Posts Tagged ‘Tricks’

firefox logo

Tabbed browsing is one of the most(if not the most) important features of modern browsers, and when the browser is Firefox you can expect some extra customizations. Here is a complete (I tried to make it) guide to a better tabbed browsing experience:


Tab Related Shortcuts:

Open a new tab Ctrl + T
Close current tab Ctrl + W
Cycle through open tabs Ctrl + Tab (right), Shift + Ctrl + Tab (left)
Switch to a tab Ctrl + [1-9] ,where 1-9 is the number of the tab
Middle Click on link Opens in new tab
Middle Click on open tab Closes the tab
Ctrl + Click on a link Opens in new tab
Open Closed Tab Ctrl + Shift + T

Tabs Related Preferences

Type about:config in the address/location bar to access the following preferences.

  • browser. link. open_external :
    • Modifies where to open external link sent by other applications like IM client, AV etc, Values: 3: open link in new tab in current window, 2: Open link in new window, 1: Open link in current tab
  • browser. tabs. autoHide:
    • Behavior for the tab bar when only one tab exists
      True (default): Hide the tab bar
      False: Always show the tab bar
      Can also be changed via – Tools > Options > Tabs
  • browser. tabs.closeButtons:
    • This preference controls how close buttons can be displayed on tabs.
      0: Display a close button on the active tab only
      1: (default) Display a close button on each tab
      2: Don’t display any close buttons
      3: Display a single close button at the end of the tab bar
  • browser. tabs. loadInBackground
    • Determine whether new tabs get the focus or open in background
      True (default): Do not focus new tabs opened from links (load in background)
      False: Opposite of above
      This can also be changed via "Tools → Options → Tabs → When I open a link in a new tab, switch to it immediately"
  • browser.tabs.tabClipWidth
    • Determines the min width of any background tab on which FF will show a close button, in other words if the width of tab is less than this value and the tab is a background tab, close button will not be shown on that particular tab. Browser.tabs.closeButtons has a effect on this.

      Value: Any positive integer value
  • browser.tabs.tabMinWidth, browser.tabs.tabMaxWidth
    • Controls the minimum and maximum widths of the tabs
      Value: Any positive integer value

Useful Tab Addons

Colorful Tabs : Colors every tab in a different color and makes them easy to distinguish while beautifying the overall appearance of the interface

colorful tabs
Colorful tabs

Tab Scope : Allows you to preview and navigate tab contents through a popup.

tab scope
Tab Scope

Undo Closed Tabs Button : This extension allows you to undo closed tabs via a toolbar and/or tab bar button or the right-click context menu.

Tab Sidebar : Displays previews of your tabs in your sidebar.

tab sidebar
Tab Sidebar

You can view other tab related addons here


  • You can drag and drop tabs on the tab bar to re-arrange them the way you want.
  • If you happen to find text like varunkashyap.wordpress.com which is not clickable but you want to open it, simple select the text and then drag and drop it onto the tab bar!

If I missed something or you have a favorite addon that I didn’t mention do let me know in the comments. Would You ?



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Downloading a lot of files these days is very easy and fast! A problem with this is that if you do not do some management, things start cluttering up even faster. Let’s look at one of such management techniques – "The Right Click Send To Menu". In this article we will be customizing the right click menu’s Send To option you get on clicking on a file or folder, plus there will be a few "Send To" tricks!

The procedure for customizing the "Send To" menu is same for both XP and Vista. Let’s say you want to add My Music to the Send To menu, you will have to:

  1. Open the run dialog box (Win + r) or Start > Run
  2. Type sendto and hit enter. The "Send To" folder will open.
  3. Then create a shortcut to the My Music folder in the Send To folder and you are done!

send to

Now when you Right Click on any file or folder and choose "Send To", you will see "My Music" listed there. You can add as many item to the Send To menu as you please. Not only folders but you can also add the following:

  • Disk drives (local or network)
  • Fax printers
  • Printers
  • Windows-based programs
  • Compressed (zipped) folders
  • The desktop
  • Mail recipients
  • The My Documents folder

To Remove an entry from the Send To menu you would just have to remove its shortcut from the SendTo folder.

Copying, Moving and Send To tricks:

First off just to set things straight Copying a file or folder means that a "Copy" of the file or folder is created in the new location, while Moving a file or folder means that you "Cut" the file or folder and then paste it in its new location. Since we have customized the Send To menu thus we have taken care of all this and we can achieve all this in one single step.

