Sunday, March 05, 2006

Suggested Tab Settings for Firefox + Google Toolbar

There are good reasons why Mozilla Firefox has become such a popular alternative to Microsoft's Internet Explorer. We switched recently from Internet Explorer to Firefox because of the ability to make the following tab settings, which, as far as we know, can not be made in IE.

As we have discovered, certain tab settings under Mozilla Firefox work efficiently with the Google Toolbar for Firefox for multiple pages opened in that browser. Multiple opened website pages are standard fare for us, so that the settings below are tried and true for efficient surfing, at least for us. Other users will have to make their own experiences with them - we make no guarantees or warranties.

One main advantage of the settings below - for us - is that one can be working on a piece of written work, making an e-mail posting and/or filling out a form but still do separate Google searches while busy on that letter, posting or form without losing any work by opening another website page or window (as has happened to us under IE).

Using the settings below, the search will automatically open a new tab and a new window without disturbing what the user is otherwise doing online. One can always go back to any work page online simply by clicking the appropriate tab.

The Google Toolbar for Firefox Tab Setting

First, under options in the menu of the Google Toolbar for Firefox:
check the option under "search"
- "Open search results in a new tab"
and under that
check the box
- "Automatically switch to new search results tab".
That's all you need for Google.

Mozilla Firefox Tab Settings

Second, go to your Mozilla Firefox Tab Settings. The tab settings in Mozilla Firefox are found under "Tools" in the menu bar. The tab settings that we have found to work for us in Firefox are:

Open links from other applications in: (choose the option) - "a new window"

Then place a check in the box: "Force links that open new windows to open in":
and (choose the option) - "a new tab"

Then chose the option - "select new tabs opened from links"
and also choose - "warn when closing multiple tabs"

That latter setting is important so that you do not inadvertently close several or all tabs at once, thus losing your work, even though you only wish to close some particular tab or tabs. You will be warned before you can close multiple tabs.

In our experience, those tab settings allow one to work very efficiently with many open website pages in Mozilla Firefox, while at the same time doing searches using the Google Toolbar.

Try that combination of the Google Toolbar and Mozilla Firefox for a day of serious searching and then go back to using Internet Explorer and the Google Toolbar and we predict you will want to go back to Firefox immediately.

Two additional options that one should know about in this regard for Firefox are:
1) Tabs can be moved around by drag and drop as of Firefox 1.5
2) By pressing the shift button and then clicking the desired URL link in the search engine results (this can be Google or Yahoo or some other engine), a new window will open in Firefox showing the clicked URL.

There are also many "extensions" for tabbed browsing which can be added. Firefox extensions are:
"small add-ons that add new functionality to Firefox. They can add anything from a toolbar button to a completely new feature. They allow the application to be customized to fit the personal needs of each user if they need additional features, while keeping Firefox small to download".

Numerous extensions for Firefox are currently offered in the following categories, although many of them raise quality concerns, so you have to pick and choose carefully:

  • Blogging
  • Bookmarks
  • Bookmarks
  • Developer Tools
  • Download Tools
  • Editing and Forms
  • Entertainment
  • Humor
  • Image Browsing
  • Kiosk Browsing
  • Languages
  • Miscellaneous
  • Navigation
  • News Reading
  • Privacy and Security
  • Search Tools
  • Tabbed Browsing
  • Web Annoyances
  • Website Integration
  • XUL Applications
See e.g. David Needle's Feb. 9, 2006 article "A Word-Wise Firefox Extension: Hyperwords Company Launches Free Firefox Add-on" - download Hyperwords. [Our comment to the developers: This is a fine potential application but all options should appear AT ONCE and should not require senseless time-wasting clicking of drop-down boxes of various levels. Basically, this is not much different than right-clicking an object to open another menu. Anything beyond ONE LEVEL more than the opening menu is too much and will not be used. Google Buttons etc. are winning this battle because ONE BUTTON = ONE IMMEDIATE FUNCTION and that's what many users want.]

