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Easily Expand Shortened URLs

Expand Short URLs

Everybody loves to share links with the various URL shorteners out there, however – when you do click one of these links the problem is you have no clue where you are really going.  LongURL.org is looking to fix that problem and has two neat tools to help you get it done.

The LongURL Mobile Expander lets you expand those links no matter where you are at.  By default, you would paste the link into the LongURL.org web site to find out where you are going.  You can build this into your browser though if you pick up either the Firefox extension for it or the Greasemonkey script.  Both will give you the true URL when you hover over the shortened link.

Here is a list of the supported services: tinyurl.com, is.gd, ping.fm, ur1.ca, bit.ly, snipurl.com, tweetburner.com, metamark.net, url.ie, x.se, 6url.com, yep.it, piurl.com, and more! 

Now you will always know where those tiny URLs are taking you.

Get a Timeline with Your Online Videos

The people at VideoSurf have developed a really nice addition to Firefox, for all of you out there who are fans of watching Online video.  The VideoSurf Videos at a Glance add-on enhances your video playing experience with what they call video summaries. 

Videos at a Glance at Work

This comes in handy because it allows you to check out scenes from a video before you watch it.  It works with: YouTube Search, the YouTube Home Page, the YouTube Video Pages, and FriendFeed.

It also works for your search results too:

Even Works with Britney Spears!

A few other features included are:

  • Use the visual summary to jump in time while watching a video on YouTube’s video page
  • Discover more videos featuring the characters in the videos you click on, and learn more about them
  • Make all HD-compatible YouTube videos play in high quality (or HD) by default

If you want to give it a shot, go check out the VideoSurf Videos at a Glance page over on the Firefox Add-ons site or go lean more about VideoSurf on VideoSurf.com.

Fast Forward to Other Popular Sites

Fast Forward for Firefox Want another way to find out what other people are looking at?  The Fast Forward add-on for Firefox is an interesting one.  It adds a fast forward button to the browser, so you can see what is the top page that most people look at after looking at the page you are on.  For example, if you were on FirefoxFacts.com, and hit the button – it might lead you to Mitchelaneous.com, because more people went to that web site next more so than any other web site online.

They describe it as Amazon recommendations for web pages.  Such as, “People who viewed this page also viewed this next page…”.  Why use FastForward compared to StumbleUpon?  Here are the reasons they give:

  • Page Relevance – We give relevant results based on the page you are on, it isn’t something random.
  • No Registration. We don’t ask for any personal information to use the service.
  • Only 1 button – We only add 1 small FastForward button, not a toolbar.

They boast having over 200,000 people contributing and over 40,000 websites in our system.  So, chances are you should find some good results (for at least popular web sites).  You can learn more at buzzbox.com or pick up the extension on Firefox’s add-on web site.

Hide Firefox’s Find Bar After the Job is Done

1227892988 Firefox’s find bars (yes, there are two of them) are often classified as the good one that is hard to remember, and the not so good one that is easy to remember. 

The good one nobody remembers, is hitting the “/” key while browsing a page.  If you hit Ctrl+F you get the not so good one that is easy to remember.  This is the one that we all use most often.  The Hide Find Bar add-on for Firefox merges the greatness of these two searches into one.

How does it do that?  It is very simple.  It allows you to hide the find bar after a certain interval of inactivity has elapsed.  So, when activity in the find bar has been idle for a certain interval it will automatically disappear. 

You can try it out for yourself, all you need to do is download the Hide Find Bar extension from the Firefox Add-ons site.

Add Live (Suggesting) Search to Firefox

Ever wanted to add Microsoft’s Live Search to your Firefox browser?

No, me neither – but they have released and add-on to help you do just that. 

Live Search in Firefox

The Live Search add-on is a little late to the dance, however I am not going to totally shoot them down.  At least they are making the effort, right?  What does it do?  It gives you the “suggestion” feature for search terms when you search using Live search via the Firefox search box. 

Definitely, if you are a fan of Live search, give this a shot.  All three of you should be extremely happy.

Google Toolbar Give us Chrome’s Thumbnails

Want to get Chrome’s thumbnail preview page when you open a new tab in Firefox?

Google has ported one of Chrome’s most popular features to Firefox, the personalized new tab screen.  The only catch is that you have to use the Google Toolbar to get it.  Your new tab page looks exactly like Chrome’s after the install of the Google Toolbar 5 Beta. 

