Wednesday, November 01, 2006

COMPUTERS: Neat Firefox Stuff

I have a BIGGGG monitor (several, in fact). But the main point is that even with the big monitor, I find myself JUSTTHISCLOSE to having enough depth to see the Next buttons when doing a google search. I get the ten default items and you can usually see a bit of the google travel buttons at the bottom. So, I have to scroll down and then click. Oh, Bother! as Winnie the Pooh would say.

I read about a neat extension at Shell Extension City, one of my daily blog stops, called Compact. It was meant to make the word menu, you know, the File-Edit-View menu bar, collapse into a button on the button bar, the one with the back and forward buttons. EXACTLY what I needed.

Didn't work. Had to uninstall it.

But it got me thinking. I tried the effect of pushing the buttons up to the right-hand side of the word menu bar. And you know, it works!!!! I then made the button bar non-viewed and I have EXACTLY the space now to see the google buttons without having to scroll. It's a small thing, but it turns a crappy day into a semi-victory.

So, let's walk through the steps into getting that much appreciated extra depth. First, right click on your button bar. You SHOULD get a menu to checkmark on or off your various toolbars. Select the customize option. Up will come a window that will allow you to drag buttons TO the bar or buttons OFF the bar. Anddddd, unbeknownst to me until today, you can drag buttons FROM bar TO bar. Drag ALL of your buttons from the toolbar and plop them down at the end of the menu bar. Even the URL type-in field. When completed and the button bar is empty of icons, click DONE in the customize toolbar window. The final step? Right click on the menu bar and turn off the navigation toolbar (That's the REAL name of the button bar).

Bob's your uncle.

Extensions I have known and loved

Speaking of extensions, I'm REALLY happy with my current set of extensions. Here's a run-down of what I am using.

Adblock Plus with the Adblock Filterset.G Updater keeps most of the annoying ads at bay and lets me kick others out of sight on an as-encountered basis. All-In-One sidebar is a godsend for allowing easy viewing/switching between bookmarks, download manager and the extension manager. Bookmark backup does what it says it does. BugMeNot was huge at one time, but with the NY Times having caught up, not as good anymore. BMN is there more out of tradition than use. Clear Cache Button gives me a quick way to clear the cache before and after visiting a site I will be giving personal info too. Colorful Tabs is nice, cuz it helps separate the see of grey into more discreet tabs. Context Highlight lets me decide to highlight a word or group of words. Think Find All at Once. Copy Image lets me right-click on a picture and save it to disk. And copy plain text lets me hightlight and copy, without bringing formatting info along for the ride.

Dictionary Search is handy for those words I don't know. Not a frequent need, but it does happen. Diggler lets me back up the url tree to someplace higher on the chain. DownThemAll! lets me get all the links (usually pictures) on a page all at once. A great saver. Fasterfox measures how fast pages take to load and optimizes things a little but. Saves microseconds, if that. Flashblock makes all flash animations require a click (or two) from me to play. Sites can be given cartblanche to show animations. Otherwise, all you web-design morons who use flash are getting nothing from me, in terms of attention. Scorn maybe, but attention, no! GMail Manager, lets me quickly check my GMail account. And Grease Monkey is a programming environment for Firefox. I am still new to it, but already, I have a page or two of usually microscopic text starting up at the right size.

Image Zoom allows me to right click and enlarge or make smaller images on the page. InFormEnter is a program that attaches blue arrows to the end of input fields and lets me select from a bunch of previously entered in answers. NoScript stops click-by web infections by javascript dead cold. You have to allow or allow permanently a web-site to execute scripts on your computer. And you can mix and match. Let Sportsnet run ITS scripts, but disallow the adsense links to do so. NukeAnythingEnhanced lets me get rid of objects on the page, usually before printing the page. And PrintPreview gives me a button to do that job quickly. SaveImageInFolder lets me save selected graphics, TV/Movie Posters or Cast shots, for example, into a separate folder (called unoriginally Posters). TabBrowser Preferences is the king of tab extensions, allowing you to middle click to add and delete, amongst other goodies. VideoDownloader speeds up the task of saving YouTube videos to the hard drive as flash animations. I know, I know! I ragged on flash just a paragraph ago. The difference here is choosing to save and watch, rather than having the decision made for me by an attention-deficit affected designer. And finally, for cosmetic reasons, I like my URL field to have rounded corners, and WellRounded does that for me.

Which of the above would make the absolute MUST HAVE list? NoScript, Tabbrowser Preferences, All-in-One Sidebar, Adblock Plus, Clear Cache Button, Image Zoom, Copy Image and InFormEnter, nmaybe in that order. Nuke Anthing Enhanced and VideoDownloader are the other two that get used a lot. The rest are either cosmetic or once in a blue moon tools.

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