Article update: Firefox Tweaks and Fixes and Styles and Things

I updated Firefox Tweaks and Fixes and Styles and Things with a section on how to enlarge the Firefox user interface (UI) on small displays. In my case i use a laptop with a 17 in., 1080p display and by default everything is way too small. Making the Firefox UI and web pages look bigger can be a little tricky and cause unwanted side effects however. In the article i offer a tip which seems to be the best way to accomplish this with the least amount of problems. The tip also includes information for making the UI for Firefox’s developer tools bigger.

Thunderbird, IMAP and a global inbox?

One of the things that nags me with Thunderbird is that there is no easy way to achieve a proper global inbox if you have multiple IMAP accounts. If you use the POP protocol, no problem, but IMAP is another story. One common “solution” is View -> Folders -> Unified and i think the result sucks because it just makes more of a mess of how mail folders are displayed, especially when you have multiple IMAP accounts.

While i think a true unified inbox for IMAP accounts may be in the Thunderbird pipeline, you can achieve something reasonably close with a simple message filter in the interim. Why i didn’t realize this sooner, i don’t know, because i’ve been fighting with this for quite a while.

Go to ‘Tools’ -> ‘Message Filters’ and select your first IMAP account. Create a new filter and give it a name, then select to run it when getting new mail and after junk filtering. Make sure to select the ‘Match all messages’ option and then in the actions area, set it up to ‘Move message to’ and ‘Inbox on Local Folders’. Done. Do the same with the rest of your accounts.

Now when you collapse the IMAP accounts in the folder view pane, Thunderbird will just display the names of the accounts followed by the normal Local Folders tree without all the extra garbage.

Thunderbird unified IMAP

Anything else you want to move to the Local Folders tree, such as Drafts, etc., you can do from the account settings.

Manjaro takes 1st place on Distrowatch

Yeah yeah, i’m late to the party, but i just now figured out that Manjaro Linux has captured the number one spot on Distrowatch, displacing Linux Mint. This happened some time within the last few months apparently.

If you’re new to Linux, or want to remove the Windows virus, read on, else this could be about as interesting watching ice melt.

I find Manjaro’s move to top dog status interesting considering it’s based on Arch Linux which is notorious for being one of the more difficult flavors of Linux to install, configure and use. Manjaro however is specifically designed to be an easy-to-use Arch, complete with a capable graphical installer, package manager and software.

I started with Linux Mint a few years ago and i recommend it to anyone wanting to free themselves from the death grip of Microsoft. It’s simple to install, feature rich and is probably one of the most polished and easiest to use distributions for newcomers. I became a bit frustrated with it because it’s a ‘point’ release, meaning you have to re-install it when a new version hits the streets which, as i recall, was about every six months. Plus it’s based on the LTS (long term support) version of Ubuntu which, in turn, is based on Debian. What that means is that the software in the Mint repository is often kinda old, forcing many to seek out lots of ‘untrusted’ PPAs, or figure out how to compile packages from source code.

Manjaro, on the other hand, is a rolling release, same as Arch, meaning you install it once and keep applying updates for ever more, in theory. Manjaro has it’s own repository of considerable size, but one can also enable the AUR (Arch User Repository) which is also quite large (and can also get you in quite a bit of trouble).

Arch is pretty cutting edge and updates come fast and hard and can sometimes break the system. Manjaro receives a lot of updates too, many of which are quite large and affect somewhere around 100 packages at a shot, but the nice folks that work on the project alleviate some of the scariness by kicking the tires before turning packages loose.

I don’t know that Manjaro is suitable for beginners, but it is definitely an attractive distribution. I’ve been using it for a few months and so far haven’t had any major problems. If you’re new to Linux and want to try it, just be sure to keep your data safe and learn first how to recover a busted system in the event something does explode, as has happened in the past.

