Sunday, September 21, 2008

Config Roundup

My gosh, it's been a while! Doesn't time fly :)

With the release of Firefox 3, I thought I'd take the opportunity to clean up my bookmarks, and post a collection of interesting web pages. These all contain some excellent about:config tricks, both for Firefox 2 & 3. And of course, in most cases, these tips also work for other products based on the XUL/Firefox runtime (Songbird, Flock).

Without further ado :

Happy Tweaking!

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hacking Firefox: ComputerWorld Article

This blog was originally named after my hacking attempts with Firefox. Most of this hacking was at the configuration level, which can be got at by typing about:config in the address bar.

I saw today on Digg, that ComputerWorld has written an article called "Hacking Firefox: The secrets of about:config".

It’s not a bad read, and does a good job of informing the user that they may knacker their Firefox installation if they’re not careful ;-)

So, go take a look:

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Firefox 2.0 Tweaks already!

Lifehacker just posted a great blog about some new config settings in Firefox 2.

Some of the new tweaks include:

  • Automatic Session restore (with Form entries!)

  • Tab width before scrolling kicks in

  • Tab close buttons

  • Fetch only what you click

  • Limit RAM usage

  • Turn off chrome tooltips

For those of you on Firefox 2.0 (you mean you aren't yet?) go check it out at

Top Firefox 2 Config Tweaks

You can also visit the Mozilla about:config wikipedia page for even more tips.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Google Co-Op Custom Search Engine

So, I've been playing around with the Google Co-Op Custom Search Engine tool, that got released today.

For those who don't know me (all 5 of you who read this) I'm a Lotus Notes/Domino developer. So I thought the best search engine I could use would be for this very subject.

Here's what I've got so far:

Lotus Notes/Domino Search-O-Rama

Interestingly, it allows you to highlight results from certain sites. You can see I've added, Jake Howlett's excellent Domino sites, and a few others, including Ed Brill's site.

If you know do a search, without any Domino terms, for example:

Saving a document from the web

you get back a set of documents that do relate to Lotus Notes. That's because I've "seeded" the search engine with those terms already. It's quite handy.

One thing it does allow is for collaboration, so if anyone else wants to get involved with this, just use the "Volunteer to contribute to this search engine" link on the main search page!

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Google Docs & Spreadsheets

So, Google's finally managed to pull together Writely and Spreadsheets! They've just released Google Docs & Spreadsheets, kind of a central repository for all your documents and spreadsheets, and I have to say, it's pretty darn good!

As well as creating and uploading your files, it has one killer function, which is the ability to email documents into your account. Any attachment supported (Word, Openoffice, Excel) emailed as an attachment, get's detached and added to your document list. Brillant. I can see I'll be using this extensivly.

Go check it out at :

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Apple Store Pricing Sucks

OK, it's time for grumble.

I was looking at purchasing Aperture 1.5 from Apple. I'm not a professional photographer, but I do take a lot, and Picasa on Windows and iPhoto on the Mac don't seem to cut it for me. I wanted something more stable (iPhoto takes ages to load with 5 years of photo's in it).

So, I took at look at the UK Apple store and it was listed at £219 inc tax. Not bad, I know it was originally over £2000. Just out of interested I pulled up the US Apple Store. $299.

Hang on, I though. That's like £160. So I added a Florida Zipcode (relatives house) to the basket, and got a final price of $319.

To cut a long story short, I checked out the US, UK and Ireland Stores, and found the following pricing differences.

Pricing correct as of 26/09/2006. Conversion prices from

So, the UK and Ireland pretty much on the same price. But there's a massive gap between them and the US. Taking the above, the UK difference to the US is over £50! That means that UK Aperture user are paying a 24% premium for the same package.

I rang the UK Apple store and spoke to someone about the pricing. They tried the "The US tax is less" trick, but that didn't wash, as the untaxed price is still a lot different. They then admitted that the US prices just were cheaper. When I intimated that I had friends who regularly travelled to the US, he admitted that it would be cheaper for them to buy it for me, and that it would work perfectly well on my Mac.

Does anyone else think that Apple are taking the piss? Talk about rip-off Britain (and Ireland this time).

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

GoDaddy Hosting and Search Engine URL's

I've recently put up a new site, and had real trouble trying to get search engine friendly URL's working.

The following URL,
isn't very nice for search engines, as they tend to ignore the variable part, just leaving 
to be indexed! This is because they don't want to index what they deem is dynamic content (signified by the variables).

The solution, if you can configure it on your host is to change the URL to
or, even better
This requires a combination of Apache configuration (using mod_rewrite) and PHP code to understand the new variables.

If your host doesn't have mod_rewrite, then your pretty much out of luck. Either move, or badger them to death to install it.

Apache Configuration

First you need to create a file call .htaccess (note the period in front of the file name).

Here's what I've got in the file.
RewriteEngine on
RewriteOptions MaxRedirects=10
RewriteCond $1 !^(favicon.ico|index\.php|inc|images|css|robots\.txt)
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ index.php?$1 [L]
Break it down
RewriteEngine on
This turns on the Apache rewrite engine, to allow the incoming URL (/view/5) to be turned into another URL (index.php?/view/5).
RewriteOptions MaxRedirects=10
Sets the maximum redirects, so that we don't inadvertently end up in a loop.
RewriteCond $1 !^(favicon.ico|index\.php|mailer\.php|inc|images|css|robots\.txt)
The guts. This says that if the URL doesn't contains:


then follow the next rule. You'd add any other files here. For php files in directories, you only need to add the directory name. For example, if you had, you could just add the app name into the list above. Don't forget to escape the periods in filenames!
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ index.php?$1 [L]
The rule. It takes what ever was entered as the URL and converts it to the new format. The new format is not seen by the user. They continue to see

So now, instead of having, I have The search engine can know successfully spider your site, without knowing that it's dynamically generated!

PHP Code

In PHP, the script is know being called as index.php?view/5

To get hold of the string, just use
$actionPath = $_SERVER['QUERY_STRING']
The variable $actionPath will know contain the string "view/5".
$actions = split("/", $actionPath)
You will now have an array $actions, which will show
Array {
[0] = "view"
[1] = "5"
In your script you can now decide what to process as before!

Hope this help someone out there.

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