This isn’t directly related to teaching or moving, but this is my blog and I can write whatever I want, right? 🙂
Mozilla Firefox is by far the most useful and versatile web browser available for Windows right now, as far as I’m concerned. It has its faults and quirks, but in the end it always seems to come out ahead of the others. One of the best things about Firefox is the huge variety of add-ons and extensions that allow you to customize the browser to do almost anything you want.
I have several dozen add-ons installed, but here are my very favorites:
- Read It Later lets you easily mark pages that you want to visit later, but don’t necessarily want to bookmark and keep in the long term. With one click you can save the page to your reading list, which you can sync between multiple computers and even access through their web page or their iPhone app. It also integrates well with Google Reader.
- Update Scanner does what it sounds like: scans pages for updates. It’s useful for pages that don’t provide an RSS feed of new posts or updates. You can set the time interval and the size of the changes that trigger update notifications.
- ReloadEvery makes a tab of Firefox reload (refresh) automatically at a given time interval. Very good for keeping a page up to date if it doesn’t load changes itself (can anyone say “new Facebook home page?”) I use this one a lot when I am waiting for something new to be posted, because I am both very impatient and very lazy 🙂
- AdBlock Plus blocks all those silly ads on web pages. I very rarely see ads on any pages I go to anymore. Yes, I know ads provide revenue for sites, etc, etc, but let’s face it, most of them are irrelevant and distracting, and some of them are really gross. With AdBlock Plus enabled, a lot of times you can’t even tell where the ads were supposed to be, and you can just enjoy the content on the page.
- AutoPager solves one of the most irritating aspects of many sites: only a certain number of results are shown on a given page, so you constantly have to click “next page” to continue browsing. With AutoPager, when you get near the end of a page on, say, Google, or Amazon, it automatically loads the next page of search results, so you can just continue scrolling.
- Google Preview shows a thumbnail screenshot of the page next to its Google search result. This gives you a visual indication of what you will see when you click on the link.
- Shareaholic gives you multiple ways to share the page you’re looking at. When you right-click on the page or click the Shareaholic icon in the toolbar, you can choose to share that link on dozens of sites, including Facebook, GMail, Twitter, Diigo, Delicious, Google Reader, and many, many others. It makes it easy to tell others about cool sites you’ve found!
- FoxClocks puts clocks in the status bar at the bottom for any location you choose. I often find myself wanting to know the local time in Abu Dhabi (since I’m moving there soon and have to be in touch with folks there quite a bit) and South Korea (used to live there and still keep up with events and some people over there). It’s great to be able to see what time it is there at a glance.
- Currency Converter is another good one for people who travel a lot or have interests in other countries. It makes basically any number on any site clickable, and when you click on it a tiny window pops up where you can quickly convert that number from and to almost any currency.
- Faviconize Tab is for people like me who tend to wind up with a gazillion tabs open in Firefox at once. It makes it so that when you double-click a tab, it narrows it to show only the favicon (the little picture next to the title of the web page in the tab). This saves space on the tab bar and keeps tabs you use all the time open, but out of the way.
So, there you have it, my favorites (for now, at least)! What are your favorite Firefox add-ons and why do you like them? Please share in the comments!