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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Moving on, Trying to Leave a Clean House

Well, today is the six month anniversary of Greasy PC. While I'm slightly surprised that this blog has lasted this long, the real achievement to me has been to average slightly more than one post per day for the entire duration. At almost 200 posts, that might even be the most number of blog posts made of any of my friends IRL, and some of them have maintained blogs/livejournals for years and years.

In truth, in addition to wanting to document all the various tweaks and customizations I've put into my computer over the past year, I also did this blog to prove to myself that I can commit to a project wholeheartedly and consistently over a long period of time. I hadn't worked on any of my own long term projects in God knows how long, but of what I've done on this blog I truly am proud.

In the interest of full disclosure, one of the reasons now's a better time than any for me to cash out, is because a week ago, I got myself an iMac. I know.

This was a purchase I'd been gunning for for months now. As an animator working in films, I'd always made great use of my PC. However, when it became more and more necessary for me to have access to Final Cut Pro and its codecs, my need for a new machine pointed me in the iMac's direction. It was the best option for the price (I might blog about that in the future still).

Don't worry though, I still love my PC. I've got Bootcamp successfully running Windows XP on the iMac (it runs Team Fortress 2 far better than my old PC did), and I've got Synergy allowing me to control both my mac and PC with the same keyboard and mouse over the network. I even recently successfully transferred my Firefox profile from the PC to the Mac.

So where does that leave us? Well, I'm making no promises, but I may turn out a few more posts here and there about making the smooth transition from using a PC to a Mac. Also, I'm going to try my best to organize this blog to stand the test of time: making sure all posts are tagged properly, creating some static "favorite" pages, and otherwise making it even easier for stublers-on to find what they're looking for.

So don't worry, Greasy PC will be greasing it up indefinitely. In the meantime though, hope to see you around on my other endeavors; you can always check my official site, which I'm hoping to update now that I've got a little more free time. Otherwise, good luck to everyone, and see you around!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Copy and Import Firefox Profiles, Settings, Extensions, Bookmarks, the Manual Way

A few days ago I featured MozBackup, as a simple way to backup, copy, import, and export Mozilla application profiles (Firefox, Thunderbird, etc). Unfortunately, I also lamented the fact that MozBackup was its own application that needed to be installed in all the PC's you want to import from/export to. It also unfortunately wasn't compatible with OSX, when cross-platform compatibility was one of the most important features of Mozilla's apps.

Well, today I'll show you how to transfer your Firefox profiles from one computer to another manually, without much hassle. Doing this works without having to install any external programs, and also works on OSX.

First of all, locate your Firefox profile folder. On Windows XP machines, it can be found here:

C:\Documents and Settings\\Application Data\Mozilla

On Vista machines, the address is:

C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox

In that folder, you'll see another folder called Profiles, as well as a file called profiles.ini. 

To copy your profile to another computer running Firefox, copy that profile folder as well as the profiles.ini file to the same location in the new computer. If you're transferring to a Mac, the location is

\Library>Application Support>Firefox

And with that, just copy the old Profiles folder and the profiles.ini file, delete the other Profiles folder, and you're done!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Better Youtube Firefox Extension Now Firefox 3 Compatible

I never got around to talking about the Better Youtube Extension when I first got it, but it's one of the extensions I've kept installed through these past few months, offering minor but useful tweaks to the Youtube web interface that makes the experience just a little bit more tolerable (for ways to make Facebooking equally so, check out our recent feature series).

Anyway, the Better Youtube extension was one of the extensions that didn't quite immediately make it to Firefox 3's safe zone, and when for some reason Firefox 3 stopped letting me keep old extensions on regardless of whether it thought they were compatible or not, Better Youtube was one of the only ones that couldn't come back on.

Well, today the fine folks behind this extension have updated it to be Firefox 3 compatible. And with that, I'm happy to say that all of my extensions are now up to code! How are yours?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Backup, Restore, Import/Export Firefox and Thunderbird Profiles with MozBackup (Review)

Mozbackup is a very simple freeware app to backup up your Firefox and Thunderbird profiles, and restoring them or exporting them to another computer.

(photo courtesy of official site)
It imports everything from your saved passwords, bookmarks, browsing history, and even extensions, AND, in the case of Thunderbird, also your emails and contacts.

To use, install Mozbackup and run. It will take you step by step towards backup up the profiles you want. Make sure that both Firefox and Thunderbird are closed when you do this, by the way (it'll warn you if it's open). In the end, it saves a .pcv file, which is really just a zip file with a different extension.

To restore a backup, just run Mozbackup again and select Restore a profile instead of Backup a profile. Again, step by step. To import a backup into another PC, install MozBackup into that computer and restore.

My only gripes about MozBackup are that it only works for PC; no linux or OSX support, which is one of the reasons Mozilla's apps are so useful and recently ubiquitous. Likewise, I'm not fond of the fact that MozBackup requires its own program to be installed. I guess it's too reflexive to have it create a backup of the very profile in which it's located, but if it were an extension for Firefox and Thunderbird it would be so much simpler to use. I'm not crazy about installing programs that I use less than once every few weeks.

