I’m sure i’m not the first to come across this issue but it had me confused for a little while! The background image on my music blog was not fading correctly into the background colour of the site. This issue only seemed to occur on Firefox (and not every Firefox either…).

The explanation is here! According to Firefox’s documentation,Β it appears there is a “color management” feature which renders these images differently. For some reason this has been set to be the default option from Firefox 3.5. So on Firefox, my background image and the background colour were not matching up.

To change this setting back in Firefox:

  1. Type in about:config into the address bar
  2. Find “gfx.color_management.mode”
  3. Change the value from 2 to 0.
  4. Restart Firefox

Before:

With the gfx.color_management.mode still set to 2 (click to see full image)

After:

With the gfx.color_management.mode set to 0 (click to see full image)

How do I fix images so that they display correctly in Firefox 3.5+?

It looks like it might be a PNG issue in Firefox. After a bit of Googling, I came across the following steps:

  1. Download TweakPNG from here:Β http://entropymine.com/jason/tweakpng/
  2. Run it and open your image
  3. Delete the lines which start with gAMA, cHRM, iCCP and sRGB (these seem to be the chunks of colour profiles which mess up in Firefox)
  4. Save and replace your image on your site.

Wondering where to go to disable Flash in your browser? I thought I’d put together this list as a bit of a reference both for myself and for anyone else who needs it πŸ™‚

Firefox 3

Tools > Add-ons > Find Shockwave Flash and click Disable

IE6

Tools > Manage Add-ons > Find Shockwave Flash Object > Click the Disable radio button on the bottom left

Then refresh any pages you are viewing (Press Ctrl + F5 if it doesn’t appear to have disabled Flash).

IE7

Tools > Manage Add-ons > Enable or Disable Add-ons > Find Shockwave Flash Object > Click the Disable radio button on the bottom left

Then refresh any pages you are viewing if IE7 doesn’t do this for you (Press Ctrl + F5 if it still doesn’t appear to have disabled Flash).

IE8

Tools > Manage Add-ons > Make sure the “Toolbars and Extensions” button is selected on the left > Find Shockwave Flash Object > Click the Disable button on the bottom right

Then refresh any pages you are viewing (Press Ctrl + F5 if it doesn’t appear to have disabled Flash).

Chrome

Go to chrome://plugins/ in your address bar

Find Shockwave Flash and click the Disable link underneath it (the item should go grey).

After this it seems like you need to close any tabs you want flash to be disabled in and then go to the site again in a new tab.

Opera

It seems like in Opera if you’re wanting to keep things simple, you can only disable all plugins, not just one:

Tools > Quick Preferences > Untick “Enable Plugins”

Refresh the page if the effects don’t take effect straight away.

You can disable a certain plugin using the plugin ignore file if it’s something you want to make permanent. To do that go to opera:config#Network|PluginIgnoreFile in your address bar. Find the file on your filesystem that it shows you and open it in notepad or something along those lines to edit it.

Safari for Windows

It seems like in Safari (just like Opera) if you’re wanting to keep things simple, you can only disable all plugins, not just one:

Edit > Preferences > Security tab > Untick “Enable Plugins”

Ever wanted to change the way your favourite website looked? Sick of Facebook being blue? Sick of the one part of a site you use being so small on the page while all that other stuff you never look at takes up all your window space? Want to play hilarious pranks on your friends by changing the way sites appear to them? If so, read on.

What you’ll need

To change styles on websites using Firefox, you’ll need the following:

  • Firefox (duh.)
  • Stylish – The Firefox extension which makes all of this possible
  • Either a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS
  • A basic knowledge of finding elements on a website (do you know what a div is?). I use the Firebug extension for Firefox to find which styles are on different elements I want to change.

Once you have the above prerequisites you can move onto the steps below. If you don’t know HTML or CSS and can’t be bothered learning, you can always use other people’s ready made styles.

How to restyle a website your way!

In my example, we’re going to be changing the boring blue bar on the top of Facebook.

  1. Go to the website you’d like to change in Firefox.
  2. Get to the page on the site with the element you’d like to change (e.g. if you’re looking to change the blue bar in facebook, login first so that you can see the blue bar).
  3. Find the icon at the bottom right of your Firefox window.
  4. Click on it, go to “Write New Style”, then to “For thesiteyouwanttochange.com”. Click that.
  5. A new window will open which is where you can put your CSS styles. You insert them in the space between @-moz-document domain(“facebook.com”) { and } as i’ve highlighted in the screenshot below:
  6. So basically, you find what you want to change on the site and put those styles in there. You can click the “Preview” button to see the results. If styles aren’t appearing, try using !important after them to ensure they override the website’s styles. The styles I used for my Facebook example will be at the end of this post πŸ™‚
  7. When you’re done. Click Save.
  8. You might need to make your own images (if you’re that dedicated to your changes), for example I had to create my own Facebook coloured images so that they’d match the new coloured background:
  9. From this point on, as long as you have Stylish enabled on your Firefox, you’ll have your new style in use instead:

    Click for the full image

My sample Facebook bar change code

With my styling changes, I basically went through the elements in Facebook’s top bar and changed the background colours, border colours and link colours. I also had to change the images used in things like the Facebook logo and buttons. The code I used to change the Facebook top bar’s colour was:

