My Firefox Extensions

I’m a huge fan of Firefox (Mozilla’s browser), so I decided I’m going to bore you with what extensions I have installed. :-) The fact that they even have extensions is already a huge boost over the rapidly aging Internet Explorer. Much of Firefox’s power comes from the fact that it’s completely extensible – anyone can create an extension that fulfills some sort of need, however obscure. Really obscure.

Anyway, some of these extensions are really useful and/or interesting, and really give you tools that you never realized you needed. And of course, once you get used to them you don’t want to give them up… which you’ll have to if you’re forced to use IE for any reason.

Moving right along, a sample of some of my extensions, in no particular order:

  • Copy As Plain Text. Ever copy something from a webpage, and when you paste it, say, into an e-mail, you find that the font was pasted too, and it messes everything up? This extension helps quite a bit with that.
  • FormFox. This handy little tool tells you where that “Submit” button is really going before you click it. Paranoid people rejoice.
  • If your paranoia is a step above most, you’ll need an anonymous proxy extension. I have FoxyProxy, but I mostly use TorButton, which is based on the EFF‘s excellent Tor software. On a side note, the EFF is suing Barney – you gotta respect that. And you can’t make that stuff up.
  • For the truly paranoid: TrackMeNot. This extension “[p]rotects against search data profiling by issuing randomized queries to popular search-engines (sic) with fake data.” In other words, it will spit out junk to all the search engines every few minutes so they can’t tell which of your searches are real and which are gibberish. When AOL sells your data to the highest bidder, the bidder may be dismayed to see that you search for things like “artistic caterpillars” and “lemon dashboard” every 45 seconds.
  • Nuke Anything Enhanced: Bad name, great extension. Basically, if you’re trying to print an article, and there’s a big ugly Flash ad in the way, you can use this extension to temporarily expurgate it. It’s not a full-featured ad blocker (that would be AdBlock) – just a quick fix for REALLY annoying web pages.
  • FlashBlock. This is a good one – basically you have a whitelist of websites that are allowed to play Flash files. If a site is not on the whitelist, a placeholder for the Flash movie is shown, and the movie won’t load until you click on the placeholder. It’s one of my favorite extensions, and it speeds up web page load times too!
  • Gmail Notifier. Just a cute little button in the corner that tells me when I have Gmail.
  • Video Downloader. A little buggy, but it gets the job done. The job being letting you download videos from YouTube, Google Video, iFilm, etc etc etc. I’m going to try out DownloadHelper as an alternative, though – I’m not crazy about Video Downloader when it comes to YouTube…
  • XML Developer. I just just got this one and it’s really cool. It will load any XML document for you and help you work with it. My favorite feature so far is the “Create Schema” tool, which automatically creates a schema file for an XML you give it. Since XSD is ugly as sin, it’s nice to have a tool that takes care of this for you in a very simple way. It also has an XPath evaluator and an XSLT transformation engine. A must for any XML developer.
  • And speaking of extensions for developers: Web Developer. For me, this is by far the most useful extension for Firefox. It does EVERYTHING – it lets you: disable Javascript/Images/Redirects/Cache, outline Images/HTML Elements/Links (incredibly useful for dealing with layout problems), track down broken links, edit CSS on the fly (and see the results immediately), validate your HTML… Whew! And I didn’t even cover half of its features. It’s a keeper!
  • IE View Lite. Some pages just aren’t Firefox friendly. Luckily, there’s an extension that lets you open up a link externally in IE (when you absolutely, positively have to).
  • ScreenGrab. It takes a screenshot of the web page you’re looking at – either the whole page or just what fits in the window. I haven’t really tested it, but it’s a really cool idea!
  • Finally, NikkelWHOIS. A very cute tool that tells you who’s behind the website you’re currently looking at.

    So that’s it. I have plenty more extensions installed on my machine, but this post is getting a little lengthy for a YYWW post… And I haven’t even scratched the surface of the constantly growing library of extensions! Here’s Firefox’s extensions page – Go nuts!

    –YY

    p.s. BUT… some of these extensions may install adware or worse, so be careful while you’re going nuts. Read the user comments, and try to find a privacy policy on the developer’s page.
    p.p.s. Apparently some developers (using a pseudonym) give bad ratings to their competitors so their own extension looks better. Sleazy stuff…

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