Wednesday, September 23, 2009

updated firefox setup

This post has been sitting here as a draft for a while as I procrastinated getting the links for everything. My Firefox setup has changed around a lot since the previous post, so here goes.

Firefox version: 3.5.3

Theme: Classic Compact - smaller is better. I devote a maximum amount of screen space to the pages I'm viewing.

4chan - Adds shit to 4chan to make it easier to browse and reply to threads. I was about to uninstall this but then 4scrape died.

All-in-One Sidebar - Shows the download manager, extensions, themes, etc. in the sidebar. Very highly configurable.

Adblock Plus - Don't leave home without it. Ads take up bandwidth and resources for no gain to the user, and often play sound or do other things to try to distract you from what you're actually on the site for. Fight back with this.

BlockSite (Firefox 3.5 compatible version here) - Handy for blocking sites you don't want to see. I block mIRC's nag-you-to-register pages (all of them), Facebook beacons, and extension update callhome/changelog pages for All-in-One Sidebar and DownloadHelper.

BugMeNot - Bypass compulsory registration. Just right click in a login field on some site that tries to force you to register a free account to view their shit (,, and just to name a few) and select "Log in with BugMeNot" and it'll try to log you in with an account from their community-maintained database. Contribute dummy accounts whenever you can, ya hear?

Classic Compact Options - Allows configuring the Classic Compact theme, so you can change the look of it or just how compact it gets. Has an option to collapse the main menu into a single dropdown.

DisableMenu - Hides the menubar and statusbar, so the page you're trying to look at can have that much more space. Shows them if you mouse close enough to the top or bottom of the window.

DOM Inspector - Handy for web developers. You can see the entire structure of the page, get all the CSS style rules that affect an element, see what the computed styles are for that element, and much more. Works quite well if you're developing something that uses Javascript to modify the DOM, then you can see what gets generated and where it is in the document.

DownloadHelper - Allows downloading videos from sites like YouTube.

Fast Dial - Visual bookmarking. SRWare Iron/Google Chrome and Opera have similar features built-in.

FireFTP - I should probably remove this, I don't use it anymore. Someone needs to make an extension that combines scp and ssh to do this in a secure (encrypted) manner, because sending your login and password across the internet in plaintext sucks balls.

GMail Notifier - Lets me know when my gmail account has new mail.

GreaseMonkey - Lets me install small scripts that modify various web pages. It's pretty easy to develop for. Opera has a similar, more cumbersome feature built in.

Japanese-English Dictionary for Rikaichan - See Rikaichan. I dunno why this has to be a separate extension, but whatever. No link because you get prompted to download it after Rikaichan installs.

NoScript - Blocks scripts, Java, Flash, Microsoft's Silverlight thing that I haven't seen anywhere, and various scripting attacks. It was under fire a while back for fucking with AdBlock Plus (its author deliberately messed with AdBlock Plus so that it wouldn't block ads on his website, and NoScript includes exceptions for the author's four websites and his advertisers by default). The fucking with AdBlock Plus is long past and it's easy to remove the author's sites from the whitelist. AdBlock Plus could actually stand to work like this. Rather than you having to specify what ads you want to block, it should block all images by default and let you say "load images from this domain". Whitelists are way more secure than blacklists.

Not4chan Extension - originally developed for use on not4chan (dot net), it works on pretty much any of the *chans and allows mass-downloading of the images in a thread, with options to rename them to their original filenames. It says "Not Tested" for Firefox 3.x, but it works fine.

Restart Firefox - I just installed this to add the toolbar button to All-in-One Sidebar's toolbar. A few of my extensions have settings that won't take effect until Firefox is restarted, so this makes it quick and painless to do so. I've found myself using it a fair amount since I installed it. Turn on that confirmation in the options to avoid accidentally restarting when you meant to hit the button beside it or something.

Rikaichan - A popup Japanese translator. Turn it on and mouse over the Japanese in question and it tells you what it means. You'll still need to use some brainpower to figure out the context and thus what's actually being said, but eventually you'll figure out they're talking about your mom.

Screengrab - Makes taking a screenshot of an entire web page really simple. If you've ever seen a web page screenshot that was several thousand pixels tall, chances are the person who made that screenshot used something like this, because patching it together from multiple presses of PrintScrn takes for-fucking-ever (and makes you look like a n00b).

Smart Stop/Reload - Merges the stop and reload buttons into one. You only ever need to do one or the other at any given time anyway.

Stop! Hammertime! - MC Hammer contributes vocals when you stop a page from loading. You can trigger it anytime with the keyboard shortcut for stop, Esc. I tend to forget I have this installed until I go to stop a page load. The same author has also written Stop! In the name of love! if that's more your thing.

Stylish - A sister extension to Greasemonkey, this one lets you load custom CSS for websites, or even for Firefox itself. Just like with Greasemonkey, Opera has this built in but it's much more cumbersome to deal with.

Tab Mix Plus - Provides many more options for tabbed browsing than the browser does by default. Firefox 3.5 has a new tab button in the tab bar by default, but this will give you one for earlier versions, and allow you to move it to the left side. Has many other features that are really nice.

All this stuff plays fairly well together. NoScript can get in the way of some GreaseMonkey scripts, including the one I wrote to work around an issue that isn't fixed yet in DisableMenu, but it's forgivable.

What all this doesn't tell you is my toolbar setup and the configuration of each individual extension. Since that would take for-fucking-ever to type, I'll just mention briefly the thing that matters: everything goes for maximum screen space. Drag things around and close toolbars and change things so they're smaller and you'll get the picture.

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