So, tonight I have some serious insomnia. One of the habits that I got into when I get like this is to pound on Google Reader and clean out my massive list of backlogged feed entries. The other thing I normally do is start to drink beer, cause that makes me sleepy. But, I don’t keep beer in the house anymore since I’m training for my season of triathlons. For fun, here are some recent developments:

Firefox Woes

Ever since I upgraded to Snow Leopard, Firefox would not start under my user account. It starts fine for Lisa on the same machine, but not for me. Very strange. The failure is very early and there is very little system debug info (via Console, logs, etc). After much wrangling, I was able to start it as root, but the standard launch mechanism simply would die. So, I created a new user account and migrated all of my personal folders to the new user. Permissions were the trickiest part of  this. for each directory, such as ~/Documents, I deleted it on the new user, sudo mv /User/nic/Documents /User/nick/Documents, and I had to chown nick *, and chgrp staff Nick. Things are working fine now and I re-setup all of my programs.

Time Machine to the Rescue

My laptop started to die on start-up. I use boot camp between Windows 7 and Snow Leopard. Starting Snow Leopard started to shutdown the laptop immediately. What the?! So, I re-installed the laptop completely via a Time Machine backup. 2 hours later, I’m as good as new. Apple’s Time Capsule/Time machine really does work very, very well. I just wish the backup parameters were more configurable without resorting to hacks.Are you still reading this? Still? Seriously, you probably have better things to do with your time.

Firefox Tweaks

So, I have Firefox tricked out in a very particular way… same way I have it working on all of my computers. Lots of my configuration I got from a co-worker, but I have added individual elements that work well for me. Here is a summary of the add-ons and look and feel I use:

  • I use a chrome look and feel based on the Chromifox Basic theme
  • I use autoHideStatusbar add-on to hide the status bar automatically. Gives me more browsing real-estate. The status bar comes up during page loads and when you move the cursor to the bottom of your screen.
  • On Windows, I auto hide the menu bar as well with the Hide Menubar add-on. This is not necessary on the Mac, however.
  • I install the CyberSearch add-on and ditch the search bar. This makes the address bar behave like Chrome’s one-stop address/search bar.
  • I use the Download Statusbar add-on, which is more integrated than the default separate download window Firefox uses. Also, more like Chrome’s UI.
  • I installed Locationbar2 add-on, which componentizes each part of the url you’re at. Helpful for navigating some websites where you want to return to a specific point in the url hierarchy.
  • I use speed dial, which is less sexy but more functional than Chrome’s most recent pages home screen thingy. Having a 3×3 or 4×4 grid of pages with large thumbnails allows me to get rid of by bookmark toolbar, also yielding more real-estate for actual browsing.
  • For development, Firebug and Web Developer are essential plugins for HTML, JavaScript, and CSS development. Get them and learn to use them well.
  • The Cooliris add-on is the most awesome way to browse images on the web. Brilliant butter-smooth 3D wall that hooks up to google search results, flickr, and a host  of other image sources. A definite must-have plugin.