Thursday, July 29, 2004

No More Ads in Gmail!mozilla pagerank

Yep, it can be done with Firefox. No bookmarklets though; I've found that the interaction between frames and Javascript generated content is not very nice.
As I haven't found in the program policies nor in the terms of use that it is forbidden to hide the ads, I'll share with you. You only need to add the following line to your userContent.css file:
#ad { display:none !important}
And voilà!

Update: well, it seems I'm late again. Asa had pointed out a better solution almost four months ago.

table[class="metatable"]{display: none !important;}
and ims (in a comment below, thanks!) pointed out an even better solution using URIid
body#gmail-google-com table[class="metatable"] {display:none !important;}
Update 2: Phillip left a better solution:
body#gmail-google-com div[id="ad"] {
display:none !important; }
/* increase the width of the msg area
so it covers where the ads were */
body#gmail-google-com div[id="ch"] + div {
margin-right: 5px !important; }

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Now We're NT4 Cooking!

Back from the SHGetSpecialFolderPathA hell on NT4... bug 253101 was filed on the 26th of July and was fixed in less than one day. Of course, the patch was already on the trunk and it "only" needed porting to the aviary branch, but it took quite a long time for a smoketest blocker to be corrected !
Comment #3 From Asa Dotzler
If NT is supported, then this is a smoketest blocker.
Since the official Win32 20040728 [Br/Tr] builds were not yet out this morning, I verified that the bug was indeed fixed in the current nightlies with the hourly sweetlou builds.
It seems not many people are using NT4 anymore... hopefully NT4 will stay on the supported architecture list for as long as I have to use NT4.
Well it feels great to be in the nightlies train again. Woohaa! new features!

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Firefox Branch Nightlies are a No-Go on Win NT4

Starting with Firefox build 2004-06-23 (branch), all Firefox branch builds have failed to start under Win NT4 with the error (according to bug reporter Matthew Hambley):
An error box appears containing "The procedure entry point SHGetSpecialFolderPathA could not be located in the dynamic link library shell32.dll". The firefox process then dies.
The trunk builds are unaffected. This is bug 251341 and this bug is still marked as UNCONFIRMED (though I can confirm it). Any kind soul who can help us people who have to suffer with Win NT4 and have now the increased burden of not having the latest improvements in Firefox, is most welcome.

Update This bug is a dupe of bug 246616, which has a patch (checked in in trunk) but not on the aviary branch. So now all we need is the patch to be checked in in the branch.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Who Are You, 4 Percent?

With all the positive reviews Firefox has been getting on CNET/Download thanks to the campaign launched by Asa and Blake Ross, I couldn't help wondering about the 4% of users who give a thumbs down to Firefox. Who are they, and what are they trying to say? As of today, Monday July 19th 7H GMT, there were 54 negative reviews.

These reviews pointed out the following problems with Firefox. Some problems feel silly but they probably should be looked into (I guess most probably have several duplicate bugs, but how have the other ones been resolved?). They are approximately sorted by the number of reviews with that problem.
  • Extension issues: not enough features by default, too many of extensions takes a long time to get a running browser, handling of extensions doesn't work very well. (this is by far the most common complaint. Hopefully the next versions will address this issue.)
  • Link handling in email programs, mostly Outlook (I have this one too)
  • Memory leaks (this one I can understand but not really duplicate)
  • Version 0.8 was better
  • Installation is buggy
  • Some websites don't work well in Firefox (time for some Mozilla evangelism!)
  • Doesn't completely uninstall (I haven't tried it)
  • Upgrading needs uninstalling
  • Cannot install extensions (specifically, spoofstick (?))
  • Support is not good/The forums are down when they are needed (hey, have you donated?)
  • Prone to crashes (can't say I've hit many of them, but maybe I'm not a heavy user?)
Some comments complained about the marketing technique used by the Mozilla foundation on (hey, that's life. Do the same for Opera/Maxthon).

The alternative browser of choice they recommended is Opera, followed by MyIE2 (now Maxthon), Avant and Slim Browser (the last three are IE based).

Finally, some comments seem to have been made in completely bad faith, and seem almost amusing:
  • Firefox is riddled with security holes and installs spyware III
  • Had to format hard drive to uninstall
  • The installer program contains a gif image and a cookie.

Monday, July 12, 2004

User Style Bookmarklets in Gmail?

I've been trying to create a bookmarklet (Jesse has an excellent page on user style bookmarklets. Try as I might, no CSS style change seems to work. Maybe it's because of the complex way the pages are generated (a good deal of Javascript). Has anyone a clue?

On the brighter side and in other news, it seems that Gmail is preparing some cool new features: POP3 access, plain HTML version of Gmail, automatic msg forwarding, ability to save a draft.

What Do You Do When Someone Keeps Sending You Infected Messages?

I've been constantly "virus-spammed" for the last few months by someone sending spam from the address enrico.bertolaz. He seems to be a researcher in a university in Italy (you can google him if you like), but the flow of infected messages is so nauseating that I am assuming he is not doing it on purpose. What do you do in such a situation? I've of course created a filter, but why exactly is this happening? am I the only one being targeted? is the spam-bot on his computer, or somewhere else? Should I warn him, and if so, about what?

Monday, July 05, 2004

Phoenix/Mozilla Firebird/Firefox seen through 9 releases

How has the look of the browser-once-known-as-Phoenix changed over the releases? here is a quick tour of the visual appearance of the browser. The main result: almost two years now of evolution, but some theme changes aside, 0.9 still feels like 0.2 did. The best browser!

