Pat's Favorite FireFox Extensions, Oct 2010

Here’s an update to a 2008 article.  Extensions have come and gone, and Firefox is much updated now, at 3.6.x, with 4.0 on the near horizon.

First, a quick note:  Yes, I still use Firefox as my default browser.  It works, it is extensible, and I’ve never had performance problems with it.  Yes, Chrome is out there, but every time I’ve tried it, it is broken in various ways (spellchecking, for one) and the UI decisions in it are perplexing.

ExtensionDescriptionStatus / notes
Subtle 2.0A theme/persona, actually. Clean, light-colored. The mellow gradient spiffs up the flat gray of the default FF background.Currently in use
Aging TabsSort-of cool extension, changes tab colors for tabs you haven't visited recently.Installed, but disabled. While it seems like a great idea, I ended up confusing myself more often than not.
BetterPrivacyCalls itself the "Super-Cookie Safeguard". Deals with Flash LSOs, which are a kind of cookie not managed by the browser.Currently in use. Pretty unobtrusive, I don't have to do anything after initial setup.
Broadband Speed Test and DiagnosticsQuick way to do a speed test, provides a bunch of tools when an HTTP error condition is returned.Installed, rarely used. I don't tend to use this much, anymore, so it may be on the chopping block.
DownloadHelperProvides the means to download flash video and what-notInstalled and in use. Want to download a youtube clip? This makes it pretty easy.
DownThemAll!Firefox download manager. Can queue up files, download them one at a time, etc.Installed and in use.
Enter SelectsAs you type in the address bar, if a match shows up below, hitting enter will select that match.Installed and in use. Nice -- when it works. I haven't figured out the rules about this, but I still have plenty of times I have to select the first row.
FirebugVery nice web development package and debugger.Installed and in use. Great for development, largely unused otherwise.
Firefox SyncFormerly known as Weave, a great bookmark/history/passwords sync app. If you are feeling paranoid, you can even host your own server.Installed and in use. Not 100% perfect, but pretty good. Has a bit of trouble with slow connections.
FlashblockBlocks flash before it starts. You can then pick and choose which flash bits to run, like a movie player.Installed and in use. There are the occasional sites that have a problem with this, but you can whitelist the whole site.
GhosteryLooks like a very nice "track the trackers" extension. Notifies user about cookies, tracking images, etc, and can block problem sites.Installed and in use. I just added this today, after a harrowing bout of political ads all across the web.
GreasemonkeyUsers can add scripts to a web page to modify its behavior.Installed and in use. Rarely used, but crucial sometimes. For example, it can script the Groupwise web client to auto-refresh and prevent timed logout.
Link AlertProvides a small icon upon hovering over a link. Can show PDFs, "new window" links, etc.Installed and in use.
Nuke Anything EnhancedDelete elements from web pages.Installed and in use. Great for deleting flying boxes, inappropriate ads, unneeded flash bits, and more.
PosterDevelopment tool for dealing with REST servicesInstalled and in use. A bit crude, but it has all the functionality and HTTP methods needed.
QuickJavaBlocks java, JavaScript, flash, Silverlight content.Installed and in use. I only have this because Flashblock does not do its thing for Java applets.
Remove New Tab ButtonRemoves the new tab button from the tab bar.Installed and in use. Ctrl-T forever!
SageRSS Reader. Uses Bookmarks to organize links.Installed and in use. Usage of this has dropped a bit, with smartphone taking on some of the work.
ScrapBookQuickly copies a web page locally.Installed and in use. Rarely used, though. Another candidate for deletion.
SearchLoad OptionsTweaks the behavior of the search box.Installed and in use. I like the auto-clearing after a search. Also, the auto-reset to google is nice, but I find myself very rarely switching search engines. I tend to use keywords for this instead.
Web DeveloperWeb development features, messing with forms, css, more.Installed and in use. This plugin differs in feel and functionality from Firebug quite a bit. Useful in day-to-day browsing at times.


And to my dearly departed extensions:  you may still be installed, but you got left behind and I can’t use you:

  • Google Notebook
  • InstantAction Game Launcher
  • Quick Preference Button
  • Reveal
  • TagSifter
  • UrlParams
  • WebDAV Launcher
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One Response to Pat's Favorite FireFox Extensions, Oct 2010

  1. Eric F says:

    xMarks is interesting and still alive.

    the preview add-on is very nice too, just because I like knowing where I’m clicking. I think it works for shortening URLs too.

    I find myself intrigued by that Aging Tabs!

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