The wonderful world of extensions

or
What does this button do again?

I read some where in my virtual travels that there was a Firefox “power” user out there somewhere that actually had 52 different extensions loaded into his FF browser and another that went for the record of 100+. The thing that really piques my interest though is that this particular browser just seems to swallow these add-ons whole like some starving animal and then cries out for more. Sure, once in awhile it barfs one back up that’s not quite kosher but hey…it’s few and far between and to be expected, after all…nothing’s perfect. The point of all this is that I have a hard time keeping track of all the extensions I have personally stuffed into my Firefox browser and I only have 22 of ’em. I can easily see how one could lose track of all the extensions that one has loaded over time since most of them of them sit quietly in the background, sometimes not being noticed even when you use them especially the ones that stick something in the right click menu (Windows).

I get very picky about what I want and especially what I don’t want. If I don’t need it then I don’t use it and what I use better fit the bill and do it well and so for no particular reason, I’m going to list the extensions I use just for the sake of doing it.

Please note: if there are any mistakes in grammar or spelling errors in the post please forgive. It’s getting late.

And so…

1-ClickWeather: Simple weather forecaster, completely configurable and resides basically anywhere you want it (I have mine on the status bar). Has a neat thumbnail preview that appears when you hover over a particular day and you can set it to generate little pop-up type weather alerts for your area. Weather source is from Weather.com. Note: Despite the low rating (2.93) this is my favorite out of all the weather add-ons available. If you don’t want weather, don’t use a weather extension…simple as that.

Adblock Plus: Does what it says and does it well. A must have. Despite a few of the comments on the Mozilla add on site, I haven’t experienced any problems. I originally had used The old Adblock module but I swithched when I found that developement and regular updates had slowed to a crawl.


Update:

July 3rd, 2006…Checked the Mozilla add-on site for extensions while testing Bon Echo alpha 3 and found that Adblock has indeed been updated as of June 30, 2006. I can highly recommend either extension although to make either fully functional, install the updater below. Works with either extension.


Adblock Filterset.G Updater:

Update module that’s used for Adblock and Adblock Plus. I leave mine on automatic which lets you know when it’s been updated.

All-In-One Sidebar: Just what it says and can be customized just like any other toolbar. Mimics Opera’s sidebar in the way it operates. Any extension that has a button such as Sage or Scrapbook can be set into the sidebar. Bookmarks, History, Downloads, Extensions and Themes etc are automatically setup when the Sidebar is installed. Best advice I can give is to use it awhile before deciding to keep it or not. I actually got rid of it initially and then missed it so much that I re-installed it and now I wouldn’t be without it.

Customize Google: It says “customize” and it means “customize”. More ways to customize Google than you can shake three sticks at. The only way you could obtain greater customization ability is to work for Google yourself.

DownThemAll: Want anything on a web page or all the individual components together? Want to be able to separate anything from everything that a web page might have to offer, right-click disabled or not then this tool is for you. Highly recommended by just about everbody. I have to admit, I don’t use it much but when I do I really need it and it never fails to satisfy my need. I do not recommend for those who have dial up.

Fasterfox: The safest way to “crank-up” the browser. Covers everything from sprucing up the rendering to juicing up your connection speed from “Polite” to “Turbo Charged” which is basically a “damn the torpedos” mode that pounds on any sever you happen to surf to. NOTE: Read the instructions. Cranking up extension to all the way can definately cause problems depending on what type of connection you have and some servers will simply cut you off at the knees if you have the thing “Turbo-Charged” and have enabled “Enhanced Prefetching” as one of the options. Me, I’ve got her cranked wide open but when it comes to the Internet I have no mercy. Not recommended for dial up. Works for me. NOT FOR EVERYONE!

FEBE: Firefox Extension Backup Extension: Backs up your extensions, themes, bookmarks, preferences and cookies (the ones that you want anyway). You can configure the thing too! Does what it says. No more…no less. Just the way any back-up program should do.

Google Toolbar for Firefox: What can I say? It’s a version made for Firefox. If you want it…you can get it. Works fine…no problems.

IE Tab: Gives you a button and a right-click option to open the page you are viewing using IE’s rendering engine if you find the page won’t work using FF’s Gecko rendering engine (such as Windows update, MS newsgroups, MSN video’s etc). Works most of the time. Still a work in progress as far as I’m concerned but handy to have none the less.

Image Zoom: Zooms images via right-click menu selection. Very well done and very handy, especially the “Zoom reset” option.

Inline Google Definitions
:
Highlight a word/right click and select “Inline definition” and up pops a small window with a Google definition inside. Good for those who write, read, blog or just plain surf.

Nuke Anything Enhanced:
Don’t like something on a page? Right-click and select “Remove object”. Want it back? Right-click and select “Undo last remove”. Multiple undo capability is incorporated as well (one at a time though from the last one removed…you can’t select an individual item from a list).

Performancing:
Better known as PFF (Performancing for Firefox). Despite the weird name this extension puts a WYSIWYG and html source blog editor right into the browser that is triggered by an icon that lives on your status bar. Can’t finish a post that you’re writing? Just hit the icon and the editor disappears. Hit the icon again and the editor pops back up with your unfinished post right where it belongs. Rock stable, dependable and makes for a fine “pinch-hit” blog editor. Includes trackbacks and pinging options which include Tecnocrati, Ping-O-Matic, PingoAt and a custom selection as well.
It is not without problems though. Pinging options have to be selected manually for each post or update (edit) post and Tags simply do not appear to work however this doesn’t stop me from using this super convenient editor the majority of the time. If I really need to do some serious posting and let everyone know about it I use my main editor (Zoundry BliogWriter) but having a good, stable editor built into my main browser is an unbelievable convenience. I recommend it to anyone who blogs just for the sake of blogging.

Sage: A solid, light and easy news reader for those like me who don’t need a heavy duty, in-your-face news reader like WiZZ RSS. I especially like the way it stores a small index of current feeds on you hard drive for display (in the current tab) when you select a feed.

ScrapBook: Anything that exists on a page can be put in this sidebar style extension including the entire web page. Right click context menu gives you the option of bookmarking a web page into the Scrap Book as well. You can categorize the ScrapBook with different folders and notes as well. the perfect companion for students, writers, those doing research, shopping or anything else that could use a virtual scrapbook handy to put things in. When you no longer need an item…delete it. That simple. Highly recommended.

SpellBound Developement: Basically an in-line spell checker for Firefox and PFF (see “Performancing” above). Slightly confusing at first since in order to keep from conflicting with the normal right-click menu’s in both FF and PFF, checking a misspelled word in FF requires a right click and selecting “Check spelling” from the context menu and Ctrl + left-click to bring up suggested spellings in PFF. Once you get used to it, it’s very handy to have around. I also believe that this is the only spell checker extension currently available for Firefox.

StumbleUpon toolbar: A community powered random surfer. Safe and secure and brings the user to pretty interesting sites that were voted in to be part of the “experience” by the community of StumbleUpon users. A sure boredom killer and fun to boot. The categories to be searched can be configured by the user. Requires the user to sign up for a free account and gives you a username and password apparently for security reasons.

Tab Mix Plus: A damn good tab controller that gives you the ability to make tabs work the way you want them to. Too many options to list but it also includes session restorer and crash recover options that you can turn on or off which is a nice touch.

Tiny Menu: Simple extension that takes your menu bar (File, Edit etc) and sticks into a small drop down style menu that can be moved to whatever location you wish. I have my browser configured with what appears to be the Navigation toolbar on top (I actually moved all the pieces of the actual Navigation bar into the space left by the Menu bar after I loaded Tiny menu and then closed the then empty Navigation bar) with the “Menu” on the extreme left and the Tab bar below and that’s it. Leaves lots of space for browsing.

Uppity: Just a button with a little green arrow pointing up and a huge benefit to the user. Have you ever gotten to a web page from a Google search only to find that you would like to see the rest of the site but the page you’re looking at offers no way to get there and certainly no back button to push. Usually your only option is to cut back on the URL itself and hoping you can find the right combonation of “cut and paste” to get you somewhere. This little button relieves you of that chore by removing the anchor from the page you’re looking at and booting you up one directory in the web page’s architecture much like the “up” button in a Windows Explorer style dialog box. Down right handy gadget. A must have.

Viamatic foXpose: Puts a small button down on the extreme left of your status bar that opens another tab in your browser that includes thumbnails of all your current open tabs. Selecting a thumbnail takes you to that particular tab. Good for when you have several tabs open at the same time. It works…simple as that.

These of course are the extensions I personally run which is the great thing about Firefox and it’s ability to extend it’s function by use of these extensions and plug-ins and there are tons to choose from and several thousand pounds of them can be found at the Mozilla add-on site which is where I recommend any new Firefox user to head to when you’re ready to make Firefox your own, very personal browser.

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