Firefox Tab Previews on Windows 7

Users of Internet Explorer 8 on Windows 7 will likely have noticed that the new Taskbar enables users to see previews of all the browser tabs currently open. Whilst this is not a feature that everyone will appreciate some may find it useful because it enable finding a particular tab very quick, of course if you have a lot of tabs this may just be more clutter.

Version 3.6 of Mozilla Firefox has just shipped with some great new tab preview features, however most of these are turned off by default. To find and enable the new features you need to get to the advanced configuration page by typing about:config into the address bar. This will produce a warning page notifying you that you should only continue if you are sure of what you are doing, once you have promised to be careful type the word previews into the filter box to find the relevant settings.

Firefox about:config window

Firefox tab preview options

There are three options available to be turned on:

This option adds an extra button to the right hand end of the tab bar which pops up a list of tabs with previews and a search box.
The ctrlTab option changes <CTRL>+<TAB> behaviour to use a style new tab preview screen when you have 3 or more tabs open.
The taskbar option enables Windows 7 taskbar tab previews.

To enable any of the options simply double click on it and the value will change to true. Additionally the line will be made bold to indicate that the value has been changed from it’s default setting.

How to Find the total size of all the files in a directory

On Linux systems the command du can provide you with information about file sizes in directories.

Usually I use a command like this

du -hs


du -h --max-depth=1

to produce a quick total of the file sizes in the current directory or first level subdirectories respectively.

This is also really handy for doing quick size comparisons when copying files around, however recently I hit a problem when copying files between an old ext3 formatted disk and a new ext4 formatted one that I couldn’t compare totals and get a reliable figure to compare between the two directories.

So this is what I ended up using:

find . -type f -printf %s"\n" | perl -nale '$sum+=$F[0]; print $sum if eof'

The crucial element to this is that it only totals regular files and ignores directories (and other objects like pipes and symlinks). Without the -type f option this produces the same output as du -bs which gives a single byte size count for everything in the current directory. Also of note is that this uses perl to calculate the total rather than awk as most other similar examples use, this is because I found that awk wants to convert everything to a float when the numbers get large.

Video for every browser

The latest browser releases from most major players (except Microsoft of course) now support the new HTML 5 video tag, including Firefox 3.5 and Safari 3&4 which means that video just works without requiring a plugin. Of course not everyone is running these browsers (yet) so what is required is a neat way of using these new features where possible and yet gracefully fall back to using Flash, Quicktime or Windows Media in the event the features are not available.

Ideally of course you want all this to happen without browser sniffing or other such nastiness that will just store up problems for the future. Well the good news is that all this is possible using HTML without any Javascript. How? Check out Kroc Camen’s Video For Everybody page for all the gory details.

Here is a working example

Windows Live Messenger 2009 on XP 64

On my laptop I have been running XP 64 bit edition for some time, by and large this presents no problem and allows me to successfully use all of the 4G of memory installed. However every now and then I come up against the odd road block because it is something of a second class citizen in terms of the support it receives from Microsoft and other vendors.

A good example of this is that when trying to install the latest release of Windows Live Messenger (because it supports multiple sign-ins, at last) I discovered that the installer and web site say it is only supported on XP 32bit. However it turns out that the only bit that is really not supported is the Windows Live Essentials installer that tries to ram all the other Windows Live / MSN features down your throat.

In short you can download the various cab files required for each component and install them by hand, instructions and links to the components are here. Hurrah!

Fixed vyatta-quagga package

I have built a copy of the latest vyatta-quagga package from the git repositories which includes the fix for the BGP issue with 32bit ASNs discussed here.

You can download my copy of the package here:


Note that this hasn’t received exhaustive testing by me but it does apply cleanly to my VC 4.1.4 boxes, appears to be working OK and looks to have resolved the issue.

The version above should only be used by users of VC5 (islavista), I have also prepared a version for VC4 (hollywood) using git-cherry-pick 6bbd6d283c4fcf5870bb10af9f8bd6e562682cfc here:


**Further UPDATE**
Well it looks as though the problem route is back, but I am pleased to report that our routers running the patched code are working fine.

Also, in case anyone needs to know, just download the patch file onto your vyatta router and then run the following command to install:

sudo dpkg -i /path/to/filename.deb


Well I have pretty much got my blog into decent shape and I am very happy with how it has turned out.

For the curious I am using WordPress with the Atahualpa theme, and I can heartily recommend this combination. It is very approachable and yet extremely flexible, so I have been able to get a look and feel that I am happy with really quickly.

I should also mention that the picture at the top of the site came from the fantastic stock.xchng site which provides some great quality free stock photographs.

Finally I have it all running on bluehost who provide good value hosting.