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I recently installed Twirl, an Adobe Air application that helps to keep you up to date with Twitter on my Windows Vista computer. The application is great, however, there was one thing that annoyed me - whenever I clicked on a link, it would always open in Internext Explorer - even though Mozilla Firefox is my default browser.

After googling around for a while, I managed to find the below solution on twhirl’s blog which seemed to do the trick for me:

Go to Start > Default Programs > Set Program Access and Computer Defaults
Expand Custom, select the radio button next to the application you want to set as the system-wide default browser (there will be a few options - such as IE, Safari, Mozilla) and apply the setting.

Hopefully all your links should now open in Firefox and not in IE.

I have recently become a fan of the brilliant Firefox Extension, Greasemonkey. The extension can be downloaded from and allows you to run user-built javscript scripts within Firefox to increase automation or make the browsing experience more enjoyable. The scripts are able to modify the original code of a webpage to insert extra functionalities. For example, you can integrate ‘Google Reader’ news items into your Gmail Inbox UI or make the blue facebook interface green! The possibilites are endless.

The scripts

I run a couple of scripts in my browser. The first one, Facebook Autologin, is for pure laziness. Those familiar with facebook know that as soon as you close your browser, you will have to log back in again next time you visit the site. The autologin script saves you this pain so you can just sit back and watch as you get logged in by the browser!

The other script I run is by far the greatest extension to Firefox yet created! It is called ‘Greased Lightbox‘ and seriously enhances image viewing experiences on the Web. Wherever thumbnails of images are displayed on the web (Google Image Search, Flickr, Facebook etc), Greased Lightbox automatically latches onto the link to the full blown version of the images. When you click on the thumbnails, instead of opening the new html page with the full image embedded (normally quite slow), the script uses the beautiful Lightbox 2 javascript library to create a dynamic effect where the original web page with the thumbnails fades out and the enlarged version of the image is overlayed on top (see screenshots!).

The result

On services such as Facebook or Flickr, this can save a lot of time and allows really quick and easy previewing of thumbnails. On Google Image Search, things go a step further. Instead of having to first visit the desired image in its real context and then clicking through to see the image in full size, Greased Lightbox skips out this stage. You are now able to view the full size image on the Google Image Search results page just by clicking the thumbnail you want.

For the Apple munchers

If you are a Mac User and prefer Safari to Firefox then don’t despair, there is a similar Extension to Greasemonkey called ‘Cream Monkey‘ which supports the script.

Check out the screenshots below to get a better idea of what this is about.

Click on a photo to enlarge it. Use the arrow keys to browse through the photos.
thumbnails on flickr
Google Images
Car on flickr
facebook photos

Over the last week or so, I became aware that when I clicked on text on a webpage in Firefox (version, I was left with a blinking cursor flashing at that point - as if I was in a word processor. This isn’t such a problem but I became increasingly aware of it and it started to become an annoyance - especially on Ajax pages where it makes things look faulty. If the text size is large then you can get massive cursors flashing at you! See the screenshot below:


I searched around and eventually found this website which proposes a solution. It turns out that this blinking cursor is actually a feature of firefox, called caret browsing and that it can be toggled on and off using the F7 key. Interestingly, Firefox prompts you when you want to turn Caret browsing on… yet I cannot remember ever seeing this prompt box before - which leaves me intrigued as to how it turned on in the first place on my computer.


Caret browsing can be a useful feature if you wish to select and manipulate text all via the keyboard - but for general web browsing it is best turned off. For a start, it makes scrolling a webpage using the keyboard arrows very very twitchy! Glad I’ve got to the bottom of this one anyway. Thanks to Rishi ‘Beyond-Teck’.

Free Mountain Bike Wallpaper

March 20th, 2007

If you are looking to spice up your desktop and are a bit of a mountain bike fanatic then read on…
Mountain Bike Cumbria is giving away some top quality Mountain Bike wallpaper for your desktop… for free!

As well as some MBC themed wallpaper (that juicy green colour), there are also some great high resolution action shots taken by James himself.

The wallpaper is available for download in several sizes: 800×600, 1024×768 and 1280×1024

View the Wallpaper

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