Off-Topic Category

Hacking Firefox extensions to work on beta versions

This is a little off-topic but some people might find it useful. For the past three months or so, I have been using the Firefox 3.5 betas as my main browser. Why? Well, it is considerably faster than the previous version, renders pages more accurately (much less difference between Firefox and Safari now) and has some features I now cannot live without, such as the ability to restore closed windows as well as tabs.

But the trouble with using a bleeding-edge browser is that third-party developers take time to update their extensions to make them compatible. This can be frustrating, as often no code changes are necessary and all that needs to be done is a simple modification of the maximum version string.

There are two things you can do here - switch off compatibility checking or modify the maximum version of the extension.

Switch off compatibility checking

1. In Firefox, type about:config into the address bar.

2. Select "I'll be careful, I promise" if a warning appears.

3. Ctrl-click anywhere and select New > Boolean.

4. Enter extensions.checkCompatibility (note the capital C) as the name.

5. Select false as the value.

I have heard people report problems with this so if you want to specify exactly which extensions you want to make compatible, read on.

If the extension is already installed

1. Make sure Firefox is closed.

2. Navigate to ~/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles.

3. You should see a folder with a gobbledegook name ending in ".default". Open this folder.

4. Delete or rename the file extensions.cache.

5. Open the extensions folder.

6. You will see more gobbledegook folder names. The only way to tell which one is the extension you are looking for is to open each folder one at a time and look at the contents of the folder's install.rdf file in TextEdit. The file's contents include the name of the extension, a description and compatibility information.

7. In the install.rdf file, look for the tag <em:maxVersion> and change the tag value to your current version (at the time of writing this is 3.5b4).

8. Save the file (you may need to change permissions on the file so you can write to it).

9. Launch Firefox and go to Tools > Add-Ons to verify that the extensions are now recognized by Firefox.

If the extension is not already installed

1. The Mozilla add-ons site won't let you download the extension if you have an incompatible version of Firefox. The easiest way to get around this is to fire up Safari, navigate to the add-ons page for the extension in question and download it manually (this works in Safari 4 - I don't have version 3 to test with).

2. Change the file extension of the .xpi file that is downloaded to .zip and unzip it. This will create a new folder on disk with the contents of the archive inside it.

3. Open install.rdf inside the folder and follow steps 7-8 above.

4. Select all files inside the folder, ctrl-click and click Compress X Items. You must compress the files inside the folder - do not compress the folder itself.

5. Rename the file to have an xpi extension.

6. Drag the XPI file into Firefox or go to File > Open File and navigate to it.

7. Firefox will now install it as if it was compatible.

Note - the extensions I modified were compatible with 3.1b3 (the previous version) so it was not much of a jump and I didn't experience any issues. I would not advise major version jumps (e.g. 2.x to 3.x) as this is likely to cause problems.

Posted by Jon Chappell on Saturday May 2 2009 11:20 AM to Off-Topic
0 comments Posted Permalink


After years of wondering what the fuss was about, I have finally signed up to Twitter.

What's Twitter? It's basically a mini blog where you post very short messages up to 140 characters. It's great for letting people know what you are doing, asking questions and getting feedback. The beauty of it is the 140 character limit - this ensures posts are quick and to the point. Perfect for the modern age!

It'd be nice to have a little post production community where people can help each other out or just get to know each other. From a business perspective, it's also a great way of getting feedback on our products in order to improve them.

So if you want to follow me on Twitter, my Twitter URL is:

Posted by Jon Chappell on Saturday January 31 2009 3:23 AM to DR News, Useful sites, Off-Topic
2 comments Posted Permalink

Baz Luhrmann offers free filmmaking course on iTunes

Baz Luhrmann (director of Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge and the infamous Chanel commercial with Nicole Kidman) is now offering a free filmmaking course entitled Set to Screen in video podcast form on the iTunes store.

It lasts until October and each podcast features a specific aspect of the filmmaking process (e.g. set design, cinematography, etc) on Baz's new feature film, Australia, starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman. The first one, On Set Photography, is available now. Peter Jackson did something similar on King Kong which ended up being very successful.

If you're a high school or college student, five of the podcasts come with a challenge at the end. Complete the challenge, post it to the Apple Student Gallery and you could be in for the chance of winning an iPod shuffle, iPod nano, iPod touch, or a MacBook Pro. A trip for two to Australia is also up for grabs, and the top prize in the final challenge is a trip to Australia with a chance to meet Baz and travel with him on the movie's promotional tour. Your project will also be featured on the movie's DVD release.

For those who aren't students, I think the podcasts are still very interesting regardless. I have a lot of respect for Baz and his work so I will be subscribing to this for sure and no doubt hanging on his every word.

[via CamcorderInfo]

Posted by Jon Chappell on Wednesday April 30 2008 12:57 AM to Off-Topic
0 comments Posted Permalink

NewsFire now completely free

I just heard that the developer of NewsFire is now offering the popular Mac feed reader for free. I recommended this even when it cost money (I am a paid user) so I recommend it even more now that it is free.

So what is it and why do you need it? Well, those little orange buttons you see on web pages are links to RSS feeds. An RSS feed is a tiny file containing textual information such as posts from a blog or software updates. If you have a favorite site or blog, you can be notified of updates without having to visit the site every day. Obviously this saves a lot of time and bandwidth.

I didn't think I needed one until I tried it, and the time I saved was tremendous. If you see a new site you like the look of, put it in your feed reader and forget about it until the next update. Visiting a site to check for updates that don't exist is very inefficient.

NewsFire is a great program because, as the developer himself says: "Unlike other readers, NewsFire is designed with a deliberately minimal interface. The news is what matters and it takes center stage." And now it's free, so try it out.

We have several feeds on this site, listed here. We also have an appcast feed that tells you when one of our applications is updated.

[via TUAW]

Posted by Jon Chappell on Saturday March 1 2008 11:32 PM to Software, Utilities, Off-Topic
0 comments Posted Permalink

Scorsese creates "The Key to Reserva"

This is a really great Hitchcock tribute by Martin Scorsese. He supposedly found a 3 1/2 page lost script by Hitchcock with a page missing and wanted to create a movie from the script as a tribute. It's fake obviously - it's actually a wine commercial - but it's still a pretty good short film and very enjoyable to watch.

The Key to Reserva

[via HDForIndies]

Posted by Jon Chappell on Friday November 30 2007 12:01 AM to Off-Topic
0 comments Posted Permalink