Tag Archives | addons

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.

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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?

Best Firefox Facts of October 2008

October is over, and now it is time to start talking turkey.  Before we get the plates set for Thanksgiving though – lets us take a look back at the highlights of October 2008 and the glorious posts that happened then.

Firefox Themes and Design 

 Tips and Tweaks for Firefox

 Mozilla and Firefox Related News

 Best of the Firefox Add-ons and Extensions

Which was your favorite and what would you like to see me talk more about going into November?  Remember, you are my boss – and not the other way around so let me know how you feel and what you think.

A Chat with the Man Who Makes Your Tabs Colorful

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Not often do the people behind the absolutely awesome Firefox add-ons, tools and the browser itself get much time in the spotlight.  I recently had the chance to talk with the ColorfulTabs extension author, Shivanand Sharma, to get his views on his creation and a number of other development related questions.

What first inspired you to create the ColorfulTabs add-on for Firefox?

Before I begin I’d like to congratulate you and commend you for the great and popular blog and content you have created. A ‘hello’ to all your visitors and fans of Firefox.

Back in the old days when Firefox caught my attention, there was a page with a walk-through on how to use userchrome.css to style your toolbars and buttons. The article was created by Flexer and I was so fascinated that I spent hours coloring and styling every aspect of the browser. One day the idea just struck – what if every tab was a different color? At least the tab boundaries will be more distinguishable. It was a small idea that gave birth to ColorfulTabs. Initially ColorfulTabs just used 32 fixed colors to color each tab in a cycle (after the 32nd tab color cycle just restarted).

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Interview With the Mind Behind NoScript

ss0 So what type of questions would you have for the mind behind NoScript?  I recently got to chat with Giorgio Maone, the creator of possibly the most popular security related extension for Firefox.

Why would the random Firefox user off the street be using NoScript?

Firefox is an extremely safe browser, because it can take advantage of an open and agile development process, a very security-minded core development team and a multi-vendor security coordination group, including people from major Linux distributions and IT integrators, which I’m also a member of. This ensures that many experts with different backgrounds and points of view are steadily discussing about making Firefox safer and stronger, and that discussion quickly translates in bug fixing and enhancement code.

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Badges for Favicons

Think of that wasted space in your tab bar.  You know, where the favicon for the web site your visiting rests.  Isn’t there enough room there to fit in a little more information about the web site you are visiting?

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The new Firefox add-on Badges on Favicon takes advantage of that idea very well.  It allows you to put a rounded badge over the tab favicon of some pages.  Where does this come in handy?  Well what if you could see in your tab the number of unread Gmail messages you had?  Or how about if it told you how many new posts were in Google Reader?

Nuggets of Information for Your Tabs

The extension uses little scripts, called badgets. The badgets define both the appearance of the badge (color, position, size of the text, etc.) and how to get the data from the current page. The extension comes with three sample badgets that work with Gmail, iGoogle Reader Gadget and Zenbe. But you can install your own badgets and even create your own for your preferred site.

This add-on was also a runner up in the Extend Firefox 3 contest.  It is still listed as “experimental” so you might need to visit BugMeNot for a user name and password (or sign up on Mozilla.org) to use before trying to download.

Drawing Diagrams with Pencil

After winning the Extend Firefox 3 contest, I thought it might be worth checking out Pencil to see what all the buzz was about.  This add-on for Firefox is an open source tool for creating diagrams and GUI prototyping that everybody can use.  As they put it, “With the power of the underlying Mozilla Gecko engine, Pencil turns your excellent Firefox 3 browser into a sketching tool with just a 400-kilobyte installation package”.

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Some of the features included are:

  • Built-in stencils for diagraming and prototyping
  • Multi-page document with background page
  • On-screen text editing with rich-text supports
  • PNG rasterizing
  • Undo/redo supports

If your a little lost, or just getting started, they also have a great series of tutorials to help you learn a little more:

Working with Shapes – Brief introductions to Pencil functionalities in dealing with shapes to create diagrams.

Working with Documents – Instructions on how to work with documents, pages and export them into rasterized images.

Working with External Objects – Details on the Pencil supports for external images, rich text contents.

If anything Pencil shows you the power of what Firefox can do, with a little creativity.  You can learn more about the project at the official web site and pickup the extension on the Firefox Add-ons web site.

5+ Awesome AwesomeBar Tweaks and Tips

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Gotten use to the AwesomeBar yet?  This is the new stylish name for the Firefox 3 address bar.  Any ol’ browser can have an “address bar” only one can be awesome though.  Here are a few tips and tweaks you can do to make your awesome bar even more awesome…er?

oldbar – Oldbar makes the location (URL) bar look like Firefox 2.  If you need another alternative to this, try out Old Location Bar.  Why two add-ons that do the same thing?  I don’t know either.

Hide Unvisited – You too can hide pages (bookmarks) that you haven’t visited (since deleting or clearing history) from showing in the AwesomeBar.

Enter Selects – This Extension allows you to press enter in the AwesomeBar to select the first result (without pressing down).

Hidden Places – Stop URLs from specified domains being added to places and the AwesomeBar.

Edit Middle – Show AwesomeBar results when editing in the middle (not just at the end).

For a bonus tip, be sure to head over to Mozilla Links.  Over there they have nine more configuration tweaks you can do to configure you AwesomeBar till you get it just the way you want it.