Thursday, February 19, 2009

How To Manually Download and Install FireFox Extensions.

Never had the course to get Firefox extensions manually installed until yesterday when I had to get a PC that wasn’t connected to the internet up and running with my fave Firefox extensions. On a normal day the Add to Firefox button does the job:

But since this particular desktop pc wasn’t hooked up to the net, I needed a way to get the extension files off the net and then manually Add [it] on to Firefox.

So how do you go about doing this? How do you manually download and install Firefox add ons?


Browse to the Firefox add on pages, instead of left clicking on the Add Firefox button, right click on it and click on save link…

file extension should be ".xpi"
Once the file is saved, to do a manual install of the extension, Start Firefox and drag the downloaded file unto it. Capish! You will then be prompted to continue or cancel the installation. That’s all.

Another alternative to getting the extension files off the net is to browse to the Firefox add on pages using a browser other than Firefox.

This will automatically turn the add to Firefox button you normally get into a download button. You can thus easily download the extension files.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Web Marketing; Two rules not to break

Ever since the web evolved into a trusted platform wherein commercial activities can take place, there has been that need to get involved in marketing activities; activities that seek to persuade users to take particular actions that are in line with the sites objectives; be it signing up for a service, adding a product to the cart, or filling out a survey form etc.

But to embark on these marketing activities on the web, and be successful at it, an understanding of the web as a platform is required. Not only this, a good understanding of how users interact with the platform is also vital. A lack of an understanding of users behavioral pattern as they interact with the web and what they expect will always lead to methods that cause more damage than good. Examples of such methods, which come readily to mind, include spams and pop-ups, which, most time, end up annoying users instead of persuading them.

A couple of weeks back, while out, trying to find an appropriate provider for a service I thought I will need for a project, I experienced, firsthand the effect of a marketing (or persuasive) strategy that got the whole web thingy wrapped. They were persuasive strategies that were futile because instead of trying to convince me, they did quite the opposite, sending me off, quick, to reload my Google page, with a little annoyance to go with it.

There were 2 fundamental principles that these initiatives got all wrong that were responsible in making their marketing strategy abortive, or more appropriately, less effective. The two principles which I consider basic due to the fact that it hinges on the unique nature of the web include:

Principle 1: Do not Horde information on your site.
It is so annoying to land on a site only to find out that the detailed information you need to make your purchasing decision is nowhere to be found on the site. But will only be made available to you after you have sent a mail to the contact us email address provided on the site. That sucks! This defeats the very essence of the having a website. A website should be as exhaustive as possible.

The web is majorly a pull medium and users are used to this. users are oriented towards playing an active part in retrieving information they need. And as such, a website designed to horde information; that adds to the hurdles users need to cross in other to get information needed is automatically broken.

So while looking for this service, I found out two website that offer what I was looking for, but the sites lacked the critical information I needed to make a purchasing decision. All they had was just marketing tirade on how their services is the best I can ever find. But the information I need; like cost details, details of the API, and implementation information were nowhere to be found unless I send an email to their sales department.

Principle 2: Don’t be quick at getting too personal.
Avoid initiating gestures of personal contact too early in the persuasive chain. Or better still do not be the one to initiate personal contact, let the user do that. Just make yourself available to receive such gestures if the user does make them.

So to continue with my story, as if making their website not exhaustive was not enough, after sending emails, requesting for more details to the two sites I found, one replied that for me to get the information I needed I should meet him on Skype or yahoo messenger at a set time.


I don’t know you from Adam and you expect I would just want to chat? When you could have easily put all the information I need for my finding on your site!

At that instant I immediately removed that particular provider from the list of potential providers I will be considering. There were just too many things needed to be done before I get the information I want. And for crying out loud, inviting me to a chat was just an inappropriate gesture. That was just too early and uncalled for.

Not saying instant messaging is not a viable tool for marketing, but the approach was wrong. Like I said, let your users be the one to make such gestures, just be there whenever they do. It’s a different thing entirely if the site was as exhaustive as possible and then a link to initiate a chat is provided for me if I needed clarification.

On the other hand there was a third provider I found out along with the previous two. Apart from talking about their services on their site, this third provider went ahead to enumerate the different options I have when implementing their services, detailing the respective cost implications, and the technical details of their API. A trial access to the API was even provided. And I got all the information I needed to make a decision there and there on the site. This was a company that understood how to play on the web. And if I had gone ahead with the project, it was most certain that I would have done business with this third provider.

True, the web has come a long way, and to do successful marketing on the web, there is need for that nature which this evolved platform has taken on be understood; including the ways its users interact with it.
This, I hope to enumerate more on, in upcoming posts.