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My Firefox Extensions

July26

I have been a Firefox user for many years, ever since 1.0 in fact. I have had my fair share of different extensions over the years as time went on, that number increased and decreased as I installed extensions I had come across or ones that others had recommended and as I uninstalled ones that were no longer of any use to me. Well now I have a few extensions and these are some of the only reasons I wouldn’t switch to another browser. Here are my must have Firefox extensions.

Faviconize Tab – I have so many tabs open at one time. When I open my browser, the same 16 tabs open up for me. That would take up a lot of room on the tab bar. Fortunately Faviconize Tab shrinks the size of selected tabs to the size of their favicon. I go to the site so frequently I am able to recognize the website by that small icon they have. I don’t need a big title wasting space so that extra room is able to be used on other links I open.

Net Usage Item (with New Zealand ISP Definitions) – It’s been forever since I actually have Internet allowance but even with unlimited, I still find it interesting to see how much data I’ve used (and slow down if I need to.) This extension is probably one of the most useful ones I’ve ever used. It displays your current usage from your ISP and displays it in the Firefox window with a nice graphical bar showing your progress. This is a must have for all Firefox users, assuming your ISP is supported.

Nighty Tester Tools – I have always been an early adopter of the alpha and beta builds of future versions of Firefox. I enjoy using and playing around with new features before most “normal” users get their hands on them. Unfortunately one of the problems with doing so is you lose add-on support. For a lot of people, this is enough to hold out people from jumping on the latest beta. Well thankfully for me, this extension can overwrite compatibility constraints and force extensions to install on these pre-Firefox builds. The extension can do a lot more than that, but the force capability feature is the best and most useful one for me. It gives me the best of both worlds, pre-Firefox builds and my 2 great extensions.

Wow, wasn’t that a short list. I remember when I use to have over a dozen extensions and now I only have 3 (4 if you count the extra definitions pack.) These few extensions give me the functionality I want and need from my browser and that is one of the reasons that Firefox is so awesome. You can add on bit and pieces to enhance your browsing experience. If you haven’t got these extensions already, go get them if the sound like something you could do with. I live by these extensions and recommend them greatly!

iminlikewithyou too

February18

Last month, I rediscovered a website I had been on quite a while ago called iminlikewithyou. This website has a bunch of little multiplayer flash games such. A lot of these resemble other games you made have seen or played before, for example Bomberman. These games are a lot of fun to play together with friends but you can also play them with random strangers. I find it to be much more fun with friends because there are not people to ruin some games, like draw my thing.

I can’t describe the games well enough so you have to check them all out for yourself. My favourite games on the site are Dinglepop, Draw My Thing and Balloono. The library is slowly increasing but ever game they release is of a very high standard. I strongly recommend you try out this site, it is loads of fun. Hit me up if you ever wanna play together, especially if it is one of my favourites. :D

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Windows Live Messenger 2009 M3

November21

I’ve been using Windows Live Messenger 9 for at least a year now. At the end of 2007, one of the beta builds got leaked on the internet and I was quick to snap it up and use it as my main IM client for Windows Live messenger. Although for most of that time, it was the same old build that had a few of the new upcoming features to Windows Live Messenger. Well two months ago, a new build got released in public beta as part of the Windows Live Wave 3.

At first when I installed the build, I only used it for at least 15-30 minutes before uninstalling it and going back to the old beta build. This wasn’t because I didn’t like it or I had problems with it, the reason was because I need Messenger Plus! Live with Windows Live Messenger. Without it, I am missing some of those extra features that make my IM experience great! It wasn’t soon after that till I was forced to upgrade, and without MP!L ready for it, I downgraded back to WLM 8.5. There is little difference between the beta 0 build that I had and WLM 8.5. Eventually Patchou released a public beta build of Messenger Plus! Live that supported Windows Live Messenger 2009.

Upgrading from 8.5 to 2009 is a huge jump. The first thing that becomes apparent is the contacts window. The has 2 additions to it, those being Favourites and Groups. In favourites, you have your favourite contacts at the top of your contacts window at all times. This makes it easier for finding and those important contacts that you want to talk to, without searching through your large contacts list of in all your categories. I personally don’t use this feature and ended up disabling it because I already have a tier like contacts list using categories. There contacts are always at the top of my contacts list so I felt that this feature wasn’t necessary for me. Although in saying that, our group of favourites can be made more distinctive by making their display pictures a different size from your regular contacts.

