Firefox Session Manager

Firefox Zealotry Time… Yes again.

How many times have you shutdown Firefox and then thought “Bugger I actually needed that screen… oh well I can get it from the history”. The problem being that you never do until whoever was chasing you for the info starts yelling.

So what you need is a way for Firefox to remember what you were doing and which tab was logged into what and which password you had used to authenticate and you need the Session Manager Extension. Using it allows you start up again and have everything come back just the way the way it was.

Here is the hype …

Session Manager :: Mozilla Add-ons :: Add Features to Mozilla Software

Session Manager saves and restores the state of all windows – either when you want it or automatically at startup and after crashes. Additionally it offers you to reopen (accidentally) closed windows and tabs. If you’re afraid of losing data while browsing – this extension allows you to relax…

Sounds cool huh? It isn’t perfect , like my dream is to have the session info be able to travel from machine to machine. But it is a good place to start.

Sadly I have just noticed that the developer wont be continuing development on through Version 2. Lets hope someone will pick it up and keep it going.

Got 15 minutes and Windows XP? Time for a Tune-Up

There are about a million of these “go faster” things on the net, dont believe me? Type windows xp tuneup into Google and it will find over 2 million pages.

So how do you find a good one? Tricky.

First get your expectations in order.
If you have an old “4 cylinder 2 door with a lift up back” PC no amount of tweaking and clean-up is going to get it to perform like one of those fancy “briight red V12 Ferrari” PCs. In all honesty it isn’t going to run as well as it did when you first got it.

Why? Well the never-ending flood of Microsoft patches , virus checking updates, firewalls, antispyware updates, and a system tray that takes up half the bottom of your screen would be good culprits. All these things add up over time. And NO you cant just delete them all. Your PC would have a life expectancy measured in milliseconds once you connected it to the net.

But all that being said. It is still worth doing.

Here is the blurb from a post at Tweak3D…

A fine-tuned Windows XP PC can run quite fast even it’s seriously lacking in the memory and CPU department. Before you chuck out your PC to buy a new one, try stripping some of the rust that’s built-up over the years; the results may surprise you.

It’s probably your operating system that’s slow, not the PC. It’s software, not hardware – you know, invisible 1s and 0s held in an electric field representing your data. Your computer is still fast, but there’s a ton of stuff slowing it down. There’s more 1s where there should be 0s and your PC is killing itself fighting an impossible battle to burn off this fat.

We’ve seen Pentium II machines with 128 MB RAM run XP faster than Pentium IVs with 4x the clock speed and 4x the RAM – so what gives? This article will help you figure out why your PC is running slow and outline exact steps to fix it quickly, before throwing in the towel with a format, restore, or new PC purchase. – Windows XP 15 Minute Tune-Up

I remember reading an article that said most people would rather buy a new PC and start again from scratch than do all this stuff. Some people dont have that option.

I sent you WHAT???

A friend of mine has had one of those embarrassing little gotchas… he used a “public” computer and either didn’t log off from his yahoo account or the machine just remembered ALL the passwords it ever has had typed into it.

Either way, an email was sent from his account and even though the content of the message was obviously way way way out of character, the recipient chose to believe it. (Which is probably the justification for me writing a book on human psychology rather than a blog post).

Now I will probably need to do this in a couple of parts (it’s a big topic). So lets start with “friendly” browsers.

As a rule of thumb if you “borrow” a PC to just quickly check your email and the only browser offer is IE run away be very careful… my favourite warning sign is to start typing in the address. If the AUTOCOMPLETE kicks in then there is a good chance that the remember passwords option is on.

The AutoComplete and remember password features are intended to save you time and typing by remembering text you’ve recently entered and automatically filling it in again if the browser thinks it recognizes what you’re typing. If you’ve been to different areas of the same site, the browser may also present you with a list of addresses to choose from.

AutoComplete can also remember user names and passwords and information used in Web forms. If you’d prefer not to use the feature — or want to erase any stored passwords or form information — you can adjust your browser settings.

So where to look to turn it off.
In IE, go to Tools > Internet Options. Click on the Content tab and then on the AutoComplete button.

In the AutoComplete settings box, you can see what information the browser will remember and this is also where you clear out stored passwords and form data.

For the 59% of you reading this using IE go and have a look now… we’ll wait.

All done? Good. I would write down that path so that you can go there at the end of your session and flush out where you have been.

It wont stop determined people but it will help stop drive by “alleged jokers”.

Also have a look at a previous post on “Delete your history in windows

Next we will have a look how to tell where the email came from (as opposed to what the FROM line says).

