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14 Firefox Hacks You Should Master

14 Firefox Hacks You Should Master

Firefox is one of the top three browsers and if you’re one of the many who has chosen to use Firefox then it’s vital that you get the best out of it by starting to surf like a hacker.

There are plenty of straightforward Firefox hacks that you can quickly put into place and here are 14 of the best. If you don’t read them, you’ll never know how straightforward they really are.

1. Use simple keyboard shortcuts for common actions only

You can go faster without changing a setting by learning a few frequently used keyboard shortcuts. But don’t try and remember them all- just use the most common (remember the Pareto Principle!). Through remembering simple shortcuts, you can dramatically reduce the time you take to execute frequent commands by keeping your fingers on the keyboard.

  • Spacebar – Page down
  • ctrl + F – Find
  • ctrl + T – New tab
  • F5 – Refresh
  • F11- Full screen

You can review the full list on the Mozilla support site.

2. Switch to reader mode

reader

    As well as using F11 to get a full screen view – handy if you’re using a small laptop – you can use reader mode.

    To get really focused, enter the reader mode with a simple click to the book symbol in the address bar, when the option is available. I find this really useful for reading longer articles. Click on it again to return to normal mode. Unfortunately, there’s no keyboard shortcut yet.

    3. Understand cache

    The most simple way to make visiting websites quicker is through good use of cache. If you visit a lot of sites that allow browser caching frequently (the good ones do, and it can be set up on the most simple WordPress site), then the content that never changes (header images for example) won’t need to be downloaded again.

    Cache settings are found under the advanced section of ‘Preferences’. But rather than go through menus, using the mouse, just type about:preferences#advanced into the address bar to get there more directly.

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    cache

      Firefox will set an automatic amount of cache which you can override depending on the disk space you have and the performance of the disk. Slow old disks might mean its best to keep it small (<250Mb). But faster disks will be fine with the automatic setting.

      You can also clear the cache (using the ‘clear now’ button) from from this page. This is worth doing occasionally as failing to clear the cache can lead to some sites not loading correctly.

      4. Find Add-ons

      Firefox has an amazing and unrivalled ability to be personalised through add-ons. Use Cntrl-Shift-A, the address about:addons, or the far right menu button to get there.

      add-ons

        There are two main types of add-ons:

        • Themes – these change the presentation of the browser.
        • Functions – these range from adding a button to clear your cache to automatically removing a site’s cookies when you leave it.

        It’s worth a browse; you can liven up the look and feel of the browser, as well as completing a common task like clearing the cache. Using this as an example, I typed cache button into the search and selected the add-on I preferred:

        cache-button

          Once installed, Firefox needed to be restarted. After this, the new button was on the toolbar:

          cache-button2

            5. Switch between search engines

            You can chose the search engine used in the search box by clicking drop down on the magnifying glass in the search box. One interesting option for those who dislike the idea of the likes of Google collecting your search data is to use Ixquick (via an add-on).

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            Access ‘Preferences’ to select your default search engine (address bar), as well as the ones that appear in the drop down menu:

            search

              6. Enter the dragons’ den

              Now lets get really technical and start to play with the dragons! The following hacks change the settings via about:config. As Firefox says: be careful. My tip is to always leave the check box ticked as this will act as a reminder each time you go there.

              about

                7. Spell check all text boxes

                This first about:config Firefox hack is very simple and a good one to start with. Remember to only change one thing at a time, as that way if anything goes wrong you’ll know what caused it.

                So, after typing about.config hit ‘enter’ and then type “spell” in the search box.

                spell

                  Double click the line layout.spellcheckDefault and enter 2 in the pop-up box.

                  spell2

                    This means that spell checking will work on all text boxes not just those with multiple lines.

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                    8. Get search results in a new tab

                    If you don’t want to have to create a new tab before searching for something new then change the browser.search.openintab setting to automatically create one from search results. Just double-click on the line to toggle the boolean value from false to true.

                    searchtab

                      9. Go quick with pipelining

                      Pipeling allows Firefox to send multiple requests to servers for data all at once, rather than the default setting of one at a time. It relies on the sites supporting this, so it’s one to experiment with and return to the default values if it doesn’t make any improvements. Personally, I’ve found it makes a real difference to some big media sites and my own WordPress blogs.

                      The definitive and up-to-date settings to try are as follows (just double click a line to change the false/true values).

                      pipe

                        10. Use the new cache back end

                        This quick Firefox hack smooths out some browser issues by providing a quicker and more reliable experience. The setting is browser.cahce.use_new_backend and should be set to 1.

