Firefox Browser Cache

For web development you will want the cache in the Mozilla Firefox browser to be disabled. Otherwise you will see not immediately see your changes properly. It’s easy to change the cache behavior as you can see in the following:

  1. Open Firefox.
  2. Open the address about:config instead of a website’s URL and confirm the warning.
  3. In the search field that appears (“Search preference name”) enter “cache” or another part of “browser.cache.check_doc_frequency“.
  4. Find the line that reads “browser.cache.check_doc_frequency“, click on the value or the pen icon, and enter “1” as a value. The value will be save as soon as you hit “Enter” or click the “ icon.
  5. That’s it. Enjoy browsing without any cache obstruction by Firefox.

You can read up on all cache settings in the Mozilla’s Knowledge Base.

All-in-One Messengers

Problem statement: I have lots of different (communication-related) apps that I use. And each has its own client. That is a true mess on my (Windows) computer.

Solution: A messaging browser. I have been using one of those before, but not in a while. So which is it going be? Rambox!

Why Rambox and not something else? Because Rambox supports a ton of services (tbh, the others do too), it has no limit on how many services I configure (Franz let me only configure 3 for free and I am not willing to pay EUR 2.99 month to get 6), it is actively developed (All-in-One Messenger‘s development seems to have stalled), and it is fast (Ferdi was slower). Oh and Rambox is cross-platform, too.

Which apps are we talking about? In my case we are mainly talking about WhatsApp, Threema Instagram (the full web client), Instagram Direct (the Insta messaging only), Pixelfed, Mastodon, Slack and Facebook Messenger.

Preventing Chrome, Firefox and Edge to react to media keys

Are you getting annoyed by the fact that the music and videos are controlled by the media keys of your keyboard or mouse as well? I am often listening to the music streaming service of my choice and want only that to react to the media keys; not some random website embed. And apparently there is a solution that you can find in various places on the Internet.

Careful! This feature is actually labelled “experimental” for the browsers listed. In my experience it is safe to use though.

For Firefox: Open about:config and set media.hardwaremediakeys.enabled to false. This works as of version 81.0.1.

For Chrome/Chromium/Vivaldi (Chromium-based): Open chrome://flags/#global-media-controls and set #hardware-media-key-handling to disabled. Please note that this feature is experimental and some report that it has even been removed in Chrome 85, though it is still there in Vivaldi as of version 85.0.4183.123.

For Edge: Open edge://flags/#global-media-controls and set #global-media-controls to disabled. Then restart Edge. This is for the newish Chromium-based version of Edge (85.0.564.70)., which is why it is so similar to the Chromium-type browsers above.

How to customize your WordPress theme footer…

I thought I could replace the text in the footer via a function, but maybe that is not possible for the Poseidon theme. I had something with remove_action and such, but it did not work before I lost my patience. But ofc there is something you can always do when using WordPress: Override the footer.php file via your child theme (you are not trying to mess up the original theme, are you?!).

(Step 1) Copy the footer.php from wp-content/themes/poseidon to your child themes directory on the webserver.

(Step 2) Remove or comment out the line that contains the following:

<?php do_action( 'poseidon_footer_text' ); ?>

(Step 3) Insert your text in its place inside the div that surrounds it.

(Result) The result should look something like this:

Copyright Jo &middot Theme by <span class="credit-link"><a href="https://themezee.com/themes/poseidon/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">ThemeZee</a></span>.

And that’s it. While this is for the Poseidon theme, you can easily adapt this for your own theme. Copy the footer.php to your child theme, edit the relevant parts and enjoy :-)

Stay away from Unsplash, Pexels and Co. – or not?

Personally, I like the idea of people sharing their pictures with the world through picture sharing platforms. Why not? Got a cool picture of a deer? Don’t want money for that? That’s great. Took a wonderful photo of a crowd watching fireworks? Go share, if you want. I think that’s awesome.

