setting up my workstation: tweaking firefox, mutt and vim

updated: Feb 17th, 2009 – added shell section

updated: Feb 18th, 2009 – added picnick firefox extension

updated: Dec 1st, 2009 – added firefox tweak for session store

Each time I start a new contract or job, I go through the very same ritual: I spend some time tweaking my workstation.

This is a really boring process, and it takes a lot of energy every-time I do it. This is because I spend too much time doing it by heart, instead of having my tweaks written somewhere I could re-use them (I now have a plain old tar file that I untar on my new workstation every time I get a new contract).

This post should fix this.

Here are my configuration files, firefox tweaks and other tips when I setup my work environment.

shell environment

I don’t really care which shell is available, but I try to make sure that screen is there. If not, I try to install it ASAP. I have a really simple .screenrc file:

        # terminfo and termcap for nice 256 color terminal
        # tell screen how to set colors. AB = background, AF=foreground
        termcapinfo xterm 'Co#256:AB=\E[48;5;%dm:AF=\E[38;5;%dm'

        # erase background with current bg color
        defbce "on"

        # I need ths status line of screen - much easier to navigate and use
        hardstatus on
        hardstatus alwayslastline
        hardstatus string "%{.bW}%-w%{.rW}%n %t%{-}%+w %=%{..G} %H
        %{..Y} %d/%m/%Y %C%a "

I have a very simple shell rc file, currently a .bashrc:

        # yes I use gpg, and by default this is the key that should be used
        export GPGKEY=E495D229

        # I am a bit fanatic on what my prompt should lokks like
        function jobcount {
            jobs | wc -l | tr -d " "
        export PS1='$(jobcount):\u@\h:\w\$ '

        # less is much better than more
        export PAGER=/usr/bin/less

text editor

vim is the editor I use, corresponding configuration file (~/.vimrc). From time to time I switch to plain old vi on some unix systems like IBM AIX or SUN SOLARIS, nvi on BSDs or elvis on linux. I do switch to these editors when vim is configured in gui mode, and/or when  it is to slow to get a decent console mode.

My .vimrc file is here. Its associated color scheme was inspired from moria and adapted so it can be used in a 256 color terminal, this is moria256.

email configuration

I use the following email architecture:

corresponding configuration files are: muttrc, fetchmailrc and procmailrc. The imap gmail configuration file is here.

So far this setup has been very solid, mutt is a gem. No smtp client there, I use mutt for now but may switch to exim in a near future (no dsn with mutt for now).

firefox extensions

colorzilla: pickup colors from any web page

palette grabber: creates a color palette from a web page

webdeveloper: popular extension for web developers

foxytunes: listen to music in firefox

FireFTP: add ftp navigation to firefox

delicious: bookmarks from any browser

Dictionary Search: provides a very easy way to look-up  (or translate) a word in a Web page or an email

ScribeFire: this is a full-featured blog editor that integrates with your browser and lets you easily post to your blog

google toolbar: if you are a google user, I am sure you already know the infamous toolbar.

flashblock: disallow flash to play automatically – a real time saver

Evernote: replacement of google reader since as 2009, development on it has been stopped.

Read it later: saves a web page so you can read it later on.

download helper: downloads any video from a web page

pronounce: how to pronounce a word

picnick: edit images with a right click

firefox tweaks

disable close button on tabs: set to value 3

disable pre-fetching of web pages: set to false

sets the amount of memory firefox should use: set to 33 MB

spellcheck every text area: set to 2

turns off the rarely-used Go button at the end of the address bar: set to true

set browser.sessionstore.interval to 300,000, see dru lavigne post about it


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