Friday, April 6, 2007


Okay, I give up. I'm going to stop using the Galeon web browser since it's becoming old and crusty, and nobody wants to support it anymore. It's just a wrapper around Mozilla/Firefox's Gecko rendering engine anyway. Well, I'd avoided Mozilla and Firefox for a while since (at least with Mozilla) they'd gone the route of having their own magic theme-able interface, which might allow things to look pretty, but meant that the browser stuck out like a sore thumb on my desktop. But let me tell you, I was already sick of having the browser stick out—Before Mozilla, Netscape was the browser most people used on Linux, and it used the Motif widget toolkit, which I always thought looked ugly as sin. For years I had a nice Gnome desktop with various pretty applications, and there was Netscape, just destroying my whole zen experience...

Anyway, as I said, nobody likes Galeon anymore. Well, at least Firefox 2.0 has more than halfway caught up with the UI, though there are still a few things missing or different. But even Galeon got stripped of some of it's nicer features. I tried Epiphany, but that was even more stripped-down. They were definitely not going for the power-user arena, which is where the original Galeon browser was targeted. For instance, it used to be possible to have multiple user stylesheets available in Galeon. I had this nifty one set up which was best suited to "printer friendly" pages—those always print text at the full width of the screen, but that's much wider than what's comfortable to read. My stylesheet brought it down to a more manageable width, on the order of 80 or 100 characters wide. But, of course, in Galeon 2 (I think...), the option of having multiple user stylesheets went away.

So, in the last few months, I've noticed that Galeon has seemed to be loading and running much more slowly than in the past. It doesn't mesh with the Mozilla/Firefox libraries as well as it once did. I tried out Epiphany for a while and was amazed at how fast it loaded certain pages. However, Epiphany had so many good things taken out of it that I just couldn't stand dealing with it. It has extensions too, but they're mostly unconfigurable. There's an ad-blocking extension, for instance, but it will block any url which has the string "ad" in it. That makes for a number of false hits. I had images on Flickr disappear because of that...

So, begrudgingly, I'm giving in and switching to Firefox (well, Iceweasel on Debian, but that's basically just a name issue). Oh well, it's for the best. Firefox has a whole add-on development community, which means that I will eventually find all of the things I need. Now I just need to document the things that annoy me:

Ctrl+Enter adds "www." and ".com" to whatever's in the URL bar rather than opening the URL in a new tab

  • Explanation: The adding of "www." and ".com" with this key combination is something that was borrowed from Internet Explorer. Nevermind the fact that Firefox will probably add on "www." and ".com" even if you only press Enter all by itself...
  • Solution #1: See bug #237027 – One commenter has a link to an add-on which sort of fixes this, but it's not configurable
  • Solution #2: Re-train yourself to use Alt+Enter, which matches how Internet Explorer does it (ugh)...

There are too many cases where new browser windows are opened—I want them in tabs instead!

  • Solution: This behavior can be improved by modifying the and properties on the about:config screen (Why is this hidden? Grr!)

Multiple user stylesheets aren't supported

  • Solution: This can probably be circumvented with some Greasemonkey scripting.

I don't know where the hell my user stylesheet (userContent.css) is or should be!

  • Solution: If there's not a bug report on that, there probably should be. Epiphany was nice enough to have a button in it's preferences dialog which would open up an editor with the file. Just about the only truly nice thing I've got to say about that browser...

The userContent.css file only gets loaded once when you start the browser!

I can barely tell which Firefox tab is active—they all look almost exactly the same except for slight difference in how gray they are

  • (Not A) Solution: Use themes! (*sigh*)

There are too many extensions for Firefox!

  • No shit.

The existence of the about:config screen is too much of a secret

  • Yes. There ought to be a button somewhere, or at least some reference to it in the built-in help pages.

Okay, I found this about:config screen, but what the heck do these things mean?

  • Yeah, these things should be self-documented, like (most of) the options in Gnome's gconf system. For some of these options, you can get help with a Google search, but many don't seem to be documented anywhere other than the source code.

I want smart bookmarks, like what Galeon had.

  • Yeah, I'm hoping there's a good extension for that somewhere. I had a bunch of nifty keyword searches set up...
  • [Edit 4/7/2007]: It appears that I was looking for smart keywords

Hey! When I middle-click on a link, or do something else to open a new tab, there's no browse history! If I close the original tab, I can't go back anymore!

  • Yeah, the browse history should be replicated when new tabs are opened, in my humble opinion... Someone's probably made an extension for this somewhere...
  • Partial solution: If you go to History → Recently Closed Tabs, you can reopen the tab that was closed.

[Edit 4/7/2007]: When I've got my mouse cursor over a bookmark, I'd like the URL to be displayed in the status bar of the browser

  • I haven't figured out a solution yet...

Posted by mike at 09:20 PM | Internet | Comments (0)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Siegfield Follies


I'm trying to find ways to ditch Outlook at work. So far, the best option seems to be to use only as a calendar, and to use Thunderbird or something else for actually doing my mail. There are a few things that are a little annoying, such as the fact that I have to go in and select exactly which folders I want to "subscribe" to via IMAP, but that's not a huge thing. The most annoying thing so far? It doesn't have a way to edit signature files! What? It expects you to just create a text file on the hard drive in a particular spot. Now, I don't mind this on a Unix/Linux box, where I'd just plop something into ~/.signature, but on Windows, you have to go through the drudgery of plodding through C:\Documents and Settings\<User>\<something>\<something>\<something>, which is very annoying...

How hard is it to have a button that starts up Notepad or whatever editor is associated with *.txt files, and have it point at the expected location? Heck, there's a file editor built into the stupid program—the "Compose" window used for creating messages. Why can't you just use that? Grr!

Posted by mike at 10:15 AM | Internet , Work | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Caught this on the tail end of Minnesota Public Radio's In the Loop yesterday: Jeff Horwich – "So Much to Protest (So Little Time)" (128 kbit/s MP3, 3.9 MB).

It's very entertaining, though thinking about the levels at which it may or may not be ironic makes my head spin ;-)

Posted by mike at 01:30 PM | Music | Comments (0)