Archive | Greasemonkey

Beginner’s Guide to Greasemonkey

943948800 In a nutshell, Greasemonkey is an add-on for Firefox that allows you to customize a web site’s look and function.  Now you don’t have to be a coder to use it though, because there are already hundreds of scripts out there available for free that you can use to help you do a number of different things.

How Do You Use Greasemonkey?

Once you have installed Greasemonkey, you will see the little monkey’s head come up in your status bar.  From here you can create a new user script of your own or you can edit the ones you have already installed.  You also have the ability to enable and disable scripts or Greasemonkey all together, if you need to.

Where Can I Find Greasemonkey User Scripts?

Finding Greasemonkey scripts is easy.  For that, let me point you in the direction of Userscripts.org. This is a great depository of user scripts people have created to get more out of various web sites.  You can browse through all of the scripts, or search for the web site you want to modify.

Greasefire, another extension for Firefox can also help.  It will let you know in the status bar how many user scripts are available for that specific URL you are visiting. Here are a few more of my favorite Greasemonkey script collections:

How Can I Make My Own User Scripts for Greasemonkey?

Making your own Greasemonkey user scripts might be a ‘bit of a challenge, unless you are an old JavaScript coding pro.  It does take some learning, however there are several resources on the Web that will help you teach yourself.  One of the best is the Dive into Greasemonkey eBook.  Here are a few more resources to help you create your own user script:

Once you have made a successful Greasemonkey userscript, you might even look into creating it into a stand alone Firefox add-on.

If you like the tweak the Web, and make it your own, then Greasemonkey is well worth picking up as a Firefox extension.  The add-on, plus some user scripting can lead to helping you get more out of your favorite web sites, and then share that help with others.  When push comes to shove, isn’t that what the Internet should be all about?

Add Gmail’s Unread Count to Your Tab

unreadWant to quickly see how many unread messages you have in Gmail?  Well, with a little help from Firefox, Gmail and one creative userscript author, that can easily be done.  Gmail FavIcon Alerts 3 adds an unread message counter to the Gmail favicon in your browser.

Along with the unread message count, you also get a red Gmail icon when there is no unread messages:

read

…and a chat bubble when somebody is trying to chat with you via Gmail:

chat

Here are a few more things new in this version 3 of Gmail FavIcon Alerts:

Now, you can keep tabs on the exact number of unread messages you have! With the power of the <canvas> tag, the unread message count is now dynamically created for your number of unread messages. The font scales well up to 999 unread messages, but higher numbers are still rendered for those with massive unread counts.

If you have Greasemonkey installed, to get this userscript – just head on over to Userscripts.org and hit “Install”.  Gmail FavIcon Alerts 3 is well worth using, if you spend a lot of time in your Gmail inbox.

Get Rid of the Diggbar (with a userscript!)

Stop the Diggbar

Not a big fan of Digg’s new Diggbar?  Thanks to a little help from Firefox and a few fine Greasemonkey scripts, you can kill it off and never have to see it again.  Try these two scripts out:

Neither will kill off the Diggbar totally, but they should help you automatically redirect to the page and address you want to see.  Why would you want to kill the Diggbar?  Well, some have said there is concern about Digg stealing SEO (search engine optimization) linkage from sites. Also, some people just don’t like new things.  (source: Download Squad)

Mashup Twitter Search with Google Search

Want to get real time Twitter search results on Google?  Depending on the topic you are searching for (especially if it is a newsworthy event) you might be surprised by the range of coverage that you get from Twitter.  Why not harness that and have it handy when searching Google?  Now with this userscript for Greasemonkey you can do it.

After installing Twitter Search Results on Google, here is an example of what your searches will look like:

Twitter results in Google Search

It displays the most recent 5 tweets for the query that you are search for, giving both real-time Twitter search results and Google results on the same page.

I have got to say, over the past few weeks I have been pretty happy with the Twitter searches I have done, so mixing these two into one could lead to some really good results.  You have the power of Google mixed with the social aspects of Twitter. 

Once you get Greasemonkey installed (of it it is already installed) then all you need to do is pick up the script for it here at UserScripts.org.  Big thanks to MT-Hacks for providing this to the public too, it is one of the best scripts I have seen for Greasemonkey in a long while.

Easily Expand Shortened URLs

Expand Short URLs

Everybody loves to share links with the various URL shorteners out there, however – when you do click one of these links the problem is you have no clue where you are really going.  LongURL.org is looking to fix that problem and has two neat tools to help you get it done.

The LongURL Mobile Expander lets you expand those links no matter where you are at.  By default, you would paste the link into the LongURL.org web site to find out where you are going.  You can build this into your browser though if you pick up either the Firefox extension for it or the Greasemonkey script.  Both will give you the true URL when you hover over the shortened link.

Here is a list of the supported services: tinyurl.com, is.gd, ping.fm, ur1.ca, bit.ly, snipurl.com, tweetburner.com, metamark.net, url.ie, x.se, 6url.com, yep.it, piurl.com, and more! 

Now you will always know where those tiny URLs are taking you.

