(Tiny): Firefox Extension

Written by rob on July 31, 2006 – 3:34 pm -

One of the best things about Firefox is its extensions interface. You can add functionality and features with a few clicks of the mouse. There are hundreds of these extensions available at Mozilla’s official site here. (Hmm.. what a coincidence that the Featured Add-on for today is the Extension that I’m going to talk about in the rest of this brief article) There are many other sites online with bigger repositories, but I just stick with the officially uploaded ones. The second best thing about Firefox is Themes, which are skins you can apply to your browser to make it look different. It will have different Forward, Back, Stop, Refresh, Home, etc. buttons and more. You can get themes from Mozilla’s site as well.

The problem is that sometimes the Themes and Extensions don’t work too well together. Extension developers think you will use the default theme, and so the buttons they use on the toolbar may not have good enough transparency masking to look good with a different background (adding a black theme when you have tons of extensions will show you tons of artifacts around the edges of icons). Another problem is that the icons may be too large if you chose to use a minimal theme (like me).

I recently started using the theme called Breeze. (I should note that the Breeze theme does not work well with Firefox 2.0 Beta 1, as it doesn’t have support for the Tab close buttons.) It uses very small black-and-white icons, and I think it looks really cool. The problem is that one of the extensions I use, the extension has toolbar icons that are way too big. It looks completely stupid to have these giant icons next to tiny browser buttons. Also, it defeats the purpose of using smaller icons since the toolbar itself will be the same size as the default because of the no-good large icons of the extention.

So, what on earth did I do to fix this annoying problem? I tapped into the hidden potential of Firefox’s extension system… the ability to modify them to do what you want. In the case of this extension, I didn’t have to modify anything other than a CSS file, then rename some images. Regardless, my little hack worked like a charm.

I figured I would repack it into an XPI file and share with others that may need the same functionality. You can click here to download it. Firefox will ask you what to do with the file. Just download it to the desktop and then, while inside Firefox, go to File->Open File and double-click the file. It works with Firefox version 1.0 – 1.5.0.x. Enjoy 😉

By the way, just for those of you who care about such things, the XPI files used by Firefox extensions are just ZIP archives with a different extension. You can unzip it with WinZIP or anything similar, or using the CLI with the “unzip” command.

To give you an idea of just how small this mod makes the icons, look at the following image of my Firefox toolbar. This is the actual size of everything:

My Firefox Toolbar

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Register! It only costs…

Written by rob on July 6, 2006 – 7:12 pm -

Well, if you haven’t noticed (you may want to make an appointment with your eye doctor if you didn’t notice), I changed the theme of the blog. I feel that it is a good summer-y theme (also pirate-y! in celeberation of Pirates of the Carribean 2, which I’m seeing tonight, by the way), with the whole sand background and such. Regardless, the new theme means some changes, aside from the obvious visual changes. The comments section of every post now looks pretty terrible, with all of those brown stars. Well, those brown stars happen to be the default avatar for this theme. And, considering none of us have avatars, we all have the default. So it naturally looks pretty ugly.

UPDATE (07-07-06): I have since un-ugly-ified the comments section by manually removing the default avatar and generally cleaning it up. I love this theme, but that section was poorly done. That’s probably why it couldn’t win the WordPress Theme Contest. ANYWAY, I still would like people to get avatars, just because it is so much cooler when you have a picture represent you. Don’t you agree?

So what am I going to do about this ugliness? Simple! I am going to make you pay to change it. All you have to do is Register for this blog (click here to do that). It only costs…

It’s actually free. So, what are you waiting for? Register, then make yourself or find yourself a cool avatar. Then start posting comments so the comments sections can be populated with cool avatars. See the logic? Good. So register and then be happy when stuff becomes un-ugly.

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Photoshop for the Web

Written by rob on June 28, 2006 – 2:25 pm -

I saw this thing called cellsea Photo Editor on digg. It is a web application that behaves similarly to Photoshop. You can’t do anything serious like work with layers or combine pictures, but you can do a lot of useful things to photographs. For example, you can crop, resize, sharpen, blur, etc. There are also a huge amount of effects and distortions. It can also save in a variety of formats. This would be very useful if you either don’t have Photoshop or are on the road on a computer without Photoshop installed.

