Souping up the Firefox Browser: My Tips and Tricks

It's 'Tech Thursday' here at Quaker Ranter. I try not to get overly excited by software and I attempt to stay neutral in the various silly tech wars constantly raging (the old Mac vs Windows being the granddaddy of them all). But the newest version of the Firefox browser is so much superior to Internet Explorer that I have to sing its praises and talk about how to soup it up with cool features.


The first thing to do is to "download the latest Firefox browser":http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/. It's a smallish download and it works great "right out of the box." But to get the fun stuff, you need to download "extensions," which consists of clicking the download button and restarting the browser.
*Extensions*
* "Bookmarks Synchronizer":http://update.mozilla.org/extensions/moreinfo.php?id=14&vid=15&category=Bookmarks : If you use more than one computer in your life (work and home, say), this will allow you to have the same bookmarks ("favorites" in Internet Explorer) on all your machines. I find I actually use bookmarks more
* "All-in-One Gestures":http://update.mozilla.org/extensions/moreinfo.php?application=firefox&id=12&vid=13 : I can never convince people that mouse gestures are really cool. I think you just have to try them. With this installed, you can hold down the right mouse key, slide the mouse to the left and go "Back" a document. Not really exciting, I know. But once you get used to this you'll start trying to use gestures on all your programs and thus discover just how addictive they are.
* "Chromedit":http://cdn.mozdev.org/chromedit/ : This makes it easy to change certain configuration files. There are two that are worth making. One is the "Speed Up Page Rendering":http://texturizer.net/firefox/tips.html#oth_rendering (which is noticable) and the "Ad Blocking":http://texturizer.net/firefox/adblock.html. You don't need to know anything technical about making these changes: you just cut-and-paste the code from the website tricks page into Chromedit.
* "Googlebar":http://update.mozilla.org/extensions/moreinfo.php?application=firefox&id=33&vid=34 : Like its equivalent in Internet Explorer.
* "Jesse's bookmarklet":http://www.squarefree.com/bookmarklets/ site has dozens of handy bookmarklets--little pieces of javascript that can be saved as buttons in your bookmarks or toolbar.
* "Adblock 0.5":http://update.mozilla.org/extensions/moreinfo.php?application=firefox&id=10&vid=11 : As the name says, it blocks ads. Once you've installed it and restarted your browser, click on the options (on the Firefox toolbar, click "Tools" then "Extensions," find "Adblock' and click on the options icon). Go to Help and select "Load default filters from web."
* Like most other Firefox users, I've used "Tab Browser Extension":http://white.sakura.ne.jp/~piro/xul/_tabextensions.html.en, which has all sorts of tools to fully utiltize "tabbed browsing," the mode where new windows are shown as tabs in a single window. Clear? Well, it's hard to explain, but it makes juggling open web pages much easier. Unfortunately "Tab Browser Extensions" or "TBE" is a buggy extension which causes more problems than it's worth. Here's a "list of alternatives to TBE that will give you the functionality without the bugs":http://kb.mozillazine.org/index.phtml?title=Firefox_:_Tips_:_Extensions_That_Replace_TBE
h4. Other things to look at:
* On the upper righthand corner of Firefox there's a search box. Pull on the little icon and you'll see that you can use it to search not only the page you're on but also Google. There are hundreds of other searches you can add to by pulling down the icon and click on "Add engines" (you can also go to the "Search Plugins Homepage":http://mycroft.mozdev.org/download.html. Just to give you an idea, I have searches for IMDB, Bookfinder, Wikipedia, Yahoo on there.
There's been a bit of controversy over the new look of Firefox. I won't get into it except to say that I think that "Qute, the old default theme,":http://update.mozilla.org/themes/moreinfo.php?application=firefox&id=7&vid=8 looks better than the new one. Luckily, it's easy to switch back.
Finally, if anyone's wondering why I'm obession so much as to give you my detailed list: I've installed this on a few machines already and want my own list of favorite extensions....

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