Monday, November 20, 2006

Nightly Tester Tools

I love Firefox. It's tabs, flexibility, and extensions have made it irreplaceable. When I heard that Firefox 2 was under development naturally I was very excited. The only concern I had -- verified by Alpha testers -- was the issue of plug-in compatibility. Armed with this knowledge and prepared for the unwelcome absence of a few extensions, I threw caution to the wind and downloaded Firefox 2 as soon as I heard it had been uploaded to the Mozilla servers. The built-in spell-checker alone was worth the installation. Yet, as time wore on, I began to miss my beloved tools. Oh, the functionality. The lack of one extension in particular was driving me crazy, Aardvark.

I was checking the Aardvark homepage religiously after the release of Firefox 2 to no avail. Withdrawal is painful and the time soon came when I tried re-writing the xpi file in the hopes of making it compatible. Needless to say, all of my efforts proved fruitless. And then came an article on entitled "50 Best Firefox Extensions for Power Surfing" in which an extension called Nightly Tester Tools was mentioned and touted as being able to coax older plug-ins to work with newer Firefox builds. Could it be? The feature set read as follows:
* Allows you to force the application to believe an extension is compatible with the current version and enable it.

* Allows copying the build identifier and a list of installed extensions to the clipboard.

* Adds a toolbar button to let you insert the build identifier into the current text box (Not supported in the Application Suite).

* Lets you customise the title bar to include the build identifier and other information.

* Provides talkback integration allowing you to quickly view recent incidents as well as a sidebar that shows all incidents still on your machine (you may be surprised at just how many there are).
* Adds a simple interface for parsing nspr log files for leaks.

* Lets you take a screenshot of any open window and save it as an image, copy it to the clipboard or submit it to Imageshack (not yet fully functional in cairo builds).

So far I have tried it successfully with Aardvark, the Rikaichan dictionary, Mozilla Archive, and Quicknote. A godsend.


Meet Aardvark

Aardvark -- for the uninitiated -- allows users to view web page sourcecode and alter the page itself. It's this last bit of functionalitythat attracted me to this extension, which I use to trim the fat offany given page before archiving or printing. Let's walk through anexample. Say you visit Tom's Hardware to catch up on the latest in DIYPC assembly. You might come across a page -- similar to the screenshot below -- and say, "Hey, this is print-worthy".


Being a frugal geek, though, you don't want to waste money on paper and ink on Tom's graphics and banner bloat, do you? From the context menu youactivate Aardvark review the key stroke options and highlight therelevant page element in red.

(activated Aardvark)

(Aardvark's keystrokes)

(highlighting the relevant element)

By depressing the "i" key you can isolate that element or exercise the "r" key to remove an unwanted frame.

(removing an ad from an isolated frame)

Once your finished hit "q" and your done. Your new page is ready forprinting or archiving. If you happen to make a mistake simply refresh the page and start over. It's that easy. As you can see, Aardvark is not just useful... it's addictive.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006


As if the stylish sidebar ad was insufficient, I have today enrolled in Performancing Partners. I first learned of Performancing whilst searching for must have add-ons for Firefox. The ability to Blog within my browser while surfing the internet or previewing a site proved irresistible, especially since an integrated spell checker was introduced into Firefox 2.0. What I didn't realize at the time was that also offered free metric services and affiliate program. I'm now a member of both. I blog in greater detail once I have more experience with the services.


Monday, November 13, 2006

DigitalJournal Update

Just a quick update on my experiences with DigitalJournal. I've been using the service now for about two weeks now and I have to date generated $0.47 having posted 5 blogs, 4 comments, and 6 votes. In case you've already forgotten, Digital Journal pays bloggers based on their participation within the community and as you can painfully see I have been less than active. Nevertheless, I'll continue persevering until the end of the month. Wish me luck!


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

CREAMaid Update

Bellow is an e-mail I just received from CREAMaid in regards to my review of Newgie:
Dear TheBlatantAdvertiser,

We're sorry to notify you that your post "Introducing Newgie" has not been selected to appear on the Conversation "Try Newgie, the news gathering service"

Here are what the Conversation starter suggested as the possible reasons for not selecting your post :

* Not regularly kept blog

However, you can still earn $2 referral fee each time a visitor of your site participates through your post's widget and gets selected.

Thank you for using CREAMaid, and please try again later.



Although I'm disappointed that my post failed to make the grade, I rest comfortably knowing that I did my best.

The e-mail also begs two questions: first, who and what are the responsibilities of the "Conversation starter"; and, second, what constitiutes a "regularly kept blog". Should I ever discover the answers to these queries you shall be first to know.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Altiris Juice

Altiris Software Virtualization Solution (SVS) is a great way to test drive new software. The Altiris package places both applications and data into virtual packages enabling users to install, employ, and uninstall programs without modifying the Windows registry or leaving folder or files orphaned upon removal. If the thought of installing a virtual machine makes you uncomfortable, this software-level virtualization provides a wonderful sandbox for exploring recently discovered programs. Click the GET SVS button to find out more.



I came across DigitalJournal whilst catching up on my Digg feed this morning via an article in This re-launched site aims to become "the strongest user-powered news site on the internet, and provide tools for users to exchange comments and ideas on news that matters to them," according to editor-in-chief Chris Hogg. In order to accomplish this grand achievement, DigitalJournal has embraced a revenue-sharing business model where members earn money by posting, rating, and commenting on original and linked stories. As I've just joined, I'm hoping to post further thoughts on the service in the near future.


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Introducing Newgie

Newgie is the novel creation of Jason Windebank and Jacob Rheuban who decided to fill a niche market for news junkies. This web-based news aggregator scores selected articles based on the reputation of the reporting agency and then adds or subtracts points based on user views, recommendations, and forwards. While user-driven rankings are nothing new – one need only think of Digg – Newgie is taking a more dynamic approach to generating ranks: Rather than relying on user votes, Newgie’s in-house ranking engine continuously monitors the activity surrounding a story and automatically adjusts its score.

Though the site’s layout is spartan – surprisingly void of web 2.0 graphical overkill – it provides an intuitive platform upon which to submit stories, subscribe to feeds, and manage user-defined categories. Additionally, custom Newgie RSS feeds can be created for users of external RSS readers.

Newgie frontpage view

Newgie category view

Newgie’s ranking system is an interesting idea but one which relies on the active participation of its users within the Newgie community. The question now revolves around the site’s ability to generate sufficient mass to make it a viable option to other socially driven "news" aggregators.

Though still in Beta, Newgie definitely warrants a look.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Dave Taylor shares his experience with CREAMaid, another paid blogging service, which compensates bloggers for participating in "Conversations" about sponsored products. Unfortunately, the number of available Conversations has not grown in some time, leaving me to wonder just how successful these blogging for dollars start-ups will be.