I've often said no matter how good a piece of software is, there's someone out there who can make it better. Sometimes a third-party add-on can be so simple that I can't figure out why the developer didn't think of it in the original program. Then, of course, I wonder why I didn't think of it myself. As the great inventor Thomas Edison once said, "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Well, here's to an idea for which I should have donned the proverbial overalls.… Read more
Mahalo launched a new Firefox extension last week at Gnomedex. It's called "Follow," and once installed, it does just that. It's a mix of a toolbar and sidebar that pulls up related search results from whatever page you're on. It's got a built-in Mahalo search box in an attempt to ween you off your Google and Yahoo search tendencies. It's also got a StumbleUpon-like function to recommend whatever page you're looking at to others with yes, no, and maybe buttons, along with a button to take you to a random Mahalo … Read more
How long does it take you to type, "Now Playing"? And how can FoxyTunes, the popular browser extension, help?
Switching windows to your desktop's MP3 player takes up precious nanoseconds, too. Even worse, you might have to physically move and actually get up and look at your stereo. In the average e-mailer's day, that could add up to hundreds of thousands or even millions of seconds.
Patiently waiting for somebody to write that killer Thunderbird extension that does everything from sending spammers a DOS attack to washing your dishes won't get you much beyond a head of gray hair and a trip to Cuba for cheap meds to treat your high blood pressure.
No, there are no panaceas here, but we do have a platter of some newish extensions that not only make you slimmer and sexier, they also make Thunderbird better and easier to use with preview pane browsing, e-mail stickies, toolbar tweaks, and more.
Today, MXPlay--the digital-music player that focuses on customizing and enhancing your playback sound, while also letting you mash up streaming audio with Web videos (covered previously)--launched a Windows-only add-on for the Mozilla Firefox browser. Called MXPlay Web, the Firefox add-on part is a simple orange MXPlay button that sits in your toolbar. Whenever you navigate to a Web page that includes MP3 files, the button transforms into a musical note. Click that note, and you can "play" that Web page in a pop-up music player.
After you select "Play this page," MXPlay Web will list all of the available MP3 songs on that Web page. You can then mark any of your favorites and save them to a personal playlist. Unfortunately, once you create that playlist, MXPlay Web somewhat randomly puts them into an order that you cannot change manually.
Just like the full app, MXPlay Web lets you customize the sound of the music using the same unique graphic interface. Drag and drop the head icon (the listener) and each of your available speakers to a specific location on the screen, which affects sound levels and direction. A blue circle in the upper left lets you control the size of your virtual room, and the bars in the upper right offer three levels of reverb.… Read more
I am one of the 15 percent. Or maybe it's 11.6 percent.
Whatever metrics company you swear by, Mozilla Firefox is the go-to browser for a growing but statistically small percentage of Web surfers. I go to great lengths to avoid using Microsoft's dominant Internet Explorer, but I still like to see improvements made to any program, so I was glad to discover a tool that made using IE more bearable.
"Bayden IE Toys" isn't a name that sings, but it does add more power and flexibility to IE with 13 useful browser tools. Weighing in at a tiny 175kb, it didn't slow down IE in the slightest, even with every one of its tools installed.
Galleries of images set off against a black background have become common as software and Web sites try to help people show off their photos better. Cooliris' PicLens offers a clever way to do set up such galleries from many Web sites on the fly.
The PicLens browser extension can convert a bunch of images from Google and Yahoo image search, Flickr, Picasa, Facebook and RSS Media-based sites and other locations into a full-screen gallery of pictures. The photos slide by at a stately pace or advance when the user clicks the keyboard's arrow key, and a handy filmstrip … Read more
A company named Wyzo recently released the first public version of its flagship product, the Wyzo browser. Built off the open-source Mozilla Firefox base, Wyzo is notable for incorporating the ability to download torrent files directly from the browser interface without a separate BitTorrent application.
Wyzo offers the ability to download torrent files only because of an extension named FireTorrent that comes pre-installed with the browser. The FireTorrent add-on uses technology such as iP2P, STUNT and unP2P to translate a torrent file into the actual download that the torrent represents. Unfortunately, one big problem I had with Wyzo was that I wasn't able to kill/remove any torrent downloads that stalled because of a lack of peers.… Read more
In the spirit of my recently sworn allegiance to the powerhouse add-on Tab Mix Plus as the "best Firefox extension ever," I've created a resource guide for all of the features and options available in the Firefox add-on.
In a nutshell, Tab Mix Plus lets you customize nearly every detail of the appearance and behavior of your tabs without having to get into any of the about:config settings in Mozilla Firefox.
One important note: my Tab Mix Plus guide is based on the default Firefox theme. If you use a different theme, some of the Tab Mix Plus options may be affected. Also, this guide was written using Tab Mix Plus 0.3.6, which is important to note because the add-on does update semi-frequently.… Read more
Sometimes popularity isn't worth the trade-offs it may require, it would seem. Anyway, not for Joomla!, as Linux.com highlights in an article yesterday. The Joomla! team had apparently allowed proprietary extensions to its GPL code base as a way to grow in popularity, but the effect has been to breed mistrust and confusion.
Joomla's original intention was arguably a good one: be very "open" to outside development - of proprietary and open source kinds - so as to serve a more diverse community:
It seemed that Joomla! had created a thriving economy for developers, arguably because its tolerance for proprietary extensions attracted entrepreneurs who discovered an audience hungry for inexpensive but useful add-ons. Further solidifying the third-party developers' position that they were within their rights to develop non-GPL addons, Landry and others explicitly stated in Joomla! forums that the decision about whether to allow proprietary extensions was up to the copyright holder. In a June 2006 topic entitled "1.5 licence change clarification," Landry wrote that the Joomla! license in version 1.5 would "make sure that commercial third-party developers that use Joomla! as a platform can do so without fear of having to release GPL."
The problem, however, is that it's hard to serve two masters.… Read more