Chrome Extension : var_masterpiece – turn PHP var_dump() into a thing of beauty


Var Masterpiece is a Google Chrome add-on, which formats PHP var_dump() output into something much more beautiful and useful.  You can customize the type colors and a few other things in the extension options, once installed.

Ask Slashdot: Best Browser Extensions — 2016 Edition

Slashdot is running a discussion thread on what are the best browser extensions these days.  The comments cover a variety of browsers and all kinds of extensions.  The most popular are, of course, well know.  But there are a few gems here and there.


For me personally, I’ve picked the Tab Snooze extension.  I’ve tried quite a few tab management solutions, and neither one of them fits my needs even though most tried (I want to run a single browser window, with dozens or hundreds of tabs open, but I want them to be organized into groups and hidden until later, when I need them).   Tab Snooze approaches the problem from a slightly different angle. It sets the reminder for when to reopen the tab, and once that’s done, it closes the tab.  You can find all snoozed tabs and open them before the due date, of course.

This works surprisingly well for me.  If only I could control the opening of the tabs with something like “17 tabs were woken up and are about to be open. Continue?”.  Currently, I get the notification and the tabs are open automatically, which is often not at the best time.  Waking up a lot of tabs can slow the system down a bit and get in the way of things on which I’m working at the time.

Chrome apps … mind blown!

Don’t ask me how, but I’ve ended up in the Google Chrome Web Store, where I spent the last three hours – especially in the Productivity -> Developer Tools category.  I knew, there were plenty of apps to make Chrome OS / Chrome Browser super awesome, but it seems it’s been a while since I looked in there … My mind is officially blown!

I don’t need much from my Fedora laptop – a browser, a terminal, and some instant messaging apps.  But these days apparently that’s too much.  A lot of the things I do through the regular day can be handled right from the browser apps.


Here are some examples.

  1. Text editors.  There is a slew of them!  Simple and complex, specialized and generic, fast and … not so much.  Have a look at Caret for example.  It’s Sublime-like editor, based on the Ace editing component.  It offers a selection of themes, syntax highlighting for all the major languages, multiple tabs, project settings, and more!
  2. SSH client.  Yup, that’s right.  You can connect to your remote servers right out of the browser, using, for example, ServerAuditor.
  3. MySQL clients.  Choose between a simple command-line one, like MySQL Console.  Or a full-featured one, with ERDs and database browser, like Chrome MySQL Admin.
  4. Git, GitHub, and Gist tools.  Which there is a variety of…
  5. Web server (yes, really, a web server running in the web browser!) – Web Server fro Chrome, debugger (Xdebug), and compiler (

Most of these offer session saving, networking synchronization, Google Drive data saving, social network integration, etc.

Wow!  The browser world has come a long way since Netscape 3 …


rather – replace anything you want in your social feeds


For all those people who complain about my pictures of food, somebody else’s pictures of babies, Justin Bieber photos, and the like, here’s something to try: get rather.

This sounds like a handy tool for anyone who hasn’t been blessed with patience or can’t figure out the “unsubscribe” button.

Atomic Bookmarks for Google Chrome

Via CyberNet News I came across a nice extension for Google Chrome – Atomic Bookmarks.  When installed it provides a quick access to bookmarks via single click.  It has a few nice features, such as quick bookmark search and saving of currently open tabs into a new folder with a single click again.

The user interface has a few minor glitches, but if you are using bookmarks in Google Chrome, this add-on is definitely recommended.

Flickr on black

Being a huge fan of Flickr, I am always trying to bring more people to the service.  Because more people = more images and more comments, which, of course, means more fun and inspiration.

One of the most frequent reasons NOT to use Flickr that I’ve heard coming mostly from amateur and professional photographers was that Flickr is only available with white background and only with up to medium-sized images.  That is true.  While Flick is constantly improving their service, some features are still not there.  And maybe they are not coming any time soon.  But.  That doesn’t mean that there is no work around.  After all, the world of technology is blessed with plenty of excellent open source software these days.  So, here is how you can solve the problem of size and color, if you are one of those people who prefers it the other way around.

