FIREFOX.

Published Date
01 - Aug - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Aug - 2006
 
FIREFOX.
In the following, we'll be referring extensively to these values. Modifying them is a right-click away. Just open the about:config page once, and you'll get the idea! In the following, when we talk about something like "browser.xxx. xxx", we're talking about that value in the about:config page.

We Don't Like Ads, So…
Before we get into a few Firefox hacks, there are three extensions we think are so essential to your Firefox browsing experience, we can't not mention them. The first of these is Adblock, which is available from http://adblock.mozdev.org. Adblock senses what elements of a page are ads, and can either just hide them or remove them from the page. Browsing was never this fast!
Adblock needs a filter list with words indicative of ads. You could try populating it on your own, and we'd tell you how, but you can…

Have It All Done For You!
We beg you to visit www.pierceive.com. There you'll find Adblock Filterset.G Updater. This little extension synchronises Adblock with Filterset.G-which adds everything to Adblock's filter list that you'd need. It checks for updates, something like an anti-spyware. For example, you'll often see ads getting downloaded from atwola.com; this site is in the list. As more ad servers spring up, and as different tags start getting used for ads, the list gets updated-ensuring you'll almost never see an ad again!

And A Flavour Of Opera…
The third extension you can't live without is SessionSaver. It does just that-you close Firefox with ten tabs open, and the next time you start up Firefox-even after a system restart-all the tabs will open up! No more bookmarking tabs you're about to close! Opera users have had this functionality for a long time.
For SessionSaver, visit https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/436/

New Tab: In Front Or Behind?
For those used to tabbed browsing, it does make a difference whether a tab appears in front or opens silently in the background. Even for tabs that open as a result of an action in another application, such as when you click on a link in Outlook, you can control whether to have them open in the foreground or in the background. Navigate to browser.tabs. loadDivertedInBackground in about:config. Set it to, of course, True if you want the new tab in the background.

The DNS Cache #1
Network.dnsCacheEntries
determines how many entries should be held in the Firefox DNS cache. You might want to select a higher number than the default. The default value for this one varied depending on version. 20 is a value in some versions; it's 256 in some other versions. Change this number to match the number of sites you regularly browse per day-this is intuitive, isn't it? Also check the next setting to ensure DNS entries are kept up to date.

The DNS Cache #2
Network.dnsCacheExpiration
determines how long cached DNS entries are held before they are discarded. The default is 60 seconds, which seems too short to us. However, before changing this setting, you need to consider the pros and cons: the longer the cached entries are held, the quicker your browsing will be, but the downside is that it will take longer for Firefox to be aware that a site that was temporarily unavailable is resolved. In any case, like we said, 60 is too low a value.

How The Cache Should Be Used
Don't confuse "cache" here with the DNS cache: this one refers to the caching of pages by Firefox. One of the most important settings in the about:config page is browser.cache.check_doc_ frequency. Here are the values and their meanings:
0: Check for a new version of a page once per session (a session starts when the first application window opens and ends when the last application window closes).
1: Check for a new version every time a page is loaded.
2: Never check for a new version-always load the page from cache.
3: Check for a new version when the page is out of date.
3 happens to be the default; you can speed up Firefox a little by changing the value to 0. You'd never want 1, and you might want 2 in a few cases. Remember that if you use 2, odd behaviour might occur, mostly when the Back and Forward buttons come into play.

Memory Usage
Under browser.cache.memory. capacity is specified how much physical memory (in KB) is allocated to the caching of decoded images and chrome (application user interface elements). The default is usually -1, meaning Firefox decides the value based on how much RAM you have. Examples are 14336 if you have 256 MB, 22528 if it's 512 MB, and 32768 if you have 1 GB.
A value of 0 here means "do not cache decoded images and chrome in memory." And if you put in a positive integer here, you're specifying a value manually. Naturally, you'd want to set the value depending on how much RAM you have, and on your browsing habits.

HTTP Pipelining
Normally, Firefox makes one request to a Web page at a time. When you enable something called "pipelining," it will make several at once, which speeds up page loading. Look at the following three values:
network.http.pipelining
network.http.proxy.pipelining
network.http.pipelining.maxrequests
Set the first and second ones to true. (It could already be set to true.) As for the third, set it to a number like 20.
This could be considered flooding a server with requests, but then you want speed, right? That's not the final word, though, and some servers might not like it if you set that value too high-it could be considered a Denial of Service (DoS) attack, and you might never be able to load the page. If this seems to be happening, lower the value.