For anyone’s basic needs, this thing is quite good. I just did a quick test to crop, blur, and add a little sparkle effect to one of my wallpapers, and it worked well. I then saved it out as a PNG, one of the five or six formats it supports. This is highly recommended especially to those of your who use Printscreen + MS Paint to make screenshots of things. With this, you can take the BMP file produced from Paint and save it as a JPEG that everyone can enjoy. Check it out by clicking the “read more” link below! (I posted this story from Digg using their new Digg v3 features. Very nice!)

read more | digg story

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My New Computer

Written by rob on June 25, 2006 – 11:14 am -

My new computer has been running for about a week now. However, it is currently actually slower than my old computer. You see, I had to temporarily get 1GB of Kingston ValueRAM to get the thing working while I wait to get refunded on my original RAM purchase. In my old computer, I had 1.5GB of RAM so that is what I am used to. Also, my old system had a 3.06ghz Pentium 4 while the new one has a 2.66 ghz Pentium D. You’re probably wondering why I choose to backstep. Well, it is all temporary. Once I get a refund on my old RAM, I’m going to get 2GB of low latency Mushkin memory. After I have that, I will be able to do what I built this thing for: overclock. I expect to break 3.6ghz easily, and hope to get over 4ghz. I’m pretty sure my RAM, CPU, and PSU can all handle 4ghz, but the motherboard is what I’m worried about. Its previous version (I have the AW8D, I’m talking about the AW8) capped the OCability for 533mhz processors, which is what I have. I hope I don’t run into that, but it may be very possible.

Anyway, without further ado, click here to get to my photo gallery of the system. I probably should have did it in my Coppermine gallery, but I didn’t really feel like it, so I used a nice program aptly called Web Album Generator. It worked very nicely, I think, and has a lot of cool built-in templates, or you can make your own.

UPDATE (07-07-06): Web Album Generator was nice while it lasted. It is good for making and album and posting it. Unfortunately, if you only want to add one more picture in, you have to re-generate the whole thing and then re-upload the whole thing. Not cool. So, I moved over all the pictures and descriptions to the Coppermine Photo Gallery. The new link to access it is here. The Coppermine interface is kind of tedious, but it worked surprisingly well (I used the Batch Add feature which rids the need to re-upload the files). I just wish I would have done the gallery in this from the beginning. The main reason I switched was because I need to add another picture of the fan brackets I setup to cool the PWM1.

Expect me to brag about how cool my computer is once I get it overclocked. At that point, I know it will smoke my old system in terms of general speed. It already kills it in games thanks to my new 7900GT video card. I can play Oblivion easily on 1280×960 with AA and AF turned on, and the max settings!

UPDATE (06-30-06): I edited the photo gallery to include my new Mushkin RAM, plus final pics of the inside of the case. And so the overclocking begins.

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Photo Gallery

Written by rob on June 11, 2006 – 6:53 pm -

I added a Coppermine Photo Gallery to the site. It is accessible at Currently, I have one album up, and it is my cars from Gran Turismo 4. I used the Photo Travel feature in the game to pose and snap pictures of my cars with cool backdrops. Check that out here.

Once I get my new motherboard, and I get my computer up and running, this site is going to shift back into focus for me, especially after school is over.

One of the articles that will be up within two weeks is going to be a detailed look at Open-WRT, the custom firmware that you can flash to many Broadcom-based routers. I have an Asus WL500g router that is supported, so I plan on going nuts with it. The project is pretty limitless, so expect a lot of cool things to be discussed. One thing I am going to focus on is turning it into the ultimate war driving companion. It can act as a wireless client, and given its Linux foundation, can run tools such as aircrack to crack WEP keys of protected wireless hot spots.

