Browsing


I have a bunch of single-use Gmail accounts for the usual things, like account registrations, site administration, newsletter subscriptions and the like. If you have this same situation, you know that (unless you possess unusual patience) it’s not easy to serially open up multiple Gmail accounts if you have saved the login information for an auto-login. Oh, and forget trying to have multiple parallel Gmail accounts signed in, it’s one-by-one or nothing. Well, until now, that is.

I recently found Gmail Manager for FireFox, an extension that displays your Gmail accounts names, unread message count and various other items in a single right-click interface window at the bottom right status bar of your Firefox browser window. Once you install it and restart FireFox (sigh, it’s just like Windows sometimes…) you get something like the below icon on your statusbar:

gmail_mgr_01_icon.png

Now, just right-click the icon to begin to configure accounts, I have 5 already and more are possible, you can have each, all or none of the accounts be logged into my default. Of course you’ll want to have it remember your password, it’s a single-click to get that account open if you do.

gmail_mgr_03_newacct.png

With your various accounts configured, you now right-click the icon to select which account will be the one displayed in the status bar, where it’ll show like mine below:

monkeyboyscrnshot01.png

Left-clicking on that account’s name in the status bar will open up a new tab for that Gmail account, signed in an ready to read email. I find myself never visiting Gmail.com unless I’m on some other machine that doesn’t have this tool installed. Go ahead and select another account and open a tab for it, and another, it’s a blessing to have multiple tabbed Gmail accounts open and usable.

gmail_mgr_02_tabs.png

By right-clicking on the status bar icon you get the ability to configure general and per-account settings. There are a wealth of different options for each account, including notification sounds, how often to check mail for that account, how it’s displayed and such.

gmail_mgr_04_prefs.png

Another great feature that makes me like this extension is the ability to export and import account and preference settings, so I can quickly get the same accounts setup and configured properly on either a new machine or between accounts on the same machine. This also works cross-platform, such as between Windows, Linux and OS X, say.

I’m sure there are others out there, but since MailPlane only runs on OS X so far, this and other extensions like it are the best hope for multiple Gmail accounts on Linux. Be sure to contribute any that you have found or like in the comments, I’ll credit you and add it to the mix.

Enjoy,

RossB

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Fresh off the news wire this morning 😉

Novell and Microsoft are teaming up to deliver support for Microsoft’s “Silverlight” technology on Linux Desktops! Silverlight is a cross-browser, cross-platform plugin for delivering rich user experiences on the web.

The name of the Linux version will be called “Moonlight” and is based on a project already underway at:
http://www.mono-project.com/Moonlight

Here is the official press release:

http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/09-05-2007/0004656397&EDATE=

Good evening and happy browsing!


	
	

The Deal

I can’t believe I actually used that title, but it accurately describes what I want to describe how to do. One of the things I love to see in someone else’s browser is the Extensions/Addon’s they use, I nearly always find a new one that I want to try, and I have almost been highjacked by people who see me do something they’ve never seen and want immediately to find out what it is.

So, without further ado, here are my favorite Extensions/Addons, by category:

Bookmarks

  • Bookmark Duplicate Detector – This is seriously the best extension for bookmarks I have ever used. I really like how it will warn me if I already have a bookmark when I try to save one, as well as showing me what folder the already saved bookmark is in. You can also have it search for duplicates from an integrated button in the Manage Bookmarks page.
  • Foxmarks Bookmarks Synchronizer – After a couple of almost tragic situations with Google’s Browser Sync, I have switched over to Foxmarks, it’s simple and it works, and the most important thing is it hasn’t lost or overwritten my current browser bookmarks like the Goog’s tool did.
  • FEBE – The Firefox Environment Backup Extension is something I am testing that allows you to completely backup all sessions, cookies, bookmarks and even (most important to me) extensions across computers. If it does a better job than Foxmarks, I’ll be switching over soon.

Data Transfer

  • FireFTP – With it’s integrated ftp client that works from right within a tab, FireFTP is seriously useful if you need to get something from an FTP site, or just update your site quickly.
  • Download Statusbar – I like having the current status of my downloads in the statusbar, it’ll give you a little meter for each download, and if you hover over the meter, it’ll give you the statistics about that download.
  • Downloads in Tab – I can’t STAND how the default FireFox download window pops up EACH and EVERY time you start up a download, and then you have to hit the “tile” function in SLED to find the window if it’s behind others. I like how the Downloads in Tab extension will just quietly update it’s page with the downloads that are current and finished.

