Top 10 Firefox extensions I use

With Firefox 2 and IE 7 released, the war is heating up. Now that both are equipped with tabbed browsing, phishing tools etc, its hard to say which one is better. But one area where Firefox is a clear winner is the unlimited extensions it has. The following are my top rated extensions:

(10) Splash! - What good is a software that doesn't show a "Loading" page? From Windows to Eclipse, almost every software I use has one (Even Gmail has!). Firefox didn't have a splash screen. This plugin fills the void.

(9) Tabbrowser Preferences - It gives you more control over tabs. eg. you can create new tab when using the search bar

(8) Foxy Tunes - The ability to control your favourite media player, without leaving Firefox.

(7) Performancing - There are many desktop tools for writing blogs, but not many extensions. This is one of the best Firefox extensions for blog writers.

(6) Cooliris - When you find a link, keep your mouse over it. This extension will give you a preview of what is available in that link. This is really helpful when are you are using some search engine and want to preview the links before loading the page in the window.

(5) Download Status Bar - If you are downloading something and want to know the status of it, don't have to switch to and look at the Download dialog box every now and then. The status of each download is available in the status bar. When there are no downloads to show, this bar automagically vanishes :-)
(4) DownThemAll - When you want to download multiple items in your page, this extension helps you. It comes handy when you have too many images in a page and you want to download all/few of them.

(3) Adblock Plus - Firefox does prevents the nasty popups. But what about the in-page ads? Use Adblock Plus. You can configure it to eliminate most of the ad s found in a page.

(2) TamilKey - Very useful when you are in net-cafe. You can't expect them to install ekalappai. Simply install this pluging and start blogging in Tamil.

(1) Google Browser Sync - This one is really helpful for those who use more than one computer everyday like me. No matter which computer I use, I can add a bookmark when I come across a nice site. This plugin will sync it to all the computers that I use.

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Amazing true story

One fine day you loose your ability to speak to your friends. The most troubling thing is you can't speak only to your friends and relatives, but you can address a crowd and speak in a conference. The worst part is you can sing to your friends, but not speak. How will you feel?

After 18 months of pain and struggle, Scott Adams, the man behind Dilbert comics, gets back his voice. And he is the first person to get back this. Check his blog for more info.

Even though I've never met him nor exchanged any mails, I'm happy that he is back to normal.

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Diwali Trip

For the long weekend on Diwal, I had a bus ticket to Coimbatore on Friday night, but since Friday is a holiday, I was thinking of driving to Coimbatore. The previous Saturday when Raja and Ashok were also interested in joining, it was decided that we'll drive. On Tuesday, I was talking with my house owner and told him that I'm going home for Diwali in bike. He said, "ethuku sinna vandila, peria vandi thaan iruku illa, eduthutu poo" (Why small vehicle? Take my big vehicle and go). They had two Maruthi zens and one is very rarely used. I admitted that I can't drive cars. He smiled and pointed to the "big vehicle". Its a Thunderbird. Hmmm. When I bought my pulsar, one of my friends commented: "When you ride a bike, it should look like a prince on a horse. But with this bike you look like a mosquito on a buffallo". Thunderbird is twice powerful than my pulsar and its definitely a bulky beast. How will I look like? Mosquito on an elephant? Never mind, I thought of trying. Thursday I took it to office. It was like a test drive. I drove in the Koramangala traffic and in the inner ring road as well. I felt comfortable and thought I can handle it. So I decided to take the "big vehicle".

Friday morning, I left at 6.30 AM. Raja and Ashok joined me at Madiwala and we started. After Hosur, I lost them from my sight. I waited in the road side and then went back a km also. Cudn't find them. With no cell signal, I cudn't catch them. There is no point in looking for them and I proceeded alone.

