Saturday, June 28, 2008

Firefox 3

Here I go again.

I'm using pretty much the same Add-ons I used before:

Here're the options for QuickDrag:

And here're the options for Tab Clicking:

I changed a couple of things in about:config:
browser.tabs.autoHide - false
browser.tabs.closeButtons - 2
browser.tabs.tabMaxWidth - 100
browser.tabs.tabMinWidth - 10
The location bar has a star at the right end for Firefox bookmarks, clear if the site isn't bookmarked and gold if it is. Since I don't use Firefox bookmarks, I just wanted that real estate back. This tips list tells you how to do it.
Hide the star button if you prefer to use the Bookmarks menu or a keyboard shortcut (Ctrl + D)

* Open your userChrome.css file located in your profile folder.
* Add this line to the end of the file:
#star-button {display: none !important;}
* Restart Firefox for the change to take effect.
What they don't tell you is how to get the userChrome.css because it doesn't exist. In your C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\im0vt1ea.default\chrome there is a file userChrome-example.css. Copy that in place and rename it to userChrome.css. Oh, they also don't tell you that you need to edit this with WordPad. Restart Firefox and then all is fine.

Maxthon lets you search from the address bar and I'm already missing that in Firefox. I think I've found something even better though. John Bokma wrote about how to add "smart keywords" to Firefox. These work just like Maxthon's search shortcuts except you use them in Firefox's location bar. I've added the obligatory ones for Google and wikipedia.

Can't be any worse than Maxthon 2.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


You'll remember back in February 2008 that I highlighted the IT Conversations podcast with David Ulevitch, founder and CEO of I suggested then that I'd be playing with OpenDNS and I have.

Initially, I just switched my DNS to point to OpenDNS' servers. This gets you a couple of features. Things like if you misspell .com by typing .cm instead. OpenDNS will automatically change this to .com and send you on your way. If OpenDNS can't figure out what you want, it'll perform a search for you and give you an error page with the search results.

Nice, even cute, but not a big deal.

Then my mom started getting e-mail from phishing sites.

So I set up a free account at OpenDNS and registered my static IP address with them. Then I added a second "network" with OpenDNS for my mom's IP address. Unfortunately, she has a dynamic IP address.

OpenDNS has a client that you install that will track your IP address and update OpenDNS when it changes, just like DynDNS.

You have to enable that "network" within OpenDNS for dynamic IP address tracking and then you're good.

With all that in place, you can then set domain filtering for each "network" within your account. You can even specify text for the error messages and put your own logo on the messages.
Of course there are statistics and reports galore.

Pretty cool.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

HD UPS Problems

I've been fighting a problem with my APC UPS that I have in front of my HD setup. It's a BE350R.

When I went HD, I bought a new BE350R just for it. It ran fine for several months then one night the lights blinked and the whole HD setup dropped power. Bummer.

I reset it and it did it again. I just plugged everything into a power strip and went on.

Today I had time to work on it so I went on the APC site and they had a nice real-time chat feature. They walked me through testing the battery and it was fine. As I replayed the symptoms to the agent, he said that they indicated that the UPS was overloaded. The BE350R supports 200W. Actually the agent, Arun, was very good.

Plugged into it I had the Sony KDL52W3000, the Scientific Atlanta 8300HD DVR, the Hauppauge MediaMVP 01000, and the Vantec enclosure with the 750GB drive from the Seagate FreeAgent Pro.

Remember, I'm a mechanical engineer, not an electrical engineer!

So tonight I struck out finding the power requirements of this equipment. It didn't take long to discover my problem. The Sony draws 295W!

I'll just plug the Sony into the surge suppressor side of the BE350R and I should be fine.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Excel 2007 Slow Launching From Notes

A couple of us at work were early adapters of Office 2007.

As we installed it so early, we left Office 2003 installed as well. We've run into some interesting problems that I believe are as a result of that.

The most irritating example is that when you open an Excel file attachment from within Lotus Notes, Notes hangs, Excel opens but without a file. Then after what seems an eternity (really less than a minute), it breaks loose and all is fine. My friend even discovered that if he clicked on the Open icon in Excel and then canceled the dialog box that Excel would take off. The same thing happens when you double click on an Excel file in Windows Explorer. I haven't noticed it for Word files.

I Googled this and found this blog entry.

That fixed it. Interestingly, we both noticed that the text in our entry read
"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\EXCEL.EXE" /e
You can just click on Browse in that dialog box and navigate to the Office12 folder.