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Archive for the ‘firefox’ Category

27 Great Firefox Tweaks

Posted by Jason on October 28, 2008

1) Adjust the Smart Location Bar’s Number of Suggestions

In Firefox 3, when you start typing in the location bar, a drop-down list of suggestion URLs will be shown. If you want it to show more than 12 suggestions (12 is the default), you can adjust the browser.urlbar.maxRichResults keys and get it to show the number you want.

Config name: browser.urlbar.maxRichResults
Default: 12
Modified value: Set to your desired number of suggestion. If you want to disable it all together, set it to -1

2) Disable the Session Restore Function

Firefox 3 automatically saves your session every 10 seconds so that whenever it crashes, it can restore all your tabs. While this is a useful feature, some of you might find it irritating. To disable this function, toggle the value of browser.sessionstore.enabled to False

Config name: browser.sessionstore.enabled
Default: True
Modified value: False if you want to disable the session restore function

3) Adjust the Session Restore Saving Frequency

Same as above, if you decided to keep the session restore feature on, but want to reduce the session saving frequency, change the value of browser.sessionstore.interval so that Firefox will save the session at a longer interval.

Config name: browser.sessionstore.interval
Default: 10000 (in msecs, equivalent to 10secs)
Modified value: Set it to your desired value. 1000 means 1 sec and 60000 means 1 minute.

4) Enable Advanced Color Profile Support

Firefox has this advanced color profile features that display higher image quality. It is not enabled by default as it has a negative effect on the performance of the browser. If you are concern with the image quality rather than the performance, you can activated it via the gfx.color_management.enabled setting

Config name: gfx.color_management.enabled
Default: False
Modified value: True (if you want to activate the color profile support feature)

5) Disable Antivirus Scanning

This is mainly for Windows users. By default, Firefox 3 automatically scans the downloaded file with the default anti-virus application to make sure it is free of viruses. If you download a big file, it could take a long time for the whole scanning process to complete. To increase the performance of the browser, you might want to consider disabling the anti-virus scanning via the browser.download.manager.scanWhenDone key.

Config name: browser.download.manager.scanWhenDone
Default: True
Modified value: False (if you want to disable it)

6) Configuring the Scrolling Tabs

When you opened many tabs, Firefox will not keep on reducing the tab width. Instead, it shows a scrolling bar so that the min width (100px) is conserved and you can scroll to find your tabs. If you are those who don’t like the scrolling tab function and prefer Firefox to show all the tabs, regardless how small it is, you can set the value of browser.tabs.tabMinWidth to 0 to disable it. Similarly, if you want Firefox to display more tabs before showing the scrolling button, you can reduce the default value to a lower value, say 75 pixels.

Config name: browser.tabs.tabMinWidth
Default: 100
Modified value: 0 if you want to disable the scrolling functions, other values to set the min width value

7) Show/Disable Close button on Tabs

Some people love to see the Close (the red X) button on every tabs, but some hate it. Whatever is it, you can configure it to your preferences via the browser.tabs.closeButtons setting.

Config name: browser.tabs.closeButtons
Default: 1
Modified values:

  • 0 – display a close button on the active tab only
  • 1- display close buttons on all tabs
  • 2- don’t display any close buttons
  • 3- display a single close button at the end of the tab strip

8.) Extend Scripts Execution Time

In Firefox 3, a script is only given 10 seconds to respond, after which it will issue an unresponsive script warning. If you are hooked on a slow network connection, you might want to increase the script execution time via dom.max_script_run_time to cut down on the frequency of the no script warning.

Config name: dom.max_script_run_time
Default: 10 (in secs)
Modified value: 20, or any values greater than 10

9) Handling JavaScript Popups

When you come across a site that executes a JavaScript open new window function, and if the popup window is without all the usual window features, i.e. back/forward/reload buttons, status bar etc, Firefox will automatically treat it as a popup and will not open it as a new tab. However, if you find this to be a nuisance and wanted to open all new windows in new tabs, you can specify it via the browser.link.open_newwindow.restriction setting.

