Tag-Archive for » media «

Saturday, February 21st, 2009 | Author:

… and my Personal Rating (PR) out of 10 ;)

I use Firefox so most of these won’t apply to non-FF users. However, I’d be very very interested to hear what other addons my friends, subscribers, and random websurfers find interesting or useful to them. Have your say and let us know why you love the addons you love. :)

Personally, I prefer addons that aren’t intrusive. Ideally, an addon must have a minimal interface and give me a measurable benefit for me to keep it installed.

Cacheviewer – 7

This is a GUI front-end for the Cache Firefox keeps of the last few pages and media. I’ve found this addon more interesting than useful right now so I’m probably going to remove it soon.

ColorfulTabs – 9

I love the colours. The tab colour-grouping doesn’t work very well when you reach about 30 tabs though… :-/

Download Statusbar – 10

I prefer having everything in Firefox in a single window in tabs. Having a download box in a separate window is a big no-no for me. It also saves screen real-estate since it is very minimal. :)

Video DownloadHelper – 10

Video DownloadHelper looks for streaming media – specifically looking for any large content that is being downloaded. When you click on the icon, it shows you the currently-downloading streams and gives you the option to queue it as a “normal” download.

Since you never know if FF is going to crash or the power is going to cut, I’d prefer to save a copy to my desktop and I can then view the video without using more bandwidth to download the video again. Also, at work, when people send me links to youtube or other media, I usually don’t bother watching till much after – at my own leisure or during a break.

Expiry Canary – 9

This neat and minimal addon tells you if the SSL certificate for the site you’re currently viewing is soon going to expire. If your own site has an SSL certificate, I recommend you use this addon to help avoid your site’s SSL certificate expiring due to a simple lack of notification or miscommunication.

Fasterfox – 8

Fasterfox adds some network optmisation options. Some of the options could make your corporate network admin a little mad with you though. ;)

Firebug – 9

For web development and experimentation with pages. Awesome for testing little bits of code as well as debugging pages.

FoxClocks – 6

err – tells you the time in other time zones. o.O Was useful for a short time – now its redundant since my head is working it out faster than I can glance. rm -f

FoxyProxy – 9

Awesome for browsing specific pages through specific proxy servers. This is useful for when some sites are blocked or the SAIX Transparent Proxy servers aren’t working properly. :)

I use this to route some traffic over proxy servers that I’d rather not go through default routes. Its also very flexible. If you have more than one proxy server available and the one you usually use suddenly goes on the blink, just switch over to the next one. :)

Greasemonkey – 10

Right now, I use this only for the GooglemonkeyR script. This script reformats Google‘s search results to your specifications and also has an option to show small thumbnail of the pages Google links to. Greasemonkey can do a lot more and there are plenty of scripts readily available for many many sites.

Live HTTP headers – 8

I’ve used this a few times to diagnose gzip compression issues with IIS web servers. Not much else to say though: It works.

Live PageRank – 10 (so far – only installed it yesterday)

This addon seems simple enough. It gets the PageRank from Google and shows it in the tray.

NoScript – 10

NoScript is AWESOME at blocking adverts. Its a little irritating at first since you have to whitelist all the sites you like – but in the long run it is soooo worth it. :)

Resurrect Pages – 10

Very useful for if you browse to a site and it happens to be down. If the site is static-content-oriented then this makes it easy to quickly find the content if its cached online.

Tab Mix Plus – 8

Awesome for if you have more than 7-or-so tabs.

ShowIP (using a version modified for work purposes – displays company server’s canonical name when browsing) – 10

I cannot imagine the hell I’d have to go through to identify a server without this plugin. Okay, I can. Used to have to do this all the time. I eventually scripted it but I can’t find the original script. Here’s my 60-second attempt at recreating what was in that script:

$ cat /etc/hosts | grep `dig A $hostname @mycachingnameserver | grep . | grep -v "^;"`
$ dig -x `dig A $hostname @mycachingnameserver | grep ^$hostname | grep A | \
  awk '/[.]/{print $5}'` @mycachingnameserver | grep . | grep -v "^;"

Web Developer – 9

I used this once to diagnose some issues with a page. I don’t do much web development so I’m going to remove this one. Its no comment on its capabilities since I believe this is a top notch add-on if you’re doing a lot of web development work.

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Tuesday, February 17th, 2009 | Author:

Some of you may already know that I built a home server not too long ago. I documented some of the very important parts of how it was built though I was planning on releasing all the documentation all at once. I was using Arch Linux and I hadn’t nearly finished everything, especially the documentation. For example, it was supposed to be a media server. After some disk shuffling, it was supposed to end up having a RAID1 for the boot and RAID 10 for the rest (the media part).

This didn’t work out at all.

I got as far as having an efficient (and well-firewalled) routing gateway server. I was finally satisfied that the customised local routing*  was working correctly and I was confident that my tests with DHCP meant I could disable the DHCP service on the flimsy ADSL router and have all my flatmates start using the server as the Internet gateway. Instead: I was logged in to the server from the office, I’d just installed Apache2**, and I was about to consult with a colleague regarding getting nice graphs put together so the flatmates could all see who was using up the bandwidth*** — when I noticed a little message indicating that the root filesystem had been remounted read-only due to some or other disk failure.

And then I lost my connection to the server.

And then I gained a foul mood.

:-(

When I arrived home, I found that, as I had guessed from the descriptive message given at the office, the (very) old 80GB IDE disk that I was using for the root filesystem had failed. Unfortunately, the server would never boot again and there was little chance of prying everything off onto another disk to continue where I’d left off.

I’m buying a replacement (SATA) HDD this next weekend just after pay day – and I’ve changed my mind about documenting my progress… and backing up my configurations:

Release Early. Release Often.

* ISPs in South Africa charge less (easy price comparison) for “local-only” (within South Africa)  traffic on ADSL but only if you use an ADSL account that CANNOT access web services outside of South Africa. This means that if you want to take advantage of the reduced costs but still be able to access the Internet at large, you need to set up some sneaky routing.

** one-command-install: ~$ yaourt -S apache

*** Internet Access in SA is expensive – you get charged about R70 ($7 / £4.9 / €5.46) per GB when using ADSL, or about R2 per MB if using GPRS / 3G.

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