Tag Archives: firefox

Prevent Firefox from closing browser when closing the last tab

If you hate that clicking CLOSE TAB button on last tab in Firefox closes entire browser, do the following:

In URL bar, type about:config, in Search field, copy this string browser.tabs.closeWindowWithLastTab. Switch it to FALSE by double clicking the entry.

After you do this, clicking close button on last available tab will just close the last tab and leave browser available for further use with empty page.

Out of all browsers, only Opera insists on doing the old fashion way where closing last tab only closes that tab and nothing else. Respect to Scandinavians. Good choice. The rest is just copying from Chrome like they don’t have any own identity or design skills… Yeah Mozilla, I’m looking at you. You did it like Opera still until you decided to copy the feature from Chrome. Why, I don’t know… It was a stupid decision.

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Force other Firefox clients to sync current data

Back in the early days of Sync feature in Firefox, we had option to force override data on Sync servers depending on your needs. You could merge the data, force currently used client to be overridden by the server data or current client overriding the server data.

Several updates later, and we have absolutely NO control over sync data. It just syncs up whatever way it feels like it and frankly, in most cases it’s not the way you want it. Things often go bad with Add-ons if you are testing them and you’re adding and removing them before other clients under your sync account receive data from Sync service.

However, I found a way to at least partially regain control in way of “Override other clients with the currently used client data”.

This means, all other Firefox browsers linked to your Sync account will get overridden with data found in client you’re currently using (in which you’ll initiate the override).

How to force re-syncing override

Click 3 horizontal lines menu button (Open Menu) in the top right corner and select Options… Or copy about:preferences#sync into your URL bar…

You’ll see this…

FirefoxSync.png

Now click Disconnect button and wait for few seconds, just to be sure server refreshes the state correctly.

Then just reconnect back and Sync service will think you’re hooking up a new client, force re-syncing data from it to all other clients, effectively force refreshing ALL clients connected to your account.

This should fix all the cases when clients aren’t syncing as they should. A lot easier and faster than reinstalling entire browser clean like I used to do it until I found out this does the trick as well.

Hope this helps ๐Ÿ™‚

Force sync all Firefox installations/clients

Firefox used to have special sync settings where you could force override current browser with data from the server, force override other Firefox browsers with current data from Firefox you’re just using and the third one to merge them.

But Mozilla has long ago removed this and set “merge” as the default and only action.

Problem that this created was when one browser went out of sync for whatever reason and it was incredibly hard to get it back in sync with the others. You can spot such issues when one browser just refuses to get a certain add-on synced that all other Firefox clients are already using for quite a while. This most often happens if you’re testing different add-ons in one browser, adding and removing them before Firefox can actually sync properly with the server. That seems to throw off other clients out of sync quite often.

There is however a neat trick that somewhat mitigates this issue. Clients can still go out of sync, but there is at least an easy way to get them back in sync again without reinstalling Firefox which is what I used to do before…

Re-syncing Firefox browsers

Open the browser which has the desired arrangement of settings, add-ons and bookmarks. Open Options, go to Sync side tab and click Disconnect… button. Wait for a second or two and then, click Sign in button and login to your Firefox account. This Disconnect-Sign in process seems to initiate browser wide re-synchronization, resulting in all browsers connected to sync account to reacquire data from the server and they also get back in sync from that point on. It’s not as quick as it used to be, but at least it’s something.

In theory, this should work if you do it on whichever system, but I’ve tested it with the one that had the desired arrangement of data that I wanted to transfer to other clients.

I hope this will save you guys some time and nerves. ๐Ÿ™‚

Enable global tracking protection in Firefox

As you may know (or not), Firefox has a tracking protection built in since quite few builds back. However, by default, this feature is limited to Private windows only. Enabling it globally will prevent tracking on all webpages. And from the looks of it, it doesn’t seem to affect browsing quality. You will recognize the active protection via displayed shield in the URL address bar. If there is no shield displayed, it means the webpage is not tracking you.

If you want to enable this globally, you can do this in two ways…

Add-on:

Install this add-on and it’ll enable it for you automatically. Since it’s an add-on, it’ll sync itself with you other Firefox installs on other systems, enabling it globally on all your devices.

Manual setting:

Type about:config in the URL bar and hit ENTER key. Confirm the warning and search for privacy.trackingprotection.enabled and double click it to set it to TRUE.