7 Easy Ways to Make Firefox Better

It is the little changes that make things better.  The devil is in the details, and when it comes to customizing some of the Web’s most popular tools, you can often make them better by combining some of the little changes out there.  Here are seven easy ways you can easily make Firefox a better browser – or at least the popular web site tools covered that you visit the most.

1215447602

Better Amazon – The Better Amazon add-on for Firefox highlights listings with free shipping, enlarges product images, cleans up book pages, shortens URLS and more on Amazon.com.  One of the best Amazon.com enhancers for your browser.

1215505433Better Flickr – A great complication of Greasemonkey scripts to make Flickr better for your average user.  You have the Flickr buddy icon reply, more user links, photo magnifier, page enhancer and a more feature rich editor.

1215377688 Better GCal – The Better GCal add-on for Firefox is a favorite of mine.  It allows you to collapse the header and sidebar, wraps event titles, color weekend days, give week numbers and even a few skins too.  Google Calendar never looked so good!

1226620693 Better Gmail 2 – A handful more of useful features you can add to your Google-powered e-mail client.  Here you have all kinds of useful additions, from macros to attachment icons.  You even have a few more skin choices and hierarchical labels.  Also don’t forget the first one, if your not yet rolled over to “Gmail 2″.

1219862724 Better GReader – Add a few more popular Greasemonkey scripts into your Google Reader.  You can preview web pages inline in Google Reader, collapse the header and sidebar, get a Mac OS X like skin, add favicons and tons more.

1215233168 Better YouTube – Enhances YouTube with Greasemonkey user scripts, that offer options like the FlowPlayer “doesn’t start till you hit play” viewer, clean “theater” view, and links to download the video automatically.

1222129898 Better Lifehacker – I am a BIG fan of Lifehacker, so why not make them “better” too?  This extension enhances Lifehacker.com and other Gawker blogs–like Gizmodo, io9 Jezebel, Valleywag, Gawker, Kotaku, Jalopnik, Defamer–with useful Greasemonkey scripts.

Which is your favorite “Better” add-on for Firefox or which area of the Web would you like to see Gina cover next?

Find Greasemonkey Scripts for Your URL

greasefire-for-firefox We all love using Greasemonkey to help customize the Web or Firefox itself to our liking.  There is a problem though when it comes to finding scripts based around a certain URL.  It is not an easy thing to do.  That is where Greasefire, an add-on for Firefox, comes into play.

As a companion extension to Greasemonkey, Greasefire automatically find Greasemonkey scripts on Userscripts.org for the URL you are looking for.  When you are browsing a web site that does have user scripts available, Greasefire will light up the Greasemonkey icon in the status bar.  Then, right-click the Greasemonkey icon and choose the “X scripts available” item to see and install the scripts available for the current page.

So, if this is always looking for user scripts, isn’t that going to slow down your browsing?  Not exactly.  Greasefire works with a local level index to search for scripts that apply to the page you are on.  The local index updates periodically, so you shouldn’t be too out of the loop when doing lookups either.

You can pick up Greasefire on the Firefox Add-ons site.

Greasemonkey Help User Script Trouble? Be sure to check out the Beginner’s Guide to Greasemonkey!

A New (Simple) Face for an Old Google Reader

screen

Can you believe that is Google Reader?  Nah, me neither.  There has to be some sort of oddball voodoo magic going on here, right?  What?  You say it is a Greasemonkey script?  Helvetireader breaks Google Reader down to just the things you need.  I true, “Woah, that is awesome” fashion – the userscript creator also encourages people to customize the CSS and make it their own.  (found via Lifehacker)

Mashup Gmail with Google Calendar

1225419768 GmailAgenda is an awesome new experimental add-on for Firefox that will integrate Google Calendar into your Gmail account.  No mater if your using a regular Gmail account or a Google Apps account – this should work for either one.

As far as customization goes, you can change the embed width.  The Google Calendar embed can also be expanded and collapsed as needed.  Also, You can choose which calendars are shown/hidden for each Gmail account.

The last thing worth mentioning is there is a “Quick Add” feature, not available for Google Apps accounts, that will allow you to quickly add events to your calendar.

Want to try it out?  You have two alternatives:

So how does this rank against Gmail’s announcement of adding the calendar in as a gadget for Gmail?  Which do you like better?

When a Greasemonkey Goes Bad

Like many of the rest of you out there, I love hacking around with web sites and adding functionality to Firefox by plugging in a few Greasemonkey scripts.  Do you know what to watch out for when Greasemonkey scripts go bad?  You have probably seen the warning up on UserScripts.org but I wanted to touch base to let you know what you should be looking for.

The main problem is that people are writing scripts that steal your cookie.  With your cookie, they can grab other information such as your login and other sensitive information.  They say these are two things you should search any script for before installing:

.php?cookie=

and

encodeURIComponent(document.cookie)

For more tips on how to stay on the safe side, I would recommend reading through this thread via the UserScripts.org forums.  It has a lot of handy information if you install and uninstall a lot of Greasemonkey scripts.