Archive | Add-ons Reviews

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.

943948800

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.

Quickly Access All the Other Browsers from Firefox

943948800 What are you to do when you need to switch to another internet browser in a hurry?  Sure we all love Firefox, but some of us use maybe two or three other browsers for the Web too.  How can you quickly leap into Safari, Opera, Chrome or even Internet Explorer from Firefox?  Very easily.

1221148333 Open Links in Chrome – As the new kid on the block, it took some hunting to find a good way to switch to Chrome in a hurry.  The Chrome View add-on for Firefox is what you need.  This extension lets you open the page your currently viewing in Firefox, via Google’s new Chrome browser.

ie_logo Open Links in Internet Explorer – Switching from Firefox to Internet Explorer is something we have been doing for some time now.  There are two great add-ons that allow you to do this.  The first is IE View.  This extension gives you the ability to open any page you have open in Firefox, in Internet Explorer.  An even better alternative though is IE Tab.  IE Tab will embed Internet Explorer inside of your Firefox tab, so you don’t really even have to switch browsers.

opera_logo Open Links in Opera – Ah, yes Opera.  The girl at the dance with all the features that nobody uses.  Just in case you might want to hop over to Opera usage for a while, there is OperaView.  This too will give you a new context menu item that will let you open the target link in Opera.  Great for web developers or people who just like to be “different”.  (don’t worry, we won’t tell anybody)

safari_logo Open Links in Safari – Lastly, the new pretty boy on the block (at least for Windows users) before Chrome took the spot, Safari switching can be done with an add-on too.  Safari View (mac) and Safari View (win) get you from Firefox to Apple’s browsing delight very quickly.

Make the Search Box Work (and Resize) for You!

1174761255 I remember one of the early problems with every version of Firefox (until 3 came out) was the fact that you couldn’t edit how long the search box in the right corner should be.  Thankfully, with Firefox 3, now all you have to do is stretch it over to fit your needs.  So why would you need any of the older add-ons like Searchbar Autosizer?

Let me tell you there are still plenty of good reasons to give this Firefox search tool a shot.  Once installed, it shrinks your search box to the smallest size it can.  However, as you type into the search box, it extends itself to the left – so you can see everything you have typed in thus far.

Diving Deeper into the Searchbar Autosizer Options…

You can configure just about every size and resizing option with the add-on, but for those of us who don’t like to get too geeky there are three basic setting to choose from:

  • Size incrementally, to each letter
  • Enlarge Search box on first strike
  • Keep the same width all the time

When you have finished submitting a query, you can also choose to empty the search box (or not), revert to the default search engine (or not), and shrink search box to button if empty (or not).  They also promote the fact that their extension should work with any Firefox theme out there.  After testing with a few, I couldn’t prove them wrong on that point.   If you get stuck, they have a pretty nice FAQ too.

Searchbar Autosizer - Screenshot 1 Searchbar Autosizer - Screenshot 2 Searchbar Autosizer - Screenshot 3

You can pickup this classic Firefox companion at the Firefox Add-ons web site or at the official web site for the extension.

Better Tab Switching with FoxTab

foxtab3 Want a new way to quickly and elegantly switch between tabs in Firefox?  FoxTab is a new experimental add-on for Firefox, and it makes switching between tabs a very unique experience. 

You can view your tabs in a number of different ways:

  • Wall – like a TV store. select the desired tab (“TV screen”) from a wall.
  • Grid – the tabs are aligned on a grid.
  • Row – the tabs arranged in a row.
  • Cycle – rotate between tabs.

Activating it is easy.  Either hit the toolbar button for it, or hold the Ctrl key down and then hit the Tab key.  If you want to keep it front and center, just hit Ctrl + Q.  From the options, you can also set the size of the tab switcher (just in case you don’t like it being full screen). 

foxtab foxtab2

All in all it provides a new visual method for quick tab switching that is both useful and beautiful at the same time.  Currently FoxTab is only for Windows users, and is an experimental add-on.  If you wish to download it, and try it out – you can do so at the Firefox Add-ons site.

Grab Color Palettes in Firefox

icon_big Sitting in the left corner of your status bar, until you are ready for it to jump into action Palette Grabber for Firefox, will grab the color scheme for any site on the web you are viewing.

Here is a little more about the extension from the developer:

Palette Grabber is a Firefox extension for web designers. It adds an “Export color palette” command to your Tools menu; selecting this command will extract a color palette for the current page and export it to a Photoshop/Illustrator color palette file. It’s useful for creating mockups of new designs which share a color palette with an existing design.

The Palette Grabber extension supports Photoshop, Flash, PaintShop Pro, GIMP, Adobe Fireworks, and Mac OS X Color Picker palette formats.  You can pick it up from the official web site at http://www.gusprevas.info/palettegrabber/.

Open Documents Online via Firefox

open-it-online Open IT Online, an add-on for Firefox, delivers you what you want.  Well, it delivers you what you want, if you are one of those people who love all these new Online services such as Zoho’s office applications or Google Docs.  Open IT Online allows you to open your documents and images online without the need of any software to be installed.

Here are some of the extension types it can recognize and handle:

  • Documents (*.doc, *.rtf, *.odt, *.sxw)
  • Spreadsheets (*.xls, *.csv, *.ods, *.sxc)
  • Presentations (*.ppt, *.pps, *.odp, *.sxi)
  • Images (*.jpg, *.gif, *.png)

How do you use it?  Well whenever you face a document with the “Open With” option, it will also give you the option to open it Online.  From there you can choose one of the various Web 2.0 tools to view and edit the document in question.

One last really nice feature is that Open IT Online gives you the ability to also see the file size of the document you are about to view.  This is handy in determining if you want to open the file, or not.

You can pick up the Open IT Online extension from the Firefox Add-ons site or learn more about it at OpenItOnline.com.