  • To Copy to the destination:
    • Simply Right Click on the file/folder and choose Send To and then the destination
  • To Move to the destination:
    • Left Click to select, Shift + Right Click on the file/folder and hold down Shift while you choose Send To and then the destination
  • To Create a Shortcut at destination:
    • Ctrl + Shift + Right Click on the file/folder and hold down Ctrl + Shift while you choose Send To and then the destination

Note that these tricks also apply in general when you drag and drop files from one window to another (only you don’t need to right click in that case).

Related: Ways to easily access folders

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Easter Eggs and Easter BunnyIf you have been checking the tech blogs lately you might have come across a lot of easter eggs posts. First lifehacker did a Software Easter Eggs post, then today Webware has combined a list of 10 internet easter eggs.

What are easter eggs anyways? To the first timers it may seem what the hell are you guys talking about! Well to clear off the dust and demystify "Easter Eggs" let me mention that Easter Eggs are little amusing tidbits that the creators of the softwares, games etc leave in their products for the users to discover them. They may range from a "Hello" to a Game of Tetris in µtorrent!

Since it is the Easter Eggs Year (I made this up!), I thought I should also contribute and add some of the Easter eggs that I know about :), So here I go:

  • The Google Reader Ninja Code ( ↑↑↓↓← → ← → B A), displays a Ninja in the Sidebar (Also mentioned in the Webware list)
  • The Photoshop Merlin: Hold the Alt Key, go to the layer pallete and click the arrow for layer pallete menu and choose "pallete options"
  • The Firefox 3 Robot: Type about:robots in Firefox 3 address bar
  • XP Star Wars: Type TELNET at command prompt, hit enter, then type the letter o and hit enter again, then type towel.blinkenlights.nl and press enter.
  • Illustrator Credits: Press CTRL, ALT and click on the Venus picture on the top of the toolbar.
  • XP Solitaire instant win: press ALT + SHIFT + 2
  • Minesweeper Trick: Type xyzzy and press SHIFT+ENTER, now the topleft pixel of the screen will change color when you hover over a mine!
  • Yahoo and Skype hidden emoticons: for skype type – (mooning) (finger) (bandit) (toivo) to get the respective emoticons and for yahoo see here
  • OpenOffice.org Calc games: Type =Game(“StarWars”) and hit enter or in a cell outside of the range A1:C3 type =Game(A1:C3;”TicTacToe”)and hit enter

There were more.. I wasted enough time thinking about them, so let it be these only for the time being, I will add more when I remember them. Meanwhile why don’t you guys tell me a few in comments?

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Video Annotations have finally made their way into Youtube. Yes yesterday youtube rolled out its own tool for annotations. You can now add speech bubbles, commentary, highlights or notes to any part of the video. That’s ofcourse if you uploaded the video. Yep the annotation feature is for the uploader of the video only for the moment. Here is a look at what I am talking about just incase I didn’t tune into your frequency till now!

Now annotations in videos have had mixed reactions on other sites. For one thing why put speech bubbles when its already a video? But I say it just adds a little humour if used in that sense. Notes etc can be used to add commentary and highlight a point that may be overlooked by the viewer. So are annotations to be viewed as “I don’t want to record again and I don’t want to edit, so lets put in annotations” ?

Na not really. Take a look at these videos you will know what I mean. Annotations used for a good purpose here although the tricks(video content) are well…. lets put it this way… everyone knows the tricks used to create these tricks! Have a look:

Annotations are good or bad? required or a gimmick? Well you decide. Its a feature you may like or may not and incase you are in the latter bunch you can turn off annotations on any video by just clicking on a button in the bottom right corner of the player.

Personally, I like them but I would want to be able to annotate others’ videos too(you can do it on other sites). So come on YouTube

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Get (Prerequisites)

  • Firefox Web Browser
  • Text Editor
  • Zeal for experimentation
  • Photo editor

Set (Final Result)

  • One fine, nasty, sexy looking Firefox window, with your own branding! Here is what I mean :
Profile directory
Custom Branding
Profile directory
Our Mission!


