Useful Firefox Extensions

Tech, Web No Comments

Firefox Extensions make my life easier in countless ways on a daily basis.
I believe extensions are the primary advantage firefox has over its competitors.

In this post, I will give you a list my favorite extensions, and a description of each.
The links I provided are to the extensions homepage; however most can be downloaded from Mozilla Update.

1 ) Image Zoom – This is my absolute favorite extension. It allows zooming in/out on image files via Right-Click menu. This is excellent when an image is too small or too large to be viewed easily on your monitor.

2 ) BugMeNot – This extension automatically grabs usernames and passwords from http://www.bugmenot.com. This saves countless hours when trying to read a quick article on a site that requires registration.

3 ) GMail Notifier – This extension is self explanatory. It will monitor your GMail account and notify you when new mail arrives.

4 ) PDF Download – Have you ever clicked on a link, only to realize that it is to a PDF when Adobe Reader freezes your browser while loading the document?
Fear no more with this handy extension. When a PDF link is clicked, a menu will be displayed asking how you want the file opened.

5 ) Session Saver – This extension will save your open tabs when the browser is closed. This is wonderful to reserve resources while not using Firefox. As an added bonus, Session Saver automatically saves your session in the event of a browser crash.

6 ) CustomizeGoogle – This extension customizes Google. It will add links to search your query on other search engines, adds preview images of search results, and adds Google Suggest functionality to the good search box.

7 ) IE Tab – This extension allows rendering webpages using the Internet Explorer engine inside of a Firefox tab. This one is really great when a page is not compatible with Firefox, or you need to run Microsoft Update.

8 ) ColorZilla – Eye dropper tool for Firefox. This extension allows you to grab the RGB and HEX color values for any pixel of a webpage. Essential for web development.

9 ) Web Developer – Excellent suite of tools designed to aid in the development of web pages. A similar, but less feature rich Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar is available from Microsoft.

10 ) Linky – Open a set of links in Tabs. Useful for link sites such as Reddit and Digg.

11 ) Menu Editor – As you can see I use a lot of extensions. Several of the extensions add extra entries to the Right-Click menu. Menu Editor allows you to reorder or delete items on the Right-Click Menu

12 ) Form History Manager – Firefox’s form history can be a life simplifier, by remembering your email address and other information that frequently need to be entered in forms. However, isn’t it annoying when the form history displays incorrect information, due that that time you accidentally mis-typed your email address? Form History Manger to the rescue! This handy little extension will allow you to remove unwanted elements from the form history.

13 ) StumbleUpon – The cure for internet boredom! Simply select categories that interest you. Press the Stumble! button on the stumbleupon toolbar, and be instantly sent to a webpage about one of your interests. Be sure to rate the sites thumbs up or thumbs down as this will help stumble upon weed out which types of pages interest you most.

14 ) ForecastFox – Weather forecast on firefox status bar.

15 ) Adblock Plus – Improved version of the popular Adblock Extension. This extension will allow you to block ads at a whim. It will also allow you to create white lists of allowed ads. Don’t forget to install the Adblock FilterSet.G Updater extension to automatically update your list of filtered ads.

Dave

ASP.NET Atlas

Microsoft, Programming, Tech No Comments

Since the dawning of this new fangled Web 2.0 craze, I have been highly interested in AJAX programming.
In the coming weeks I am going to begin playing with Microsoft’s Atlas Library for ASP.NET 2.0.

I now have a copy of Visual Studio 2005 to begin testing, and I will be experimenting/exploring the possibilities of using ASP.NET 2.0 for AJAX applications.

Dave

Best Buy Update #5

Personal No Comments

I went to my local Best Buy store last night. Not only did they have my laptop, but they had also replaced the screen. (YAY!)

Everything seems to be in working order.

Oddly, they restored the hard drive using a set of the laptop’s restore CD’s (which I did not send them).

I made an image of the drive before sending it off, and I was planning to format soon anyway, so it is not that big of a deal.
Still, I cannot imagine why replace the screen would cause them for wipe the hard drive.

I almost wonder if it was done simply out of spite. Just to cause me more lost time or something.

Either way, I now have my laptop again.
It has been repaired.
And I know to never trust Best Buy or their Performance Service Plan ever again.

Dave

Best Buy Update #4

Personal No Comments

Lovely.
I just recieved a call from the customer who recieved my laptop the first time I shipped it off for repair.

He informed me that Best Buy had left a message on his answering machine, letting him know that his laptop was ready for pickup at the store in Shreveport, LA.

Good thing I had the unit shipped back to my local store rather than my home, otherwise it would be in the wrong city again.

I cannot believe that they still have the information incorrect in their system.

That is simply ridiculous.

I will pick it up today (if they will let me, since I have no ticket, and the wrong name is on the service order.)

Hopefully the unit is actually fixed.

I will keep you updated

Best Buy Update #3

Personal No Comments

For the full saga, please see my previous posts: Best Buy Service Mismanagement, Best Buy Update, and Best Buy Update #2.

I finally got in touch with Best Buy today to inquire about my laptop.