If value doesn’t exist, right click in empty space, select New and then select Boolean. Name it privacy.trackingprotection.enabled and toggle it to TRUE.

This is useful if you want this enabled on individual systems only or not having to install yet another add-on for a simple tweak within advanced settings. It’s up to you ๐Ÿ™‚

Additional settings under Privacy:

Type about:config in the URL bar and hit ENTER key. Confirm the warning and search forย privacy.trackingprotection.ui.enabled and double click it to set it to TRUE.

If value doesn’t exist, right click in empty space, select New and then select Boolean. Name itย privacy.trackingprotection.ui.enabled and toggle it to TRUE.

You will get additional settings within Firefox with this one under Privacy settings where you can easily enable or disable tracking protection.

You can disable tracking protection for individual webpages by clicking the shield and disabling protection. I have just noticed tracking protection removes “Like” and stars ratings from my blog (this one). You can disable the tracking protection if you want to see the ratings for my blog posts. Same applies for other webpages. Unfortunately, there is no way of selectively enabling just specific “trackers” and leaving others blocked. It’s either fully on or off for a certain webpage.

Many reasons why I love Firefox browser

I’ve been a Firefox user since pre-release versions and I’ve been exchanging use between Firefox and Opera later on until Opera sacked the old Presto engine based Opera (version 12.x). At that point, Firefox yet again remained my No.1 because with Opera shifting to Chrome foundations, it regressed functionally by 10 years basically. It hardly has any features and it’ll take years for it to get functionality we had in opera 12.x. I just can’t use such horribly crippled browser…

I’ve heard about many rather negative future changes planned for Firefox by Mozilla team and I hope my list will make them reconsider. It’s unlikely since I don’t have millions of readers, but hey, you never know. I’ve had various developers read and comment my stuff before so Mozilla team might surprise me… ๐Ÿ™‚

I might have missed few things, but these are really one of the strongest points that make me love Firefox so much.

Interface customization

At the moment, Firefox is the ONLY browser that allows me to arrange ALL the buttons and major browser elements (URL bar, bookmarks bar etc), the way I like them. No the way others or developers like them. The way I like it. I can re-arrange the entire browser to my needs and usage. It used to be tiny bit better in the past where menu button could also be moved and same for backward/forward buttons, but It’s still bearable and forgivable. I really hope Firefox will keep this, because if I hate anything is current Opera and Chrome where I have to download bunch of stupid extensions just to move or change few stupid buttons. Opera used to be great but now it’s the same locked down crap as Chrome. Mozilla team, don’t ever go that way. Browser is here to serve MY needs, not the needs of how majority of users thinks I should use it. So, giving me full control over browser interface setup/arrangement, it becomes MY browser of choice.

Amazingly organized settings

Opera and Chrome are both this horrendous mess of settings cluttered in a continuous scrolling mess. Thanks to someone at Mozilla properly doing their job, settings are amazingly well organized into categories and also individual settings are really well organized and placed within individual categories. I haven’t once found myself digging through settings looking for something and failing to find it. It’s always where you expect settings to be. Where in Chrome and Opera I found myself often scrolling up and down looking for something and missing it because it’s all cluttered together. Good job Mozilla.

Synchronized integrated basic/simple RSS feed reader

People will always say: “But there are so many good feed readers!”. Sure there are. But all of them are annoying 3rd party apps that still don’t work the way I simply love Firefox’s live feeds work. Not only it’s already in the browser, I can instantly subscribe to feeds without the need to first download feed reader add-on and then also add-on that gives me a button to actually be able to subscribe to feeds while I’m browsing a specific news webpage. I can also nicely arrange them in subfolders which is a nice goodie. And lastly, Firefox live feeds are synchronized through my Firefox Sync account. Meaning I’ll always be subscribed to all my feeds in all my browsers across all my computers. Which is super useful and doesn’t require me to first login to 100 accounts for all the separate services before I can get bloody feeds in my browser. It’s amazing what kind of simple approach Mozilla used for integrated RSS feed reader and it’s working so amazingly well. Opera and Chrome have no such thing and everything I add using extensions is just one big horrible mess. Bah. I know it has few limitations like missing feeds if you don’t check them for several days and you have to manually browse through them as there are no notifications, but despite this, it’s so simply, easy to use and functional way to provide RSS feeds reading I don’t ever want to lose this function. Mozilla, don’t ever remove live RSS feeds!

Synchronized search engines

I’m shocked how Opera and Chrome still don’t have this. It’s absolutely idiotic not to provide such functionality. With Firefox I can create a search keyword to instantly access any search engine I want directly from URL bar and then have that synchronized across all my browsers and devices. Firefox simply stores keyword based search engines as bookmarks, meaning I can arrange them in folders and also synchronize them across browsers/devices along with bookmarks. This way I can always utilize my keyword searches no matter what device I’m using or on which i’ve created the keyword rule. I just type “g best browser” in the URL bar and that “g” keyword in the beginning sends a “best browser” term to a Google search engine, instantly providing me search results without having to click around into dedicated search forms and select what search engine I want to use. You already do that by using that tiny short keyword in front of a search term. I can also set “b” to be keyword for Bing and I’ll just type “b best browser” in URL bar and I’ll instantly get search results for “best browser” in Bing. Or the “d” keyword that I regularly use to quickly search for words on Dictionary.com. These keywords save me so much time it’s crazy. And I also look like a dork trying to use keywords in Internet Explorer/Edge on other systems, typing some “random” letters in front of stuff XD Yeah, it’s so useful you subconsciously want to use it everywhere.

High quality add-ons

I’ve recently seen news Mozilla is planning to ditch existing add-ons and replace them with Chrome extensions. Mozilla, for the love of god, DON’T do this. I don’t know how difficult XUL is to develop, but I do know the results because I’m add-ons junky. I love add-ons because they extend functionality beyond awesomeness already provided by the browser itself. Because Chrome extensions are all fat, bloated, buggy and low quality. They all feel like some absolute programming noob created them during programming lessons or something. Just look at countless GMail notifiers that all feel like shit in Chrome but are amazing in Firefox. Or Ghostery add-on that is found in both, Firefox and Chrome. In Firefox you have separate control for elements and cookies and you can also enable individual items as well as allow them just once within the webpage itself (enable on demand). No such thing in Chrome. If Chrome extensions are so god damn awesome, then why they can’t provide same functionality? Not to mention I can also move Firefox add-on buttons wherever I want them while Chrome and Opera add-on buttons are locked within dedicated interface space and that’s it. Absolutely pathetic. If Mozilla can deliver same level of integration and functionality while making extensions easier to develop, then by all means, go for it. But if you plan on using this garbage found in Chrome, then don’t even bother. I don’t want it.

Favorite “Starred” bookmarks and Unsorted Bookmarks

Another thing I love about Firefox bookmarks is how easy it is to bookmark stuff using that “star” button. One click on the star bookmarks the webpage under Unsorted Bookmarks. Which is ideal for quickly saving webpages that you need to “remember” but aren’t worthy enough to be permanently stored in a specific organized way. I often use this to quickly bookmark webpages that host solutions how to solve lets say program crashes. I bookmark them instantly, they are there and when I solve the problem, I just erase them. So it’s a very quick process which doesn’t waste any of my time. But if I want to permanently store some bookmark in a nicely organized way within my bookmarks structure (which has subfolders), I just have to click the “star” button again and Firefox will open up a bookmark organizer that allows me to store a bookmark in a more lengthy, but also more sophisticated way. Because you can also search through all bookmarks, finding stuff you “lost” within Unsorted Bookmarks is a very easy task.

Browser synchronization

I’ve touched this function in few points above and while it has been quite problematic in the past, it seems very reliable now and out of all browsers, it’s the only one that not only synchronizes bookmarks, tabs, passwords, add-ons, preferences and history, it also synchronizes things no other browser does. And this includes RSS feeds your subscribed to as well as search engines through keywords. Mozilla designed this through a clever system of storing those search engines/feed subscriptions as bookmarks, allowing them to easily be stored, organized and synced across devices. It’s brilliant and I absolutely love it because all my devices have same bookmarks and feeds and I can at any time back them up to prevent data loss. When your browser becomes a central point of your life and a database of countless useful bookmarks, links and news sources, losing them because you did something wrong (like formatting disk before backing all up correctly) is very devastating. But with such backup options and synchronization of browser data, I really don’t have to worry about it. I still remember how angry I was in the past when I lost browser data before browser syncing existed. It’s really hard for such thing to happen today.