Go (Procedure)

Step 1: Navigate to your Firefox profile directory. Yes you have a Firefox profile too incase you didnt know. All Firefox users have it. Its stored in a special folder on your hard disk.You will have to enable show hidden files and folders. For complete steps here is how to find the profile folder if you don’t know how to. The following screenshot shows the location on windows xp. For other operating systems follow the link mentioned in previous line.

Profile directory
The profile and chrome directory on Windows XP


Step 2: The profile on my machine reads as "l0gyrqu5.default", you will have a similar random string if you didnt create a profile yourself. We will refer to this profile string as xxxxxxxx.default from now on (to avoid confusion coz yours is going to be different, just substitute xxxxxxxx with the random string for your profile).

We need to find the chrome directory and a userChrome.css file within the chrome directory so that we can start with the real work. As it turns out that there is a dir named chrome within dir named xxxxxxxx.default which is within the dir Profiles(refer to screenshot above)

Step 3: Within the chrome directory there are generally some example files (if you have not tweaked with FF yet). We are interested in the file userChrome-example.css. If you don’t have the file here is the sample one. (Caution: Before downloading the sample file please double check you are looking in the right place.)

Profile directory
We found it at last!

Step 4: Open up userChrome-example.css with your favorite text editor (no Microsoft Word or word processors please). Whatever you do don’t delete or change the following line (which is there initially):

@namespace url("http://www.mozilla.org/keymaster/gatekeeper/there.is.only.xul");

All the changes that are to be made have to be added after the above mentioned line. Now just copy and paste the following piece of CSS:

menubar, toolbox {<br />
-moz-appearance: none !important;<br />
background-image: url( &quot;myImage.png&quot; ) !important;<br />
background-color: none !important;<br />

Step 5: Save the file as userChrome.css in the chrome directory. (Please note the filename "userChrome.css" , it should be exactly same). To explain the CSS we are actually doing nothing much but saying to Firefox that

  • "Change the appearance of the menubar and the toolbox as I tell you to" ( menubar, toolbox { )
  • "Don’t use the default appearance"(-moz-appearance: none !important;)
  • "Use a background image I tell you to use and that is myImage.png in the chrome dir" (background-image: url( "myImage.png" ) !important;)
  • "Don’t use any background color" ( background-color: none !important;)
  • "I am done you can relax now!" ( } )

Step 6: Remember just above we told Firefox to use myImage.png as the background image? Well now its time to create one and place it in the chrome directory (that we hunted in Step 2). You can use your own image, logos etc and thus have custom branding. Here are few tips to keep in mind when you design your own images:

If you want to position your logo at a specific position rather than tiling it all over then find out what your screen resolution is, this will have an effect on the dimensions of the image we use. Lets take the most common 1024 x 768 as our reference. So now the dimensions of our image should be 1024 x 100. The idea is to visualize a rectangle over your Firefox window’s toolbar and see what dimensions will cover the area you want to cover. A good idea is to take screenshot of the window and then draw a rectangle over the toolbar using your image editing software. You will have the dimensions, no need to get too precise we just need a rough estimate. Download the sample image I created with I Love FireFox logo to be used as myImage.png .

Step 7: Name the image myImage.png and place it in the chrome directory. Restart Firefox and if you did all things as mentioned you will be greeted by your personalized Firefox edition.


Step By Step Tutorial Details:

  • Time to complete: 15 – 20 mins
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Karma, Satisfaction or Joy you gain: 10/10

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Gmail Hacking

I know this post will get lots of clicks, because of its name. Now for the people with mischievous intents who managed to reach here, I m sorry to say that i don’t know how to get the password of someone else’s gmail account(unless the other person is careless enough to fall traps to social engineering). This article is a collection of tips and tricks that help to increase your Gmail productivity! Thats also known as hacking by the way.

Meanings of hacking (these are not all)

Hack #1: Address
Almost everyone knows about the "." trick with gmail addresses. Okay just in case you don’t know I will quickly point out that:

  • mickeymouse@gmail.com
  • mickey.mouse@gmail.com
  • mickeym.ouse@gmail.com
  • m.i.c.k.e.y.m.o.u.s.e@gmail.com

all refer to the same address. In other words mail sent to any of the above will go to the same inbox.

