Friday, November 30, 2007

Mouse-less Firefox

firefox shortcuts.jpg

by Adam Pash

Learning to use Firefox keyboard shortcuts to reduce your trips to the mouse can lead to a much more fulfilling web browsing experience, especially at those times that your mouse just isn't doing the trick.

Okay, you got me. I have, on occasion (read: often), neglected to charge my wireless mouse for long enough that, when it's time to get posting, I find myself totally mouse-less.

Now you're thinking, "What, just because this wire-hating jerk can't remember to put his mouse on the charger every now and then, I'm supposed to get all excited about the idea of using Firefox without a mouse?" But that's not it at all, people!

I'm the kind of web surfer who's never terribly happy when he has to move his hand over to the mouse, and frankly, jumping over to the mouse every time you need to follow a link is so 2004. Check out the following Firefox keyboard shortcuts (some well-known, others not), and before long you'll forget all about the little rodent next to your keyboard.

Navigation from the toolbar

The address bar shortcut should be as instinctual as breathing by now, but there's a few more shortcuts to that top bar that you should keep in mind.

  • Select location bar: Ctrl/Cmd+L or Alt+D

  • Select search bar: Ctrl/Cmd+K

  • Back: Backspace or Alt/Cmd+Left

  • Forward: Alt/Option+Right or Shift+Backspace

  • Change search engine: Ctrl/Cmd+Down (Next) +Up (Previous)

The last shortcut, used to change the search engine, was a big discovery for me. I've always been interested in additional search bar plugins, but it was never worth the trip to the mouse. No problem any more.

Searching pages

The find-as-you-type feature was an epiphany. While Google is great at getting you to the right web page, Firefox's find-as-you-type feature gets you the rest of the way.

  • Find as you type text: /

  • Find as you type link: '

  • Regular old find: Ctrl/Cmd+F

The link search is very useful, especially when used in conjunction with...

Opening pages

Unless you do all of your browsing in one page, these shortcuts are huge when you don't want to go running for your mouse.

  • Open link in new window: Shift+Enter

  • Open link in new tab: Ctrl/Cmd+Enter

  • Open address/search in new tab: Alt/Option+Enter

Used together with their respective shortcuts (address and search bar shortcuts and the find-as-you-type link shortcut), the page opening shortcuts go a long way toward mouse-less browsing.

Grab bag

The following shortcuts fall into a more general grab bag of useful shortcuts.

  • Caret browsing: F7

  • Refresh: Ctrl/Cmd+R or F5

  • Refresh (override cache): Ctrl/Cmd+F5 or Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+R

  • Switch tabs: Ctrl/Cmd+Tab

  • Select tab (1-9): Ctrl/Cmd+[1-9]

  • Compose email: Ctrl/Cmd+M

The preceding shortcuts are of mostly obvious usefulness. Switching tabs and reloading pages are must-have shortcuts for any mouse-eschewing Firefox-er. A less-known feature, Caret browsing, inserts a cursor into the text of the page and is very useful for highlighting and copying text.

If you're looking to change your default mail program (e.g. to Gmail, etc.) to best utilize the Compose email shortcut.

So you're a web writer, huh?

Then there are a couple useful shortcuts that you need to know.

And there's so much more!

Hate the mouse and the keyboard? While I can't solve that entirely, I can suggest that you throw some very useful and time-saving Quick searches into the mix.


Keyconfig extension

Finally, if you haven't totally satisfied your shortcut cravings, you can install the Keyconfig extension. Keyconfig allows you to define Firefox shortcuts to your hearts content.

Download Keyconfig

Some of the shortcuts above may be old hat, while others may be news to you. I've excluded a lot of the more obvious universal shortcuts (like copy and paste), but I tried to include everything you need to browse just as you would with a mouse in hand. Still not enough? You might want to check out the full list of Firefox keyboard shortcuts.

Any other must-have Firefox shortcuts or extensions that make the mouse-less Firefox experience that much easier? Let us know in the comments.

Fifteen Firefox Quick Searches


If you're a Firefox user who eschews the mouse, then keyword Quick searches are for you. Give it a try: in Firefox, key up to the location bar (Windows: Alt-D, Mac: Cmd-L), type dict eschew and hit Enter. You'll be automagically transported to the definition of "eschew" (to avoid, shun). That's a Quick search in action.

Firefox comes with the dict search pre-installed, along with the predictable google keyword search. But you can set up any number of Quick searches with keywords that map to useful search engines. Today's feature offers 15 useful Quick Searches which you can execute in Firefox without ever taking your fingers from the keyboard.

Note: the Firefox search box can also contain any number of engines. However, it's not as easy to get to this box and switch engines using only the keyboard as it is using Quick searches.

To set up a Quick search, go to any search engine page with an input box using Firefox, like say, the Flickr photo search page. To set up a Quick search for Flickr tags, right-click inside the tag search input box and choose "Add a Keyword for this Search..." like so:


Then, enter a title for the search and a keyword you'll use to execute it, like this:


Once you press the "Add" button, your Quick search is set up. Now, from the Firefox address bar, type flickrtag puppy to search Flickr tags for - you guessed it - puppies.

Now, you shouldn't have to go through all the work of setting up Quick searches manually. I've gone ahead and made my Quick search bookmarks available for download, which includes 15 keywords I use on a daily basis.

Here's how to get it installed:

  1. Right-click on this Quick search bookmarks file and choose "Save Link As..." Place the file somewhere on your computer.

  2. In Firefox, from the Bookmarks menu, choose "Manage Bookmarks."

  3. From the Bookmarks Manager File menu, choose Import. Choose "Import Bookmarks from File." Browse to and open the file you just saved.

Now you've got a "Quick Searches" folder in your Bookmarks, which includes all sorts of keyword searches. For instance, lh google searches this blog for Google references; wikiped Richard Stallman transports you to the Stallman page on Wikipedia; thes easy looks up words with similar meanings to "easy" in a thesaurus.

See a full list of all the Quick searches included in this file:

Quick Searches

  1. Acronym Finder Quick Search

    Type "acronym <acronym>" to look up what an acronym stands for in Acronym Finder. For example, "acronym WTF."

  2. Amazon Quick Search

    Type "amazon <product name>" to look up an item on Amazon.

  3. Quicksearch

    Type "dict <word>" in the addressbar to perform a dictionary look-up.

  4. Ebay Quick Search

    Type "ebay <item>" to find something up for auction at Ebay.

  5. Flickr Quick Search

    Type "flickr <search term>" to search all the tags, titles and descriptions of images at photo-sharing site Flickr.

  6. Froogle Quick Search

    Type "froogle <product name>" to look up a product on shopping search engine Froogle.

  7. Google Maps Quick Search

    Type "map <address>" to get a Google map of a street address or location.

  8. Google Image Quick Search

    Type "image <search term>" to find images that match using Google Image Search.

  9. Technorati Quick Search

    Type "technorati <search term>" to see what weblogs are posting about a topic.

  10. Thesaurus Quick Search

    Type "thes <word>" to find words with similar meanings in a thesaurus.

  11. Urban Dictionary Quick Search

    Type "slang <expression>" to look up a slang expression in Urban Dictionary.

  12. Wikipedia Quick Search

    Type "wikiped <person|place|thing>" to look it up in collaboratively-edited encyclopedia Wikipedia.

  13. Yahoo! Creative Commons Quick Search

    Type "cc <word>" to find Creative Commons-licensed items available for reuse with Yahoo!'s CC search.

  14. Yahoo! Local Quick Search

    Type "local <business>" to find a business listing with Yahoo! Local.

