Null Morpheme

Firefox, Mozilla and Ideas…

Personas for Firefox 0.6 (review)

with 4 comments

This kind of extension has been on my list of add-ons for a long time. I do like themes, however I do not like the (sometimes) heavy load of images it carries into my browser. Themes are also a static change of of you browser, more or less as a skin does for other computer programs you might have.

Enter: new concept in browser customization. I really feel that we see here a new feature in a browser that is as revolutionary as the concept of add-ons. The customization is interactive via a web server, in the same way I like to have my bookmarks synchronized (with the help of Foxmarks), and in this case it changes the look of your Firefox browser. I on purpose say here look, because in my opinion this kind of functionality will be seen more and more in other add-ons and in future versions of Firefox. I is just that good (you could think about calender functions, IM, blogging and of course graphic RSS feeds).

“So you are jumping up and down for joy, what are you talking about”?

I am talking about Personas for Firefox created by Chris Beard, with help of some other prominent Mozilla people and Firefox fans.

Upon installation (after you allow downloads from this website) you can go to the <Tools> menu and look under add-ons to find an options menu, however you will not find any options for Personas there. Look at the bottom left corner of your browser:


(NB: please do not be alarmed by the strange setup of my browser, and yes that image you see if due to Personas)personas1.png

You see a picture here from another review of Personas in a more normal setting (click onimage to read the review at Mozilla Links)

So what are your option here? If you click on the Personas logo in the left corner a small pop-up window emerges were you can choose the Persona (think of it as a minimized Theme or Skin) that you want. You select the one you want and plop your browsers has a new look. This part of the add-ons works great and has lots of potential.


This add-on is still under development, but the 0.6 release is stable and works with many different add-ons. Add to that list BioFox, BioBar, Tabrowser Preferences, eBay companion (beta) for Firefox and Duplicate Tab.

Currently you can create your own Personas and email them to Chris Beard, later these Personas can be submitted to a website, and I am sure this now small-spin off project will attract an active community of Persona builders, advertisement gurus, Google web-application builders and people who like pretty colors ;o). In later releases Personas can be dynamic to reflect the time of day, to show you your appointments for the next hour, or just to surprise you with another random Persona of Firefox 3 times a day.

Now those applications give rise to a whole new browsers use and feel.

Good: the concept is excellent (cannot wait to see dynamic Personas happen), not intrusive and works as expected.

Bad: No previews of what is to come (what if you have to look through 1000 Personas), Dynamic Personas do not work yet, hard to find the add-on the first time (it is so non-intrusive).

Overall: I have seen the future baby! Thanks Chris for some fresh breath…


Written by Marco

16 May, 2007 at 10:32 am

Posted in extension, Firefox

Requests for reviews? Contact me!

with one comment

Wow, I am getting a lot of hits here. I just shows me that Firefox use is one the rise, and that add-ons are a major part of it.

So seeing the small amount of post I have here in combination with the amount of people here, I would still like to keep this blog going. To review official Mozilla[alpha/beta/gold] add-ons and the many others out there. I would like to limit my reviews to a few very “grown-up” add-ons that favors Firefox marketing as well. of course if an add-on has bugs or bad features in my opinion I will list them.

So I put out a call to you for requests. Which add-on would you like to see review here?

Just place a comment to this post or email me at marco [dot] casteleijn [at] gmail [dot] com.


Written by Marco

14 May, 2007 at 7:44 am

Posted in extension, Firefox

eBay companion for Firefox review

with 8 comments

As I was describing in my earlier post, I a testing (with many others) a new add-on for Firefox. I asked Mozilla if I could review this before the official release, and no problem. The current version is very stable, and most likely very close to the 1.0 version. Get your copy here.

I do have to mention that I review this add-on here as a buyer, and do not have any experience as an eBay seller, but here goes:

First off the installation, well it is relatively small approx. 470 bytes. Installation went easy and the add-on seems to be compatible with my other add-ons (Faster-fox, Nuke anything enhanced, Suomen Kielen oikoluku, Tabrowser preferences, Duplicate tab, BioBar and Biofox. I also have IE-tab installed and the companion works even when I use IE in a new tab, so no problems there!).

