Archive | Add-ons Reviews

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

Twitbin – Best Twitterer for Firefox?

Twitbin Need an add-on for Firefox that will allow you to keep up with the latest news or posts from your Twitter friends?  Twitbin is probably the best and most popular Twitter extension for Firefox.  Now let me tell you why.

Twitbin sits in your Firefox sidebar, showing you all the latest tweets from your friends.  You can join in the conversation yourself too.  You can send messages, receive messages, share links and more. 

Some features of the newest 2.0 version of Twitbin include:

Apart from design changes, you can now favorite people as well as view only facorited posts. You can now Retweet by clicking the icon under the avatar, as well as favorite, @ reply, and go to the persons homepage (if they have one).

Here is a video showing you the how Twitbin works:


Twitbin Screencast from brbreslin on Vimeo.

You can pick up the extension on the Twitbin.com web site or the Firefox Add-ons site.  If you are new to Twitter, or if you just want to see what I am up to, feel free to follow me there as well. 

Add a Cloud to Yahoo or Google Searches

Is there much you can do to improve on the modern search engines?  They all do the same thing, so it comes down to who does it best – but is that the end of it?  Maybe not.  Inserting a cloud of search terms may help make even the best search engine out there even better.  Search Cloudlet inserts smart tag clouds into Google and Yahoo interface to help you search faster.

search-cloud

The way this add-on for Firefox works is that it contains the most relevant information about the search term in question.  The more important the word, the bigger it gets in the text link cloud.  Here is more about the add-on from the developers:

If you often use Google or Yahoo to search through news or blogs, then Search Cloudlet is exactly what you need. For News search there are Source Cloud and Location Cloud. These clouds can help you determine country, region or state of the found news and their publishers. For Blogs search there is also Author Cloud view. You can use these context-aware clouds to narrow your search the same way you would do it with tag clouds.

Overall, I found this extension very useful.  You can find out more about the project at GetCloudlet.com and pick up the extension via Firefox’s Add-on site.

10 Great Money Saving Add-ons for Firefox

Firefox Add-ons to Save You Cash We can’t count on Uncle Sam to get us out of our economic woes, so who can we trust?  I say trust Firefox. It has never asked for a penny, and is always so reliable. With that said, what Firefox add-ons out there will help you save some money?  Here are my favorites:

RetailMeNot – Never miss a bargain again. Automatically informs you of sites that retailmenot.com users have shared discount coupon codes for.

Woot Watcher – Woot Watcher monitors the Woot! web site, and keeps you updated with the current item, price, and if it is sold out.

Price Protectr Toolbar – Price protect your purchases with a single click! Watch and target prices, find coupons, get retailer ratings, and improve your online shopping experience.

PriceDrop – An extension which helps you track Amazon product prices and get notifications when they drop.

PriceAdvance – Get price comparisons as you shop around the Web, so you can get the best deal.

Forex Currency Converter – Just click on any currency data on any web page to convert that amount across over 180 foreign exchange rates right on your screen.

KeepCash Coupon Notifier – Lightweight Firefox extension to notify you when online coupons exist for a site that you are shopping at.

Pronto Shopping Messenger – Instant price comparisons when you shop online via a small message window that alerts you of potential savings.

BuyBuddy – Locate products on those pages that are offered through Amazon and ‘tag’ them.

MoneyQuake – Moneyquake is a extension, which displays your real-time earning statistics from most popular advertisement systems (such as Google AdSense).

Know of another add-on that helps you keep a ‘bit more of the green stuff in your wallet?  If so, drop it into the comments.  We will just consider this an economic stimulus for us Firefox fans.

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.