    **NOTE: this bookmark must be edited to work in your area. Replace 92037 in the URL with your zip code.

Customize your Quick searches using the Bookmarks manager (Bookmarks menu, Manage bookmarks.) Browse to the "Quick Searches" subfolder and choose Properties of any bookmark. Here you can change a keyword shortcut (say you want a Wikipedia search to map to "wiki" instead of "wikiped") or edit a URL. (The Yahoo! Local Search URL should be edited to include your zip code.)

Got any other search engines that would make a good Quick search? Let me know in the comments.

Happy searching!

Firefox and the art of keyword bookmarking


by Adam Pash

When Gina posted her favorite 15 Firefox Quick Searches, she used a Firefox feature which associates keywords with frequent web searches. But you can use bookmark keywords not only for web searches, but to navigate to your favorite sites and inner pages, and even launch bookmarklets without moving to your mouse.

Today I'll cover the fine art of browser bookmarking in conjunction with keyword shortcuts, and how I significantly cut down wasted browsing time with an intuitive keyword framework.

Note: Even though I'm writing from the perspective of a Firefox user, Firefox is certainly not the only browser that can add keywords to your bookmarks and favorites. In Opera, for example, you can create a "Nickname" for a bookmark that does the same thing.


Lay the groundwork

If you're using Firefox, first things first: You need to install the OpenBook Firefox extension. Yes, you need to - you can add keywords to your bookmarks in Firefox without OpenBook, but it's decidedly more of a pain in the ass, requiring a trip to the properties of each bookmark. OpenBook makes adding keywords to bookmarks trivial, meaning you'll be much more likely to set them up.

Once you've installed OpenBook, go to Tools -> Extensions and open your OpenBook options. You can tweak this however you want to, but be sure at the very least to check the Keyword textbox, which will allow you to create keyword shortcuts on the fly. Additionally, since I really don't ever click on my bookmarks anymore, I don't really have much need for organizing them; instead, I have all new bookmarks automatically dumped into a folder called Keywords (keeps things nice and tidy in my Bookmarks menu). You can see how I have it set up in the screenshot, but if you have your own preferences, feel free to tweak the OpenBook options however you like.

Once you've got OpenBook all set up, it's time to get busy.

Set up your favorites

I like to give all of my favorite web sites a one or two letter keyword. The process is very simple, but just because I like holding hands (I'm 6th grade that way), it might go a little something like this:


You visit this site and find out it's got your most favorite content in all the world. You don't want to have to type in that whole address thirty times every day, so instead you hit Ctrl-D (replace Ctrl with Cmd on Macs), type in a keyword of 'l' and hit enter. Now anytime you're ready to visit this site, you'll hit Ctrl-L (the keyboard shortcut for the address bar), type, 'l', and hit Enter. Easy, right?

Of course, first letters run out quickly, so in the off chance that there's another web site that begins with an "L" that you like more than this site (say it ain't so!), you can add letters based on other intuitive methods (for example, this site acker could be easily remembered as 'wd' or 'ga').

Drilling down

Since web sites are generally set up in a directory structure, I like to add keywords that help me drill down to other commonly-used pages on the same site. For example, here I keep a lot of internal communication, lists, schedules, and other such fun productivity porno in a wiki. I've set up the Wiki homepage to a keyword of 'ww' in my browser. But that just gets me to the home page of the wiki. If I want to go to the page where I keep a list of feature ideas, I type in 'wwf'. For content schedule, I type 'wwc', and so on.

You get the idea. This sort of drilling down can go on indefinitely, though you obviously won't want to allow things to get to far out of hand before you just create a new, shorter keyword. I normally set up my keywords to match the first letter of each word I'm looking for so that it's easy to remember and type all of my shortcuts in one to four keystrokes.

Keyword search and the %s variable

Gina has already done an excellent feature on Firefox quick searches, but I'm going to delve a little deeper into keyword quick searches so that you can create your own keyword search when the simple right-click -> Add keyword search... method doesn't work.

For example, the online version of the Merriam-Webster dictionary doesn't play nice with the regular "Add keyword search" dialog. However, if you take a look at the URL of any word on M-W, you'll find that they all look like this:<word>/

If we just had a way that we could insert any word we wanted in place of <word>, we'd be set. Luckily, Firefox provides a very handy little %s variable, which holds everything you type after your keyword. To create a keyword bookmark search for M-W, then, you'd hit Ctrl-D and paste the following into the URL field:

Assign a keyword of 'mw', and any time you type mw productivity into your address bar, the word "productivity" will replace the %s variable.

Keyword your bookmarklets

Don't be shy about adding keyword shortcuts to your favorite bookmarklets. For example, I'm absolutely crazy about the GMailThis! bookmarklet (it was actually the basis of my Bookmarking with Gmail feature). If I'm on a page I want to email to someone, all it takes is Ctrl-L, 'gmt', and Enter.

Sync your shortcuts across browsers

Finally, if you've set up a great keyword bookmarking system, you're going to want to sync your bookmarks on every computer you use. To accomplish this, I prefer the FoxMarks Firefox extension.

How do you speed up your browsing?

I want to point out that there's really no genius in what I've described here - many of you may already have a similar method, or perhaps another, more groundbreaking method for speeding up your browsing. If you do, I'd love to hear about it in the comments here.

Protect your web searches


"My goodness, it's my whole personal life," she said. "I had no idea somebody was looking over my shoulder." -Thelma Arnold, AOL Searcher No. 4417749

AOL's recent "doh!" release of more than 500K user search records has prompted many people to examine their search methods. While no one approach is absolutely foolproof, using a combination of common sense searching strategies will make it harder for engines (or anyone else) to put together a detailed profile of you. Keep reading today's feature for a few ways to protect yourself from search engines.

AOL: shock and awe


The biggest problem with AOL's search records release is not what the individual queries revealed (although some of them were pretty disturbing); it was the fact that any search could be tied to one unique user ID. Looking at someone's individual searches is not necessarily invasive - however, tie all those searches to one unique user ID and we've got a problem. For example:

User 7777155 searched for 1974 Silverado truck parts, Sportsline, and Yahoo fantasy baseball. Sounds like a nice guy, eh? Maybe - he also searched for "free MILF hunter password", "you knw when your a mexican when" jokes, and something called "assparade."

Or how about these: individual users searched for "suspended lisence due to child support" along with "chapter 1 of reaching your potential", "the incredibles by pixar" and "cheap liquor" (?), or "battlefield 2 torrent", "fake doctor note", "custom gold grills", and "ice cream shoes" (sounds like this person's got a full day of non-stop fun planned).

A savvy data miner could use this data - which does include personal information such as SSN's, phone numbers, names, addresses, etc. - and go crazy: targeted spam, identity theft, the possibilities are endless.

Big Brother is watching

Here are a few things your search engine knows about you:

  • If you've logged into services-Gmail, Yahoo Mail, etc.-they've got your user name and passwords at the very least. For example: if you've taken advantage of Google's integrated stable of services, you've pretty much given over the keys to the privacy kingdom, so to speak. I am NOT advocating that everyone quit Google, just giving you a heads-up.

  • All your IP addresses are belong to us. Your IP address coughs up quite a bit of relevant info, such as your ISP, city, state, region, and more.

  • Cookies, yum! Your individual searches and repeat visits to the same site can be tied together by cookies.

In addition, all search engines keep at least some of your searches for an undetermined period of time...that means that your search for the NKOTB back in the day might come up again. What's a searcher to do? Actually, there's quite a bit you can do to make your searches more private-note that I didn't say "completely private", because no one method is foolproof. However, if you mix up these tips you stand a much better chance of keeping your search records to yourself.

Keep it secret, keep it safe

Tweak your browser. This is the first and easiest step that any privacy-conscious surfer should take to increase security. There's quite a few ways that you can configure your browser to be more private.


