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Posts Tagged ‘Firefox’

Firefox version 29 has had a nice make-over, but one thing that has greatly annoyed many users is that not only has the Tab bar been moved to the top above the Address bar, but that when going into Customize, there is no longer an option to move it back to where you want.

Move your Firefox Tab Bar back below the Address Bar

Move your Firefox Tab Bar back below the Address Bar

While you can install the Classic Theme Restorer Add-on to do this, you will still need to fidget with its settings to move the Tab bar, and it will revert to the old-style square tabs instead of the nice new rounded ones. But rather than install yet another add-on, which you then have to figure out how to use, and then loose the rounded corners on tabs, you can actually hack one of Firefox‘s config files – userChrome.css – to get your Tab bar to go back to the bottom.

To open your Firefox profile folder where the file is located, just go to Help > Troubleshooting Information, and in the Application Basics section on the config page that appears, next to Profile Directory click the Open Directory button (Show Folder in Windows, and Show in Finder in Mac OS X)

When the folder appears, open the chrome folder, right-click userChrome.css and choose to open it with a text editor. When the file is open, go to the bottom of the document and add the following code (if the end of the document is at the end of a line of code that was already there, then add a couple of blank paragraphs by hitting Enter twice):

#TabsToolbar{-moz-box-ordinal-group:10000!important}

Once you’ve saved and closed the file, go to File > Restart, and when Firefox reloads, the Tab bar will be below the Address bar, not above it.

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While there are ways to change the default web browser via a GUI, this command-line method is even quicker. Also, while your email program and other apps might know which browser to open URLs with, you might find that ApportUbuntu‘s bug reporting system – looks to another browser you have installed. This is especially true if the other browser was at one point the default, and most notably this happens with Opera, though could also happen with Chromium/Google Chrome, Firefox, or any other browser you’ve installed before.

While Apport generally carries on with the bug reporting silently once you’ve clicked to continue, occasionally it require you to log into Launchpad, and will fire up the wrong browser, quite often it being Opera.

But it’s easy to remedy this by entering the following into the terminal:

sudo update-alternatives --config gnome-www-browser

Change Default Browser in Ubuntu

As you’ll see, all you have to do is enter the number corresponding to the browser you want to be the default (in this case 2 for Firefox). To complete the process, enter this command:

sudo update-alternatives --config x-www-browser

Change Default Browser in Ubuntu 2

… and do the same there. That’s it – you’ll no longer have Apport or any other app open the wrong browser again.

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If you’ve been getting blue faces when watching YouTube clips, or any other Adobe Flash videos, the cause can be hard to pinpoint. When faces and flames, and other red/orange elements, turn varying shades of blue, it can be due to a buggy Flash update (especially for 64-bit users), or it can be due to video card driver issues (currently it seems to be affects a few Nvidia users after upgrading to Ubuntu 12.04 – read more at the bottom). Whatever the cause, this issue usually drives people to uninstall Flash, then reinstall an earlier version.

But hopefully the following fix will correct the colours in the movies you watch in Firefox or Chrome (and any other web browsers) without having to resort to such drastic measures. All you need to do is create a text file and paste a line of text into it, but since saving it will fail unless you create the folder first, do so by running the following in the terminal:

sudo mkdir /etc/adobe/

Now to create the file and open it for editing:

gksu gedit /etc/adobe/mms.cfg

When it opens, paste in the following:

EnableLinuxHWVideoDecode=1

Close the file, and confirm you want to save the changes. Now, all you need to do is restart your browser and your clips should look fine. If not, you may need to reboot, and hopefully all is fine when you return.

The EASY WAY: Now that you understand what’s needed, you could cheat and just do the whole process with one command:

sudo mkdir /etc/adobe/ && echo -e "EnableLinuxHWVideoDecode=1" | sudo tee /etc/adobe/mms.cfg > /dev/null

If you also want to force the Flash player to bypass its GPU validity checks (GPU validation – see below), then the command would be:

sudo mkdir /etc/adobe/ && echo -e "OverrideGPUValidation=1\nEnableLinuxHWVideoDecode=1" | sudo tee /etc/adobe/mms.cfg > /dev/null

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That Didn’t Work, or Caused Problems? In some cases, you might find you need to disable GPU validation in addition to, or instead of, telling Flash to use vdpau hardware acceleration. If you’re experiencing trouble at some sites but not others (like YouTube videos are now fine, but at Vimeo the Flash plugin crashes), you may want to play around with the settings. For example, to enable the acceleration but bypass GPU validation, the text in mms.cfg would be:

OverrideGPUValidation=1
EnableLinuxHWVideoDecode=1

… or the following to just bypass GPU validation:

OverrideGPUValidation=1
EnableLinuxHWVideoDecode=0

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To Revert Back: If these tweaks have caused you more headache than it was worth, just delete the entire folder you created with:

sudo rm -r /etc/adobe

Or you can just edit the file with:

gksu gedit /etc/adobe/mms.cfg

… and set EnableLinuxHWVideoDecode= to 0 if you prefer to keep it.

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Nvidia users: Apparently the issue (which Adobe reportedly won’t be fixing) is caused by having hardware acceleration enabled, so right-clicking a Flash video, choosing Settings… and disabling “Enable hardware acceleration” can often fix this. However, the above fix is perhaps more elegant since you’re allowing Flash to use vdpau hardware acceleration, rather than just disabling it altogether.

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The Search bar in Firefox – which many still look at as the “Google bar”, even though it lists other search engines – is extremely useful, but you can make it even more so by adding all sorts of search options.

What we’ll look at here is the “Search Ubuntu packagesadd-on, which (as the name suggests) lets you hunt for software for Ubuntu directly from the Search bar. All you have to do is go to the download page and click the Add to Firefox button, restart Firefox, and it’s done.

