Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Firefox Extensions I use

I've blogged about this before Mozilla (+Firefox) user pref/extensions back in April 2004 (when I primarily used Mozilla App Suite).

Anyway, here is a list of the current Extensions I am using in Firefox 1.5:

  • Forecastfox v0.8.2.5 (amo homepage)
    Used to like a lot, but the weather date provider (Accuweather) is usually way off for Melbourne weather, so I use the Bureau of Meteorology's plain text based forecast.
  • Adblock v0.5.3.042 (amo homepage)
    Couldn't live without. Need to check out Adblock Plus, with heaps of improvements like whitelisting. While I have maintained my block list of many years, when setting up for other people, I use FiltersetG list (usually via the updater extension).
  • Enhanced History Manager v0.5.8.05 (amo homepage)
    Ok, so I'm an old Mozilla App Suite user, and like my advanced History manager to prune my huge history list.
  • SmoothWheel (amo homepage)
    Makes scrolling so nice and smooth.
  • Aardvark v1.01 (homepage)
    Lets you point to sections of a web page and delete, isolate, de-widify etc. Great for pruning a page before printing.
  • Menu Editor v1.2 (amo homepage)
    Don't use this that much anymore, but used to aggressively prune the context menu to make it faster to use (by getting rid of stuff I don't use).
  • Mouse Gestures v1.0.4 (amo homepage)
    Lets me use gestures, which for me involves shortcuts for going Back and Closing a tab/window (customised to use a down stroke).
  • View Rendered Source Chart v1.5.02 (amo homepage)
    Useful when trying to analyse how a website is structured, when checking out how it works or for customising.
  • DownThemAll! v0.10.6 (amo homepage)
    Great when downloading lots of the same type of file linked from a page (ZIP downloads, images etc.).
  • Web Developer v1.0.1 (amo homepage)
    Analysis and debugging pages. I use mainly for outlining block elements in HTML, validation and resizing the window for common sizes.
  • Linky v2.7.0 (amo homepage)
    Lets you open multiple links in a variety of ways. I use it by selecting links I'm interested and opening them all in tabs.
  • Console2 v0.3.2 (amo homepage)
    Replaces the inbuilt JavaScript Console with the "Error Console", makes the console very useful and adds advanced features.
  • JavaScript Debugger v0.9.85 (amo homepage)
    Great for serious JavaScript development. PS. Had to use the altered version because its the only one to work with Firefox 1.5.
  • AJAX Yahoo! Mail v0.5 (amo homepage)
    Modifies Y! Mail so that I can open messages inline (meaning I can open many at once and see them all on the one page). It also lets you download attachments with one click and "instant reply" without having to load a new page.
  • Tab Preview v0.3 (homepage)
    Great use of the new Canvas feature in Firefox 1.5, it shows a thumbnail of each page when you mouse over noncurrent tabs.
  • Greasemonkey v0.6.4 (amo homepage)
    Tried a few times in the past but never used it for long. Then I found a few useful scripts at Userscripts that make Y! default to secure login, remebers Y! account names, hides the search section on the Google Personalized page (redudant with FF searchbox) and makes some improvements to All music guide.
  • Grab and Drag v1.0.1 (amo homepage)
    Instead of the cursor being used for selecting text (except for links), it makes the mouse pointer act like Acrobat Readers, where you click and drag the page around to scroll. Just starting to use it, and it's great.
  • Performancing v1.1 (amo homepage)
    New extension that adds a Blog poster to Firefox, for Blogger, TypePad, LiveJournal, WordPress & MoveableType. Seems very slick and I like the way it acts as a docked bar at the bottom of a FF window, allowing you to flick between normal tabs without losing the editing window. This is my first post with it, so lets see how it performs (no pun intended). Update: publishing failed for some reason, so having to cut-n-paste into Blogger's editor. Also ask's for the master password 4 times on start, still not fixed in v1.1 (not sure if publishing is fixed now).
  • (2006-01-27)Download Manager Tweak v0.7.1 (amo homepage)
    Trying out this for the first time. Seems to add nice little tweaks to the Download Manager. Will see if it is worth keeping...