I took the Thoppur, Bhavani, Tiruppur route. The four lane NH - 7; Thoppur forest; Mettur Dam; Tiruppur-Pollachi road, everything was perfect and the ride was enjoyable. Except for one small accident. I was having breakfast after Krishnagiri in a Punjabi Dhaba(Is it true that there are more Punjabi Dhabas in Tamil Nadu than in Punjab?) When I came out to the parking space, I saw the headlight was smashed and the mudguard was scratched. Someone in a car, which was parked near-by, told me that some lorry crashed into my bike when it was taking reverse. The driver of the lorry came down; saw the damage; went back to his seat; and went away from the scene. I was helpless. I've to repair it now :-/ Monday morning I started and took the Coimbatore-Salem route. Except for the 15 mins heavy rain after Salem, the ride was perfect. The total distance was around 800 kms. I've taken few pictures. The film roll is complete, I'll post them here.

Don't ask me what was the response at my home for driving. I better not write anything about it ;-)
My pulsar will be good till 100km/hr speed. Beyond that speed, you will slowly feel that you are loosing control. But Thunderbird is different. Most of the time I was driving at 80 km/hr and many times at 120 km/hr. The bike was solid. No wobbling at all. After a while, you won't even hear any sound from the engine. Its surprising quite at higher speeds.

Thunderbird is a nice bike. Initially I thought it might not be comfortable to drive in city traffic, but I was wrong. It is equally good for regular commuting. May be I'll sell this Pulsar and buy a Thunderbird. But first I should put on some weight. At least I should look like a bird on an elephant :-)

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Happy Diwali

Happy Diwali to the readers of my blog. It includes the regular readers of this blog (yes, all the 5 of you) and those who were directed to this blog for unrelated search terms like "coimbatore aunty" and "mehandhi design".

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Sun beats Google - Project Blackbox!

There were rumours saying that Google is preparing portable datacenters. Even before those rumours are confirmed, Sun released one. Project Blackbox.

Project Blackbox is a datacenter that fits inside an ordinary shipping container. Usually the softwares from Sun sucks. They never made any profit by selling software. Thats one reason they give away their software free. From NetBeans to Sun One server, you get the entire stack free - including the Solaris OS. Hardware is their speciality and major revenue comes from selling & supporting Sun boxes. May be this project should help them to bring up their profits again.

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Blog editors for Linux

Windows Live writer is one software which I'm definitely missing in Linux. Its a simple and cute tool to use. You can format your text in the editor; immediately switch to see a web preview; if it needs further tweaking, switch to the html mode and continue editing, etc. All this you can do it offline. This is especially helpful when are at home and there is a power cut. Can't connect to net, but still can write blogs offline in my laptop. I'm currently evaluating few blog editors for Linux, none of them seems to be fine. I'll post reviews of each editor and a final verdict on them later.

Related links:
Ubuntu Titbits
Eclipse in Ubuntu
Putty in Ubuntu
Auto Login in Ubuntu
Screen resolution got struck in Ubuntu
Configure DSL in Ubuntu

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Screen Resolution struck in Ubuntu

I installed Ubuntu 6.06 from a live CD. After I configured internet, lots of packages got updated. Not sure which one corrupted the settings, but my screen resolution changed to 640x480. I tried System->Preferences->Screen Resolution. But no higher resolution was listed there. I remember using xconfig or something similar in past. But no such commands were available. Google gave me the answer. We need to manually edit the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file.

Earlier the Screen section had

SubSection "Display"
Depth 24
Modes "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"

I changed it to:
SubSection "Display"
Depth 24
Modes "1024x768"
ViewPort 0 0

Having only one resolution mode and only one Depth, makes it the default one. Additionaly I've to add the ViewPort (not sure why it was needed). Now the screen is back to normal resolution :-)

[Update 8-Nov-06] The ViewPort is not needed. Resolution is fine without it. But after upgrading to Edgy, the resolution went back to 640x480. Either simply adding an empty line at the end of the xorg.conf file or executing a "sudo touch /etc/X11/xorg.conf" and then restarting X (Ctrl+Alt+Backspace), will bring the resolution back to normal. Quirky Linux :-(

Related links:
Ubuntu Titbits
Eclipse in Ubuntu
Putty in Ubuntu
Auto Login in Ubuntu
Configure DSL in Ubuntu

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Configuring DSL with Ubuntu

I've been using Ubuntu for a while. So far its good.  As I've a laptop loaded with Windows XP, Ubuntu has not been my primary OS. Since my last date with the present company is this Thrusday & I'll be returning my laptop, I've to make Ubuntu my primary (and only) OS. I'll pen down my experiences here.