Chrome's New Tab Screen in Firefox

When do you get this fantastic new edition?  This happens when you launch a new tab( hit Ctrl+T, or you double click on the empty space to the right of your tabs).  You can check out all the other features of the Google Toolbar Beta 5 on the official web site:

I stopped using Google Toolbar myself once the search box was added to most browsers.  I mean, why do I need two search boxes in one browser window?  That is a post for another day though.  However if you want to check out this new ported over feature – be sure to pick up the beta off Google’s web site.

Searching Inline with Select-n-Go

Want to be able to browser for information from a page without leaving that page to go to a new tab?  If you want to save space or have easy access to a slew of search tools – you may want to look into adding Select-n-Go by Cleeki to your own Firefox installation.

To use it, all you have to do is highlight some text on the screen.  Then you get this cool window in a window effect. The main purpose here is to:

  • Minimum annoyance: no change of web page appearance, no unwanted tab switching, no unpleasant popups, etc.
  • Maximum efficiency: minimum operations, seamless connection, easy activation/hiding, etc.

You can do Google, YouTube, eBay, and Amazon.  If that is not enough for you – you can extend it even further by adding your own channels to it.

Select-n-Go Preview

In a nutshell, the add-on launches a browser window inside of your browser window. 

Now I promise though, that is not as annoying as it might sound.  True, it might not be the most visually appealing thing, however it does reduce your tab switching (back and forth) when searching for information Online.  You can pick up Select-n-Go by Cleeki on the Firefox Add-ons web site.

Force Firefox Menus to Stay Open

Stay-Open Menu is an add-on for Firefox that will keep menu items open, even if you click elsewhere.  It is a pet peeve for some, to have to do all this re-clicking if you need to access more than one thing from the menu.  This extension enables multiple selections from bookmarks menu, history Menu, or address bar dropdown list, without reopening menu or using sidebar.

Stay-Open Menu Add-on for Firefox

When you middle-click a bookmarked item in the bookmarks (or in the history) you will open that web page up in a new tab, and the menu stays open, so you can do more clicking inside of it.  You can then click all the links you need to click and open up.  Once you are finished, hit the Esc button to close the menus (or you can click somewhere outside the menu, as well).  Here is one more handy tip from the developers:

Toggle the about:config value of extensions.stayopenmenu.useCtrlMeta from false to true to enable usage with Ctrl-click. See the homepage for more detailed instructions on how to turn on the Ctrl-click option, and further information about using with the Smart Location Bar.

For more help and support for the Stay-Open Menu extension, be sure to check out this thread:

You can pick up the add-on via Firefox’s Add-on site or learn more about it via the official web site.  It might not be an add-on for all, but if this is a pet peeve of yours, you now have a solution.

Add More Tools to the Awesome Bar

Wish to extend your already awesome bar (otherwise known as the address or location bar) with some really neat tools?  By default you can check out an RSS feed from there, and bookmark a web page.  For those looking for a few more perks, you need to try UrlbarExt.

This add-on for Firefox extends your awesome bar with more commands, such as:UrlbarExt in Action

  • Make Tiny URL
  • Copy URL
  • Search Site
  • Go Up a Level
  • Easier Page Tagging
  • Navigate Sequential URL’s
  • View Cached Version of  the Web Page
  • Surf Anonymously Proxy Servers

That is definitely a lot to do in such a little space.  You also have the option to show or hide any icon you don’t need using the settings dialog.  The only negative I could find, is that the options for the add-on do look a little cluttered – so much in there to configure in such a small amount of space.

You can pick UrlbarExt up on the Firefox Add-ons site.

Xoopit for Gmail

Need a personal assistant for your Gmail account?  It might not make you coffee, but Xoopit is the next best thing.  Xoopit for Gmail gives you the ability to get a lot more out of your e-mail inbox.  For example, you can quickly browse photos, files and videos. 

Xoopit for Gmail

That is the only places where Xoopit for Gmail shines.  It also lets you:

  • Search your stuff, not your messages. Xoopit upgrades Gmail search to show you the photos, videos and files that match what you are looking for.
  • Browse photos and videos from YouTube, Flickr, Shutterfly, Kodak and Picasa. Links sent to your Gmail account are automatically collected, saving you the hassle of going to these sites.
  • Easily find and access your files in Gmail. Never misplace an attachment again.
  • Quick share to friends, Facebook or your blog.
  • Do a web search while composing a mail in Gmail and add results directly to your message.
  • Get information, contact details and more about the people in Gmail’s conversation view.

All this from your Gmail inbox.  In the long haul, this add-on will not only make your inbox more social, but will also make it more useful as well.  You can learn more about the service at xoopit.com or pick up the add-on directly on Firefox’s Add-on web site.