Hands on: 12 quick hacks for Firefox 3

Think you've seen all there is to see of Firefox 3's new features? Wait, there's more -- check out these cool and useful hacks.

Firefox 3 has been out for two weeks now, so get with the program: It's time to hack it. The newest version of Mozilla's browser has plenty of new features, including the site identification button, the Bookmarks Library and what has become known as the "Awesome Bar" -- and I'll show you how to hack them all.

You can also force the browser to use Gmail for mailto: links, discover a hidden "Easter egg" and more. So fire up your browser and get ready to teach it some new tricks.

A note before we begin: One of the best ways to hack Firefox 3 is via about:config, which lets you change a wide variety of Firefox settings and preferences. Many of the hacks in this story make use of this nifty and practical utility.

To use about:config, you'll always repeat a few basic steps:

1. In the address bar, type about:config and press Enter.

2. A message will appear reading "This might void your warranty!" Ignore that nonsensical warning and click "I'll be careful, I promise!"

3. In the filter box, type the name of the setting you want to adjust. You'll see that entry appear in the area below. (If the name of the setting is very long, typing the first part of it will generate a list; you can then pick the setting you want.)

4. Make changes to the setting as instructed.

1. Klaatu barada nikto!

You may not know it, but Firefox has a mascot -- a robot that you can find in a hidden Easter egg in Firefox 3. In the address bar, type about:robots and you'll see the cheerful metal guy. The robot-related quotes displayed are from books and movies in which robots play a significant role, such as Blade Runner and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

If you look at the title for the page, you'll find what at first glance may seem to be gibberish: Gort! Klaatu barada nikto! In fact, that's the phrase used by Helen Benson in the science fiction classic The Day the Earth Stood Still, ordering the robot Gort not to destroy the Earth.

2. Tell Firefox 3 to have Yahoo Mail handle mailto: links

Until Firefox 3, if you used a Web-based e-mail account such as Yahoo Mail or Gmail, you were left out in the cold when you clicked a mailto: link. Mailto: links automatically begin an e-mail message to a specific sender, using your default e-mail handler. But with previous versions of Firefox, those links worked only with client-based e-mail software, and not with any Web-based e-mail programs.

With Firefox 3, that changes. The browser includes built-in integration with Yahoo Mail -- if you know where to look. And although it doesn't have the same integration with Gmail, there's a way to hack it to make it do so.

1. Select Tools --> Options and click the Applications icon at the top of the page.

2. Click mailto, and select Use Yahoo! Mail.

3. Click OK.

From now on, when you click a mailto: link, you'll be sent to your Yahoo! Mail account and a new e-mail will be created, to be sent to where the mailto: link directed it. (If you're not already logged into Yahoo Mail, you'll have to type in your username and password first.)

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Preston Gralla

Computerworld

1 Comment

Talasi

1

Preschool cooking ideas

How are you. An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
I am from Norway and learning to speak English, give please true I wrote the following sentence: "August preschool printable activity page."

Thank you very much :p. Talasi.

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest News Articles

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?