The first thing I needed to configure was my DSL Connection. I searched for any utilities, but I couldn't find anything (at least not under System->Preferences or System->Adminstration. After a little bit of Googling, I was able to configure. Here are the steps:

  • First configure your IP address. Select System->Adminstration->Networking

  • In the window, selec the ethernet adapter to which you have connected your DSL modem(mostly you will have only one adapter listed)

  • Select the properties of the adater.

  • If your ISP supports DHCP, select it, if not key in the static IP address that your ISP gave you

  • Go back to the Network settings window and key in the ISP's DNS server IP addresses

  • Now that you have configured your TCP/IP settings, we need to configure the PPPoE settings.

  • Open a terminal window and run "pppoeconf" (you need root permission). The wizard should help you configure the settings.

  • Now if you have not configured to connect at system start up, use the commands - "pon dsl-provider" to connect; "poff" to disconnect and "plog" to view the current status

How good it would be, if there exists a wizard that will guide you thru all the above steps. Hmmmm. Long way to go for Linux to become a common man's OS.

Related links:
Ubuntu Titbits
Eclipse in Ubuntu
Putty in Ubuntu
Auto Login in Ubuntu
Screen resolution got struck in Ubuntu

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Today’s special

This picture was taken when we went for a trip to Bannargetta National Park. Forget the spelling mistakes, read till the last line for the list of menu items in a road side hotel ;-)

Today’s special

There were lot of foreigners when we were waiting in the queue for the safari tickets. One of them was asking, whether they can see any tiger in the safari. Somebody in the queue commented, "For many foreigners, India is a land full of tigers, snakes, elephants and Software Engineers".


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காதல் வைரஸ்: சொன்னாலும் கேட்பதில்லை

சொன்னாலும் கேட்பதில்லை கன்னி மனது
சொன்னாலும் கேட்பதில்லை கன்னி மனது
ஒன்றை மறைத்து வைத்தேன், சொல்ல தடை விதித்தேன்,
நெஞ்சை நம்பி இருந்தேன் அது வஞ்சம் செய்தது
சொன்னாலும் கேட்பதில்லை கன்னி மனது

ஓ, கன்னி மனம் பாவம் என்ன செய்ய கூடும்
உன்னைப்போல அல்ல உண்மை சொன்னது
சொன்னாலும் கேட்பதில்லை கன்னி மனது

உனைத்தவிர எனக்கு விடியலுக்கோர் கிழக்கு, உலகினில் உள்ளதோ உயிரே
சூரிய விளக்கில் சுடர் விடும் கிழக்கு, கிழக்குக்கு நீ தான் உயிரே
எல்லாம் தெரிந்திருந்தும், என்னை புரிந்திருந்தும்
சும்மா இருக்கும்படி சொன்னேன் நூறு முறை
சொன்னாலும் கேட்பதில்லை கன்னி மனது

ஓ நங்கை உந்தன் நெஞ்சம், நான் குடுத்த லஞ்சம், வாங்கிக்கொண்டு இன்று உண்மை சொன்னது
சொன்னாலும், சொன்னாலும் கேட்பதில்லை கன்னி மனது
விழிச்சிறையில் பிடித்தாய், விலகுதல் போல் நடித்தாய்
தினம் தினம் துவண்டேன் தளிரே
நதியென நான் நடந்தேன், அலை தடுத்தும் கடந்தேன், கடைசியில் கலந்தேன் கடலே
எல்லாம் தெரிந்திருந்தும் என்னை புரிந்திருந்தும்
சும்மா இருக்கும்படி சொன்னேன் நூறு முறை
ஓ, பூவெடுத்து நீரில் பொத்தி வைத்து பாரு, வந்து விடும் மேலே வஞ்சிக்கொடியே
சொன்னாலும், சொன்னாலும் கேட்டிடாது கன்னி மனது
சொன்னாலும் கேட்பதில்லை கன்னி மனது

GWT with EJB

A better and updated version is maintained here (
In this post, I thought I'll explain how to use GWT with EJB. GWT addresses the web layer and EJB the middle layer, its natural to use both of them to have a neat J2ee app.

