My Top 5 Firefox Add-Ons

Suffice it to say, Firefox is my favorite browser. True, there are times when stuff acts up and I’m a little irked. Then again, what works perfectly all the time, right?

The best thing I love about Firefox is how you can customize it to do so many things for you. You can set it up to track stuff for you. You can set it up to connect with social media sites. You can set it up so you can change both the look of the browser and certain websites you visit. There’s just so much, thousands of things, that I decided to mention my top 5 here. One quick warning, though. Like people tell you with your blog, the more add-ons you activate, the slower your browser might run. If you have enough RAM, or run fewer than 15 add-ons, you’re probably good.

1. Adblock Plus – this is probably their most popular add-on, and with good reason. It blocks all types of ads, which is a great thing. Of course it’s not perfect. For instance, it blocks pop-up ads on news websites, but it can’t block those “subscribe” pop-ins you see on some blogs. It blocks Google Adsense ads unless you decide you want to see them. Since I visit lots of blogs sometimes I want to see what people are doing in case I want to try something. This one is a must have.

2. Stylish – I wrote about Stylish two years ago on this blog, so I’m not going to say much about it again except to say that right now what you see below is what my Wikipedia page looks like:

3. Rank Checker – This is a good plugin if you want to see where your website or other websites rank for search terms on the search engines Google, Yahoo or Bing. It’s great because you can add multiple search terms for one website and you can add multiple websites into one search as wel.

4. Greasemonkey – I’ve mentioned Greasemonkey before, but haven’t written a post about it so I’ll talk about it again here. This one lets you add code that other people have created that allows you to do things on websites that they might not want you to do. For instance, I can download any YouTube video I want to via a script I found. Also, many ads on Facebook are blocked, and many images will automatically pop up larger. It’s a great compliment to Stylish.

5. MultirowBookmarksToolbar – I don’t know why they didn’t separate the words, but I love this one as well. I had a lot of bookmarks, yet I only had the one row. That meant I had to keep clicking on this little arrow that was hard to see so I could see all the bookmarks that I wanted easier access to. With this addon it created 3 toolbar rows, though on the last one I only had 5 bookmarks and decided to trim a few out to get it down to 2 rows. Of course it works best if you have a monitor that has a lot of real estate, and since I have a 22″ widescreen it’s perfect.

And there you are. If you’re using Firefox do you have any favorites?

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Sometimes You Should Read The Terms Of Use

Okay, stay with me for a minute. I was going through Kristi’s weekly Fetching Friday listing, where this week one of my posts was mentioned (thanks Kristi), and came upon an article she was highlighting called 10 Firefox Addons For Affiliate Marketers from the blog Ace Affiliates.

Always someone who’s looking for the next big thing, I went to read that article, and one of the Firefox addons it recommended was something called Ghostery. It seems to do two things for you. One, it lets you know how safe a website is that you’re visiting. Two, it allows you to block sites from tracking your IP address and the like.

That second one is very intriguing to me. I was talking to my friend Kelvin about it and saying how freaked out I was when I go to websites, such as MSNBC, and see all the ads that are targeted for me knowing that I live in the Syracuse, NY area. He said he didn’t know of anything that could block that, so I thought this might be the plugin for me.

When I went to the page where the addon is, it looked different than what I’m used to seeing. There’s no description of what the addon is about, and there’s this big block in the middle with only one line: Ghostery requires that you accept the following End-User License Agreement before installation can proceed. And in the box there’s only one thing: http://www.ghostery.com/terms. Now, maybe it looks that way because I’m running Adblock, but it looked strange.

This tasked me (a line from Star Trek II; Wrath of Khan), so I decided I wanted to read the terms of service for using this particular addon. Overall, it was the same standard stuff you see everywhere else, but suddenly I came upon a line I didn’t like, under privacy: You acknowledge that the Software will contact GHOSTERY and send limited information about the websites you visit to GHOSTERY’s databases.

Come on now; y’all know me! I’m the guy who has a problem with Google Toolbar tracking our movements, to the point that I won’t use it anymore once I learned it did that. I’m certainly not letting some other group of folks track where I go; wasn’t the point of using their software so you could go to websites without them knowing where you were coming from, as in “tracking” you? I’m going to give up my privacy to these guys who I don’t know to get privacy from sites that I at least have some idea of who they are?

Many times I don’t read terms of service, just like most people don’t when we want to use something. However, the way this was segregated looked, well, suspicious. They might have specific reasons for wanting to track people, as in making sure the software works. And, of course we all have the right to use or not use something.

I’m choosing not to use it; that doesn’t sound surprising, does it? So, I’m still on a quest to find something that will aid me in my privacy efforts. Sure, I know that there’s no real privacy online, but I’d still like to find a way to decide when I want to give up information about myself and when I don’t.

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