Sunday, October 14, 2007

Quick Notes

Finding fast ways to take notes is an obsession. I'm always looking for new ways to take, keep and keep organized different kinds of notes. Here's one for general information that you want to remember.

Google Docs
It assumes you use Google Documents and Firefox.

  • In Google Docs, create a document called "Notes," or something like that.
  • Bookmark it and save the bookmark to your Bookmarks Toolbar Folder.
  • It should show up on your toolbar as Notes - Google Docs (If you named it "Notes")

Anytime you want to make a quick note, click on the bookmark and write it down. Be sure to hit Save or Ctrl+S to save your notes.

But wait, there's more.
If you want to make a quick note while you're using the keyboard, there's an easy way to do that too. You can use Firefox's autohotkey feature to open your notes pay fast.

  • Click on Bookmarks
  • Go down to Bookmarks Toolbar Folder and then to your Notes - Google Docs bookmark
  • Right click on the bookmark
  • Click on Properties
  • In the Keywords box enter a letter or two (I use n for notes).
  • Click Save Changes

Now you can quickly open the notes page from your keyboard. Here's how:

  • Hit Ctrl+L (which moves you to the Firefox url bar)
  • Type n (or whetever keyword you created)
  • Hit Enter.

Your notes page will open.

But wait, there's even more.

When you were entering the Keyword into your bookmark's Properties box, you might have noticed a checkbox with "Load this bookmark in the sidebar" next to it. If you check that box, when you use the bookmark to open your notes page it will open in Firefox's sidebar -- a handy place to take a quick notes while you're reading a web page. This doesn't work with the Ctrl+L keyboard shortcut.

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Make Extensions Work in Latest Firefox Version

I'm using Firefox 3. Version 3.0a8 to be exact. Why? No, it's not that I couldn't stand the anticipation anymore. I needed to cut and paste a table in Google Docs.

There's a bug in previous versions of Firefox that prevents cutting or copying the tables. I couldn't find a way to fix it, so I upgraded. The good news is that cutting or copying tables in Google Docs works fine.

The bad news is that all of my extensions stopped working. Since Firefox 3 isn't out yet (at least not officially) it makes sense that extensions wouldn't be updated to work on it. Sensible or not, it isn't very convenient.

Actually this happens a lot when a new version comes out. At least a couple of the extensions I use don't get updated for a while.

That doesn't mean they don't work -- they usually work just fine. But extensions usually have a line of code that checks to see what version of Fireox is running. Just to avoid any problems, the extension is programmed not to work if it detects a Firefox version later than it's been tested on. To get it working, all you have to do is disable the checking.

You can do it by disabling the checking feature in Firefox, or by changing the latest version number in the extension, but there's an even easier way. It's another extension called Nightly Tester Tools.

The extension is designed to let people test new versions of Firefox, but part of that process is getting extensions to work. Here's what you do:

  • Download and install Nightly Tester Tools the usual way.
  • After you've installed it, restart Firefox.
  • When Firefox restarts, click Tools --> Add-ons.
  • Click on the new button that says: "Make all compatible"
  • Restart Firefox
Any of your extensions that actually work with the new version of Firefox will start working again. It should be most of them. It's possible that forcing an old extension to work in a new version could cause problems, but it's never happened to me.

I've forced at least one extension to work each time a new Firefox comes out and the worst result has been that the extension still didn't work.

By the way, Firefox 3 is nice. You can install it from Softpedia. It's still in alpha testing, but it seems to work fine. The only problems I've had is that some estensions don't work even with Nightly Tester Tools.

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