I assume that you know how to create EJB project and Web project with Googlipse. For the second one, I've written a post here.

If you are an advanced EJB developer and have used GWT for a while, "Use the RemoteServiceImpl as a EJB client and continue in the as usual way". If you are not, then the rest of the post is for you.

What we are trying now is to have a text box in the web page and a button. When you key in a person's name there and press the button, it will show the age of the person.

The first step is to create a Stateless Session Bean. The Remote & Home interface will look like this:

public interface AgeServiceEjb
extends EJBObject, Remote {

public int getAge(String name);

public interface AgeServiceHome
extends EJBHome {
public AgeService create()
throws ...;

The EJB looks something like:

public class AgeServiceBean
implements SessionBean {

//All EJB members here
public int getAge(String name){

int age;

age = 18; //Pranni is always 18 :-)
else if(name.equals("Bill Gates"))
age = 51;
age = 40; // default value

return age;

I opted for a very simple implementation. Of course you have do the normal way of contacting the Data Layer. Use Entity beans or try plain JDBC or use Hibernate. Check whether name is null or not, throw a NameNotFound exception. Its the plain old normal EJB code. GWT never restricts anything here. If you already have some EJB, exposing it to a servlet or a swing client, very well, you can reuse that also.

Now let us create a Remote service in the Web layer.

The GWT's RemoteService is very similar to the RemoteInterface of EJB:

public interface AgeServiceGwt
extends RemoteService {

public int getAge(String name);

// Other members Util, SERVICE_URI etc

The RemoteService's Impl is the key which connects GWT and EJB:

public interface AgeServiceGwtImpl
extends RemoteServiceServlet
implements AgeServiceGwt{

public int getAge(String name){
Context ctx = new InitialContext();
AgeServiceHome hme =
(AgeServiceHome)ctx.lookup("<JNDI name>");
AgeServiceEjb ageService = hme.create();
return ageService.getAge(name);

You can do all the normal EJB client stuff here. Add parameters to create initial context, configure the JNDI name, cache the home interface, etc. If you have ever used JSP/servlets calling EJB code, think it in the same way. Treat the Impl class as a servlet (in fact it is!) and do the usual way.

Common problems:

  • How do I deploy the EJB in the GWT's embedded Tomcat server?

You can't. In fact you can't deploy it even on an external Tomcat. Its just a web container. You need an app server like WebLogic or JBoss

  • How do I create a EAR file?

Create an EAR project and add these projects (EJB & Web) to it. Select File->Export->Export as EAR file

  • Can I deploy the application in an app server and still debug in hosted mode?

Yes. Look at "Deploying to an external server" in the GWT tutorial. Its the same way.

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ஒரு மாசமா டைபாய்டுன்னு சாக்கு சொல்லி, வீட்டுல நல்லா தின்னுட்டு, தூங்கிட்டு இங்க வந்தா ஒரே கடி. இங்க தனியா வேற இருக்கேனா, சண்ட போட கூட ஆளே இல்லாம, நானே சமைச்சு, அத நானே சாப்பிட்டு, ஹூம். என்ன தான் திட்டும், அடியும் வாங்கினாலும், அம்மணி நெனப்பு வுட்டு போக மாட்டேங்குது. இந்த மாதிரி பிரிவில தான் நல்லா கவித வருமாமே. செரி ட்ரை பண்ணிப்பார்போமேன்னு ஒரு வெண்பா எழுதினேன்.

