Weekend Roundup April 30, 2010

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! The weekend roundup is a short list of links that is sent out towards the end of each week. This is where items that are interesting, fun, or useful are apt to show up, tech related or not.

The Difference Between Firefox Personas And Themes
Great explanation over at ghacks.
- The Difference Between Firefox Personas And Themes

Resize Any Windows Dialog Box With ResizeEnable
Nice tutorial on using one of my "must-have" applications. Resize Enable allows you to resize all those pesky program and dialog boxes that won't resize voluntarily. :). I've used this small portable utility on Windows XP, Windows Vista, and it works great on my current Windows 7 installation.
Resize Any Windows Dialog Box

How to Set Your Default Programs in Windows 7
This article "...shows you how to set the default programs for your user account. This includes opening the list of default programs, setting how to open all file types or protocols a program can handle and how to choose from the program's list of capabilities, the specific file extensions or protocols that you want to be opened by it." Highly useful.
- How to Set Your Default Programs in Windows 7

Check Your IMAP Mail Offline In Thunderbird
Thunderbird is a great email client. I've been using it full time since version 3 was in beta. One of the things I like best about it is how easily it handles IMAP email. Basically, the difference between IMAP and POP email is that POP email is downloaded to your computer and is deleted off the mail server once its been downloaded. IMAP email stays on the mail server until you delete it. There are advantages to both but I love being able to access my email anywhere and have it all in one place.
- Check Your IMAP Mail Offline In Thunderbird
[via TinyHacker]

World Sunlight Map
"Watch the sun rise and set all over the world on this real-time, computer-generated illustration of the earth's patterns of sunlight and darkness. The clouds are updated every 3 hours with current weather satellite imagery." Thanks to site editor Bob for sending this along.
- World Sunlight Map

Facebook
I've been watching all the Facebook activity this week. While its been very interesting, I wanted something that would help people make any changes in Facebook if they'd like to. I find Facebook difficult to navigate and configure so a little how-to seemed like a good idea.

Have fun!,
Rhiannon

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Comments

by Jojo Yee on 29. May 2010 - 6:43  (50549)

So much better if Resize Enable can help to allow for increasing the width of a DOS window. I tried it on both XP and Win7 and it couldn't help.

Unlike DeskPin (used for setting on-top windows) works for both normal and DOS windows.

by Jojo Yee on 14. May 2010 - 16:19  (49785)

While running MusicBee, the main window is resizable, but its Edit Tag sub-window is fixed and not resizable. After running ResizeEnable, the sub-window can be resized, but it's a pity that the user interface such as tag fields are fixed and do not enlarge when the sub-window is enlarged.

ResizeEnable will be useful IMO for a program which is designed to display its user interface in relation to the window size and not fixed.

by rhiannon on 14. May 2010 - 19:23  (49796)

@Jojoyee I've run into a few program like that, whose windows won't resize properly. It's annoying.

by Jojo Yee on 15. May 2010 - 1:19  (49812)

For personal use I coded a simple utility program using VisualBasic sometime ago. Allowing a resizable window involves more work as the interface position of each item ideally needs to set in percentage or in relation to the window size than a fixed window size.

If the interface is designed for a fixed window size, forcing a window to enlarge doesn't seem to make sense. So pretty much it depends on what it's designed for use.

by Rizar on 1. May 2010 - 12:59  (48894)

I'm still wondering how the Firefox Personas count "active users". I won't be counted like that!

by rhiannon on 1. May 2010 - 18:56  (48915)

I don't know about counting active users.

I like Personas better than themes. Themes make a lot of changes in the UI, and if it's a badly written theme, then some functions (like buttons, drop down menus, and title bars)are not usable.
There are are over 35,000 Personas - I wouldn't want to wade through that many "lite themes" to find ones I like even though there are a handful displayed on each page.

by Rizar on 1. May 2010 - 20:03  (48924)

Well, it seems the count is in the process of changing:

http://blog.mozilla.com/addons/2010/04/09/personas-review-queue-mature-c...

I also saw two blog posts in my search results wondering why their Persona had 0 users when they and others were using it.

The listing of Persona active users kind of reminds me of the Electric Sheep screensaver where you could see the number of other active users displayed as sheep; inspired by P. K. Dick's book Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep, which is often sold as Blade Runner now. But in the futuristic story, people could hook into a virtual reality program and participate in a brutal religious ritual with others. It wisely didn't make it into the movie (as many parts of the book didn't)!

I hope Firefox will make the counting of active users optional in the future, perhaps in the Firefox Privacy options. It would be nice if someone could get a Persona without making it a public feed, sort of like a "now playing" posting (which should be optional). I guess it is optional in the sense that I will avoid Personas for the time being.

I just wonder whether they track us when we change Personas? For example, does the count lower if I were to remove a Persona and then increase for my new one?