After installation we are presented with this screen:

Obviously are the relatively big eBay icon which makes the eBay sidebar appear and disappear, which also give the status of log-in. So I clicked connect, and was presented with the log-in screen in eBay. I entered my log-in details and was presented with the following safety notification: option-box.png
I have reviewed both options and to be honest, I do not much difference here. Still when I connected to eBay via the companion, I still need to connect again to use my eBay functions (in the eBay website) as shown here:


What does work differently is when I close the Firefox, this part of the functionality is working according to the choice made.

Further features: active, biding, watching, selling, and ended items are seen after choosing this via a pull-down menu. Notifications for these items can either glow up or are shown via pop-up window from the lower right side of Firefox. It is up to you. Furthermore, you can refresh your items in the lower left of the side-bar. An option to alter this refresh rate could be handy for some, I was however quite content with the default setting.

Finally, this add-ons come with many features as seen here:


One impressive feature was that every time I entered another website were I use the same passwords and log-in (because I have such a small memory gland ;o), I got a warning about this. This is also true for the Paypall password I am using. If it get annoying you can uncheck this option.

Good: side-bar features can be ‘put-away, safety issues are solid, nice notification system.
Bad: Re-login after connecting to eBay is annoying, eBay button can be smaller, refresh rate to watch items can not be set.

Overall: A very solid add-on, which from a buyer-point-of-view works nicely. eBay much? Give it a go!


Written by Marco

7 May, 2007 at 3:05 pm

Posted in extension, Firefox

Testing a new add-on…

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Add-ons are fun, they are adding some cool things to an ever cooler web browser: Firefox. I have been involved in the testing of the Joga companion (you know when the World Championships dominated the planet), poked around in the, behind the scenes at SFX worked on pre-packed add-on bundles (AccessFirefox; with super ideas and input from Ken ;o) is a direct output of that, and the add-on competition. You could say I like add-ons…

Needless to say, when testers were asked to test a new add-on for ebay, I was up for it. So it is cool. As soon as the Add-on is in a stable and (semi)-final state I will post a new review here.

Also, once again, writing reviews, and want to post there here (full or as a link), just leave a comment somewhere. It would be cool…


Written by Marco

2 May, 2007 at 11:59 am

Posted in extension, Firefox

The winners of the add-on review contest

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They say it is all over, well it is now!


The top 3 add-on reviewers and prize winners are:

  1. Mozilla Links for his review of Forum Additive.
  2. Vikas Sah for his review of Adblock Plus.
  3. Leandro Ardissone for his review of ScrapBook.

Please read all about it here on spreadfirefox

Or on the headquarters of this cool competition

Please do not think this is the end of add-on reviews. I get at least 10 hits a day here, mostly by internet searches. So Feed-back by you, the reader, would be cool. Which reviews do you want to see here?

Written by Marco

16 April, 2007 at 3:33 pm

Posted in extension, Firefox

Add-on competition is over!

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Now just waits the big task of reviewing the 150+ reviews. You can find the full list here.

Please readers, let this not be the end of reviewing add-ons. Clearly I get a lot of people landing here looking for reviews. So if you have a good review, please post a reply somewhere, and post a review. You can also post a link of your review. I will include it in my other review page.

For those who entered: Thank you very much and we hope that you will continue spreading the word!

Written by Marco

10 April, 2007 at 10:47 am

Posted in extension, Ramblings

Down them All review

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Yesterday I wanted to give a small show at work some pictures of Holland where I used to live. I wanted to present a slide show, but the site I have them on which normally works pretty good was reacting a bit slow. Maybe it was the calculations that I was running.

Then I remembered “Down-them-all” from these guys.

After installation I just right clicked in the page somewhere and was presented with a sub menu. I selected that I wanted to download the pictures and no links. I was surprised at the speed of downloading. The download manger was never that fast.

The downloads were tracked in a separate window. Nice feature. After Windows showed the slide show without hick-ups. Here an example with only links.

It was harder to find a site were I could find some videos to download. So you cannot download videos from Revver, Google video, and YouTube, to name a few, but if there are in bedded videos than no problem.


Another nice feature is the elaborate preference menu.

Good: delivers what you need, a fast down loader for content in a page

Bad: does not find pictures behind the links as some other download extension do.

Written by Marco

26 March, 2007 at 9:26 pm

Posted in extension, Firefox