                        11. Clear memory

                        Firefox can provide lots of detailed reports about memory usage and is very clever in how it uses memory- Firefox isn’t the memory devouring beast of myth. One trick within this is to immediately get back memory that has been freed up, from closing tabs, for example.

                        memory

                          To do this, type in the address about:memory and in the free memory box click on ‘minimize memory usage’. This does a memory clean up and will give an instant boost to your browsing.

                          12. Diagnose with Safe Mode

                          If Firefox isn’t working – you’ve added something and it’s ground to a halt – one thing you can use is safe mode. Safe mode starts with a number of items switched off, in particular add-ons. So, this will pinpoint add-ons, if this is the area that’s problematic. If it is, then switch off ad-ons one by one to find the culprit.

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                          You can get into safe mode either by starting Firefox with the shift key held down or via the three bar menu. Click on the help question mark and select the Restart with add-ons disabled.

                          The hack within this Firefox hack is that there’s a better way; that’s the button found on the troubleshooting information page (below) accessed by typing about:support in the address bar.

                          14. If all else fails refresh Firefox

                          In about:support there’s also a button called ‘Refresh Firefox’. This is a bit of a last resort as it will disable add-ons and return all your settings back to default. This is fine if you know what you’ve changed and want to clean things up and reapply changes carefully one by one, (as you should). Add-ons installed are listed further down in troubleshooting information.

                          troubleshoot

                            14. Back-up and restore your settings

                            The best strategy for getting back to a good state in Firefox – that is before you messed it up! – is to back-up your profile folder. The simplest way to do this is to click on the show folder button on the above troubleshooting information page. Once the folder is open, close Firefox.

                            Next navigate up to the folder level above, and copy the whole folder to a safe location, e.g. a USB drive. The folder will have a complicated name with default in the middle, within a folder called profiles.

                            If you need to restore this backup, simple copy the entire folder back, overwriting the corrupted folder.

                            I hope these Firefox hacks will enhance your browsing experience, making it quicker, more reliable, and more fun.

                            Featured photo credit: Lego Firefox/Johnathan Nightingale via flickr.com

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                            Published on November 9, 2018

                            How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

                            How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

                            Technology has taken the business world by storm. People and businesses are progressively reliant on technology world these days. As a result, the people with impressive knowledge and experience with a computer are in demand.

                            Considering this growing market trend, if you too wish to bag a profitable job, this article is apt for you. Here, we will dig deeper into the business and technology world to look into what are the best computer skills one should invest in and what resources to get help from.

                            So, are you ready? Here we begin.

                            6 Most-In Demand Computer Skills This Year (and Beyond)

                            When talking about computer skills, following are the 6 computer skills that can fill your mailbox with endless job opportunities (besides, having an English and Hindi typing speed of 40+ WPM):-

                            1. Spreadsheets and Databases

                            Considering the treasure trove of data companies are handling these days, Spreadsheet and Database management skill tops the list. It is considered the most wanted job skill in the market, with a salary of around $53,129/yr for an entry-level position. However, the spreadsheet skill does not confine to auditing data from cells.

                            To get hired based on this computer skill, you need to become a Spreadsheet ninja. From storing data to organizing them, applying complex mathematics formulas, and creating complex macros, you need to be an expert at all.

                            In other words, you need to have an expertise at working with:

                            • Microsoft Excel
                            • Microsoft Access
                            • Statistics
                            • Data Analytics
                            • Adobe Campaign
                            • Quickbooks
                            • XML Database management system
                            • Filemaker Pro
                            • MATLAB
                            • Hive
                            • FORTRAN
                            • RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
                            • SAS

                            2. Social Media, Email, and Blogging

                            Though people are socially active, not everyone knows how to use the social media tools on the professional front. In such a scenario, having an expertise at writing engaging yet professional emails, writing blogs, and managing social media activities is a ticket to entry in reputed organizations.

                            Some of the skills related to social media, email and blogging that will have a leg up in the hiring process are:

                            • Content Management System (CMS)
                            • Google Analytics
                            • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
                            • Email Marketing
                            • Web Page Design
                            • WordPress
                            • Digital Media
                            • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
                            • Campaign Management Software

                            3. Graphic Design and Word Processing

                            A solid grasp of skills to present the gained information in the much readable form is another market need. When considering this computer skill category, you need to enhance your skills at:

                            • Adobe Photoshop
                            • Adobe InDesign
                            • Adobe Illustrator
                            • AutoCAD
                            • CorelDRAW
                            • Microsoft Visual Studio
                            • Maya
                            • Microsoft Word
                            • Microsoft Publisher
                            • Operating Digital Cameras

                            4. Software and Hardware Design and Development

                            The Software and Hardware development, in simpler language, means designing, implementing, and testing the computer software/hardware applications. It is the most profitable computer skill, with a different job opening, including Software Architect, Software Analyst, Software programmer, Hardware configuration, etc.