கவித, கவித எங்க படி:

தரையில் ஒருமீனாய் என்னைத் திணறவிட்ட(து)
எங்கள் இருவர் பிரிவு

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சேற்றினில் மலர்ந்த செந்தாமரைகள்

இங்க இருக்கற வரிகள் எல்லாம் நான் எங்க இருந்து சுட்டேன்னு கண்டுபிடிங்க பார்க்கலாம்:


கோபம் கொள்ளும் நேரம்
வானம் எல்லாம் மேகம்
காணாமலே போகும் ஒரே நிலா

கோபம் தீரும் நேரம்
மேகம் இல்லா வானம்
பெளர்னமியாய் தோன்றும் அதே நிலா

உலகத்தின் கடைசியாய்
இன்று தானோ என்பது போல்
பேசி பேசி தீர்த்த பின்னும்
எதோ ஒன்று குறையுதே.

உப்புக்கடலோடு மேகம் உற்பத்தியானாலும்
உப்புத்தண்ணீரை மேகம் ஒரு போதும் சிந்தாது
மலையில் விழுந்தாலும் சூரியன் மரித்து போவதில்லை
நிலவுக்கு ஒளியூட்டி தன்னை நீட்டித்துக்கொள்கிறதே,
மேகமாய் நானும் மாறேனோ
அதன் மேண்மை குணங்கள் காண்பேனோ
சூரியன் போலவே மாறேனோ
என் ஜோதியில் உலகை ஆளேனோ

காற்றில் இலைகள் பறந்த பிறகும்
கிளையின் தழும்புகள் மறைவதில்லை
காயம் நூறு கண்ட பிறகும்
உன்னை உள்மணம் மறப்பதில்லை


கருப்பு-வெள்ளை காலத்துல "அத்தை மடி மெத்தையடி ஆடி விளையாடம்மா"-ன்னு அழகான வரிகளோட வ்ந்துகிட்டிருந்த தமிழ் சினிமா பாடல்கள் எங்கயோ போயி "எப்படி? எப்படி? நீ சமைஞ்சது எப்படி?"-ன்னு கேக்கற மாதிரி பாடல்களோட வர ஆரம்பிச்சிருச்சு. "இப்ப இருக்கற ஆளுகளே செரியில்லப்பா, எங்க காலத்துல எல்லாம்"-ன்னு ஆரம்பிக்கற பெரிசுகளுக்கு ஒரு இன்பர்மேசன்: மேல சொன்ன ரெண்டு பாடல்களையும் எழுதினது ஒரே ஆள் தான். அப்ப பார்க்கறவங்க தரம் கொறஞ்சு போச்சோ? நமீதாவோ இல்ல மும்தாஜோ வந்து ஒரு ஆட்டம் போட்டாதான் படம் ஓடுமோ? அப்படியும் இல்ல. தவமாய் தவமிருந்து கூட ஓடுதே. இந்த தமிழ் மக்களோட ரசனைய புரிஞ்சுக்கவே முடியலபா. என்னமோ போங்க.

ஸ்டேட்பாங்கில அக்கவுண்ட் இல்ல
டாஸ்மாக்கில கடன் வெச்சவன்

இந்த மாதிரி அட்டகாசமான பாட்டுகளுக்கு நடுவே நல்ல சில வரிகளும் எப்படியோ வந்துடுது. அப்படி நான் பார்த்த சில வரிகளத்தான் சுட்டு மேல குடுத்தேன். எந்தெந்த பாட்டுன்னு கேக்கறீங்களா?

