Vimperator – a firefox add-on


For my daily text editing and programming work, I’m using vim. Great editor suitable for almost every purpose.

There is a Firefox add-on out now for changing the browser interface to behave like a vim interface. It advertises itself that you can even throw away your mouse. First I was curious if that’s gonna even work, but it does and I’m very happy with it. Although, I’m still using my mouse for browsing. It saves time not touching the mouse in a few cases, though. A few key features I use every day:

Following links

You press the ‘f‘ key and vimperator hints all links on the current webpage. No you press either the first letters of the link label or a number associated with the link.

Navigating on a website

You can just use the normal arrow keys for browsing, but there is more. As usual you can use ‘j‘ and ‘k‘ for scrolling up and down, as well as ‘space bar‘ for jumping a page down, or ‘gg‘ for jumping to the top, or ‘GG‘ for jumping to the bottom.

Text editing

Remember editing text areas without using your favourite editor? The times are over: Press CTRL+i in insert mode (you’re automatically in insert mode when inserting text on an input field or text area) and vimperator fires up a vim. Very handy for editing large amounts of text in textareas.

Opening URLs

Just press ‘o‘ to open a new url, or ‘O‘ to use the current URL. You can easily open the url in a tab by using ‘t‘ or ‘T‘ instead. You can use yank and paste as well. Just pressing ‘y‘ on an opened web site, yanks the URL. If you’re already a URL in the buffer, press ‘p‘ and the browser opens the link (like the middle mouse click). Very handy.

You can also use tab for completing commands or URLs. For example you want to open the website you opened yesterday, but you only remember a few letters, You type: ‘o‘, enter ‘foo‘ and press tab. Vimperator shows a list of URLs matching your string. You can now tab and enter to the match and open the URL.

Navigating between tabs … err… buffers 😉

Jumping between tabs is like jumping between buffers in vim. Use CTRL+n or CTRL+n for jumping to the next and previous tabs. It’s similar to jumping in the history of visited pages: use CTRL+i or CTRL+o for back or forward in the history.

That are the commands are use almost everyday for browsing. There is support for more features like macros and quickmarks and so forth. So if you’re using vim everyday, give it a go. IMHO it’s worth the speed for browsing you get.

Before I forget: In case you need help to the features, use ‘:help‘ as usual for browsing the online help.

Displaying useful information in your GNU screen

My working desktop setup used XMonad as a window manager and a terminal using GNU screen. In XMonad, I was using dzen as a small panel in the top corner for displaying useful information (mail, clock, battery status, etc). Dzen just display a text string. This can also be printed by a program. I wrote myself a simple python script, for doing that part like the example shows below:

gocept:INBOX(1)  private: -- | Friday, 19.12.2008 10:44:15 (AUS 20:44, CAN 3:44)

Now I switched to use XMonad in GNOME. Dzen is gone and I was looking for an alternative to display the information printed by my script. After a bit of googling, I found a very nice howto about GNU screen. Screen offers a harstatus and a caption line to display information. I tweaked my screenrc to use the python script in the caption line.

Have a look at my simple python script or my screenrc. Use it on your own risk of course 😉

Flickering Flash applets in Firefox

I just upgraded from Ubuntu Hardy to Ubuntu Intrepid. As always – there is something totally wrong going on after an upgrade. My network didn’t work anymore (solved, because of openvpn created wrong routes), my sound was flaky because of pulseaudio (just turned it off) and Flash applets in Firefox were flickering.

I solved the latter problem now, by just using the Firefox 3 from Ubuntu. I had a local installed Firefox 3 which was probably older than the version in Ubuntu. That solved the problem and flash applets aren’t flickering anymore.

A plan for spam, perhaps?

by david trattnigI’m currently trying the Tagged Message Delivery Agent (TMDA) (Homepage).
Thanks to Markus Leist!

It’s an MDA, written in python with a filtering mechanism using white lists (the e-mail addresses you trust), blacklists (the spammer mail addresses). Additionally, e-mails use a tagging mechanism like time-dependant addresses or for a certain kind of communication. The cool thing though, e-mail addresses which are neither in the white- nor in the blacklist need to be confirmed by the sender. I’m actually a bit curious how this will work.

If you’re bombed with spam each day, you may want to have a look at TMDA. Though you should know how to setup your mail queue, it’s not as easy as installing Mozilla Thunderbird on your system.

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