                            To be capable of developing and testing the software and hardware, you need to peruse your users’ needs and build an application that hits their pain points. You need to work with different web and mobile app coding languages for gaining the attention of your audience, some of which are:

                            • HTML
                            • C/C++
                            • Java
                            • Python
                            • XML
                            • UI/UX
                            • LINUX
                            • CISC and RISC architecture
                            • Embedded Processor Hardware Design
                            • Memory Management
                            • PCB Layout
                            • SQL

                            5. IT Troubleshooting

                            Working on computers is one thing and having a knack of looking into the associated issues and resolving them in real-time is another. There are various employees and graduates who work with computer systems in their daily lives, but get confused when it comes to dealing with frozen programs and performing routine maintenance.

                            So, if you are familiar with the basic anatomy of computers and machines and know the tricks to perform such tasks to streamline the working process, enter the IT support arena. The prime IT troubleshooting skills one needs to work upon are:

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                            • Backup management
                            • Diagnostics
                            • End User support
                            • Client-Server management
                            • Installation and configuration
                            • Issue tracking system (ITS)
                            • System administration
                            • Tech support

                            6. Enterprise Systems

                            Many Enterprises have their own enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft for managing their data and operations.

                            Becoming a master at using the enterprise solutions mentioned in their ‘Requirements’ area can also lessen the barrier to get a job.

                            The Roadmap to Excel Your Computer Skills

                            Now that you know the 6 most popular computer skills in the market, the first decision, you need to take is which computer skill you want to work upon. All the skills are equally considerable for making a career ahead. So, choose one as per your interest.

                            Once done, look forward to the following resources for boosting your computer skills and getting a reputed, handsome job.

                            Depending on the computer skill you opt, here are the online courses you can turn to for elevating your career opportunities:

                            1. Become a Spreadsheet and Database Ninja

                            a. Microsoft Excel Training Online Course – Basic & Advanced

                            Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at working with spreadsheets, this online course has something new for everyone to become excel efficient users.

                            Divided into 48 interesting lessons, the course empowers you to learn the technique of using mathematical, statistical, logical and text functions, sorting and filtering the data, creating Pivot Tables, building macros, finding a value with VLOOKUp, and much more.

                            b. Excel- Online Courses, Classes, Training, Tutorials on Lynda

                            This is another impressive course to unlock the power of Excel. Designed for people from all walks of life and familiarity with Excel tools. This course helps you gain in-depth knowledge from the experts about this data-analyzing tool and make the magic in spreadsheet creation and management process.

                            c. SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

                            Build a successful career in the data analytics world with this online course.

                            Revolving around the two top databases, MS SQL and PostgreSQL, this course will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the working of the databases and understanding of all the related elements, including how to create, update, organize, and safeguard the data.

                            2. Rule the Social Media World

                            a. Free Social Media Course by HubSpot

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                            Introduced by the top experienced inbound professors from Hubspot, here you will get a comprehensive knowledge of Social media marketing.

                            From understanding how to build relationships on different social media platforms to creating a perfect strategy to engage them, leveraging the benefits of social advertising, and analyzing your social media ROI, this course will bring out the best out of you.

                            b. Write Professional Emails in English by Coursera

                            This online course will be the right weapon to look into the differences and similarities between different email styles, improve your English writing skills, write effective subject lines, maintain the formality tone in emails, and more to make a powerful impact on the receivers with your email.

                            c. Ninja Writing: The Four Levels of Writing Mastery

                            Founded by Udemy, this online course will excel your skills to build a masterpiece everytime you write.

                            Here, you will get the guidance from the editors of the top newspapers and websites, and understand what kind of words and tone to use for leaving a spellbinding impact on the readers.

                            3. Launch Your Own Software or Hardware Equipment

                            a. Hardware and Software Courses by Coursera

                            From Big Data to IoT, Sensor Circuit Design, Embedded Software and Hardware Architecture, and Motor Control Circuit, this course will give you a glimpse of all the hardware devices, equipment, and programming languages to build wonders.

                            b. Free Software and Web Development Certifications Online by Alison

                            Become the software developer market demands with Alison’s Java, C#, Python, R, PHP, or MySQL database course. From backend to frontend development and software testing.

                            The course helps you to learn how to design, develop and test software and working in a team while contributing to the team success.

