Tag Archives: firefox

Redirector Browser Extension Takes You Where You Want to Go

2 May

AT&T just installed fiber to my house. It’s fast. I get a steady 949 Mbps up and down. I had no complaints about the 160 Mbps/14 Mbps I was getting from Cox, but my inner geek couldn’t say no to faster-for-the-same-price.

attdnshijackThe install was pretty smooth, but during the bumps, I would type nonsense URLs in to see if things were working. Most of the domains actually existed, but when I hit something that wasn’t live, I got the AT&T-branded page telling me the page I’m looking for isn’t available. Well, it said that somewhere within the mess of ads. Call it what you will, it’s DNS hijacking. Amazingly, AT&T allows users to opt-out of “this service”. But some ISPs don’t.

End ISP DNS Hijacking

Before I noticed that opt-out, I took a minute to update my Redirector settings appropriately. No more AT&T DNS hijacking. (I’d previously used it to prevent Cox from hijacking my DNS).

It works in FireFox, Chrome, and Opera, and Redirector is good for more than stopping DNS hijacking. It’s a versatile browser usability enhancer.

Use Redirector to Help Your Favorite Charity

I don’t have a car, and I loathe shopping, so I regularly shop with Amazon for things I can’t get by foot or on my bike. I made a valiant effort to remember to use Amazon’s Smile program special URLs to help my favorite charity (Death With Dignity National Centers,) but I’d usually forget. The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice.

I didn’t want to leave those easy donations on the table, so I searched for something that could remember for me. Enter Redirector. Now, every time I click an amazon link, or type amazon.com into my browser, I’m taken to the smile.amazon.com version of that page, instead.

I’ve uploaded an image of my Redirector settings at the bottom of this post in case you too want to more frequently, passively donate to your fave cause, or if you want to stop your ISP from hijacking your DNS. It’s easy. For the latter, you can use the same DNS hijacking forwarding URL I use, or copy the PHP snippet from that page.

<?php
if(isset($_SERVER['HTTP_REFERER'])) {
 echo $_SERVER['HTTP_REFERER'];
} 
?>

…Not that you need the php on the page you load instead of your ISP’s branded page, but it helps to be able to see a printout of the potentially improperly typed URL. e.g. below.

icurdDNSerror

Above: This is the plain-Jane message I get when I type in a bad URL, e.g. doesthisdomainexist.com

 

Redirector settings below. Click for larger image.

 

redirector

Let me know if you have problems. I’ll add more detail to this post as needed.

 

Dan Dreifort consults on UX and SEO.  I also make music, and enjoy biking and walking around San Diego, when I’m not broken.

 

Best Mozilla Firefox/Thunderbird Add-on

20 Nov
add-on compatibility enable screenshot

This is what you’ll see after enabling your new favorite add-on

Disable Add-on Compatibility Checks is a great little add-on for both Firefox and Thunderbird. It makes Mozilla’s rapid release cycle totally tolerable.

If the keeper of your favorite plugin can’t keep up with Mozilla’s zany release schedule, worry no more. Disable Add-on Compatibility Checks does exactly what it sounds like it’ll do. Install it (no restart needed) and head to your Add-ons Manager where you’ll be able to enable previously dead-to-you add-ons. I’ve periodically posted links to several repacked add-ons in the past, but this plugin means I’ll never again have to edit an install.rdf file.

Sometimes Plugins Die, Little Johnny

Occasionally a plugin really and truly can’t be resurrected by this method. Case in point, today’s update to Thunderbird 17.0 killed the Quicktext add-on for good. Sad times. I loved that plugin too! RIP little buddy.

Big kudos to Kris Maglione for making one add-on to rule them all. Thanks!

Updated Extensions for Latest Firefox Update

28 Aug
English: Firefox word mark. Correct clear spac...

Firefox. Love it. Hate it. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember back when Firefox 3.5.17 came out? I’ll give you a clue; it was 2011.

It’s just a year later and the latest version of Firefox (15.0) ships with new features under the hood, including better memory handling for plugins and new “Silent, background updates,” but it’s not enough. When Mozilla switched Firefox to a faster release cycle in 2011, users relying on extensions and plugins suffered. Many jumped ship for Chrome and Safari. Those of us who have stayed either suffer or update extensions on our own. I’m in the latter camp.