Unsurprisingly, the representative confirmed that the service order was showing a status of “shipped to service center” and could not find any other notes on the laptop.

She decides to call the store to find out more details.
It takes about a half-hour to contact the store.

Once the store is reached, the Geek Squad agent at the store is also unable to find the laptop as no notes are left on the unit.

The agent from the store calls DEX, my local store’s service center in an attempt to locate my laptop.

At this point I’m worried. This is the third time that Best Buy has lost my laptop.

After another half-hour or so, I receive a call. They have found my laptop. (YAY!)

For some reason, a new ticket was created on my laptop. The previous service order was still open, and there were no notes in the original service order indicating that a new ticket had been created, or even why a new ticket was created.

The customer service representative gives me the new service order number.
She then informs me that the laptop has supposedly been repaired, and that the unit is on its way back to my local store in Shreveport, LA.

If the fact that Best Buy lost my laptop for a third time was not scary enough, I soon find out more scary details.
After visiting GeekSquad.com to track my new service order number, I see why they were unable to find the new ticket.

You guessed it, the NEW TICKET IS IN THE WRONG NAME!
Once again the ticket has been made out in the name of the customer who received my laptop the first time.

Unbelievable!
Thank God that the laptop is returning to my local store and not being shipped to my home again. Otherwise, it is obvious that the laptop would have been mailed to the wrong customer in the wrong city a second time.

How can Best Buy be this incompetent?

They have lost my laptop three times.
They mailed it to another customer.

After all of this they still have not corrected the problems in their system that caused the problems in the first place?

Best Buy has basically shown me that they do not care about their customers.
The sad part is, since my situation has not caused them to fix their internal problems on any level, it is certain to happen time and time again to poor customers who lay down their hard earned dollars for the supposed “Protection” that Best
Buy sells as their Performance Service Plan.

Best Buy obviously is only interested in profit at any cost, and is not concerned with the satisfaction of their customer base.

I believe I am still going to address this with Best Buy’s corporate office.
Even if by some miracle the laptop is actually fixed this time, the company still owes me an apology, and needs a huge wakeup call to prevent other customers from falling victim to mismanagement, incompetence, and lack of responsibility.

I am not the type to demand compensation for other people’s simple mistakes, but at this point I have been without my laptop for nearly two months.
If Best Buy is going to take such little responsibility for their actions, maybe this needs to be escalated even higher.
Maybe if this affected their pocketbook rather than mine they would sit up and take notice.
Since obviously, that is all Best Buy pays attention to.

Dave

TugZip 3.4

Software, Tech No Comments

Another software recommendation:

TugZip.

TugZip is a freeware File (de)compression application that supports all major compression formats.

From the TugZip Website:

  • Supports ZIP, 7-ZIP, A, ACE, ARC, ARJ, BH,
    BZ2, CAB, CPIO, DEB, GCA, GZ, IMP, JAR, LHA (LZH), LIB, RAR,
    RPM, SQX, TAR, TGZ, TBZ, TAZ, YZ1 and ZOO archives.
  • Supports BIN, C2D, IMG, ISO and NRG disc-images.
  • Support for external plugins.
  • Windows® shell integration, e.g. drag &
    drop, shell context menu and drop handlers.
  • Create 7-ZIP, BH, BZ2, CAB, JAR, LHA (LZH),
    SQX, TAR, TGZ, YZ1 and ZIP archives.
  • Script support which allows you to make automated
    backups.
  • Basic features like: add, extract, delete,
    rename, run, view, checkout, install, test, comment, SFX, virus-scanning,
    disk-spanning and much more.
  • Repair corrupted ZIP and SQX archives.
  • Can extract multiple archives at once using
    Multi Extract.
  • Encrypt archives using 6 different algorithms.
    Blowfish (128-bit), DES (56-bit), Triple DES (168-bit) and Rijndael
    (128-bit, 192-bit and 256-bit).
  • Create self-extracting encrypted archives.
  • Automatic updates using the “Web Update”
    function.

TugZip is a wonderful application that is not all free, but incredibly useful.

Kudos to Christian Kindahl for his excellent work.

Don’t forget to grab the ACE and RAR plugins from the plugin section!

TugZipGet TugZip Now!

Best Buy Update #2

Personal No Comments

For Those of you who missed my previous posts, please see:
Best Buy Service Mismanagement and Best Buy Update

As reported in my previous posts, I sent my laptop off to service for the cracked screen on December 21, 2005.

Apparently, the laptop has been lost again, or is simply being ignored by Best Buy.

The expected completion date on the ticket is listed as January 1, 2006.

Obviously, the both the service center and UPS were closed for the Christmas and New Years Holidays so I expected some delay.

Imagine my suprise however when today I log onto geeksquad.com to track my repair, and the status is listed as “Shipped to the Service Center.”

According to geeksquad.com it hasn’t even reached the service center yet!

To make matters more frightening, my laptop has shown this status since before Christmas!

With all of the previous problems with this unit, you would think that they would keep close tabs to ensure customer satisfaction.
However, this is not the case.

I will be contacting them again today, and will post another update when I know more.

All I can say is:
Unbelieveable.