Thursday, September 11, 2008

Customizing Your Firefox Browser With Add-ons

I just wiped my computer slate clean last week after more than 4 years since I installed the first operating system. My computer has two operating systems: Windows XP and Ubuntu Linux.

Since Windows does not ship with Firefox browser, a direct competitor of its own Microsoft Explorer browser, I had to download Firefox from to reinstall my all-time favorite browser.

I noticed that first add-on featured on their website was the Download Status Bad add-on. While I did not have any problem with the regular download feature of Firefox, I figured that it would be worth trying the add-on. This add-on lets me view the download progress at the foot of my browser instead of the progress being opened in a small separate window.

Being a geography fanatic ( I have blogged about Google Earth and NASA's Java application in the past), I immediately took notice of the Map+ 1.1.0 Add-on. This add-on allows me to view maps but unlike Google Earth, I can view maps within my browser. The installation is very easy, less 1 minute and everything is done but the configuration can be a little challenging. But the installation and configuration can be
viewed on video on YouTube at

Still on being my geography freak, I downloaded Forecastfox add-on which lets me, as the name suggest, view weather forecast from around the world through I like this add-on because it is not obtrusive and I can easy customize to my desired place for forecast.

I also downloaded Adblock Plus which I think is the coolest and easiest to use ad blocking code I have ever seen. Since I often travel to countries that have slow internet connection, these ads make the connection even slower as it takes time to download these ad graphics. With Adblock Plus, I can easily right click on an ad and choose "Adblock" from the context menu and the ad will never show and be downloaded again. It will just be replaced by a star. I can also subscribe for automatic filtering with Adblock Plus.

And then of course, there is my favorite Bookmarks. If anyone can see my bookmarks online, he can see there lots and lots of them. Installing Bookmarks creates two icons on my tools bar on top. One will take me to the website while the other lets me bookmark my pages automatically. This has been one of my most frequently used add-on (I had this before I reformatted my hard drive) because I go online a lot and maintain lots of websites and also keep on researching and studying online.

Most of these add-ons come in very small sizes not exceeding 1 MB. They install in one click and in about 1 minute. Although an installation requires a restart of the Firefox browser, there is actually no need to worry about closing any opened pages because Firefox has a really neat feature that restores previous sessions.

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