Content updates, 29-Nov-2018

The following new articles were added:

Ethan Huff and the Green Swastika : Ethan, who writes for Natural News, is an idiot regarding Germany’s role in WW2, the same as Mike “The Health Ranger” Adams is, the founder (or so i assume) of NN. He recently ‘penned’ an article titled The Green Swastika: Environmentalism was a pillar of the Third Reich, the content of which is far more absurd than its absurd title reveals. Ethan gets nearly everything wrong and provably so, and, as usual, i pull fewer than zero punches when addressing such mindless ignorance.

Resources for research : This is just a list of web resources which i’ve used for researching various stuff that i write about. I though i’d share it. Cause i’m like that.

VPS host review: Pride Tech Design : This website is currently hosted by Pride Tech and i wanted to write a review about their service in order to con everyone into signing up with them so i can start raking in piles of kickback cash from Simba at PTD. Either that, or i’ve written a reasonably neutral review of possibly one of the best VPS server hosts on this side of the Milky Way that i’m aware of. You decide.

The following articles were updated:

How to access RSS feeds for websites that don’t advertise one : Some added information and polishing.

Alternative Search Engines That Respect Your Privacy : unbubble.eu was added to the list and the article underwent the application of some polish (and likely the correction of spellin’ errors).

Take the Jewish Holocaust Quiz! : The quiz was handled by a plugin that hasn’t been updated in years and so i dropped it and stuck the quiz on a regular page. It has also been updated.

A personal perspective: From Windows to Linux to Windows to Linux to… : I re-titled the article and applied some polish.

Firefox Search Engine Cautions, Recommendations : This article underwent some minor changes and an updated search.json.mozlz4 file for Firefox was uploaded.

Firefox Extensions – My Picks : I dumped all of the legacy (XUL) add-ons, swapped out some add-ons with other ones and added several new add-ons to the additional functionality list.

How to access RSS feeds for websites that don’t advertise one

The popularity of RSS/ATOM news feeds seems to be declining, so much so that Mozilla will apparently stop supporting RSS and Live Bookmarks around version 64 of its Firefox web browser. I find the lack of interest in news feeds a little odd at a time when more people seem to be turning to the World Wide Web for their news. In my case i watch roughly 100 websites nearly every day and this would hardly be possible without RSS/ATOM feeds and a news feed reader which automatically collects all of the latest headlines and article excerpts from all of these websites and presents it a unified way. I’ve never timed it, but i would guess that even if i checked my feeds only once each day, it probably wouldn’t consume more than an hour of my time to scan all of the headlines for all of the websites i watch, whereas if i had to manually visit each website, it might take half a day. And no, social media is not an alternative to news feeds, especially when mega-corporations like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Reddit, etc., are purging, censoring and shadow banning many high quality people and organizations from their platforms as the U.S. descends into the realm of the radical left/communist ideology.

But i digress.

To read news feeds you’ll need a feed reader. You can find various add-ons for Firefox at the Mozilla add-ons website while, for other browsers, you’ll have to check your respective repository. If you would rather use dedicated software instead of a browser extension, check out the article 14 Best RSS Feed Readers for Linux in 2018.

With our feed reader in hand, we should be able to access any RSS or ATOM news feed as long as the publishing platform generates one, regardless of whether the software or the webmaster made the location of the feed obvious. Following are some tips to pull feeds from various platforms.

add-ons that auto-detect news feeds or page updates

If you use Firefox, check out these two add-ons:

  • YouTube Feeds by ‘shgysk8zer0’ will auto-detect the news feed address for YouTube channels
  • Awesome RSS by ‘shgysk8zer0’ will restore Firefox’s ability to detect news feeds, but only for platforms that tell the browser where to find them (it won’t work for sites like YouTube)
  • Update Scanner by ‘sneakypete81’ is a nice utility that will check a webpage for updates by comparing the current the page to a stored snapshot of it which is handy when a site doesn’t generate a news feed

how to find YouTube feeds

Although YouTube generates news feeds for user channels, they apparently hide this feature from us. The easiest way to find channel feeds is by using the YouTube Feeds add-on mentioned prior, but if you don’t want to install an extension, then creating the feed URL manuallyis easy enough. Using Carey Wedler’s YouTube channel as an example, preform the following steps:

