Justin Hall's personal site growing & breaking down since 1994

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mozilla mozated

Perhaps taking an unbidden charge from Chris Massless's steady persuasive evangelism, I've replaced all the stale blue e's throughout my harddrive with bold red lizards - my default web browser is Mozilla and I feel as though I have joined a ongoing geek party.

Mozilla was born when one of the first notable dot-com companies Netscape was crashing and burning in the face of Microsoft's monopoly technology. Netscape had published the first commercial web browser, built by some of the same folks who had made Mosaic, the first popular graphical web browser; software that has probably contributed more to the rewiring of human consciousness than the drug ecstacy. Netscape reached out for a scheme to kindle interest and technical leadership as they saw Microsoft stealing all their market share, shipping their "Internet Explorer" product with nearly all new computers (Macintosh and PC alike). They released some source code and funded the early stages of an "open source" software editing project, that ready geeks all over the web might fix what they saw broken in most web browsers.

Once the web browser had finished being mind blowing, the web browser was simply the place where millions of folks spend most of their waking hours. And somehow all the geeks and the people who coordinate this project have done an admirable job making a web browser that most closely suits the task of grasping and pulling the grand thin tendons of human wisdom today.

It's so much better to use Mozilla, I am even dealing with remembering or re-emailing all my passwords for all the web site memberships I have so I can use Mozilla for everything.

Now all I want is the Google toolbar (found - thanks Sen!) and a dictionary toolbar. And the "home" button nestled in with the navigation buttons. Integrated RSS feeds. More site management capacity in Composer. And maybe the ability to slide around all my status and navigation bars.

There are fun features that warrant all this appreciation: tabbed browsing, schemes, shutting off pop-up windows, site navigation. But more than that, Mozilla is a good feeling: somehow knowing that thousands of eager hobbyist programmers might be even now working to make my browser better fills me with some great hope and joy unmatched by my estimation of Microsoft corporate product development cycles.

As a sendoff to ie (< or = version 6) here I post a screenshot - I'm proud of the customization I achieved in the top toolbar area - integrating links, navigation, address bar, dictionary and search engine in a very small space:

custom ie

(all that above the profusion of the mindex). But tabbed browsing alone beats that.

Helpful replies to my Mozilla Post - August 3:

Asa Dotzler:

Hi Justin. my name is asa dotzler and I'm one of the people that makes Mozilla happen. I just read your blog posting about Mozilla, I have an obsession with reading all public blog posts about mozilla ;-) and wanted to offer a couple of tips.

Google toolbar: -not at polished as the official one for IE but getting better all the time.

Dictionary toolbar: don't know if there's one of these but there certainly could be. For now try custom keywords. is the doc I wrote a couple of years ago. Some newer and better descriptions can be found at

Home button: -install this and you'll have a home button where you want it.

Integrated RSS feeds: old project at called ForumZilla could take RSS 1.0 feeds from slashdot and mozillazine and kuro5in and put them into a 3-pane view like Mozilla mail. I don't think it did RSS 0.9.x and that seems to be what most of the blogging tools are serving. Also, many blogs are making Mozilla sidebars for their RSS feeds. And if you're using 1.1 or newer you can get LINK tag specified RSS feeds from the Site Navigation Bar which can be enabled from the View menu. I expect there will be a weblog RSS feed tool for Mozilla soon, if there isn't one already. (also, check out for a really cool Mozilla blogging tool).

Composer is the black sheep of the Mozilla family :( It's getting better and there are already very cool additions like CaScadeS, a CSS editor from mozdev that can be installed into Mozilla's Composer (and will be integrated into Mozilla proper shortly)

As you can see there are some nifty tweaks that you can install to make Mozilla a lot better and there are some tips you can use to get more out of what's already there. I hope that this helps and if you have any questions feel free to let me know. I've been using Mozilla as my exclusive browser for over three years now so I've amassed (in my head) a decent collection of tips.


ps. have you enabled pop-up blocking? tried server-specific image blocking? used bookmark groups for launching multiple tabs? tried cool bookmarklets for tweaking webpage styles? given any alternative mozilla themes a spin? If you're interested in any more Mozilla add-ons, tips and tricks then check out some of these links.

and be sure to check out the growing collection of Mozilla people's weblogs at

Nick Sweeney: - perfect match for IE's googlebar - dictionary on right-click - or put it in the main search bar


Keyser Sose:

If you want something like the Dictionary toolbar in Mozilla you might
want to try something a lot more versitile 'Custom Keywords' They allow
you to define extensions so you can type something like 'dict bleh' and
it will lookup bleh.

Check it out its here:


Travis Nelson:

Bookmark this page:

Go to Manage Bookmarks, edit the properties for that bookmark, and give it a keyword, such as 'dict'.

Restart mozilla.

Type something in the location bar like "dict evangelism".

Piece of cake. :) Not as easy as it should be for mainstream use, but not too bad. You can do similary things with any webpage (search engines etc) replacing the %s in the url with the "argument" you will pass with the keyword.


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