Firefox Tricked Out (and firewalled ports)

Sunday, May 7th, 2006 at 3:31 pm | 7,199 views | trackback url
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I’ve been a long-time Mozilla user. I love the interface, I love the fonting, I love the extensions, and in general, it loaded and ran faster than Firefox.

Firefox Logo

But I’ve now switched over to Firefox for all of my browsing. I have a ton of extensions loaded in it to make it useful for my day’s work (which is to say, my most-used tool, next to email and gcc).

Here’s a list of the extensions I’m currently using in my Firefox build (you can see how I have it tricked out with all of my theming and extensions over here):

  • Sage, a really slick and fast rss aggregator/reader for Firefox. It docks on the sidebar and is visible with a simple Alt-S keystroke. Very nice, and easy for me to catch up on some quick headlines when I need to.
  • AdBlock Plus with the AdBlock Filterset G Updater to stop the flood of useless ads from coming at me. I did have to add one small rule for Google’s ads, because I do actually like the recommendations they provide from time to time, and it helps out sites I visit with a little revenue. That regex looks like this:
    @@*.googlesyndication.com/*
  • Web Developer, a very useful and slick toolbar/menu driven suite that allows me to do all kinds of things to websites I’m viewing, including validation, showing where their css classes are, manipulating forms, cookies, images, and dozens of other features. Hands-down, the most-useful extension I have as a developer/tweaker of web content.
  • PrefBar, another powerful extension I use every single day. This one allows me to change the capabilities of my browser with a simple click of a checkbox. Want Java enabled? Click. Sick of popups? Click. I have Colors, Images, Javascript, Java, Flash, Popups, Proxies, Pipelining, Referers, Cache on my bar. Its completely customizable, and very well-done.
  • SwitchProxy lets me manage and switch between multiple proxy configurations quickly and easily. I can also use it as an anonymizer to protect my system from prying eyes. I have Squid, Squid + Privoxy, Privoxy + Tor and i2p enabled in my configuration at the moment. Quick and easy, and one status-bar dropdown lets me change from one to another.
  • FasterFox gives me a little boost by auto-configuring some parameters for faster browsing, such as link prefetching, pipelining, DNS cache, paint delay, and others.
  • ForecastFox, weather.. in my status bar. I’ve changed the icons a bit with a separate icon pack called Lansing, which is nice adn small and out of the way. Minimal is the way to go on my toolbars and status bars.
  • Linky lets me open or download all or selected links in a page, image links and even web addresses found in the text in separate or different tabs or windows. A simple right-click on any link or web address, and away I go.
  • Google PageRank Status gives me a quick overview of the PR of a site in the current view. This is useful as I do a lot of web work, and knowing what kind of sites get a decent or poor PR is useful information.
  • SearchStatus is another SEO toolbar for Firefox, which I use quite a bit. With this extension, I can see a site’s Google PageRank, Google Category, Alexa popularity ranking, Alexa incoming links, Alexa related links and backward links from Google, Yahoo! and MSN, and others. Beautiful and easy. It sits quietly in the status bar and out of the way until I need it.
  • FireBug is another great web developer extension, which shows me exactly how pages are failing when they error out. I can step into the code via the DOM, and see exactly what went wrong. OTHER pages of course, my pages never have troubles…
  • Google Advanced Operations Toolbar uncovers the often-cryptic syntax that Google uses to search in more detail to find information. Need to know how to use the ‘site:’ syntax? Just use this toolbar and it’ll do it all for you. Quick, easy, simple.
  • DownThemAll! is a downloader for Firefox. With this, I can right-click a page of links, and specify by a wildcard or any of the preloaded templates, which links on the page I want to download. Want to download all of the Linux 2.6 kernels matching a specific version? This can do it in one click. Very well-done, slick, and useful when you want to download a lot of links from one particular page.
  • TamperData gives me the power to monkey with the form data being received or sent to servers. Want to malform that POST request? TamperData can do it. Need to send more parameters in with that form submission? This extension can do it. You can trace and time http responses and requests, validate your web applications against security issues by stuffing garbage into POSTs, and more.
  • RankQuest SEO Toolbar, yet another SEO tool I use quite a bit. This one gives me access to over 25 different SEO tools to check, test, and qualify websites against their SEO health.
  • HyperWords is probably the second-slickest extension I have. I can highlight any word or series of words on a page, and a menu will pop up allowing me to search major search engines for those words, or look them up on dictionary and reference sites, Wikipedia, stock exchange, IMDB and dozens of others. I can blog about the highlighted words, map them, translate them, and a truckload of other options. AMAZING extension.
  • Free eBook Search lets me search the highlighted text for ebooks on Free eBook Zone. I can search using the Book Title, ISBN (10 Digit), Description, Book Author and even the ebook backward link.
  • CacheView gives me the power to see a site’s cached copy through Google’s(tm) Cache, Coral Distribution Network‘s Cache, Wayback Machine‘s Cache, Dot Cache, and Tech Guru’s Cache of the current tab open via right-click.
  • Live HTTPHeaders shows me the actual headers being passed in every request of a page or content. Want to make sure those headers in your web application are showing accurate data? This will do that for you.

