Preparing for a faster Firefox

Over the course of the next year, there are many exciting features being brought to Mozilla Firefox, particularly in the aim to improve the browser’s performance. Most notably is project Quantum, which is Mozilla’s new web engine. What makes this interesting is that its using the Servo browser engine, which is being developed in Rust. This allows it to easily adopt parallel processing constructs which can improve performance, particularly for users with multi-core CPUs (mostly everyone). An excellent overview of the development and current status of this back-end can be viewed here. While this major update is still many months away from public stable release, there are a few things to be done in the mean time, in preparation for this. Continue reading

Configuring the power button in Gnome

As many Gnome users know, since Gnome Shell 3.18, the option to power down (much less prompt the user) by pressing the power button has been removed by the developers, now only allowing either Suspend, Hibernate, or simply to ignore the button press. While existing workarounds for this include using systemd to ungracefully shut the system down (no prompts), set a separate keyboard shortcut to achieve the same behaviour, or re-implementing the functionality manually in gnome-settings-daemon, I found these unnecessarily complicated or lacking value. Instead, I have developed my own method, which properly maps the power button to prompt the user to shutdown, reboot, or simply cancel. Continue reading

Cartoons to RSS

While I’ve already proclaimed my love for RSS, I’ve discovered yet another reason for it, and it makes me giddy. One website which, while I desired to follow, didn’t seem to offer proper feeds, is on Watch Cartoons Online. This website provides watchable content for various cartoons and anime. While poking around at the idea of using a 3rd party service to generate a feed, and having difficulty accomplishing this, I began searching for pre-generated feeds for this website. To my surprise, I discovered that it in fact already fully supports RSS, though it is not well advertised. Put simply, given any page on that website, adding /feed to the end of the URL turns it into an RSS feed. With this, I can find out exactly when new episodes for my shows are out. Hooray!

Binding mouse buttons to keyboard keys on Linux

I’ve recently acquired a mouse that has extra buttons on it (side forward/back buttons), which I used on Windows for certain games. I discovered that while the keys were fairly easy to configure on Windows, it was more difficult to do on Linux. After looking up several guides, including information on the Arch Wiki, I had to put together something a bit different, which seems to be more simple than other suggestions I found. As a result, I’ve bound my forward and back keys on my mouse to Page Up and Page Down. Continue reading

Removing extra language packs in Firefox on Linux

Something that had been bothering me for a while now was that whenever I went to change the dictionary I used to spellcheck in Firefox, it would list about 20 different variations of English, of which I only used 2. Looking in the Dictionaries list in the add-ons menu, there was only one of those packs listed, which I added manually. As it turns out, my installation of the hunspell-en package added every variant of English, and for whatever reason Firefox decides to include all of them. The easiest way to remove them is deleting the non-essential packs listed in /usr/share/hunspell. After a quick restart, they are no longer listed in Firefox.

Updates to boot time optimizations

Thanks to the efforts of myself and tukozaki, I was able to re-upload the e4rat-lite-git package to the AUR. This one circumvents all the issues previously had with having to manually build the e4rat package. There are also no issues saving the log files, and the preload actually works. I get the feeling that my neglect to modify the original preload may have had an impact on this, but I digress.

The original post has been updated with the new commands and instructions.