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Programming and stuff in Western PA

Google Chrome and Application Shortcuts

I downloaded Google’s new browser Chrome last week, and wasn’t all that impressed.  It didn’t seem, to me, to run that much faster than my Firefox 3 (keep in mind I was running Chrome through my Parallels for Mac VM).

The one awesome thing Chrome brings to the table is the concept of an Application shortcut.  This is nothing more than a desktop shortcut to a particular Web Application.  For instance, I use Google Docs an awful lot, so I created an Application shortcut to a Google spreadsheet.  Now instead of opening up a browser and navigating to Google Docs, etc… I can now just click on the shortcut, and it opens up the spreadsheet in it’s own window, with it appearing to be an independent app, much like an MS Office document.

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September 12, 2008 Posted by | Firefox, Technology | 1 Comment

Safe web browsing for kids with Firefox and Foxfilter

When my daughters surf the internet, it’s usually via my Macbook and Safari. I make them use Safari because you can set it up to require every domain to be approved before they can access it.

I had to send my Macbook away to Apple care a few days ago, and my girls used my Dell to access the internet. Of course this concerned me, because I had no way to filter the websites they were visiting. I then found FoxFilter which is a Firefox add on that allows you to approve web sites in a variety of ways. I have it set to it’s “Whitelist” setting, which is nothing more than a text area box where you enter the permitted domains.

PLEASE NOTE : I just tried to install FilterFox on my Macbook and found out it is not available for Mac OS!

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February 11, 2008 Posted by | Firefox, Technology | 4 Comments

Firefox and Greasemonkey saved my life, Part 1

I’m addicted to a particular football message board and have been an active participant on there for three years now. Recently, the board, which has a very large member base, has had an invasion of trolls (they’ve practically made the site unreadable). Like most message board software, this site does have an "ignore" feature. What this does is hide the user’s responses by replacing it with a message ("This user is on your ignore list"). However, you can see the ridiculous threads that they’ve created, which is actually the problem in the first place.

To my rescue came a Firefox add-on called Greasemonkey. What GreaseMonkey does is it allows you to interject java script into the html that is returned from a web request. In my case, I had an idea to "hide" from my view posts from these pond scum users.

What I did was save the main page of my message board as html, and then examine it in Visual Studio. I was then able to see the elements of the page, and determine the best manner, via java script and using the page’s DOM to do this. It would have been nice if each post on the page was encapsulated inside a div tag with an id, but I didn’t get off that easy. What I was able to do was look at each table row(<tr>) tag and search for the users name. If it was there, I changed the style for the row to hide it. My entire Greasemonkey script looked like this :

// ==UserScript==
// @name          Unreadability Script
// @namespace     Igglephans
// @description   This script will block out losers
// @include       http://igglephans.com/*
// ==/UserScript==

var users="jerrybim2,ericcoe,robbie76";
var ary = users.split(",");
var trHtml="";
var item;
var o=document.getElementsByTagName("tr");

for (var i = o.length - 1; i >= 0; i--){
	item=o.item(i);

	trHtml=item.innerHTML;

	for (var z = ary.length - 1; z >= 0; z--){
		if(trHtml.search(ary[z])!=-1)
			item.style.display="none";
	};
};

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December 8, 2007 Posted by | Firefox, Technology | 3 Comments

Firefox Extension Backup Extension

I love Firefox.  It is without question my favorite application.  I have it loaded with extensions, themes, and bookmarks.  The problem I’ve had lately though is that I work on three different machines, so I’m constantly trying to keep my Firefox installs in sync.  When Vista arrived the other day, I really wasn’t looking forward to reproducing my Firefox environment again.  Then I found FEBE (Firefox Extension Backup Extension).

FEBE is a Firefox plugin that allows you to backup literally everything in your Firefox (extensions, bookmarks, passwords etc…).  How it works is that after downloading the extension, you  backup your Firefox settings to a folder.  Then in your new environment, you move that folder, then download and install FEBE to your new Firefox install, and then restore the settings from that folder via the FEBE extension.

  Works great !

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February 14, 2007 Posted by | Firefox, Technology | Leave a comment