  1. Click on any of Carey’s videos to load the video page.
  2. On the video page, mouse over the name of the channel author below the video (in this case ‘Carey Wedler’) and then right-click on her name and and select ‘Copy Link Location’ (or similar) from your context menu. Paste that URL somewhere, such as a text editor. In this case the URL is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCs84giQmEVI8NXXg78Fvk2g
  3. It is the channel ID that we need, so delete everything up to and including the last slash which in this case leaves us with UCs84giQmEVI8NXXg78Fvk2g
  4. Using the template https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id= add Carey’s channel ID after the ‘=’ character and this will give us the URL of Carey’s news feed for her YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UCs84giQmEVI8NXXg78Fvk2g

how to find BitChute feeds

Like YouTube, BitChute also does not make their news feeds for channel authors easily accessible, but they are easy to build. Here we will use The Corbett Report BitChute channel as our example:

  1. On the channel page, copy the URL in your browser address bar, in this case https://www.bitchute.com/channel/corbettreport/
  2. The channel ID and its trailing slash is what we need which in this case is corbettreport/
  3. Using the following template, paste the channel ID after https://www.bitchute.com/feeds/rss/channel/ which gives us the feed URL for The Corbett Report BitChute channel: https://www.bitchute.com/feeds/rss/channel/corbettreport/

how to find Vimeo feeds

Vimeo uses a format similar to YouTube. Using the Truthstream Media Vimeo channel as an example, here’s what you need to do:

  1. From the URL in your browsers address bar, copy the user name or numeric channel ID, in this case truthstreammedia
  2. Using the template https://vimeo.com/[CHANNELID]/videos/rss, replace “[CHANNELID]” with the user name or numeric ID, which in this case gives us the Truthstream Media Vimeo feed URL: https://vimeo.com/truthstreammedia/videos/rss. You can also try using another template for pulling the channel feed instead of the user feed. This template here is https://vimeo.com/channels/[CHANNELID]/videos/rss

how to find WordPress feeds

WordPress generates several kinds of feeds by default. How to best access them depends on whether the blog owner has enabled permalinks, but regardless of whether they have or not, WordPress will reveal the proper feed address even if we use the wrong URL format. Try adding any of the following to the root domain of the website:

/?feed=rss /?feed=rss2 /?feed=rdf /?feed=atom

Using this website as an example, i have permalinks enabled and so the URL for my RSS feed is https://12bytes.org/feed, however you can use the format that assumes permalinks are not enabled (https://12bytes.org/?feed=rss) and it will forward you to the same URL.

how to find Squarespace feeds

Read the Squarespace tutorial, Finding your RSS feed URL.

how to find Medium feeds

Read the Medium tutorial, RSS feeds.

how to find Tumblr feeds

Add /rss to the site domain: https://example.tumblr.com/rss

generic methods for accessing feeds

If none of the above apply to the website you’re trying to acquire a news feed for, try these generic methods by adding one of the following to the website’s root domain. You can also try adding a trailing slash to these:

/feed
/rss
/atom
/feed/atom
/?feed=rss
/?feed=atom

For example, the The Bureau of Investigative Journalism website does not seem to offer a link to their news feeds, nor does Firefox detect one, nor do they appear to be running WordPress, but if we simply add /feed after the domain (https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/feed) their publishing platform will forward us to their RSS news feed. We can also add /feed/atom to the domain to pull their ATOM news feed. You can try this little hack with any website, though it obviously will not work if the publishing platform does not produce a feed. Also see the article, Find an RSS Feed URL, from ‘Gloo’.

getting updates from websites that don’t generate feeds

If a website does not produce an RSS/ATOM news feed at all and you don’t want to have to visit it regularly to see if anything new has been posted, then some sort of 3rd party service or browser extension can be utilized. In the case of Firefox there are a few add-ons that can monitor a website for changes, such as Update Scanner. There are also a number of utilities that will help you create news feeds, such as the Feed Creator and FetchRSS.