Tag Archives: Firefox

Firefox, I Love Ya But…

Firefox and I have always had a love – less love kind of relationship. I left Netscape for Firefox and I never looked back; I often thought that maybe I killed Netscape (no, we all know who killed it), but it didn’t matter. Firefox was better than IE, and that’s all that used to matter.

There are just so many things to love about Firefox. I love the add-ons. I love how I can change the look. I love how I can go into the config.about settings and change stuff if I really want to (don’t do this unless you know what you’re doing). I love how it’s just a bit more protection than IE. I love the tabs. Frankly, there’s not much I don’t like about it.

And yet, there is something I don’t like, something that’s irked me for years, the one thing that I just can’t overcome. Sometimes Firefox hangs, and when it does, that’s it. By hangs, I mean that it just suddenly stops. You can’t do anything because it’s pretty much said it’s had enough. You can’t even go into the task manager and turn it off; I mean, how many programs do that?

I have researched this issue for years and tried to find a workaround. It was suggested to remove Zone Alarm because they don’t play well together; I tried that. It was suggested that maybe it was AVG; I tried that. It was suggested to change your profile; I tried that. Nothing has worked. There have been some suggestions that I don’t have the technical knowledge for, so those I haven’t tried. However, my thought is that someone at Mozilla, the group that makes Firefox, would have addressed the issue at some point.

You know what? Never. Now, that’s a strange one, isn’t it? Through all the forums they have, with this issue coming up often enough, not a single Mozilla person has ever chimed in with a fix. They won’t even acknowledge that there’s a problem; isn’t that weird? I mean, even Microsoft eventually came clean on the dog that is Vista (which I’m still stuck on). And folks, it’s not Vista that’s hanging Firefox, because I had the same issue under XP.

So, I’m stuck. I’m not crazy about Opera, even though it’s never hung on my system, and I’m not a major fan of Chrome. Don’t even try to talk me into, what, IE 8 or 9 now? I guess I’m stuck in “bootup loop” city, and I’m not overly happy about it. There just has to be a solution, right? Someone? Anyone?

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Toolbar Overwhelm

I guess it was time for this post. I know I can’t be the only person who is suddenly hating all these toolbars popping up all over the place. It’s almost to the point where you can’t go to any site or blog without having either the upper or lower part of your screen filled with a toolbar that won’t go away. Heck, even my buddy Sire had one (he might still have one, but it’s not coming up anymore & I haven’t seen him talking about it any).

At this point probably everyone has seen either this picture to the right or something like it. These types of toolbars are bad enough because it seems like every piece of software wants to load someone’s toolbar onto your computer. I already have a search engine I used that I specifically loaded myself; why the heck would I want to keep adding other company’s toolbars onto my computer like this?

You go to a news site these days and there’s a toolbar at the top. You go to close it and sometimes it doesn’t close, just reduces itself to this little tab that seems to be saying to you “go on, you know you want to use me; I’ll just be sitting here until you’re ready”. If I closed your toolbar I’m not going to use it; take it away! And, for whatever reason, Firefox’s Adblock Plus can’t block them; what the hey? Guess I have to find some software or plugin that blocks pop-unders, which is kind of what these things are.

Why are most of these sites loading toolbars? It all comes down to money; it always does. Everyone is getting paid to add a toolbar in some fashion. Software companies, if it’s not their toolbar, are getting paid. Blogs that add toolbars get paid if someone actually uses it. I doubt there’s one truly altruistic company out there putting out toolbars. Heck, even Google’s toolbar, which I stopped using, was getting something out of the deal, mainly tracking people who used it, even on their own computers, so they could target advertising towards them based on their surfing habits. I wonder what kind of ads Google sends to those folks who only search for porn all day, since they don’t accept advertising from adult related sites.

Either way, I have to say that I didn’t purchase this 22″ widescreen monitor so someone could invade and fill up my space with a toolbar. Please, if you’re going to use one, at least allow us to be allowed to totally close it and get it out of the way.

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Customize Your Google Page; There’s A Caveat Though…

Last week I heard the news that Google was going to allow people the opportunity to customize their main page. What they were going to do was to have certain images already set, but if you wanted to you could use your own image for the page.

I have to admit that I was excited. Though I have my Google page already altered thusly, there to the left (right click to see it bigger), via Stylish and Firefox, and I have that stupid sidebar shut down through a script on Greasemonkey, the idea of adding my own image was kind of appealing. And all we had to do was wait until, one day, the link to the bottom left of the Google screen popped up.

Mine popped up Sunday evening, and I thought that was pretty cool. I went to look to see what I had to do, and saw some choices already there. I saw that you also had to log in to your Google account, and for the first time I was sort of hesitant, and I wasn’t sure why. Then I realized why. The thing is if you want to use your own image, you must set up a Picasa account, which is their photo sharing site. Then you can upload your image and attach it to your page, and go on with your business. If you didn’t want to do that, you could upload one of their pictures, but you still have to have a Google account to use it, so that when you sign in it knows it’s you. Otherwise, you can stick with your white background, or do something like what I’ve done.

