Firefox is my favorite browser. Opera is second. Microsoft Explorer 7 is a distant third. Explorer will remain third because it took Gates and company about three decades to come up with tabbed browsing. This simple innovation should not have consumed my Wonder Years. Firefox came on the scene a few years back and has been kicking tail ever since. I’m not going through all of the history here…that’s what Mozilla’s for.
I just wanted to say a few words about how I’ve configured the Fox to work for me. First, let me say, I don’t use Thunderbird (the e-mail client) but I probably should. It’s sweet. It’s simple to use and aesthetically superior to most other e-mail programs today. With that said, Opera has configured it’s e-mail client within the browser and it runs flawlessly. It consumes less memory and removes all the work associated with loading a program like Outlook or Thunderbird or even clicking on a G-mail icon in Firefox.
So, here’s how I’m rolling. I’m using a theme called Aluminum Kai 2. I like the theme because it has a soothing greenish tint with some shading that balances the colors on many of the web sites I use most often. I’ve found that since I’ve started using this particular theme, I don’t change designs as much. With Opera, I use the “Shadowguard” skin because it is minimalist and clean. I like to keep it that way – for as long as possible.
I have a ton of extensions that I like to use. Some are better at work than others. I don’t use the FoxyWeather extension during work because I can live without the constant updates or the headaches from our IT guys trying to restrict bandwidth. At least I’m not watching CNN or YouTube. I love the ClipMarks extension. Clipmarks allows you to select up to 1000 characters of text from any web site and post them to a ClipMarks site or to your blog. It’s an excellent tool for bloggers. You can identify the important parts of an article and it creates a link to the URL. Snap, crackle, pop. I also use CoolIris. This extension creates a small blue rollover on hot links. When you roll over the link, CoolIris generates a preview of the page. You don’t need to create a new tab or new window or anything. You can look at the preview – and when you’re done, move your mouse off the image and it’s a wrap. Cerrado…closed. Next!!
I also like to use AdBlock and FlashBlock. There is nothing more annoying than being subjected to endless blinking ads or loud movies you have no desire to watch. This NEVER happens in Firefox. EVER! All ads and Flash movies are blocked – unless you choose to open them. These extensions give you tremendous flexibility. All you see is an icon which lets you know there is some blocked media beneath the icon. It’s your choice. If the text you need is on the page, why bother. It’s perfect.
For toolbars, I’ve been working with the Wizz RSS feeder. I typically use it as a Sidebar. Since I have a large screen, it works better for me that way. I also use StumbleUpon to find interesting things I’d never find on my own. StumbleUpon allows users to log in, select a body of interests and randomly surf pages highlighted by folks with similar interests. This extension is the best advertisement for exploring “What You Don’t Know you Don’t Know” ever. It’s wide open.
Firefox also had an advanced Google Toolbar long before IE. So, while IE7 now has a ton of features for Google searching, those were not present when they were really needed…too late Billy! Distant third. Firefox is also equipped with a Search Window that allows for searches with multiple search engines. It’s a point and click deal that saves you the time of going to a Yahoo site or an Amazon page or IMDB.
There are tons of other extensions that I don’t have the time to write about, or simply have yet to use. There’s FoxyTunes – the all out MP3, CD, etc. player that flows right in the Browser…no need for Windows Media Player or WinAmp or anything else. So many gadgets, so little time.