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My bookmarklets

I used the Complete extension to assist me in posting to I could right-click a page, choose “Post this to” and a handy dialog came up, prepopulated with the URL, title, and description (populated from whatever text was selected on the page at the time). This was perfect for my needs.

Since upgrading to Firefox 3.0, it seems that the only compatible extensions are the ones that “integrate” your bookmarks in an intrusive fashion. I don’t want integration. I want the exact opposite. I want total disintegration. So I’ve gone back to using bookmarklets.

I basically use for two things. Firstly, I use it as a todo list. I post links with the “do not share this” flag set, and tagged “todo”, so that I can look at them later. This is the bookmarklet that I now use for this task:

Bookmarklet #1

I got it here. It’s not perfect though. It doesn’t seem to work the first time you use it in a session. I guess this is related to the fact that it uses https. It also pops up an alert at the end that says “OK, tagged as todo” whether it actually succeeded or not. I tried removing this alert, and the bookmarklet stopped working. Can’t fathom why.

On to the second bookmarklet:

Bookmarklet #2

This one is much more straightforward. It just opens a window containing a small “post” dialog, prepopulated in the same way as the old Complete extension. It doesn’t use https, so it never asks me for my login details. The window closes when you post it.

I just thought that I’d post these bookmarklets here, partly for my own reference, and maybe because someone else might find them useful at some point.



In response to Gordon’s post, [Firefox Extensions Revisited][], this is a list of the Firefox extensions that I am currently using.

[firefox extensions revisited]:

* Adblock Plus (also on the iBook and at work) ((There are forks of Adblock all over the place, and it’s very, very confusing. I’ve had problems with on Ubuntu so I’m using a different version,, which is available here))
* Bookmark Backup 0.4
* Colorful Tabs 1.1 (also at work)
* 0.5.11 (also on the iBook and at work)
* Disable Targets For Downloads 1.0.1 (also at work)
* Download Manager Tweak 0.7.1 (also at work)
* Gmail Notifier
* ListZilla 0.7 (also on the iBook and at work)
* Menu Editor 1.2 (also at work)
* Mouse Gestures 1.0.4 (also at work)
* NoScript (also on the iBook)
* Resizeable Textarea 0.1b (also at work)
* SessionSaver .2
* Slim Extension List 0.3.1
* udtool 0.6.6 (also on the iBook)
* Urban Dead Homing Beacon 1.0 (also on the iBook)
* User Agent Switcher 0.6.8 (also at work)
* Web Developer 1.0.2 (also at work)
* WebmailCompose 0.6.6
* Yahoo! Mail Notifier 0.9.9

The following extension I currently only have installed on my computer at work, as there wouldn’t really be much point installing it on a non-Windows computer:

* IE View 1.2.7

Of course, in the near future I am going to be trying out many of the extensions that Gordon uses as well. [Download Statusbar][], for example, is looking like a promising replacement for Download Manager Tweak. This is the kind of list that doesn’t stay static for very long.

[download statusbar]:

Linux – One Year On

Today marks the one-year anniversary of my long-awaited switch from Windows to Linux. Though it was not an overnight transition, it’s much easier to put a date on commencing the metamorphosism than completing it.

I always try to be very careful around the subject of Linux advocacy, because if you say too many positive things about it, then people will fall under the misconception that it’s a good substitute for Windows. And it’s not, but it is a good alternative, if you’re willing to face the learning curve.

Some things worked right out of the box (eg USB, all essential hardware at a basic level), some things required a little bit of effort (eg wireless networking, multimedia keys on the keyboard, optimal screen resolution), some things just never ended up working, but I got over it (eg lack of read-write support for NTFS, lack of support for Lexmark printer, burning audio CDs takes twice as long), and some things still bug me a little to this day. For example:

  1. Games – I’ve tried Cedega, and did actually manage to install Max Payne using it, but when I tried to play the game, it hung. The closest that I came to a satisfactory gaming experience under Linux is nethack. It would be nice if I didn’t have to reboot every time I wanted to play a game.
  2. Video – Nothing seems quite as slick as Windows Media Player, I’m ashamed to say. I find myself occasionally having to load certain WMV files in gxine because they won’t play in VLC. I’m sure that this is conquerable, if I just spend the time on it. Additionally, for some reason the menus in build 0.8.4 of VLC are borked, and I can’t access the playlist. I’m currently using 0.7.0, but apt keeps trying to upgrade me to 0.8.4 again.
  3. …while we’re talking about apt: it’s a fantastic tool, and it really simplifies installation and upgrading, but it has downsides. For example, Firefox 1.5 is not available in the repositories for the current version of Ubuntu – only 1.0.7. This means that if you want 1.5, you need to install it yourself. It’s not a terribly simple process, but it is well-documented here.

But conversely, some things happen so much more smoothly than before, it’s unreal. I’ve found myself writing shell scripts and python programs to automate tasks that I would previously have done manually, like correcting ID3 tags on MP3 files, and transferring photos from my camera to the computer.

I’ve heard people describe Linux as having a steep learning curve, but as your skills improve you realise that it doesn’t obstruct you from doing the things that you want to do. The only limits upon what you can do, and learn, are the limits of your willingness.