7 Reasons to Switch to FireFox
Copyright 2005 John Gergye
The Firefox browser has exploded on the scene. At the time of this writing there have been 23 million downloads of this innovative competitor to Internet Explorer. Minor drawbacks aside, most who use it love it, myself included.
One stand out feature is the customizable search bar that's built into the Firefox menu bar. As a long time AOL user I had 10 hot keys set up for sites I visited all the time. With Firefox all I did was set the search bar up with those very same links. Suddenly what seemed like a reason to mourn the loss of AOL vanished.
Then there's tabbed browsing. This is a new way to use a browser as you can access more than one page in a single browser window. Which makes it easy to switch back and forth among multiple web pages. Makes for a great time saver.
But a big benefit is the ability to install little applications that perform specific tasks. In the FireFox world these are called "extensions". If you're like me you'll find extension are sorta like potato chips, you just can't have just one.
So let me share my 7 favorites. I believe they will save you time or effort while enhancing your FireFox experience.
Favorite Extension #1: Auto copy
Auto copy is a killer keystroke saver. You'll never Ctrl-C again. Simply highlight the desired text on the web page with your mouse and it's instantly copied to the clipboard. Jump over to whatever application you want to paste that text into, paste it and you're done.
Favorite Extension #2: ScrapBook
How many times have you book marked a site only to return and find it changed? Or worse it's vanished? That makes the ScrapBook extension the web researcher's indispensable friend. It lets you take a snapshot of any page. Or you can grab just a chunk it. ScrapeBook keeps such snapshots organized and even lets you add comments if you like.
Favorite Extension #3: TinyURL Creator
How often do you want to sent a friend a URL only to discover it's a mile long? Like this one for instance?
http://www.google.com/search?as_q=&num=50& hl=en&btnG=Google+Search&as_epq=%22john+gergye%22&as_oq=& as_eq=&lr=&as_ft=i&as_filetype=&as_qdr=all&as_occt=any& as_dt=i&as_sitesearch=&safe=images
Wouldn't it be easier to send something like this:
Good news. There's a handy extension that will cut any unwieldy URL it down to size using TinyURL. Even better it will also inventory those you've created in case you want to use any of them again.
Favorite Extension #4: Popup Blocking
Okay so this technically isn't an extension. It's more of a killer built in feature that will stop pop ups dead in their tracks. I mean there's nothing like seeing this message "Firefox prevented this site from opening a pop up window" to give you a warm glow inside
Favorite Extension #5: Google Pagerank
Want to know the Google PageRank of a page? Sadly the Google Toolbar only runs in Internet Explorer. But never fear. If you like to eyeball PR, say to check out potential link partners, the Google Pagerank Status extension displays pagerank. Even better it's also in numeric form so you don't have to mouse over to see the PR. .
Favorite Extension #6 LoremIpsum Content Generator
Whenever you need some quick content to check a web page layout this is your tool. You can tell it to create so many characters, words or paragraphs. Giving you a variety of "Latin-like" content like this in the blink of an eye:
Favorite Extension #7: Copy URL
Instead of copying a snippet from a page and then going back and grabbing the URL you can do it all with one tool. Copy URL. Another addictive research tool.
All of these tiny apps can be downloaded from here.
Or if these 7 have whet you appetite for more, you can nose around there for other extensions to enhance your FireFox experience.
One other tip
To check your extensions go to Tools>Extensions
There you'll see all extensions you've installed. Newly downloaded ones will typically display this message:
"This item will be installed after you RESTART Firefox "
Do so and you're set.
Anyway, these extensions alone are seven reasons to love FireFox. At the risk of sounding like a shill, I can't urge you strongly enough to try it. I'm sure you'll like it.