First release (20020923), Phoenix 0.1 still has the Orbit 3+1 look, sports the red rising phoenix and has large buttons by default.

Phoenix 0.2, released 8 days later (wow, talk about a release cycle). The reload and stop buttons are now on the left, and are small by default. There is now a search bar, and the drop down of the URL navigation field is not themed.

Phoenix 0.3, released 2 weeks later (20021014), has few things changed. There is a "Go" menu, and the status bar lost a thin vertical line.

Phoenix 0.4, also released 2 weeks later. Except for the new "Home" button on by default, nothing has changed.

Phoenix 0.5, released 20021207. Changes in the statusbar: it is now deeper and sports diagonal "grippies" in the lower right-hand corner. The Toolbar folder also includes "Phoenix help" by David Tenser. The "About" box has a white background for the version information.

Mozilla Firebird 0.6, released 20030516, more than 6 months later. It has taken a lot of time to go from 0.5 to 0.6: new theme Qute, new name, still the same About box.

Mozilla Firebird 0.7, released 20031007. Lots of improvements to the theme. Firebird now has an icon (based on the red phoenix); a throbber is on by default; the default search engine is now Google; there is a style sheet picker in the lower left hand corner; the start page is now the one for Firefox (and not Mozilla). the About box has been styled with the red phoenix.

FirebirdFirefox 0.8, released 20040210. New visual identity! New logo used on the official builds, new name, but few theme upgrades. The About box is completely redone with the new visual identity.

Firefox 0.9, 20040614. Four months after 0.8, and a new name and a new default theme, Winstripe.
< sarcasm on > I guess the team has learnt how to change names and themes faster < sarcasm off >
This "witty" comment no longer applies...

Update: Of course, how could I forget Firefox 0.9.1... well, I did, and on purpose, even though many things have changed for the better, because I limited myself to full releases.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Batteries and backups

Note to self: remember to charge the batteries more often and to do backups of my Clié more regularly. It's the second time I've lost evertyhing and had to go back to a very old backup. If I miss an appointment, at least you'll know why...
Better yet but a bit more expensive: change the rescue battery in the Clié, if it exists (Clié T615, I'll have to look it up).

Friday, July 02, 2004

Mozilla most security conscious organization

Jesse Ruderman has a comment on Slashdot and on his blog where he compares the responses to a common security bug shared between Firefox/Mozilla, Opera and Internet Explorer.

In three days Firefox was patched and released, in 10 days Microsoft acknowledged the message and gave a workaround, and Opera hasn't written back yet. Way to go Mozilla!

Winmodems in Linux

Winmodems are not modems, and they don't work in Linux. This is a comment often seen on the web. But there is a way: I had an old-ish Toshiba laptop (Satellite 4090XDVD, full specs) with an internal modem I intended to use since it's the only modem I have at home. Of course, it's a Winmodem. But could it be made to work in Linux? I had tried 4 years ago and it didn't. So I started again, installed RedHat Linux 9 (because I had the burned CDs), and began digging. This is my tale of success...
Read more

I'll document this as I go along.

Scanning for the modem

First stop, the scanModem tool. This is a shell program that tries to detect what type of modem you have (the chipset) and produces a diagnosis. In my case I was lucky because the modem has a Lucent/Agere chipset, which has a driver.
Class 0780: 11c1:0441 Communication controller: Lucent Microelectronics 56k WinModem (rev 01)
SubSystem 1179:0001 Toshiba America Info Systems Internal V.90 Modem
The modem has a supported Lucent/Agere DSP (digital signal processing) chipset
with primary PCI_ID: 11c1:0441
A suitable Installer is at
in the section: redhat

So I only had to download a rpm file, and install it! how simpler could it get?

Making the connection

In the rpm file was included wvdial, a smart utility that with minimal configuration tries to guess the type of PPP connection to make. Compared to all the different scripts and possible configurations you can have in PPP/CHAT/PAP authentication, it sounded good and seemed to work: just by setting my ISP phone number and password, the modem made the right noises and the connection seemed to start... but each and every time the modem hung up
--> Carrier detected. Waiting for prompt.
~[7f]}#@!}!t} }8}"}&} } } } }#}$@#}%}&}#d'[12]}'}"}(}"k"~
--> PPP negotiation detected.
--> Starting pppd at Thu Jul 1 07:54:40 2004
--> pid of pppd: 2076
--> Disconnecting at Thu Jul 1 07:55:01 2004
--> The PPP daemon has died: A modem hung up the phone (exit code = 16)
(I'm not the only one to have seen this)
I never did manage to get wvdial to work. However I started looking at some sample configurations of PPP, and even found one used by my French ISP, and it worked ! If you use, take a look at this PPP configuration page, it really cut the cheese for me.

Next episode: getting IP masquerading to work. To be continued...

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Trackback and Blogger

Thanks to HaloScan I now seem to have trackback URLs in my posts. Off to testing...

Annoying Critical Update Available?

I installed Firefox 0.9.1 and since I've had a small yellow-on-red exclamation mark on the status bar, right hand corner. The tooltip reads "Critical Update(s) Available": Firefox 0.9.1. But I already have it! I guess it's a bug in the system. If you have this problem too, you can change one variable in your user.js or about:config:
user_pref("", false");
and restart Firefox. Voilà!

New version 0.3 of GMailCompose

If you use Gmail and Firefox, you can now left-click on mailto: links and get a GMail compose window to open ! Get GMailCompose now, thanks to the good work of Jedbro.