Archive | September, 2009

Adding Reverse Image Search to Firefox

TinEye in Action

TinEye claims to be the world’s first reverse image search engine.  Rather than typing in a phrase and looking for a picture, you type in a picture and get other pictures like it – or something like that.  Thanks to the TinEye add-on for Firefox, you can get instant image searching done right from the browser.

Here is a little more about TinEye from it’s developers:

TinEye is the first image search engine on the web to use image identification technology rather than keywords, metadata or watermarks.

When you submit an image to be searched, TinEye creates a unique and compact digital signature or ‘fingerprint’ for it, then compares this fingerprint to every other image in our index to retrieve matches.

TinEye does not typically find similar images; it finds exact matches including those that have been cropped, edited or resized.

Once installed, you can right-click on any image, and select “Search Image on TinEye”.  When you do, you’ll be taken to an TinEye web page, that will display your search results.

It might not be a tool for everybody, but I do find the idea of reverse image searching very interesting and fun to play with.  You can learn more about it at TinEye.com.

Second Look at a New Tab King

It has been a while since I checked out the New Tab King add-on for Firefox, and I have to say I am impressed with the progression of the Firefox extension.  For those of you who don’t know, New Tab King replaces your blank new tab with a much more functional page of tools.

You get instant access to recently closed tabs, personalized suggested sites and even shortcuts to your desktop applications. 

Closer Look at New Tab King

The most recent release also comes with 7 built in themes, so you have a few more ways to customize it to suit your needs.

There is no reason why, these days, your new tab should be empty and bland.  With the New Tab King add-on for Firefox, you can make the new tab page and the Firefox browser even more functional than it was before.

Get More Geeky Tutorials, Help, Tips and More at Mitchelaneous!

New Mitchelaneous Layout!

Now I do not plug my other projects very often, however I think this is an important enough update to share with the rest of my fans (even my wonderful Firefox Facts subscribers)!  I just finished up with a brand new redesign of my layout over at Mitchelaneous.com – and I would love your feedback on it.

What is Mitchelaneous?  It is my personal blog, with tutorials helping with tech tips, web development and geeky entertainment.  Pretty much everything else I want to post about is posted here, that does not fit under the web hosting category of WebHostingShow.com and the Mozilla category or FirefoxFacts.com.  

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Use Firefox to Customize Your Web

I think everybody, at times, would like to be able to customize certain web sites to better meet their goals.  Now, I am not talking about simple visual edits – like making the background black and the text white.  How about adding keyboard shortcuts for certain web site links and navigation elements?  You an do that and more with the Customize Your Web add-on for Firefox.

So do you want to customize web sites without writing one single line of code?  Check out this video tutorial for a little more information about the Customize Your Web add-on for Firefox.

Some of the other customizations featured include:

  • Removal and rearrangement of elements (cut / copy / paste behavior)
    Modifying of elements in every possible way (changing size, color, default values etc.)
  • Definition of keyboard shortcuts / shortstrings for any clickable element (shortstrings are multi-character shortcuts, e.g. "SO" for a "Sign out" Button)
  • Adding keyboard navigation support for any list of elements  (e.g. for the result entries of search)
  • Insertion of arbitrary HTML and JavaScript code
  • Definition of small macros which are triggered by a shortcut
  • Automatically triggering actions on page load (e.g. for automatic click on a login button or focusing a special field)

I am just having fun playing around with this add-on figuring out all the things I can do with it.  For some, it might seem a little complex, however there is extensive documentation to help you along.

You can pick up the Customize Your Web add-on for Firefox from the Firefox Add-ons site or from Mouseless.de.

ArzoFox Theme for Firefox

Very clean and easy on the eyes, two things you can say about the ArzoFox theme for Firefox.  I like themes that can make the browser experience better just by touching up a few things.  The gradient background, mixed with the colorful icons is a great combination that is really hard to beat.

ArzoFox Screenshot #1   ArzoFox Screenshot #2

Like what you see?  You can pick up the ArzoFox theme on the Firefox Add-ons web site.

Better Custom Google Search in Firefox

Custom Google Search

Are you a big fan of Google’s custom search feature, which allows you to customize your own search engine to fit your needs?  The Custom Google Search add-on for Firefox, in that case, is a perfect companion. 

In a nutshell, this extension for Firefox allows you to create, use and mange your own Google Custom Engines from within the Firefox browser interface. 

Customize Google Custom Searches

You can pick up the Custom Google Search add-on for Firefox on the Firefox Add-ons web site

Firefox 3.7 – Interface Redesign (take two!)

Mozilla has released a few new screenshots of their latest Firefox 3.7 theme and interface revisions.  I’m happy to see the bookmark toolbar is back, and the loading bar on top of the tabs is a very interesting idea. 

Here is the old Revision 01 version of Firefox 3.7’s interface:

Mockup Firefox 3.7 - 1st Version 

Here is the brand new Revision 02 of the Firefox 3.7 interface:

Mockup Firefox 3.7 - 2nd Version

In comparison, I do have to say I like the direction they are going with this.  Here are some of the features included and mentioned when discussing the Vista/Windows 7 version of the interface:

  • Embracing Glass: Toolbar and Tabs using Glass. Buttons translucent and slightly glossy to meld with the toolbar. Raised 3D look to achieve tactile "feel".
  • Page and Tools Buttons: Page and Tools on the Navigation Bar.
  • Bookmark Bar: Bookmarks bar on by default. New Bookmarks "widget" containing the bookmarks menu contents.
  • Home Tab: Home tab containing your homepage to start. Expanded functionality planned for 4.0.

To get more information and amazing screenshots, be sure to check out the Windows 3.7 theme mockups page on the Mozilla.org wiki.

Interview with Anthony Lieuallen, Greasemonkey Guy

Interview with one of the Greasemonkey Guys You might not know the name Anthony Lieuallen, but I bet you have heard of Greasemonkey before.  It is the Firefox extension that allows you to extend or customize your favorite web sites in a number of different ways.

Anthony is one of the driving forces behind that project, so I thought it would be fun to pick his brain to find out what his part in the project is, and what advice he might have for other hopeful Greasemonkey script writers or Firefox add-on developers.

What all have you done in development for the Firefox Greasemonkey extension?

I’ve definitely lost track of when and how exactly I first learned about Greasemonkey, and when I got involved.  Luckily, I can look up enough old records to get a pretty good idea of what the right answer here is.

I first interacted with Greasemonkey as a user.  Quickly though I graduated to User Script author.  My earliest blog post about a script I authored was in March of 2005.  I wrote a few scripts, some quite popular, for a while.  By June, Mark Pilgrim contacted me about being included in the “Greasemonkey Hacks” book, essentially a cookbook-like collection of existing User Scripts, with discussion about what they were and how they worked.  I was included as a contributor when that book was published.

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Hide Bookmarks from the Awesome Bar

Hide from the Awesome Bar!

The Awesome Bar (or address bar, as those “normal” browsers might call it) does a great job at matching a web site saved in your bookmarks or history when you start typing in the Awesome Bar.  By default, Firefox doesn’t give you a way of saying, “Don’t show these bookmarks there” so now somebody has written up an add-on to give you that ability. 

The NotAwesome add-on for Firefox will help you hide any bookmarks tagged with “notawesome” from awesome bar searches.  This way you can totally flag bookmarks you don’t want showing up in the Awesome Bar results.

You can pick up this great add-on via the Firefox Add-ons web site.  (credit for this find goes to Lifehacker, when in turn goes to gHacks too!)