Extensions used but no longer:

  • Google Suggest - adds "Suggest" to the Firefox Google searchbox
  • Hash Coloured Tabs - creates new tabs with colour coding
  • Link Visitor - lets you selectively mark links as visited or unvisited
  • Resize Searchbox - creates a grippy for the Firefox searchbox so it can be resized

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Firefox 1.5 released today

The Mozilla community finally released Firefox 1.5 today, with lots of improvements (mainly behind the scenes).

I'm impressed with the level of QA in this release, they had 3 real release candidates. In fact Firefox 1.5 is the exact same bits as Firefox 1.5 RC3 (which is what I'm using right now).

The things that interest me for this release include:

  • Lighting fast back/forward navigation
  • Improved update system (tiny binary diff patches)
  • Partial SVG support (wait for all the demo pages to spring up)
  • Gecko improvements (mainly CSS additions)
  • Plus lots of tiny stuff not worth mentioning

Already waiting for Firefox 2.0 (from the 1.8.1 Gecko branch) with its "Places" support (redoing bookmarks, history, feeds etc. into a new user interface and storing in a super fast SQLite DB).

Firefox 3.0 will come off the 1.9 branch, with its Gecko improvements (complete? SVG support, rewrite rendering using Cairo on all platforms, reflow rewritten) and the proposed tagging system for bookmarks (which might appear in Firefox 2.0).

Get Firefox! Download Firefox 1.5 now.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Make Google's Personalized Home more compact in Firefox/Mozilla

Google's Personalized Home is a great "portal" to use as a homepage, adding and removing whatever content takes your fancy.

But even with a large monitor, it takes up a lot of screen real estate given the content. So I wanted to get rid of spacing where I thought it wasn't needed.

Using the site specific stylesheets in Firefox/Mozilla (David Baron's technical intro and a post on mozillaZine about customising sites ), it allows customising a site by overiding styles within the site by adding entries to a users usercontent.css file.

The following makes the Google Personalized Home page more compact, and draws a thin border around each content block:

@-moz-document url-prefix( {
 div#nhdr > font > br { display: none; }
 body > table > tbody > tr > td > center > div { padding: 0 ! important; }
 body > table > tbody > tr > td > center > table { border-spacing: 0 ! important; }
 .modbox { padding-bottom: 0 ! important;
           border:         1px solid #3366cc ! important;
           margin-bottom:  5px ! important; }
 .mhdr { border: 0 ! important; }
 .mc { padding: 2px ! important; }
 .modbox > font > div { padding: 2px ! important; }
Update (2006-01-12): Made some more refinements, and works with the Greasemonkey script "Hide Personalized Google Search Box v2"
@-moz-document url-prefix( {
  body {margin: 0;}
  #nhdr > font > br { display: none; }
  body > table > tbody > tr > td > center > div { padding: 0 ! important; }
  body > table > tbody > tr > td > center > table { border-spacing: 0 ! important; }

  #modules > table { width: 100% ! important;
                     border-spacing: 5px ! important;
  #modules > table > tbody > tr > td {display: none; }
  #c_1 {display : table-cell ! important; }
  #c_2 {display : table-cell ! important; }
  #c_3 {display : table-cell ! important; }

  .modbox { padding-bottom: 0 ! important;
            border:         1px solid #3366cc ! important;
            margin-bottom:  5px ! important;
  .mhdr { border: 0 ! important; }
  .mc   { padding: 2px ! important; }
  .modbox > font > div { padding: 2px ! important; }

  body > table > tbody > tr > td > center > br { display: none; }
  #footer {display: none; }

