10:45 AM

Firefox Essentials: 10 Must-Have Extensions

There are some Firefox extensions that are good -- and some that are indispensable. Our expert tells why these are the add-ons you can't live without.

Adblock Plus With Filterset.G Updater
The original Adblock extension isn't just popular; it's THE reason why some people switch to Firefox in the first place. It's easy to see why: For every tasteful, thoughtful online ad, there are ten blinking, neon-colored insults to your intelligence -- and each one of them wastes a little more of your time and bandwidth.

Here's what you'll see without Adblock Plus.
Click image to enlarge and to launch image gallery.

In recent months, however, the original Adblock has piled on the new features for power users. Unfortunately, that means it's also getting a bit bloated, runs more slowly, and has wrestled more than its share of compatibility problems in recent months.

Firefox: Essential Extensions

•  Introduction

•  No More Ads

•  Flash Control Plus Three Tiny

•  Better Tabs, Downloads, And IE

•  Speed And Secrecy

•  Bonus: Search Plug-Ins

•  Quick-Click Chart

•  Image Gallery

Here's my advice: Start instead with the latest version of Adblock Plus. Like Adblock, it turns Web pages into something that doesn't require a Dramamine patch to view without losing your lunch.

Unlike Adblock, it's designed to be lightning-quick, lightweight, and easy to use -- and since taking over Adblock Plus just a few days ago, the new developer, Wladimir Palant, has already taken some big steps towards these goals. Until you need more, this is the banner-ad management tool that belongs in your Firefox toolkit.

The Straight Dope On Adblock Plus

In the days following the handoff of Adblock Plus from the previous developer to his replacement, Wladimir Palant, there has been a lot of confusion, and a discouraging amount of ignorance and FUD, concerning both the project and Wladimir himself.

Here's what you need to know, before you encounter any misinformation in the AMO forums: The Adblock Plus project handoff was a voluntary and mutually agreed-upon event, and Wladimir Palant has already earned a lot of praise for his work on Adblock Plus from his predecessor, other developers, and longtime Firefox users.

Please take any comments on the AMO user forums that attack either Adblock Plus or its new developer with a very, very big grain of salt. These kinds of misunderstandings are unfortunate and very annoying when they get out of control, and they are inherently unfair to developers who may be too busy even to notice such comments, much less respond to them.

The perfect Adblock Plus setup includes one more ingredient: the one and only Adblock Filterset.G Updater. Named with its creator's initial tacked onto the end, this is a pre-compiled set of regular expressions to filter and catch virtually every banner ad before Firefox wastes your bandwidth downloading it.

The same page after Adblock Plus and Filterset.G have done their thing.
Click image to enlarge and to launch image gallery.

Filterset.G, a set of filters maintained for Adblock, will, if you give it the OK during its first startup, update itself about once a week. In addition, both Filterset.G and Adblock Plus 0.6 now support whitelisting -- a great way to support and thank sites that put their users first. All in all, I consider Filterset.G every bit as essential to the Firefox experience as the Adblock Plus extension itself.

Download Adblock Plus
Download Adblock Filterset.G Updater

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