Head here to download a zip containing the following usability extensions updated for the current Firefox release:

  • Duplicate Tab – keystroke or context menu to dupe a tab
  • Quick Restart – without shutting down Firefox!
  • Show Go! – Always show the go arrow in the URL window/bar

I’ve posted links to other updated Firefox plugins in the past but I don’t make a habit of it. If you’d like updated versions for any of those, drop me a note in the comments.

How do I Remove Facebook Recent Activity from my Wall?

14 Dec
Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Fr...

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Français : Logo de Facebook Tiếng Việt: Logo Facebook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Update: We have less control than ever on Facebook. Use socialfixer.com. It’s the best we have.) Facebook sucks when it comes to privacy. I can’t wait until somebody sues them for it and forces them to change. Maybe someday they’ll realize that good usability and privacy is a great business model.

Until then, here are three different ways to clean up one of the most egregious facebook privacy screwups to date.

Annoyed that facebook has decided to make every detail of your actions everybody’s business? Tired of clicking the little x and then clicking “remove” from the annoying facebook confirmation popup over and over again? Here’s how to quickly delete your facebook recent activity.

There are three ways to eliminate all of those annoying updates with a single click. The downer is that you still have to do it periodically. Most of these are cross-browser compatible for at least firefox and chrome.

  • Use better facebook.  There are tons of other reasons to use better facebook too. Not the least of which is that my top blue facebook bar is locked in place while I scroll the content of a page. Very convenient. However, betterfacebook implementation of remove recent activity is less than perfect. It misses some from time to time. But it adds a “remove all activity” link to your activity. The new version of Better Facebook removes all recent activity (or whichever bits you specify in the settings,) each time you visit your facebook profile page. Get better facebook!.
  • http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/67751 You have to install greasemonkey first, but it’s totally worth it. I heart greasemonkey,  This one adds a “Remove Recent Activity” button to the right facebook side panel. Works like a charm, once you find it. Facebook is so damn cluttered. (Edit: turns out you have to reload your profile page for the button to appear.)

Verizon / Alltel Facebook Errors

20 Oct

Using Verizon or Alltel to connect via EVDO/3G and having problems with Facebook? You’re not alone. Call Verizon Now (1-800-922-0204) Some have suggested “fixes” to this problem ranging from deactivating and reactivating your Facebook account to editing about:config in FireFox. (No internet explorer specific “fixes”) but alas these efforts are either temporary at best or in vain completely. When I started getting the content encoding error after logging into Facebook I Googled and noticed this thread over at Mozilla. There I first suggested that this could be a problem with Alltel / Verizon. (The former was recently eaten up by the latter.) Turns out I was right. Everybody experiencing the Facebook error is also using Alltel / Verizon.

But how did I know? I used to use Wild Blue satellite to connect to the net. I couldn’t get to a specific site to load. Most people could. Then I talked to somebody else using Wild Blue and he too was unable to load the page. Turns out it was some sort of caching problem within their network. Additionally, after I later switched to Alltel / Verizon EVDO I noticed that they were doing some things that caused certain pages to parse weirdly. (e.g. arstechnica.com articles’ text was illegibly too similar to the background color.) I did some troubleshooting with ars and found that Alltel / Verizon was parsing all of the external js and css files inline amongst other allegedly bandwidth saving tactics. Alas, their attempts to save money and time often cause problems.

We’re running into the same sort of thing with Facebook now. I called Verizon (1-800-922-0204) and tried telling them about the problem and the solution. Unfortunately, while their tone is friendly, they don’t really know what they’re doing. They kept trying to tell me it was a firefox problem. So I read them the IE error too. They tried to tell me it was a problem on my end. I told them that my laptop works fine with Facebook from non-Verizon connections. They tried to tell me the issue was local to my service area so I tried in vain to inform them of their many other subscribers having the problem nationwide. No dice.

So I insisted on opening a ticket. But alas, they failed to note some pertinent info. Somebody’s supposed to be calling me back within 72 hours. Lame. So, if you’re having the same problem, call Verizon now and tell them about it. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. I hate that I’m stuck with Verizon. They messed up Alltel so bad.

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