My Three Favorite Firefox Tab Utilities

As a freelancer, I usually have a lot of tabs open, and by a lot, I mean more than 20. I like to keep my social networking tabs open so I can check my stream occasionally. My main email tab is always open. When researching, I can have up to 10 tabs open at once along with all those previously mentioned.

This was getting very confusing, and deleting them when I was done was getting to be a pain as well. If I wanted to bookmark all my research tabs, well, that was a time-consuming nightmare. I've found a few add-ons that are most helpful in controlling all of this mess.

Multiple Tab Handler

This fixed my problem of closing multiple tabs at once. The way it works is by using your mouse to highlight the tabs you want to work with. Once highlighted, the features include:
  • Close selected tabs
  • Close not-selected tabs
  • Reload selected tabs
  • Duplicate selected tabs
  • Move selected tabs to a new window
  • Bookmark selected tabs
  • Copy URLs/titles+URLs/HTML links for selected tabs to the clipboard
  • Save (download) selected tabs to the local disk

You can also:
  • Close right tabs (my favorite)
  • Close left tabs
  • Close all tabs including the selected tab
  • Close similar tabs (same domain) and exclude the selected tab

You can use ctrl-click or shift-click to select multiple tabs and drag and drop single or multiple selected tabs, which I find very handy.

There are other features I will probably never use, but it's a powerful tool that uses very few resources.

That still left me the problem of too many open tabs, most of them hanging out hidden off the right end of the screen.

Enter my second favorite tab add-on.

Bar Tab Lite X

Once upon a time there was a cool add-on named Bar Tab, but it isn't being updated anymore and sadly, isn't compatible with the new versions of Firefox. However, Bar Tab had much more power than I need. I just need some way to get more tabs per square inch.

Bar Tab Lite X fixes that problem in a jiffy. With this add-on, you can "pin" tabs, which then become only icons on the left side of your tab bar. When you mouse-over them, they tell you exactly which page is tabbed, which is excellent for someone like me who can't always recognize the icons.

I can now keep all my essential tabs open in very little space. You can also highlight and pin multiple tabs, which is terrific for researching to keep all tabs on the bar instead of having to hunt them down.

You don't have to unpin the tab to view the page, but you can unpin it if you want. I use unpinned tabs as dividers or lead tabs for groups of research tabs, but I'm looking for a tab divider add-on as well.

Still, sometimes when I had to open an entire bookmark folder for research, it took up way too much space. I just recently discovered something that may be a solution to that problem.

Tree Style Tabs 

I'm still playing with this one, but it seems valuable. It gathers your tabs into trees (sub-folders in tiers), which is useful if you're opening a whole folder of bookmarks. When researching, it makes it simple to bookmark all the open tabs by putting them into a named tree, then bookmarking the entire tree. This will be something I will probably use a lot.

The only thing I don't like about this is how much space the trees take up on your tab bar. Plus, when you open a tab, it automatically opens as a tree. There must be a setting to fix that. There doesn't seem to be a way to pin the entire tree to get it out of the way. If you pin the tab, it seems to delete the first tab in the group and leave only the other tabs with a new mother. There IS an option to move the tree to a new window, but I dislike having multiple FF windows open. I think that maybe if you're working with multiple bookmarked tabs, it may be better to switch to a left or right display rather than display them on the tab bar to give it more room. There is an option to drag the sidebars closed if you need your full screen.

UPDATE: I removed Tree Style Tabs, because I didn't like it taking up space on the screen on the right or left and the tabs took up too much space on the tab bar because of the little lines added at the end and the spacing inbetween. I tried every setting, and couldn't get it to stop doing this. Plus, if I clicked on a site, then clicked on something else on the site, it changed the tab to a tree which involved verification to close. I also didn't like the 'x' being on the left side of the tab.All-in-all, an annoying add-on that didn't work for me at all. I'm still looking for a bookmarking add-on that lets you bookmark multiple tabs at once.

So these are my current solutions to multiple tabs. I'm also looking at Tile Tabs to solve that problem of storing the tree tabs so they don't use up the whole tab bar. I'll let you know how that goes soon.

More Yahoo Contributor Network Drama

An hour before close of business on Friday, February 8, 2013 many YCN writers got emails saying that some of their beats had been discontinued. Beats didn't pay that much -- from $8 to $10 each article -- but it was steady income for a lot of YCN writers. Plus, beat articles were more likely to be featured, which could lead to some great Page View bonuses.

Home Improvement and Gardening beats are now gone as well as Shine beats. It seems a lot of education and home schooling beats are also gone. So far, health beats have not been taken away, which I don't understand because I never did as well with those as I did with the Home Improvement and Gardening articles.

They say there will be more targeted assignments in the future, but that doesn't help a lot of people if they are keeping the same system. Only those who have time to sit around waiting for assignments to appear will actually be able to pick up those articles. From what we've been seeing of assignments lately, they pay poorly if at all. 

