Tag Archives: firefox

Mobile Browsing with Addons

One of the things that I liked a lot about Android 4.x is that Chrome was now a browser option. It meant that I got an almost Desktop quality browser on my phone and tablet. The almost bit has gotten pretty annoying of late though, because mobile Chrome doesn’t support extensions.

About a year ago I converted over to using Lastpass, which means all my passwords for various websites are unique, and 12+ characters of randomness. Huge security improvement. However, it means every time I try to log in on the mobile web it’s a multi step process to jump over to the lastpass App enter master password, enter it again to get username and password copied, jump back over to mobile Chrome, copy paste into the input fields, and finally log in. This is in contrast to the Desktop experience of feeding my master password ever couple of hours, and it automatically detecting and logging me into sites when I visit them. The mobile browsing experience feels clunky and broken compared to the desktop.

How I wish Mobile Chrome supported extensions, but it’s not clear they are ever going to change that.

However, Mobile Firefox does.

Over Christmas break I figured out that lastpass actually works in mobile firefox, and after a little configuration started using Mobile Firefox instead of Mobile Chrome on both my Nexus 7 and S3. The overall browser seems roughly the same speed (maybe slightly slower), however the experience is much better. You get Ad Block, which turns the web back into something vaguely sane, and my browsing experience is now akin to the Desktop. Enough so that I’ll now use my Nexus 7 over my laptop for many browsing tasks.

Hopefully Google will eventually bring these features to their platform, but for now, the Firefox mobile strategy seems to be bearing some fruit, and reopening mobile browsers to innovation.

Wise words about software

From a former Firefox developer, truer words were never spoken:

Software companies would do well to learn this lesson: anything with the phrase “users love our product” in it isn’t a strategy, it’s wishful thinking. Your users do not “love” your software. Your users are temporarily tolerating your software because it’s the least horrible option they have — for now — to meet some need. Developers have an emotional connection to the project; users don’t.

All software sucks. Users would be a lot happier if they had to use a lot less of it. They may be putting up with yours for now, but assume they will ditch you the moment something 1% better comes along — or the moment you make your product 1% worse.

I gave up Firefox as my main browser when Chrome decided to support WebGL on Linux, and Firefox kept back burnering it. Mozilla is now deprecating Thunderbird, which is the only product of theirs that I still use regularly. Guess that means I’m going to have to get used to GMail’s web interface eventually.

Sad to see something as critical as Mozilla, the beast that cracked the IE hegemony, become an also ran.

Google Chrome 9 for Linux

I realized last night at our replacement MHVLUG dinner that I was the only one there who was still using Firefox on Linux. Everyone else was on the Chrome bandwagon. And that’s where I thought it would stay, until Chrome 9 came out today.

Yes, Chrome is faster, and doesn’t die on javascript randomly, but the thing that pushed me over the edge was the fact that Google bothered to support WebGL on Linux with the release. I loaded it up to test and found the WebGL demos ran with barely any CPU usage. Ok, I’m sold for now. It’s my new default browser, and we’ll see if it sticks this time.

Making the internet a better place

When it comes to the Internet there is something we’ve all done that’s bad for us.  You know you’ve done it.  You’ve probably done it when people weren’t watching, when you were all alone.  You know what I’m talking about: reading comments on websites.

You find yourself involved in an article that you may or may not agree with, but you find quite interesting.  Something the author spent some time on, weighed different wording, and tried to create a coherent statement.  They might even have provided helpful links and footnotes to let you learn more, or to back up their thoughts.  You are so enthralled that you keep reading at that level of interest as the article comes to an end.  You want more, so you keep reading.

Wait, what was that, when did the article reference nazis?  What’s this?  Conspiracy of big pharma?  but I thought this article was about nice places to go picnicing?  The author is a free mason?  When the hell did Apple’s new product become relevant to this article?  Oh … no … I’m lost in a see of comments written by crazy people.  Help me I’m getting dumber by the minute!

Well, there is a solution.  There is this very nice addon for Firefox called CommentBlocker.  Install it and now the internet immediately becomes a better place.  Average IQ of your reading experience goes up by at least 20 points, and your overall satisfaction interacting with the web goes way up.  As a bonus your faith in humanity goes up a couple of points as the loud and angry trolls, ones that aren’t willing to put their name on their statements, no longer get to dominate the conversation.  If there is a site where the comments are of high value, or you just need a little crazy in the afternoon to keep you awake, in one click it will return the comments, but for that site only.

Take back the web, don’t feed the trolls, use CommentBlocker.

HTTPS Everywhere: interesting idea, terrible implementation

Last night I finally figured out why Amazon wouldn’t let me view inside books, it was because I still had HTTPS everywhere enabled for amazon.  It’s a neat idea to force your web session secure for sites that support it, but don’t make it easy.  Good in theory… in practice not so much.

When I finally figured out that it attempted to work with Amazon I noticed that I had disabled all the sites I actually use in the tool.  Twitter is rediculously slow under https, like 1 minute to load a page slow.  Google images aren’t searchable under https, so you don’t see it on the sidebar as an option.  Some of the facebook javascript wasn’t fetchable over https.  Wikipedia inbound search from google doesn’t work if it’s enabled.

It makes me wonder what part of the internet is used by the folks writing this addon, because it doesn’t seem to be the same part that I’m using.

Fixing Github with Greasemonkey

Github is great, I really can’t say enough good things about them.  What’s not so great is their css, as it breaks badly if you change you dpi.  I finally found the root cause of this which is the search field gets squeezed vertically, and collides with the div under it, forcing that to the right, and forcing the right sidebar down.  I sent in some feedback, but am not sure if/when it might get applied.

So, in the short term I added the following greasemonkey script for github.com

function addGlobalStyle(css) {
    var head, style;
    head = document.getElementsByTagName(‘head’)[0];
    if (!head) { return; }
    style = document.createElement(‘style’);
    style.type = ‘text/css’;
    style.innerHTML = css;

addGlobalStyle(‘#header .topsearch {width: 25em}’);

And voila, the site is readable again.

If only Firefox….

I really wish that Firefox set WM_URGENT when a new tab or window loaded. I need to look into what it would take to make that happen, as my use of Ion would end up being nirvana after that. Click on a link in an application Mod-k k, read the link, Mod-k k back to where you were. I spent a bunch of time on google looking for tihs one, and failed, which isn’t promissing. In my copious spare time, I’ll have to look into this one more.