Saturday, 21 August 2010

Athlone Towers demolished on Sunday

Athlone Towers
Athlone Towers
The famous Athlone Towers in Cape Town will be demolished tomorrow at 12pm. The power station cooling towers were built in 1960 but generation of electricity was stopped in 2001. Subsequently the Towers have been determined to be unsafe. It has become a famous landmark to Capetonians over the years.

When I was a youngster we frequently visited family in Somerset-West and therefore always passed the Towers on the way, since it's located right next to the N2 highway. There is always a very bad smell in the area and it is mistakenly associated with the cooling towers. The smell is actually from the sewerage plant on the other side of the road. Nasal illusion!? 

Live broadcast

The demolition will be broadcast live on Sunday, 22 August, from 11h40 to 12h10 (GMT+2) on www.zoopy.com/live.
There will be a 300m exclusion zone around the Athlone Towers during the demolition. Part of the N2, Jan Smuts Drive and the adjacent Metrorail line will be closed.

Video: Athlone Towers, Going, Going...

UPDATE 22 August 2010: Videos of actual demolition

Athlone Cooling Towers Demolition from Phillip Gibb on Vimeo.

Read more on "Athlone Towers demolished on Sunday"!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Firefox - How to display Google Images basic view permanently

Google Images
FirefoxGoogle changed the layout of Google Images in July, now displaying images only (called Standard view). As you scroll down, more images are automatically loaded and displayed. Great, or perhaps not?

Google Images Standard view
Google Images Standard view
Although you see more images at a glance with this layout, there are unfortunately a few disadvantages:
  • If you have a slow internet connection it can take a long time to load all the thumbnail images.
  • If you have a monthly bandwidth cap, the bandwidth used to display all the new images at once while you scroll down can be excessive (especially if you wanted to see a few images).
  • The title, dimensions and website address is not visible anymore at first glance, so you can't make an immediate decision whether you want to click through to that site or not. Now you have to hover over the image first, an extra step, to see that info.
Temporary solution by Google, switch to Basic version at bottom

If you scroll to the bottom of the image search results page, you can click on the "Switch to basic version" link which reverts it back to the original layout but unfortunately it is only valid for that single search session! If you close the browser and open it again and do another Google Image search, you'll see the new layout again. Google currently offers no option to change it back permanently.

Google Images Basic view
Google Images Basic view
How to access Google Images Basic view permamently in Firefox

First add a keyword search bookmark, then amend it to display the Basic view automatically.
To do this, you can use a built-in function in the Firefox browser to add a keyword to do an image search directly from the address bar. This will allow you to type the assigned keyword followed by the search query and it will display the images automatically, without you having to visit the Google Images site first.

To set up a search keyword for Google Images:

  • Go to http://images.google.com (of if you're in South Africa, it would be http://images.google.za)
  • Click in the empty search box, then right-click and select "Add a Keyword for this Search..." from the popup menu.
  • In the "Keyword" field, type the word, images, and click on "Save".
Now you can e.g. type images dolphins in the browser's address bar and it will automatically display the new Google Images layout with photos of dolphins.

Change the newly added keyword function to automatically display the former Google Images basic view

Follow these steps:

  • At the top of the browser window, click on the Bookmarks > Organise Bookmarks menu option, which will open a new window.
  • In the right pane of this window, click on the search keyword entry you just added
  • In the "Location" field, you will see something like this:
  • Add the following at the end: &sout=1
  • It will therefore look like this:
That's it! You're done.

From now on, you can just type the keyword images in the Firefox address bar immediately followed by the term you want to search for, and it will automatically display the Google Images in Basic view.
(There's therefore no need to visit the actual Google Images website first, since your newly created keyword now incorporates that function)

Firefox address bar
Read more on "Firefox - How to display Google Images basic view permanently"!

How to hide the YouTube grey bar in Firefox

YouTubeFirefoxYouTube added a new long grey bar at the bottom of videos that form part of a playlist. Although some find it useful, a lot of people see it as a distraction. You can minimise it but you cannot close it.

Grey bar at bottom of YouTube.com

Solution for Firefox users

If you're a Firefox user, there is a way to permanently hide the YouTube grey bar. For it to work, you must have the the AdBlock Plus Firefox add-on installed (this is a brilliant add-on anyway since it hides all ads on sites).

Visit youtube.com, then click on the small AdBlock Plus (ABP) icon top-right or bottom-right in the browser.

AdBlock Plus icon

The Preferences dialog box will appear. Click on Filters > Add filter.

Enter the following:

Repeat the step and add another filter containing:

Repeat the step and add another filter containing:
Click OK.

ABP filters

They grey bar will disappear permanently!

Similar bars on other websites

You can also use the method explained above to hide similar bars on other websites. It would be easier to hide them by installing the Element Hiding Helper Firefox add-on as well.

Then browse to an applicable site (e.g. news24.com which also recently added a social bar at the bottom of their site), right-click on the AdBlock Plus (ABP) icon in the browser and select "Element to hide". Hover over the bar you want removed and click on it. A dialog box will appear, click on "Add filter rule" and that bar will permanently be removed from view!

Reverting back to old settings

Of course, if you want to, you can always change it all back by clicking on the ABP icon and simply deleting or disabling the applicable entry under "My Element Hiding Rules". Read more on "How to hide the YouTube grey bar in Firefox"!
Back to top