Chasing Bugs in Other People’s Software: Xobni for Gmail and Boomerang for Gmail Conflicts

I spent a little over an hour this morning chasing down bugs in some great Chrome extensions I really like to use. The first was that I discovered that if I have the Xobni (very helpful contacts manager for Gmail) OR the Boomerang (excellent Gmail plugin that lets you schedule messages to be sent later, or return messages to your inbox at a later date) extensions enabled along with one called Measure It, then Shift+click in Gmail to open something in a new window stopped working. The solution is simple, uninstall Measure It. But finding out that it was the problem was much more difficult. I had to disable all my extensions in Chrome and then turn on a few at a time until I figured out which combination was causing the issue.

I really like Boomerang a lot and am learning to like Xobni more and more (but wish they’d implement some of Rapportive’s features or just let it work alongside Rapportive), but opening stuff in a new window is critical to be able to see the original email and respond to it at the same time, etc. So it’s good to have all that functionality back.

In doing this, I checked some settings in another cool plugin I use: Minimalist for Gmail, and found that I had a few settings turned on (like rounded corners) that weren’t doing anything useful, and were making Gmail continue to “load in background” (where you have your mouse cursor and the “working” indicator next to it) for a long time. But better yet, I discovered it has some cool new settings. My favorite is that it can make the toolbar and the navigation links “hoover” meaning that when you scroll down they stop scrolling at the top of the browser window, and hover there, so they’re always accessible! Super helpful tool. I used to have to scroll back up to get to it, or scroll the rest of the way to the bottom to get to the other one down there.

Note: the same guy makes several other “Minimalist for….” extensions. So if you use Chrome, you may want to try out Minimalist for Facebook, which lets you do a lot of things to make Facebook cooler, to the point and distraction free (like eliminating all updates from Fb apps! [hallelujah!!!]). This is how mine looks now:

Minimalist Gmail Chrome Extension

I use Google’s Chrome browser because its super fast, and secure. It has extensions (known as plugins on other browsers). I used to use one called Better Gmail (unofficial) to enhance Gmail, which was based off the Firefox plugin originally by Gina Trapani, one of the creators of Lifehacker. But its been in bad need of an update, and the the other Better Gmail wasn’t very good. My brother just told me about Minimalist Gmail, which has tons of options to turn off parts of the Gmail interface. Its pretty awesome. Like it a lot.