These are the extensions I use every day, in my browser. Without them, I’d be spending a LOT more time hunting down links, sites, creating Javascriptlets, and lots of other tools. You can see what the whole extension list looks like in this screenshot.

As I mentioned, I tend to use Firefox with a lot of proxies (Squid, Tor, Privoxy, i2p and others). This generally means poking at non-standard ports. Until recently, this hasn’t been a problem for me..

But today, I noticed I can’t get to “non-standard” ports under 1024 anymore, with the current 1.5.0.3 version of Firefox.

To see this in action, point Firefox to http://www.example.com:72 and see what you get. In my case, I see:

This address is restricted
This address uses a network port which is normally used for purposes other than Web browsing. Firefox has canceled the request for your protection.

But there’s a way around it! Mozilla has Port Blocking enabled by default.

To enable some ports in Firefox, simply do the following in your user.js file

user_pref(“network.security.ports.banned.override”, “72,73,74”);

To disable ports, use this construct:

user_pref(“network.security.ports.banned”, “81,90”);

For an easier way, type ‘about:config‘ in your browser’s URL field, and you will see all of the tunable settings that Firefox has to offer.

Within these settings, you can create value that will allow or disallow these ports. Follow these steps:

  1. In the list of values provided, right-click any line and choose “New -> String”
  2. A dialog box will pop up asking for the name. Type ‘network.security.ports.banned.override’ into this box and hit enter to save the value. Do not include the single-quotes when you add this name.
  3. A second box will pop up. Type each port number you need to use, separated by commas, into this box, for example ‘72,73’ (again, do not include the single quotes)
  4. Click on “Ok” to confirm and save these values.

Now you should be able to access these ports on the servers that require them.

Perhaps this little “feature” is there to protect Windows users from being exploited by malware or phishing attacks, but it certainly got in the way of my daily use of Firefox when I realized it.

Last Modified: Sunday, May 7th, 2006 @ 15:31

5 Responses to “Firefox Tricked Out (and firewalled ports)”

  1. Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little said on

    All well and good, but I’m not finding a “network.security.ports.banned.override” key in about:config at all! I’m using Firefox 1.5.0.6.

  2. As mentioned in the entry, you have to manually CREATE that item. Read the details above..

  3. Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little said on

    Wow, I totally missed that my first read-thru. Apparently frustration with computerized objects really does in my reading comprehension.

    Your patience and your swift response are appreciated. And I now have both a user.js file in my profile directory and a “network.security.ports.banned.override” showing up in my about:config.

  4. Frode Hegland said on

    Hi.
    Thanks for mentioning Hyperwords™!

    It’s gotten slicker….

    We just released version 1.5 which adds a powerful Toolbar function.

    This new version also addresses the issue of the menu popping up to frequently (which could make it a little annoying) by adding new Preferences so you can specify exactly how it should work.

    In a month’s time version 2.0 will be launched, featuring full user customizability, as well as Microsoft Internet Explorer support.

    Get this new version as well as more information at http://www.hyperwords.net

    1.5 is borne out of user feedback and we’d be very grateful for any further thoughts and perspectives or questions. Please contact me via email ‘frode ‘at’ hyperwords.net’.

    Frode Hegland
    Project Director
    The Hyperwords Company
    http://www.hyperwords.net

  5. The single-most annoying feature of Hyperwords, is how it cripples Google searches; the most widely-used feature of the extension.

    I have to go into the jar file and “correct” the query string so I am able to use Images, Froogle and other features as Google allows.

    The branded (braindead?) HyperWords page has none of these features and its even MORE work to re-search the same query in the “normal” Google interface to gain them back.

    Hopefully this can be corrected in a future release.


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