Monday, October 29, 2007

Fixing annoying "delete to go back" in Firefox

One of the most popular posts here on my blog was where I explained how to get click -hold contextual menus back in Firefox 2.0 Why on earth they thought Mac users would enjoy having to hold the control key whenever they want to see a contextual menu is beyond me.

I love firefox but another hugely annoying feature is that hitting the delete key jumps you backwards though the browser history. Who thought that was a good idea? If you think your cursor is in a text field and it isn't then you're in for a nasty surprise when you hit the delete key to edit your text and you navigate away from your current page. What kind of power user is in such a hurry they can't take the two seconds to hit the back button? Who needs to rapidly speed backwards though their history like that. Even if such users do exist, why the delete key? (that's the Backspace key for you PC users)

There are lots of instructions online about how to disable this feature using the config menu. It is easy and anyone can do it if you can follow directions.

  1. Open a new Firefox tab (apple+T) so you can work in one window and read these direction in the original.
  2. Type "about:config" into the address field of the new window. Hit return and the config page appears.
  3. Enter "browser.b" into the "filter" field at the top.
  4. Click-hold the "Browser.backspace_action" Value column, and choose Modify from the pop-up menu. Type 2 for the new value.
  5. Click OK.
You're done! Annoying problem solved.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

135 Birds and Counting!

While on a visit to the St. Croix Watershed Research Station on Sunday, September 23rd I spied three broad winged hawks in the sky circling in a mini kettle. Someone suggested that with only 3 birds it should be called a pot or perhaps a cup instead of a kettle. har har har. Bird humor.

October 4th we had a naturalists' staff meeting at the nature center and while meeting in the lounge, Paul pointed out a blue headed vireo hopping up and down the bark of a large oak out the window. It must have been feasting on insects hiding in the bark. I had no idea they could hold onto the side of a tree like a nuthatch. Very cool to see.

The morning of October 18th I headed out to the George W. Mead Wildlife Area in Wisconsin as part of a conference we were attending. We expected lots of migrating waterfowl but were disappointed. We did find a pond with lots of American Coots (hundreds?) but the only other birds in the pond were five lesser scaups and a couple of pied billed grebes. We kept searching and found some red winged blackbirds, swamp sparrows, field sparrows and juncos. Just outside the wildlife area we stopped at a small pond and spotted a lonely redhead swimming. Hmm, if you don't know that a redhead is a kind of duck is sounds kind of bad that we watched a redhead swim in a pond though our binoculars! Just after we left the wildlife area I spotted a half dozen or so sandhill cranes in a farm field.

October 19th Paul and I woke up extra early to go on an early morning bird hike with other naturalists. I can't believe I got up that early to look at essentially the same birds I see at work everyday.

We left the conference October 20th and we spotted a ruby crowned kinglet though due to a momentary lapse of reason we could not figure out what kind of warbler it was. Duh, it wasn't a warbler. We kept on hearing kinglets so we should have put two and two together sooner than we did. I did spot a brown creeper as well which is always fun.

On the way home to Minnesota, co-worker Bekah spotted a white bird sitting up in a tree on the side of the road. I pulled over turned around ( something that NEVER happens unless I'm driving with other naturalists) and we were super excited to see that the bird was a Krider's Red-tailed hawk. It looks like an albino but it has the red tail. I'd never seen one so that was very cool. It is still a red-tailed hawk so I'm not counting it on my list.

131 Broad-winged hawk
132 Blue headed vireo
133 Swamp Sparrow
134 Redhead
135 Ruby Crowned Kinglet

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cool Dog Window

I think our dog Odin would love one of these. This is a great idea I stumbled upon out there on ye old internete. Now, how to make one? Or, just buy one from pet peek.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Cephelopod Fossil

I joked a few posts ago about bringing home a 10 foot long cephelopod fossil. Well, that has yet to happen. I did find a cephalopod fossil though. About a month ago I took some Girl Scouts to Lilydale Regional Park in St. Paul to look for Ordovician aged fossils. We found the usual suspects in the usual spots and after the group left I ate a quick lunch and headed back into the park to scope out some other sites. I've never had time to fully explore the site so I was looking forward to seeing if there were some other spots I could take groups. I also did a little more exploring in the stream bed and that's where I found this gem.

The kicker is that this is from a much much larger animal and the rest of it was nowhere to be found. It is either still in a hillside or more likely, broken into dozens of pieces and every piece has been found by a different person. Oh well, such is fossil hunting at this site. It is about as picked over as they come. It is still a really cool piece and I'm excited to have it in my collection.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Teach both sides!

Consider this an addendum to my last post.