                            c. Free Online Software Development and MOOCs Course by Class Central

                            The Class Central online course will make you a master of software development. Here, you will learn the basic concepts of development like Agile, Design Patterns, and Version Control with Git, along with gaining experience of working with the top programming languages.

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                            4. Live and Breathe Creativity

                            a. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design

                            It is a top-rated program for the new learners and designers to explore the Graphic Design world.

                            From the history of communication to the design principles, the course will help the students to learn everything specifically and implement in the real world.

                            b. Canva Design School

                            From a beginner to advanced level, this course will provide you with an elaborated and comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. In the form of 4 modules, this course will help the interested graphic designers to try out their skills at Graphics, ranging from fonts to colors, backgrounds, images, shapes, and layouts.

                            c. Microsoft Word – Basic & Advanced

                            62 personalized lessons, premium video tutorials, and unlimited tests and quizzes – this certified course has everything that will make your entry to the business world easier.

                            d. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Access Productivity Bundle

                            The course will make you productive in Word, Excel, and Access through video lectures, articles, and various other supplemental resources.

                            Besides, it will offer you exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your skills at using Microsoft office.

                            5. Raise Your Reflexes to IT Troubleshooting

                            a. IT Troubleshooting Skill Training by Udemy

                            IT Troubleshooting Skill Training will upgrade your logical concepts over technical components to find and repair faults.

                            It will provide you with a methodological approach to learn the basics of troubleshooting, practice them via exercises and drills, and enhance your IT troubleshooting intelligence.

                            b. IT Help Desk Online Course on Lynda

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                            The Lynda’s IT troubleshooting online course will train you how to respond to the issues related to Windows 10, Office 365, JIRA software, and more, from a local as well as a remote location.

                            Mobile Apps and Websites to Enhance Computer Skills

                            The aforementioned online courses will undoubtedly train you for a successful career ahead. But, in case you want a long-term support, turn towards the following websites and mobile apps:

                            • Duolingo – Duolingo app will improve your spoken and written communication skills in different languages. With the magic of gamification added to the study, the app will make learning a fun and addictive task.
                            • Hemingway – Hemingway app defines the length, complexity, and common errors associated with the sentences. In this way, it helps you to write effectively and go ahead in the career.
                            • Udemy – The Udemy, with its 2000+ courses, is a great platform to master new skills, advance your career and explore the newer technologies and programming languages. Enrol a course as per your budget and make a brighter future.
                            • eDX – eDX is yet another commendable platform you can look forward to. The platform offers you the best of the tutorials prepared by the business professionals and technology experts, ensuring a great boost in your computer skills.
                            • Excel Easy – Excel Easy, as the name depicts, will make working with Excel easier for you via their detailed tutorials and 300+ real-life examples.
                            • GCF LearnFree.org – It is a one-stop platform for accelerating your future in the computer world. From graphic design to Microsoft Office, resume writing, enhancing adaptability, and much more, the top experts will guide you with everything on this platform.
                            • QuarkXPress – The QuarkXPress will aid you to add soul to your design with its unparalleled collection of font style, size, and typography. The best part is that it is avails all the options in different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian to name a few.

                            Bonus: Tips to Accelerate Your Approach For a Better Career Ahead

                            Though these resources will make you stand out from the crowd and get hired at once, you need to focus on various other things, such as:

                            1. Practice, Practice, Practice

                            It is common to forget what we learn. To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity just because you forgot, keep practising.

                            Make it your routine. Polish your computer skills and you will surely end up getting an offer letter from a recognized firm.

                            2. Work on Your Efficiency

                            Remembering what you learned is not enough; practice to enhance those skills to do better.

                            For example, if you take around 50 minutes to create a design, target for 40 minutes.

                            3. Look for Shortcuts

                            Smart work rules over hard work more often. So, look forward to learning shortcuts to do any task. This will increase your chances to crack an interview and get selected.

                            4. Apply for an Internship

                            Last but not the least, apply for an internship to see what’s trending in the market and how much you are ready for it. While doing an internship, pay attention to your weak points and work on them. This will ensure a success when you apply for your dream job.

                            By the late, it’s never too late to be an intern or grab whatever opportunity to learn something new! Here’s how:

                            How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                            The Bottom Line

                            Seeing the current market scenario, it is evident that having computer skills is a boon for a better career ahead.

                            So, rather than struggling with thousands of other things and trying to crack interviews, focus on the computer skills mentioned in this article. Utilize the resources and experts’ tips shared and look forward to having a successful and prosperous future.

                            Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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