Config name: browser.link.open_newwindow.restriction
Default: 2 – Open all JavaScript windows the same way as you have Firefox handle new windows unless the JavaScript call specifies how to display the window
Modified values:

  • 0 – open all links as how you have Firefox handle new windows
  • 1 – do not open any new windows
  • 2- open all links as how you have Firefox handle new windows unless the JavaScript specify how to display the window

10) Enable Spell Checking In All Text Fields

The default spell checking function only checks for multi-line text boxes. You can get it to spell-check for single line text box as well.

Config name: layout.spellcheckDefault
Default: 1 (spell checker for multi-lines text boxes only)
Modified values:

  • 0 – disable the spell checker
  • 2 – enable the spell checker for all text boxes

11) Open Search Box Results in New Tab

When you search using the search box at the top right hand corner of the browser, it will display the search results in the current tab. If you don’t want the search to interfere with your current tab, you can tweak the browser.search.openintab to make it open in a new tab.

Config Name: browser.search.openintab
Default: False
Modified value: True (open search box results in new tab)

12) Lower the Physical Memory Used When Minimized

This tweak is mainly for Windows users. When you minimize Firefox, it will send Firefox to your virtual memory and free up your physical memory for other programs to use. Firefox will reduce its physical memory usage, when minimized, to approximately 10MB (give or take some) and when you maximize Firefox it will take back the memory that it needs.

The preference name does not exist and needs to be created.

Right click on the background and select New->Boolean.

Enter the name when prompted: config.trim_on_minimize
Enter the values: True

13) Increase/Decrease the Amount of Disk Cache

When a page is loaded, Firefox will cache it into the hard disk so that it doesn’t need to be downloaded again for redisplaying. The bigger the storage size you cater for Firefox, the more pages it can cache.

Before you increase the disk cache size, make sure that browser.cache.disk.enabled is set to True.

Config name: browser.cache.disk.capacity
Default: 50000 (in KB)
Modified value:

  • 0 – disable disk caching
  • any value lower than 50000 reduces the disk cache
  • any value higher than 50000 increases the disk cache.

14) Select All Text When You Click On the URL Bar

In Windows and Mac, Firefox highlights all text when you click on the URL bar. In Linux, it does not select all the text. Instead, it places the cursor at the insertion point. Regardless which platform you are using, you can now tweak it to either select all or place cursor at insertion point.

Config name: browser.urlbar.clickSelectsAll
Modified value:

  • False – place cursor at insertion point
  • True – select all text on click

15) Autofill Address in URL Bar

Other than the smart location feature, you can also get your URL bar to autofill the address as you type the URL.

Config name: browser.urlbar.autofill
Default: False
Modified value: True (Have Firefox autofill the address as you type in the URL bar)

16) Same Zoom Level for Every Site

Firefox remembers your zoom preference for each site and set it to your preferences whenever you load the page. If you want the zoom level to be consistent from site to site, you can toggle the value of browser.zoom.siteSpecific from True to False.

Config name: browser.zoom.siteSpecific
Default: True
Modified value: False (enable same zoom preferences for every sites)

17) Setting Your Zoom Limit

If you find that the max/min zoom level is still not sufficient for your viewing, you can change the zoom limit to suit your viewing habits.

Config name: zoom.maxPercent
Default: 300 (percent)
Modified value: any value higher than 300

Config name: zoom.minPercent
Default: 30 (percent)
value: any value

18) Configure Your Backspace Button

In Firefox, you can set your backspace to better use by getting it to either go back to the previous page or act as page up function.

Config name: browser.backspace_action
Default: 2 (does nothing)
Modified value:

  • 0 – go back previous page
  • 1- page up

19) Increase Offline Cache

If you do not have access to Internet most of the time, you might want to increase the offline cache so that you can continue to work offline. By default, Firefox 3 caches 500MB of data from supported offline Web apps. You can change that value to whatever amount of your choice.

Config name: browser.cache.offline.capacity
Default: 512000 (in KB)
Modified value: any value higher than 512000 will increase the cache value

20) Auto Export Firefox 3 Bookmarks to Bookmarks.html

Unlike the previous version, Firefox 3 backup the bookmarks file in places.sqlite rather than the usual bookmarks.html. Since bookmarks.html allows us to export and sync our bookmarks with other browser, it will be very useful if Firefox 3 can backup the bookmark to the bookmarks.html as well.

Config name: browser.bookmarks.autoExportHTML
Default: False
Modified value: True (auto export bookmarks file to bookmarks.html)

21) Disable Extension Compatibility Checks

This is useful if you want to use an extension that is not supported by your version of Firefox badly. It is not recommended, but you can still do it at your own risk.

Right click and select New->Boolean. Enter extensions.checkCompatibility in the field. Enter False in the next field.

Right click again and select New->Boolean. Enter extensions.checkUpdateSecurity into the field and enter False into the next field.

22) Disable Delay Time When Installing Add-on

Every time you want to install a Firefox add-on, you will have to wait for several seconds before the actual installation starts. If you are tired of waiting, you can turn the function security.dialog_enable_delay off so that the installation will start immediately upon clicking.

Config name: security.dialog_enable_delay
Default: 2000 (in msec)
Modified value:

  • 0 – start installation immediately
  • any other value (in msec)

23) View Source in Your Favorite Editor

This is very useful for developers who are always using the “view source” function. This tweak allows you to view the source code in an external editor.

There are two configuration need to be made:
Config name: view_source.editor.external
Default: False
Modified value: True ( enable view source using external text editor)

Config name: view_source.editor.path
Default: blank
Modified value: insert the file path to your editor here.

24) Increasing “Save Link as…” Timeout Value

When you right click and select “Save Link as…” the browser will request the content disposition header from the URL so as to determine the filename. If the URL did not deliver the header within 1 sec, Firefox will issue a timeout value. This could happen very frequently in a slow network connection environment. To prevent this issue from happening frequently, you can increase the timeout value so as to reduce the possibility of a timeout.

Config name: Browser.download.saveLinkAsFilenameTimeout
Default: 1000 (1 sec)
Modified value: any value higher than 1000 (value is in msec)

25) Animate Fullscreen Toolbar Collapse mode

In Firefox’s fullscreen mode, toolbars and the tab strip are hidden at the top of the screen and only shown on mouseover. To draw attention to this, there is an animation of the toolbar sliding upwards and off-screen when fullscreen mode is toggled on. For performance issues, the animation of the collapse of the toolbar only appears for the first time. For some reason that you may love/hate the animation, you can adjust Browser.fullscreen.animateUp to switch it on/off for every collapse.

Config name: Browser.fullscreen.animateUp
Default: 1 (animate the toolbar collapse only the first time)
Modified value:

  • 0 -disable the animation
  • 2- enable the animation for every collapse

26) Autohide Toolbar in Fullscreen mode

In fullscreen mode, the toolbar is set to autohide and appear upon mouseover. If you have a need to view the toolbar at all time, you can toggle the value of browser.fullscreen.autohide to False to always show the toolbar.

Config name: browser.fullscreen.autohide
Default: True (always autohide)
Modified value: False (always show the toolbar)

27) Increase Add-On Search Results

If you go to Tools->Add-ons->Get Add-ons and perform a search there, Firefox will only fetch and display 5 matching results. If you want Firefox to show more than 5 results (say 10), you can adjust extensions.getAddons.maxResults to get it to display more results.

Config name: extensions.getAddons.maxResults
Default: 5

Modified value: any value more than 5

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The 7 hidden pages within Firefox

Posted by Jason on October 21, 2008

about: A simple prompt without any parameter will display the Mozilla “about” information. Since it’s accessible from the top menus as well, it’s not quite a hidden feature.

about:buildconfig Obviously, it will show the build platform configuration and parameters

about:cache Will display info and statistics regarding your disk’s cache, including the name of your cache’s directory and a list of the entries you can find there. By default, Firefox doesn’t allow you to view the cached webpages, so this can be an useful option.

about:config Oh look, many many info. Indeed, it’s the most complex and meaningful of them all. Careful on what you plan to change here, your browser won’t run properly after if you play with the wrong things.

about:plugins Of course, what is Firefox without it’s powerful extensions? This option will display detailed information about all the plugins installed for Mozilla Firefox.

about:credits It’s time to give the credit to whoever deserves it. There’s an alphabetically sorted list of all the people that gave their contribution to the development of Firefox.

about:Mozilla This is a weird thing. It will display the so-called “Book of Mozilla”. Something similar was present in Netscape too. There’s actually no real book although the quotations might give you that impression.

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Firefox + Google = Free Music

Posted by Jason on October 8, 2008

There’s a lot you can do with Google if you can take advantage of it’s advanced search features.

