Most people these days use Firefox as their main web browser. Firefox has an interesting aspect that I didn’t even realize until recently…the ability to be customized. There are lots of options for customizing small aspects of how Firefox performs. Today, I thought I would provide a resource one some of these customizations that are designed for the geocacher in you.
Before we continue further, I should point out that these customizations require the installation of plugins. This means that you are downloading files. If you aren’t comfortable doing this, then this article won’t be for you.
With that out of the way, I’ll first direct you towards GreaseMonkey. GreaseMonkey is a plugin for Firefox that allows the customization of minor aspects of the browser. It is a required plugin if you want to install some of the interesting things we are going to talk about today. The GreaseMonkey add-on is provided by Mozilla, the makers of Firefox. GO HERE to download the file. If you run into problem, just do a search for GreaseMonkey at the linked to page (in case they update the file and redo the web address).
Once you’ve installed GreaseMonkey, it’s time to start finding those updates. WebScouter. was the first person to point out this ability to me as he had several installed on his laptop. One of the first ones I looked for dealt with the search engine. The search engine is something that is already installed on Firefox, but some haven’t noticed it or don’t use it (like me). Located in the upper right corner of the browser, it comes preinstalled with several search engines built in, like Wikipedia, Google, & eBay. We are going to add another one for geocaching.
First, let’s GO HERE. This link will take you to Mycroft Project, a site that hosts extensions and applications for use with Mozilla. The link will take you directly to the various search engine applications. There are two on this page that I recommend. The first is “Geocaching – smart Quicksearch”, by boulter. Boulter has built several useful webpages for geocachers that I recommend you check out. The Coordinate Grabber is one I use frequently, and the Express Logger can be a great tool for speeding up the logging process.
When you click on the name for Quicksearch at the Mycroft link, make sure to select “start using it right away” to have it ready…well…right away. Duh! Now, look in the upper right corner of your browser to see this:
If you don’t see the geocaching logo, then click on the small arrow next to the entry bar and scroll down to the option with the logo (it should have the same name as was listed on Mycroft). Now just type in a GC code and hit enter. Test it out by typing in GC1M2NP and it should bring my geocache “A Lesson in Ciphers # 1”. There are other options for what you can type in. To learn these, go to the Quicksearch Help Page to see some other tags. A useful one is the “profile:” tag. Test it out by typing in “profile: TripCyclone” (minus the quotes). It should bring up my geocaching profile. Thinking of a geocache by it’s name but not sure on the GC Code? Type in part of the name to do a quick search for caches with that name. Try it with Delorme to pull up many of the various Delorme Challenges out there.
Now that we’ve added the search engine, what else can we do? There is a nice website that helps provide some that I’ve downloaded, but first let’s take a look at the GreaseMonkey site. Called Greasespot, it is a repository for GreaseMonkey scripts. Click on “Find Scripts” in the upper right corner of the page and type in “Geocaching” in the upper right search bar (make sure you use on the one in the page, not the browser search bar). Here you will find a variety of scripts that I encourage you to look through. You never know what useful tool you might find.
One that I ended up downloading was GCBBCode. This script redesigns the log entry page to provide a few more options. Take a look:
You can already see that the options have changed a bit (the trackables box is still down below…just outside the image). First is the calender, which allows you to easily pick the dates for you logs. This is useful if you are logging caches from a several day trip. Next is the option for a little more customization of your text. The options, from left to right, are Bold, Italics, Strikethrough, Quote, Link, Encrypt, and Font Color. Just make sure you highlight the selected text before you click the button. You can also see the addition of Smiley’s. For those that like to include them in logs, this greatly eases the process. The option most intriguing, however, is the Template option. Let’s say you are logging from a trip and have some test that you put into every log. Now you can create a template and just hit “Insert” next to that template name and it will insert the text for you. Pretty cool.
In the above image, you might notice some text above the log entry form that says “Insert Find Count 1”. This is not part of this script. It’s actually another script that can be installed. With this, lets go to another site called Greasemonkey Scripts, by Locus Prime. Locus Prime has compiled some useful scripts for the Firefox browser. Let’s find the Insert Find Count script. Looking through the list, find the one labeled “Log Find Counter”. Each of the various scripts Locus Prime has listed will have a small icon following the description (and sometimes screenshots) that is located next to something that says “Install Script”. Just click on the icon to install the item and it will be ready to use right away. The Log Find Counter allows you to insert a number into your log through two buttons. “Insert Find Count” will insert the text into the log. Each time you do this, the number increases sequentially. Clicking on the number allows you to edit where the count begins at. As of right now, this script only works with caches, not with trackables (though I e-mailed to ask if this is possible).
Another script that I downloaded was Add Waypoint Finder. Normally, when on the geocaching site, there are only a few places where you can type in a GC code and pull up a cache. Not anymore. This script adds that option to the left panel of the site, the one that DOESN’T CHANGE as you explore the site. Now, you can search for a GC code from whatever page you want.
Another useful script is Seek Page Logging Link. This one adds an icon to whatever general search you do, whether it’s by name, proximity, owner, etc. With the icon, instead of having to load the cache page then click on “Log a find”, the icon takes you directly to “Log a find” for that cache. Here’s an image of what this looks like on a search page:
One last one that I downloaded was by Lil Devil, who has a website called Lil Devil’s Geocaching Pages This site includes some GreaseMonkey Scripts. One that I downloaded is the Bag-o-Tricks. I downloaded it for one option, the e-mail option (though the others are nice too). This creates a link next to a cache owner or TB/Geocoin Owner’s name that, when clicked, automatically sends you to the e-mail page. It even adds text that indicates which item or geocache you clicked the link from. Check it out:
There are quite a few geocaching scripts you can find to customize Firefox. These are a few that I’ve recently downloaded. Go through and see if there are any that you would like to use.