Tag Archives | Basics

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.

Quick Peek at DashBlog

1 Need a Firefox add-on that may fuel your creative juices when it comes to blogging?  I know you.  You said you might almost want to try it again but you just don’t have the time – or you think it is too complicated. 

DashBlog has high hopes to save the day for you and many other wanting the task of sharing things with friends a lot easier.

This extension lets you quickly gather and post videos, images, text/quotes, songs and screen-captures from any web page and publish them to your blog.  Right now they have support built in for Twitter, WordPress, Tumbler and Blogger.  The promise here is to give you “the fastest and easiest way for you post video, text, quotes, images and songs to your blog”.

You can pick it up at Mozilla Add-ons or the DashBlog site.

Backup Firefox Passwords (the Manual Way)

Sure there are tools, downloads and services that may do this for you, but what fun is that?  Just in case you don’t feel the need to download another addition to the browser just yet – here is how you can backup your Firefox saved passwords the manual way.

First, navigate yourself to your profiles folder and then you want to copy three files, they are named:

  • signons.txt
  • signons2.txt
  • key3.db

Copy and past them into the place you want to back them up to, and you are done.  You can also move these three files to a new Firefox profile (say on a new computer, for example) if you wanted to have the same password information on your laptop.

Firefox and BitTorrent

BitTorrent Loves Firefox?

Since the beginning of AllPeers, there have been many different collections of plugins offering BitTorrent functionality to Firefox and its other Gecko-based variants of Flock, K-Meleon and Wyzo, a Mozilla Firefox-based browser that fully integrates BitTorrent functionality into its core along with Firefox 2.0 code.

There have also been numerous plugins as well:

AllPeers (http://www.allpeers.com)
FireTorrent (http://www.wyzo.com)
FoxTorrent (http://www.foxtorrent.com)
BitFox (currently in development)
Firestorm (http://firestorm.mozdev.org).

FireStorm and BitFox, are both currently in active development. Wyzo is in alpha stage of development and have an alpha release (not for deployment in a production environment). FoxTorrent has been reviewed a few times before and installs a background DAEMON process to handle the transfers.

Wyzo/FireTorrent are both in alpha release although the Firefox extension is still available to download for testing purposes. From the list, it is plain for all to see that there is no shortage of BitTorrent extensions for Firefox at all.

However, the nature of Mozilla’s open-source platform and of the BitTorrent protocol mean that this list is by no means exhaustive and other projects are sure to take advantage to Firefox’s modular nature.

Posted by Si Howard – Si Is currently studying for a Bachelors in Computer Science and turned to Firefox and Thunderbird after many years as a Netscape user. He maintains a personal blog at devastator.wordpress.com

Turning a Bookmark into a Search Tool

Editing Bookmarks to Add Search FeaturesBookmarks in Firefox have a very powerful feature that most people don’t know about. Let’s take a look at this:

  1. Click on Bookmarks.
  2. Right-click on any bookmark you have there.
  3. Choose properties.

Now, third from the top, there is a text box called “Keyword”. Most likely, this is blank because by default it’s not used at all. Welcome to the wonderful world to keyword bookmarking. Let me show you how to use it.

Say for instance that you wanted to create a keyword bookmark for the search on firefoxfacts.com. Ok, lets go to that page. After using the Firefox Facts search using the words “test”, I come to the page:

http://www.firefoxfacts.com/index.php?s=test

If I bookmark it, it will look like any other bookmark.

Then, if I look at the properties of my newly created bookmark, I can make a few changes to it to transform it into a keyword bookmark:

  1. Notice that the my search term “test” is in the address in the location field.
  2. Replace that with the string “%s” to get http://www.firefoxfacts.com/index.php?s=%s.
  3. Add a keyword to the keyword field. I chose “fxfacts” but anything will work. Use something short and you can remember.
  4. Press OK.

Yay, now we have a keyword bookmark. This is how to use it:

  1. Type the keyword of the bookmark in the address bar. (In my example “fxfacts”)
  2. Type any search terms after that. (My example: “fxfacts bookmarks”)
  3. Press the enter key.

