Splash screen for Firefox

[for Firefox users]
I don’t know why, but some people prefer to have a splash screen appear, as an application is loading. Netscape has one, the Mozilla application Suite has one, but Firefox does not.
Yes, you can add one, if you like.

- Download this splash.zip file.
- extract the files within it to your Firefox program directory
- edit the splash.ini file (text editor, like Notepad, should work), so the file paths are correct
- change your shortcuts to point to splash.exe

If you want to change the splash screen provided above, replace the splash.bmp file with a BMP file of your choice. Just make sure you rename it to splash.bmp, thus replacing the included file.

Changing the link colours in Thunderbird

[for Mozilla Thunderbird users]
The Mozilla Application Suite allows the user to customize the colour of hyperlinks. This setting also affects email and newsgroup messages. However, because it is a browser setting, the options panel for it is not in Mozilla Thunderbird. Once again, this is one of those things that you can change in Thunderbird, through hidden settings.

The best way to do it, is using the AboutConfig extension, who’s function will be part of the upcoming Thunderbird 1.5.
To figure out what colours you want, open a message composition window in HTML mode. (If you see a toolbar that lets you change the font, size, colour, etc., you are in HTML mode. If not, hold down Shift, as you click on the Write icon.)
Open the colour picker.

Pick the colour you want to use, and copy the HTML colour string, at the bottom.

Now open AboutConfig [Tools -> about:config], and look for the setting browser.anchor_color. Double-click on it, and change the value to the HTML colour string you copied earlier. Click OK, close the about:config window, and you’re done.
If you ever want to change the setting back to the default, right-click on the setting in AboutConfig, and select Reset.

Some additional notes:
The setting for unvisited links is browser.anchor_color
The setting for active links is browser.active_color
(Since Thunderbird doesn’t have a browser history, there are no such thing as visited links in Thunderbird)

You can also change these settings using a user.js file, as described here.

Gmail labels in Thunderbird

[for Mozilla Thunderbird users]
I recently got into Gmail‘s labelling system, which is pretty cool. You can create as many labels as you want, then label messages with as many of those labels as you want. Underneath the list of message folders, is a list of your labels, which you can click on to see a list of messages with that label (virtual folders).

Mozilla Thunderbird has similar functions, that can accomplish that, but with limitations. There’s the saved search folder feature which can not only achieve virtual folders for labelled messages, but for any search criteria. Then there is Thunderbird’s own labelling system, which works almost the same as Gmail, except 1)you have a limit of 5 labels, and 2)you can only apply one label to a message.

This is something I would love for Thunderbird to have; so I went through Bugzilla to search for any RFEs. I found Bug 114656 [allow arbitrary number of labels], and voted for it. Then I read comment #44, which points out an extension to help achieve this.

The Header Tools extension (by Audilecce) allows one to modify/add/remove headers of an email message. This means you can add your own header to a message, such as ‘X-Labels’ or ‘X-Categories’, and apply as many labels as you wish. You can set up saved search folders with the criteria [X-Labels][contains], and list the label. You can even have one saved search folder for a combination of labels.

Of course, I’d like each message to display its labels. This is where one of my favourites extensions can be used. Mnenhy is an extension that allows one to customize header views. These two are a match made in heaven! -)

Moving the Home button on Netscape7

This is one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ questions, that I answered long ago, and kept the answer on my hard drive. The question was from a Netscape 7 user, who installed the Home button for the Navigation Toolbar. He wanted to move the button, so instead of being beside the navigation buttons (Stop, Reload, Back, Forward), it would be to the left of the throbber.
Here’s how to do it:

- Close Netscape

- Use a file zipper/archiver, such as Winzip, to view the contents of home.jar. It will reside in either the \Netscape\chrome\ directory, or your profile’s \chrome\ directory, depending on where you installed it.

- Open homeOverlay.xul in a text editor, such as Wordpad.

- Scroll down, until you see the line that starts with:
<hbox

- change the id to throbber-box, so it looks like this:
<hbox id=”throbber-box”>

- a little lower, you will see a line that starts with:
<toolbarbutton

- at the end of that line enter the attribute position=”1″, so the line looks like this:
<toolbarbutton id="home" class="toolbarbutton-1" label="&homeButton.label;" position="1"

- Save homeOverlay.xul in C:\content
- Using Winzip, add the file C:\content\homeOverlay.xul to home.jar, and remember to enable the option to save the folder info. This way, you keep the \content\ file path within home.jar.

- save and close home.jar

The result should be like this:

The Mozilla Default Plug-in

By default, Mozilla Firefox comes with the file npnul32.dll in the \Plugins\ directory. If you enter about:plugins in the location bar, you’ll see a list of installed Plug-ins, with file information, and MIME-type assignments. In that list, you’ll see npnul32.dll listed as “Mozilla Default Plug-in”, assigned to the MIME-type *.
So what is the Mozilla Default Plug-in? What does it do? Why is it there? Can one disable it? How does one disable it?

The Mozilla default plug-in is the plugin finder that gets initiated, when you try to load a page that requires a plug-in, which is not found. Whether or not the default plug-in is enabled or disabled dictates how the plugin finder works.
For instance, if don’t have the Macromedia Flash plug-in, then go to their test page, this is what you’ll get with the default plug-in disabled:
[screenshot]

This is what you’d get, if the default plug-in is enabled (click on it for full size):
[screenshot]

To enable the Mozilla Default plugin, use about:config to change the pref plugin.default_plugin_disabled to false

Feed URL change

I’m changing the URL for this blog’s RSS feed. I’ve never liked the fact that Blogger.com only offers atom feeds, so I’m going through FeedBurner, which turns the feed into RSS 2.0 format. The Blogger.com atom feed will probably continue to be updated by Blogger.com, but I’d rather people use the FeedBurner feed.

I’ll change the link embedded in my blog soon. (If anyone knows how to make it automatically set the link type to “application/rss+xml”, rather than “application/atom+xml” please tell me.)

And the new feed URL is…
http://feeds.feedburner.com/ChrisIliasBlog

I also want to figure out how to automate RSS feeds for comments on my blog. That’s how it should be.

Making Thunderbird use Google Maps

[for Mozilla Thunderbird users]
If you use the address book in Mozilla Thunderbird, you’ll notice a little button that appears in Address area of the Card Summary Pane, entitled Get Map. If you click on it, your default browser will open, going to the MapQuest website, in search of a map to that person’s address. Pretty nifty. ;-)
Some people might prefer to use Google Maps for this feature. Here’s how to change it:
It would probably be best to use the AboutConfig extension; so if you don’t already have it installed, install it.
Using the AboutConfig extension, look for the preference:
mail.addr_book.mapit_url.format
Double-click on it, and edit the value to:
http://maps.google.com/maps?q=@A1,%20@A2,%20@CI,%20@ST,%20@ZI
For more info see:
http://www.mozilla.org/mailnews/arch/addrbook/hiddenprefs.html#Map_It_pref