Blogging and RSS

  • ScribeFire – If you blog, and you _know_ I do, then anything that helps you blog quickly, easily and without switching among a load of tabs is going to be helpful. ScribeFire puts a little tab button on the bottom right that when you click on it, a pane pops up from the bottom and you have a split pane with the current tab’s page and the ScribeFire dialog, where you can create and submit blog entries, including html-editing, category selection and many other options.
  • NewsFox – Wow, I used to use Google Reader, but I didn’t like the interface, the interface in Google Reader is not a good match for my massively tab-heavy browsing habits. NewsFox is a much better interface for me, and it’s now set as my home page, I spend a lot of time searching through RSS feeds for what I need, and this extension is very helpful in that work.

Music and Media

  • FoxyTunes – I spend a LOT of time in my browser instances, and having a way to deal with my different music sources, it puts a line of very small buttons for play, forward and backward, show the player and mute. I have found it to work with XMMS, Winamp, Amarok, Rhythmbox and iTunes.
  • Video Downloader – I like to collect music videos and such, and with the 13 gazillion different video sites and formats, I appreciate very much the ability to just click on it and have the main video linked to for a right-click and save-as.

Gestures

  • Mouse Gestures – This is a category that I have narrowed down to a single usable and preferred tool. I use gestures to do about anything I can within the browser, opening new tabs, closing existing tabs, refreshing, going back and forward in tabs, you name it there’s a gesture configured. You can always make up and change your own gestures, both as a set of actions defined by letters and numbers, or in a little gesture tablet where you pick an action and then make the gesture to show the extension what you want the gesture to look like.

Tabs and Sessions

  • Firefox Showcase – A very feature-packed tab-displayer, it is a bit much for what I want to do, but some of you might like it. If you want to use shortcuts to invoke the features, you’ll have to have it get the KeyConfig extension too.
  • Tab Catalog – The best of this category in my opinion, Tab Catalog shows a tiled set of resized thumbnails of all the browser tabs in the current browser window, where you can see them, choose the one you want to switch to with the mouse or by an assigned single key, and even click on and navigate with the mouse inside the thumbnailed view of each tab. I particularly like how it handles very large numbers of tabs, and the set of shortcuts and features are just about what I need.
  • Tab Mix Plus – Given the sometimes alarming number of tabs that I manipulate, I desperately require something that can restore my session if it bites the dust, and in particular I appreciate TMP’s ability to let me save a session and then refer to it later, much like a set of tabs would be in the bookmarks feature, but sometimes I want to restore exactly the session I had right before a crash, or just have it ask me if I want to restore the previous session when I start the browser again. Other great features include the ability to configure the tabs to be on different sides of the browser interface and best of all, I can configure the tabs to show on multiple rows, indicating how many I have open and making it much easier to see what’s there and left to be looked at. Oh, and you can restore closed tabs if you goof up. Invaluable.
  • SwiftTabs – I know some of the functionality in SwiftTabs is in TMP above, but I really like how it lets me configure what keys I use for what functions, and it’s unabashedly just for navigating tabs. I have the “Next Tab” key set to “x”, “Previous Tab” set to “z” and I broke out the “Close Tab” to be Ctrl-w so I wouldn’t close tabs mistakenly.

Misc. Tools

  • LinkedIn Companion – The LIC makes it really easy to find services, look up people’s names you have found to see if they are in the LinkedIn network and also if you’re on a jobs site that is known to LinkedIn, it will show you who in LI has those jobs on posting and make it easy to connect up and submit your resume etc. I make the most of my LinkedIn network, asking and answering questions and in general using it to make things connect and work.
  • Split Browser – Of course you can open sites and links into different tabs, but with the Split Browser function you can open up or split in any direction an almost infinite number of views of a single page or multiple pages. The possibilities alone for comparing prices, config files etc. etc. are endless and I often have 5 or more split windows to a single site or page when I’m writing or especially doing a comparison table of features or products.
  • Beagle Indexer – This is a standard extension that SLED (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop) plops into your FireFox config, and it makes an index of all pages your visit, immediately, with no fuss and they’re very easy to search for and show up in the usual Beagle find dialog.

Wrapup

If you have any favorite extensions/addons, please comment and let me know, I’ll add them to the list.

Enjoy,

RossB