Spellchecking and dictionary

If you’re not a native English speaker (yeah, English is not my native language), having good spellchecker is a must have. And one provided in Firefox is really good. It’s easily accessible in right click menu so you can enable or disable it quickly without going into any settings or settings popups. And with add-ons, browser can even detect what language you’re typing into a field and automatically switches the dictionary. I regularly use this between forums with my language and forums that use English. Or when I simply don’t care and don’t want browser to underline misspelled words. It’s all just a click away and it’s brilliant. Chrome and Opera has all of this so clumsy it drives me insane every time I have to use it.

Good general speed/performance

We all know how Google bragged about performance when they introduced Chrome. It was the fastest thing under sun in all benchmarks. But to me,ย  it was just that. Really fast in benchmarks, but sluggish in most actual webpages. Things went especially bad once you started stacking extensions that involve webpage filtering like AdBlock or Ghostery. Chrome just sank into miserable slowness. Firefox on the other hand, it never absolutely dominated competition, but it was always well responsive browser with fast webpage rendering that didn’t really feel sluggish. Especially once you stack some add-ons. Thy don’ seem to affect Firefox much, unlike in Chrome.

Firefox 42 is coming, this time also in 64bit!

Along with many privacy and performance improvements, there is for the first time also a 64bit binary for the Windows systems. It’s still not 100% sure whether it’ll be widely offered on Mozilla webpage or just for those who specifically pick a 64bit version as an alternate option, but either way, I won’t have to wait for days and weeks for Waterfox to release a 64bit version of a 32bit browser anymore. It’ll be 64bit from version 42 on officially. I’ve been using 64bit version for the entire beta cycle and it has performed amazingly well. Twitter for example, it started stalling on high end system even after few scrolls down the page. With 64bit version, it takes quite a lot longer for this to happen. So, certainly very noticeable benefits.

It should be available on Mozilla webpage tomorrow, but if you can’t wait, here are the direct links for Firefox 42, 32bit and 64bit…

Downloads

Firefox 42 (32bit, English)
Firefox 42 (64bit, English)

Firefox 42 (32bit, All languages)
Firefox 42 (64bit, All languages)

New e-mail notifications for GMail in Firefox without using any add-ons

I love GMail notifiers for browsers. They let you know about new GMail e-mails as soon as you get them, so you don’t have to check for them manually. There are tons of them for Firefox, but quite frankly, 99% of them are garbage. Either they actually notify you about new mails, but they are clumsy and they force you to use retarded preview panels that I absolutely hate or they simply don’t work at all or break down regularly, which is equally annoying.

Is it so god damn hard to create a notifier that plays a Windows notification sound when new mail arrives, displays the number of e-mails until you read them/mark them as read and opens a full blown GMail webpage when you click the toolbar button? That’s ALL I’ve ever wanted from GMail notifier. The only one that actually did that when I set it to was GMail Watcher. But the author unfortunately took it off the Firefox Add-ons page and is hosting it on a 3rd party webpage which by itself brings a lot of inconveniences. So, what else you can do?

There is one neat trick for Firefox. While it doesn’t play any sounds (I hope Google will add this to GMail Labs though), it does everything else I need and with a guarantee it won’t ever break like add-ons often do. Unless Mozilla changes how tab pinning works or something…

New e-mail notifications for GMail in Firefox without using any add-ons guide

First, login to GMail and set it to remember the login and you’ll see the favicon looks like this…

GMailNotification1

Not really useful right? Well, click through GMail settings like this…

GMailNotification2

…and enable Unread message icon Labs add-on.

Scroll the Labs page all the way down and click Save Changes button…

Tabs now actually display the number of unread e-mails, but tabs can be closed and moved around and that’s a bit annoying to keep GMail tab open at all times. We have to “Pin it” to the Firefox toolbar in order to always have it in exact same spot in the interface as well as prevent it from closing accidentally.

Right click on the GMail tab and select Pin Tab option…

GMailNotification4

This will permanently pin GMail tab along with number of unread e-mails to the left side of the tabs toolbar.

Like so…

GMailNotification3

Pretty neat eh? ๐Ÿ™‚ First time browser starts might be tiny bit slower since it has to open browser and load up scripts heavy GMail webpage in the background, but I have a hexa core with 32GB so who cares about that ๐Ÿ˜› I might disagree with my statement on AMD E-450 laptop or the Atom tablet though. But hey, it’s a notifier for unread GMail e-mails and it works. What else do you need ๐Ÿ™‚