Waiting Before Rendering
The value called nglayout. initialpaint.delay may or may not exist on your installation; either navigate to it or create it as an Integer. This value is the amount of time the browser waits before it acts on information it receives. You'd think it should be 0, right? Well, it is 0 in the latest version at the time of writing (1.5.0.4), but it's a positive value in some versions. You might want to set it to 0 in that case.
This is an issue of some debate-some people have reported faster browsing speeds by increasing the value from 0. You'll therefore need to experiment. First try 0, then try something else.

The Download Manager
Here are four things you can do about the download manager dialog.
>>browser.download.manager.showAlertInterval dictates how long the alert message should be shown. It's in milliseconds, and the default is 2000. You might want to set a lower value.
>>browser.download.manager.openDelay: by default, the download manager pops up immediately for any download, that is, the value is set to 0. You might not need the download manager at all for small downloads, such as those that take less than a minute (60000 milliseconds). It's for longer downloads that you might want to have a look at the progress. Adjust accordingly.
>>browser.download.manager.closeWhenDone is set to false by default on some installations, so the manager doesn't close itself. If you set it to true, the thing won't show up when your download is done.
>>browser.download.manager.flashCount flashes the download manager icon in your taskbar for 2 seconds. Adjust that "2" according to your taste.
For Those Low On RAM #1
When Firefox caches your pages to make your browsing fast, it may cause the program to consume memory that needn't be used at all. Drill down to browser.sessionhistory.max_total_ viewers. The value there is probably -1; set it to 0. The result is usually a small decrease in the RAM used, along with a slight decrease in rendering speed, and the action is therefore recommended if you're RAM-challenged.

For Those Low On RAM #2
You can adjust a setting to make Firefox take up less RAM when it is minimised, offloading stuff to the hard disk. Create a new Boolean value called config.trim_on_minimize, and set it to True.

Unfortunately, it's not as simple as that: reports indicate that after you minimise Firefox, memory usage does go down, but slowly creeps up as time progresses. You'll have to test this yourself (monitoring memory usage via the Task Manager) and see if it's any good.

For Those Low On RAM #3
Firefox has a special "Back-Forward cache" for recently-visited pages, which works differently from the regular browser cache. The default setting for browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewers is -1. This saves a set number of pages depending on your RAM; some say it saves up to eight pages if you have more than 512 MB of RAM.

Bet You Didn't Know
Googling Made Easy
In Firefox, typing keywords in the main address bar by default searches Google for those keywords! You don't need to use the Google toolbar! The catch is that the default setting is to use the "I'm feeling lucky" option. Browse down to the String keyword.URL. Try setting it to "http://www. google.com/search?&q=", which is the Google search string for general searches, without the quotes. Now when you enter a word in the address bar and press [Enter], it will take you to the Google results page.


However, different people say different things regarding this, but you can try changing the value to 0 for memory savings.

Automatic Updating
Firefox periodically daily checks the Mozilla Update Web site (http://update. mozilla.org)-in fact, once a day-to see what's new. If there are critical patches, the home page displayed at startup is replaced with a warning page. If there are any patches at all, an icon appears on the menu bar. To turn off that functionality, make sure app.update.enabled is set to False, and set app.update.autoUpdate Enabled to False. The latter setting stops Firefox from polling the Web server to see if there's anything new to report to you.

Then, there's the question of updating your Extensions-the same thing applies. The corresponding about:config valuesare extensions.update.enabled and extensions.update.autoUpdateEnabled. Set both these to False to prevent Firefox from automatically trying to update extensions.

An Appearance/Time Trade-Off
If your Bookmarks toolbar contains a lot of bookmarks that have site icons, Firefox will download them all in order to make the toolbar look pretty. Site icons can also be downloaded if the sidebar is displayed. To turn off icon retrieval, set
browser.chrome.site_icons
and
browser.chrome.favicons to False.

