Friday, June 26, 2009 17:00 PST
10 Useful Firefox Add-ons for Almost Everybody
By Meryl Evans
Iím in the middle of moving to new computers. Two of them. The laptop is easy. The desktop, well, thatís a story for another post. New and faster computers with a fresh install can compel a person to look up applications, plugins and other tools to boost web worker efficiency. Browser add-ons are a perfect example.
Quick overview for those new to Firefox: Add-ons are little free tools that make your application experience better and easier. Add-ons donít stop at browsers, either. Email applications like Thunderbird have them, too. Theyíre very easy to install. Just go to Firefox add-ons, browse, click ďAdd to FirefoxĒ and click ďInstallĒ in the popup window. Once installed, youíll need to restart Firefox to complete the process.
Hereís my list of current favorites:
Adblock Plus ó No. More. Popup. Ads. Or auto-playing videos. You might also want to download a Filter Subscription. You can still create your own filters to block ads on specific sites.
Better Gmail 2. Two great feature additions for Gmail. Folders4Gmail lets you have labels in folder-like sub-folders. Attachment icons replace the useless paperclips with the icons of the app that the attachment uses. If itís a Word document, itíll show Wordís blue W icon. Better Gmail 2 has other good features, too.
Download Statusbar. Get rid of the download pop up box. Instead, downloads appear across the bottom of Firefox where they donít intrude. When youíre ready to open one, just double-click the relevant filename in the status bar.
Firefox Environment Backup Extension (FEBE). Any kind of backup tool for an application is worth it because it restores data with little effort. This one backs up your add-ons and rebuilds them.
Long URL Please. Twitter increased the use of URL-shortening services. But some of us like to know where weíre going before we click. This add-on automatically expands shortened URLs. Even if you canít see the full URL, you can mouse over the link to see the full link tooltip-style.
Print/Print Preview. Adds a print icon to the tool bar with a down arrow giving you the choices of Print, Print Preview or Page Setup. I limit printing to stay green. This add-on helps because it ensures I print only what I need and nothing more.
Read it Later. Iíve always saved articles to read later by opening them in a tab and keeping it there until I read it. No, it didnít lead to having a bunch of open tabs. Because I donít like many tabs, it compels me to read them soon so I can get rid of them. Read it Later took over the job. The add-on puts a checkmark in your browser. Click the checkmark to add the page to Read it Later, click it again to remove.
Word Count Plus. Anyone who writes web content where word counts matter needs this. Simple tool where you highlight the text, click the icon and see the word count. Now it just needs an added feature to count characters for Twittering outside the box.
Xmarks. A bookmarks synchronizer that works between computers and across networks. I first used it back when it was Foxmarks, but encountered issues. Those issues are now gone, and the add-on comes with more features. It can synchronize passwords, give you information about a web page and create separate profiles. You can have a profile for each computer so you can pick and choose which bookmarks to display at each location.
Iím sure Iím still missing some of your favorite add-ons, but I limit how many I install because Firefox does become a memory hog.So hereís your chance to fill in the blanks.
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