Reload, Back and Forward icons of Strata… expanding those basic elements across the entire interface.

You can now download either or both!  Be sure to let me know which one you decided to use and why. 

Stratini

Stratini theme for Firefox

Stratini Padded

Stratini Padded theme for Firefox

I really enjoy the themes that can keep it simple, yet give me something new and fresh to look at that doesn’t look like it was ripped from the theme down the street.  Both Stratini and Stratini Padded pass those test, so they get two enthusiastic thumbs up from this Firefox fan.

Strip Everything but the Content with TidyRead

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Want to remove all the clutter from your favorite site to read, and get right to the text?  TidyRead, an extension for Firefox, removes all the extra stuff from a web page or article that can make reading on the Web difficult at times.

This browser add-on does a simple, yet effective, job of stripping away the extra content from news or blog article pages, leaving you with nicely formatted text to enjoy.  Since the new version is overlaid on top of the old version, switch between the two is very easy.  You also have the options to customize it to suit your own reading style too (white on black, black on white, white on green, ect).

Well worth trying out, if you find some of the content on the Web a little hard on your eyes.  You can pick up TidyRead on the Firefox Add-ons web site.

Multi-Process Support Coming to Firefox?

Some have discovered a new project from the Mozilla Wiki documenting the first steps and timeline for Firefox to become a multi-process supporting browser.  The project in question, simply known as Content Processes looks to separate processes to display the browser UI and web content.

Here are the current initial goals:

  • Provide better application UI responsiveness
  • Improve stability from slow rendering or crashes caused by content
  • Improve performance, especially on multi-core machines

Now why do this, and what does it even mean?  Well, both Google Chrome and Internet Explorer 8 have moved in this direction for increased stability.  For an example, with multi-process support, a single tab crash wouldn’t take down your entire Firefox browsing experience.  It would only effect that one tab, because it would be seen as its own process. 

It might be a year or more before we see this in action via our own Firefox installations, however it is nice to see that Firefox is always looking to expand and check into other areas of stabilization to see if we can all benefit from it.