Archive | August, 2009

Another Firefox Trip to the Mushroom Kingdom

Mushroom Kingdom theme for Firefox

I can not get enough of the Mushroom Kingdom theme for Firefox.  In version two, a lot of the icon work has been re-done to make it even more colorful and unique.  As the author of the theme said, “All of the icons are new, but kept close to the originals to remain familiar to previous users.”  Personally, I like the changes.

This is a very worthy tribute to Nintendo for sure.  Go check out my thoughts on the previous Mushroom Kingdom theme for Firefox, or go grab this all-new edition!

Tweak Your Firefox Download Manager

Change the Firefox Download Manager

Want to tweak the way the download manager from within Firefox works?  You can now tweak the way downloads are handled in a number different ways with the Download Manager Tweak add-on for Firefox.

The main thing you might notice, right off the bat, is the ability to changes download manager’s appearance and allow the download manager to be opened in a window, tab, or sidebar.

A few more options available to you are:

  • The ability to always ask where to save a file or always save files to one default location
  • Open the download manager after a delay of X milliseconds
  • Show or hide the toolbar on the bottom of the window
  • Show or hide the infobar, attached to the folder
  • Disable or enable the download manager theme changes
  • and much more!

This is an add-on for Firefox I could seriously see adding to my default add-ons list I put on every personal Firefox install I do, it is that cool.  The Download Manager Tweak extension is free to download, so give it a shot – and let me know how much you enjoy it.

Remember the Sage RSS Reader for Firefox?

Sage-Too - the RSS Browsing Return?

Sage was once one of the more popular RSS feed reading add-ons for Firefox.  However, time went by, years went on and these days it is not making much news.  However, if you still need a lightweight feed reader, there is now Sage-Too.  This is a continuation of the original project to keep it up to date with today’s Firefox browser versions. 

Some of the features include:

  • Reads RSS (2.0, 1.0, 0.9x) and Atom feeds
  • Feed Discovery
  • Integrates with Firefox’s bookmark storage and Live Bookmarks
  • Imports and exports OPML feed lists
  • Newspaper feed rendering customizable via style sheets
  • Technorati and RSS search engine integration

It also has support for the following locales: Argentine Spanish, Catalan, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Slovenian, Spanish, and Swedish.

As they say in their own words, “It’s got more of what you need and not much of what you don’t.”  You can give it another shot, or take your first trip down lightweight RSS reading road by downloading it on the Firefox Add-ons web site.

Also, don’t forget to start your RSS feed collection with the best Firefox feed out there today, http://feeds.feedburner.com/firefoxfacts.  Never leave your RSS feed reader without it!

Clean Your SQLite Databases to Speed up Firefox

Error Console in Firefox

Did you know you can tidy Firefox up, with VACUUM? No, I do not mean that thing you use to clean your carpets.  Here is a way to VACUUM your places database from within the browser.

Here are the steps you need to take:

1. Open the Firefox tools menu and click on error console.
2. Paste the following command into the code box as a single line:
Components.classes["@mozilla.org/browser/nav-history-service;1"].getService(Components.interfaces.nsPIPlacesDatabase).DBConnection.executeSimpleSQL("VACUUM");
3. Hit the “Enter” key or click the evaluate button.

The user interface will freeze for a moment, but after you are done, your SQLite databases should be less fragmented than before, leading to a leaner and meaner Firefox browsing experience.

Thanks goes to Mozilla developer Jeremy Orem for this fantastic tip!

BonusVacuum Places Improved is an add-on that will do this for you automatically.

Speed Up Flash Videos in Firefox

Want to speed up your flash video watching?  By default, Firefox takes a sort of “snapshot” of whatever you are doing every ten seconds.  Why?  It is so that the browser can restore itself, just in case of a crash.  Now you might ask, what does this have to do with flash videos?  Well, the snapshot action is what is causing your ten second delay, at times, with watching flash videos on the Web.

So what is the solution?  Time to visit our good friend, the about:config

The quick fix for this problem, at least for my own sake, is to increase the time between each of the saves performed by session restore. By opening about:config in your Firefox address bar, then typing browser.sessionstore.interval in the filter box, you’ll see a value of 10000, which is in milliseconds. (Meaning your session is saved every 10 seconds.) I changed this to 300000, or every 5 minutes, as I don’t have the urgent need for tab restoration. If you feel like being more on the safe side, try increasing it to something a bit lower, say 120000, or every 2 minutes.