Your homework is to head over to Spam Links – reading email headers page and have a browse.

The resources on that page will help you to understand what the different parts of an email header mean, and how that can help you to trace an emails path.

Keep in mind “just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean you’re wrong”.

BoxCloud – Really Really Simple File Sharing

Back in early March I had a look at the whole emailin bloody big files thing, see Send Large Files Easily. Since then it’s all gotten a lot trickier. Eventually you are going to find that sometimes email isn’t enough.

For instance, what are you going to do with that 50 meg photo that you have to send to 5 people (that’s 250M folks, your entire Bigpond budget account’s bandwidth in one fell swoop).

Well instead of uploading it 5 times, how about uploading it just once to some place on the internet and then tell everyone where it is.

Good plan except for one little gotcha. Where exactly is that place? Well maybe it’s your PC, stroll over to BoxCloud for some “Dead-simple file sharing”

Let’s start with some hype…

BoxCloud is a dead simple way for sharing files with people you know. We feel that sharing files today is much harder than it needs to be:

Email is a pain to use for large files
Online storage solutions have size restrictions
FTP servers are not for everyone

BoxCloud’s drag and share functionality makes sharing files a snap through a small application you install on your desktop. You decide what to share and with whom. Once shared, people can then access your files using a regular browser – they don’t need to download or configure anything. The web-based interface is so simple even your grandparents will use it.
No holds barred

and here is the BIGGY folks, they let you share the files without making the person you are sending it to signup (and a good thing as it’s a 17M download). How cool is that?

Have a look and see what you think.

Tech CheatSheets and Reference Guides

Don’t know about you, but if you can’t find the manual to look up Appendix C (have you ever noticed how nearly everytime you need tech info, it’s in Appendix C) a cheat sheet is the next best thing.

Over at Tech Cheat Sheets is a collection of the best cheat sheets and quick reference guides you are likely to find on the web. Arranged by tags, you can subscribe to a feed for only the tags you want to monitor. So if there’s a specific technology topic you’re looking for, such as Ruby,you can subscribe to that tag with your feed reader and have all the Ruby cheat sheets delivered right to you as they are added to the site.

Very handy.

Web Developer Extension

(Even More) FireFox Goodness.

There I was last Friday, explaining to a client about how a quick hack I wrote for their website worked and using the Web Developer Extension to show them how the CSS worked and what the bits were called, when I realised that I have only ever mentioned this extension in passing ( and seeing as how I spent more time showing the client how Web Developer worked than the hack) I thought it might be worth having a quick look at today.

Lets start with some hype…

Website Developer Extension

Web Developer Extension for FireFox is an extremely useful add-on for FireFox that allows web developers to analyze the compete structure of the page, including elements like CSS style sheets, forms, cookie data, ID and Class details, Java Scripts, images and much more. It also allows you to edit the current style sheet of the page and see the effects in real-time, load a user defined style sheet, or disable styles altogether. The extensive outlining options allow you to visualize the CSS and HTML elements of the page by outlining tables, DIVs, frames or any other element that you define. You can also view form input data along with field names and values and manipulate forms for testing. Other features include links to online code validations, browser window resizing, source viewer with syntax highlighting and more.

So from a quick scan of all that we can see

  • A: It is a “swiss army knife” type of tool
  • B: It doesn’t make coffee

What I really love about this extension is that it doesn’t force you to use it “their” way. In fullscreen mode? No problem. The Web Developer extension adds a menu as well as a toolbar to the browser in full screen mode you just have to right click and there is the Web Developer menu.

This is one of those can’t live without extensions, along with Scrapbook and Performancing. I use it for checking how other websites solve problems, achieve certain effects, how a site looks at different screen sizes, you name it.Notice something not quite right in the layout, there are rulers, an on the fly CSS editor so you can make the adjustments live and then copy the CSS file back to the server when you get it right.

If you haven’t loaded up a copy of FireFox and you have a cursory interest in webpage design you need to , get Firefox and download this extension. Then head over to say Digital Grin for a quick tutorial.

Go on do it now. We’ll wait.

If you use a MAC have a look at Xyle scope (it costs about US$20) and comes highly recommended.

Overview : Xyle scope : Cultured Code or
mezzoblue § Xyle scope

For me I’ll just pop a few bucks in Chris’ Pay-pal account.

Update: Firebug by Joe Hewitt is another extension that offers similar great tools. Haven’t had a crack at it as yet, but it gets good press. Caveat Emptor.