Tag Archives: Firefox

Future Cloudy for the Slacker?

OK… call me a hypocrite, but I had to do it. I had to stick my head in the clouds.

My first foray into cloud computing… well, sort of… is my new favorite tool, Xmarks. What is Xmarks, you ask. Well, grasshopper… let me tell you all about it.

As many of you know, I run numerous distributions of GNU/Linux on my desktop system and I also run Slackware/MS Win 7 on my laptop. Keeping bookmarks and other browser-related baloney synchronized between platforms and operating systems is becoming problematic for me these days.

The solution? Online storage and auto-synchronizing of my browser stuff. COOL idea, huh? You may not see it for what it is, but it’s a form of that dreaded “cloud computing” that I’ve been ranting about here and there. My biggest worry about cloud computing is security. In this case, though, I’m not too worried.

I’m only using the service for bookmarks storage and synchronizing. I’m not using the saved passwords or browsing history options; mainly because I don’t need them. However, that bookmark synchronizing is slicker ‘n snot on a glass doorknob. I’m here ta tell ya’! It works between FF and IE like a charm.

I went this route because I found recently that IE is not capable of importing my FF bookmarks because of some silly-assed ancient name length restriction. Oh well, I got around that issue by using Xmarks. It’s easy-peasy to download, install, and set up. Figure 1 shows the Xmarks settings window that you access via Addons –> Xmarks Preferences in FF and by using the icon in the system tray in MS Windows.

Figure 1

Click for bigger pic

In Figure 2 below you can see how I added a couple buttons to my Firefox tool bar to access my bookmarks at Xmarks online or to synchronize manually.

Figure 2

What made me choose Xmarks over Google Bookmarks or Yahoo Bookmarks was the fact that both of those services want you to install their browser toolbar to manipulate your bookmarks. I didn’t want another damned toolbar on my FF at the moment, so Xmarks was the way to go for me.

I read the TOS and the Privacy stuff. There was nothing to scare me off in there. I was impressed with Xmarks dedication to protecting your data and keeping it private. I’m sure that Yahoo or Google would be just as good at husbanding your stuff, but Xmarks just seemed more sincere for some reason. Maybe it’s my ingrained aversion to mega-corps. 😉 Speaking of corporate stuff… if you’re interested, you can read more about Xmarks here.

It took me about 30 minutes all told to install and set up Xmarks in Slackware (primary OS) and Debian (secondary OS) on my desktop machine; and Slackware (primary OS) and MS Win 7 (experimental OS) on my laptop. Easy-peasy… like I said. 🙂 Hey! It even works in Ice Skunk… er, I mean Ice Weasel in Debian. Whaddya’ know?

And that’s how the ol’ Slacker ended up with his head in the clouds for the first time. I’m lovin’ it! Next up: I’m transferring all my tinfoil hat designs to Megaputer, Inc’s super-servers in the sky. I sure hope Steve from New Delhi is available to walk me through that one.

Have fun no matter what you do.

Later…

~Eric

Image credit: Xmarks logo –> Xmarks.com

Note: This article cross-posted on Nocturnal Slacker v2.0.

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Make Your Own Custom Home Pages

What do you use for a home page on your browser? iGoogle? Yahoo? MSN? C’mon… have some imagination, folks!

With a wee bit of creativity and a little bit of your valuable time, you can make yourself some really cool custom home pages. Load ’em up with the stuff YOU want, not that carp that those other sites put on theirs. I’ve been making and using custom home pages for years on my own systems. I just got tired of those usual home page sites not providing the content that was really important to me.

Now, before we get into this any deeper, let me assure you that I’m no super artist or whiz kid HTML coder. The extent of my artistic skills fall squarely into the stickman category (see Fig. 1). You don’t need to be an artist or a coder to do this stuff. There are apps like The GIMP (graphics application) and KompoZer or Sea Monkey (WYSIWYG editors) that you can use to make beautiful and practical home pages in just a jiff!

Figure 1 – Stickman

Let your imagination run away. I tend to make my home pages in a practical format. They’re just pretty pages with links to my most visited sites. I still have my browser’s bookmarks to go to if necessary, but a goodly portion of my daily surfing can be done using my home page as a launch pad. I have two different home pages that I’ve created buttons for on my browser (Firefox). One is my general home page (Fig 2 thumbnail) and the other is a Linux specific home page (Fig 3 thumbnail).

Figure 2 – General Home Page

Figure 3 – Linux Home Page

You can do this, folks. It’s easy-peasy. Just find (or make yourself) a nice background image for your home page, then start adding the content that you want on it. Play around with your WYSIWYG editor of choice. Both KompoZer and Sea Monkey are pretty intuitive and easy to use. Once you have your home page created you’ll need to “serve” it on your own system. This is not as complicated as it sounds.

All “serving” means, is providing a place to access something whenever you need to access it. In the case of your custom home page, you’re just going to save it like any other file… right there on your hard drive somewhere. The next thing you need to do is point your browser to it and load it. Once your browser loads up your custom home page, just do whatever you need to do to set it as the home page in that particular browser. You can also create custom buttons on the tool bar, if you know how to do that.

Play around, make some boo-boos, have some FUN with it.

Until next time…

~Eric