12 Witnesses

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Better Blogging: Tweaking Firefox

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Firefox is the best internet browser around, but did you know you can tweak it? You can make this browser more efficient and adapt it to your own interests. There are two ways of doing this: Add-ons and Scripts. An add-on is an additional program that gets, wait for it, “added on” to the basic Firefox code. Scripts work within Firefox to cause it to act differently and are more susceptible to malware (malicious software) written by hackers and act like viruses. Avoid these by checking the downloads of the scripts on the download page to make sure plenty of others have gone safely before you.

You can cruise the add on section at Firefox for some that you might enjoy.

Here is a list of the ones that I have installed. Feel free to share with the class some of your favorites.

Adblock Plus :: Firefox Add-ons – Blocks Advertisements in articles and on websites. I never see the dancing mortgage ads at Yahoo anymore. Huzzah!

Auto Copy :: Firefox Add-ons – Automatically copies to the clipboard anything I highlight, saving me extra clips. This plugin is essential to efficiently putting together a “Link Load” post with tons of links to interesting things. It saves 2-3 extra clicks per link, and is used in combination with a couple of other programs for great speediness. Just call me Speedy Gonzalez. Andele!

Better Gmail 2 :: Firefox Add-ons – This add on kicks into gear when you log on to your gmail account. I don’t use gmail that much, but if you do, go to the home page and review the features to see if it’s for you.

CoLT :: Firefox Add-ons – This add on is a power blogging must: Copy Link/Text. When clicking on a link, this add on adds a couple of items to your right click pop up menu: 1) Copy Link Text and 2) Copy Link Text and Location as… The second option has an arrow and gives you several choices. The first choice is “as HTML” which, when selected, will produce a fully formed html coded link in the clipboard and it saves you TONS of time and energy. This is the primary way I was able to produce all of the links that you see in this post in just over five minutes. The typing next to the links, a little longer.

del.icio.us buttons :: Firefox Add-ons – Inserts a button in the toolbar of Firefox that will let you bookmark a page in del.icio.us. If you don’t know what that is, it is a place to store your bookmarks online, so that you can access them anywhere without having to be at YOUR computer.

Digg This! :: Firefox Add-ons – Adds a “Digg This” item to the right click menu so that you can easier submit things to Digg. By the way, if you want to be read, you want to be dug. If you and your friends will start digging each others interesting posts, they will start reaching a much wider audience.

Download Statusbar :: Firefox Add-ons – Replaces the download window with a status bar at the bottom of the page. Easier to keep up with and not as much hassle with a pop up window.

DownThemAll ! :: Firefox Add-ons – Allows you to download multiple files instead of one at a time. Very useful.

Fasterfox :: Firefox Add-ons – Makes Firefox more efficient and helps it to load pages faster. it can do nothing about slow connections, so if you have one, a slow internet is what you will have. If, however, you have a highspeed connection, this plugin makes Firefox seem even faster than you would have guessed.

Forecastfox :: Firefox Add-ons – Puts a radar screen and weather alerts in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen, as well as current temps and the forecast for the next two days. Also alerts you to dangerous weather when watches or warnings are released.

Greasemonkey :: Firefox Add-ons – More on this one in the next section, but this plugin allows you to insert scripts.

MinimizeToTray :: Firefox Add-ons – Minimizes Firefox windows to the system tray.

Skype Sidebar :: Firefox Add-ons – If you use Skype to webchat, this gives you some tools in Firefox.

Web Developer :: Firefox Add-ons – Tools for Web Developers.

Now, to the Scripts that you can add.

Greasemonkey refers to the shade tree mechanic who used to lift the hood and tinker with his car to make it just a little faster, just a little better. These scripts are computer programming’s version of folks lifting the hood of Firefox and tinkering with some great help in efficiency and some just fun applications.

First, you have to install the greasemonkey addon, then you can install the scripts. Here are a few that I’ll recommend.

Akismet Auntie Spam for WordPress … If you’ve ever gotten much spam caught in the anti-spam plugin, Akismet for WordPress, you probably have been frustrated while looking for legitimate comments among the pages of spam. This is especially tedious when the spam is several thousand words long with a hundred some odd links to sites hosting medicines without prescription, porn and investments. This script recognizes that you are in Akismet and collapses all the comments into one line entries. You can expand the entry with a click if you think it is legitimate and verify. It collapses pages of spam to 1/10th the size.

WordPress Comment Ninja This script does two things. The first thing it does is allow you to reply to comments from the notification email you get when someone comments on your blog, providing you are reading the comment in Firefox. The second thing it does is to create links to do the same thing from the comment section of wordpress. Although I use Outlook to receive my email for 12 Witnesses, I have used this script to answer comments from within the WordPress.

Amazon – Denver Lookup 1.2.6 When looking at a book on Amazon, this script will form a link under the title that will take you to Denver Library’s information about the book – usually more than what Amazon has to offer.

Google Image Relinker This script will allow you to click on an image from Google Image Search and it will go straight to the image, rather than to the framed version of the original website. This is if you don’t like Greased Lightbox below.

Download YouTube Video III Allows you to do just as it says, download videos from YouTube.

Greased Lightbox (v0.16) Now here’s a great script. When you search for images on Google Image Search and click on one, it will launch the large picture against a black background. You can then navigate VERY QUICKLY through the page with the arrow keys on your keyboard.

Flickr Photo Magnifier Creates bigger pictures from smaller ones on flickr.

Google Doc Download GM Script Allows you to download documents stored on Google Docs, and when combined with “downthemall” allows you to get all your Google Docs quickly, which is handy if others have been editing them.

GZoom Allows you zoom in on Google Maps beyond what you normally could.

Google 100 Instead of 10 results from Google, you get 100 results on a page.

Facebook Auto – Colorizer Colors Facebook pages to blend with the main picture on the page. Somewhat fun.

Facebook Fixer A collection of enhancements for various aspects of Facebook eg. showing bigger profile pictures, making it easier to view albums, showing people’s age and sign, auto-reloading error pages, changing redirecting links to direct links.

Pearl Crescent Page Saver is a free FireFox extension that you can use to capture images of web pages as PNG or JPEG files. You can capture an entire web page or just a portion of it.

Here are a few pages full of other scripts that you can explore for yourself.

25 useful Greasemonkey scripts you should take a look at

This list is in no particular order from best to worse, it’s written just as I’m going through my plugins!

Best of: Greasemonkey Scripts

This post is a compilation of the best and most popular Greasemonkey scripts available to its users, broken down into category for easier reference.

Top 10 Greasemonkey scripts to improve your productivity

“Greasemonkey extension (with the help of Stylish) can do wonders for your productivity”

I got the basic gist of this from the video of Lorelle Van Fossen’s address at Wordcamp 2008, a convention of bloggers who use WordPress listening to the pros talk about specific aspects of blogging and WordPress. If you check out the video (at just about an hour long) you will hear a couple of other things that I will reference in later posts in the Better Blogging series.

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