SeaMonkey Help is back…with screencasts!

Back in 2007, I stopped maintaining my SeaMonkey Help website. Others took over maintaining the site, but it wasn’t long before they stopped maintaining it as well. That wouldn’t be a big deal if it weren’t for one thing: SeaMonkey 2. SeaMonkey 2 was a huge change, making most of the site incorrect.

I recently decided to revive the website, and at least bring it back up to date. In addition to correcting out of date content, I had learned a lot about technical writing from working on the SUMO project, and wanted to apply that to my SeaMonkey Help site. I also had the tools to make screenshots and screencasts and learned the enormous value they add to support.

As I started looking at all the things I need to do to update the site, it was clear that this was a huge task. For over 200 items, I had to:

  • convert markup to HTML5 (to include screencasts)
  • remove obsolete content
  • test each help item to see if it still applied to the latest version of SeaMonkey
  • fix the text content (and markup)

And all of that was before enhancing the content with screenshots and screencasts.

I was in the shower thinking about how to plan this massive update, when I thought “Why am I even bothering to provide text and images, when I can replace it all with screencasts?

  • Updating the markup is dead easy.
  • The understandability goes way up.
  • I have section indexes, and the page titles are searchable, so finding pages should not be a problem.

For some of the content, text is better, and any css that needs to be copied was added below the screencast, so there are some exceptions. But for the most part, it is a screencast-only help site.

 And…..Here it is!

How to make Firefox use DuckDuckGo

Don’t like Google’s new privacy policy?
Want to change the search engine Firefox uses when you type something in the location bar?

Here’s how to make Firefox use DuckDuckGo:

  1. In the Firefox location bar, type about:config and press Enter.
  2. Click I’ll be careful, I Promise!
  3. Search for the preference: keyword.URL

  4. Double-click on it, and set the value to:

  5. Click OK.

For more information, read the Location bar search article in Firefox Help.

How to add thread lines in Thunderbird for Mac

If you use Mozilla Thunderbird on Mac and read messages in threaded view, it may be a little hard to track a thread tree. For instance, in this screenshot it is difficult to tell who MikeR’s last message at the bottom is in reply to.

Did he reply to his own post, Mike Easter, or perhaps a message off screen?

You can connect the messages with thread lines, using a userChrome.css tweak.

  1. In Thunderbird, click on the Help menu, then select Troubleshooting Information. This will open the about:support page.
  2. Click on Show In Finder. That will open your profile folder in the Finder.
  3. Create a new folder called “chrome”.
  4. Create a file in the chrome folder, called “userChrome.css”.
  5. Open userChrome.css, and insert this text:
    #threadTree treechildren::-moz-tree-line {
      visibility: visible !important;
    #threadTree treechildren::-moz-tree-line(selected, focus) {
      border-color: #FFFFFF !important;
  6. Save userChrome.css and restart Thunderbird. Threaded view should have lines connecting messages.

Need your help in the support forum

53% of questions in the Firefox support forum are not getting replies.

If you can, please make some time to answer a few questions, so we don’t end up with users coming to Mozilla for help and getting no reply.

Here’s a link to posts without replies:

If you haven’t created an account on, you should first repent, then go to

Deleting individual newsgroup messages in Thunderbird

Let’s say you’re reading a newsgroup with Thunderbird, and some spam gets posted. Or someone posts an offensive message you just want to remove from the message list. Or any case in which you just want to remove an individual article you’ve already downloaded.

In the past, it wasn’t possible to delete individual messages. At least not without exploiting the message aging feature. In the latest version of Thunderbird, you can delete individual messages. You just need to change a preference in the config editor to enable the feature.

  1. Go to Tools > Options > Advanced > General, and click on Config Editor.
  2. In the Config Editor, search for the preference: news.allow_delete_with_no_undo
  3. Double-click on it, to set the value to true.

After that, the delete command will work when you have any newsgroup messages selected.

When all you want to know is if the bug is fixed

For some specific bugs, I’ve added myself to the CC list, because I’m interested in knowing when the bug is fixed (and maybe when the target has changed). Problem is: because there has been a lot of discussion in a few of those bugs, I’ve been getting a lot of bugmail that I’m not interested in. I don’t want to remove myself from the CC list, because I still want to be notified when the bug is fixed.

I don’t know if I’m the only one with this issue, so I thought I’d share how I fixed it.

In my Bugzilla Preferences, there is an Email Preferences tab that allows me to choose what changes I get emailed about based on my relationship to the bug. In it, I turned off most options for when I am a voter of a bug. Then, for any bugs in which I only care if the bug is fixed, I vote for it instead of adding myself to the CC list.

I made that change over a week ago. So far, so good.

What is compacting folders in Thunderbird, and why you should do it.

Are your Thunderbird folders taking up a lot of disk space, even though you only have a few messages? Is Thunderbird slow to open folders? It’s probably because you have not compacted your folders.

When you delete a message, it doesn’t really get deleted from the folder. It gets marked as deleted. Thunderbird sees that marking, and knows not to display the message. Compacting a folder will command Thunderbird to remove all messages marked as deleted from that folder.

To compact your folders, go to the File menu and select Compact Folders.
To compact an individual folder, right-click on the folder and select Compact.

If you’re having any issues, post in the Thunderbird Support forum at

Firefox 4 Youtube HTML5

Okay, now that Firefox 4 is released and has been downloaded 40 million times, I want all Firefox users to do the following:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on “Join the HTML5 Trial

Most Youtube videos you watch will be served in WebM format with HTML5 markup, instead of Flash.

Sidenote: Before you go thinking Firefox 4 is the first version of Firefox to support HTML5 video, it should be noted the HTML5 doesn’t specify video codec. Firefox has had support for HTML5 video since version 3.5.

How to change the colour of link previews in Firefox 4

In Firefox 3.6, if you want to see the destination URL of a link in a webpage, you can hover the mouse over the link, and the URL will be displayed in the status bar. In Firefox 4 Beta, the destination URL is now displayed in the Location bar.

There have been complaints the the light grey colour makes the text hard to read. This is something you can fix right now with a userChrome.css tweak.

  1. In Firefox, click on the Firefox button and go the Help menu, then select Troubleshooting Information. This will open the about:support page.
  2. Click on Open Containing Folder. That will open Windows explorer in your profile folder.
  3. Create a new folder called “chrome“.
  4. Navigate to the \chrome\ folder, then right-click and select New > Text Document.
  5. Name the file “userChrome.css“.
  6. Open userChrome.css, and insert this text:
    .urlbar-over-link-box {color: #0000FF !important;}
  7. Save userChrome.css and restart Firefox. Link destinations should now appear in blue.