Archive | Hacks and Tweaks

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.

8 Stylish Tweaks for the New Tab Button

Firefox 3.5’s new tab button has already been established as a feature some people like and some people could do without.  However, what if you could tweak it visually to meet your needs?  That is what some people have done, and here are the eight most popular new tab button hacks out there today.

Please Note: To use any of these, you will need to have the Firefox add-on Stylish installed.

No Icon Image Until Click – New tab button icon does not appear until you CLICK on it instead of when you hover because there is another style that produces that effect.

hide the new tab button icon, until clicked

Tiny + 3D(Special Effects) – New Tab Button on the tab bar is tiny and when you click on it, it changes.

Make it smaller

Left Side New Tab Button – Move the new tab button to the left of the tab bar, instead of the far right of the tab bar.

add new tabs on the left of the tab bar

Continue Reading →

Love (or Disable) the New Tab Button

New Tab Button in Firefox

Love it, or hate it – Firefox got one more addition to it’s browser that seems to have gotten a mixed reaction from the fans. The open new tab button rests at the end of your tab bar in Firefox 3.5 giving you an easier user interface to open a new tab.

Clicking on the little “+” icon at the end of your open tabs, opens a new tab.  Seems simple enough, and I do like the fact that it gives one more clean way for new users to instantly figure it out.

How do I remove the new tab button? Well, if you are handy with editing your userChrome.css file – this should be an easy customization to put in place.  Just add this line:

.tabs-newtab-button {display: none;}

To edit your userChrome.css file, you must first locate it inside of your profile folder.  Depending on your operating system of choice, that location might differ.  Check out “where is my Firefox profile folder?” for more information.

So how do you feel, love the new icon or is it in your way?

Remove Chat from iGoogle

Remove Chat from iGoogle!

If you are a user of the Stylish extension, you will love this little tip.  I use iGoogle, however I never stay on the page long enough to use the embedded chat they included a while back.  However I am happy to say I found a solution. 

Install this Stylish user style:

Once doing so, the chat (as you seen in the screenshot above) disappears.  To make it work for me, I had to change:

http://www.google.com/ig?hl=en

to

http://www.google.com/ig

However, once that was done – it worked flawlessly.  An easy hack for a very lovable web page.  Got to love these Stylish user styles!

Insert a MP3 Flash Player Anywhere with Greasemonkey

image

Tired of finding mp3 files on the Web, that have no inline player so you can simply check them out as you find them?  Well, thanks to the Lifehacker team you can now use Google’s inline mp3 player to stream any mp3 on any web site.

For those you have Greasemonkey installed, the Google Inline MP3 Player script inserts the Google flash mp3 player next to any linked MP3 file.  Want to give it a shot?  Go check out the Lifehacker page on the topic, and click there to get it installed.

As a bonus, for those of you who might want the opposite of this, we have the Give me the MP3 user script. Once you install this into Greasemonkey, you can pull the mp3 link out instead of using a flash player that is embedded on the web site you are browsing.

So to play, or not to play – you now have the option to do both!

Shrink the Left-Hand Links in Gmail

Wanting to save some space in Gmail, or perhaps you’re just tired of the text-based main links to browse around your e-mail account?

The GMail Compactor user script will help you reclaim that space with style.

Shrink Gmail's Main Folders

As you can see, from the picture above, after you install this Greasemonkey user script, everything from your Compose Mail link down to your Contacts link are now minimized into very pretty icons.  As an extra benefit, you also still get the count of how many new messages are in some of your folders, such as Spam.  If you want to maximize the vertical real estate in Gmail, then pick up the Gmail Compactor user script.  (found via Lifehacker)

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)