Firefox profiles – tips & tricks

With the latest version of Firefox I’ve found myself using more and more Addons for specific purposes. I also started “saveing” open tabs when closing, to easier get back into my blogging / working again. Due to these reasons I found myself wanting a “work Firefox” and a “casual surfing Firefox” (mainly for other people who sometimes use my computer so they don’t “mess” with my work Firefox).

Luckily the profile system in Firefox can solve this quite easily! If you want multiple profiles within the same login on a computer follow these simple steps:

1: access the profile manager

You have to add at least one more profile, or however many you want on the same machine. To do this run firefox with the following argument:  –profilemanager

The easiest way to do this is to change the shortcut destination like so:

“C:Program FilesMozilla Firefoxfirefox.exe” –profilemanager

Please note that the path should not be changed, only the addition of the profilemanager argument.

2: create new profiles

Start Firefox using this command and simply choose “add profile” and name the profiles you want.

3: Create shortcuts to profiles

When you have the profiles you want you can either always use the profile manager (or check the “always ask” checkbox) or you can create custom Firefox shortcuts that opens a particular profile with the -d [profile] argument. For example, to start the defualt profile use the following command:

“C:Program FilesMozilla Firefoxfirefox.exe” -P default

You can now copy the shortcuts and make a shortcut to each profile you want easy access to. Each profile will be totally seperate with own AddOns, History, Tabs and Settings.

Firefox 3.0 follow up

After a few weeks of Firefox 3 usage I must say I now do not miss Internet Explorer at all. With the add-ons available I’ve managed to customize my web browser exactly how I want it (only a few innovative ideas I have myself are missing).

It’s proven it’s stable and fast, I’ve used it on a mixture of laptops and operating systems (Ubuntu 8.04 and several Windows versions) and everywhere it has worked as perfect as could be expected.

As I earlier argued it has several advantages over Internet Explorer and I will now go in depth on one of the advantages: AddOns.

Firefox AddOns are programs that extend the functionality of the web browser and I will rank the best I’ve come across so far.

Recommended addons
Everywhere I install Firefox I always install 2 particular AddOns, Adblock Plus and NoScript. These two make surfing the web safer and faster and despite NoScript requering some interaction when visiting new sites I do not find this bothers me at all. The ad-blocker works fantasticly with the EasyList subscription that contains some standard filters for ads.

After the two “essential” Addons I usually pick up the IE Tab addon.  With this addon you can choose to open sites or links in a tab that is powered by Internet Explorer. You can also write a filter so that some pages (like, and such) are always opened in IE Tab, this saves you from having to switch browser for sites programmed entierly for Internet Explorer.

If you not only just surf the web but also use FTP the FireFTP addon is worth a look. While being far from the best FTP client I’ve seen it gets the job done and is very easy to use. have been a great tool for bookmark handling and the latest installment of a Firefox addon does not dissapoint. Easy interface and installation, though a word of caution: if you run NoScipt make sure to have on the whitelist for scripts or the installation will fail.

Those where my recommendations for now, since I’m soon on a holiday I don’t think I will have time to check out all the developer addons available but I sure will when I get back to work.

HTML 5.0 Interesting changes

On a slow day at work I finally got time to browse through the changes in the propsed HTML 5.0 standard (Editor’s Draft 6 July 2008). The fith version of HTML will come in two flavours, standard HTML and XHTML. More or less the significant difference is that XHTML will not allow any errors in the XML-structure whereas the HTML-version will render the source as best as it can.

There are some interesting new features incoming by the looks of it, many of them seem influenced by what up until now have been solved using scripts. A quick look at the changes in elements shows us that we are handed the tools to further differenciate between layout and semantic.

Removed Elements
Almost all “legacy”1 layout elements are removed such as BASEFONT, BIG, CENTER, FONT, FRAME, FRAMESET, NOFRAMES, S, STRIKE, TT and U. Most of these are hardly used anymore anyway but I guess there are a few sites out there that will miss the FRAMES-support (allthough IFRAME is still around).  There are a few other removed elements as well; ACRONYM (which is replaced by the aptly named ABBR), APPLET (replaced by EMBED like all other embeded material), DIR (replaced by CSS or simply UL/OL), ISINDEX and XMP.

Added Elements
As previously noted the added elements often reflect semantic structures in HTML. HEADER and FOOTER are two examples, these display as their names implies header and footer information in their current context. This can be used to display chapter headings in a document and other similar information. Also new are the elements ARTICLE and ASIDE which are used to define areas of information in the current document. For example ARTICLE could refer to a single post, a blog entry, a written article or similar and has the ability to stand alone from the rest of the content. An ASIDE is used within an ARTICLE to add information related to the article but to be displayed seperately like in a column next to the main article.

NAV is a new element to mark the navigation of a site. For example “previous” and “next” link are typical navigation elements and should be enclosed in a NAV element.

There are many other new elements in HTML 5.0 but those are beyond the scope of this small review I’m afraid. Read the full HTML 5.0 document for further information.

Changed Attributes and Events
The attribute ACCESSKEY is the only one removed and this is likely due to the addition of the KBD element which replaces it’s functionallity. An interesting addition is DRAGGABLE which is a boolean value which makes an element draggable by the user, this attibute is also followed by several new event types (onDrag, onDragend, onDragenter, onDragleave, onDragover, onDragstart and onDrop). This element togheter with the attribute CONTENTEDITABLE  makes a great couple for future on-line applications.

