Update June 16 2008:
The developer of QuickProxy was nice enough to leave a comment on this post informing me that the firefox add-on is alive again! I just installed it in my copy of Firefox 3 RC 3 (Mac) and can’t wait to start using it, as it is definitely the best proxy switch add-on I’ve used.
Update April 13 2008:
I’ve been running the Firefox 3 beta for a while, and unfortunately it appears quickproxy is no longer being updated. Check out ProxySwitch, which does the same thing.
A couple months ago I posted about using a SOCKS proxy to secure your traffic when using an open wireless network (or any time you need to redirect traffic in a VPN-like fashion). Ever since then I’ve been using this tip a lot, but it has led to an annoying amount of opening and closing Firefox’s network preferences to check the proxy status.
QuickProxy to the rescue! I just found this today and it is perfect for what I need. It adds a simple icon to Firefox’s status bar which is green when the proxy is in use. Click on it and it turns gray, disabling the proxy.
This tip is courtesy of the Ubuntu Blog, but I just discovered it also works perfectly well in OS X and with some hot Putty action you could probably even pull it off with Windows. I’m writing this using it now.
A coworker of mine recently came down with some kind of outer space soul sucking virus and was ordered by his doctor to take a week off. Any hardcore geek will tell you that automatically means a lot of potential keyboard time, so he decided to setup a remote connection to the work network.
Being security-minded is important in the hosting world (it should be more important everywhere else) and so the inevitable question arose as to how he could best pull this off. Like an increasing number of laptop owners he also uses open wireless networks a lot (so do I) and you really shouldn’t be using open wireless with any password or data you really care about.
VPN’s work well for remote connections but can occasionally be a pain to set up depending on how your company has theirs configured.
If you have a computer/server running Linux or any other variety of OpenSSH server which is connected to a more trustworthy network you can create a SOCKS proxy SSH connection to it using the following command:
ssh -D 9999 user@server
The -D creates the SOCKS proxy, 9999 is the port, and user@server is your user name on the server you are connecting to and its host name or IP address. Then just set Firefox to use the SOCKS proxy as localhost and set the port to 9999. Presto – instant secure web traffic.
If you wish you could afford a RAM upgrade (like me) and you are using Firefox then you’re probably familiar with what a memory hog it can be. Firefox 2 has proven to be just as excellent a browser as previous versions but that RAM appetite sure hasn’t changed.
Lifehacker has posted a series of tweaks you can make using about:config. I just tried the browser.cache.disk.capacity tweak and it reduced Firefox’s total RAM usage on my MacBook by almost 30%.
While Firefox 2.0 final might not be “officially” available until tomorrow you can download a piping hot copy from their servers today.
Inline spell checking…. awwwwww yeah.