My Flypaper Mind Brenden Schaaf's opinions, ideas, comments, rantings, & minutiae

Firefox add-ons I currently use

Over time I've made several posts about Firefox and some of my favorite add-ons.  Mostly for selfish reasons, I'm creating this page to keep track off the add-ons that I have found to be most useful and that I still use (yes, there are some that I stop using every now and then!).

So here, in no particular order, are my favorite add-ons for my favorite browser, Firefox:

  1. Xmarks
    • I wrote at length about Xmarks back in May.  Briefly, it is a way to synchronize your bookmarks (and passwords if you choose) across multiple Firefox installations.  In the scenario I mentioned above about installing a fresh version of Firefox on a new (or rebuilt) PC, all that is needed to have all your bookmarks is to install this add-on and enter your Xmarks username and password and the bookmarks are downloaded from the Xmarks server to your new machine.  All icons are maintained as the order and foldering structure present on your other machines.
    • Download Link: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/2410
  2. Adblock Plus
    • I've sung the praises in-depth of Adblock Plus before.  Disregarding whatever moral issues there might be to blocking ads on sites that are otherwise free, this add-on will make your browsing experience faster and less cluttered.  There are very few times that I've had to disable Adblock Plus due to "false positives" but it has happened on a couple sites.  Even so, turning it off is as simple as clicking the icon in the status bar and choosing from the menu.
    • Download Link: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1865
  3. HTTPS-Everywhere
    • With the advent of Firefox add-ons like Firesheep that make hijacking browser sessions easy for even the most novice users, it is more necessary than ever to take action to use the most secure methods of transmitting/receiving data possible.  One good tip is to only visit sites that use a secure connection (denoted by "https" as the protocol rather than "http").  A great tool that will automatically do this for you for major sites it this add-on, HTTPS-Everywhere.  Another tip is just to change your Facebook, Twitter, Hotmail, etc. bookmarks to https in the URL to make sure that you are always connecting securely through your own bookmarks, but if you click on a "share on Facebook" or similar link at a website you are still subject to the site owner's link design as to which server you are taken to.  Better to use this add-on to be safe, but do understand that there are limitations that might cause problems.  These are generally the result of some services (like Google Images or Facebook Chat) not being available over HTTPS so some sites may not look/feel exactly the same as their non-secure counterparts.
    • Download Link: https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere
  4. Forecastfox
  5. Download Statusbar
    • Normally when you choose to download a file, Firefox pops up a separate window to show the download status and from which you can launch the file when the download is complete.  This is interesting behavior given that one of the primary reasons many people first adopted Firefox was because of the pop-up blocker that other browsers lacked.  With this add-on, you can eliminate the extra pop-up window and instead monitor and execute downloads from the Firefox status bar.
    • Download Link: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/26
  6. Extended Copy Menu
    • Normally when you copy text in Firefox it retains the original formatting when you paste it elsewhere (such as into Word or into a blog post).  This is not always desired.  The workaround to lose the formatting that I used to use involved opening Notepad, pasting the text into there, copying from Notepad (Notepad is only capable of using plain text), and then pasting to whatever my destination was in the first place. This add-on puts additional choices such as "Copy as Plain Text" to the right-click context menu to make it as easy to copy text without formatting as it is to copy the text with the formatting.
    • Download Link: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4554/
  7. Shareaholic
    • If you find that you constantly share links with friends through Twitter, Facebook, email, etc. then this add-on is for you.  There are literally dozens of services that can be turned on or off so you can set up only the ones that you use.  The ones I have set up, for example, are Facebook, Twitter, bit.ly, Google Mail, Google Reader, LinkedIn, and Microsoft Outlook.  Sharing the current page or a link on the current page using any of these methods is just a click away.
    • Download Link: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/5457/
  8. Greasemonkey
    • This add-on is different from others in that by itself it does nothing.  Instead, you have to download (or create) Greasemonkey scripts (there are thousands) to make it do whatever it is you desire.  A more lengthy post I wrote in May provides more details, but having Greasemonkey is like putting your browser on steroids.  Just like there are add-ons for Firefox I find it hard to live without, there are Greasemonkey scripts that I depend on heavily as well.  Many of those are listed in the post from May, but I'll update the list via a new post soon.
    • Download Link: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/748
  9. Greasefire
  10. Better GReader
    • The Greasemonkey script that colored feeds in Google Reader broke when I upgraded to Firefox 4.  I was bummed, but quickly found a new tool that did the trick (and more) in Better GReader.  I was quickly able to turn on the setting for Colorful List View to get back to what I had before, but there are many other functions that will tweak how Google Reader is displayed in your browser and in your bookmarks.  If you are a Google Reader fan like I am, this is a great add-on.
  11. The Camelizer
    • CamelCamelCamel.com used to have a Greasemonkey script that worked on Amazon so that you could see historical prices for a given item without having to visit the main CamelCamelCamel site.  They have no released a Firefox add-on that does much the same thing except that it now also functions on NewEgg and Best Buy.  This is a great way to know if that deal you are eyeing is really a deal and you also have the ability to set price alerts so that you'll receive an email when the price drops below a certain point.  If you enjoy shopping online, this is a must-have add-on.
    • Download Link: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/14392

Netbook Specific

  1. Fission
    • Download Link: I discovered this add-on when I first got a netbook.  Screen real estate is a premium on a small screen and I wanted to turn off the status bar at the bottom of the screen but I missed having the progress bar that shows how much of a page has downloaded.  This add-on combines the address bar with the download progress meter at the top of the screen.
    • Download Link: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1951
  2. Personal Menu
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