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Ubiquity – Mashing the Web Naturally

ubiquity Now when you hear mashing or mashups of services, you think of wacky combinations like Yahoogle or Microdigg. A web site or service that awkwardly brings two or more services together.  Ubiquity, a new Firefox add-on from Mozilla wants to turn mashing on it’s head.  How?  They are going to take a more natural approach to it.

Ubiquity takes language based instructions and turns them into action, right where you  need them to be.  This video goes a great job at explaining the add-on and showing it in action:


Ubiquity for Firefox from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

Here are a few more tutorials to get you started:

The initial prototype is a little rough, and not ready for prime time yet.  It does show a lot of promise though, and with a little creativity this type of tool could go a long way.  Ubiquity looks to be another amazing tool to add to the many that have come out of Mozilla Labs.

TraceMonkey

Thanks to a new JavaScript engine (named TraceMonkey) it looks as if Firefox 3.1 is going to be getting a major boost in performance.

Here are the benchmarks thus far:

assorted-benchmarks

Be sure to check out Brendan’s Roadmap Updates for more.  Also here are a few handy links from John Resig on the testing:

So the big question is, will Firefox be able to make Firefox 3.1 even faster in the area of JavaScript?  If you have the nightly build of Firefox 3.1 installed, you can turn TraceMonkey on by going to about:config and then toggle the javascript.options.jit.content setting from false to true.  For the rest of us out there though, this is just one more surprise to look forward to once Firefox 3.1 gets rolled out to the public.

For more info, be sure to check out Firefox 3.1 to Get More JavaScript Speed Optimizations – as the CyberNet team had done a good in-depth look into this and has done the best job at making it make sense to everybody.

Text Area Resizer and Mover

1 Isn’t there already a text area resizer add-on for Firefox?  Yes, there is. Text Area Resizer & Mover however adds some more functionality and class to an already great Firefox add-on idea.

To use the add-on, just resize by right-clicking anywhere inside of the text area.  With this, dragging becomes an really easy task and the often sensible site layout remains untouched.  Here is more help on how to use this extension from the author.

Additionally you can move whole text areas to another place. Double click inside of an area and all areas will get unlocked and movable. The repositioned area will stay fixed on the place of your choice even if you are scrolling the page. Double click once more to lock the areas again. The extension’s options allow some manual adjustments (e.g. use context menu item instead of double click or additional key modifiers for mouse gesture users).

You can pickup Text Area Resizer & Mover at the Firefox Add-ons site or the extension’s official home page.

Add Tab Clicking Options

Need a few more options for your Firefox tabs?  Twanno’s Tab Clicking Options extension for Firefox should do the trick.  With the Tab Clicking Options extension it is possible to set various actions to different clicking events on the tab bar or a tab in the Firefox browser.

duplicatetab The events you can assign an action to are:

  • Double clicking
  • Clicking with middle mouse button
  • Left clicking with control-key (or meta-key on Mac) pressed
  • Left clicking with alt-key pressed
  • Left clicking with shift-key pressed
  • And the actions which you can choose from are:

  • Open a new tab
  • Reload the tab
  • Reload all tabs
  • Close tab
  • Close other tabs
  • Close all tabs
  • Duplicate Tab
  • Duplicate Tab in New Window
  • Undo Close Tab (only in Firefox 2.0 beta or with extensions)
  • Bookmark Tab
  • Bookmark All Tabs (not in Firefox 1.0)
  • No Action
  • This is no doubt that Tab Clicking Options makes it easier to work with your tabs in a number of different ways.  Also, because I know somebody will bring it up – Tab Mix Plus will also do a lot of these same things too. So if you want an alternative – there you go.  (via Download Squad)

    Bonus: Via Twanno’s Firefox extensions page you can also pick up his Duplicate Tab add-on for the browser.  It allows you to clone a tab along with its history.

Tagmarks – Better Tagging Through Icons

Tagmarks Want to make tagging your bookmarks as easy as clicking an icon?  Tagmarks, the add-on for Firefox, hopes to do just that.  The idea here is to bring one-click bookmarking in Firefox together with the tagging power of the browser.

With Tagmarks, you have a lot of different icons that popup whenever you hover over the traditional bookmarking star you see in the Firefox 3 address bar.  When you click in each icon, it will add the page to the bookmarks and associate that icon with that page, through the use of tags.

Selecting one icon has the same effect as clicking on the bookmarking star. It will add the page to the bookmark.   The perk here is that it will also apply a tag to the page and always remember and show that icon when you are at that page.  Think of it as a visual tool for you too, to say for example, “oh that is a search magnifying glass, this must be a search site”.

mouseover

Watch the Screencast of Tagmarks in Action!

