Archive | Add-ons Reviews

Tab Mix Plus

Tab Mix Plus It has been a long time since I have taken a look at Tab Mix Plus.  I know a lot of people who use it, and it continues to be one of the most popular Firefox add-ons out there.  So the first question to ask is, what makes it so darn special?

Well, the main goal of Tab Mix Plus is to give Firefox’s tabs more capabilities.  You can quickly duplicate tabs, control the tab focus, you get all kinds of tab clicking options, undo tabs and windows, and that is just scratching the surface. 

It also includes a full-featured session manager with crash recovery that can save and restore combinations of opened tabs and windows.

Tab Mix Plus Options

Need help using one Tab Mix Plus’s features?  They have a handy set of user forums here:

All in all, Tab Mix Plus is still a great addition to the Firefox browser if you need to do “more” with your tabs than the default Firefox install or any other add-ons give you. 

Easy Access to Hidden Firefox Settings

gui:config in actionIf you need to edit some of the advanced preferences of Firefox, and you need a neater way to get that done, gui:config is right for you. 

This extension of Firefox will give you a lot of the “about:config” preferences, in an easy to navigate menu box.  It displays the options, included in the current version, using checkboxes, dropdown lists and textboxes.

If you want to check out all the advanced settings that gui:config makes available to you, Lifehacker has done a nice gallery of each tab you see in the screenshot above.

I would consider this extension well worth trying out, at least.  The add-on, gui:config is a must have for anybody who likes to tweak and customize their browsing experience.  You can find out more about the development at:  http://guiconfig.freedig.org/.

Convert YouTube Videos to MP3

The experimental add-on YouTube 2 MP3 will convert and download YouTube videos in the .mp3 audio format.  There is no doubt that YouTube has a large collection of music videos, so this type of service was bound to happen eventually. 

Download YouTube Videos as MP3 files!

Once installed, the add-on will add a link to each YouTube video page that says, “Convert & Download as MP3”.  Once clicked, the extension takes you to another web site where the mp3 will be available for you to download.  The only downside I could find, is that it takes some time to convert the videos to the .mp3 format. 

As a bonus, if you want to use the YouTube video to mp3 converting service without the add-on you can do that too.  Just bookmark this link:  http://youtube2mp3.wmn.eu/

You can download YouTube 2 MP3 extension on the Firefox Add-ons web site.

Add Another Bookmarks Toolbar to Firefox

Have more than a few bookmarks you want to keep handy on the bookmarks toolbar in Firefox but don’t have the room?  Multirow Bookmarks Toolbar, an extension for Firefox, will help you solve that issue by letting you add as many bookmark toolbars as you need.

Multiple Bookmark Toolbars in Firefox

Once installed, the options here are simple.  You can enable or disable the multiple bookmark rows, and you can also set the max number rows to display.  If it doesn’t exactly match up with your current theme or you want to tweak it some, check out this post from the mozillazine.org forums

If you need more bookmark room in the browser, this add-on will do the trick.  You can pick it up on the Firefox Add-ons site.

Find Out What Web Pages Are Watching You

Ghostery

What a minute, what was that?  Was it a bump in the night or a cookie in my browser?  Ghostery, the add-on for Firefox, will help you find out what web sites out there are keeping an eye on you, even when it isn’t overly obvious. 

Alerting you when you visit a web site with web bugs on it, Ghostery is a good extension to have if you are worried about your online privacy.  The web bugs in question are usually hidden scripts that track your behavior and are used by the site to understand you better.

Currently supporting over 130 services (with weekly updates and additions) here is a sample of the supported services:

  • Google Analytics Ghostery in Action in Firefox
  • MyBlogLog
  • Quantcast
  • IndexTools
  • SiteMeter
  • Lijit
  • Omniture
  • CrazyEgg
  • Snap
  • Omniture
  • Statcounter

Well deserving of it’s rank as a “recomended add-on” for Firefox, Ghostery does a great job at helping you keep an eye on what sites, ad networks and widgets are keeping an eye on you.

Add a Recently Closed Tab Button to Firefox

Recently Closed Tab ButtonSure, keyboard shortcuts are handy to have – but sometimes a button is even better.  The Closed Tabs Button add-on for Firefox will give you an easy one button access to all of your recently closed tabs.  If you are tired of going to History > Recently Closed Tabs just to undo a closed tab, then this extension is for you!

Not only does this add-on give you a fancy new button, it also gives you a new keyboard shortcut to access the most recently closed tab (CTRL+SHIFT+Z). 

After installing the extension, to add it to your own browser interface you must add the button by going to View > Toolbars > Customize, then drag and drop the button anywhere on the toolbar.

The Closed Tab Button add-on for Firefox might be a little on the simple side, however when there is just a little problem to be fixed – nice to see an extension that gets the job done right without too much bloat.

Foxmarks is Dropping the Fox (Xmarks Review)

Foxmarks is now Xmarks Foxmarks, one of my favorite Firefox add-on suggestions for bookmark syncing and backup, is changing names today.  Foxmarks is becoming Xmarks(Waits for the “X marks the spot jokes)  The new Xmarks service looks to be more geared towards sharing links, ala Stumble Upon and Digg. 

Why make the move?  Well, one would guess that sharing links might be a more profitable business model, more so than bookmark syncing alone.  Via the Xmarks blog, here are some FAQs for those of you who might have questions about the change:

  • Xmarks is a superset of Foxmarks – it adds web discovery features to our world-class bookmark sync.
  • If you choose to upgrade to Xmarks, it will work seamlessly with your existing Foxmarks account and will sync with your other computers running Foxmarks.
  • Foxmarks.com and our existing Foxmarks add-ons won’t change overnight. We expect to have upgrades to all three Foxmarks versions available by the end of March and we’ll provide you with more detailed info once we return from the DEMO conference.
  • We’re still hard at work finding better, faster ways to sync more things in your browser.

So what new features will be brought on with the new business model?

Smarter Search – In your Google search results, Xmarks will highlight the top three sites based on bookmarking history.  Put your mouse over the special icon to the side of the search results to learn more information such as reviews, and rankings.

Smarter Search in Xmarks

Site Info Lookup – Clicking on the Xmarks logo in your location bar will bring up a detailed box letting you know more information about the site you are on, and help you discover other sites just like it.

Site Info Lookup in Xmarks

Then of course, you have the bookmark and password backup and syncing capabilities that Foxmarks already brought to the table.  The Xmarks browser add-on is Firefox only right now, but they promise to have Internet Explorer and Safari versions running soon.  Firefox fans can grab the Xmarks add-on here to try it out.  It is worth pointing out that you can install Xmarks even if you have the Foxmarks add-on installed on your computer. Xmarks will upgrade your current Foxmarks add-on and continue to sync and back up your bookmarks (and optionally passwords).

So what do you think about the change?  Excited about the new features, or disappointed that an old Firefox friend is changing its ways?

Back to Close

The Back to Close add-on for Firefox adds a simple ergonomic feature to Firefox I am sure a lot of people will enjoy.  When you are browsing via the browser or via a tab, if there is no history to go “back” to via the back button – it displays a “close” button instead.

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This simple change adds functionality back to the toolbar.  The extension also works with mouse gestures and and by configuring the back button on your mouse (if you have one) to the Alt + Left Arrow keyboard combination.  Users can also decide whether to show the toolbar icon via the options button in the add-on manager.

You can pick up Back to Close on the Firefox Add-ons site or check out more about the development behind it on it’s official web site

Pixlr – Free Online Photo Editor for Firefox

I couldn’t be more blunt with the headline, and it pretty much tells the entire story here.  Pixlr, a great online photo editor has now got an extension that will work with Firefox.  With it, you have access to import and edit any picture you find into the Pixlr web site.

Free Photo Editor Pixlr in Action

So who really needs Pixlr?  It is a great alternative for us normal people out there who may not need the entire Photoshop suite of tools, just a simple and easy to use editor.  Having it online and with easy access via Firefox makes it an even handier tool for the web developers out there to have access to.  The only thing you need to have to make it work is Flash. 

One more nice feature about the service is it is super quick.  Just playing around with the editor on its own, it loaded up in under two seconds easily.  To pick up the Firefox add-on for Pixlr, go check out the Firefox Add-on site.  To learn more about the Pixlr editor, be sure to visit pixlr.com.

TwitterFox Rocks

Twittering with TwitterFox After posting a review of Twitbin last week, I got a lot of people e-mailing me to check out another favorite Twitter tool in Firefox called TwitterFox.  This add-on for Firefox notifies you of your friends’ status on Twitter. 

Isn’t that what Twitbin did?  Yes, but Twitbin lived in your sidebar.  TwitterFox lives in your status bar.  The ever-so-small icon in the status bar will notify you when your friends update their own Twitter profiles.

Some of the features added to TwitterFox 1.7.6 include:

  • Supported Firefox 3.1b2
  • Added a context menu to each tweets which has: copy, re-tweet, open this tweet in new tab , delete tweet
  • Auto extract is.gd and bit.ly links.
  • Added Mark all as read menu item to main context menu.
  • Increased contrast of background color of read/unread messages.
  • Added in-reply-to-status-id parameter for status update.
  • Added da-DK, th-TH, vi-VN, ar-SA, ar, and kw-GB translations.
  • Bug fixes.

Need your first Twitter friend, or want to follow me and my Firefoxing ways? 

Follow me on Twitter at:  http://twitter.com/mitchkeeler

As you can see, there is a lot to love here for any Firefox/Twitter fan boy (or girl).  You can pickup TwiterFox via the Firefox Add-ons site or the official web site at TwitterFox.net