Address bar search: Firefox 4 vs. Chrome 9

I’ve been a long time Firefox user. Recently though (over last couple of months) I’ve been using Chrome more and more until it became my default browser. Both are great browsers and both have strengths and weaknesses that the other one doesn’t have. One such thing I noticed today is how easily I can find a website I have visited previously by typing in some keyword (or part of it) to my address bar.

 

firefox_search

search_chrome

I have actually visited much more NHibernate related sites on Chrome recently, yet it failed to provide pretty much any relevant results. Firefox on the other hand just simply rocks by suggesting based on not just address but also title of the site, and some other metrics.

 

That’s a killer feature, right there.

Disable Firefox download window flashing

If you (like me) are annoyed by the Firefox download window coming up and flashing on your taskbar each time you download a file here’s quick way to disable it:

  • Go to about:config (like I shown here)
  • find browser.download.manager.flashCount
  • change it’s value to 0

done.

 

You may also want to make sure that browser.download.manager.focusWhenStarting is false.

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Resize any Firefox Window

I sometimes come across a website that pops up a window with some video, chat or something, but its size is fixed, and it doesn’t fit in it, when opened in Firefox. I used to move that tab to the main window, where I’m able to resize it, but I don’t like doing that. I want to be able to resize that stubborn window in the first place, so I found a way to do just that.

It only requires three simple steps:

  • write about:config in your address bar, and hit enter
  • find dom.disable_window_open_feature.resizable
  • double-click it in order to change its value.

Change its value to true

Changes take effect immediately, so you don’t have to restart your browser or anything. Now, you can resize any window.

You can now resize any window

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About web browsers and Apple Safari for windows in particular

Are you, dear reader one of those people who downloaded Apple Safari 3 beta for windows? I am, and for sure I will not switch to Safari. I am pretty happy with my current configuration. Primarily I use Firefox with lots of extensions, and I can’t imagine not having it. It’s basically first application I install on clear system. It may not be the fastest (actually for most sites it’s the slowest of all browsers I use), it may eat up lots of RAM and processor cycles, but user experience blows all other browsers away. To make things clear. Bare Firefox, with no extensions at all, is nice, but if I for some reason could not install extensions to it, I would use Opera, that is great product, but basically lacks one thing, that makes me use it only occasionally, for things like banking: no adblock plus. Adbock plus is THE ultimate Firefox extension. The first one I install, right after I install Firefox. To paraphrase Scott Hanselman: “Wladimir Palant should have a licence to print money”.

I have IE, like everyone using windows, but I actually almost don’t use it at all. I used it for sites that had WMV video embedded, before MS released Firefox extension to support that, and now I only use it to visit sites that were designed by troglodytes unaware of the fact, that there is word beside IE.

My friend at work has Apple MacBook pro, and he had showed me once the great RSS reader built into it, and it was basically the only reason why I downloaded the browser – to see if the windows version has this reader as well. Safari as a tool to browse web sites simply is the worst of all browsers I have. Let images speak for thousand words: below are screenshots of my blog, in all 4 browsers, in 800×600.

firefox

ie

opera

safari

On all 3 first browsers (Firefox, Internet Explorer and Opera) site looks basically the same. IE folds blog subtitle few lines earlier than Firefox and Opera, but user experience stays the same. Now let’s take a look at our new born ‘hero’. Blog title: gone, blog subtitle: gone as well, post titles: same as before. What else – look at the tag cloud: some tags were changed to underline. Steve Jobs said that it is wicked fast – well I didn’t see this speed. I didn’t measure the time of load, but it feels that even Firefox is faster (on those several sites I visited).

I will give a try to the built in RSS reader, that looks very promising, but except for this: Safari is one big disappointment and misunderstanding. It’s like a step back, even comparing to IE7. Not recommended.

Firefox Extensions I can’t live without #2

Well, maybe it’s not the best title since I’m going to write not only about extensions I’ve been using for long long time, but new (for me) as well.

Grab and Drag is one of the latter, I’ve been using it for only several hours and I simply loved it. It does basically what it’s name says – enables you to scroll web pages how you would scroll PDF documents in Acrobat Reader. It doesn’t block links, you can set hot key for temporary disabling this feature, you can make it switch between ‘hand drag’ and ‘normal’ mode after double click and several more things. Actually it does all I would expect it to do, and more.

 

One of extensions I TRULY can’t imagine surfing without is Tab Mix Plus. It’s one of most powerful customizable extensions, and one of the most useful. Let me say that it’s option window alone, has 6 tabs (many of which have subtabs). It fixes many of shortcomings of standard Firefox. For example? dbclick open tab to clone it (with it’s history), center clink empty space on tab bar, to bring back last closed tab, see loading progress on every tab, better session management, and many many more. You can have in ff2 ‘close active tab’ button on the left side of tab bar (like in ff1.5).

Firefox extensions I can’t live without (part 1)

One thing I LOVE about Firefox the most is tons of great extensions. I try to stay on top of things and once a while I dive into Mozilla’s extensions repository to see if there have been some good additions. I test those that look promising, and during those few years since I started using Firefox I collected some that I can not imagine surfing without (alphabetic order).

Adblock Plus – a must-have for everyone. With addition of Filters it’s my first line of defense against ads. It enables you to filter links, adds, flash and ActiveX from websites using blacklists and whitelists (you can use wildcards, for example *banner* will block everything with banner in name). I absolutely couldn’t live without it.

Aging Tabs – very nice little extension that you won’t appreciate until you use it for some time. Basically if you have open several tabs it will change color of every tab with time, or every time you switch active tab (that’s the mode I use). You can set start color to white and end color to dark gray and you will be able to at one glimpse to see that you opened a tab and didn’t look into it for long time. (Which may mean that you didn’t look into it at all, or just simply forgot to close it).

CuteMenu – adds icons to menus, witch greatly improves readability.

Down them all – download manager with ability to pause, resume, download file faster in several parts. It has this nice option down them all, that opens a window with all links in active site, you can then set a mask, and get many files in one go.

Link Alert – when you mouse over a link it adds little icon next to the arrow, indicating, type of link target (is it a site that will open in other window/tab, is it secured/unsecured site, image, video, torrent, and many more). Very nice.