A Convenience/Data-Pull Trade-Off
You'll often find yourself spending a lot of time looking at one Web page while lots of other pages are loaded into tabs behind the current tab. The most convenient arrangement is to have those tabs load their pages while they're still hidden. When you change tabs, it's likely that the page in the tab will be ready to view, and this is the default.  At the same time, if you maintain, say, five tabs, you're demanding five times more data. In this age of tabbed browsing, people often open tabs "just in case." So it could be a waste to load the background tabs.

So drill down to browser.tabs. loadInBackground and set it to False if you seem to exhibit the above behaviour, that is, keeping tabs open "just in case."

Disable IPv6
On some Linux distributions, Firefox has issues with Google servers because of difficulties with the IPv6 protocol. You can try changing network.dns. disableIPv6 to True.

Dancing Ads
Don't you hate animated GIF ads-assuming you haven't installed Adblock-dancing away while you're trying to read? Just go to the String image.animation_mode and change it to "none" to stop all animated images, or to "once" to let them run. You can revert to the default behaviour using "normal".

The Annoying Blips!
accessibility.typeaheadfind .enablesound is by default set to True; the "Find as you type" feature makes a beep as you enter characters in a string that is not on the current page. The search field turns red anyway, so to turn the sound off, set that value to False.

How Often?
You can turn off automatic updating altogether, but some think a better idea is to select how often the checking for updates is done. App.update.interval determines how many seconds Firefox will wait between checking for updates (at the URL specified in app.update.url). The default is 24 hours (86400 seconds). You might want to change it to once a week or once a month.

Do You Need Tooltips?
Tooltips are shown by default when you hover your mouse over certain items, like when you hover it over the "new tab" button, you'll get something like "Opens a new tab." This is controlled by browser.chrome. toolbar_tips. Set it to False to disable tooltips. This will also disable tooltips to items on some Web pages.

A Possible Speed Enhancer #1
The network.http.max-connections setting determines how many simultaneous HTTP connections can be made. The default is 24 on most installations, but if you're on a fast connection, try increasing this value to, say, 48 to allow for more open connections-thereby speeding up browsing of multiple pages.

By increasing the value of this setting, you're only raising the maximum possible number of connections, not increasing the actual number of connections Firefox makes every time.

A Possible Speed Enhancer #2
Network.http.max-connections-per-server determines how many simultaneous connections can be made to a single server. The default is 8 or so. Try increasing the value for fast connections to something like 16 in an attempt to increase browsing speed. Setting this value very high, in conjunction with a high value for the settings mentioned after this one, could be interpreted by some servers as a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack, and your connection could be refused.

It may also actually slow down your browsing, and it's poor netiquette to pound servers with lots of connections from a single machine. Therefore, experiment with this value, but don't go too high.

A Possible Speed Enhancer #3
If you are connected to a proxy, network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-proxy determines how many connections to keep alive at any time. The default is 4; you can try a higher value (such as 8) to improve speeds. Raising this to a very high value will stress out the proxy server, and may ultimately result in slower browsing for everyone on the proxy. So this one depends on if you're callous and selfish-if it does lead to a performance increase, that is.

A Possible Speed Enhancer #4
If you are not connected to a proxy, network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-server determines how many connections to a single server to keep alive at any time. The default is probably 2; you can attempt a higher value (such as 4 or 8) to improve speeds. Similar to what was mentioned above, raising this to a very high value will stress the server you're connected to, and will either result in a refused connection, or slower response times from the Web page for every person trying to connect to it. Again, this one depends on how selfish you are…

Image Placeholders
Do you like image placeholders? Some of us do, some don't. It looks prettier if there is no placeholder, but then the placeholder gives you an idea of how large the image is… set browser. display.show_image_placeholders to True or False depending on your preference.

Highlighting In The Address Bar
browser.urlbar.clickSelectsAll, when set to True, makes clicking in the address bar automatically highlight all its contents. If you set to False, clicking in the address bar will just place the cursor where you click.

Switching Skins On The Fly
This is for those who have a lot of Themes (skins) for Firefox, and want to switch between them without having to restart the browser for the new skin to kick in. The value in question here is the Boolean extensions.dss.enabled. If set to True, this option enables Dynamic Skin Switching. This means that whenever you change a theme in Firefox, its changes will be implemented and visible immediately.

Be warned that this can be buggy. Some elements in the newly-switched-to skin can become garbled. Test this one yourself to see if it's something you need.