Proxy: Using a proxy - think of it as a search prophylactic - is a great way to hide your tracks. Here are a few good ones:

A word of caution: do NOT use a proxy for online banking or to send sensitive information. Your computer's address might be shielded from search engines, but if you're not absolutely sure of the source of the proxy, you shouldn't trust it with your info.

Ixquick and Generic A9: In light of the recent AOL troubles, Ixquick is promoting itself as the privacy lover's search engine; in fact, from June 27 onwards, "Ixquick will permanently delete all personal search details gleaned from its users from the log files."

You can also search without logged search details over at Generic, an Amazon-owned search engine. When you search in "generic" mode, none of your personal information is recorded.


Cookies. Cookies are small pieces of identifying data that websites use to track your visits and your unique preferences. In order to be more private on the web, you're going to want to either use a cookie manager extension or program, or, just dump your cookies once a week.

CookieCuller for Firefox is a modified version of Firefox's built-in Cookie Manager. You can also try Junkbuster, Burnt Cookies, or Cookie Cruncher. I also highly suggest Lost in the Crowd, a service that "automatically and over time places a number of random queries through the search engines you use from your actual tracking cookie."

Don't feel like downloading anything? No problem - just set a reminder for yourself to clean out your cookies about once a week. You don't want to completely turn your cookies off, because then you can't take advantage of personalized services,local searches get messy, search results become less relevant, and shopping searches aren't as convenient. Disable your cookies selectively, depending on the nature of the website.

Tor: Tor, a service from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is "a toolset for a wide range of organizations and people that want to improve their safety and security on the Internet." The EFF are search privacy nuts (in a very good way), so Tor is the security tool of choice for many privacy-conscious people.

Mix your services. Try to vary your service providers on the web; for instance, get your mail at Yahoo, search with Ask, use Google Calendar for time management, etc. If you allow just one provider to service all your needs, you're giving them a free lunch as far as privacy is concerned - for instance, if your email is provided by the same search engine that you search with, your emails and search queries can be used together to find out more about you (read your particular search engine's privacy policy to see if this is the case).

Privacy extensions. Here's a quick round-up of good search engine privacy extensions:

  • TrackMeNot: for Firefox; basically creates a bunch of search "noise" so that your real searches are obfuscated.

  • BlackBox Greasemonkey extension: an extension that reroutes your searches at Google, Yahoo, or MSN through BlackBoxSearch, a secure proxy. Hat tip to the always educational Google Tutor for this one.

  • SwitchProxy: "Switch between multiple standard and anonymous proxy configurations quickly and easily with the SwitchProxy Tool for Firefox, Mozilla and Thunderbird."


Fake it. Create a disposable email address with Dodgeit, Pookmail, or even Hotmail. Avoid identifying registrations with Bugmenot or the Fake Name Generator. Go nuts with the mega-privacy list over at the Electronic Privacy Information Center. In short, there are many options available to you.

Personal computer health. In addition, there's always the standard cleaning out your cache, temp. Internet files, history, disabling auto-complete, etc. This is a pretty basic way to keep your search tracks at least semi-covered.

There's no perfect solution

None of these tips will keep you anonymous from a search engine 100%. The best way to keep your information private would be to get off the webernets completely, but as that's not an option for most of us, the second best is to use a combo of security methods to cover as much of your virtual booty as possible. What are your best search privacy tips? Just comment and share them :)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Symantec Delivers Virtualized Firefox 3 Beta 1 in Multiple Languages

Symantec is providing customers worldwide with Firefox 3 Beta 1 in the Altiris VSP (Virtual Software Package) format, in English, German and Dutch.  Virtualized Firefox builds may be downloaded here:

Application virtualization is ideal for application testing and evaluation.  By running beta software virtualized, it can be tested on more machines by more users, in a regular production environment, without concern for destabilizing Windows or any other apps.  You also don't need to be concerned about leaving problems behind after your testing -- for example, the VSP's for Firefox, with the default settings as provided by Symantec, allow the beta version to utilize the same user profile as the released version of Firefox that may also be on a machine, but changes to the profile made by the beta are isolated.  So if the beta software "bakes" the user profile, just deactivate the Firefox 3 Beta 1 "virtual layer" (with a simple right-click in the SVS UI) and everything goes right back to the way it was, as if the beta software had never been there.

Did the, "we do not recommend that anyone other than developers and testers download the Firefox 3 Beta 1 milestone release. It is intended for testing purposes only" disclaimer make you nervous?  Don't be.  Try it now, virtually!

To utilize a VSP, you must first install Altiris SVS (Software Virtualization Solution), a small agent that enables any Windows PC to run applications abstracted from the underlying operating system.  Various license options are available for SVS, including up to ten nodes free for personal use, details at

Firefox has been the main sample application used by Symantec in the development, QA and marketing of SVS for two years now.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Firefox 3 Will Include Malware Protection

Mozilla intends to extend Firefox's phishing protection to include a list of sites that try to install malware. "Similar to how Firefox 2 blocks Web sites that are potentially going to try to steal your personal information, Firefox 3 will block Web sites that we believe are going to try to install malicious programs on your computer. Mozilla is coordinating with Google on this feature," says Alex Faaborg.

ComputerWorld quotes Gervase Markham, a developer for Bugzilla, who says: "What we are actually doing here is giving Google veto power over any Web page." The list of potentially harmful sites is managed by StopBadware, an organization that fights against spyware, malware, and deceptive adware. StopBadware is sponsored by Google, Lenovo and Sun.

Google already shows alerts if you try to visit a search result that may install malicious software on your computer. The feature is also included in Google Desktop, which automatically updates a list of suspicious or malicious sites from Google's servers. Firefox will probably work the same.

Other new features that will be included in Firefox 3: a unified way of storing bookmarks, history, and information about Web pages, microformat detection, private browsing, support for offline web applications. Firefox 3 should be launched at the end of the year, but you can still try the Alpha 5 version at your own risk.

Firefox Identity Selector

There is a prototype identity selector for firefox, which allows you to login to infocard enabled sites, without infocard, or even windows.

You can download it here:

In order to get started, download and install the extension, and then browse over to one of the public relying parties. It also requires that you have a JVM installed, which you can pick up from if need be.

Please note that this is of alpha quality. It only supports Self Asserted tokens, and many other desireable features have not been implemented. However, it should provide the based for some interesting discussions at IIW this week.

Enjoy, and please send feedback.

There seems to be a small bug with selecting cards. If you click on a card to select it, and its values do not fill in on the right side of the screen, then click it again until they do. If you attempt to submit with blank values it won't work

Also - keep in mind that Firefox will warn that a plugin to handle the infocard object isn't installed. Simply ignore this.

10 Useful Firefox Tips

1. Change the refresh for live bookmarks

Type about:config, create a new integer value browser.bookmarks.livemark_refresh_seconds and enter the number of seconds for the update interval (default:3600).

2. Change the way Firefox handles keywords typed in the address bar. If you don't type a URL, Firefox sends you to the first result for your query.

Type about:config, write keyword.URL in the Filter, and change the value to

If your query has a clear match (like [slashdot], [stanford]), the functionality will remain. If you enter a general query (like [pizza recipes]), you're sent to the results page.

3. Change the source editor.

Type about:config and edit these values.

view_source.editor.external - open the source with an external application (default: false, change to true)

view_source.editor.path - the path to a text editor like Notepad, Notepad2, NoteTab.

4. Hold down Ctrl when you click on "View image" in the contextual menu to open the image in a new tab. The same trick works for bookmarks, history items, home button, links and can also be done by clicking on the middle button.

5. Move bookmark folders by pressing Shift while using drag&drop.

6. Delete an item from the address bar's history by selecting it with the arrow keys and pressing Shift+Delete.

7. If Adobe Reader crashes your browser go to tools->options->downloads->view and edit actions. Select PDF, change action and choose "Save them on my computer". You can do the same with other file types (like MP3, WMA, MPG).

