Skip to main content

Opening PDF files withing Firefox 3.0

Sorry, no news about Owen and Marcus in this post. They're doing great, but I just wanted to do a quick post about Firefox 3 which may save many of my fellow astronomers/Mac users some time and effort.

I just spent most of my morning trying to figure out how to get Firefox 3 to open PDF files within a browser tab like Safari. I was about to give up and go back to my two-browser approach (Firefox for viewing with ad-blocking, Safari for reading astro-ph, etc.) when I finally came across this solution:

It turns out all you have to do is install a simple PDF plugin and you're in business. Surprisingly this is not anywhere on the Firefox Support webpage, nor is it in the many Mac/Firefox forums I read through (most of these were all, "Just use Safari. Mehhhhh meh MEEHHH!")

The only glitch I ran into is that the first PDF file I tried to open looked like a blank file with a huge horizontal scroll bar. The problem turned out to be that the default viewer setting was at the maximum zoom, so I was only looking at the upper left corner. I zoommed out by right-clicking and selecting "Actual Size" and then it was just like I was reading PDF files in Safari.


karinms said…
How is firefox 3? I have a hard time living without the little RSS updates in my bookmarks bar in Safari (hence the quick reply to your blog post!). But I've considered the swtich. Good to know that the pdf thing works!
JohnJohn said…
I don't use RSS feeds, but I need to start. There are a lot of friends with new babies updating their blogs frequently, so it's time for me to get with the program. I'll let you know what I find about Firefox's RSS skillz.
blissful_e said…
I use Nitro PDF download as a Firefox extension on my Windows machine - it allows me to open PDFs in a new tab, view as HTML, or save onto the hard drive.
Amy Van Hook said…
so in general, for a non-super user mac type person like myself, going to firefox 3 is a good thing or a bad thing?

Popular posts from this blog

An annual note to all the (NSF) haters

It's that time of year again: students have recently been notified about whether they received the prestigious NSF Graduate Student Research Fellowship. Known in the STEM community as "The NSF," the fellowship provides a student with three years of graduate school tuition and stipend, with the latter typically 5-10% above the standard institutional support for first- and second-year students. It's a sweet deal, and a real accellerant for young students to get their research career humming along smoothly because they don't need to restrict themselves to only advisors who have funding: the students fund themselves!
This is also the time of year that many a white dude executes what I call the "academic soccer flop." It looks kinda like this:

It typically sounds like this: "Congrats! Of course it's easier for you to win the NSF because you're, you know, the right demographic." Or worse: "She only won because she's Hispanic."…

Culture: Made Fresh Daily

There are two inspirations for this essay worth noting. The first is an impromptu talk I gave to the board of trustees at Thatcher School while I was visiting in October as an Anacapa Fellow. Spending time on this remarkable campus interacting with the students, faculty and staff helped solidify my notions about how culture can be intentionally created. The second source is Beam Times and Lifetimes by Sharon Tarweek, an in-depth exploration of the culture of particle physics told by an anthropologist embedded at SLAC for two decades. It's a fascinating look at the strange practices and norms that scientists take for granted.
One of the stories that scientists tell themselves, whether implicitly or explicitly, is that science exists outside of and independent of society. A corollary of this notion is that if a scientific subfield has a culture, e.g. the culture of astronomy vs. the culture of chemistry, that culture is essential rather than constructed. That is to say, scientific c…

The Long Con

Hiding in Plain Sight

ESPN has a series of sports documentaries called 30 For 30. One of my favorites is called Broke which is about how professional athletes often make tens of millions of dollars in their careers yet retire with nothing. One of the major "leaks" turns out to be con artists, who lure athletes into elaborate real estate schemes or business ventures. This naturally raises the question: In a tightly-knit social structure that is a sports team, how can con artists operate so effectively and extensively? The answer is quite simple: very few people taken in by con artists ever tell anyone what happened. Thus, con artists can operate out in the open with little fear of consequences because they are shielded by the collective silence of their victims.
I can empathize with this. I've lost money in two different con schemes. One was when I was in college, and I received a phone call that I had won an all-expenses-paid trip to the Bahamas. All I needed to do was p…