That is another change in WLM 2009. Instead of seeing the little green men with the status beside them, this has been replaced by a little square dot. You do have the option to change this to a bigger size, ranging from the small dot to larger squares displaying contacts images. These squares changes colour depending on the status of the contact, or if you are showing the display picture the ream of the square. While on the topic of status, the team have decided to strip all those unnecessary nonsense status and have kept it to 4 simple status, available, busy, away and appear offline. These are the most important ones and are the ones most people probably use. I can’t remember the last time I have use any of the other ones that are in WLM 8.5.

When going into a conversation window, the first change becomes apparent. The conversation area and the display picture area have been switched around. The display pictures are on the left side of the conversation windows now. This is very unusual to start off with but you soon adjust to it. The display pictures also have similar properties to the ones in the contacts window. The square rim around the display picture of you and your contact changes colour depending on status. If your contact is online, it will be green, busy then red, away then orange and offline (or appearing offline) it has no colour and is faded. This is a very helpful and cleaver of seeing your contacts status while having a conversation with them.

The last big feature of WLM 2009 that I am excited about is the Multiple Points of Presence. This is more of a backend feature that one specific to the software. What this does is allows you to sign in to WLM from multiple locations at once, without signing out of one of your other places. There are many good ways this feature could be used, for example signing in on 2 machines in different locations, or if you’re using 2 machines at once. This feature could later on expand to other messenger services such as Xbox 360, Windows Live Web Messenger, Mac Messenger, Windows Messenger on Windows Mobile and so on. When you are signed on in two locations, message sent and received will be sent to both locations so you don’t have to worry about not getting the message when you’re on one machine or another. You can also sign out other locations right from your one if you must. I found this feature useful for me when I was logged onto a remote machine. It allowed me to message people without minimising my remote desktop or logging out of the WLM on my main machine. I did however come across issues with this, for example at times messages only went to one location (rare occurrence) and when logging off from one place closed the conversation windows from another place. Once they fix this up, it’ll be all good!

There are a few other features that I didn’t cover such as groups and scenes. I haven’t really played around with groups because I don’t have many contacts using WLM 2009. I have had a quick look at scenes and all this really does it change the look of your main contacts window and the conversation window on your contacts computer for you. If they have a scene, it will be shown on your conversation window and this will change everytime they change scenes. Other than that, I think I’ve pretty much covered most of the major new stuff in the upcoming Windows Live Messenger 2009. This is going to be a great release!

Photosynth Labs

September30

After hearing Kevin Rose mention Photosynth on Diggnation, I thought it sounded cool so I checked it out. Photosynth is a project in the Microsoft Live Labs where you traverse through or look around 3D landscapes that are built using 2D images. The first downsides of it are quite apparent as you enter the site and use it. It requires you to install software on your computer to get this to work, and it is Windows only. I decided to go ahead anyway. I had a look at some of the featured Synths on the home page and they looked pretty cool.  It was cool to have a look around a city using this thing. It was also cool to see how it did this weird 3D dotty thing to represent an object from a 2D environment, such as a statue.

I decided I would try and make one. I spend a bit of time thinking of an interesting scene or object to take picture of that would work in Photosynth and look pretty cool. After a little while thinking, I remembered a spot close to where I live where I could see my whole suburb and the houses and surrounding. I decided that I would go up there with the camera and take heaps of shots, the way the instructional video said. I took 74 shots from up there. I decided to put them into Photosynth. It takes quite a while to do its magic and upload it to the internet, so don’t expect results straight away because it can take 1-5 hours. Mine took under 3 which wasn’t bad. I could wait.

After it had done everything, it was available for viewing online. I like to think I had done a good Synth, and the thing told me it was 100% Synth. You can check it out on the Photosynth site, it is publicly viewable. Photosynth is a really hard thing to describe. It is really something you have to see, and play with for yourself. This technology is really exciting and I look forward to seeing it evolve and get better, and then applied to useful applications, such as a mapping application or a virtual store or something of the sort. This is just the beginning of what this technology can offer and bring to the table.