8. Type / to search in the current page and Ctrl+K to search the web (bring focus to the search box).

9. Duplicate a tab by clicking on the address bar and typing Alt+Enter.

10. Improve memory management.

Firefox 2 Spelling Dictionary Hacks; Make Firefox Inline Spell Checker More Useful

One of the most useful additions to Firefox 2 is the inline spell check feature that hints you of possible spelling mistakes as you type inside web forms.

While spell checking is a killer feature, Firefox 2 dictionary is incomplete and misses a lot of commonly used web terms including Google. This becomes all the more evident if you are slightly tech-savvy and use terms like AVI, Youtube, Screenshots, MP3, Powerpoint, etc while composing emails or writing new blog entries inside the browser.

So here are five different hacks that help you make Firefox 2 dictionary all the more useful.

For each of the hacks you will have to modify the persdict.dat [a text file with dat extension] located in the profile folder of your Firefox installation.

C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Application Data\Mozilla\Profiles\<profile name>

persdict.dat holds the personal dictionary entries used by the spellchecker added by you.

Shut down Firefox and open the persdict.dat file using Notepad or any text editor.

Add Multiple Words to Firefox Dictionary in One Step

With persdict.dat open inside Notepad, add any number of new words but each on a new separate line. If your friend has already done the hard work, you can copy his custom entries in our own persdict.dat file. Save and close the file.

Don't Duplicate Work ? Merge Microsoft Word Custom Dictionary With Firefox


If you are a Microsoft Office user, chances are that you already have a rich custom dictionary in place which you created while composing documents inside Microsoft Word. So let's save the duplicate effort and bring those Microsoft entries directly to Firefox.

Open the custom.dic file located in the Microsoft Office Proofing folder.

C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Application Data\Microsoft\Proof

As in the previous step, copy the entries from this file into persdict.dat file and your Firefox 2.0 spell checker gets all the intelligence of Microsoft Word dictionary in one step.

Download Additional Dictionaries for Firefox 2

While there are dictionaries to download in text form, you can always download list of popular computer terms, medical terms or any other jargon for your Firefox spell checker.

Wikipedia has a list of company names and computer terms that you can easily integrate with Firefox dictionary by simple text manipulation [keep the hyperlinked words, remove everything after the hyphen, etc]

Remove Entries from Firefox 2 Dictionary Added by Mistake

When Firefox 2 detects an incorrect spelling, it highlights that word with a dotted red underline - if you think the spelling is correct, you just right click and choose "Add to Dictionary".

But if you make a mistake or accidentally add a wrong word to the dictionary, the only way to delete is by manually removing it from, you guessed it right, persdict.dat file.

Replace US English with British English as the default dictionary.

You can download Firefox Dictionaries in various languages here. Install the British English Dictionary extension and restart Firefox. Now right click inside a text field and choose English / British under the Language settings.

Firefox 3.0 Improves Memory Management

If you use Firefox, you know that your browser has problems with memory leaks and will eat even 200 MB of RAM at times. I hoped that Firefox 2.0 (Bon Echo) will fix this issue, but unfortunately it's not the case, as this version focuses more on cosmetic issues. So I've decided to try the alpha version of Firefox 3 (Minefield), that is developed in parallel with Firefox 2.0. And the results are incredible: the browser has never consumed more than 70 MB of RAM even with 10 tabs opened.

This version of Firefox, due to be released next year, has more rendering problems than Firefox 2.0 and doesn't have too many new features (the most notable are Places - a unified interface for bookmarks, history, feeds, and a new data storage layer for bookmarks and history that uses SQL), but the memory management is clearly superior.

You can install the latest build of Firefox 3.0 from this page. For example, the Windows version can be downloaded from here [5.8 MB].

Remember it's an alpha version, so if you have problems, uninstall it and continue to use your current version of Firefox.

Reduce Memory Usage In Firefox

Firefox fixed a number of memory leaks in version, so make sure you have the latest stable version. Now let's optimize Firefox to use less memory and to work faster.

Type about:config in the address bar.

* create a new boolean entry config.trim_on_minimize and set it to true
* set browser.cache.memory.capacity to a fixed size (the default values are: for 256 MB RAM - 14336, 512 MB RAM - 22528, 1 GB RAM - 32768). A good value to try is 16384.
* set browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewers to 0
* change image.animation_mode to none

Go to Tools/Options.

* set the disk cache memory to a low value (less than 50 MB)
* turn off Java
* try to avoid these extensions: Adblock, Fasterfox, IE Tab, Session Saver. Use Adblock Plus instead of Adblock.
* don't use more than 5 extensions

Using these tips, I could make Firefox use 50 MB of RAM on average, from more than 100 MB of RAM before.

If you want to fully optimize your memory, you should try FreeRAM XP Pro, a free program that recovers memory leaks.

Firefox Campus Edition: Firefox for Kids

What is Firefox Campus Edition?

Firefox Campus Edition combines the Firefox web browser with special extras that give you streamlined access to music, cool sites and useful research tools. It's a way to get the most out of the web that's been created just for students. And it's free!

What extras are included?

FoxyTunes lets you control almost any media player and find lyrics, covers, videos, bios and much more with a click right from your browser.

StumbleUpon lets you channel surf the Internet to find great websites, videos, photos and more based on your interests.

Zotero helps you collect, manage, and cite your research sources. It lives right where you do your work - in the web browser itself.

How do I get started using the Campus Edition?

First, download Firefox Campus Edition. After installing the Campus Edition, click on the Firefox icon to get started. The Campus Edition comes pre-installed with three useful add-ons for Firefox. You don't need to download any additional software to get started. For specific instructions on each add-on click here.

I'm already using Firefox. Should I still download the Campus Edition?

No. If Firefox is already installed on your computer, it's best to just download add-ons individually:

Are there detailed instructions available for using the add-ons included with Firefox Campus Edition?

Yes, there are.

What are add-ons?

Add-ons are small pieces of software that can add new features or tiny tweaks to your Firefox. They can add new search engines or dictionaries in other languages, change the look of Firefox with a new theme, and much more.

Where can I find more add-ons?

Visit the Firefox Add-ons web site, where you can choose from hundreds of different, free add-ons. We've got a list of some of our favorite add-ons to get you started.

What operating systems does the Campus Edition work with?

Firefox Campus Edition works on Mac OS X, Linux and Windows platforms. You must have administrator rights to install the Campus Edition.

How do I uninstall the add-ons that are included with the Firefox Campus Edition?

We're sorry to see you've changed your mind! There are a few easy steps to uninstall an add-on.

  1. First, open the Add-ons dialog box by going to Tools->Add-ons

  2. Next, click on the Extensions button on the top

  3. Then, select the add-on you want to uninstall by clicking on it

  4. Click "Uninstall"

  5. Restart Firefox

Solutions to common Firefox 1.5 problems

Troubleshooting Firefox problems - Tips to prevent Firefox issues like hanging, reduce memory usage

Common issues associated with Firefox 1.5

1. Sometimes when you try to restore or maximize a Firefox browser window, Firefox doesn't respond to either mouse clicks or Alt+Tab keys. This is generally due to a memory leak. All you can do is either rightclick the minimized Firefox tab in task bar and click "Close" or kill the firefox.exe process from Windows Task manager and restart Firefox.