Expanding on this tip which shows you how to find music in open directories, here’s a step-by-step walkthrough on how to use Firefox Smart Keyword searches to speed up the process.

All you need to do is:

  1. Create a bookmark in Firefox
  2. Use the URLs in this doc file as the bookmark location in your Firefox bookmarks (like in the pic above)
  3. Assign a keyword to it – eg. music
  4. Type the keyword (eg. music) followed by the search term (eg. beatles) directly into the address bar (NOT the search box). For example… type in music beatles , and Google will search open directories for Beatles music files that you can download.

You can modify the code in this doc file to change file extensions, which opens a whole window for you. For example, you can even change it to PDF and DOC to look to e-books, or AVI and MPG to look for movies.

By the way, I’m assuming you already own the media you will be downloading …

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Set Gmail as Default Mail Client in Ubuntu

Posted by Jason on September 16, 2008

Every Geek uses Gmail… it’s pretty much required. And now you can set Gmail as the default client in Ubuntu without any extra software. (Windows requires the Gmail notifier be installed)

Just go to System \ Preferences \ Preferred Applications

Ubunut 8.04

Ubunut 8.04

Under Mail Reader, select Custom, and then put this into the Command window, changing “geek” to your username.

/home/geek/open_mailto.sh %s

Next, you’ll need to save this shell script into your user directory ( /home/username ).


For the curious, here’s the contents of the script:


firefox https://mail.google.com/mail?view=cm&tf=0&to=`echo $1 | sed ‘s/mailto://’`

If you’d like to make the script open a new tab in an existing Firefox window, you can replace the firefox line in the script with the following:

firefox -remote “openurl(https://mail.google.com/mail?view=cm&tf=0&to=`echo $1 | sed ‘s/mailto://’`,new-tab)”

If you want to make the script file hidden by default, you can rename it with a . at the beginning of the file like this: .open_mailto.sh. You’ll have to change the path in the preferences, of course.

Open a terminal and type in the following command, to make the script executable:

chmod u+x ~/open_mailto.sh

Note that if you aren’t logged into Gmail you’ll be prompted to login to gmail… and you’ll have to click the email link again. Seems like Gmail’s login redirector won’t open the send mail page. But then again… why aren’t you logged into Gmail?

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5+1 Ways of Opening Tabs in Firefox

Posted by Jason on September 9, 2008

Firefox is equipped with tabbed browsing which is very useful and lets us do your work in a managed and clutter less way. Tabs in Firefox can be opened with 5(+1) ways. Read on.

1. The Simple File=>New Tab Option: The ol’ good way of opening tabs in any browser. Click File and select New tab

2. Ctrl+T: Press Ctrl+T keys on your keyboard to open a new tab. A quick and easy way of opening tabs.

3. Double Click on an empty space in the tab bar: When you double click on an empty space in the tab bar, a new tab gets opened.

4. Double Click under an already open tab: There is some little space under an already open tab where you can double click to open a new tab. Useful if you have your tab bar full without any empty space (if no empty space, then step 3 cannot be used, so this comes into action)

5. Right Click on an already open tab: And select new tab.

5+1. Use Middle Mouse Button: When opening several links on a web page, you can use the middle mouse button (wheel) to click on link. This way the links will be opened in new tabs. With the middle mouse button, you can also close tabs, just click on them with it.

Enjoy opening tabs

Posted in firefox | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Make Firefox 3 Faster

Posted by Jason on September 9, 2008

Firefox 3 as we all know is now super quick at loading pages. But there is always room for improvement and best of all since Firefox is open source software there is a lot of ways that you can mod the app.1. Type “about:config” into the address bar and hit enter. You will get a warning about changing settings but we are not doing anything too radical so it is OK. Scroll down and look for the following entries:

2. Alter the entries as follows:

Set “network.http.pipelining” to “true”

Set “network.http.proxy.pipelining” to “true”

Set “network.http.pipelining.maxrequests” to some number like 8. This means it will make 8 requests at once.

3. Lastly right-click anywhere and select New-> Integer. Name it “nglayout.initialpaint.delay” and set its value to “0″. This value is the amount of time the browser waits before it acts on information it receives.

