Make the Most of Firefox

A number of months ago I wrote about some of my favorite Firefox extensions. Well, the list of extensions I use has expanded, so I figured I’d add to the previous list. Extensions are some of the best things about Firefox, but sadly many people never use extensions. The reverse can also be true, as some people clutter their browser with too many memory-sucking extensions and themes. Some people may consider my 15 extensions too many, but I actually use all of them and my machine can handle the load (I’m using 310MB of memory as I write this – that’s with 14 tabs open in one window too). Highlighted here are a few more of the extensions I use, followed by the ones I previously posted about and still heartily recommend.

Tab Mix Plus – I have no clue how I managed before I installed this extension. Tab Mix Plus allows for the complete customization of your tabs. You can color, re-name, lock, and do even more to your tabs. It allows for much easier tab navigation using the Ctrl+Tab keyboard combination. I’ve also found the optional session saver to be better than Firefox’s default one. A must-have for users who frequently manage multiple tabs.

Download Statusbar – This extension nicely integrates downloads into Firefox by unobtrusively appearing at the bottom of your browser window instead of in a separate pop-up window. It can be configured to show you the download speed and a progress bar for each item you are downloading. It is easy to open or clear finished downloads and hides itself when all downloads have been cleared.

Better Gmail 2 – This is a great extension for Gmail users. It adds extra features such as custom icons for attachments showing what the file type is for each, the ability to display labels in a folder-like hierarchy, and the option to force an encrypted connection every time you access your Gmail account.

PDF Download – Ever click on a link not knowing it was to a PDF file and have to wait for it to load or watch it crash Firefox? This extension simply notifies you whenever you click on a PDF link and asks you if you want to download it, view it as html, cancel, or go ahead and open it as normal. It never hurts to have more control over your browsing.

Adblock Plus – A must-have for clean Web browsing, this extension allows users to easily block single image ads or the frames in which they appear.

Nuke Anything Enhanced – This handy extension allows you to right-click on any object or highlighted portion of the page and choose “Remove this object” which them removes it from the page until you refresh the page or right-click again and choose “Undo last Remove.” This is very handy for removing specific images or portions of text temporarily.

Flashblock – This extension blocks all Flash animations and ads from playing and replaces them with a Flash icon that changes to a play icon when you scroll over. Clicking this play icon allows the animation to play. There is also an “allow always” option for sites you frequent.

FoxyTunes – This extension allows you to control any media player from iTunes to Windows Media Player from within the browser with a toolbar located in the bottom right corner.

IE Tab – It is quite sad that Firefox runs Internet Explorer better than Internet Explorer runs itself, but such is the case. This is useful for those stupid Microsoft websites that make you use IE to view the pages. It is also useful if you want to be logged in to two Gmail accounts simultaneously. For those of you who create Web content, this is also useful for testing cross-browser compatibility. This is not available for you Mac users, but Safari View allows for running Safari in Firefox.

Web Developer – This is for those of you interested in being able to pick apart a Web site from within the browser. Easily view CSS, see what the page looks like without the style sheet applied, view source code, validate code, find broken image paths, and tons of other useful tools built into one handy toolbar.

To view the list of extensions you have installed with your copy of Firefox, go to Tools > Add-ons and choose Extensions.

Optimus Maximus (Toaster Included)

No, this doesn’t have anything to do with the Transformers franchise, but it does have to do with transforming. The long-awaited Optimus Maximus keyboard designed by Art Lebedev seemed as if it would never make it to the consumers, but this auction on eBay proves that at least one wealthy consumer will soon be a proud owner. So what’s so special about this keyboard? Each normal key can be replaced with a key housing a 48×48 pixel OLED display, allowing the user complete control over what is displayed on the key, color and all. Check out this video from CES for a better idea of why the pricey keyboard is so cool.

P.S. I read about this on Engadget, and it looks like the keyboard seller read the same post too, because he has humorously responded to a comment about the keyboard’s lack of toast-making capabilities by now including a toaster in the auction alongside the keyboard.