2. Did you ever experience Firefox 1.5 crash with the Dr. Watson (drwin.exe) error ? Yes, SessionSaver extension remembers all text your typed in an input text field and saves all open browser tabs in the event of a session error but SessionSaver is not yet ported to Firefox 1.5

3. Firefox may freeze for a moment and then run normally. If you click a hyperlink in Outlook email, Firefox takes a long time to open the webpage and also becomes slow. Or Firefox won't launch until an existing "firefox.exe" process is killed manually from Task Manager. Sometime if you drag and drop some text on the search bar, Firefox will need be restarted.


Smooth browsing with Firefox - Here, in this guide, we will discuss tips and methods to speedup Firefox launch time, save your Firefox 1.5 from freezing unexpectedly and preventing Firefox crashes.

If Mozilla Firefox hangs as soon as you launch the browser, the issue is probably either with an installed extension or a theme. Try running Firefox in Safe Mode (firefox.exe -safe-mode) - If it runs normally, disable or uninstall the problem causing theme or extension.

Firefox can hang is there is a memory leak. Installing too many extensions or opening lot of browser tabs can hog memory. Disable all extension that you haven't used since the past week

Sometimes, my Firefox returns an error when I try to download and save pictures from my Yahoo Photos webpage. The problem disappears when I clear download manager history. The memory usage increases greatly after downloading files unless the Download box is 'cleaned up' after they finish downloading. To do this automatically, change the download manager's history setting to remove files from the download manager "upon successful download".

The Back and Forward button caching functionality -which speeds up the display of recently viewed Web pages can also contribute to memory problems. Disable the fast back/forward caching (bfcache) feature by setting browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewers to 0 using about:config.

Adobe Reader browser plugin can consume huge amounts of memory. To disable the Adobe Reader Firefox plugin, open the Firefox plugins directory and delete or rename the nppdf32.dll file.

Firefox can also crash when you close a tab that is loading or playing a Java Applet - Always disable Java plugin, it will also reduce the CPU usage.

In certain configurations, disabling Mouse Gesture in Firefox helps curb memory spikes.

Don't install Adblock extension with Firefox 1.5 as it causes an increase in Firefox memory usage. Instead use AdBlock Plus.

Setting the browser history to extremely large values will increase memory usage. Keeping the history to a reasonable level is a good idea for this reason.

Install FasterFox tweaking extension - it allows you to prefetch links and tweak many network and rendering settings such as simultaneous connections, pipelining, cache, DNS cache, and initial paint delay.

config.trim_on_minimize - If you experience slow startup after long periods of inactivity (minimized Firefox window or other), it is because the Microsoft Windows Operating System reclaims the memory Firefox used in anticipation that other open applications might need it. This can cause a delay when Firefox is restored. Therefox, you can set the config.trim preference to disallow Windows to reclaim memory from a minimized Mozilla application. Always set config.trim_on_minimize to true in Firefox

Other about:com changes to speed up Firefox:

1. Disable prefetch: go to about:config. Search for prefetch, you'll find network.prefetch-next. Double click it to turn it false if it is on.

2. Limit the memory cache: about:config, new integer, browser.cache.memory.capacity, set it to the memory in KB you want to limit the memory cache to.

I hope these tweaks improve your web browsing experience with Firefox. One last thing, Mozilla has published a list of situations that can lead to massive memory leaks and slow down computers. You can use this to diagnose problem with individual web pages.

  • Bad live bookmark causes Firefox memory usage to grow endlessly and make the browser unstable

  • Memory leak (especially in graphics-intensive webpages), freed upon minimize

  • When saving a picture, HUGE memory leak! Also slows machine down!

  • memory leak if page contains a refresh meta-tag

  • Memory leak when I leave firefox up with a few sub tabs open

  • Firefox begin to eat memory and hangs after opening this URL

  • very slow restore from minimize after memory growth compared to other applications

About memory leak - a process that over time can gradually eat away at system resources. In worst-case scenarios, a memory leak could cause an application to become unstable.

Firefox Extensions That You Thought Were Safe

Chris Soghoian has proved that some very popular Firefox add-ons, including Google Toolbar, Google Browser Sync, Yahoo Toolbar,, Facebook Toolbar, AOL Toolbar, Toolbar, LinkedIn Browser Toolbar may pose a security threat.

By design, each Firefox extension is hard-coded with a unique Internet address that will contact the creator’s update server each time Firefox starts. This feature lets the Firefox browser determine whether a new version of the add-on is available.

Mozilla has always provided a free hosting service for open-source extensions at But many third-party makers opt to serve updates on their own, using servers that often transmit the updates via insecure protocols (think http:// instead of https://).

As a result, if an attacker were to hijack a public Wi-Fi hot spot at a coffeehouse or bookstore — a fairly trivial attack given the myriad free, point-and-click hacking tools available today — he could also intercept this update process and replace a Firefox add-on with a malicious one.

How to resize the Firefox Search Bar

Firefox is a great web browser and one of it’s coolest features is the customizable search bar (located to the right of the address bar). However, in my opinion, the search bar is too small. It’s fine for typing in one word search phrases, but anymore than two search words get truncated. Here is a short tutorial that will show you how to make the search bar larger.

To make the search bar longer, we need to add a couple of CSS rules to a file named userChrome.css. This file is located in your profile directory and can sometimes be hard to find. So our first task will be to install the Chrome Edit extension to make finding and modifying this file easier.

You can install the Chrome Edit Extension from :

After installing the extension, restart Firefox.

Next, click on the Tools menu and choose Edit User Files. You will be shown a new window that has five tabs on it. These tabs represent all of the user files that you can modify to customize the Firefox browser. The first tab will be named userChrome.css – this is the file that we want to modify.

Scroll to the end of the file and add the following CSS rule:

/* Make the Search box flex wider(in this case 400 pixels wide) */

#searchbar {

-moz-box-flex: 400 !important;


#search-container {

-moz-box-flex: 400 !important;


Save the file, by clicking the Save button at the bottom of the Chrome Edit window and restart Firefox.

Now you will notice that your search bar is bigger, and in fact will resize itself as you resize the browser window.

Via DigitalMediaMinute.

How Firefox generates revenue for US Government

Jason Calacanis recently said that Mozilla made $72M just from the Google Search button that you see on the top right hand corner of every Firefox browser.

Here's how Mozilla makes money. When you search the web with that box, Mozilla gets a cut whenever you click on a sponsored link (Google Ads) displayed in search results.

Christopher Blizzard of Mozilla Corporation confirmed the rumour - the dollar amount [$72m] is not correct, though not off by an order of magnitude.

And unlike the non-profit Mozilla Foundation, the Mozilla Corporation is a taxable entity. So even the US Government is making money from Firefox.

Source: Mozilla Corp. Wiki | CRN

Learn to Create a Firefox Search Plugin in Less Than 2 Minutes

Almost every blog has a site search form where you just type in the search query and press enter to digg through the archives of that blog. The only drawback here is that you first have to visit the site homepage to locate the search box. And there's also a possibility that the site has no search form at all.

This tutorial will show you a very simple Firefox hack that allows you to search any blog straight from the Firefox search bar without having to visit the actual blog. And there's something for IE users as well.

First the not-so-good approach though it works with IE: Type the following query in the Google IE toolbar or in the Firefox Search Box with Google selected as the default engine: adobe captivate

This query will retrieve all documents about Adobe Captivate on Digital Inspiration. You can replace with any site URL that you intend to search.

You may have know the above trick already but it's tedious since you have to type lot of information for even a one word query. Hence, the simplest way is to add the site search feature to your Firefox search bar itself. Here's how you do it.

Open the Firefox search plugins directory [generally C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\searchplugins]. Create a new text file using Notepad and paste the following code:

name="Firefox Facts"

<input name="q" user>
<input name="sitesearch" value="">

You can change Firefox Facts and depending on which site you want to search from the Firefox search bar.

