10 Hot Firefox Extensions

Posted by: Rea Maor In: FireFox Related - Wednesday, February 7th, 2007

Is Firefox popular now, or what? Recent reports of browser market share put it at 25% to 30% of the Internet audience. Part of what makes it successful are the little add-on programs and themes you can get for it, which extend the base program into a creation all your own depending on what you need. Here are the top ten picks for the most popular extensions with the widest appeal:

1. Stumble Upon – There are many imitators, but Stumble Upon was the first, and still the best. Stumble Upon works like a dynamic social bookmark system, where clicking the button will take you to a random recommended site, picking a category from the menu will take you to a recommended site within the category, and you can recommend new sites. Using the new search feature, you can search all of Stumble Upon’s recommended sites just like you can Google – with a guaranteed zero chance of getting a spam site!

2. Forecast Fox – still on top of the list for status-bar weather reporting. Unobtrusive and simple, this plug-in is configurable so that you can just have it display icons, text, or both, and can have options on pop-ups for weather alerts. Just hover the mouse over the icons for little pop-ups showing you what’s going on in your neck of the woods – including a radar map showing precipitation!

3. ChatZilla – Before AOL, Yahoo, ICQ, and MSN got into the act, IRC was all the chat anyone needed. The ChatZilla extension is the easiest IRC system to use, putting most of the functions normally invoked by commands into an intuitive GUI interface. In fact, everything is done by mouse-click except for the actual chat!

4. Performancing – the latest thing in blogging. Performancing provides a simple blog post editor right in your web browser, acting as a special tag to which you can clip and save bits and pieces f content while you’re surfing. This saves the hassle of using a separate program.

5. Answers – Ever run across a word or acronym that you weren’t familiar with? Instead of rushing to a new tab to look it up in an online dictionary, Answers gives you the definition right on the page in a pop-up. It uses Answers.com, Wikipedia, Dictionary.com, and many others. Very handy for following an article or discussion that bandies about terms you’ve never heard of.

6. Foxmarks – A simple plug-in that keeps your bookmarks synchronized throughout multiple computers. these days, who has just one computer, anyway? Foxmarks works quietly in the background; the only thing you notice is that the bookmarks you keep are now consistent from your desktop machine to your laptop to your work machine and so on. Also copies your bookmarks to its home page, so you can also access them from a guest computer (such as your local espresso joint or library!).

7. Sage – Let’s stop right here and clear something up: an RSS (stands for Really Simple Syndication) feed is like a miniature version of the journal-posted page which it tracks. The latest content to a blog is automatically posted to the RSS page, and that feed can then be piped to a list of feeds, with each entry being a link to the full post on that blog’s page. Now that we’ve cleared that up, Sage is a feed aggregator. Find a site you want to keep track of, find its RSS feed, add it to Sage. Over time, you get a full RSS headline feed from dozens of sites, allowing you to see what’s new at a glance.

8. Download Statusbar – really simple idea, but nobody thought of it til now. Puts a little progress meter right in your status bar, showing whatever you’re downloading in the background while you can keep going on with whatever you were doing.

9. Auto Slideshow – So many image galleries on the web, and so few webmasters know hos to set up a simple slideshow interface. This plug-in compensates by takng the images from any web page and turning them into a slideshow, with an option to use ‘next’ and ‘previous’ buttons plus save images from the page. And yes, it knows the difference between thumbnails and the full-sized pictures they link to.

10. Firefox Showcase – A splashy name for a simple plug-in. This shows thumbnails of every page you have opened in tabs, allowing you to view them all at a glance and quickly zip from one to the other. this is actually a big help to people who work on the web and are likely to have a dozen or so tabs open at any given time.


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