Some good reviews of the Firefox extensions available are found at:

Quick Online Tips
Tom Kyte Blog
Roger Johansson
Opera equivalents to Firefox extensions

Harvard Stanford and a Man named Summers

Just a couple of months ago we were in Stratford upon Avon, location of Harvard House, home (actually, home of his mother) of John Harvard, the founder (actually, first benefactor) of what is now Harvard University.

We see that Lawrence H. Summers has just resigned as President of Harvard, in part because he was opposed by organizations such as NOW (National Organization for Women) who claimed that Summers "failed to lead the prominent (and previously all-male) university toward true inclusion of women."

Take a look at the Harvard webpage (last visited March 4, 2006) of Elena Kagan, Dean of the Harvard Law School, appointed during Summers' tenure, and look at her staff. How many men do you count?

NOW did not look at the law school, did they?

Here are some disparate voices on this topic:

NYT - Matthew Pearl - How the Liberal Arts Got That Way
Sara Miller Llana - Christian Science Monitor - Faculty clout helps oust Summers
NYT - At Harvard, Resignation Puts Big Plans on Pause (registration required, or see here)
NYT - Patrick D. Healy - Case Study: A Shake-Up at Harvard
Rush Limbaugh on Harvard's Summers resignation
NOW Calls for Resignation of Harvard University's President
Andrew Peyton Thomas and The People v. Harvard Law
Lawyers, Guns and Money - The Boys of Summers
Charles Babington - Washington Post - Sen. Kennedy Cuts Ties to Male-Only Harvard Club

But what is our own subjective take on this subject? - and we do emphasize the word subjective. As a Stanford Law School graduate, we point to a highly informative and instructive website page from "The Farm", as Stanford is fondly called by faculty, students and alumni:

"Our History

The Founding Grant

The Stanfords ... before proceeding to Palo Alto, visited Cornell, Yale, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They talked with President Eliot of Harvard about three ideas: a university at Palo Alto, a large institution in San Francisco combining a lecture hall and a museum, and a technical school. Asked which of these seemed most desirable, Eliot answered, a university. Mrs. Stanford inquired how much the endowment should be, in addition to land and buildings, and he replied, not less than $5 million. A silence followed. Finally, Mr. Stanford said with a smile, "Well, Jane, we could manage that, couldn't we?" and a grave Mrs. Stanford nodded her assent.

They settled on creating a great university, one that, from the outset, was untraditional: co-educational, in a time when most were all-male; non-denominational, when most were associated with a religious organization; avowedly practical, producing "cultured and useful citizens" when most were concerned only with the former.

Although they consulted with several of the presidents of leading institutions, the founders were not content to model their university after eastern schools. "Of all the young men who come to me with letters of introduction from friends in the East, the most helpless are college young men," Stanford said. As the Stanfords' thoughts matured, their ideas of "practical education" enlarged until they arrived at the concept of producing cultured and useful citizens who were especially prepared for personal success in their chosen professions.

In a statement of the case for a liberal education, Stanford wrote,

"I attach great importance to general literature for the enlargement of the mind and for giving business capacity. I think I have noticed that technically educated boys do not make the most successful businessmen. The imagination needs to be cultivated and developed to assure success in life. A man will never construct anything he cannot conceive."

... The Founding Grant stands today as the university's "constitution." It stipulates that the objectives of the university are: "to qualify students for personal success and direct usefulness in life; and to promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization, teaching the blessings of liberty regulated by law, and inculcating love and reverence for the great principles of government as derived from the inalienable rights of man to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
."

Perhaps in great part as a result of this philosophy, Stanford, thanks to advice from a former Harvard University President, is now the home of Google, Yahoo, Silicon Valley and the Digital Revolution. We have posted a bit about other Stanford-related things as well, such as the fact that Stanford has won the Directors' Cup for the best NCAA athletic program (determined by the standings of its teams in all sports) the last eleven consecutive years. Only in the first year of the award was Stanford surpassed by the University of North Carolina. Stanford has won the award every year since then. See also Stanford Law Grads and Information Technology, Munger Gift, Stanford and iTunes, Stanford, the Supreme Court and the Emerging Conservative Ivy League.

Who holds the keys to the future? Stanford is new and Harvard is old.
Perhaps both universities have something to learn from each other.

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