However, when you are on the other side – not being the creator, but the user of such content – you will face a problem… How do you know that the person who’s uploaded that picture really has the rights to give you permission to use the picture as you would like to? Simply put: often, you don’t.

This post has been inspired by the question where I could find pictures for my blog to use (take them myself vs. get them elsewhere, etc.). In the process I found a post by max2-consulting, who warn about the problems with free photo services. While they certainly have their own interests as a photo agency in mind, it is worth a read. They also link to a great article by Robert Kneschke, a photo producer, giving a great overview of how Unsplash has evolved and works (with references).
Update (December 17, 2020): Henrik Heigl has written something quite interesting about that too.

That’s where platforms like Unsplash and Pexels, but sadly also Creative Commons (which is one of the greatest projects imo), often stand. They have the uploader state that they are permitted to upload that picture. So far so good. But they never really check whether that uploader is a fake person, giving a fake email address or one that they will delete right after, and what not.

I am not talking about the corporate accounts, and how such platforms are funded (you will usually not see any money, but most of those platforms will still make millions a year through other means), how the platforms become really protective of “their” pictures (which have not even been taken or paid by them), or how it may be unfair that creators are buying expensive equipment, spend lots of time and then are expected to give every pictures away for free. I am solely talking about the risks of using pictures from such platforms.

There have been too many cases where people would receive a takedown notice with costs that go in the hundreds or thousands of Euros, because they thought they had used a free picture and after all just some random person unrightfully had uploaded and claimed that picture. Because it is so easy.

That’s where established, paid platforms come in. They will usually guarantee that the picture you buy (for a few Euros) have been properly licensed and will deal with potential copyright claims. They protect you from unpleasant surprises that way. Even for your personal blog.

So where does this (admittedly short and probably even shallow collection of thoughts) leave us?

  • Only use content from platforms, people, and what not, which you trust. This might include triple-checking whether the creator’s info on the platform you use seems legit.
  • Do not pretend that you are a small fish and nobody will care. They will find your blog and they will have you pay.
  • Help nurture the spirit of giving and share some of your creations with the world. You could publish on your blog, for example, and then upload to one of those platforms to give people the possibility to verify who the creator is; and that you have indeed granted the rights to use to them.
  • Don’t despair. Don’t panic. You’ll find the pictures you need. But maybe not in the place you expected to find them in.

Update (December 17, 2020): I will keep a list of Unsplash publishers here that seem trustworthy as I come across them.

Seemingly trustworthy Unsplash publishers (as I come across them, updated as of December 17, 2020):

Disable web access for Windows Search

Microsoft knows what you search for now. Okay, that is not entirely true. They knew in the past too, if you did not disable web results for the Windows Search box on Windows 10 (the little search field you get from the task bar or the start menu depending on your settings).

But here is what’s new: There is no setting in Windows 10 anymore that lets you decide whether you would like to share your search with Bing aka Microsoft or not. Whatever sensitive data you search for on your PC drive, that search request will also be sent to Microsoft.

However, there are smart people out there who find ways to prevent this. And the remaining one (if your are not a Windows 10 Enterprise user) is: Use the Windows firewall to prevent this. GHacks describes the firewall solution to this Windows Search privacy breach in a long-standing, but now updated post with screenshots. It is really simple! Even for those who think that they are not Windows experts :-)

Working on a new blog

Originally I only wanted to put some new content in. And then I found myself trying out new things. Like a new theme. The new theme (Poseidon by ThemeZee) is much more simplistic than the old one (Enfold by Kriesi.at). But I got tired of the old one’s backend. And there’s been trouble with updates sometimes. I guess they tried creating a theme that would fit any purpose; and kind of succeeded in that. But being all-encompassing can turn out to be a problem sometimes. For me it did. So I went with a new theme.

I also had a look at all the other stuff as well, though. Plugins mainly. And despite the fact that my semi self-hosted webserver is not the fastest apparently, I like where it’s going. I hope, you do too. You are along on the ride now from unfinished look to something nice in the future; and beyond ;-)