Friday, November 11, 2005

Specifications for early 125cc/160cc Victa 2 stroke mower engines

  • 125cc .............................. 53.975mm (2.125")
  • 160cc .............................. 61.493mm (2.421")
Stoke ...................................... 53.975mm (2.125")
Piston taper:
  • Bottom of Skirt -
    • 125cc ......................... 53.848mm (2.120")
    • 160cc ......................... 61.366mm (2.416")
  • Top ring land -
    • 125cc ......................... 53.721mm (2.115")
    • 160cc ......................... 61.239mm (2.411")
Piston rings:
  • Numer .............................................. 2
  • Size -
    • 125cc ...... 2.381mm x 53.975mm (0.093" x 2.125")
    • 160cc ...... 2.381mm x 61.493mm (0.093" x 2.421")
Big end bearing type:
  • Early models ......................... 15 steel rollers
  • Late models ...................... Caged roller bearing
Little end type:
  • 125cc .................................... Bronze bush
  • 160cc -
    • Early models ........................ Bronze bush
    • Late models ............... Needle roller bearing
Connecting rod material ................ Hardened alloy steel
Crankpin material ...................... Hardened alloy steel
Crankshaft type ........................ Alloy steel forgings
                                    15 deg taper on drive end
                                 0.5 in B.S.F thread both ends

Crankshaft main bearings:
  • Type .................................... Ball bearing
  • Size -
    • Magnet side ................................ 20mm
    • Drive side (early models) .....20mm inner 17mm outer
    • Drive side (late models) ..20mm inner 20mm L.D. outer
Crankcase oil seals:
  • Drive side (early models) ........................... 17mm
  • Timing side (early models) .......................... 20mm
  • Both side (late models) ............................. 20mm
Ignition timing .............................. 3mm (1/8") btdc
Breaker point gap ............................ 0.50mm (0.020")
Spark plug gap .............................. 0.635mm (0.025")
Spark plug type ............ Contact your nearest Victa dealer
Fuel requirement ......... 2 stroke petrol-oil mixture (25:1)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Victa Pace 160 Premier mower

"Inherited" an old Victa from my chiropractor, used it for about a year. Great mower because it always started with half a pull :), but no catcher with it though.

Model details (printed on mower):

  • Pace - 160 Premier (Mark 2 - 70 series)
  • Fit only Victa blade No. 9-263
  • NGK - BP6E s
  • Engine No: 77 720 3 594
  • No model number on air filter casing :(

Based on some messages at OutdoorKing Bulletin board, its got a metal carby (G3) with the black governor sticking out the top. Very thick chassis compared to other 70 series I have seen. Has adjustable angle handles, using a plastic gear mating system.

Victa helpline reckons it is 1968-74, but they also recommended a CJ8 spark plug, when it's definitely a long plug. :-(

Fig 1.

Fig 2. Notice white plastic on bar between handle, might be used to secure a catcher

Fig 3.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Make WinXP open folders/directories in explorer and not the folder view

I always hated how a default install of Windows XP made double clicking on folders on the desktop open in its own window, without the folder pane on the left.

Making each folder open in the same window is easy:
Explorer → Tools menu → Folder Options → Browse folders → "Open each folder in the same window" option

But the fact the opening a folder from desktop opened in plain folder view annoyed me, enough to create 2 shortcuts to each folder I was working on, one that was a normal folder shortcut (for navigating while in explorer) and the second one was to manually open explorer and to go directly to the wanted folder!!!!

Found the **obvious** solution the other day.

To make WinXP open each folder in Explorer (with the normal folder pane and any toolbar modifications), do this:
Explorer → Tools menu → Folder Options → "File Types" tab → Select "Folder" file type (not "File Folder") → Advanced button → click on "explore" action → click "Set Default"

Why didn't I think of it earlier :-(

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Respect physics above the law

AKA: Physics always wins.

This is a great quote for all bike riders and other vehicles on our roads:

Respect physics above the law - being 'in the right' is a philosophical debate that can kill you. Anticipate the worst from other road users and ride accordingly. Even with the law cyclists are vulnerable - it pays to keep alert and don't take risks.

by Ben Creagh, Cycle Epic Media Manager.
Located in the "commuting & the epic" article in the Cycle Epic 2005 booklet/application.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Links: File Utilities and Resources

FILExt - The File Extension Source:
Great site to help find out what an unknown file is, based on it's extension. Provides detailed information like MIME types, applications that create it, links to resources etc.