Other new useful events added in HTML 5.0 are for example onMousewheel, onScroll and onResize which all do what they sound like.

All in all HTML 5.0 is no revolution but adds some convenient elements for more detailed semantic structures within HTML. It also takes out legacy formating elements and suggests the use of CSS to solve all the layout issues. Hopefully the drafts will soon become a new standard because of what I’ve seen so far it looks promising.


1. Wow, this is the first time I’ve used the word legacy in a HTML context! The only other (in)famous element I can think of that was removed is good old BLINK.

Firefox 3 evaluation

Firefox logoWith the release of Firefox 3 I finally made the switch on all my computers to have this as the main web browser instead of Internet Explorer that used to be standard on some of my windows machines (I have too many computers I use daily). There where several reasons I switched and I thought I’d publish them so perhaps other people could find the same benefits I saw.

First of all I have no love for Microsoft in general, while they have some good products I do not find Internet Explorer to be one of them. They seem to invest as little as possible in it and only making changes when “forced” by an outside source (take tabed browsing for example, it wasn’t included into Internet Explorer until Firefox started using it). I’d also like to point out that other web browsers like Safari and Opera might also be great but I haven’t had the time to get acquainted with them. This also only concerns desktop/laptop browsers, on my Wii and phone I use Opera!

Why did I choose Firefox as my main browser? Here is the simple list:

  • Security – this is probably the main reason. Firefox out of the box is a slightly lesser target for hackers at the moment but while that might change there are several other factors making Firefox the number one security choice and one of them is the addon NoScript. A really nifty little program that simply stops all scripts on all pages you visit. With a simple click you can activate a single domain to use scripts either always or just temporarily for your current visit. This really improves security while browsing the Internet. While some pages look terrible these days without scripting ability you can always choose to trust those that you want to visit (and remember you used to trust ALL of them). This still doesnt save you if your favourite site is targeted by a cross-site scripting attack but at least being conservative with who may run scripts on your computer makes the odds work against you being a target.
  • Speed – the rendering engine of Firefox 3 seems faster, I do not know if this is true of just a perception of mine. It may also help that I’ve installed AdBlock Plus. This is another great addon that makes you able to block all incoming adds before they are downloaded, you can either manually block different ad-vendors by domain or different filters or you can also choose to subscribe to a kind of blacklist filter. With the blacklist filter “EasyList” most of the ads are gone! Visiting ad heavy site used to be very slow but with all the flash graphics and different connections to ad servers but with the filter in place you get to download what you really came from and not all the crap the site tries to throw at you. I’ve also found this very helpfull while being out with my laptop and wanting to conserve the amount of traffic I use while browsing the web.
  • AddOns – I’ve allready mentioned two addons but still the ability to customize your browser deserves special mention as well. While the average guy might not be able to develop addons for Firefox the open interface makes it perfect for everybody wanting to add their own idea to the web browser. This is clearly a popular feature and when visiting the official addon site you can download almost anything you could think of to pimp your browser.
  • Privacy – while maybe not a reason to install the web browser at my own computers the privacy settings and features of firefox are very well to my liking, when I use a public computer I use Firefox if they have it since the ability to remove personal data is made so easy.
  • Bookmarks / History – a fresh take on bookmarks and history is made in Firefox 3. I don’t know if I’m alone in having stoped to add bookmarks for everything but the improvements really support my way of browsing. The history list is made part of the bookmarks with features to visit the latest sites (also available in most browsers with history of course) but also the most visited sites. If you choose to skip bookmarks all togheter (like I usually do) and just type the URL the dropdown that used to be only the domains is expanded with domain, icon, title and a small description of the site. This really helps casual browsing and is a nice looking feature.
  • Open Source – while not a major benefit in itself I am a strong supporter of open source and if there are two products, one open source and one proprietary software I would go for the open source alternative any day (on a private level, this might be different in a business point of view depending on the situation).

While there are major improvements in choosing Firefox there are of course also drawbacks. Most of these are minor and will probably change with time. There are a few sites that just doesnt work well in Firefox and one of them is my on-line bank which at the moment only accepts Internet Explorer. These sites are very rare though and I think most site administrators are adapting to the fact that Firefox is becoming one of the major browsers.

Firefox is no longer a browser trying to catch up with Internet Explorer, Firefox just took the lead. Now let’s see some healthy competition and more innovate features ahead in all browsers.

Jeff Bezoz talking about the Internet

I stumbled upon a great site with lots of great talks, TED Ideas Worth Spreading. I could probably watch these for hours but one of them caught my eye and that was Jeff Bezoz talk about the Internet. I think it’s a very inspirational talk he has, he compares the Internet revolution with other “similar” events in the recent human history such as the gold rush and the home electricity.

We are at the dawn of a new age, let’s figure out how it works!


It’s amazing really… I post an entry in my tech blog and just a few minutes later no less than 9 spiders have visited my page and index whatever I have to say. Before a human eye reads what I have to say several computers have allready checked and categorized everything. It’s really mind boggling when you think about how the Internet works and how all things interact and adapt. Think if the Internet did not exsist and someone asked you to construct it… and build it. The technology is one thing but the amount of hardware world wide supporting it is certainly not cheap. We as a human race might finally have created something larger than life, let’s see if it turns out it was a good or bad move 🙂