Overall, though, there is no simpler way of moving and backup up profiles from one PC to another than MozBackup.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Firefox Download Day a Complete Success, Otherwise


 Yeah, I still remember how Firefox 3's Download Day got off on a shaky start when its servers promptly collapsed at its designated start time due to massive server overload. I remember how it needed its clock restarted an hour and a half later. But I also remember successfully downloading the new browser before the day was done, and just recently, I got this in my email:




Download Day 2008

We did it!



We set a Guinness World Record for the most software downloads in 24 hours. With your help we reached 8,002,530 downloads.



You are now part of a World Record and the proud owner of the best version of Firefox yet!



Don't forget to download your very own certificate for helping set a Guinness World Record.



This was known already almost as soon as Download Day ended, but I guess it wasn't officially recognized by Guinness until recently. Regardless, I got my certificate (can't print it out as I don't have any ink). I'm kinda disappointed that the certificate was a fill-in-the-blank as opposed to an official custom image, maybe with some part that said when exactly that day I downloaded it (I dunno how they'd've tracked that), but otherwise, I know I'm not cheating myself on this one.



Did you get your certificate?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Facebook Greasemonkey Part 4 of 4: View Photos

For the last installment on our feature on Greasemonkey scripts to enhance your Facebook browsing experience, I've brought on the big kahuna: a script that allows you to view the photos of a lot of users whose profiles are otherwise inaccessible to you. That's right, this is about as good as you can get in Facebook stalking technology without doing some actual hacking of the system.

Facebook - View All Photos, written by userscripts user Dan Cooper, isn't actually the simplest script to explain. So I'm gonna go and copy what it says on the main page outright so I don't misrepresent anything:


  • Lets you search for pictures of someone who has a private profile or has set their privacy settings so that you cannot view their pictures. (Check below for specific details)
  • Removes the two sections of photos users on facebook have ('Tagged by User' and 'Tagged by Others') and combines them in to one.
  • Redirects photos link on profile page to the user's all photos section
  • Links each tagged user's photos link in picture view and album view to the all photos section
  • Adds a link to the top of photos to allow you to see every picture they are tagged in
  • Lots of stupid people have a plethora of applications on their page and as greasemonkey scripts are only executed when the page has been fully downloaded, you might click the photos link before it's had a chance to change. You'll notice when it has as it says 'View All Photos of' instead of 'View Photos of'.
Pretty cool so far, right? But there ARE some caveats to viewing pictures in private profiles. Again, lifted straight off his website:

Ok, this could get confusing so stick with me. Start by searching for someone's name in the search panel. Profiles that you have access to will not be changed, however profiles that you do not have access to will now be coloured red and will link to a photos page. The only photos you see, will be ones that the person is tagged in which:
  • is in your PRIMARY network
  • there are photos availble to you to view (public albums etc)
So basically these are not photos you wouldn't have been otherwise able to access, it just saves you having to go through album after album looking for photos of them.
As this url manipulation only searches for the name of the person and not the id, if any two people should have identical names then pictures with either of them will be shown in the results. (There's nothing I can do about that without painstakingly manipulating the results page)
 
But basically, go ahead and install the script and explore around for yourself. Remember, private photos are only viewable if you're looking for someone in your primary network. You can, though, change your primary network to see someone else, but Facebook only allows you to do that every few weeks, to prevent people from hopping around checking out peoples'  profiles on other networks. Note that you can't do this on college networks either.

Finally, recent changes to the way Facebook's code is written, have caused this script to almost always not load the first time a page loads (similar to the Facebook Beautifier script). If you find the appropriate links not showing up, just reload the page, and it should work out.

Well, that's it for our four part series. Be sure to check out the other three parts, and let me know if you've gone and used these scripts, and what your experiences have been like. Cheers!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Facebook Greasemonkey Part 3 of 4: See Tagged Photo in its Album

Welcome back for part 3 of our feature on Greasemonkey scripts that enhance your Facebook experience. This one's a pretty big one, especially if you're one of the, shall we say, inherently curious types.





Facebook View Photos in Album, written by userscripts user znerp, works like this. Say you check out a photo tagged to a friend of yours. Now, if that photo was taken by someone not your friend, and/or belonging to another network, you wouldn't normally be able to view the entire album in which the photo was originally included.






Facebook View Photos in Album lets you view that album, provided that album was tagged as public anyway (most albums are, since it's set to public by default). When you view a photo, you then get a link above it that says "See this photo in its album." It then throws you inside the album, from which you can view all the other photos.



Great for seeing photos of old friends of friends! Remember, to install this script, make sure you have the Greasemonkey extension installed for Firefox, and once you do, just click on "Install this Script" in the script's webpage.