Archive for May, 2007

My Ten Firefox Addons

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

This is as much for my benefit as anybody else’s – for when I set up or reinstall yet another machine for myself.

  1. Adblock Plus: Gotta kill the ads. The very best internet experience is that without twonks trying to sell you things. Of course the other benefit is that pages load much quicker since they’re much smaller without the ads, and your browser has to contact fewer places on the Interweb.
  2. Adblock Filterset.G Updater: The way to keep the blocking capabilities of Adblock up to date. This add-on just downloads the latest version of the master list which tracks where the ads come from.
  3. Google Browser Sync: This one is very clever. It will sync pretty much everything in the inner workings of your browser between all the machines on which you have it installed. This includes bookmarks, cookies and history – although you can turn off the bits you don’t want synced. A real time-saver, this makes flitting about between work and home an absolute breeze. Not for those with something to hide, I guess, since it uploads your dirty secrets to Google servers, but I don’t care ’bout that.
  4. Morning Coffee: A simple but dead good idea – really, in effect it’s just multiple bookmarks that open with the click of a single button. What do I have on mine? Well, a share price check or two, plus Get Fuzzy, Dilbert and Google Reader.
  5. Firebug: Great web development tool. You can poke around in the way any page is put together, and debug JavaScript if you want (I don’t do that since I think it’s broadly evil – see below :->)
  6. Web Developer: Another very full-featured web development add-on. I use it in particular to nose around in the HTTP response headers, but it will do a lot more besides.
  7. Aardvark: Last web development one, I promise. Possibly a bit overkill to have this instead, but this one is very good at figuring out what’s going on with your style sheets and so on. You can find what box comes from where, and even hide page elements to experiment with what happens to the layout. Invaluable.
  8. NoScript: A way to turn off potentially dangerous JavaScript and (less dangerous in my opinion, but hey, whatever) Java and Flash. You can make exceptions for sites where you really need it, and you really trust. It takes a while to bed in, but it’s well worth the effort. Google can take you anywhere these days…
  9. LiveHTTPHeaders: Actually I just realised that on my main home machine, I installed this a while ago and it’s even handier than Web Developer for dissecting headers. It can display headers as they fly past in the sidebar, which is very handy indeed. I’m sure some little gits use it to put together XSS attacks, but its powers can also be used for good (like getting caching right).
  10. StumbleUpon: Saving the best till last. Well – if by “best” I mean “best destroyer of productivity”, anway. Bloody thing. It turns up all sorts of crap that you really shouldn’t waste your time looking at, which of course is the whole point. Apparently eBay are going to pay umpty-thrumpty* million dollars for it soon, if they haven’t already.

*Yes, yes, I do listen to Mark Kermode’s film reviews. As a matter of fact, I listen to more reviews than I watch films, and it’s all down to him and the way he witters with Simon Mayo.