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Protect Your Logins and Passwords for Free

Posted by Jason on August 27, 2008

I’ve been reading alot about hackers and other internet baddies trying to hack into peoples accounts using brute force attacks. All that has gotten me a little worried so I have been looking around for password management software. I found a great piece of software called KeePass Password Safe. It’s 100% free and works great. Once you have installed it you will need to create a master password that will unlock all your other passwords. I recommend using the built in password creator to create new passwords for any important sites. (such as email, Ebay, Amazon, etc.) This program can also run from a USB flash drive so you can always have access to your passwords without worry.

You can get more information about it here and you can download the latest version here.

What is KeePass?
Today you need to remember many passwords. You need a password for the Windows network logon, your e-mail account, your homepage’s FTP password, online passwords (like website member account), etc. etc. etc. The list is endless. Also, you should use different passwords for each account. Because if you use only one password everywhere and someone gets this password you have a problem… A serious problem. The thief would have access to your e-mail account, homepage, etc. Unimaginable.

KeePass is a free/open-source password manager or safe which helps you to manage your passwords in a secure way. You can put all your passwords in one database, which is locked with one master key or a key file. So you only have to remember one single master password or select the key file to unlock the whole database. The databases are encrypted using the best and most secure encryption algorithms currently known (AES and Twofish). For more information, see the features page.

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Wow, Mozilla Labs Ubiquity!

Posted by Jason on August 27, 2008

What a great product this could turn out to be. just imagine instant information the way YOU want to view it! Heres is a quote from their post:

Ubiquity for Firefox from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

It Doesn’t Have to be This Way

You’re writing an email to invite a friend to meet at a local San Francisco restaurant that neither of you has been to.  You’d like to include a map. Today, this involves the disjointed tasks of message composition on a web-mail service, mapping the address on a map site, searching for reviews on the restaurant on a search engine, and finally copying all links into the message being composed.  This familiar sequence is an awful lot of clicking, typing, searching, copying, and pasting in order to do a very simple task.  And you haven’t even really sent a map or useful reviews—only links to them.

This kind of clunky, time-consuming interaction is common on the Web. Mashups help in some cases but they are static, require Web development skills, and are largely site-centric rather than user-centric.

It’s even worse on mobile devices, where limited capability and fidelity makes this onerous or nearly impossible.

Most people do not have an easy way to manage the vast resources of the Web to simplify their task at hand. For the most part they are left trundling between web sites, performing common tasks resulting in frustration and wasted time.

Enter Ubiquity

Today we’re announcing the launch of Ubiquity, a Mozilla Labs experiment into connecting the Web with language in an attempt to find new user interfaces that could make it possible for everyone to do common Web tasks more quickly and easily.

The overall goals of Ubiquity are to explore how best to:

  • Empower users to control the web browser with language-based instructions. (With search, users type what they want to find. With Ubiquity, they type what they want to do.)
  • Enable on-demand, user-generated mashups with existing open Web APIs. (In other words, allowing everyone–not just Web developers–to remix the Web so it fits their needs, no matter what page they are on, or what they are doing.)
  • Use Trust networks and social constructs to balance security with ease of extensibility.
  • Extend the browser functionality easily.

The Initial Prototype

As part of this announcement, we’re also releasing an early experimental prototype to demonstrate some of the concepts of Ubiquity and the possibilities that it opens up. This release is meant as a illustration of a concept and mainly focuses on the platform. The next release will explore interfaces that are closer to features that might make it into Firefox.

Install the prototype and you’ll be presented with a tutorial to get you started.

Ubiquity 0.1

  • Lets you map and insert maps anywhere; translate on-page; search amazon, google, wikipedia, yahoo, youtube, etc.; digg and twitter; lookup and insert yelp review; get the weather; syntax highlight any code you find; and a lot more. Ubiquity “command list” to see them all.
  • Find and install new commands to extend your browser’s vocabulary through a simple subscription mechanism
  • Read about Ubiquity In Depth, or see a number of the commands in action (with screenshots) in the Ubiquity Tutorial.

All of the code underlying the Ubiquity experiment is being released as open source software under the the GPL/MPL/LGPL tri-license.

This is the goal of what kinds of language-based services Ubiquity hopes to inspire people to create:

This is a screenshot of Ubiquity’s current map functionality:

Download Ubiquity v0.1:


Info and Video on Ubiquity:


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