No one knows what the future holds, but I think that maybe all upfront payments will be disappearing from YCN soon. It will be just another place you can write for Page View bonuses, or it will be closed or sold. Closing it would be the most profitable move, since there will be no upkeep cost and they will continue to get advertising profit without having to share it with writers. This seems to be the way most of the content farm sites have gone since Panda and then Penguin slammed into them. They have all this content, but can't really afford to add more or manage it, so they just close down to new submissions and take what money they can make from it. The staff remaining at these sites adds just enough content each month to keep them indexed so they can keep receiving the adsense dollars.

What I'm seeing is people starting multiple niche and micro-niche blogs, sometimes hundreds of them. These are also known as "adsense blogs," and they used to be 20-50 page blogs with static content loaded with keywords. Now they are updated weekly so as to avoid being slapped down by Google's algorithm changes. It won't be long before Google catches up to them too, though.

The only content farm still showing up regularly in search results is eHow, and we all know that they made some deal with the Google devil to keep their rankings, because let's face it, 99% of their content sucks. I used to write for them, and while I tried to turn out good content, I know hundreds of others were just trying to meet the minimum word counts. eHow is a perfect example of how corrupt the internet search system really is. There is no way they are staying on top without something going on behind the scenes.

Of course, Google admitted that Panda was aimed squarely at Associated Content (now YCN) and Suite101, so those two sites will likely never recover.

As for me, I'm in flux right now just trying to line up a couple more eggs for my basket, but I'm doing pretty well with CrowdSource and will continue to learn more about Mechanical Turk and how to make decent money there. Yahoo was a backup site for me at the best. I did make good money there one month, but then it just crashed, so even if I do still contribute there from time to time to keep my foot in the door, they are at the bottom of my list for real income. It will always be a sentimental favorite, though.

Is Pinterest Slamming Users?

Some of you may not be familiar with the term "slamming." The act of slamming goes back to the telephone. Companies would "slam" your account by subscribing you for services you didn't want, then charging you for them on your phone bill. It was deemed illegal, and phone companies got all sorts of grief for allowing it.

Online, "slamming" means pretty much he same thing. Usually, you are just signed up for newsletters without your consent, but Pinterest has put an interesting twist on it. They call it "suggesting." This "suggesting" consists of subscribing you to follow commercial and business users, and maybe others as well. They use the pins on your board to decide who to "suggest" to you.

The way I found out about this was that I kept finding my account flooded with pins from people I didn't recognize, and in whom I would not under any circumstances be interested. The first was a fashion house. I am anything but a fashionista. I live in jeans, shorts, and t-shirts. When I clicked on the user's name, I found myself signed up to "follow all" of their posts. Since I hardly ever follow all of anyone's boards, I knew something was wrong, so I unfollowed them. Still, they kept coming, and I kept unfollowing them. I soon found myself following almost as many people as are following me, which was erroneous, because I don't follow that many people.

I went through all of those I was following and found 37 "follow all" subscriptions for commercial accounts.

I wrote to Pinterest through their help page and asked them why they did this. The first time, they didn't answer. The second time, this was the exchange:

ME: I keep finding myself subscribed to "follow all" on business users' accounts. There are very few people I "follow all" on, and I know who they are. Is Pinterest doing this stealth subscribing to promote the business accounts, or is it a hack? If it is you, I'm very close to closing my account because of it. I don't like finding myself suddenly subscribed to some business I have no interest in and having my page flooded with their pins. Let them find followers like everyone else.

Hi Deborah,
If you're unsure why you're seeing a pin in your feed, you can troubleshoot here:
We request that you use our help articles to get the information you need as quickly as possible. If there’s additional information you’d like our team to know, you can reply to this message.
Happy pinning!
- The Pinterest Team

I read the link. This is how I found out about the "suggesting."

"The pins you choose during registration determine the people and boards we suggest to you when you first sign up. You can't change these pin selections afterwards, but you're always welcome to follow more people or unfollow people who don't suit your interests."
It goes on to tell you how to unfollow the people they slam you with.

So I replied to them.
ME:  So I do not have any choice about you subscribing me to these business accounts? I've read the link you suggested, and that is what it seems to say. It's very annoying to have every one of their pins flooding my page. I'm going to have to think about whether I want to be part of Pinterest if this is going to continue.

We received your reply. We love interacting with pinners, but usually can’t respond individually to this type of request. Rest assured we are always listening and we’re frequently making improvements to Pinterest and our documentation based on what we read in emails like this one.
Thanks for using Pinterest.
- The Pinterest Team

In short, like it or lump it, we don't care. It's our site and if you don't like the way we run things, leave.

I've now unfollowed all but 15 users that I personally know and am sure I followed voluntarily. I won't be following anyone else, and I'll let you know how many users Pinterest slams me with in the future. Considering I only followed maybe 25 total users, and I had 187, it will be interesting to see what happens.