Featured Extensions

Now that you know the ins and outs of extensions, I took the liberty of scouring the Internet for some of the more interesting third-party extensions that are available for Firefox. Because Firefox runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux, so do most (but not all) extensions. The extensions discussed here are all cross-platform, with the exception of Bookmark Backup.

Extension Development and Version Numbers

Remember that extensions are continually under development and may contain different features by the time this book goes to press. Make sure when you download an extension that it is compatible with the version of Firefox you are running. The dropdown box in UMO allows you to select the version of Firefox for which you want to search extensions.

The extensions are divided into the following categories:

  • Tabbed browsing

  • Security and privacy

  • Bookmarks

  • Toolbar

  • Sidebar

  • Downloading

  • Navigation

  • Email

  • Extensions that are applications

  • Extensions that improve the browsing experience

  • Search

  • Miscellaneous

You'll find the official web page link next to the name of each extension, but the best way to get all these extensions is through addons.update.mozilla.org (UMO), which can be accessed by launching the Extension Manager within Firefox.

Tabbed Browsing Extensions

Tabbed browsing is truly one of the more unique features of Firefox. In looking for extensions in this category, I sought out ones that would extend the already powerful tabbed browsing features that are found within Firefox.

Tabbrowser Preferences (http://www.pryan.org/mozilla/site/TheOneKEA/tabprefs/)

As a companion to Firefox, the Tabbrowser Preferences extension is a great tool for users who really want to harness the power of tabbed browsing. Not only can you configure some of the hidden tabbed browsing preferences in Firefox, but you can also control the handling of internal and external links as well as tab focus issues by using this extension.

The Tabbrowser Preferences extension settings are managed through the Tools | Options | Tabbed Browsing menu. Some of the cool things you can do with this extension include: opening URLs in the URL bar, moving the tab bar to the bottom portion of the browser window, and tweaking the focus/unfocus of some of the tab-creating functions. If you grow weary of a lot of repetitive mouse clicks, Tabbrowser Preferences lets you select a tab by simply hovering the mouse over the tab, eliminating at least one click. Of note, Tabbrowser Preferences also permits you to open URLs from the Extension/Theme Manager and the Help window into new tabs.

Linky (http://gemal.dk/mozilla/linky.html?ver=2.2.0)

Links, links, and more linksand so many ways to manage them. Sometimes web surfing is nothing more than a big link-o-rama. When you need a great extension to manage this morass of links, you can install Linky, a nifty extension that allows you to exercise great power over how you handle links. Need to open all the links on the page you are viewing in a set of tabs? No problemLinky can do that and a lot more, and it is as simple as right-clicking the link or web address and accessing the Linky menu. Linky also gives you a summary of how many links and images are present on the page that you are viewing.

Linky has a preferences menu that allows you to manipulate a number of features, including the link and image menus and the Select Links dialog box. This extension can be especially beneficial when you view any type of web galleries.

miniT (http://extensionroom.mozdev.org/more-info/minit)

Sometimes things that come in small packages aren't so bad after all. The miniT extension seems like it doesn't add much at first glance, but it actually adds quite a bit of extra functionality to Firefox's tabbed browsing feature. The most useful part of this extension is being able to drag and drop tabs. The next best part of this extension is being able to double-click any tab and have a new tab open instantly. Finally, a context menu is available that allows certain attributes of docShell.allow* to be changed, such as the ability to not allow images and plug-ins to load. If you use a mousewheel, you can also switch tabs by turning the mousewheel on the tab bar. miniT is a great addition to your extensions repertoiregive it a try!

Security Extensions

Currently in the browsing realm there is a definite heightened awareness of security and privacy concerns. While Firefox does its part to try to help out in this area, there are also extensions available that can help you browse safely and securely.

I recently attended a presentation given by an Internet security consultant. I remember his reiterating the point that there is no "magic bullet" to protect yourself from being a victim of Internet fraud. The best thing you can do to try to protect yourself is to be as aware as you can when you are surfing, and that is why I believe Spoofstick is an extension that could be useful in this area.

Spoofstick http://www.corestreet.com/spoofstick)

Protecting your privacy and security is important, and one of the most important things you need to know while you are browsing is exactly where you are. Scammers and hackers create fake websites known as spoofed sites and try to drive traffic there to try to see if they can obtain some of your personal information. This common practice is known as phishing.

