Firefoxing the web

by on June 21, 2007
in tech

Firefox 2Firefox is a staple to my online experience. I don’t know how I managed without it before.

It provides secure browsing and can be customised to your preferences. In this post, I’ll be talking about my personal preferences on Firefox.

Themes let you give your Firefox a new look if you don’t like the default skin. Default works fine for me. The only thing I change about that is to opt for small icons and rearrange my toolbars so that I get as much browsing space as possible.

Now what really makes Firefox worth it for me are the add-ons. There are oodles of add-ons and the temptation to try them all out is great. However, too many add-ons will make your Firefox bloated, taking up much memory and slowing down your computer.

The rule of the thumb is to install what you need or think you’ll find useful, and uninstall anything that you don’t use (or find useful) within a week or two. Some people spring-clean more often or less often, but this is up to you and your own degree of anal retentiveness.

Install these first!

All-in-One Sidebar – This installs a sidebar to your browser which houses your downloads, add-ons, bookmarks and more! You get a one-click access to frequently used functions and it’s handy if you hate the clutter of little boxes floating around.

Tab Mix Plus – One of the things that makes Firefox great is the tab feature. TMP gives you more control over the tabs by adding little things like close buttons for individual tabs.

Foxmarks – Foxmarks is a must-have if you run Firefox. It backs up your bookmarks to an online account that you can access on any computer. In the event you lose your bookmarks, you can download it from your Foxmarks account. Set this to synchronise your bookmarks when you shut down your browser.

Firefox Extension Backup Extension – The problem with having so many extensions is that you start taking them for granted… until your browser dies and you have to start over. My problem is not “where do I download them again?” but “what did I have installed anyway?” FEBE backs up your extensions locally (in a folder you select), so assuming your entire computer doesn’t slide into abyss, you still have your extensions handy and ready to reinstall.

Mail Management

My email is fully online, so I’m spared the pain of losing years of archived mail in a HD crash. Anyway, an archive takes up room. Why waste all that space when free services like Gmail and Yahoo! Mail offers you tons of space?

If you’re a Gmail user, Better Gmail is all you need to pimp your email. It’s a Firefox extension which combines various useful Greasemonkey scripts. Put together by Gina Trapani of Lifehacker, Better Gmail features saved searches, attachment icons, label colors, keyboard macros, a filter assistant and right-click conversation previews. There’s even a couple of skins if you want to change how Gmail looks!

Gmail Manager is another handy add-on. It lets you manage multiple Gmail accounts and receive new mail notification.

If you Yahoo, the Yahoo! Mail Notifier alerts you if you get new email. It only supports one account at a time.

The AJAX Yahoo! Mail [Viamatic WebMail++] lets you preview your email (classic Y!M mode) without leaving the In-box. I have to add that this extension has not worked for me for a while, but when I did, I liked the convenience of not having to load up every email if I don’t want to deal with it just yet.

Useful Misc.

Here’s a list of other useful stuff I have installed:

  • Adblock Plus – kill most ads!
  • Auto Copy – copies instantly when you highlight
  • Download Statusbar – uses the status bar below to show download progress.
  • FaviconizeTab – reduces tabs to the width of the favicon (the little icon in front)
  • FireFTP – FTP from your browser
  • FlashBlock – Kills all flash by default. Great if you hate auto-start widgets or get startled often in Friendster.
  • FoxyTunes – lets you control your audio player from Firefox.
  • IE Tab – in case you really need to view it on IE but don’t want to open IE.
  • Link Fixer Thing – fixes minor errors in URLs like extra spaces.
  • Minimize to Tray – minimises Firefox to tray instead of to taskbar.
  • Organize Status Bar – with so add-ons things installed, you might need to rearrange your status bar to your preference!

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