Symphony 2.0 Beta

The Symphony community was pleasantly surprised yesterday with the announcement that the Symphony 2.0 beta was available for download! I don’t owe Allen a dollar, but I do owe him and the other members of the Symphony Team a lot for creating, supporting, and continually improving such an amazing web publishing system.

I’ve successfully installed the 2.0 beta on my localhost and continue to explore it and will share my opinion and report any bugs I find on the beta forum. This site won’t be running on 2.0 until it’s out of beta and I have time to migrate. I hope to make some improvements/modifications when I do the install upgrade.

Design Police

“Bring bad design to justice” is the motto for, a site where you can download a sweet “Visual Enforcement Kit” targeting those horrible public displays of poor design. Some people in this world can’t tell the difference between leading and kerning. These people ignore widows, confuse en and em dashes, and even think Microsoft Word is a design tool! These people must be made aware of their mistakes, and the public should be well informed in order to steer clear of bad design.

Some of my favorites:

  • Force justify creates bad word spacing
  • The inch glyph is NOT a speech mark
  • Unnecessary use of Photoshop effect
  • Warning: low resolution image

Download any of the five provided templates and print them on sticker paper to be armed and ready to distribute design justice.

iWant: Macworld 2008 Roundup

Today at Macworld 2008 Steve revealed not only updates to the iPhone, iPod Touch, and Apple TV, but officially announced the release of Time Capsule and the long-awaited MacBook Air. Here’s a rundown of today’s announcements.

  • The iPhone is popular. 4 million units popular, in fact. Now the popular device is improved with the maps app finding your location via triangulating cell phone towers so you can quickly orient yourself and get directions from your location. Users can also create up to 9 different custom home screens which can be quickly switched between.
  • iPod Touch got mail, maps, weather, notes, and stocks apps – welcome additions to current lineup of Safari, YouTube, and the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store. The catch is a $20 upgrade fee for current iPod Touch users which I think is lame.
  • Ability to rent movies (even in HD with Dolby 5.1) via iTunes and watch on multiple Apple platforms.
  • Apple TV has a bunch of additional features including the ability to rent and watch movies, listen to music, and browse photos from your .Mac gallery and Flickr. New price of $229.
  • Time Capsule is a new product which is basically a wireless backup server. Also a 802.11n Wi-Fi base station, Time Capsule allows you to wireless backup from any of your computers. Comes in 500GB or 1TB flavors for $299 and $499, respectively.
  • MacBook Air. Much rumored and finally a reality, this is Apple’s ultra-portable laptop with an amazing 5-hour battery life. It features a 13.3” widescreen LED backlit display with built-in iSight, full-sized illuminated keyboard, and the integration of many multi-touch gestures used on the iPhone. Weighing in at 3 pounds and being 0.76” at its thickest end and 0.16” at the thinnest, this is definitely ultra-portable. It’s able to be this thin because it doesn’t have an optical drive, but this can be remedied by the $99 MacBook Air Superdrive which can be plugged into the Air’s sole USB port, or by using the new Remote Disc software which allows it to connect to and share another computer’s optical drive wirelessly. It sports 802.11n wireless and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR (which stands Enhanced Data Rate and is capable of 3.0 Mbit/s). The standard configuration includes a 1.6Ghz Core 2 Duo processor (made possible by Intel working to shrink their chip by 60%), 2GB of memory, and an 80GB 4,200rpm 1.8” hard drive for $1,799. If you’re loaded with cash, you can upgrade to the 1.8Ghz Core 2 Duo processor for $300 more and replace the 80GB hard drive with a 64GB solid-state hard drive for a mere $999 extra, bringing your grand total to $3,098.

Check out the goods at the Apple Store.

In other news, Super Smash Bros Brawl was delayed – again. It really doesn’t matter much to me, since I’ll be out of the country.

Copyright © 2007-2014 William Clayton