I also just noticed that Firefox launches you to Personas when you click on "Get Themes" in the Addons window. I hope they don't phase out themes!

At least the census is only every ten years, and total download numbers don't track which, if any, theme I have on!

Someone save us from the cloud! I'm not an Electric Sheep, nor a number, and I will not be counted like that!!!!

by mikecorbeil on 1. May 2010 - 21:30  (48933)

There evidently has been a problem with the counting of users of personas for Ffx, but while this might have some newbie relevance, I prefer ratings and comments from users and, especially, editors. We don't get much at all for Mozilla team reviews of add-ons, ..., but get plenty of user reviews or comments; however, many of the latter are NOT helpful at all. Many people bitch, complain without giving any details, and this is totally useless and shouldn't even be permitted. The Mozilla team or teams should only allow user comments that are favourable or unfavourable, but when it's the latter kind, then the should be a very strict requirement for details and if this condition isn't met,then the reader or user comment gets deleted.

Even if Mozilla products are free, professionalism should nevertheless be provided. TSA, techsupportalert.com, article or review contributors evidently do what they can to provide professional sort of information, so I don't see why Mozilla wouldn't, or doesn't.

There is only one feature of Ffx 2.x that I miss and it was the ability to expand, horizontally, the "Add Bookmark" or "Add this page", ... Bookmarks menu dialog and which is now called "Bookmark this Page". That damn dialog box is very small and can't be expanded, but, and as much as I initially didn't want to, I've become accustomed to this and will keep my version of installed Ffx up to date for security reasons, at least. But there seems to be a considerable number of Ffx users who refuse to upgrade and I don't understand why. Ffx should have its good former features that are no long present restored, but I don't think that this justifies not upgrading and then emphasizing that obsoleted good features be restored. "Ffx for dummies": Restore the expandability of the damn bookmarks dialog (and don't pretend that this can't be done for security reasons, which'd be pure nonsens), f.e.!

Anyway, I use the number of specified reviews to get an idea of what an average user rating is at websites like Softpedia and CNET, f.e. However, I've also found that some softwares that are freeware at Softpedia have 5.0 of 5.0 ratings, but with only one, two, three, ... people having voted. And I've found some freewares at Softpedia and CNET where the average user rating was significantly less than the editors or staff's ratings and reviews, so I then and automatically read the editor or staff reviews. After all, too many people are novice and the editors should certainly be well above novice. And some users might not be novice, but give a low rating only because of some feature that they find is lacking or isn't working properly for them when it's something that I can do without or am not even interested in. So the editor and staff reviews are what I always look for and very much depend on.

We have hardly any of that at Mozilla, which provides some recommended extensions or add-ons, but it's a very limited number, and most of them are things I'm not interested in.

Personas and themes for Ffx need to be evaluated for their quality and usefulness. These are the review ratings that I want Mozilla staff to provide. I can do without their reviews when enough users have posted usefully informative comments, instead of only saying "Great add-on" or "Bogus add-on", or ..., f.e.; but when too few or no users have done this, while being sufficiently informative when there are problems, then I want editor or staff reviews. It's one thing to say "Great ...", for it means that the person found that the add-on or software did as the developer described, or perhaps even better. But as soon as someone speaks or writes negatively, then this must be said with sufficient detail; or else these posts should be promptly deleted by moderators.

Professionalism is important even for freeware, and I would never want to be a freeware developer without making sure to be professional about it. After all, as a former UNIX systems, applications, ... programmer-analyst, I would want to use any freeware development that I could (hypothetically) do to help me find work again. So I'd need to provide professionalism even for freewares that I could hypothetically produce. Hypothetically!

If I was a contibuting developer of Ffx, then the situation would be different, but I'm not; only being a user. There are much more important things that I wish to dedicate time to and all I need are tools that enable or facilitate this study, and getting work again as an IT professional is like dreaming the dinosaurs have returned.

by rhiannon on 1. May 2010 - 22:02  (48936)

@mikecorbeil: I've had the same issues with the add bookmark function. My workaround for some time has been a Firefox addon called Add Bookmark Here ² It does what it says it will do and hasn't given me any trouble.

by J_L on 1. May 2010 - 4:50  (48878)

Wow, resize enable even works on Windows 7 64-bit! (with UAC on)
Really impressed, maybe I'll make it startup

by rhiannon on 1. May 2010 - 18:31  (48911)

@J.L. Glad to hear it works on Windows 7 64 bit!

by Bob on 1. May 2010 - 8:26  (48885)

Yes, thanks Rhiannon :) I'll certainly take a look at what ResizeEnable has to offer.
I'm currently using a standalone version of a tiny freeware utility called Sizer (http://www.brianapps.net/sizer.html). Although Sizer hasn't been developed for some years it works just fine for me on Vista.
[Edit: Actually, I see ResizeEnable works on windows that Sizer can't reach... sorry! - Bob]

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