Tag: Firefox

Free Secure Instant Reliable Skype Alternative

Update (150922): less than 24 hours after publishing this post was published confirming that the very next release of Firefox (version 41) will have the key missing ingredient of instant messanging (IM) or text chat built into the Firefox Hello! part of the browser.  This is huge news and great news.  Read on!

Skype Down.  Good.  ‘Bout time a Fire is Lit Under Our Butts

With Skype being down again and having foolishly made the mistake of relying on a product owned by Microsoft [palm smashes forehead] I decided to get busy and find a good solution to share with the world that is really an awesome alternative.


Firefox Hello! by the makers of the world famous Firefox browser and Thunderbird email client.

Download it Without Google Play

First of all, I had no idea that Hello! worked on an android device.  It does.  However, I’m not connected to anything Google (ie. Google play) so I needed to be able to download it on my isolated mobile.  Good news.  It worked although for some reason Firefox made it hard to find the link to do so (likely because they don’t want people having to manually update their browser on their phone).  Anyway, point here is that if you are wise you should download and install your apps away from google to protect your information and private life.  Here is the alternative .apk download link for the most recent Firefox browser for Android.  Otherwise, you can easily and foolishly go and connect to google and get it through ‘play’ while they play with your privacy parts.

Once Firefox browser is installed on your mobile device (or on any device you plan to use) the process is easy.  Just click the link that was sent to you (from a laptop/desktop for now) and make sure you open the link with Firefox (if you have another browser installed).  It works. And it works pretty dang awesome, too!

How to start a conversation from Firefox Android

Honestly, I don’t know how to do this.  There is probably a way but I can’t find anything built into the browser that makes this possible, or easy.  So, for now, start the conversation on a regular desktop/laptop browser and send it to the mobile device.

There you go.  You are now having a high quality video and audio chat with anyone on any kind of computer and you are doing so *much* more privately than via Skype.

Some challenges to be overcome

  1. there is currently no text chat feature (believe it or not) or file sharing, but I have seen online that it’s nearly ready.  Hang in there.  It’s worth the wait.
  2. It seems Firefox browser is not working on the ubuntu phone.  Wait… maybe it is now (I’m out of the loop).  Someone try this bad boy out and let me know if a video/audio Firefox Hello! chat works, please.   I was guessing this didn’t develop as fast because Mozilla was trying to make their own mobile OS….
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How to Easily Take Website Pages to Go with Built in Ubuntu Features

Want to read an article later and not use your data plan? Going somewhere and want to look at a website page without worrying about an internet connection?  Can’t seem to find the time to read an article in the near future but worry the article might be gone when you get around to reading it?  If you are using Ubuntu, you’re already set up for an ultra simple solution to grab ‘n’ go websites.

In my case, I just wanted to take a bunch of articles and read them on my tablet or netbook up at my parents cabin where the internet is either spotty or notty.  At first I started downloading Firefox add-ons and this and that but it turns out the most simple and effective solution was sitting there ready to go: the ‘print to file’ option when you print *anything* in Ubuntu.  Ubuntu, because it’s just plain awesome out of the box, comes with the ability to print anything to PDF.  So, the solution is this simple:

1. Go to the website you want to have as a PDF

2. Choose to print the page (I use the control + P buttons because it’s rocket fast)

3. Choose ‘print to file’ option

4. KEY STEP!! Rename the file now.  It defaults to some ‘mozilla’ file name and will remember your last file name so every time you save a new article/page you have to remember to change the name or they will all end up in your last folder with the same name.  Makes for an annoying time.  NOTE: When you rename the file, do *not* erase the final .pdf tag or the file might have issues.


5. Change the directory where you want it to go.  Customize this exactly by using the ‘other’ option in the dropdown list as in the following image:
That’s it. Your file will be waiting for you in that directory and then all you have to do is get the file to your other device.  In my case I just email it to my tablet, or use a usb stick and transfer it around from devices.  In the case of most reasonable devices (Apple products are not reasonable, FYI) you can just plug it right into your computer (ie phone, tablet) and transfer the PDF like that.
One other enhancement I did was add a firefox add-on called ‘image block 2.1’ which can be turned on and off from a simple button at the top right side of firefox.  What this does is block all images from loading on the page which makes, in my opinion, a much better PDF to read later.  Here is a screenshot of the benefit.  The one on the left is without using the image blocker and the one on the right is using it.

Hope that helps and keep on stopping the suffering by sharing Ubuntu!

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