Here’s the thing about a Picasa account. If you have one, it pretty much means other people can go through your images. That’s what the user agreement says. I don’t have an account, so if there’s a way to make it private I don’t know about it. Still, the idea of someone being able to go through my personal pictures and use them for whatever reason they wish to bothers me somewhat. Yeah, I have some pictures on Facebook, but I knew that I’d be sharing those pictures with people I allow into my Facebook life, since that’s the kind of privacy I put on my account there. Anything beyond that, I’m not sure I want to deal with.

For me, I can do without it. Truthfully, if I wanted to tinker with it, I think, because I use Firefox, I could figure out a way to alter one of the scripts to use my own picture if I wanted to badly enough. However, overall, unless you really know what you’re doing, it’s not a great thing to go messing around with these scripts. That’s why my background is black instead of my favorite color, which is red.

Anyway, if you’re not quite as skittish as I am about sharing some of your images with the world, and you want to customize your Google page, go for it. It’s not a bad deal overall, and gets rid of the boring white. Lucky for me, I’ve already taken care of that on my favorite browser.

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SEO Doctor

From Kristi’s most recent Fetching Friday post came an article from Search Engine Journal on a Firefox plugin called SEO Doctor. In essence, it gives you a heck of a lot of information on how your SEO efforts are working on your website, and if you know how to dig deeper, might give you some indications of what you can do better.

After checkout out the article, I went to the page, downloaded the plugin, and of course added it to my browser, where it’s sitting at the lower left as I type. The biggies, as it pertains to what you want to know, are: the percentage, out of 100%, of effectiveness your page is in its SEO efforts; the number of external links and links overall on that page; and the number of visits that page has received.

When I go to my main business site, it’s ranked at 96% out of 100%; I like that. Some of my other pages on that site are perfect, and I like that even better. The worst page on that site comes in at 90%. It shows me I have 3 external links and 43 links overall; I had to go counting to find those links overall, but they’re there. It shows me… well, it shows me nothing as it pertains to visits. That’s because you have to belong to Compete, and you have to have an API key to pop in, and of course I’m not signing up for that. I wish I could change it to something else, but I’m stuck with that; oh well…

There are two other things on the toolbar as well. One is something called Flow, which measures the percentage of page rank you’re retaining on your site. Since y’all know I don’t particularly follow page rank all that much, I’m not worried about it, which is why it’s not in my top 3. However, on my business page it says I’m retaining 88% of my page rank. The last thing is this little green tab to the far right, which allows me to track nofollow links if I so choose; I don’t at this juncture, but it’s neat enough to take a quick look at.

Finally, you can right click on any of the information listed and get even more information, which you can download if you prefer in a .csv format. Of course, if you have nothing in Compete, that one won’t work.

Anyway, it’s a neat little tool you might want to check out, but of course you have to be on Firefox to use it.

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Sometimes You Should Read The Terms Of Use

Okay, stay with me for a minute. I was going through Kristi’s weekly Fetching Friday listing, where this week one of my posts was mentioned (thanks Kristi), and came upon an article she was highlighting called 10 Firefox Addons For Affiliate Marketers from the blog Ace Affiliates.

Always someone who’s looking for the next big thing, I went to read that article, and one of the Firefox addons it recommended was something called Ghostery. It seems to do two things for you. One, it lets you know how safe a website is that you’re visiting. Two, it allows you to block sites from tracking your IP address and the like.

That second one is very intriguing to me. I was talking to my friend Kelvin about it and saying how freaked out I was when I go to websites, such as MSNBC, and see all the ads that are targeted for me knowing that I live in the Syracuse, NY area. He said he didn’t know of anything that could block that, so I thought this might be the plugin for me.

When I went to the page where the addon is, it looked different than what I’m used to seeing. There’s no description of what the addon is about, and there’s this big block in the middle with only one line: Ghostery requires that you accept the following End-User License Agreement before installation can proceed. And in the box there’s only one thing: http://www.ghostery.com/terms. Now, maybe it looks that way because I’m running Adblock, but it looked strange.

This tasked me (a line from Star Trek II; Wrath of Khan), so I decided I wanted to read the terms of service for using this particular addon. Overall, it was the same standard stuff you see everywhere else, but suddenly I came upon a line I didn’t like, under privacy: You acknowledge that the Software will contact GHOSTERY and send limited information about the websites you visit to GHOSTERY’s databases.

Come on now; y’all know me! I’m the guy who has a problem with Google Toolbar tracking our movements, to the point that I won’t use it anymore once I learned it did that. I’m certainly not letting some other group of folks track where I go; wasn’t the point of using their software so you could go to websites without them knowing where you were coming from, as in “tracking” you? I’m going to give up my privacy to these guys who I don’t know to get privacy from sites that I at least have some idea of who they are?

Many times I don’t read terms of service, just like most people don’t when we want to use something. However, the way this was segregated looked, well, suspicious. They might have specific reasons for wanting to track people, as in making sure the software works. And, of course we all have the right to use or not use something.

I’m choosing not to use it; that doesn’t sound surprising, does it? So, I’m still on a quest to find something that will aid me in my privacy efforts. Sure, I know that there’s no real privacy online, but I’d still like to find a way to decide when I want to give up information about myself and when I don’t.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell