How to Reduce Your Tax Refund

A few years ago, I wrote a blog post detailing the differences between exemptions, allowances and deductions and telling you how to reduce your tax refund. Tax time is coming up, so I thought it was a good time to repost the information.

I've converted the post into a page - Exemptions, Allowances and Deductions: How to reduce your federal tax refund. There's also a new version of the withholding calculator for 2011.

Don't Second Guess Your Life

Do you ever find yourself going back through the decisions you've made and wondering how your life would be if you had made different choices? I know I do. But, as the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" makes abundantly clear, we have no understanding of the impact that we've made in this life. Our decisions, good or bad, have brought us to exactly where we are and affected other people's lives in ways we can't imagine. Even the smallest choice could have had a major impact, just like The Butterfly Effect.

CCK Wizard Beta for Firefox 4

Update: Beta 2 available to fix a bug with adding prefs

Have you ever needed to customize Firefox for deployment with in your organization or even to your family? That's what the CCK Wizard is all about. It allows you to create an add-on that customizes Firefox. You can learn more about what it does at

I've recently updated the CCK Wizard for Firefox 4 and have made a beta available. You can click here to install it. Once everything looks good with the beta, I'll put it on AMO.

So what's the future of the CCK Wizard?

Opening Web Pages in Your Add-On

You might not realize it, but Firefox has some mouse shortcuts for when you are opening a web page from the bookmarks toolbar. If you hold down Shift when you click, the link opens in a new window. If you hold down Command or Ctrl when you click, the link opens in a new background tab. If you hold down Command or Ctrl plus Shift when you click, the link opens in a new foreground tab. So how do you honor these different options when you are opening web pages in your add-on? You use the function openUILink.

What Is Your Message?

A few months ago, I had lunch with Thom Singer*. Thom's an author and speaker and a really great guy. I met with him because I really enjoy public speaking and I wanted to talk to him about what it takes to be a professional speaker. We had a great lunch and a great conversation. In the end though, I decided that a career as a public speaker wasn't for me right now. The reason was because of one specific thing Thom said.

Running Add-on Code at First Run (and Upgrade)

Running code when your add-on is first installed or upgraded is pretty common. You might need to install a toolbar button or display a web page. I've seen a few different ways to do this, so I thought I'd show how I do it in my add-ons.

The best way to demonstrate this is with some sample code. I'll make some comments on at the end.

Stop Complaining and Do Something!

One of my personal goals this year is to stop being so negative. Looking back on my blog posts from last year, there were too many where I complained about things without offering good solutions. I even did it in an email this morning (sorry Jorge).

Complaining takes a lot more energy than actually doing something. Complaining drains your emotional, spiritual and physical energy.

So what can you do to stop a spirit of complaining?

The Firefox 4 Add-on Bar for Developers

As I mentioned last week, my posts will be a mix of Firefox add-on posts and personal posts. This one is about Firefox add-ons.

One of the new features in Firefox 4 is the add-on bar. Love it or hate it, as an add-on developer, you're going to have to get used to it. I recently ported one of my add-ons that has a status bar icon over to use the add-on bar, so I thought I would share the experience. This post assumes that you have built a Firefox add-on before and are porting it over to Firefox 4.