Freeware (and Open source) program to visually report on the differences between folder contents and for comparing individual files.
Doesn't do side-by-side folder compares, and limited to mainly text based file compares (it has some plugins for other formats). Better commercial programs include Beyond Compare and Araxis Merge (which has TRIPLE file and folder comparisons!!!!).

Unison File Synchronizer:
Interesting program to synchronise two seperate collections of files. More advanced than a directory compare program (like WinMerge), it tracks what additions/changes/deletions have occured in both locations and sends the changes to sync back up. Works a bit like rsync, but more orientated for the user and not an Administrator.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Securing WinXP by restricting Users access

Aaron Margosis' WebLog :
A series of articles on how to properly setup Windows XP (and other NT derived OS's) so users don't have admin privileges and can still function well. This is to massively reduce the security attack vector on computers. Will follow advice next time I reinstall WinXP.

LINK: Don't forget the Windows XP Security Checklist, provides a great checklist on Basic, Intermediate & Advanced measures you can take to secure you WinXP.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Stop bloody WinXP modifying folder (directory) dates

Optimise NTFS or Increase XP NTFS performance
I hate how XP changes the datestamp of folders with changing anything. Hopefully this fixes it and stops things like opening a Word document and suddenly the folder date changes.

BTW, - Performance Tweaks & Tips has some good tips (& is a great starting place) on performance tweaks.

UPDATE: Turns out it's a "feature" of NTFS to alter the folder (and all parent folders) when files are changed (or added?). Seems there is no way to turn this off. FAT16 and FAT32 don't do this, so it might be better to make a FAT32 patition to put all user files on.

Optimising services in Windows XP

Windows XP Home and Professional Service Pack 2 Service Configurations by Black Viper and Windows XP Home and Professional Service Pack 2 Services Information
Seem to be a great example configs and references respectively.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Remove image and/or media preview in Explorer - Remove image and/or media preview in Explorer:

XP's Explorer annoys the crap out of me, because it seems to pause when dealing with image and/or video files. Apparently this works:

Simply do the following steps:
  1. Open a command window (Start->Run, type in 'cmd' hit enter)
  2. To remove image preview, type and hit enter:
    regsvr32 /u shimgvw.dll
  3. To readd image preview, type and hit enter:
    regsvr32 shimgvw.dll
  4. To remove media preview, type and hit enter:
    regsvr32 /u shmedia.dll
  5. To readd media preview, type and hit enter:
    regsvr32 shmedia.dll

Friday, February 11, 2005

How to maintain your computer (for normal people)

5 simple steps to keep you PC running smooth and fast
(Based on the How to Speed up your computer site)

  1. Spyware and Adware removal (Monthly or so)
    Basically, install Ad-aware and make sure its spyware definitions are up-to-date by clicking the globe icon on the top right and following the prompts.
    • Keep Spyware definitions up-to-date by clicking the globe icon on the top right and follow the prompts to update.
    • Do a full system scan.
    • AFAIK, it's safe to delete everything that appears in the scan results.
  2. Virus Removal (Monthly or so)
    I'd recommend the free AntiVir Personal Edition.
    + run it in the background ("background checking in installation options??)
    • To download, click on the Download button on the left, then click the "AntiVir logo" on the page to start the download.
    • To grab the latest Virus definitions file, click "antivir.vdf" link on the download page
      • Follow the instructions to download from within the program (clicking the "2 connected computers" icon.
      • or manually download the definitions file and overwrite the current file.
  3. Speed up your computer Part 3 - Clear Startup Group
  4. Speed up your computer Part 4 - Run Defrag
  5. Speed up your computer Part 5 - Run Scandisk
  6. Speed up your computer Part 6 - Free Software
  7. Speed up your computer Part 7 - Update Windows and Drivers