Save the above file with an src extension in the same directory [like "di.src"]

If you like to see a nice icon next to the search name, add a 16x16 gif file with exactly the same name in the same location where you placed the di.src file.

That's it - Restart firefox, type Ctrl+K or Ctrl + E to reach the Firefox Search Box, choose the above engine from the drop-down list and start searching. It makes searching your favorite blogs so much simple and fast.

Firefox Running Slow? Make It Fast Again Without Re-Installation

firefox speed slowProblem: You cannot imagine life without Firefox but over time, your favorite browser keeps getting slower and slower.

Not only is it slow, Firefox sometimes hangs for no reason, consumes a large amount of memory and CPU usage can climb to 90% or more when you have multiple tabs open simultaneously.

You have uninstalled most of the extensions and toolbars, deleted all the cookies and internet temporary files, cleared up the file download queue and disabled the background check for software updates - but none of this has helped you speed-up Firefox.

Solution: This is a common problem especially if you have been running Firefox for some time - I don't know why Firefox slows down but here's a small trick to rejuvenate the aged copy of Firefox without doing a fresh install.

Step 1: Start Firefox and export your bookmarks as a file on your hard-drive (we'll need them later).

fast firefox browser

Step 2: Type firefox.exe - P in the Run box of Windows. (see screenshot)

Step 3: Click the Create Profile button without making any modifications to your existing profile (which is normally called "default")

Firefox Very Slow

Now when you Start Firefox in the new profile, you are very likely to be impressed with the speed. You can import the bookmarks that you saved in Step 1. If you have made any changes to the Firefox Dictionary, copy the persdict.dat word list file from the old profile folder to the new one.

Yes, there won't be any old Firefox add-ons in the new profile but the browser will be extremely quick and won't hog the CPU - just the way you want Firefox to run on your computer.

And if you ever need to revert to the old profile, just type Firefox -P again and click the old profile. Nothing is lost.

Firefox Keyboard Shortcuts List (PDF)

I had so much fun assembling the Windows XP Keyboard Shortcuts, and they proved to be so popular, that I put together another one just for Firefox. In addition to the shortcuts, I included additional reference information for configuring Firefox<.


Download the Firefox Keyboard Shortcuts tri-fold. Just as with the latest version of the Windows XP Keyboard Shortcuts, do not forget to print double-sided on a single sheet of paper. Also be sure to validate the driver is set to print in landscape.

Run Google Talk in Firefox Sidebar

google talk in webpage

The Google Talk Gadget is clearly more usable than the stand-alone GTalk desktop client or the floating AJAX version in GMail.

Here, each chat session opens up as a tab (like Firefox browser tabs), it can show previews of images or video and the chat client can easily be embedded inside webpages.

There's however a small problem - while we have browser windows in front of us all the time, the same may not hold true for the webpage (like the Google personalized page) where we have embedded the GTalk gadget.

So here's an alternate option - put the Google Talk client in the Firefox sidebar so it always stays in the foreground no matter what website you are on currently.

To add Google Talk to your Firefox sidebar, bookmark the following URL (right-click and choose Bookmark this link)

Now goto Bookmarks menu, navigate to the above bookmark, right click and choose Properties. Tick the checkbox that says Load this bookmark in the sidebar.


Update: An employee of an investment bank writes that their organization has banned Google talk in office but using the above method, he was able to circumvent the GTalk ban and could chat with friend out the firewalls of his office.

Google Talk gadget will always open in the Firefox Sidebar.

Firefox Search Bar

The Firefox Search Bar in the upper-right corner, sitting next to the address bar, is one of the most frequently used feature inside Firefox.

You can do a lot of tweaking to the Firefox search bar like Add new search engines, delete unused search engines, change the order of search engines, delete autocomplete, change the default search engine or even resize the width of the search bar. We discuss each tip in detail here (also applicable to Flock):

How to add a new search engine to Firefox search bar ?

The Firefox Search bar comes pre-loaded with Google, Yahoo, Amazon, eBay,, and Creative Commons search. If you'd like to add more search engines to the search bar, click on a search engine name here or browse the full directory of search engine plug-ins at mycroft. Alternatively, click the down arrow next to the G in the search box, and choose Add Engines.

How do I remove a search engine from Firefox search bar ?

To Uninstall a Firefox search plugin, open the searchplugins folder situated in the Mozilla Firefox 1.5 installation directory (C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\). Sort the entire folder by name so that files selected with any search engine stay together at one place.

Delete both .src and .gif or .png search plugin files for the search engine you want to remove. For example, to remove the eBay search engine, you would delete the files "ebay.src" and "ebay.gif". Restart Firefox and the search engine will be deleted forever. Any custom search engines may be located in the Firefox Profile folder inside Windows Application Data folder.

There's even a Firefox extension for uninstalling Firefox search plugins - just right click on a search plugin and choose Delete.

How do I rearrange the order of search engines in Firefox ?

Search engines are added to Firefox search bar at the bottom. As your list of search engine grows, you may want to sort the order and place the maximum used search engine at the top. Here's how change the order in which the engines are shown in the Firefox search bar.

Type about:config in the Firefox location bar.

Type in the filter.

Now change the values as you wish to reorder.

For example, to make Yahoo as the top engine and Google just next, make the following changes: = Yahoo = Google

The other easy option to change the order is download Search Plugin Manager that lets you re-sort the search plugin list in the Mozilla Firefox browser as well as rename, edit, delete or hide search plugins.

Search Engine Ordering is another related search bar plugin that lets you even create new firefox search plugins beside installing, deleting or arranging existing ones. Just Drag-n-Drop to change the order as you want or right click somewhere in the menu to sort them alphabetically.

ImHow do I resize the Firefox Search Bar ?

To change the width of the Firefox Search bar, you can either download the resize search box firefox extension or do it manually. Add the following lines of code to userChrome.css file located inside the chrome folder of Firefox profile directory.

/* Make the Firefox Search box flex wider */

#search-container, #searchbar {

width: 400px !important;


This is much easier if you get the chromEdit extension, which allows you to edit userChrome.css, userContent.css or user.js, without the hassle of finding your profile.

How do I delete autocomplete entries (history) inside the Search Bar ?

The Firefox search bar and some form fields on web pages have autocomplete dropdowns that appear with a list of previously-entered data. To delete individual entries, Click on the text area, press down to activate autocomplete, highlight the entry you want deleted, and press Shift + Delete.

You can clear the previous searches from the Search Bar. Just right-click it and select "Clear Search History".

You can disable the display of autocomplete entries by adding the following lines to userChrome.css

/* Remove autocomplete dropdown */

#PopupAutoComplete > .autocomplete-tree { display: none !important; }

How do I customize a search engine plugin in 30 seconds ?

Say you have already installed a search plugin that uses You want to change the default behaviour so that the same plugin now searches using or if you are in Spain.

Open the searchplugins folder located inside the Firefox installation directory. Open the file google.src with a text editor like notepad and make a simple change in the following line


change this to..

action="" or


Save the file, quite notepad and restart Firefox.

Using the Firefox Search Bar - Keyboard Shortcuts

To search, click in the Search Bar (or press "Ctrl+K") and start typing. Hit "Enter" and your search will be run. You can use "Alt+Enter" to open search results in a new tab.

The Search Bar supports more than one search engine. To see the list of available engines click the icon at the left of the bar, and a list showing the choices will appear. You can also use "Ctrl+Up"/"Ctrl+Down" to cycle between the available choices.

How do I auto-resize the Firefox search bar as I type

The Searchbar Autosizer Firefox Extension makes the searchbar fit its contents. It auto expands the searchbar if needed, and shrinks it if you don't have anything typed in you'd probably want to read.

This is especially useful, when the URL- and Searchbar share the same toolbar, so that both can be as wide as possible - but it works in every toolbar.

