Firefox Beta

As mentioned a while back (possibly via my Twitter or Facebook), I've been playing around with the Firefox 4 Beta for the last few weeks.  It is very pretty, and I can say definitely faster than the current Firefox 3.6.

I can see that it HAS taken certain aspects of Google Chrome, notably in how it looks... Previously, you had your navigation buttons (Back, Forward, Reload etc) and your Address Bar across the top, then your tabs, then the content.  Now, like with Chrome, you have the tabs, then each tab has it's own navigation buttons and address bar.  Quite handy and prettier to look at.  There is also a button to put it back, if you don't like it.

My biggest issue - and it's nothing to do with the software, but yours truly - has been the incompatible addons issue.  I love my Adblocker, Mouse Gestures, Greasemonkey, UnF*ck Facebook - and so on and so on.  However, Beta4 is just that - a Beta (for those that don't know, a Beta is essentially a test version, that will likely have problems and issues - and by using it, you're helping test everything before it's released to the great unwashed) and being a Beta, most addons are incompatible.  The people that write them don't have the time to support both a release version AND a Beta version.

Which means most of my addons don't work.  Which I don't like.  I don't like not having mouse gestures to move around, I don't like having ads smeared over my world, and don't like Facebook.  Which is why I hardly go on there any more.

The final straw, however, came yesterday.  In a true "Oh Bollocks" moment, I was removing the Beta2 files to put on the Beta3 version, clicked "remove old data" and reinstalled the new version...

And lost all my bookmarks, passwords, live bookmarks...  Now it is totally my own fault.  Back up things, save things, note things down - it's part of using a computer, especially when fiddling with new things that can go wrong.  This wasn't a software problem, this is what used to be referred to as either an "I.D. TEN. T" error*, or flagged as a "PEBKAC" error**

So, after everything had vanished, I decided to see what I could do with all my addons and stuff, and after a lot of poking around, I found that some addons do actually still work in Beta, you just need to know how to get it to make the buggers work.

First up, go to this article on My Digital Life to see how to "Force Addons To Work"  I did this, and straight off three of my addons came back on.  Bonus.  And one of them - Adblock - even updated to a newer version for the beta.

Next, Greasemonkey.  It's all well and good having addons, but a script tool is always handy.  If you're not sure what a script is, think of it as a new set of instructions for a webpage.  You all use Facebook, three columns, loads of shit?  Mine looks like the OLD, two-column Facebook before they overhauled it.  And thanks to Adblock, I don't see all the Advertising Shit on there (or any site!).

I digress.  Greasemonkey is the basis of these sort of tools, but it's current version doesn't work with the Enforce Addons thing mentioned above.  So, I went to the Mozilla Addon page, and saw in the Greasemonkey comments, a user by the name of "apostnikov" found a fix for it at Bugzilla.  That link will take you directly to the post in question, by a user named Anthony Lieuallen, timestamped "2010-08-12 05:53:53 PDT"  In his post, he links to an .xpi file.  Click his link (or click here if you trust me!) and select "Open With Firefox" if prompted.  That will install the beta version of Greasemonkey.  Once that's on, you can put on all your different scripts to mess with Facebook, Google, Gmail, YouTube... Go have a poke around on and see what I mean!

Now, my MouseGesture addon - FireGestures - as it turned out, also has it's own Beta section. Scroll down through the addon info, and at the bottom (before the Reviews section) you'll see a Beta Channel, and a link to install the beta version.  Which, I should add, also works like a charm.

The biggest flaw with the new version - and I know I'm not the only one that thinks it's icky - is The Big Orange Button.  Not sure what I mean?  Have a look at this:

The worst thing about it, is while it DOES have some handy functionality, it's just... so... Ugly!  However, once again, with a bit of poking around, I found this article over at Download Squad to get rid of, alter, change, recolour and mess with it.  All is good in the world once again.  I've not done it yet mind you, knowing my luck, it'll probably implode my screen or something!

What I WOULD like - and I think I actually broke something to get it like this - would be to no have the Minimise/Resize/Close buttons top right.  See, the version I uninstalled didn't have those buttons, and I had lost the Orange button too, so my tabs - like with Chrome - were at the top of the screen, no Title Bar.  I shall keep looking and breaking no doubt.

Hopefully, if you are still reading, you're also enjoying using the Firefox 4 Beta, and I've given you a hand into getting yourself back into Addon Heaven.  I can't take any credit for any of the fixes here - so kudos to those smart people that have done it all - I'm just pointing you in the direction of useful help :)

Good news everyone!  (I bet you read that in his voice too!)

While writing this post, I opened Chrome to check some of my facts just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating or anything, and found all my bookmarks!  OK, some of my newer ones were missing, but otherwise, everything I needed and had lost were safe and sound!

Granted, I'm not sure that one of the worlds better browsers is designed for an idiots backup device, but none the less, it solved my brain ache trying to think what I had bookmarked, why I had bookmarked it, and all the rest of it.

See, brainfarts.  They happen to the best of us!

*I.D TEN. T = ID10T
**PEBKAC = Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair

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