The Mail Client To Use
When you click on a mailto: link-such as "contact me" or something like that-Firefox launches a mail client, such as Outlook or Outlook Express. The String network.protocol-handler.app.mailto contains the path to the application that handles e-mail links. In this setting, use the full path to the executable for your preferred mail client.

The Yellow Prompt
Plugin.default_plugin_disabled is a Boolean value that determines whether, when viewing a page that requires a plugin that's not installed, Firefox will prompt you to install the plugin. If you don't want to see such prompts, set this to False.

Text Selection #1
The Boolean value layout. word_select.eat_space_to_next_word determines the selection behaviour when you double-click on a word on a page. By default, Firefox selects the word and the whitespace to the right of that word. If you set it to False, Firefox will only select the word itself with no extra spaces.

Text Selection #2
Going along with the previous tip, layout.word_select.stop_at_punctuation determines whether Firefox selects the punctuation around a word when it is selected by double-clicking. If this is set to True, the punctuation is not selected with the word. If set to False, additional punctuation around the word is selected: you can choose whether double-clicking on the word "(Digit)" (without the quotes) should either select "default" or "(default)".

Another Essential Extension!
Head to www.softpedia.com/ progDownload/Colorful-Tabs-Download-42192.html#download_locations. You'll find something there that you'll love! All your tabs are the same colour-this is not only not pretty, there's also some functionality to be gained if the tabs are in different colours. Go ahead, download that Extension-and view tabbed browsing differently! We had to mention this one because we loved it so much!

CorelDRAW X3


Choose Your Environment
If you've already been using Adobe Illustrator and are testing the waters of CorelDraw X3 but find yourself a little lost with the interface, there is a simple way to make you feel more comfortable-just change your workspace to look more like Illustrator! Go to Tools > Customization. In the dialog, choose "Workspace" at the top and select from an Illustrator-like workspace, the default X3 workspace or even an MS Office-style workspace!


Choose from three workspaces


Is it CorelDraw? Is it illustration

Moving Around The Workspace I

If you find yourself using the keyboard quite a bit while moving objects around your document, you don't need to keep switching to the mouse to scroll or move to another area of the document. Hold down [Alt] and use the arrow keys to conveniently move around the workspace.

Moving Around The Workspace II
If you've zoomed into your document really close and can't be bothered with using the scrollbars or middle-click to move around, there's an easier way. At the bottom right corner of the workspace is a small white square-click on it and hold to bring up a miniature of your document. Now use this to navigate to any part of the page without ever having to zoom out.

Creating Text On A Curve, I
To create text on a curve, simply select the text tool and click on the curve. The text will now follow this path, and becomes a child object of the curve. That is, you can move the text independently, but it will still follow the shape of the curve, but when you select and move the curve, the text will move with it.


Move the text object to tweak the look

Creating Text On A Curve, II

If you've already got the text ready and a curve ready, and wish the twain should meet, rather than having to follow the procedure above, do this: With the text selected, choose Type > Fit Text To Path. Hover the mouse over the path and move it around to see what the final result is going to look like, and click when you feel satisfied. This works great if you have multiple paths and want to choose which one to wrap your text on-just hover over a path to make it a candidate!


Get a live preview of what your path-following
text is going to look like

Blow Text Apart

If you have a large box of text and want to treat each paragraph separately, you can use [Ctrl] [K] to break the text into individual paragraphs and then manipulate them as you feel. To combine the paragraphs back together, hold down [Shift] and select the paragraphs you want to combine and hit [Ctrl] [L]. Mind, though, that the paragraphs don't remember what order they were in before you broke them apart, so they will combine in the order that you selected them.


Break text into paragraph with [Ctrl] [K]

Move Points While You Draw

While drawing a curve using the Bezier Tool, you can use [Alt] to move a point around after you've placed it. After you've drawn the latest point, hold down [Alt] without leaving the mouse button to switch to move mode-if you move the mouse around now, you can move the point to a different location.

Fill Smart
If you've got two curves overlapping each other and want to fill the area between them, you'd have to go through a whole world of pain to accomplish this in older versions of CorelDraw. Fortunately, you can use CorelDraw X3's Smart Fill tool to do that for you now. Just click inside any closed area-this could be the intersecting gap between two curves as well-and CorelDraw will create a new object that fits snugly into that space.