How do I create my own search engine plugin for Firefox search bar ?

Technically, a search plug-in is a text file that describes the information to send to a search engine and how to interpret the results. A small icon completes the plug-in so that search plug-ins are easily recognized. If you want to know more, read the documentation.

Even O'Reilly has detailed tutorial on creating a Firefox search plugin from scratch. They create a search plugin to search inside the Whitehouse website. More instructions here.

Though the Google Toolbar for Firefox provides a similar search box, it is not as versatile or customizable as the native Firefox search engine toolbar. If the drop down search engine bar in firefox is not working, try clearing the Firefox searchplugins folder and add your favorite search engines again from mycroft search plugins database.

Firefox Asterisk Revealer

I usually choose the "Remember" option for logins in Firefox because I just can't remember them all and I rarely make backups, so today I needed to use an uncapped account, but the password was wrong.

I had 2 options, waste my time and phone Telkom or hack it wide open...


Google search, usually the only solution database for me, displayed some links that looked so random that I almost gave up but then one just stood out from within those blue results, for it was quite a current post.

Heres the gist:

Whilst on a page with any saved password that is masked in asterisks, paste the following code into the Firefox address bar and hit enter. A popup will appear with the password for that login page.

Firefox 2.0 Tutorial: Add New RSS Readers or Change the Default Feed Reader

Firefox 2.0 has introduced some very effecient XML feed management features that makes life easy for people who subscribe to RSS feeds from the browser.

You now don't have to copy-paste XML feed URLs in the RSS reader of your choice in order to subscribe to the feed or hunt for those rectangular subscription icons that spell like "Add to Bloglines" or "Add to MyYahoo".

The RSS subscription is greatly simplified in Firefox 2.0. If the visiting site supports RSS syndication, Firefox browser adds an XML Orange icon on the address bar indicating that RSS feeds are available for subscription.

Though this feature has been available since Firefox 1.5, the difference in version 2.0 is that you can subscribe to RSS feeds using any web based or desktop RSS reader, you are not limited to Sage extension or Firefox Live Bookmarks.

How to subscribe to a feed using Bloglines/Google Reader/My Yahoo inside Firefox 2.0 ?

Step 1: Click the orange icon in the Firefox address bar:

Step 2: Click the Subscribe now button on the next page:

How do I change the default RSS reader in Firefox 2.0 ?

Goto Tools->Options and select Choose Feed Reader from the General tab. You'll see a dialog like the one below. Just select the new RSS reader from the list and click OK.

My RSS reader in not mentioned in the list. How do I add a new aggregator to the list or delete an existing one ?

To add a web based RSS reader to Firefox

Step 1: Open a new tab in Firefox by pressing Ctrl+T and type about:config to open the Firefox configuration page.

Step 2: Type browser.contentHandlers in the Filter text box and press enter.

Step 3. You will see entries like browser.contentHandlers.types.0/1/2.. The numbers indicate the count of web based rss readers already configured by Firefox.

Option 1. Let's overwrite an existing reader - say you never use bloglines but read all your feeds in Newsgator online, AOL, Rojo or Pluck - then you can just replace Bloglines with any of them. Here's the trick:

Double click the line that says bloglines and type the RSS reader name that you are replacing with.

Next, double click the types.n.uri value and replace it with the following:

Newsgator -

Rojo -

My MSN -

Option 2: Add a new RSS reader to Firefox without touching the existing ones

Suppose 4 is the next available number so right click on the page and choose New->String

Enter the following in the Preferences Name:

When prompted for the value, type

Repeat the above step to add the following two values:
browser.contentHandlers.types.4.title -> Pluck or AOL or other name
browser.contentHandlers.types.2.uri -> depending on the service you have choose, add the subscription URL like for Rojo.

How to add a desktop based RSS reader to Firefox.

Right click, choose string and add the following key:


In the value field, type the full location where the desktop rss reader executable is placed.

For the default installation of Feeddemon, I use the following value
C:\Program Files\FeedDemon\FeedDemon.exe

Search shortcuts for Firefox

Everyone who has ever used my computer, even for a moment, has taken a particular liking to my search shortcuts — most notably gg, my shortcut to Google.

I'm doing Google searches all the time. Whenever I have a question about anything, I don't hesitate to grab my laptop and look it up on Google. If I had to go to, wait for the site to load, and click in the search box before I could type in my query and search, it would slow me down.

After reading that, you probably think I'm crazy. But yes, that little bit of extra work would slow me down. I search a lot!

So what is my more efficient solution? It's simple: Firefox bookmark keywords. If you don't understand them, I recommend that you go look at the LifeHacker article about them.

I've published some of my more useful search shortcuts here. Firefox users can simply right-click on the link and choose Bookmark This Link. Then, go into Organize Bookmarks and add keywords to them. I also recommend grouping the search shortcuts into a folder called Search to keep some sanity in the Bookmark menu.

Google Search - keyword: gg
Google Maps - keyword: map
Google Image Search - keyword: img
IMDB Lookup - keyword: imdb
Dictionary - keyword: dc
Thesaurus - keyword: th
Wikipedia - keyword: wiki

After saving the bookmarks, don't forget to add the keywords. The shortcuts are useless without them. Oh, and if you don't use Firefox, you're out of luck.

With the shortcuts, you can now go to the address bar and type gg britney spears to learn everything you want to know about annoying pop singers. But that would be useless.

More useful would be, when you're looking at the web site for a local sushi restaurant and you see their address on the page, you could copy it from the page and paste it into the address bar, typing map before it, so you have something like map 401 N Michigan Ave Chicago. Just a few keystrokes gets you the directions you're looking for.

What's the Ctrl Key for Anyway?

Most of us are familiar with the Ctrl key, located at the bottom right and bottom left on our keyboards, because we either press it to restart (Ctrl+Alt+Del) our computers or press it to log on to a network (also Ctrl+Alt+Del). But this little used key has many uses that can make our lives much easier.

As lover of keyboard shortcuts, I'm going to post a few keyboard shortcuts that use the Ctrl key. Some will have generic use for all programs.

Ctrl + P Brings up the print dialog box. This is much faster than navigating to File>Print. As far as I know, all programs use this shortcut.

Ctrl + B / I Pressing this key combination bolds / Italicize the selected text (when in Excel or text editors), open the bookmark panel in firefox

Ctrl + U set bold for text when in editors, view source in Firefox.

Ctrl + E Focus on search

Ctrl + L In the Firefox browser, pressing this key combination will move the cursor to the Address Bar. In Internet Explorer you will be presented with a dialog box similar to the Address Bar where you can type a URL. Internet Explorer savvys can also use the IE shortcut Alt + D

Ctrl + D Bookmark a page

Ctrl + F Find (Work on most Windows and Linux programs). Firefox also have a quickfind key "/"

Ctrl + Enter Complete .com address

Ctrl + Shift + Enter Complete .org address

Spread Firefox v.2

The folks over at Spread Firefox have created a new version of their sfx site. You can still visit the old one here, but I'd recommend you check out this new one. A lot of it is still under construction and there is not a lot of activity to browse through, but it appears to me that it will be worth it.

The new sfx includes a points system, project pages that you can be a part of to help market and develop Firefox, and the Mozilla marketing department will also promote their projects there as well. Currently the featured project is the "Extend Firefox 2 Contest." It is a developer contest to "encourage development and innovation in Web experience through add-ons to Firefox 2." The winner gets the "Ultimate Firefox Developer Kit."

Firefox Mars

Work of

Firefox 3 Beta 1 - 429,000 Downloads

Source: Paula Rooney- ZDNet

The Mozilla Foundation reports that nearly 500,000 copies of Firefox 3 beta 1 have been downloaded since its release last week and two more beta test versions will follow before its final release next year.

