Radiogurl a la Carte

Thursday, Apr. 14, 2005

I love my Firefox.

Oh, and did I mention, I love my Firefox? In case I forgot to tell you, I do. I love my Firefox. I really do.

Firefox is a browser, a window option you use for surfing the Internet, like the AOL browser or Internet Explorer. I just downloaded a whole bunch of goodies for my browser. Unlike Internet Explorer - which serves its purpose, don't get me wrong - Firefox is about as secure as you can get in Windows. It limits access for viruses and spyware. It also has these nifty little tools and gee-wiz extras available that, while not always necessary, are just super cool to have.

googleThis is at the right side top of my browser, built in. You wanna look up something on Google? Just type into the box and hit "enter" and you go to the search page. I didn't think I'd use the search option much - until I started using Firefox all the time. Now on the rare occasions I use IE (Internet Explorer) it takes me maybe three minutes to get annoyed because my search box isn't there. Incidentally, that's not an 'extra' in Firefox. It's built into the browser from the moment you install it. And you don't get the spyware that come part and parcel with the Yahoo and MSN toolbars.

themeThere are several theme options - I just found this one and absolutely love it. This particular design is called PimpZilla. There's glitter on the buttons when you pass your cursor over them. Other themes use "monsters" (looking like kids drew them) and bright colors. Obviously it doesn't impact how the browser works, but come on... how can you not like knowing that you're surfing with PimpZilla???

brightOf course if you prefer, the other options are lots of fun, too. Animal prints and crayola colors work together in this little gee-wiz version of fun. Others are designed to make nice with Linux, the button style a match with the alternate operating system; still others are designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, therefore maximizing your view of what you're seeing online.

eyedropperAcross the bottom are some things I use and one I'll probably uninstall. I do a lot of web design and graphics and actually LOVE one nifty little tool. You right-click on the eyedropper icon and it pulls up a menu. You can hover your cursor over a spot in the page and it gives you the hex number (html numerical value) for that color.

It also permits you to zoom to a larger view, if you want to see things close up. THAT is a nice capability, too. It offers a whole lot of customization, like an automatic-copy function, your preference of whether to use upper or lower case. If you have vision problems or just trouble reading small print, it will enlarge up to 1000 percent, too -- so that little extra is not just for us geeks any more.

(Incidentally, Firefox also has the ability to increase text size in its main menu. IE does, too, but Firefox will override and enlarge ALL text proportionally. In IE, if the size of the text is hard-coded by the web designer, it won't enlarge the view.)

tunesIf you listen to music while online, this little tool (right) allows you to control your music player without having to enlarge it so it blocks your view. I use my sound card's built-in player, though, so I'll probably uninstall that tool. It works with MediaPlayer, MusicMatchJukebox, iTunes, Winamp, etc.

homeland securityThis one's just for giggles. The little colored message box gives the current alert level for the USA's Homeland Security - in simple (and laughable) terms. I have only seen this particular alert, so I don't know what the other levels say. Maybe it's not politically correct to laugh about something so serious, but some days you just have to find a reason to laugh or you'll explode.

themeBut I think my most favorite feature of all is again, something that comes with the program before you add any bells and whistles. For the online places you hit every day or on a very regular basis, you can put them in the bookmark toolbar, and they line up right across the top of the browser. No hunting through a drop-down. Just one click and you're there, baby!

I guess what set me off on this is another friend who got hit with an especially nasty virus. There's one or a few going around that, once they hit you, they prevent you from downloading a fix. They prevent your antivirus from updating and prevent your spyware killer from updating and in general they really muck your system up in a big way.

My friend is probably going to have to reload Windows because the version of bug she's got won't permit her to install Norton, even though I did some fancy footwork to see that she was at least able to download it. I am going to try one more thing before going that direction, but my gut instincts say that it isn't going to be that simple.

Fortunately at least she lives in the vicinity of Uber-Geek -- someone who runs circles around me in terms of computers. I told her to take her computer to U-G and let U-G handle it from there.

I had to fix this on W's computer here in town and I'm getting darned tired of the script-kiddies who are tossing out this dreck. But I'm telling you, Firefox will help. It doesn't stop the crap altogether, but dramatically reduces the likelihood of you getting smacked with it. And as a bonus, once you get the hang of it, you'll discover that it's faster than Internet Explorer. Or maybe it's just that it's not letting all the junkware through. Whatever the reason, I'll take it!

Oh, and while I knew I'd downloaded it, I just realized that there's another cute feature. Useless on Diaryland or my forum site, but if you use EZBoard forums or something similar, you can highlight a word and right-click and pull up an ez-code menu. Custom CSSJust click on the style you want (italic or whatever) and it inserts the coding for you. Now if it would just do that for html! I'll probably dump that option because again, I don't use it.

For those of us who can write code - especially those of us who can write CSS - you also have the ability to override butt-ugly page designs and color a page to suit yourself. While I set it up on Andrew's page here (right), I have no problem with the Diaryland layout. But I've been to some pages where I really could have used a pair of shades to block out the neon imagery.

*Sigh* Sorry, I had to get that out of my system. Us Uber-Geeks have to do something to keep us out of trouble, after all.

For some off-the-wall stuff, check out Bembo's Zoo, an intriguing alphabet zoo where letters build the animal.

And a couple of other odds and ends I've picked up from numerous diaries over the past few days:

Your Linguistic Profile:

65% General American English
15% Upper Midwestern
10% Dixie
5% Midwestern
5% Yankee

What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

I think it's safe to say I'm a mutt - a little of absolutely EVERYTHING in there!

Great. I'm not only a judgmental mutt, I'm the devil, too. Some days you can't win!

Your Rising Sign is Pisces

Dreaming and introspective, you're often lost in your thoughts. Which is okay by you... your inner world is pretty darn awesome.

And while you are inwardly confident, sometimes you seem a bit unsure. People often handle you more delicately than they need to.

You love luxury, and even if you're a bit broke, you want things to look "rich."

Mysterious and demure, you keep secrets about yourself to remain an enigma.

Well I guess it's good to know I'm a little fishy. The water will come in handy in Hades.

Before - After

In the grander scheme of things, no soul can truly be replaced. Each one of us has a place in the universal tapestry. We each contribute our own color and texture. When one thread is snipped too soon, it distorts all the threads around it. Other lives can unravel and tear. If the wrong thread is ripped away, the whole fabric of life becomes dangerously fragile.
- LeiLani, aka Radiogurl aka Bright Opal (1957 - )