I gave it a shot, and it might not be a life changing experiance after doing so, but it does seem to make the videos play faster, especially if you have several Firefox tabs or windows open at the same time.

Give Back to Firefox Add-on Developers

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Haven’t you always wanted to give back to those Firefox add-on developers that have made your life easier?  Well, even if the thought hadn’t crossed your mind – you do have the ability to do so thanks to the new contributions feature on the Firefox Add-ons site.

How it works is a small widget gets shown on the specific add-on’s page and says something like, “The developer of this add-on asks that you help support its continued development by making a small contribution” then you can donate the suggested price or a different amount. 

Nothing wrong with giving back a little to those out there who have made your browsing experience even better. 

What is the Firefox Applications Tab?

To get to the Applications menu, you’ll want to go to Tools in the menu toolbar, then Options, then click on the Applications tab.

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From here you can change just about any way that Firefox relates to any other file, application or task out there.  Here are a few things I did to speed up my browser usage.

ARCHIVES: For archives (like .zip, .rar, ect) I set the action to “Save File”, that way I can skip Firefox asking me if I would like to open or save that type of file when I download it.

FEEDS: Since I am a Google Reader user when it comes to subscribing to feeds, I changed the Web Feed option from “Preview in Firefox” to “Use Google”.

MP3S: Another fix I like to do here is to set MP3 Format Found from the hijacking QuickTime (which like to take control of everything you do) to “Always Ask” cause sometimes I might want to stream it right there and other times, I might like to download it.

MAILTO: If you use Gmail a lot, you can also setup the mailto links to Use Gmail anytime you click a link that is formatted in that way.

I hope that handful of Application handling in Firefox is handy.  Just one more way Firefox lets you have the ultimate customized web browsing experience, if you you know where to look.

Not All Toolbars Are Evil

Toolbars Can Be Good

Having seen the phase of toolbar upon toolbar come our way in this browsing generation, many have been labeled as evil space wasters that must be done away with.  However, I do have to say not ever toolbar out there is evil.  Now I don’t think you should ever become this crazy, but used in the right way they can be handy. 

Look at these handy toolbars you can add to Firefox:

  • Forecastfox – Get international weather forecasts from AccuWeather.com, and display it in any toolbar or statusbar with this highly customizable and unobtrusive extension.
  • Google Toolbar – Ok, I haven’t really used the Google Toolbar in half a decade, however it does still have a few handy things about it.
  • Fire.fm – It gives you access to the extensive music library on Last.fm. Last.fm gives free radio to the US, UK, and Germany, plus subscriber-based service to the rest of the world. Listen to your favorite music and discover new artists in the process.
  • Web Developer Toolbar – The Web Developer extension adds a menu and a toolbar with various web developer tools.

So see – not every toolbar is bad.  Are there any more toolbars you really enjoy?  Don’t be afraid, share with the rest of us in the comments.

Show the Status Bar in Full Screen Mode

See the Status Bar in Full Screen Firefox

Ever needed to see your Firefox status bar when browsing in full screen mode (you can get into full screen mode by hitting the F11 key on your keyboard).  If you answered, “Yes, tell me more!” do I ever have that add-on of your dreams.

Simply called Full Screen Status Bar, this add-on for Firefox shows the status bar in full screen mode.  It is a very simple tweak that should make many full screen web browser users very happy.

Pick it up for yourself, and give it a shot at the Mozilla add-ons web site.

Track Your Browsing Habits with about:me

Tracking Yourself with about:me

Ever wanted to know more about what you are doing while you are doing it?   You just did it, so why would you need to know what you did if you are the one who did it?  Exactly.  The add-on, about:me, makes sense once you see it in action.  It provides a fun way to see personalized patterns in browser usage.  You can spot trends in your browsing history and download activity. 

Here is a little more about the add-on from the developer:

The "Activity Stats" section graphs the websites you visit most, including the individual pages you visit most within each top-level site. This section also graphs your hourly browsing activity, which can reveal patterns in websites you visit most at various times of the day.

Appealing to some of the geekiest Firefox fans, the only way you can access the add-on in question is to type in about:me into the address bar.  It pays tribute to Firefox’s other hidden jewels such as about:config, and my favorite about:robots.

Get to stalking yourself today, and give the about:me add-on for Firefox a try.