Archive | Most Wanted

Become a Better Typist with Firefox

http://www.firefoxfacts.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/mostwanted.pngNeed to brush up on your typing skills? 

Having both my free time projects and my job very keyboard focused, I have developed a pretty good skill at typing.  Here recently though, I have been looking at a lot of free solutions to help my two nephews get more familiar with typing on a keyboard.  Lets face it, by the time they are grown (unless we finally develop that mind reading technology) typing will become as important as learning how to write.

That is where the Numpad Typing Drills and Addictive Typing Lessons (both add-ons for Firefox) come into play.

Click on the screen shots to get a closer look at each Firefox add-on:

Addictive Typing Lessons  Numpad Typing Drills

So if you want to become a better typist, or you know somebody who you would like to teach, these two add-ons are the perfect (and free) way to get the task done.

+ Pickup Numpad Typing Drills for Firefox

+ Pickup Addictive Typing Lessons for Firefox

Both extensions are great tools in helping even the best typists become better at their craft.  Spruce up on your own typing skills and give both of these add-ons a shot.

Print Only What You Want in Firefox 3

Checking out Michael Horowitz printing tale of woe from Firefox, I have to say he is right.  Trying to print this page (test it yourself using print preview) looks like a horrible jumbled mess.  Try playing with the example article yourself – it is true!  Hold on, there has to be a fix for printing a badly formatted page, right?

If you said yes, you win… well, you win nothing, but you do have the pride of knowing Firefox is a crafty tool in the right hands.  What I want Michael to do is left-click on his mouse and select all the text he wishes to print.

fix-printing

Got all the text from the article highlighted?  Good.  The next step is to go to the File menu and then select “Print…”. (You can also hit Ctrl + P)  That will bring up the Print Options box.  Under Print range make sure you select “Selection”.

 fix-printing2

Doing so will make sure you are only printing what you have highlighted from the article.  This way you can get rid of the useless junk like the sidebars and headers.  You only print what you need!  Hit the “OK” button and you should only print the article and none of the rest of the information on the web page.

fix-printing3

The final result is a nicely formatted article without any of the rest of the junk you don’t need. 

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.

Add Proxy Surfing to Firefox

I have had several questions sent into me lately all about proxy surfing. 

When you get into proxy surfing, this is when the request you send into the browser goes to another service, then that other service sends your request from another location and pulls it back to you.  Most of the time this is used to provide a means to deny access to certain URLs in a blacklist, thus providing content filtering.

Firefox does deliver a fix though with several add-ons you can install…

FoxyProxy is probably the most widely used, but the others have advantages too.  Which one is your favorite?

Multiple Ways to Send a Link to Another Window

open-in-window

Got an e-mail in from a Firefox Facts reader named TommyD.  He wanted to know if I knew of any simple ways to send a link or page to a second Firefox window.  To show you what a good sport I am I’ll give you three ways of getting that done.

With just a new context menu added to your Firefox browser you can open any links in an existing window with the over obviously named OpenInWindow extension.  When you right-click the link you can pick which of your open Windows to send it over to.  This is handy if you have a lot of open windows and wish to pass links between them.

Now you can also do this another way, with no need for an extension or addon.  Just drag the tab for the site you wish to move over to the new window.  In doing so – you will be not just moving the page over, you will be sending a copy of that page to the other Firefox window you have open. 

Last, but not least – you can right click any link, and by default Firefox has a "Open in New Window" option there for you to give this page you open it’s very own Window to work in.  There you have it, three fixes for one simple problem. 

Put iGoogle in Your Sidebar

igoogle-sidebar

I got an e-mail from a Firefox Facts reader the other day that wanted to know if I knew of an easy way to add more of the iGoogle startpage tools in their sidebar. After seeing my other various Google sidebar tips and tricks.

Now we all know that iGoogle is probably not the best start page out there, but it does offer some unique plugins and tools that make it handy to have easily accessible. So what do you do, if you want to use iGoogle but perhaps you are a Netvibes fan?

The iGoogle Sidebar extension makes it to where you can enjoy the iGoogle experience in a side bar optimized to make it all look good.

Some of the features include:

  • Un-squeezed modules – makes them fit in better to the sidebar
  • Remove header, search box and footer; removed margins; (optional) reduced font size

It might also be worth making note of the fact that only the modules on the left side of your iGoogle page are visible in the sidebar. So you might have to do some customization and moving around before you use the iGoogle Sidebar extension.

How to Backup Firefox?

I have been getting several e-mails in this month wanting to know my suggestions and tips on what the best way is to backup your Firefox install.

FEBE (Firefox Environment Backup Extension)

Well my number one tip would be to use one extension that will make the job of backing up or syncing Firefox between two machines a lot easier. FEBE (Firefox Environment Backup Extension) allows you to quickly and easily backup your Firefox extensions and settings. It will actually rebuild your extensions individually into installable .xpi files. That makes synchronizing your office and home browsers a cake walk.

One more cool thing about FEBE is that it can preform on demand or scheduled backups for daily, weekly, or monthly unattended runs.

Google Browser Sync

Now if your using two computers on a day to day basis and you want to keep things in sync, a side effect of something like Google Browser Sync extension is that it keeps everything saved onto the other computer.

As long as you get your sync order straight – you could save your settings on your laptop Firefox install, then go back and reinstall Firefox on your desktop – put in the Google Browser Sync extension and everything should get moved back over as it was (as far as settings, bookmarks and cookies go). You’ll still need to reinstall your extensions however.

Backup by Hand (aka the hard way)

Last but not least, you could backup your Firefox by hand. What you want to do is make a copy of your Firefox profile folder. Depending on your operating system it might be in different locations.

Might want to check this page at MozillaZine for more information about where the profile folder is for your computer.

Video Downloads Without the 3rd Party

Video DownloaderI have had a few people ask me how to download flash or embedded movies without having to use extensions that push you through a third party.

There are a lot of extensions out there that will open up a pop up window, and if they support the site you want to download from there should be no mess. People want to cut out the middle man though and go right to downloading what they want. For those people I have a solution.

Although it might be a little more on the geekier side than some might like the UnPlug extension is what you are looking for. It goes right to the source, digging through the web site code and turns up what will most likely be the file you want to download.

Unlike the extensions people have problems with, UnPlug scans the page, and if it doesn’t know there the data comes from it can guess. I would say nine times out of ten it guesses the correct one too.

Firefox 3 Updates and News

Yes it is the big return of the Firefox Facts Most Wanted list. This time around, I got an e-mail from George who wanted to know:

Hi Mitch really like the firefoxfacts.com website. Do you know where I can get more information about firefox 3? I might want to test it our or want to read some stuff about it.

Well George, I have the perfect link for you. Go check out the official Mozilla Web site for the Firefox 3 project. At the Gran Paradiso Planning Center you can read all about what is in store and the development of Firefox 3.

Make Firefox Show Foreign Text

Most Wanted
So how do you make Firefox show those foreign characters? You know – the ones that show up as “???” when your looking at a Web site from a different country? Amy sent me in this question last week.

I’ve added many languages under Firefox options. And yet when I view a site with Japanese writing, for example, it comes up as “?????”. Even when I’m absolutely sure of the language, and have added it to my language options, the characters won’t show.

The answer? I didn’t know – but Amy figured it out and shared it with me.

It was an Windows OS thing, not a FF thing.
Controls panel –> Regional and Language Settings –> Languages –> check the “Install files for East Asian languages” box.

Have any Firefox issues that are giving you troubles? Want to be able to do something, but don’t know how? Send it in to me and I’ll do my best to find any answer to your most wanted as well.