Notimeout 1.0


Intro


If you know why you're here and what the Notimeout Firefox extension does, you can install it from here, or from the pretty link in the right column. Otherwise, read on.


Overview


If you regulary leave your browser running for a long time, you have no doubt met with websites that forget the fact that you were logged in after a short while.

Notimeout allows you to trick most of these websites into thinking that you're still an active user, even when you're not - so when you come back an hour or four days later1 you can carry on browsing the site like you never left, instead of having to log in again.

Simply install the extension, and when you come across a site that frustrates you with inactivity timers, select the Notimeout menu option from the Tools menu and click the Add button.


Using Notimeout
(click to enlarge)

When Notimeout is active for a particular website, a small animated hourglass (visible on the above screenshot) will be displayed in the URL bar.


Security? Internet Etiquette?


There's are two main reasons that websites will time you out after a certain amount of inactivity.

First, there's security: the website's operator wants to ensure that if you leave your browser running and somebody "happens upon it", there's only a small chance that you're still logged in - so in theory they cannot do much damage. However, with the prevalence of remembered passwords, and bookmarklets disabling website control over remembered passwords, this really is not much protection. Furthermore, you're not going to be using Notimeout on public computers, are you? Also, if you're worried about people accessing your computer while your back is turned, you're supposed to do something about it that's worth a damn: for starters, have a good password for your OS and set your screensaver to lock your desktop as well.

The second reason is conserving server resources. If you're constantly logged on to a website, you're going to be using a small amount of memory and CPU time on the servers. On popular websites this adds up very quickly: by having a reasonable timeout period the server can reclaim resources taken up by users who are considered no longer active. I can sympathize with the server admin folks and I would be skittish about having the functionality of Notimeout be part of a widely used browser's basic feature set. I wanted a feature like this, so I created the extension for myself. Others said they wanted to use it for themselves too, so I'm making it public. The few thousand downloads this addon will eventually get from this site will not turn the Internet upside down.


Caveats


Many websites implement their own timeout mechanisms with elaborate javascript triggers, message boxes, etc. More than likely, Notimeout will not be of any use in these situations. An example is bankofamerica.com. However, many pretty popular websites, such as the Outlook Web Access site pictured in the screenshot, or logmein.com, will be more than happy to give in to the gentle periodic nudges from this extension.

Try it, and if it works, great. If it fails with a particular website, you can let me know and I may do something about it - but no promises.

Questions, comments? Drop me a line at .


Revision History


1.0.18 (Jan-31, 2010)

  • Firefox 3.6 compatibility

1.0.16 (May-18, 2009)

  • Firefox 3.5 compatibility

1.0.15 (Nov-20, 2008)

  • Firefox 3.1 compatibility

1.0.14 (Nov-13, 2008)

  • Minor bugfix

1.0.13 (Aug-13, 2008)

  • More UI fixes

1.0.12 (Jun-24, 2008)

  • UI fixes

1.0.10 (Jun-16, 2008)

  • First release