A couple of months ago I found out that I can use the mouse-wheel button (i.e. middle-click) to close tabs in web browsers. This is much easier, thanks to the larger surface area, than trying to hit the little “x” that is on most tabs. It works for other things than browsers too, like Notepad++ or tabbed conversations in IM clients. This got me wondering the other day when I was overcrowded by tabs in Internet Explorer 9’s taskbar thumbnail previews (see pic). I hovered over one I didn’t want open, gave it a middle click, and hey presto the tab closed! This works for any thumbnail preview, not just IE9. It surprising what a boost in productivity this gives so try it out today!
Update: I recently found out that Chrome & Firefox also let you middle-click the refresh button. This duplicates the curent page to a new tab. At first I didn’t think that was particularly useful but now I find I’m needing it all the time. It is especially useful if you accidentally navigate away from a page, like when you type in a search term to the address bar and hit Enter instead of CTRL+Enter. Now you can middle-click Refresh so you keep the search open in a new tab but can also navigate back to the previous page you were looking at in the current tab.
Google’s excellent Chrome Web Browser lets you install “Web Apps” available from the Chrome Web Store. These are a cross between a bookmark/favorite and IE9’s Pinned Sites feature. Good web apps take advantage of HTML 5 features, like offline storage, and can run in the background. However, a lot of the so-called “apps” in the webstore are just links to websites. The advantage of having them as Apps are that you have the option for them to open in various ways (see the screenshot)
One of my twitter buddies was wondering why there was no twitter app in the webstore. http://twitter.com/#!/jamestenniswood/statuses/78714463531962368
I replied saying that Tweetdeck (now owned by Twitter) is a great Chrome app, one of the top ones on the store but James likes the simplicity of the Twitter site itself (and his custom background!).
I found it a bit bizarre that no-one has created one but after trying to make my own I found out why. The Chrome Web Store only lets you publish an app linking to a URL if you are the owner of that site! So only someone working at Twitter would be able to publish this. Continue reading →
I recently had an issue with the latest version of Firefox (v3.6.15). Normally, when we install Firefox on our network, we have to change the proxy settings from the default “No Proxy” to “Auto-detect proxy settings for this network”. This doesn’t normally cause much of an issue as we only use Firefox on a few select machines and can be changed by the individual user. However, it seems the default install behaviour has slightly changed to add a new option that seems to muddy the water. There is now a “Use system proxy settings” option (similar to Google’s Chrome) that seems to be selected by default for new users. Although this may seem to make sense, on our network this causes terribly slow page load times, e.g. 10 minutes to load google.co.uk. Luckily I found a way to set the “Auto-detect” option for all users.
WARNING: This seems to have changed again since Firefox 4 was released. If anyone knows how to change it please add a comment.