Firefox will now take me to the Firefox Facts search for bookmarks just like that. Let’s see IE7 can do that!

Post by Samuel Brisby – Sam is currently a student majoring in computer science who loves and supports anything open-source especially the Firefox browser. Questions or comments can be sent to spamuel42 (at) gmail.com.

What is the Firefox Search Box?

The search box in Firefox is that box for searching (boy, definitions don’t get any better than that) usually located in the upper right of your browser window. By default you see it set to Google, but did you know you can use others that are listed there or install more of your own?

To use the search box, all you need to do is type in a phrase you’d like to search for into the box, and then hit the “Enter” key on your keyboard. From there you’ll be taken to a Web page with search results as you would see by going to the search engine’s Web site and doing it directly.

If you want to choose one of the other search engines you have installed, just click on the little square logo next to the search engine icon and you should get a drop down box with all the search engines you have installed. Pick the one you want to use, and then its icons should be shown beside the search box. To switch back, follow the same steps.

If there is a search engine that you need that doesn’t come with Firefox by default you can install it yourself to use. You can find a list of popular search plugins here. For even more choices, check out the Mycroft Project. If you want to make your own – this Web page is a good place to start learning how to do just that.

Firefox Keyboard Shortcuts to Remember

Keyboard ShortcutsThere are a handful of keyboard shortcuts I always use with Firefox. Maybe I’m just becoming lazier as I get older, before Firefox it doesn’t seem like I ever used keyboard combinations to make my way around a program that often.

I could toss in something there about how Firefox has made me a better person, but that might be going a little overboard. Here are a few keyboard shortcuts that I use on a daily basis.

Ctrl + Shift + T – Use this to pull up a tab that you might have closed by mistake. I always hate closing the wrong tab when I am cleaning up Firefox after doing some heavy duty browsing. This shortcut is a life saver for me in that regard.

Ctrl + T – Use this keyboard combo to open up a new tab. I used to have an icon on the toolbar to do this. That just takes way too much time though. It is much easier for me to hit Ctrl and T to get the new tab I need.

Space Bar – Get to scrolling down the Web page a little faster by hitting the space bar key. No big secret to this one – but it is helpful.

Ctrl + B – Pull your bookmarks up in the sidebar with this wonderful keyboard combo. Helpful for finding that one bookmark that is buried three or four folders deep.

Have any other keyboard combos you think everybody should use?

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.

What Are Firefox Themes?

Themes in Firefox are little files you can download and install that change the look and feel of the browser. You can think of it as changing the external skin that you see when you use Firefox from day to day. This is just one more useful way to personalize Firefox and make it your own.

The easiest way to download new themes is to open up Firefox, then go to Tools then click on Add-ons. When that Window pops up, click on the “Themes” tab and then click on the “Get Themes” link on the bottom. This will load up Mozilla’s official Firefox themes Web site. If you don’t want to go through all of that to visit it – just bookmark this link:

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/browse/type:2

Now you are ready to give Firefox a new look. Search around and find a theme that you like and click on the install link you find on the Web page. After that, you should get pop up Window come up and ask you if you’d really like to install this new theme. Go ahead and continue from there – then once it is finished it will ask you to restart Firefox. Click away there too – it is ok to do.

Now to use your new theme, you’ll need to go to Tools then Add-ons then click on the Themes tab. If everything was done correctly you will find the theme you just picked as a selectable option now. Click on it, and then push the button that says “Use Theme”. Now the next time you restart Firefox the default theme will be gone and your new one should have taken it’s place. You can always go back by going through and to the same options again as well.

How can you download themes from other Web sites? This is a little more tricky – but try these steps.

  1. Download the theme file to your desktop
  2. Open up the Add-ons menu, and then click on the tab for themes
  3. Drag and drop the theme file into the theme selection box

If done correctly then you should see the new theme start to install. From here you can just follow along with the “continue” and “ok” buttons and should be good to go.