Alternatively, if you’re browsing the Firefox Add-on index you can just click the Add to Firefox button next to “Search Ubuntu packages“, and confirm by clicking Add.

Once you restart Firefox, your new search option will be in the Search bar’s drop-down menu. When wanting to search for software, select Ubuntu packages, type the name of the program or package, and hit Enter.

Like all new additions to the Search menu, it will appear at the bottom, so if you’d like to move closer to the top, click Manage Search Engines… (at the bottom of that menu) and move it where you want with the up arrow.

Note that once you’ve used it, it will stay as the default search option till you choose another (so make sure you choose Google or whatever before doing a regular web search).

Search Ubuntu packages

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The Search bar in Firefox – which many still look at as the “Google bar”, even though it lists other search engines – is extremely useful, but you can make it even more so by adding your own localised version of Google. This is handy for many reasons, like being able to search for products/prices in your own country, ignoring overseas stores.

For the purpose of this article, we’ll look at how to add Google Australia to the list of search engines, but you can apply this to your own country (as long as it is one of those supported).

Now, if you go to the Firefox Add-ons site, you’ll probably find there is nothing for your country’s version of Google, but you can find Google add-ons here.

Once you’ve located one you want to add, simply click its link. You will then be asked:

Add “Google Australia – from Australia” to the list of engines available in the search bar?

… so just click the Add button, and you’ll find the new Google entry in the Search pull-down menu.

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Accessing internet radio (or eRadio) stations in Ubuntu is pretty simple. Most of the media players installed by default in Ubuntu can handle the task, and you can easily find and install many other great apps (like Amarok) via Synaptic Package Manager.

The current default for this is “Movie Player” (actually called Totem), and it does the job well, but there is another app installed in every system that can do even better: the default “Music Player“, Rhythmbox.

What we’ll look at is the basics of eRadio in Ubuntu (using the default Totem Movie Player), how to set up a web radio station in Rhythmbox, and why it’s a good idea to do so.

Finding web stations to your liking is a simple matter of a few minutes in Google, and when you find some you’d like to listen to, they generally have a clearly visible link to click.

When you click the stream link, Firefox will ask what you want to do with it, so just go with the default of opening it in Totem (or “Movie Player” as it will be listed).

Totem will open, and the station will be visible in the Playlist pane. You might even find it lets you access more than one station, as some will have US (English) and European (often German) versions. Simply double-click the station name and it will start streaming music within a second or two.

Now, while Totem does the job, and all that was pretty quick and painless, there isn’t a way to bookmark the station or anything, and from the lack of any additional information you wouldn’t even be aware many stations broadcast the artist and song names along with the music data. This is why setting up stations in Rhythmbox is a great idea, but you’ll still probably need the help of Totem to do so.

As you probably know, when Firefox wants to know what to do with a specific file, you can actually choose a program other than the suggested default. Usually, a list of apps will even be presented to you, but in the case of links that point to a .pls (“MP3 ShoutCast playlist“) file, you probably won’t find a way to open it in Rhythmbox. That’s because (currently) no apps at all are suggested for that filetype, and manually specifying the command /usr/bin/rhythmbox may not help. Same goes for other formats, like .wax (“Windows Media Audio Redirector“) files (more on those at the end of this article), but there is a simple way to get around this.

Now, when you click a link that points to a playlist file, the URL will be something like http://www.heavymetalradio.com/listen.pls, and (currently) Rhythmbox seems incapable of handling that (which is why nothing happens). But if you open the station in Totem, you can right-click the station and choose Copy Location, and you’ll find the URL is something like http://www.heavymetalradio.com:8000 (the numbers on the end are the port to connect to).

When you go to Rhythmbox, just right-click the Radio icon in the left pane and choose New Internet Radio Station…

Once you’ve pasted in the address and clicked Add, you will see your station(s) in the right-pane. Once again, just double-click the desired station to begin streaming, which you can of course pause at any time, and it will begin streaming again when you click Play.

Now you will notice that not only do you have the name of the station in the title bar, but also the name of the artist and song currently playing. That information is also visible beneath the media control buttons.

It doesn’t end there, as you can do one more thing, and that is customise the “cover” artwork. You’ve probably noticed when accidentally hovering your mouse over the artwork area that a tooltip saying “Drop artwork here” appears, and this is what we’ll do for the radio station (so pick a picture you like, or download their logo).

The option for album cover artwork is actually supplied by a Rhythmbox plugin, which should be installed by default; if it isn’t, you should be able to get it easy enough in Synaptic by searching for “rhythmbox“. If you don’t have artwork visible, it is still probably installed, just not enabled, so go to Edit > Plugins and enable Cover art.

Then simply drag a picture file from an open folder window onto that area, and it will be displayed every time you activate that station.

As you can see, that’s all pretty easy to do, only takes a few minutes, and is well worth it if you want to access your favourite internet radio stations in a flash (not to mention have the current track info broadcast along with the music).

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Some notes on WAX files

When you go to open a station via a .wax file in Firefox, it should go to open as expected in Movie Player.

Once again, all you need to do is copy the URL in Totem, create a new station in Rhythmbox, and paste in the address.

But you may find that the name of the station doesn’t automatically appear, but is instead just the URL.

But that’s only a minor issue, as all you have to do is right-click the station and choose Properties to edit its information.

Simply replace the URL (or whatever text you want to replace) next to Title: and click Close.

Your new station will now have the proper name, or any that you desire.

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Did this information make your day? Did it rescue you from hours of headache? Then please consider making a donation via PayPal, to buy me a donut, beer, or some fish’n’chips for my time and effort! Many thanks!

Buy Ubuntu Genius a Beer to say Thanks!

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