Mozilla Firefox is my favourite web browser for a number of reasons; primarily, its extensibility. Extraneous functionalities can be added to the browser by installing “extensions.” I dedicate today’s entry to the brilliant, generous authors of free extensions who have made web browsing easier and more enjoyable for thousands.
You can find extensions “officially” supplied by Mozilla at addons.mozilla.com, or by clicking Tools / Extensions / Get More Extensions from the Firefox pulldowns. This site lists extensions endorsed by Mozilla and is granted install permissions in Firefox by default, so installing software from the site couldn’t be easier.
To install an extension, click the installer link from a web page (“filename.xpi“), click the Install button that pops up, close all instances of Firefox, and launch Firefox once again. I’ll include a link to the latest version of each extension in addition to the homepage for convenience, but please note that these links may not work for long as hardworking programmers update their programs frequently.
Note: You may need to grant install access to some websites to install an extension. Watch for the yellow bar at the top of the browser window.
This plugin blocks images and Flash animations on a user-supplied list from appearing on web pages. Images can be blocked one-by-one or with wildcards. This is a powerful extension so don’t be over ambitious by blocking entire domains or you might break your favourite website (until you delete the entry in your blocklist).
Apprehensive about creating your own blocklist? This extension periodically downloads a huge list of known advertisers and advertisements and plugs it right into Adblock. Thanks to this extension you may never see another ad on the web again!
Do you take internet breaks by going outside, instead of the inverse? If so, you’ll love this extension! ForecastFox displays a highly customizable weather forecast for specific locales with accurate data and detailed descriptions. Later versions even show AccuWeather satellite cloudcover imagery. Secure yourself against driptorrent!
Extra mouse buttons are to navigation what the mouse wheel is for scrolling. If you’re stuck with a 2-button mouse you can increase its browsing functionality with this extension. Borrowing liberally from the gestures feature in the Opera web browser, holding the right-mouse button while dragging the mouse enables users to go forward or back, resize text, open or close windows or tabs, and a whole lot more. Gestures can be added or deleted very easily, and mouse trails can be added. Try it for 15 minutes and you’ll never know how you managed without it.
Want to read content on a members-only page but don’t want to give them your vitals? You’re not the only one. This extension draws upon the resources from the BugMeNot webpage, allowing users to right-click a login form and choose a pre-made user-submitted account. A great way to improve your web browsing security and privacy.
Have I made any glaring omissions? Please leave me a comment and I’ll check out your favourite extensions!