@namespace url(http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml);
@-moz-document domain("facebook.com") {
#blueBar {background-color: #ff6600 !important;}
#pageLogo a {background: url('http://www.patrickcatanzariti.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/facebookicons.png') no-repeat -21px 0 #ff6600 !important;}
#jewelCase .jewel {border: none !important;}
.jewelToggler {background-image: url('http://www.patrickcatanzariti.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/facebookicons.png') !important;}
#jewelRequest:hover, #jewelRequest:focus, #jewelRequest:active, #jewelMail:hover, #jewelMail:focus, #jewelMail:active, #jewelNotif:hover, #jewelNotif:focus, #jewelNotif:active {background-color: #ff6600 !important;}
#headNavOut {background-color: #eeeeee !important; border-color: #b3b3b3 !important;}
#pageNav a {color: #aaaaaa !important;}
.uiSearchInput, #navSearch .uiTypeahead, #navSearch .uiTypeahead .wrap {border-color: #b3b3b3 !important;}
#pageNav a:hover, #pageNav a:focus, #pageNav a:active {background-color: #ccc !important;}
}

Using other people’s styles instead
You don’t need to make your own styles if you don’t want to. You can also go to http://userstyles.org/ and download styles other people have made.

Well then Mr Patrick, have you made any styles for userstyles.org yet?
Funny you should mention that. I’ve made a simplified style for Omegle (the bulky interface annoys me). You can find that here: http://userstyles.org/styles/35854.

My user page on userstyles.org is here – http://userstyles.org/users/59925, if I make any future styles, they’ll appear here πŸ™‚

Apologies for the slightly lousy quality of my images, I was using Paint Shop Pro for the screenshots and I think the compression settings were a bit lousy…

About five years ago I found a pretty interesting and different interest – lucid dreaming. After watching Inception, my friends and I got onto the topic of lucid dreaming. After a pretty interesting discussion, they were quite interested in trying it out. I thought that while I could just send them a few links to various sources I used, it would be a lot more useful if I wrote up a summary for them as a bit of a beginners’ run down on the basics. Then I thought it would be a lot more useful if I put it on my blog so that others might also find use out of it. I’m also hoping that writing about it might get me back into it as well so I can start to do it again too! Also, if you haven’t seen Inception – you really need to… it was amazing.

What is lucid dreaming?

Lucid dreaming is dreaming while knowing that you are dreaming.

What is the point of it?

If you can learn to identify when you are dreaming, you can learn to gain a greater sense of clarity and control in your dreams. Imagine a world where everything is completely under your control, you can do whatever you want with no limits and no worries about consequences in real life. You can fly, fight a tiger, eat your favourite foods while gaining no weight, relax on a beach in the sun, meet the girl/guy of your dreams (literally), live out your favourite movie/TV show/book, blow up a mountain using your thoughts, make it rain chocolate, travel back in time, float around space – you can do almost anything. Not only can you do anything but it will feel totally real. Sometimes emotions and senses can even be more vivid in a dream than in reality. It is an amazing experience.

It can help with nightmares (realise you’re in a dream, take control and there’s no nightmare anymore) and you can even use lucid dreams to practice something you’re not so good at (try public speaking, try mentally preparing yourself for a stressful moment by living it out first in your dreams).

How do I do it?
For people who don’t become lucid in their dreams naturally, it takes a lot of practice and focus. When I started lucid dreaming, it took me a few weeks before I finally had one. Even then, they were very short and took time to learn to control. After a few months I lost focus with it all and stopped having them altogether. It takes a lot of work but it’s worth it!

Start a dream journal – Write down and record details your dreams somewhere, get in the habit of remembering as many dreams as you can (what’s the point of lucid dreaming if you don’t remember it in the morning?).

Find yourself some dream signs – Look through your dream journal, are there any common themes? Do you find yourself in the same place in many dreams? Do you see the same person? A common object? These are good dream signs. Keep a record of these and start to focus on whenever these things appear in your life.

Learn to do reality checks – A reality check is something you can do to find out whether you are dreaming or not. Any time you see your dream sign or for any reason think you might be dreaming, you do this reality check. My favourites are:

  • Holding your nose and trying to breathe – if you can still breathe through your nose, you’re dreaming!
  • Look at technology – have a look at your computer, your phone, your alarm clock, are they working like they usually would? Technology often doesn’t work as it does in reality when you’re dreaming.
  • Reread something – look at your alarm clock or a book, look away and then reread it. Has the time/text on the page changed? If so, you’re dreaming!

Stay focused – keep thinking about lucid dreaming, remember to do reality checks, keep reading about it and studying it – keep the idea of lucid dreaming in your mind.

Be prepared – when you do have a lucid dream, what do you plan to do? Have an idea in mind so you’re focused and ready to give it a go.

Learn to stabilise your dreams – it’s likely that in your first few dreams, you’ll be so excited or surprised when you find out you’re dreaming that you wake up. You’ve got to learn to stay in the dream and get things clearer. A few techniques for this are:

  • Spin around – not sure how this works but it does! Spin around on the spot and the dream can get clearer. You can use this technique to go somewhere else as well.
  • Rub your hands together – focus on the feeling of your hands rubbing together and you’ll be drawn back into the dream

There’s so much to learn and so much to say on this topic but I’ll leave it there for now to keep things simple! A few good sites to read if you are interested are: