Archive | Add-ons Reviews

Smart Bookmarks Bar

Running out of room in your bookmarks toolbar?  You could do some spring cleaning – but winter is quickly coming upon us.  Next idea?  Well the Smart Bookmarks Bar add-on for Firefox promises to simplify your cluttered bookmark rat’s nest.

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It shrinks your bookmarks down to only the favicons.  So what?  Well, the magic happens when you hover over one of the bookmarks.  Bookmark names will be displayed when you mouse over them.  Pretty nifty, right?

You can pick up the Smart Bookmarks Bar on the Firefox Add-ons web site.

8 Ways to Open Text as a Link

Turn Text to Links in Firefox One of those pesky things that bug me is when somebody writes a link in that I want to click, but there is no HTML code included to make it into a click-able link.  Thankfully several add-ons for Firefox have figured out how to turn URLs and e-mail addresses not marked up as a link into things I can click on.

There are eight add-ons for Firefox that do this job very well.  The only problem is that there is not that much difference between them.

Know of a number nine I might have missed?  I wouldn’t be surprised.  This seems like a very popular idea to do for a Firefox extension for some reason.  Since today is my birthday, just consider these eight gems your present from me.

Foxmarks Introduces Password Sync

One of my favorite features of the old Google Browser Sync was the ability to sync my passwords between my laptop and desktop computers.  Till now, no other program has gotten that right.  That was the case till Foxmarks decided to roll out this new feature.

Password Synchronization is an optional feature for the newest version of Foxmarks that allows you to simply and securely synchronize your saved passwords. 

password-sync

Since this feature is turned off by default, how do you activate it? 

  1. Open the Foxmarks Settings dialog (located in Tools > Foxmarks > Settings…).
  2. Click on the “Sync” tab.
  3. Select the checkbox labeled “Passwords”. You will be guided through a quick and easy password synchronization setup flow.

Big congrats goes out to Foxmarks for making a damn good add-on even better.

Combine Stop and Reload in Firefox

10_after Tired of having the stop button taking up too much room in Firefox?  Well, you could remove it from the interface all together or hide it, until you need it.  The Smart Stop/Reload extension for Firefox will combine your stop and reload buttons into one.

This is to save you toolbar space, plain and simple.  To avoid unintended reloads, the button is disabled for a split second when a page has finished loading.

For those of you who might have the Stylish extension installed, you have a few more options when it comes to combining the stop and reload buttons.  Pick up the Stylish add-on then try these user styles out:

I like anything that helps me remove the browser clutter, so take your pick out of these suggestions – and if you have anymore, feel free to leave a comment and suggest!

Play and Download YouTube Videos Inside Google Search

Say, you like the fact that Google has started to thumbnail YouTube results in search, but you just want a ‘bit more.  GoogleTube, an add-on for Firefox, will allow you to play the YouTube videos inside of the Google search results window.

GoogleTube Screenshot

Once installed, all you have to do is hit the YouTube icon next to the search result link.  Instantly the video starts playing, without the need to open up a new tab or window.  Also, you can also download the video and view more information regarding the video (date added, views, rating, comments) directly from the search results.

The player can be configured to suit your needs too.  You can select player colors, player size and these additional options:

  • Allow auto play
  • Show player border
  • Show tiny icon on the status bar
  • Show download button
  • Show more information button
  • Choose where to show the video (next to link, under link, ect)

It is a simple extension that does a simple task very well. You can pick up GoogleTube on the Firefox Add-ons web site. 

Geode

File Mozilla Labs keeps up the good work launching tons of interesting add-ons for Firefox.  The latest, Geode is no exception.  The idea here is simple, to always know where you are.  Using the example they give, this extension makes a lot of sense:

You’ve arrived in a new city, a new continent, a new coffee shop. You don’t really know where you are, and are looking for a good place to eat. You pull out your laptop, fire up Firefox, and go to your favorite review site. It automatically deduces your location, and serves up some delicious suggestions a couple blocks away and plots directions there.

It sounds to me a lot like what people had hoped Google would do with their Android phones, except Mozilla here isn’t talking about ad space yet. 

 geode-addon

How can this be done?  It is in part thanks to the new W3C Geolocation Specification which, in turn, adds the ability for web sites to request and users to provide their locations.  It would/could be done a number of different ways such as GPS, WiFi, entering the details yourself, and so on.

If this tickles your fancy, you can download the Geode add-on for Firefox or just check out Mozilla Labs for more of the inside dirt on the idea.

Social Network Updating with PingFire

Ping.fm makes it simple to update all of your social network pages in a snap.  The only thing that would make it even easier to use, is if there was a Firefox add-on based around it.  PingFire is that tool. 

Ping.fm is a cool tool in its own right.  It allows you to updates twitter, jaiku, tumblr, pownce, facebook, myspace and more all in one single place.  This PingFire extension just adds onto that functionality – by allowing to to use PingFire from anywhere.

PingFire in Action

PingFire supports all of Ping.fm’s contents types, your custom triggers, as well as Ping.fm’s posting shortcuts. It also includes a “Quote” feature which post the selected text and the URL to Ping.fm.

You can pick up this handy status updating tool from the Firefox Add-ons web site.

Don’t Pick Adobe, Go with Nodobe!

nodobe_logo Need an in-browser PDF reader?  Sure you could go with Adobe Reader, but who wants that bloated mess?  If you want something quick, built in and simple you need to go with the Nodobe add-on for Firefox.

nodobe-screenshot

At this time Nodobe support 38 different file format:

Adobe PDF:
pdf

Microsoft Office:
doc, docx, rtf, xls, xlsx, ppt, pptx

Images:
png, jpg, gif, tif, bmp, ppm, xpm

Vector Graphics:
eps, ras

Text Files:
txt

OpenOffice:
odt, odf, ott, odg, odp, stw, sxw, std, sxd, sti, sxi, sxc

StarOffice:
sda, sdd, sdw, vor

OpenDocument:
otg, stp, ods, pts

You can pick up the Nodobe Viewer on its official web site or the Firefox Add-ons web site.  Free yourself from Adobe, and give it a shot today.  Also if you know of anymore Adobe Reader alternatives, be sure to share!

Pros and Cons of Feedly Add-on for Firefox

whatsnew.part1 Is Feedly worth your time?  As a new type of article for Firefox Facts, I thought I would weigh in on both the pros and the cons of this add-on and give you my final thoughts on if it is a keeper or not.  Mind you – I am a very picky man.

If you believe the front page of Feedly.com, even Leo Laporte tweets, “My new favorite Firefox extension (and home page): Feedly.”.  I have heard about Feedly for a while now (from several sources), so I figured it was time I gave it a shot.  You can pick up the add-on for Firefox via the official Feedly web site or the Firefox Add-ons web site as well. 

The Install of Feedly

The toolbar icon for it is automatically  placed in your navigation toolbar, so I give it a click and it already has me signed in and has found my Google Reader account.  That is pretty cool.  Under social connections, it is asking me if I want to import Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Twitter or Friend Feed.  I handed it Twitter, then watched it work.  Ok, think this thing is up and running!

The Pros of Feedly

  • I like the fact it works with Google Reader and Twitter (the only two I tried) right off the bat, with no problems at all.

The Cons of Feedly

  • The ad box on the right of the web page layout is HUGE! (conveniently not shown in front page screenshot above).  Here is the huge ad in question.  You can click it to get the actual ad dimensions:

    feedly-huge-ad

  • The toolbar icon is ugly and has rough edges
  • I had to resize my browser to larger than 1024×768 to see the page correctly (without a horizontal scroll bar).  Should be a more flexible layout.

Final Thoughts on Feedly

I have to say, after spending a little ‘bit of time with Feedly, I just don’t get it.  Why do I need a Firefox extension for this?  Couldn’t they do it all as just a web site that imports things I plug into it?  Now I understand all the social aspects, but it just does not tickle my fancy.

Agree or disagree?  Let me know what you like about Feedly and maybe you might win me over.

Split Up Your Browser

Split Browser, the add-on for Firefox, splits up the content area of the browser in as many windows as you like.  Each window you see, also has its own mini browser inside.

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This is a really helpful extension for those people out there that work on multiple pages at the same time and down want to have two Firefox windows open side by side or don’t want to switch between tabs.  There are several ways you can decide to split your window too.

Ways to become more productive by splitting up your browser…

  • Choose the "Split Browser to" menu in the context menu.
  • Choose the "Load in Split Browser" menu in the context menu on link.
  • Click popup-button on top/bottom/left/right edges of the content area.
  • Drop links, bookmarks, etc. to popup-button on top/bottom/left/right edges of the content area while dragging.

too-many-windows There is no limit to the number of windows you can open inside of your browser.  Of course, adding too many might get a little on the silly side.  Click the picture to your right to see an example of the madness that can happen with a few too many windows open.

Another great use for this, would be to view one page normally, and then load up a mobile or sidebar-friendly page and squeeze it down so everything fits in nicely.  You can pick up the Split Browser add-on for Firefox on the Firefox Add-ons web site or learn more about it on the official Split Browser web site.