  1. Get yourself a copy of an real web browser – Firefox.
  2. Install Greasemonkey extension for Firefox.
  3. Install Flickr On Black user script for Greasemonkey.

Once you’ve done the above steps, go to Flickr and find a picture that you want to enjoy on black or in a different color.  On the image page, scroll down to the part where you can see “Additional information” on the right side.  Among them, you’ll see a few new links.  “View on black: Regular, Large” will be among them.

Click, and you are done.  The link will take you to another page, which will look something like this.  You can switch between Regular and Large size, as well as between black and white backgrounds right on that page.

P.S.: While you are getting Flickr on Black user script for Greasemonkey, look around.  There are thousands of other scripts to customize anything and everthing from Google search results and GMail to IMDB movie information and Twitter messeging.

P.P.S.: Alternatively, you can take a look at Flickr “Lights Out” or “Flickr in mostly black and orange” user scripts for Greasemonkey.

P.P.P.S: Many Greasemonkey scripts work perfectly in browsers other than Firefox – Opera, Safari, etc.  But I’d still recommend to use Firefox.

Fixing Firefox with safe mode

Here is something useful I learned today.  Until recently I’ve been using Firefox 3 beta 5.  It was working fine for me after I found all replacements and upgrades for all the extensions that I need.  One of those extensions was CompactMenu (not giving a link for now).  This extension replaces the whole main menu (File, Edit, View, etc) with a single icon.  You can place this icon anywhere on your toolbars and when you click it, you’ll get a drop down with your main menu items.  Huge space saver.

Yesterday, I upgraded my Firefox to the latest and greatest stable version 3.  The update came as an official package from Fedora updates.  However, once I fired up the new Firefox, it notified me that CompactMenu was not compatible with this version and so it was disabled.  Can you guess where I ended up?

Exactly.  No menu and no way to get to the menu.  I tried uninstalling the extension, intalling another version of it, unintalling it again, cleaning up options in about:config, customizing the toolbars, and so on and so forth.  Nothing worked.  And so I Googled.

It turns out that Firefox has something called a “safe mode“.  All you need to do to get to it is start firefox with “–safe-mode” parameter.  Once it comes up, you’ll see the window as on the screenshot above.  One of the optios is “Reset toolbars and controls“.  It works wonders.  I got all the toolbars to their default state, and with View -> Toolbars -> Customize I could easily get them to the state I want.

Google AdSense blocks are back

It was almost half a year ago that I wrote these words:

Google AdSense is gone.  I’ve been planning to do this for a long time but never got down to it.  I don’t want to have any ads on my personal blog anymore.  And, it wasn’t making me that much anyway.

As a tribute to my inconsistency and greed, I wanted to let you know that Google AdSense blocks are back.  Currently you can see one in full post view, between the post content and the comments.  Another two are in the sidebar.  I’m still playing around with the ad types, sizes, colors, and locations, so don’t be too disappointment if they annoy you right now.

Why are the ads back?  What happened?  Well, first of all, I accidentally wrote a couple of very popular posts.   I wanted to see how well these posts can do financially.   Secondly, with the latest theme changes and a round of plugin shakes, there seems to be more activity on the blog (more people are coming in, they are standing for longer, and they do more – read, comment, bookmark, etc).  I started wondering if it’s possible to get a penny out of all you people.  So, you can say that this AdSense comeback is an experiment on my side, with some hopes of earing an extra cent.

Of course, I can be totally wrong and off the track (which happens pretty often, if you need to know), and all the positive activity that I’m seeing around here is fueled by the lack of ads.  If it is indeed so, not only will I earn any money with the ads, but I’ll also lose some of the audience (something I’d much rather not happen).

Anyway, call me what you want, but the ads are back. At least for now.  If they are too annoying for you, all I can suggest is start using Firefox browser with AdBlock Plus and AdBlock Filterset.G Updater add-ons.  You won’t see another web ad in your life…