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1/30/2006
09:20 AM
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
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Favorite Firefox Extensions

Other people play Minesweeper or Soduku or alphabetize their Rolodexes. When I'm looking to procrastinate, I mess around with desktop productivity software. Firefox extensions, in particular, are good for endless hours of work avoidance. Here's some of the best I've found recently:

Other people play Minesweeper or Soduku or alphabetize their Rolodexes. When I'm looking to procrastinate, I mess around with desktop productivity software. Firefox extensions, in particular, are good for endless hours of work avoidance. Here's some of the best I've found recently:As blogs, Webmail and online discussion boards become more popular, people are using Web forms to write long passages of text. People are, as a rule, also bad at spelling. SpellBound Development adds a spellchecker to Web forms and extensions.

bookmarkshome takes your bookmarks file and turns it into an attractive Web page, which you can then use as your browser home page.

LiveLines lets you more easily subscribe to RSS feeds from within the Firefox browser. Firefox has its own built-in RSS feed reader, and a handy, orange icon next to the address bar that lets you automatically subscribe to feeds. But what if you use some other feed reader, such as Bloglines, FeedDemon, or Sage? That's where Livelines comes in; click the orange icon, and you'll be subscribed using your feed reader of choice. I find Livelines extremely convenient.

PageBookmarks sounds terrific, although I haven't had a chance to give it a good workout. Here's how it works: If you're reading a long page of text, PageBookmarks lets you bookmark your place on the page. That's very handy if you're interrupted and need to come back to the page later; it's like dog-earing a page in a print magazine. Web browsers should have been able to do this from the very beginning; reading articles is one of the main things people do online, and some articles are long and can't be swallowed in one sitting.

Formfiller lets you save text such as your name, address, e-mail address and phone number, and conveniently paste them into online forms, such as the forms used in online shopping. This is another one that sounds great, but I haven't had a chance to give it a good workout.

Searchbar Autosizer does one very simple little thing, and does it well. If you look in the top-right corner of your Firefox browser, you'll see a text box for inputting searches to your favorite engine. Kind of small, ain't it? Not wide enough for really long searches? Searchbar Autosizer automatically expands the size of the box as you type.

EasyGestures expands the context menu, which is the menu you get when you right-click your mouse. It turns the menu from a vertical bar into a circle around your mouse pointer, and lets you add and customize literally dozens of options to the main menu, secondary menu, menus that come up only when you're doing a specific task, and so forth. This is by far my favorite Firefox extension, even though I'm probably only using 1% of its capabilities.

Finally, Restart Firefox is handy for people, like me, who like messing around with extensions. Installing extensions requires you to shut down and restart the browser; Restart Firefox automates that process. As inventions go, Restart Firefox isn't exactly as useful as the incandescent light or the airplane, but it's convenient.

For more great Firefox extensions, see our feature: Firefox Essentials: 10 Must-Have Extensions.

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