Tag Archives | basics

How to Allow Pop-ups in Firefox

Firefox Pop-up Warning

By default, Firefox has a pretty good pop-up blocker.  It gets the job done.  Sometimes, it does too good of a job and blocks a pop-up on a webpage where you want to see a pop-up though.  Today, I will be showing you how to allow pop-ups for a certain domain from within Firefox.

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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?

Borders for Search and Address Bar in Firefox

With the way I have my elements arranged inside of Firefox, using the default Firefox theme is a little hard to do.  Why?  It bugs me that there is no border around the address or search bars.  It just does not look that polished to me.

ugly-address-bar2

See on the top and bottom?  It has never looked right to me.  So I did a little playing around with the Stylish extension for Firefox, and turned it into this:

ugly-address-bar

Now I am far from being a Jedi master of Stylish, and writing user styles.  I am just learning the basics.  Since this was a big annoyance to me though, I thought it might help somebody else out there.

Download Stylish, and then go down to the task bar icon for it, right-click and select “Write Style” and then “Blank Style”.  Type in any description you wish (mine is “Round Address and Search Boxes”) then type this into the text box for your user style:

#urlbar {
-moz-appearance: none !important;
-moz-border-radius: 3px !important;
padding-right: 1px !important; }

#searchbar .searchbar-textbox {
-moz-appearance: none !important;
-moz-border-radius: 3px !important; }

Hit preview to test it out, and if it worked – then hit the save button.  This worked for me using Firefox 3/Vista Ultimate, so hopefully it will work for you.  If anybody has any pointers, be sure to share!

The Basics of Places and Smart Bookmarks

places-in-firefox-3 No doubt that Firefox 3 and the new places query syntax is going to lead into a lot of new and creative ways of managing the bookmarks saved on your machine.  For those unsure what these are they would be your “Recently Bookmarked” or “Recent Tags” selections you see in your bookmarks menu now with Mozilla’s newest browser.

You can think of them as commands for how you wish to pull up your bookmarks.

When creating one, you do it the same way you would create a bookmark.  Hit Ctrl+Shift+B to bring up your Library window.  Click on Bookmarks Menu (or any other location you would like to create it) then right click where your bookmarks are listed and select “New Bookmark…”.

Tearing Apart Your Places

Now in the new popup window, instead of typing in an address, we are going to type in the places query syntax.  For an example:

place:queryType=0&sort=8&maxResults=10

The queryType=0 is telling us to only look at the user’s history and not the bookmarks. 0 would be history, 1 would be bookmarks, and 2 would be both.

The parameter sort= gives us the information on how to organize the results.  Here we are using 8 which means to sort by visit count, descending.

Last but not least you have maxResults=10 and it is probably the one you’ll know right off the bat.  This number setup here will tell your smart bookmark how many results to show.  Setting this number to 0 would give you all the results returned.

Yes, it might still be a little more on the geekier side of things, but play with it some, tear it apart and see what you can come up with.

Using Firefox as a Daily Deal Finder

shopping-with-firefox In the Online world, the idea of shopping alone with no help at all is more than a little out dated.  If you take a look around there are so many services and add-ons for Firefox that will turn you into a shopping and deal finding juggernaut.

You just have to know where to look and which are the best of the best.

Shopping Bag – This add-on promises to help you never miss a deal again.  It is a free add-on that works with Firefox to help you find deals via iBakeSale.com.  Cash-back at hundreds of online stores?  Sounds interesting to me.

Pronto Shopping Messenger – The next extension on the list here brings you instant price comparisons when you shop online via a small message window that alerts you of potential savings.

Shopzilla – Easy search and save tool that makes Online shopping a little easier and cheaper too, if you use the tool correctly.  Browse through sites like eBay and Amazon to find the best deal possible on the product you most desire.

Grocery List Generator – This add-on would be more helpful for “real world” shopping and hunting down of deals.  The Grocery List Generator helps store your lists you need regularly.

Coupon Craze – This is one of the many coupon alerters out there that will help you keep track of the latest coupons, deals and offers when visiting your favorite shopping sites.

RetailMeNot 2.0 – Shopping has gone Web 2.0!  If you find yourself always a day late and a dollar short when it comes to finding deals, RetailMeNot is the addon for you.  It automatically informs you of sites its’ users have shared discount coupon codes for.

Woot Watcher – We all love Woot, right?  I just feel silly typing that, but they do find some great deals.  Woot Watcher monitors the Woot web site and keeps you updated on the current item, price and if it is sold out yet or not.

As you can see Firefox can be turned from a normal everyday browser into a shopper’s best friend.  Toss in a few add-ons, and you can then brag to your friends that you too are saving money and finding the best deals on the Web.

Organizing Your Firefox Bookmarks

It seems like every time I see somebody’s browser, they have their links organized in a new way. Some people don’t even bother removing the default bookmark links that came with the browser. Others don’t use bookmarks at all. How do you roll? I figured I’d go over some of the techniques that are out there.

Basic Old School Organization

This one is probably the most widely use way of doing things. Keep all your bookmarks in folders, and keep those folders in your main bookmarks folder. Organize them by topic and then you can always find what your looking for – even though you have to go down a few levels to find it.