Cool Effects Using The Interactive Blend
You can add considerable amounts of style to your documents using this simple tool in CorelDraw. Start with any two curves, and select the Interactive Blend tool. Click on the first curve and drag to the second for a smooth morphing effect. To tweak the density of curves along the blend, slide the blue arrows along the line (see screenshot). If you double-click anywhere along the blend line, you can create an intermediate point which you can now use to change the direction of the bend-blend along a number of lines instead of just one.






If you want to blend along a random path, hold down [Alt] after you



click on the first curve. You can now draw the path along which you want the blend to occur.

Creating Wires And Ropes With The Interactive Contour
New to CorelDraw X3 is the Interactive Contour tool, which can easily create concentric curves around a central object. To create convincing wires using this tool, start with a single freehand path, select the Interactive Contour tool and click and drag on the path.









Set the contour steps to a considerably high number (you can do this either by entering the value manually in the top toolbar or by playing with the white slider on the contour object itself (see screenshot). Now use the Object and Colour Acceleration sliders (see screenshot) to bunch the contour lines towards the outside to create the illusion of viewing a wire or tube from above.

Warcraft 3
When Blizzard, one of the most revered names in the RTS genre, debuted Warcraft 3 in 2002, and followed up with the expansion pack The Frozen Throne (TFT) a year later, thousands of players were bitten by the Warcraft bug (they still are)! Unlike other RTSes, WC3 is all about attacking and attacking soon, while building up. Micro-management is the key here, and most battles don't last more than 15 minutes, and are finished with Tier 1 units-with a few Tier 2s thrown in, and a level 2
(or 3) hero.

Micro and speed being tantamount, let's look at some of the most important strategies in the game. Bundled in these tips are some common-to-all-races shortcut keys as well.
  • Use the [Shift] key while assigning workers (peons too) to build up. You can queue up multiple buildings this way to be built by a single worker.  Never keep builder units idle!
  • Don't hoard gold! If, in the first five minutes of the game, you have more than 350 gold, you are not rich-you are slow! Tech up the research tree, build more buildings and units. You aren't earning any interest on all that yellow!
  • Attack and attack early! We can't stress on this enough. Don't let your opponent build up, research up, and for God's sake, don't let him expand! Keep harassing his base, all the while bolstering your forces, and teching up!
  • Once you have your first hero, rally your troops to him by setting his portrait as a rally point (by right-clicking on it), for all troop production buildings. This way any newly created units will automatically take off after your hero, irrespective of where he is on the map. This really saves a lot of time. Even your second (and third) hero should be rallied in this way.
  • As Human you can use peasants to creep close to your base. Just convert some of them to militia (keep some at resources too), and use the rest. Your hero will level up faster, simply because he can attack earlier. Use on green-coloured creep camps only!
  • Build orders are very important, but can change from opponent to opponent. Here's a sample-as soon as the game starts, put four workers on gold, queue a sixth worker, and put the fifth on your altar (hero production building). As soon as the second worker appears, put him on your primary troop production.
At the same time, remove one of the guys tasked on gold, and use him to build a farm (or your race equivalent structure), the seventh worker should be put on wood, while the fifth worker who should have finished the altar-task him back to the gold mine. You now have five gold miners, and the rest of your workforce should either build or focus on wood.

  • When you attack, make sure to pull back units that are wounded, employ hit and run tactics, and you can keep a couple of powerful summoned units (if your hero is a summoner) just outside the enemy base. This way, while retreating, you get some free hits in case any enemies follow you.
  • Even when you must pull back, only do so for a short distance, regroup, and focus again. Never pull back entirely from an enemy base.
  • Focus-fire works wonders with ranged damage units, like riflemen, archers etc.-but do not use focus-fire when attacking with melee. Simply attack ground: focus firing will waste precious time, as your melee units will take damage, just getting into position to attack the unit you focused on.
  • Don't lose units, and certainly don't lose heroes! Each hero lost is like minus 1000 gold, not to mention you stand a good chance of losing the game!
  • If a unit-or even a hero-is perilously close to death, and you're still being attacked (or cannot heal the unit), use your own units to finish the job. Deny enemy heroes valuable experience points this way.
There you have it! All the basics you need to successfully see you through Warcraft 3 multiplayer. It's highly additive though, so do take a look at the time (your real-world clock) every once in awhile!




Team DigitTeam Digit

All of us are better than one of us.