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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Firefox extensions one year later

Fox in Snow by Rob Lee from flickr (CC-ND)My old system died and I'm installing everything afresh. Firefox is one of the applications which need the most tweaking, the default instalation sucking almost as much as it did a year ago.

The extensions I installed on the new system are:

  • Adblock Plus with Adblock Filterset.G Updater. One might think advertisers would have learned something from the backlash against popups, but apparently they have not. Window popups are blocked by pretty much every browser, so they replaced them by Flash animations obscuring parts of the page. The only way to get rid of this new kind of popups is blocking all non-text ads.
  • Session Manager (formerly Session Saver) restores your session after browser crashes or in closed. One would think Firefox would catch up to Opera by now, but it seems developers are satisfied with being better than Internet Explorer.
  • Bookmarks. is one of my favourite parts of the Web 2.0. Being able to create bookmarks by a single keypress (Ctrl-D) is just awesome.
  • CustomizeGoogle - everyone spends a lot of time googling, so let's turn it into better experience. Among the features are anonymized cookies, enforcing https connections, making links in Google Images go directly to the pictures, removal of ads (they're not annoying enough to bother for most people, but one can do it if one wants to), links to other search engines, and now - automatically fetching more search results by scrooling instead of having them on new pages.
  • Download Statusbar - this one should be included in default Firefox. Instead of an ugly popup window with download progress it can all be on the status bar.
  • StumbleUpon - having too much free time but sick of pretty pics, Ron Paul, and Iraq ? StumbleUpon is something like reddit, but personalized. By up and down voting pages it learns what about one's preferences and shows you things one is likely to enjoy. It shouldn't be installed if a deadline is coming :-)
  • A year ago when Colbert was still on YouTube VideoDownloader was quite useful, but nowadays there's not much point, bittorrent being the only way to get the good stuff. TorrentBar provides easy search for multiple bittorrent websites, for all your Colbert and hentai needs.
  • ChatZilla - a nice IRC client. Its best feature compared to xchat is per-channel encoding support.
  • TinyUrl creator - adds create tinyurl action to the right click menu.
  • Firebug - an absolutely awesome tool for all kinds of web development from plain CSS to evil AJAXery. I'm serious - if you do any web development whatsoever, you need to check it out.
  • ColorfulTabs - by making tabs colorful navigation between multiple tabs becomes easier. It's much more useful with "Generate colors by URL" option set, in which case all tabs with the same domain have the same color.
  • Gmain Manager - notifies you on any incoming mail. There are similar extensions for other webmails.
If you want to find a Firefox extension for something, probably the easiest way is the list of Firefox extensions ordered by popularity. The best extensions are usually pretty high on the list.

Any important extensions I missed ?


Jerry Preissler said...

Hi, interesting list. Any particular reason why you did not include ?

taw said...

Jerry Preissler: Well, NoScript simply breaks functionality of pretty much every website for no good reason. I don't know why anybody would want that.