Favicon Pretty Picture Organization

I did this one for a while, and I liked it till I needed more bookmarks than my Bookmarks Toolbar could handle. Here you remove the titles and navigate from web site to web site by only using the favicon to go by. It does make things less cluttered – but hard to work with if you have too many links. An easy way of getting it done without much fuss would be to use the Smart Bookmarks Bar extension.

Everything in my Face Organization

Last but not least, you have the technique I am using right now – having almost all your bookmark folders sitting inside the Bookmarks Toolbar. Here I have drop down menus of each category and it doesn’t usually take more than two clicks to get anywhere. For less important bookmarks I still need to visit once in a blue moon – I’ll still put them in the bookmarks section outside of my toolbar links folder. Might sound busy, but it does work.

So, with those three new ways of organizing your bookmarks – is it time for you to clean house?

Your 5 Most Popular Extensions

Best Firefox ExtensionsWho better to get suggestions for than the public at large?

The Mozilla team does a pretty good job at keeping their ear to the ground and tracking the best of the best extensions out there. Here are the five most popular extentions, according to the official web site.

Agree or disagree?

1. VideoDownloader – Alright, number one on the list does make sense to me because a lot of people like downloading the “cat gets caught in ceiling fan” video to show to friends and family without needing to visit the (insert your favorite video web site here) link again and again.

2. Adblock Plus – Yet another obvious or “duh!” selection for the list. A few Online ads are fine and dandy. Heck I have them because I have to make a living somehow. (not a guilt trip, just a reminder) Other ads are dangerous or just out right annoying. This does a fine job at ditching those.

3. Download Statusbar – I have been using this one since almost day one. I do a lot of downloading – and I think having the download box with the status pop up at me is just a little annoying. This fixes that.

4. NoScript – Kind of surprised to see this one so high on the list. NoScript allows JavaScript, Java and other executable content to run only from trusted domains of your choice which keeps the good guys in and the bad guys out.

5. Greasemonkey – Come on, everybody loves Greasemonkey! This extension allows you to add functionality to both Firefox and web sites you browse. Check out our Greasemonkey tip archive for a lot of good suggestion on what you can do with it after you get it installed.

So with that said, what is going to be the next “big favorite” that everybody is going to be sure to install next time the open up our favorite browser of choice?

How Does Firefox Handle RSS Feeds?

With the release of Firefox 2, the browser has done a much better job with handling RSS feeds.

Instead of throwing you up a bunch of random XML code they actually give you a pretty nice interface to learn from and use when clicking on that little orange subscription button you see on all the Web sites these days.

For an example, let’s use the RSS feed for Firefox Facts:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/firefoxfacts

Now when you launch that in Firefox, you will be given a clean easy to read interface. You can see all the latest links and summeries from Firefox Facts and at the top you will have a few subscription options. You can use one of the exteneral RSS feed readers on the list or you can choose to add it as a Live Bookmark.

What is a Live Bookmark? Here is how the Mozilla team describes it:

Whether it’s news from CNN and the BBC, or posts on your friend’s blog, the Web is updated continually. Firefox’s Live Bookmarks feature automatically keeps track of these updates for you, so you always know when new content has been added to your favorite sites. With Live Bookmarks, the content comes to you. Instead of constantly checking Web pages for changes and additions, a Live Bookmark delivers updates to you as soon as they are available.

Another way to gain access to a Web site’s RSS feed is to look for the little orange RSS icon in the address bar. Depending on what theme you use it might look a little different but when you click on it it should give you a few subscription options. If you select to add it as a live bookmark – it opens up the previously mentioned styled RSS feed.

There is one more RSS in Firefox option I’d like to share with you. To configure a few things about how Firefox handles RSS feeds navigate yourself to Menu > Tools > Options… and then click on the tab for “Feeds”. From here you can choose if you want to get a preview of the feed everytime you see an RSS feed in the browser or you can set it to automatically subscribe using the Live Bookmark system or any other RSS reader out there (both Online and Offline).

There is more than one way to skin a cat and there is more than one way to subscribe to your favorite RSS feeds in Firefox. For a few more subsciption options for Firefox Facts please check out the Subscription Links Web page at FirefoxFacts.com.

How Can I Manage My Firefox Bookmarks?

After you have been on the Web for a while, you collect a ton of bookmarks from Web sites you have visited and want to visit again. Now organizing these and putting them in places where it is easier for you to find them is another task that some might hate to do. So how do you manage your Firefox bookmarks?

To get to the Bookmarks manager click on “Bookmarks” in the menu bar and then click on “Manage Bookmarks…”. A new window should come up with your Bookmarks Manager loaded inside.

Now this is where all the magic happens as far as bookmarks go. You can add new bookmarks from here. You can organize them into new folders. You can drag and drop them around to where you need them to be.

In the Bookmarks Manager, if you click File and then “Import” you can import your bookmarks from another browser or from a file. If you want to export your bookmarks to back them up or take them to another browser, all you need to do is go to File and then hit “Export”. You can then save them anywhere you wish as a “.html” file.

One more neat feature that people don’t pay much attention to is the “View” option in the Bookmark Manager’s menu bar. Clicking on that will allow you to sort your bookmarks in any number of ways. If you are looking for a specific one – this would be the way to find it.

How do you add things to the Bookmarks Toolbar? All you need to do is drag and drop bookmarks or folders into the folder called “Bookmarks Toolbar Folder”. If this name is a little too long for you – you can also rename it and you shouldn’t be hurting anything. I renamed mine to “Links”.