I’ve now decided that if someone asks me to fix virus/spyware problems then I’ll remove any kazaa type programs before I even start (which may sound obvious!) and also change their default browser to firefox. I’ll probably also start installing Mozilla Thunderbird (and disabling outlook express) as an email client, although I need to dogfood that myself so I can support it better. If the person doesn’t agree to these three changes then I just walk away from the pc. Not only will this hopefully save me time in disinfecting the machine *now* but it will hopefully reduce the number of
problems infections that occur in the future.
The more section contains a list and link of most recent extensions to install which I really need to write up as a static page to link off the main page on this site.
Next post should be some quick “getting started instructions”
However in order to the above I really need a good getting started guide to firefox. After all, a newbie faced with firefox on the desktop is not going to know about all the useful tricks like tabbed browsing, rss feeds, extensions etc etc. To get “seamless” transformation the flash/shockwave plugins need to be installed and then some form of tuition/documention needs to be provided to the end user. I saw that there is a Firefox help page for users who have switched from ie (or are thinking of switching) but to be honest it doesn’t really help that much. It tells you that you need to install some of the 120 extensions (which is enough to scare the granny down the road from installing firefox) or that you can buy a guidebook. The problem with that is that the user needs information now (not wait for a book to be sent to them) AND they are not going to want to spend $14 on a book on how to use a browser.
Anyway, to ease the migration I now have a copy of firefox 1.0.1 on my usb key with a local copy of the following extensions/plugins that I can quickly install. What I also need to do is find a way of configuring the extensions to be my suggested manner (ie double clicking a tab closes it) so I don’t have to remember what to do on each machine that I reconfigure.
First installation is the Mr Tech Local Install which gives me the ability to install easily from a local disk as opposed to the net. This avoids the drawback of needing net access and also means you can install extensions that you know work but the extension pages don’t think they will do because a new version of the browser has just been released.
After this has installed I just start installing the extensions in alphabetical order (as this is the default view that Local Install shows you).
Adblock to give the user the ability to remove/hide adverts from a web page.
AutoCopy to automatically copy selected text to the clipboard. I’d probably leave this disabled by default for the end user but they’d then have the ability to turn it on if they’d like it. This extension is very useful but can sometimes overwrite the clipboard when I don’t really want it to!
AutoForm, again installed but not activated which gives users the ability to automatically fill in forms. I’ve installed it on the home pc but not had a chance to really use it myself.
Automarks to import bookmarks into the autocomplete functionality of the address browser. Once installed, choose copy bookmarks to autocomplete from the bookmarks menu.
Colorzilla which is good for webdesigners as it gives you the ability to pick colours from a web page. As it sits unobtrusively in the bottom left corner of the browser, installing it would not adversely affect the user.
Flashblock to automatically remove any flash animations on a web page and replace with a nice f to let the user know they can click on it to see the animation if they really want to.
GoogleCache to get an old copy of a website from googles cache if the website is unavailable.
Gmail notifier to notify when new gmail is available. Installed by default so its ready for when a gmail account is setup by the user.
ieview for those inevitable pages which just don’t work in firefox so the user can right click and open the page in Internet explorer.
Linky to open multiple links in multiple tabs/windows.
Print it to get a print preview window before printing off a lot more pages than expected!
SessionSaver to save the tabs when the browser crashes as it ALWAYS has at least ten tabs open when it happens.
Stop or Reload to merge the stop and refresh pages together. Not an essential addon but saves a bit more space in the toolbar and after all noone ever needs both at the same time.
Tab clicking options to allow the user to double click,middle click or ctrl click on a tab to close it. This provides me with close functionality depending on whether i’m using a normal mouse, a 3 wheel mouse or a trackpad.
Undo close tab for those occasions when you click by accident!
Wayback Machine to lookup a site from the archives. Great for finding sites that have disappeared off the face of the current internet.
Web developer extensions – essential for web developers.
xMirror for an alternative list of extensions
The plugins that also need to be installed are Flash and Shockwave.
I think that all of these give the user an almost identical browser experience with none of the security risks associated with ie.