Hack #2: Address
Here is what most people don’t know, If you know this already go buy yourself a beer and send me the bill! The tip is that in addition to the "." hack there is also a "+" hack which is that you can add any text to your mail address using "+". eg

  • mickeymouse+minniemouse@gmail.com still is same as mickeymouse@gmail.com

Hack #3: Labels
As elementary as they can be, not many people use them somehow. If you are like them and can’t find folders to arrange you mail and always wonder what that Green rectangle is there for then this is for you. Labels are Gmail’s equivalent of folders. Infact they say labels are even better than folders as a mail can be in more than one label.

  • Click on edit labels
  • Enter the name of the new label and click create. I hate to say this but for the traditional minded, now you have a "folder".
  • Any time you need to move a conversation to the label use the "More Actions" drop down list and choose the label name under "Apply Label:"

Hack #4: Filters
The true power of the all the above tips cannot be utilized until or unless you use filters. As the name suggests filters do nothing more than filtering email. Its when used in combination with labels and the above hacks that they prove to be one of the most useful feature that Gmail has to offer.

  • Click on settings.
  • Then go to the filters tab(click on filters).
  • You will see a create new filter link at the bottom. Click on it.

Filters are basically a search criteria, any mail that satisfy the criteria you provide will land be caught by the filter, what you want to do with filter is another thing. You can apply a label, forward to another account, delete , archive and loads of other stuff. By using hack #1 and hack #2 you can actually avoid unwanted mail and spam. eg if while registering the site requires email address then you can give your address as mygmailid+sitename@gmail.com, this way you know that any mail addressed to mygmailid+sitename@gmail.com is from that particular site or person and you can decide what you want to do with it 🙂
Bonus Hack: You can also create labels on the fly by clicking on the arrow next to the reply drop down when you are viewing a message to create a filter which matches the criteria for the current mail.

filters on the fly
Filters on the fly

Hack #5: Keyboard Shortcuts
Again not many people use keyboard shortcuts on Gmail. For lazy people like me for whom moving their hand from keyboard to mouse is too much of a job this is great, actually its very fast, believe me once you get hold of it its amazingly quick. I seldom use mouse within Gmail.

  • For most people c (compose), k (next), j (previous), r (reply), a (reply to all) , enter (open conversation), x (select) would be enough but there is a complete list at Gmail help page.
  • Note that you can use C and R to compose and reply in a new window

Hack #6: Send .exe files
You probably know that Gmail doesn’t allow you to send .exe, .dll, .ocx, .com or .bat files for security reasons. Come on Google all of us should not suffer only because of some stupid people with malicious intent.
Anyway to send exe files either use some other service, or change the extension of the exe file or compress it, but zip compression wont work because Gmail can detect exe files within zipped files as well so try other formats.

Hack #7: HTML Signatures
Gmail doesn’t provide facility to add HTML signatures. However, there is an easy workaround to this. Copy the code you want to use as signature. Create a notepad file and add the following:

<head> </head>
your code here

Save the file and open it in a web browser(Firefox, Opera etc). The page will be rendered by the browser. Click and Drag the mouse to select the rendered graphic or whatever and copy it. Go to Gmail, hit compose and then press Ctrl+v, there you have it – HTML signatures in Gmail. You will have to do this every time you want to use the signature so don’t delete the file if you are going to need it in future.

Hack #8: Search
Its Google Mail and how can we not include search in this. Now you might be wondering whats great in search, actually there is. There are a number of operators(keywords) that you can combine to search mail within a label, or only read messages or only from a particular user or only from a particular date and so on. Some people complain that lack of GUI features to search with all these criteria but hey if you are a power user you don’t need a GUI plus its faster this way!!

Search using keywords

Hack #9: Bookmarks and Bookmarklets
You can use your browser to bookmark any label or message type that you see often. Suppose you often like to view all the unread messages then you can type in search "label:unread" without quotes and you will see all your unread messages, but it doesn’t end here you can save it as a bookmark and then get back to it later, not only this you can save other searches as bookmarks too. Bookmarklets are piece of JavaScript code that enhance your productivity(mostly), There is a Gmail This bookmarklet that you can add to your bookmarks toolbar, clicking on which will open up a new compose window with the link to the current page as the body and its title as the subject of the new mail.
You can even bookmark a particular mail or conversation you have to get back to frequently.

Hack #10: Chat Invisible with Gmail
This is no hack! But increases your productivity for sure (if your friends like disturbing you). Well simply mentioning this here because a lot of people dont know it yet. The much awaited invisible mode is here. You can now chat invisibly on Gmail. Yuhooo!!

invisible mode
Invisible Mode

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