Saturday Geekpost--Fun with Firefox

Saturday, November 19, 2005
If you're using Firefox, Opera, Konqueror, or Safari for your Internet browser, then you've probably been using tabbed browsing for some time. IE users recently received this functionality from the new search toolbar; IE-7 will have it built in, as the other browsers have had for years. Tabbed browsing is one of those things, like a microwave, that you don't know you need until you've had one for a while. It allows you to simply middle-click links in a story you're reading (on Instapundit, say) without having to leave the page, thereby causing the other pages to load in the background without being lost. You can then tab back and forth to get infomation at one site while typing a post on another. Like I'm doing right now.

One little thing that has always annoyed me about the behavior of tabs in Firefox is the way they come in at the top and push the page down. Now that little annoyance can be fixed. Life just gets better every day. You can reconfigure Firefox to display the tabs at the bottom, or on the right or left sides if you are so inclined. I've pushed them to the bottom where they won't bother anybody.

Here's how it works. You find your "default" directory, which on my system is under ~/.mozilla/firefox/*.default/, where "*" is some code name (7q6hp3gj on my system), and inside there you find the file userChrome-example.css. Copy this to "userChrome.css" in the same directory, then insert the line
#content > tabbox { -moz-box-direction: reverse; }
into this file. Similar directions for putting it on the right and left can be found here. There are more tweaks available for the intrepid.

If you want to be a geek you must feel the urge to tweak.


terrye said...

At the risk of sounding really stupid, what is middle click?

ambisinistral said...

The middle button on a three button mouse. Us two buttom mouse users need to right-click and select "open link in new tab".

Who knows what those poor saps using Macs with their one buttons have to do.

MeaninglessHotAir said...


What kind of mouse do you have?

On my machine I have a "wheeled mouse" with a left button, a right button, and a scroll wheel in the middle. I just push down on the scroll wheel with my middle finger and it functions like a button. Quite handy sometimes. On Linux, middle-clicking in a text context will always paste in whatever's in the clipboard at that moment, or whatever's highlighted. It allows you to do cut and paste faster than using control-c, control-v, which also works.

If you don't have a wheeled mouse, go out and buy one today. Well worth it.


The wheeled mice work on Macs too. Just plug 'em in and play.

ambisinistral said...

Man, I never knew you could press down on the scroll wheel and use it as a button. Whoo-hoo... no more selecting from a menu for me!

Peter UK said...

At last.How do you get rid of that irritating "confirm" pop up which appears when you leave a page and ingratiatingly asks if you want to leave that page.This only happens with Mozilla when I'm on Blogger.

MeaninglessHotAir said...


That popup is built into Blogger, so you can't get rid of it. Truthfully, I've found it to be a lifesaver several times when I almost lost a long post I was writing by leaving the page and the popup saved me by reminding me it hadn't been posted yet.

chuck said...

I just push down on the scroll wheel with my middle finger and it functions like a button.

My mouse has the scroll wheel but also a third button on the left under my thumb. I love it.

Peter UK said...

I go ahead and leave the page anyway if I want to check something the pos is usually still there.I just pull down the bookmarks or paste something into the blogger window.

Syl said...

I guess we're all different. I can click my scroll wheel and also the side buttons. But I never do. Right-click is so easy and quick for me. Middle-click takes a bit more force.

I use tabs in Opera (don't care for Firefox that fact, I uninstalled it, but who knows what next week/month/year brings) and when I switch to IE I don't miss them. I just right-click and open in new window. My taskbar becomes my tab bar.

I know, who cares. :)

I like IE. But I LOVE Opera's wand for logging in to sites. So I use IE for blog stuff (Opera hates typekey) and Opera for my 3D stuff where I have about 3x more sites to visit on my daily rounds.