Firefox is sluggish and streaming video is choppy [solved]

I got a brand new 2010 8-core mac pro with 12 GB ram, and was horribly disappointed to find that streaming video on Hulu and Netflix still stuttered. Why is Apple’s second fastest machine worse than my iPhone at playing Netflix video? Flash is an infamous hog on mac, but Firefox in general was slow when hovering over links and clicking on things. Netflix uses silverlight too, so it’s bizarre that it would also stutter.
Running Netflix and Hulu in Safari worked fine, but I missed features in Firefox. So in Firefox I went into Tools > Add-ons, disabled everything and restarted. Everything was zippy again. Then I slowly enabled add-ons one at a time.
The culprit seems to be Firebug and the enormous cache it keeps. For now, I have disabled Firebug, and only enable it when developing.

Firefox 3.6 won’t open on primary monitor [solved]

Firefox 3.6 has been driving me nuts by always opening on my secondary monitor, no matter if I drag windows over, restart, delete user preferences, etc. Every time I hit command N, the new window opens on my secondary monitor.

This is a known bug with Firefox 3.6.

The work around for now on OS X anyway is to drag a firefox window to your primary monitor, hit the green plus button to maximize the window, and then hit the green plus button again to restore it. Now windows should remain on the primary monitor.

Make Google Maps actually geo locate you in Firefox 3.5 [soved]

One of the most exciting features about Firefox 3.5 is its geo-location capabilities. But when I installed 3.5 and went to google maps, it didn’t automatically geo-locate me nor was there any option to.
This blog has a bookmarklet you can place on your toolbar to click to geo-locate you in google maps. Create a new toolbar bookmark, edit it, rename it “locate me” and paste in this code for the address:

javascript:function sv(s){document.querySelector("#q_d").value=s};sv("Checking...");navigator.geolocation.getCurrentPosition(function(a){c=a.coords;sv(c.latitude+"%20"+c.longitude);document.forms.q_form.submit();},function(){sv("Rejected!")});

Then when you go to google maps and click “locate me”, you can search for businesses near you wherever you are.

Thanks, John Ath!

Make Firefox’s URL Autofill Behave [solved]

I like to go to websites as quickly as possible. Firefox usually gets me to the site I want to go after I type two letters – ‘di’ autocompletes to, ‘li’ takes me to, etc. But there were some sites that it would not autocomplete, no matter how many times I would arrow down and to go that site. If I typed ‘ny’, it would never take me to, and if I hit enter it would accidentally take me to a google search for NY. Likewise, if I typed ‘fa’, it would not take me to

For a while I was using this lifehacker tip to force autocompletion, but that wasn’t working well either – often it would try to force me to a sub-page of the site I wanted to go to. So when that was turned off in a firefox upgrade, I didn’t re-enable it.

Finally, I found a solution that worked. Facebook and tend to redirect to and It also turns out that I had bookmarked these two sites, with the www in the URLs because of the redirects. The first step was to delete these bookmarks – they were overriding my history.

Then, the next time I typed in ny, I hit down until I found Then I hit shift-delete to delete this URL from my autocomplete.

Finally, I had to type ny again and arrow down to I hit enter, and now whenever I type ‘ny’ and hit enter I go to Finally! I did the same for facebook and my other sites.

Back up iPhone SMS messages into an excel database without jailbreaking [solved]

So here’s a somewhat complicated but entirely graphical way of backing up your SMS messages from your iPhone into an excel spreadsheet. I couldn’t get Syphone to work so here is my solution.

The first thing you’ll need is iPhone Backup Extractor. It’s a mac program, but there are other cross platform backup decoders out there such as mobilesync-inspect. You’re looking for the SQLite SMS database (iPhone Backup Extractor calls it SMS.db). iPhone Backup Extractor is not compatible with iPhone OS 3.0 yet but it does work with 2.2.1. Hopefully 3.0 will work soon.

Run iPhone Backup Extractor and select your most recent backup. Scroll down to the bottom of the applications and choose iPhone OS. Choose a folder to save it in.

iPhone Extractor

Then, use an SQLite browser such as SQLite Manager (don’t know why this is a firefox addon, but it rocks) to view the database.


All of the SMSes are stored in the messages table – you can right click on it and export it as a CSV. Alternatively you could export the whole database as an SQL or XML file. But open up the CSV in excel and you’re done! Sweet!

SMSes in excel

Sync Firefox bookmarks to the iPhone with Foxmarks

I’ve tried a few browser bookmark syncing services in the past, but I’m really impressed with Foxmarks, for their Firefox, Safari, and IE support.
As a bonus, once I set up foxmarks for Safari, and then synced my iPhone, my firefox bookmarks transferred to my iPhone.
Lifehacker recommends an app, O-Marks, for using foxmarks to sync your bookmarks over the air:
But I find just opening up Safari every once in a while and syncing the iPhone works well enough for me.

Submit to Tab in Firefox [solved]

One thing I miss in Safari was if you held down command when you were clicking submit in a form (such as a google search), it would open the results in a new tab.

One thing I like about Firefox is it’s super extensible. I found a decent replacement here:
Submit to Tab
Hold down control on PC or command on mac and click Submit and voila. I wish that command return worked for forms, and that it worked with the google search bar, but meh, it works well enough.

Send list of open tabs to URL list, text file or clipboard [solved]

I’ve always wanted a Firefox add on that would send me a list of my open tabs in an email so I could look at them later. No, I don’t want these bookmarked, I just want to read them later. Read it Later comes close, but I’m finding myself never actually coming back to read those later.

I thought of this again tonight when I had a zillion tabs open for a research paper and thought I’d do some googling. Ideally I wanted to export a list of tabs with both the URLs and titles of the pages so I could list them in my bibliography. In the past I’ve had to re-google the pages I used to reference them.

I did find what looks to be an awesome citation management add on for firefox called Zotero. This add on has many features but was overkill for my needs – it stores PDFs and documents, attempts to capture citation information from web pages, and lets you take notes. But as far as I can tell it does not just save the title and URL of the web page you’re browsing, and instead tries to parse that page itself for citations.

Finally, a search for ‘firefox tabs urls titles’ did it: I found Send Tab URLs 2.0 for firefox which is freaking perfect. You can get a plain, numbered, or bulleted list and send it to yourself via your OS’s email or gmail. Even better, you can just send it to the clipboard. So simple and yet I’ve been longing for this for so long. It works perfectly, I paste it into Word and voila, I have a bibliography. Thanks, Alex Eng!!!

Google sort by date bookmarklet [solved]

Based on this URL hack to sort google results by date, I made a bookmarklet:
javascript:location.href =location.href + '&as_qdr=d';
Now if you google search and then click this button, it will sort your results by the newest date. Works in FF and Safari.

USPS Tracking package hack [solved]

If you’re as obsessed as I am about tracking some packages, you’ll get sick of typing in your tracking number and submitting the form over and over. But if you go to:
it doesn’t work because the form used a POST method.
Well, on the previous page, the form input field was called strOrigTrackNum. Some sites let you post a form via the GET method, so let’s see if this works:[your tracking number]
Yup! Worked fine. Now you have a URL that you can bookmark to quickly track your shipment.

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