I get a lot of comments about what my browsing experience looks like. Recently, I lent my laptop to a friend who had his broken and he came back with a comment that I had too much “stuff” in my Firefox desktop. Could be, I thought, but he should have seen what it looked like when I used Flock as my preferred browser.
I suppose it may be a little cluttered but it works well for me. My goal is to have quick and easy access to everything that I do online without having to wander all over the place to get what I want done. It’s also an attempt to make things safer and quicker for the time that I spend online.
You start with Firefox and then make it your own by adding appropriate add-ons.
So, it’s been a while since I listed my favourite add-ons and some have changed. Here’s some of what I’m currently using.
- NoScript – Plugin that lets me have control over scripts that are run from the webpages that I visit. It’s intrusive in the beginning but does protect from one site injecting its code into another. Academically, it also provides great insights about just what happens when you visit a website.
- AdBlock Plus – Coupled with a subscription service, advertisements are blocked and don’t appear on websites that are visited. It does result in gaping holes in webpages where the advertisements would normally appear but speeds up the browsing experiences and cuts down on annoying animations and sounds.
- Shareaholic – As I visit resources, I find that I want to share them with myself and others. This add-on lets you quickly and easily share what you’re looking at with your friend on Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo! Buzz, and more.
- Download Helper – When you visit a website and would like to have a copy of the media embedded without a great deal of work, this add-on lets you snag a copy for your personal purposes with ease.
- Minimap Sidebar – Have you ever gone to a website to find an address and then have to head over to your favourite mapping website to find the location? Not with this add-on. Just drag the address to it and it will be plotted on a map in a sidebar for you.
- Delicious Bookmarks – Absolutely these are a requirement if you keep Delicious bookmarks online. One click brings up a dialogue for the current page and then files the link away for future reference.
- PDF Download – Rather than allowing my browser to handle any PDF files that I find on the internet, I turn control over to this add-on. It gives full control over online document handling.
- Evernote – This is a terrific utility if you’re having memory problems or use multiple devices. With an Evernote account, you can send memos, weblinks, and more to the account for use later on. So, if I’m somewhere without a computer, I’ll just make a note to myself on my iPod and send it to Evernote for attention later when I’m at a computer.
- Greasemonkey – If you don’t like the way that a website works, use your own script to change the behaviour of it. Seems kind of bizarre but is very helpful at times.
- Colorful Tabs – I actually grabbed this add-on for its attractive appearance at first. Each new tab in Firefox has its own colour. Then, I read the documentation and found all kinds of uses for it. For example, you can colour tabs by domain so that you can head to a tab based upon a pre-defined colour.
- Customize Google – By itself, Google is a great search engine. However, with this add-on, you have more control over many things that you’d have to work at without it. For example, repeat your search on another site? Add directly to Delicious. Set sticky preferences.
- Finally, Cooliris. Once you’ve tried this add-on, you’ll never search the same way again. Cooliris bring up a 3D wall of images that lets you rapidly preview images without going through the traditional page by page approach. If you visit their website, you can even figure out how to create your own Cooliris enambled page. I did so with the pictures from our Student Photo Exhibit.