You can pickup Tagmarks on the Firefox Add-ons site.  It is still sandboxed, so if you need a login to download it, check out this list of user names and passwords you can use.  Also check out the author of the add-on’s web site for more information on how to get the most out of Tagmarks.

Add Sound to Tasks in Firefox

Most Wanted

I have had several requests in the past from people wanting to know if I knew of an extension that would help you add sound effects to tasks in Firefox.

I never did spend too much time on this request because personally I like my browser to be nice and silent.  People with special needs though could use an add-on like this so my search started.  Looking high and low, I found one add-on that promises to do the job, the Noise extension for Firefox.

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

After installed and you have restarted Firefox, sounds should be ready to response events.  You can try open Findbar (Ctrl + F) and find a word, when the find reaching the end of page (when hit F3 to find nexts), you can heard a “beep” sound.

Noise-PrefwindowTo edit the noises and events, go to Add-ons Manager (via Tools > Add-ons Manager) and find Noise.  Enter the Preference Window via the Option command.  More help for using the add-on can be found at the official web site.

The Noise extension is still in the Firefox sandbox, so if you want to use it – you will need to register for a free account on the mozilla.org site.

Extra Tip: Might also try these BugMeNot usernames and passwords if you don’t have the time to register on Mozilla’s site to get access to sandboxed add-ons.

Digg’s Firefox 3 Extension

It has been a long time since I spend a lot of quality time with Digg.com, but I know a lot of you might be excited to see they released a new toolbar for Firefox 3.  You can divide things into two major features, the new notifications and the toolbar itself.

Here are Digg’s official descriptions of these two new key features:

Notifications: No matter where you are on the web, you can discover popular Digg stories and stay up to date on what your friends are Digging, submitting and commenting. These notifications are fully customizable. Within your preferences you can track different categories and media types, and turn notifications on or off.

Digg Toolbar: Displays Digg counts & comments as you browse around the web. You can also Digg and submit stories directly from the toolbar, which is collapsible to save space. Note that the toolbar respects user privacy by passing only hashed URLs to Digg to check if they’ve already been submitted.

Overall I’d say it was a lot more unique than I was expecting, so if you spend a lot of your day going back and forth on Digg, this toolbar is for you.  You can download the new add-on on Digg.com.

Save Your Lost Tabs

save-that-lost-tab What was that tab you closed about three tabs back again? Could it have been the fourth tab back, before you got your coffee? If you find yourself using the Ctrl + Shift + T keyboard combination to bring up lost tabs a lot, there is a better way to get the job done.  The Undo Closed Tabs Button add-on for Firefox gives you a few ways to save your lost tabs.

This extension allows you to undo closed tabs via a toolbar and/or tab bar button or the right-click context menu. Also it comes with a much easier keyboard combination of its own to remember, Ctrl + Shift + Z.   You must add the toolbar button by going to View -> Toolbars -> Customize, then drag and drop the icon where you want it on the toolbar.

Save your lost tabs, and save yourself a lot of wear and tear on your Ctrl and Shift keys while you are at it.  Your keyboard will thank you!

Fast Dial – Quick Check Your Favorite Sites

There are a number of add-ons for Firefox that clone Opera’s Speed Dial feature.  There is one add-on with a different twist.  Most open your tabs in this fashion, but Fast Dial does something different.

fast-dial-firefox

This extension will replace your “about:blank” page with a panel of thumbnails of your favorite web sites.  To add sites to the page, all you do is click on an empty cell, assign a URL and click OK.

You can also add sites by right-clicking on the bookmark for them and selecting “Add to Fast Dial”.  (you can do this on open tabs too!)

Where does this come in handy? Well let us say you are hitting Ctrl+T to open a new window.  You are no longer greeted by an empty window.  Instead you have a window with your own personal favorites list inside.  Fast Dial is a unique bookmarking extension that I think a lot of people will get a lot of use out of.

Foxmarks Gets the Bookmark Syncing Right

It took me a long time to give Foxmarks a second shot.  All I remember from the first time around I used it was I didn’t like it.  Seems as if it bugged me a lot or didn’t want to work.

Having given it a round two now, I am happy to say I have done so.

After the death of Google Browser Sync, I was looking for a new way to keep my bookmarks on my desktop and my bookmarks on my laptop the same.  Foxmarks does the trick with what they call Seamless Sync.  I have not had to mess with it once since I installed it. It just works.

With a service or extension like this I’d like to pretend it isn’t even there, and Foxmarks makes it very easy to do just that.  Some of the other nice features of Foxmarks are:

  • Easy Backup & Restore
  • Web Access to your Saved Links
  • Mobile Access
  • Share Bookmarks with Friends
  • Import & Export Your Saved Links

I am delighted to say that Foxmarks has earned a spot on my hall of fame add-ons list for being one heck of a nice addition to Firefox.  If your looking to keep your bookmarks synced up, there is no better solution out there right now.