    1. கண்ட நாள் முதலாய் - மேற்கே மேற்கே தான்
    2. வேட்டையாடு விளையாடு - மஞ்சள் வெய்யில் மாலை
    3. சாமுராய் - மூங்கில் காடுகளே
    4. 7ஜி ரெயின்போ காலனி - கண் பேசும் வார்த்தைகள்

முக்கியமா அந்த டாஸ்மாக் வரிகள் சொல்லாம விட்டுட்டானேன்னு திட்டுறவங்களுக்கு - ஆறு படத்தில "சோடா பாட்டில் கையில" பாட்டு 



This photo was taken during the valaikaapu (any translations in English?) function. Photo taken by my friend with his digi-cam. Usually I publish the photos taken by me only, but this one is an exception :-)

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I can’t eat …

I can eat idly with curd or chappathi with rasam or even the so-called "Butter Paneer Masala" prepared by my wife. But I can't eat the typical Bangalore Sambar.


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Google Reader

The earlier UI of Google Reader was not usable at all. Now this version is little better. Still there could be more improvements:


  • The subscribed blogs are shown in the left pane in the tree view. It would be really nice if items could be drag-n-dropable
  • The Manage Subscriptions page is another mess. By default it shows all the subscribed feeds. No one is going to pay attention if more than 20 items are listed. And I've around 100 feeds! Scrolling also becomes slower with more items
  • I thought there should be some way to search for tags I want to manage. The search button was hiding in right corner. When you have all the items displayed, it better be in a better visible place
  • When you click "Add Star", there is a visual indication on the star and the text becomes "Remove Star". Same for "Share" and "Add Tags". But when I clicked "Mark as read" nothing happened. The text didn't change and there was no visual clue. It took me some time to realize that there was a visual clue. The box right before the text is a check box and there is a tick box. First the box itself very small and the tick happens to be in the same dull gray color. The UI should be consistent - it would be better if the text changes to "Mark as unread" and the tick mark appears in a brighter color as in other things
  • When you add a feed thru Firefox, first it asks for whether to add it to Google Personalized home page or to Reader. It asks for everytime. There could be a preference for "add to this by default" or similar
  • The feeds added from Firefox always gets added to the root. There should be a way to put it under a folder while adding.
  • The Feed Settings Menu has just one item - UnSubscribe. May be they have plans to add more items, but for undelete, how about a Thrash Can symbol under the tree and items and the items drag-n-dropped into it will get deleted?
  • The sharing is little weird. Instead of some number based URL, they should do a think of something else. BTW, try this URL:
  • I was doing some thing and suddenly the left panel disappeared. I didn't know how to bring it back. No button to restore. I closed the tab and opened reader in a new tab and discovered that I've accidentally pressed 'u', which happens to be the shortcut for Full screen view. I'm a great lover of keyboard shortcuts, but there should be a way to use the mouse and switch between the normal and Full Screen views.

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Down with fever :-/

For those who were wondering why I didn't post anything for a month or didn't reply you mails, I was down with typhoid. I called up my PM and conveyed the message and went back to my native village - the great "cyber palayam". Almost every family in my village, including mine, has a member affected by chi-kun guinea fever. I thought I'm going to get affected by it in my one month's stay there. Luck was on my side. I escaped. So what was I doing for one whole month? Nothing! With no cellphone signal or internet, I just spent all day lazing around. Can't watch TV as for every fifteen minutes, there will be a 5 min power down. The worst thing is that during that 15 mins, mostly will be ads and the main program will be during the time where no power. It was tough for a guy like me to sit simply and do nothing. So the best I can do is gardening. Whenever I go to Pollachi for a check-up, I'd buy some plants. Finally now my home has all sort of plants from Rose to Jasmin and from Pomegranate to Papaya. Not sure how it will be maintained in my absense.

Its election time and I read every line in the Dina Malar. Pretty much interesting to see the statements by our "great" leaders. Esp Captain, Thirumavalavan and Karunanithi. Add our Election Commision to that list.

When I came back to Bangalore this morning, I'd thousands of mails, both personal and official. Sorting out and reading them is really a challenge. Still doing it. Got to read the blogs and newssites to see what has happened in this one month. Few things I noticed:

  • The all new Google Reader. Finally they got a decent UI. Will post about it later.

  • The new iPod Shuffle. I didn't like this model.

  • My previous post is topping up in the results for the search GWT tutorials:-)

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