During a brief meeting Monday, developers said Firefox 3 Beta 2 will be released by the end of the year and beta 3 will follow in early 2008.

The Firefox team said more than 429,000 copies have been downloaded to date and that roughly 100,000 of those are active beta testers.

The next beta test versions will incorporate the visual user interface redesigns for Windows Vista, Linux and Mac OSX, which gives the browser a more appropriate look-and-feel depending on the operating system used. Users who load beta 1 on Mactinosh are currently invited to test a protoype of the Firefox 3 theme for Mac OSX, dubbed Proto., which is also in beta testing as an add-on to Firefox.

Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition Released (Firefox on USB), Now Multilingual

For the portable fans out there, Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition has been released. And, as introduced in the release, it's being released in English, German, French and Italian. For the unfamiliar, it's Firefox packaged with a Launcher so you can carry Firefox with you on a USB flash drive, iPod, portable hard drive, or other portable device and use it on any Windows computer you plug into (Windows 98 through Vista as well as Wine under Linux). All your bookmarks, settings, passwords and extensions are self-contained on your device and none of your personal data is left behind.  It's also a great way to demonstrate Firefox's features to friends and family on their own PCs.

We need a little help getting the word out about the new languages as we don't have translated homepages for Italian and French yet (we're still picking translation leads for other languages), so if you speak French or Italian (or German or English, for that matter) and would like to help get the word out, we'd love the help.

As always, Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition is packaged in Format so it easily integrates with the free and open source Suite and can be used to upgrade an existing installation just by installing over it.

You can get it from the Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition homepage. You can get the German release from the German homepage and the French and Italian releases from the Localization page. Get it today!

Related: Firefox 3 portable

Firefox Message

Spreading Firefox, One User at a Time

Why a messaging document?
The goal of this document is to provide a few key points you can use to communicate why people should choose Firefox. There are many millions of Internet users around the world who don’t understand why Firefox is different from Internet Explorer or Safari, and quite possibly aren’t even aware that the web browser is even a choice to make.

This document doesn’t try to cover every last Firefox feature, but instead focuses on three specific points of differentiation that are easy to understand and compelling enough to convince people to switch browsers. By using these points as the basis for our communications (even if everyone puts them in their own words), we’ll be delivering a powerful and unified message.

How do I use this information?
This is for anyone who wants to spread the word about Firefox, whether you’re a Mozilla employee, an active community member or a casual user looking for reasons to explain to a friend why they should switch from IE. You can quote them verbatim or rephrase the most relevant bits in your own words. They can be used in speeches, interviews, blogs, message boards, casual conversation, etc…whenever and wherever you communicate what’s great about Firefox.

Who are we talking to?
Anyone who will listen! In the broadest sense, this messaging could apply to all Internet users, but more specifically this is geared towards people who are reasonably savvy but aren’t familiar with the technical aspects of the web. Most likely, they aren’t regular Firefox users…as noted above, we want to give them persuasive reasons to change that.

Three Distinct Firefox Advantages

1. Security
Main point:
•    Firefox is the safest way to use the Internet.

Supporting points:
•    We start with safety – We engage security experts before we even start development so we can identify and address potential problems before a single line of code is written.
•    We build Firefox to be safe – Keeping people safe online is a big reason why Firefox exists. We take security very seriously, which is why we open our development process to allow security researchers to contribute at any point and on any topic. If a critical bug is discovered, we’ll make it public so it can be fixed as soon as possible.
•    We actively work to keep Firefox safe – Security doesn’t stop once the product has shipped. We’re constantly monitoring threats and releasing new Firefox updates to stay ahead of the bad guys. Because we’re open source, we have an entire community of users around the world who help us make your web browsing safer.

Other Considerations:
•    It’s important to give concrete examples of potential threats rather than just mentioning the abstract concept of “security”. People can easily relate to the ideas of identity theft, stolen credit cards, viruses, spyware and phishing, so explaining how Firefox helps prevent these things is key.  
•    Specific Firefox security features include anti-phishing alerts, password manager, protection from spyware and automatic security updates.
•    The reality is that there are people out there who want to steal your personal information. That’s why we’re constantly refining Firefox with security updates every 6-8 weeks (and more often if a fix is needed to address a critical issue) to stay one step ahead.
•    The main reason Firefox is safer is because of our open process, which allows us to identify, acknowledge and fix bugs more quickly than the competition.

2. Customization
Main point:
•    When it comes to web browsing, we believe that one size doesn’t fit all.

Supporting points:
•    Firefox has the most ways to customize your online experience specifically for the way you use the web.
•    Add-ons (small pieces of software that augment Firefox to meet your unique needs) enhance the browser so you can be more productive, have more fun and be more creative online. For example, you can use the 3000+ Firefox add-ons to:
     - communicate and stay in touch
     - find the best shopping deals
     - listen to music
     - protect your kids from inappropriate sites
     - access the latest news and weather reports
     - and much more…
•    There are also many different themes that let you express yourself by decorating your browser in a variety of ways.

Other considerations:
•    The key challenge is getting people to think about the browser in a new way…that it’s more than just a utility. The browser isn’t just a static window to the Internet, it can be an active part of the Internet itself.
•    It’s important to demonstrate the specific benefits of add-ons…the message isn’t customization, it’s why customization makes people’s Internet experiences better.
•    It’s also important to remember the audience here…for consumer messaging, we want to focus on add-ons that are easy to explain and have the broadest possible appeal. In other words, this means referencing ones like eBay, FotoFox, FoxyTunes, etc rather than the more developer-centric ones.
•    Using a familiar, non-technical analogy to convey a fairly technical concept is a very effective way of communicating the role add-ons can play in your web experience. For example, using add-ons is like designing your living space at work or building with blocks.

3. 100% Organic Software
Main point:
•    Firefox is good for you: it stands for openness, innovation and freedom on the Internet.

Supporting points:
•    We’re a public benefit, not-for-profit organization devoted to enriching people’s lives by preserving choice and innovation on the Internet (as opposed to being motivated by profits, shareholder value, usage of proprietary technology, etc.)
•    We’re a global, grassroots effort – Mozilla’s products are a result of a collaboration between employees, volunteers, universities, foundations and corporate partners. Firefox was created by an international movement of hundreds of thousands of people from wildly different backgrounds, all seeking to develop the world’s best browser.
•    Open source means a better browser for the 120 million regular Firefox users. We open up our process to anyone and everyone in order to encourage the innovation and development of exciting new technologies that will keep pushing the web forward and making it a better place for all.

Other considerations:
•    The “100% organic software” concept sums up a fairly complex situation using a metaphor people can easily recognize. Organic stands for something that’s better for you, something trusted, something of higher quality…all key ingredients of Mozilla and Firefox.
•    We need to focus less on the technical aspects of open source, which is hard for people to understand, and concentrate more on the tangible user benefits – innovation, accessibility, freedom, a better web, etc – to reach more potential users.
•    A great example of the power of open source is the fact that Mozilla only has roughly 100 employees, yet is able to compete with some of the biggest companies in the world because of our amazing international community.
•    Although the 100% organic concept really applies to the Mozilla organization as a whole, for our consumer messaging we need to show how this process ties back in to Firefox…the organic nature of our software development has created a healthier, higher quality browser that makes the web better for you.

Firefox pencils

Custom Firefox pencils

The firefox counter

Curious about how much times firefox was downloaded? Add a counter from one of those location

html counter

The Firefox download counter is now also available as an RSS feed that updates each minute. This counter does not include upgrades of Firefox initiated through the application update mechanism, and we believe it to be an accurate measure of downloads since the 1.0 release in November.

The community has created a number of tools to enable you to syndicate this number with ease through a variety of mediums:

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