TargetAlert for Firefox


Why isn't TargetAlert working?
Some people have reported that they have to restart their browser more than once before TargetAlert starts working. I have no idea why this would be, but please give it a shot before shooting me an email.

Another trick that has inexplicably worked for me on occasion is downloading the TargetAlert.xpi to my desktop and then opening it through Firefox. I know this seems silly, and that downloading shouldn't make a difference, but it has done the trick (usually when I'm installing over an old version).

If you are still having problems, then please go to about:config, set javascript.options.showInConsole to true, restart your browser, and check JavaScript Console under the Tools menu and let me know if any errors appear there.

Does TargetAlert when I also have ______ installed?
I dunno, maybe. I have received a number of emails like this:

Hi, I'm trying to install TargetAlert, but it doesn't seem to work.
I'm using Firefox 1.0.4 on WinXP, and oh, by the way, I have the
following 40 extensions installed...could any of them be the problem?
Sorry, folks, I'm not going to install the same 40 extensions to see where the problem is (if this bothers you, then please remember that you got TargetAlert for *FREE*). I will, however, maintain a list of reported conflicts:
  • eWebMail
Unfortunately, unless one of the major extensions appears on this list, I'm probably not going to have the time to work on the conflict. Generally, it's not the best use of my time because implementing new features and fixing bugs serve a greater number of users than resolving these conflicts does. Also, the code for the conflicting extension is likely in flux, so whatever I fix today may not hold up tomorrow.

Does TargetAlert work in Mozilla?
Yes, as of version 0.7.1, though users are having problems using TargetAlert with Moz 1.7.8. As Firefox is the intended application for the TargetAlert extension, it is likely to work better in Firefox than Mozilla. Be aware that an uninstaller for TargetAlert is NOT provided for Mozilla.

Isn't it easy to fool TargetAlert by making a link to a file that, for example, ends in .txt but is really a malicious .exe?
Yes, it is, but this ruse is a potential problem regardless of whether TargetAlert is installed. The ideal solution would be to have TargetAlert check the MIME type of every link before appending an icon, but that would result in TargetAlert making tens to hundreds of connections every time you load a web page, rendering your browser ununsable. Looking at the file extension is only a heuristic, but many users have found it to be a rather effective one, in practice.

Under what license is TargetAlert available?
A LICENSE.txt file is included in the XPI that includes the details of the license. In short, the copyright for the source code of TargetAlert belongs to me, Michael Bolin. Therefore, the terms of use are as follows: you are free to browse the source code of TargetAlert to see what it does and to learn how it works; however, you are not allowed to copy or modify the code and redistribute it. If you look at the Version History, then I think that you will see that I take many people's suggestions and work into account when creating new versions of TargetAlert. Thus, if you would like to see something patched or changed, then please send me an email and I will be happy to discuss your ideas (though sometimes it may take me awhile to respond). TargetAlert will not have a "traditional" open-source license in the future because I do not approve of how it has been copied and redistributed as a different Firefox extension in the past.

How does TargetAlert impact the speed at which web pages are loaded?
As TargetAlert does not run on a page until after it is loaded, it should not have any negative affects on page loading performance. Additionally, I have tried to minimize the amount of computation required to determine whether a link needs an alert, and as the alerts generally feel as though they appear instantaneously on my machine (WinXP 1.7GHz 512MB), I do not believe that the extra computation required by TargetAlert is a concern. If you are still worried about the performance impact of TargetAlert, then I recommend disabling all alerts for which the Pattern column is blank in the TargetAlert Preferences dialog, as those alerts require more work to compute (though they are often the most useful).

©2004 Michael Bolin »