Chrome

September26

It only took me one hour of playing with Google’s new web browser, Chrome, to realize that its just a web browser. I already have 2 web browsers installed on my machine (on good, the other not so much) so why do I need a third? The very short amount of time trialing Chrome was enough to give me a good feel for what Chrome is. To conclude here, I like the browser, but it just doesn’t offer me the same experience I get from Firefox, or the experience I expect from a traditional web browser. Although I have to say, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The things I like about Chrome is the way it manages tabs. Each tab is a new process. This is something I wish my main browser had so I can figure out what is causing it to use all my resources on the machine, and also protect the other pages I have open in case one causes a crash. Another thing I like about Chrome is its speed. It works pretty fast, although after importing my bucket loads of Bookmarks and History, it did effect the way Chrome handled, which could be why I have trouble with Firefox at times.

To be honest, I don’t really feel this as a true competitor in the browser space. I feel this is a spec browser which is to force Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera and whatever to adopt Google’s features to make the browsers better. Google’s platform is the internet, so pushing out their vision of an ideal browser which enables access to their services makes sense that they want to make it a good experience from both the access program and the web service.

Even though I love Firefox and will continue using it as my primary web browser, I will still keep Chrome on my system. This is a perfect secondary browser for when you just want to quickly access a webpage without waiting for your browser to load and the two dozen tabs that come with it. Just click, wait a second and you’re all ready to zap onto a page. It’s really that fast and simple, which makes it the perfect quick and go browser. Other than that, it’s going to be interesting to see what else they will bring to the table.

A Flickr Meme

September9

A couple of days ago, when I was browsing the deep space of Tumblr, I stumbled across an interesting post. I thought it seemed pretty cool so I gave it a try to see what results I would get and here is is as follows. If you would also like to try it out, and maybe post it on my blog or tumblelog or whatever, the instructions are also below. If you do, please pingback or leave a comment so I can see your results.

Type your answer to the questions into flickr search
-Using only the first page, pick an image
-Copy and paste each of the urls in the Mosaic Maker

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. What is your favorite drink?
7. What is your dream vacation?
8. What is your favorite dessert?
9. What do you want to do when you grow up?
10. Who / what do you love most in life?
11. Choose one word that describes you?
12. What is your Flickr name?

1. Jonathan Coulton’s GlaDOS Rock Band, 2. Melting Chocolate, 3. Robotic Lego, 4. Berlin blues, 5. Masi Oka and Hayden Panettiere – Interview (1), 6. Raspberry Coke, 7. Berlin, Germany, 8. Miniature Cakes, 9. My Computer, 10. Internet!!!, 11. ultimate geek nook, 12. Leopard

posted under Internet, Life | 1 Comment »

The Device Has Been Modified

September6

After the big blog update a week ago, a few more updates have happened elsewhere. The first is the yum9me.com main page. The old page has gone and been replaced by a simple page, written by TheSkorm in a few seconds. I like it over the older one because it is much cleaner, it works correctly on more browsers (curse you Internet Explorer!) and there is less clutter and jankness to it.

The second update was to my tumblelog theme. After using the dashboard theme for a little while, I started to lose interest in it and wanted a new theme, I just hadn’t seen any that I liked. That was until I saw a theme ported from a WordPress theme on Alisha’s tumblelog, that’s when I knew what I wanted. I decided that I would use the WordPress theme on this blog, and hopefully one day, she would be able to release the theme to the public.

Well that day did come shortly after, and managed to get back on my radar so I grabbed it. It wasn’t exactly how I wanted it so I modified it a little. The main modifications are the removal of the Disqus comment integration, and the Last.Fm and other site integrations. I also removed the followers down the sidebar. My intentions were to have a few links down the side for Mobile, Archives, RSS ect. I did have this working for a moment until during some other edit of the theme, it broke, so I completely removed it.

I also changed the description down the bottom of the theme to match that of the one on my blog, except with a couple of appropriate word changes and rearrangements. This is also where the about button will jump down to, if clicked. I also decided to have the links under the title be for my main page (or as I decided to call it, Portal,) my blog and my tumblelog. I also applied this to my blog.

I like how they both use the same theme because now they seem more unified and part of one system, which they are, instead of two separate unrelated sites. So hopefully all the changes can last a year or so before I decided to change them.

posted under Blog, Internet | 1 Comment »
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