Some time over the summer I’m going to launch a series of articles detailing Linux, from the basics (what is it? where do I get it? etc.) to some rather complex things like building your own programs from source, as customizing the Linux kernel itself. I promise it will be fun 😉

Until then, I’m pretty much just using my iBook for internet surfing and school projects, and playing PS2 in my spare time. Not having a main computer is quite boring… I’m learning all the things I take for granted. For example, you’d be surprised how much easier (and faster) converting an AVI to DVD is on Windows at 3ghz than on a Mac with 700mhz… especially considering my Mac doesn’t have a DVD burner. But once I get my main system up and running, it is going to be crazy. I might even run an article about how awesome it is. At the very least, expect a photo album to be added to the Coppermine with pics of the process from start to completion.

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Computer Troubles

Written by rob on May 30, 2006 – 9:58 pm -

I am currently in the process of building a new computer. The process, however, has been replete with many issues. From the second I started, things were not right. Once I finally finished building it and went to turn it on, the computer shut off almost immediately after turning on. I eventually sort of fixed that, and the computer remained on; however, nothing appeared on the monitor. A lot of troubleshooting and hours later, I replaced the power supply. That seemed to be the root of most of the issues, as the computer now went on with no fiddling and stayed on. Also, the motherboard logo displayed on the screen, so I got excited.

However, the motherboard logo that is now embedded into my dreams is about all the computer does. Once it shows that, it just freezes there and does nothing more. And that is the current status. I have messed with almost every component, but to no avail. It is seriously looking like a bad motherboard. Having a bad Power supply and bad motherboard in the same order, especially from a reputable company (, is rare. In fact, it is just plain bad luck to get two bad components. I am currently waiting for a response from their tech support for RMA info.  They are supposed to have good support, but its been three days without a response (I guess I won’t be hard on them… it was a holiday weekend). I just hope there aren’t ridiculous restocking fees or shipping charges…

Yeah, well that is the reason why I haven’t posted anything new on the site lately. I really have a couple things planned, but right now I’m just focusing on getting my new computer up and running.

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Thank You Bluehost

Written by rob on April 26, 2006 – 3:55 pm -

I believe I mentioned this in my first post onto this blog, but I use as my hosting provider. They provided me with my domain name, as well as the exorbitant amount of space and bandwidth. Well, they are working their magic and providing even more to their users, free of charge. The newly upgraded version has 15GB (up from 10GB) of storage space, and – this is the real biggie – 450GB of bandwidth per month! That is an absolutely insane amount, and I can’t imagine ever using that. But at least now I can rest assured that I will never run out, even if the site continues to grow. I just wanted to take the time to publicly thank Bluehost for the 100% uptime ( *knock on wood* ) in these past months, and the continual improvement of their offered services.

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Useful Tips From Japan

Written by rob on April 22, 2006 – 10:57 pm -

It is no secret: Japanese people are highly intelligent by nature. Well, it seems that their secrets are also no longer a secret, thanks to There are a variety of “How to” videos, straight from Japan, that introduce practical solutions to every day issues. Some of them are downright ingenious and can save you much time. Here are three of the coolest ones:

You can access a list of all of these cool, helpful videos by clicking here.

Posted in General Stuff | 3 Comments »

Spam Explosion!

Written by rob on April 11, 2006 – 9:27 am -

Almost every blog out there today suffered a huge spam explosion, including this one. You may or may not have noticed it, but the ‘comment spam’ (spam left in the comments section of posts) was quite explicit. I managed to delete all 100+ messages, but that is only a temporary solution. Therefore, I am now requiring approval for every comment user. So, if you go to post a comment now, I will have to approve it. However, after I approve one comment all subsequent comments under the same name won’t need to be reapproved. This should keep the spammers at bay temporarily, while I tweak the filters.

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April Fool’s

Written by rob on April 2, 2006 – 10:06 am -

Just so everyone knows, the previous entry (Sony Cancels PS3!) was just an April Fool’s joke. I thought it was pretty obvious, but I guess if you don’t have Firefox then the pop-up window I did in Javascript would look pretty real (Firefox adds the site URL it came from, which would say before the title of the window. This is to prevent people who actually spoof for bad purposes, like Paypal phishers). Regardless, I just wanted to clear that up so no one actually goes on with life thinking that the PS3 is no more. (especially all you XBOX fan boys)

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