HD quality not available in Youtube videos on Firefox

Problem

I was trying to watch the trailer for the upcoming Star Wars movie on Youtube. I noticed that I could get only a maximum of 360p quality video. None of the HD quality options were shown in the video settings!

Solution

I have configured my Youtube to play using HTML5, not Flash. I went to the Youtube HTML5 video player webpage and it showed the status of my browser as:

20151021_youtube_hd_firefox

There are many items that are shown as unsuppported. However, the key item here is H.264, which is required for HD videos on Youtube.

I opened about:config in Firefox and searched for webm. The option media.mediasource.webm.enabled was set to false. Double-click it to set it to true.

Restarted Firefox and checked the HTML5 player status webpage. H.264 now appeared as supported. And my Star Wars trailer played in HD! 😄

Tried with: Firefox 40.0.3 and Ubuntu 14.04

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Typing in Firefox address bar loses focus

Problem

I use the address bar in Firefox both to type URLs and to search. Firefox shows a dropdown with suggestions as I type. Seeing that the top result is what I want, I press Enter. Instead of going to the URL it showed as top result, Firefox instead goes to the partially typed text and tries to open or search for that! This is an irritating behavior that goes against how every browser address bar aid the typing user.

Solution

Not surprisingly, I found that this is not a Firefox behavior. Ubuntu installs some extensions to Firefox by default, involving Unity integration and other UI tweaks. Disable these Ubuntu extensions, restart Firefox and your addressbar will work without any hiccups.

Tried with: Firefox 40.0.3 and Ubuntu 14.04

Shareaholic extension for Firefox

Shareaholic is a service for sharing content to different social networks and services. I only use its extension for Firefox from here. This provides me ability to share the current URL to other services, just like I can do in Android.

  • It adds a button to the addressbar. Click it to view your services you can share to and to customize its Options.

  • I recommend going through its Options and enabling only the services you need.

  • I use Shareaholic to share the URL of a webpage I’m viewing using Gmail or Twitter to other friends.

Tried with: Shareaholic 3.0.1.1, Firefox 41 and Ubuntu 14.04

Emoji Cheatsheet extension for Firefox

It has become common to view and add Emoji 😝😈😬 to emails, tweets, blogposts or any text on the web.

Emoji Cheatsheet (also known as Emoji Helper) is a fantastic extension for Firefox that is an emoji picker. It helps to pick emoji from a gallery and insert into any text input or copy to clipboard. The emoji you picked can be inserted as Unicode character, as text code (like that used in Github) or an image (for old applications). Almost all the emoji you see available on your smartphone seems to be in its collection.

  • Emoji Cheatsheet can be installed from here.

  • Check the extension preferences for picking your preferred mode (Unicode, text code or image), keyboard shortcut and other goodies!

Tried with: Emoji Cheatsheet 1.1.1, Firefox 41.0 and Ubuntu 14.04

Keyboard shortcut for bookmarks toolbar in Firefox

Firefox provides the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + B for opening or closing the bookmarks sidebar. Strangely, there is no keyboard shortcut provided to show or hide the bookmarks toolbar. This is irritating since I prefer to use the toolbar over the sidebar.

This functionality can be obtained by installing the Hide BookmarksBar addon. In its Preferences you can set the keyboard shortcut you want. I like to set this to Ctrl + Shift + B, the same as in Chrome.

Tried with: Hide BookmarksBar 3.3.1, Firefox 41 and Ubuntu 15.04

uBlock Origin addon for browsers

I recently switched to an older notebook and my Chrome and Firefox browsers were quite slow on it. Using the Task Manager in Chrome I noticed that one of the main culprits was AdBlock Plus which was hogging memory.

Searching for a leaner alternative to ABP I switched to uBlock Origin. (Confusingly, there is also a uBlock addon, which is a fork of this.) Just install the addon and you are set! It uses many lists that are maintained online and the blocking is automatic. If you need to turn off blocking or change a configuration just click its button in the toolbar.

I clearly noticed a 50% or more reduction in memory usage with uBlock Origin compared to ABP. The improvement in actual usage was also clear.

Tried with: uBlock Origin 1.1.1, Firefox 41 and Ubuntu 15.04

How to save to Pocket using keyboard shortcut in Firefox

Firefox now has built in support for Pocket. The current webpage can be saved to your Pocket by clicking its button, which can be found in the Firefox toolbar. However, if you would like to press a keyboard shortcut to save to Pocket, you are out of luck. There is no such feature available.

Saving to Pocket using a keyboard shortcut in Firefox can be achieved by using the ShortcutKey2URL addon:

  • Install the ShortcutKey2URL addon.

  • Next we need the bit of Javascript that can be used to add the current webpage you are viewing to Pocket. This is the Pocket bookmarklet that can be got here. I have shared the same bookmarklet code here.

  • Go to ShortcutKey2URL Preferences and add a new entry by pasting in the above code. Set a shortcut key. I like to use S as the shortcut key.

  • That is it! I can now press the keyboard shortcut on any webpage to save it to Pocket. For example, I press Ctrl + . + S to do this.

Tried with: ShortcutKey2URL 3.7, Firefox 55.0.2 and Ubuntu 15.04

How to customize Firefox UI

Most of the components of the Firefox user interface can be removed, added or moved around easily. This is quite a difference from Chrome, where such functionality is quite limited.

For example, I like to hide the search bar, remove or move around the buttons that my extensions put in the toolbar.

Doing all this is easy. Just go to Settings -> Customize. Now you can grab any UI component (bar or button) and move them between the toolbar, the Additional Tools and Features window or the Customize window.

Tried with: Firefox 41 and Ubuntu 15.10

How to import bookmarks from Chrome to Firefox

  1. Open the Bookmarks window. You can do this by clicking the Bookmarks icon beside the addressbar or by pressing Ctrl + Shift + O.

  2. Choose Import and Backup -> Import Data from Another Browser. Pick Chrome and choose to import only the bookmarks in the following dialogs.

Tried with: Chrome 43.0.2357.124 (64-bit), Firefox 38.0 and Ubuntu 14.04

How to compile and run Java applet code

The Java programming language can be used to write applets that run in a browser. Applet source code is similar to a typical Java program source code, except that it does not have a main method. Applet source code can be created in .java files.

Compiling them is the same as usual:

$ javac foo.java

This generates a foo.class compiled bytecode file.

However, running the generated .class file using the Java VM gives this error:

$ java foo
Error: Main method not found in class foo, please define the main method as:
   public static void main(String[] args)

Applet can only be executed in a browser by opening a HTML file that refers to this applet .class file. A minimal HTML file that does is:

<html>
<body>
<applet code=foo width=400 height=200>
</applet>
</body>
</html>

Save this as foo.html file in the same directory as the foo.class file. Open it in a browser that can run Java applets and you can see the result. 🙂

Tried with: Java 1.7, Firefox 34 and Ubuntu 14.04