No Fancy Name
Sunday, June 18, 2006
my Firefox extensions/customization roundup

It's been over six months since my last Firefox roundup of customizations and extensions I use. Things have changed a bit, but relative to the number of extensions available to us, one might say things haven't changed all that much. Like I wrote before, it's not that I fear change, it's just that I know what I like and don't tend to add to it unless it really helps me in some way. I keep an eye on with the RSS feed of new extensions everytime it updates, just in case I see something cool and useful (for me).

Recently, a post at Freshblog alerted me to another blogger's Firefox Screencap Project, so I figured it was time to do another one of these roundups...this time with a screenshot of many of my extensions in action. No, of course I don't have all these things activated at the same time—that would be way too busy and I', not a fan of busy. Instead, I keep everything a click away, either in the statusbar or via right-click context menu.

Keep reading for a list of extensions, links to their home pages, and brief comments from me.

Firefox Version:
Theme: Azerty, which I also use as my Thunderbird theme.
Extensions: (get some here, or keep up with the RSS feed)
  • Blogger Web Comments: I wrote about this extension in a post of its own.
  • FootieFox: Because I don't follow soccer outside of the World Cup or my friends' kid's league, this extension will likely be installed until the World Cup is over. It's a matches-at-a-glance sort of scoreboard, with goal notification and what not (it's quick, too). It's not World-Cup specific, rather it has all sorts of leagues and teams ready for activation in your customizable scoreboard.
  • ForecastFox: Displays weather information for a location of your choice; many customizable options.
  • Gmail Notifier: An integrated GMail notifier; checks mail at customizable intervals or click to open GMail in new tab.
  • GooglePreview: Inserts a thumbnail preview within Google search results.
  • Greasemonkey: I have Greasemonkey installed but disabled. I only use it to test out some customization I think might be cool and useful, but typically there aren't any that I stick with and as such I keep Greasemonkey disabled.
  • Hyperwords: I've been meaning to write something in-depth about Hyperwords for months, but I just never get around to it (sorry, Hyperwords folks!). I do like the extension, and it's replaced several other extensions that were staples for me for quite a long time. But one of the problems with an extension that really does pack a lot of usefulness into its wee self is that, well, it's jam-packed full of stuff. The developers have made their own calls about the categorization and hierarchy of the links to functionality, and many times it's not something that makes a lot of sense to me, personally, so I have to re-learn a way of categorizing things. For instance, let's say I want to highlight and lookup a UPS tracking number. In Hyperwords, it's Map -> Track Mail -> [carrier]. "Map" and "Mail" are not things that automatically come to mind when I think "track UPS package status" and so by the time I remember where it is in the Hyperwords menu, I could have typed "" into my location bar and been on my way. But the argument about categorization and functionality links is moot. What I'd like to see is a customizable Hyperwords. That is, offer a list of actions and allow the user to select only the ones they want and also allow the user to categorize these actions however they'd like. Although I use Hyperwords a fair amount, I'd use it a lot more (and as such give more affiliate bucks to the developers!) if I didn't have to stop and think about/search for where the lookup action falls in the menu, while scrolling through things I'd never use.
  • LinkChecker: allows you to check the links on a page, as it checks and then colorcodes all links: red is for broken links, yellow is for forwarded links, green is for good links, grey is for skipped links.
  • Performancing for Firefox: This is a full featured blog editor that does not throw an inordinate amount of crap formatting into one's blog post (this is A Good Thing and important to me). This extension really deserves more than just a brief mention here, so I'm going to keep it on the "write about it" list. If it had been a solid release before I finished my Blogger book, Performancing (and Performancing Metrics) would definitely have been included.
  • ReminderFox: I am really enamored with ReminderFox because it is absolutely perfect for my needs. As you might recall, I have serious luddite tendencies. I do not own an electronic organizer, and I do not use any online calendaring system with alerts and emails and shared things and blah blah blah. The reasons are simple: I rarely do anything on a schedule, except for school, and thus I can easily keep track of things in my head or on a sticky. But then I saw ReminderFox, and its statement of purpose: "ReminderFox does not seek to be a full-fledged calendar system. In fact, the target audience is anybody that simply wants to remember important dates (birthdays, anniversaries, etc) without having to run a fat calendar application." Amen to that! It's like the Sage ("a lot of what you need and not much of what you don't") of calendars. I use it all the time now—kid's soccer games (even if I don't make it, I know they're happening and can call for an update), TA meetings, etc—it just sits quietly in my menubar. I love it.
  • Reveal: I wrote about this extension in a post of its own.
  • Sage: RSS/Atom feed aggregator; this is my primary feedreader. As its description indicates, "It's got a lot of what you need and not much of what you don't." Exactly. I'm a huge fan. Although I say "primary" I really mean "only" for although I have a token account at Bloglines, I never use it. I prefer my feed updates on-demand and in my sidebar.
  • Sort Extensions and Themes: The developer's site has no links to this extension, and direct links redirect to the developer's main (linkless) page, so I'm not sure what's up with it. All it does is provide a link in the Extensions (and Themes) window to sort the installed items. Good for those of us who like order!
  • Tab X: adds an "x"-closes-tab button in each browser tab.
  • TinyURL Creator: An interface for using to convert long URLs into smaller ones (easier for pasting into email and IM).
  • Update Notifier: I'll just quote its own description: "Allows quick access to your extensions and themes and the ability to check for any available updates. Easily configurable for automatically installing updates when available and checking for updates when Firefox starts." Yes. It does that.
Gone from my previous list are BlogThis (replaced by Performancing), BugMeNot (more often than not, subscription-only places have worked around BMN accounts and blocked them, so I gave up trying), DictionarySearch (replaced by Hyperwords), Translate (replaced by Hyperwords).

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