The Spoof stick extension (see Figure 7-3) attempts to combat this problem by adding a display under your toolbar that shows only the relevant domain name you are visiting. Spoof stick should let you know if you are not on eBay but visiting a spoofed site. It isn't the magic bullet, but it will help you be more aware of exactly where various links take you while you are surfing the web.

Figure 7-3. The Spoofstick extension.

Spoofstick has a minimal set of options you can configure, including changing the color and size of the display. One cautionSpoofstick can take up some real estate, even with the "medium" size setting, so if you have other items or toolbars installed, you should opt for the "small" setting.

x (http://extensionroom.mozdev.org/more-info/x)

I like extensions that make it easy to accomplish tasks you would otherwise have to go to the File menu or Preferences to complete. x extension is a great solution that allows you to erase your tracks quickly and easily with the simple click of a button on the toolbar.

Installing x adds a "Paranoia" button to the toolbar that lets you quickly delete history, form information, stored passwords, down-load history, cache, and cookie information (see Figure 7-4). Clicking the button launches a simple context menu that allows you to check the parameters you want to clear. This extension really is a time-saver if you like to clear things out regularly and don't want to bother navigating to Preferences each time to purge information.

Figure 7-4. The Paranoia button.

Bookmarks Extensions

Chapter 5, "Bookmarks and History," showed you some of the many ways bookmarks can make it easy for you to find a needle in a haystack when you are searching the web. The following extensions allow you to enhance your bookmark experience, giving you even more management options. Finally, after you have spent time finding all those needles in a haystack, the Bookmark Backup extension allows you to back up your bookmarks, thus preserving all that hard work.

Automarks (http://www.ticklespace.com/)

Firefox offers a number of powerful ways to manage and organize your bookmarks. Automarks can be useful when you want to find a bookmark without having to go directly into the Bookmarks menu. Firefox already uses your browsing history to autocomplete URLs when you type them in. What the Automarks extension does is allow you the luxury of having your bookmarks included in the autocomplete search.

Automarks is a snap to use. After installing the extension, go to the Bookmarks menu and choose the option that says Copy bookmarks to Autocomplete. You receive a confirmation prompt and then a success dialog box, and then you are good to go. Simply type a few letters in the URL bar, and you should see one of your saved bookmarks autocomplete.

Bookmark Backup (http://www.pikey.me.uk/mozilla)

Bookmark Backup is another simple extension that can be a lifesaver. If you are like me, your bookmarks are your life, and after some time you can accumulate quite a few of them. If for some reason your bookmarks file becomes corrupted, Bookmark Backup is ready to spring into action to help. This extension takes a snapshot of your bookmarks file and saves it to a backup location on a regular basis. You can then find the most recent backup copy and not be shaking your head in utter disgust after you have lost your bookmarks and you find you can't remember the name of a site someone sent you two years ago in an email.


At the time of this writing, Bookmark Backup is supported only for Windows and Linux.

Bookmark Backup stores the backups in a folder inside the Firefox profile folder, but you can change this location in the Options dialog box. Thanks to some additional code that was added to this extension, you can also back up other files at the same time you back up your bookmarks by checking various boxes or by alternatively listing the files in the text box using the | character to separate the files. Some of the additional files that can be backed up include history, passwords, preferences, cookies, and download history. This is an excellent, proactive extension that could be of help some day in the future.

Toolbar Extensions

Toolbars are like traffic-free highwaysthey allow you to get where you want to go in a hurry, without having to go through the extra step of using the File dropdown menus. A number of extensions can help you customize your tool-bar experience. While some just add a set of icons that may be useful, others actually allow you to control the placement of toolbars.

Toolbar Enhancements (http://extensionroom.mozdeve.org/clav/#tbx)

Toolbars can definitely make your browsing life easier. A few extensions out there offer some powerful configuration options for the user interested in an icon-centric world rather than a dropdown-centric one. I think I probably fall into that category, since after writing all day I sometimes just like gazing at pictures.

The Toolbar Enhancements extension (see Figure 7-5) lets you add a wonderful array of useful toolbar enhancements to Firefox, including extra toolbar items and the ability to manage toolbar placement. Some of the toolbar items available include JavaScript, Images, Plugins, and Redirections, and all work on a per-tab basis.

Figure 7-5. The Firefox toolbar with several Toolbar Enhancements icons installed.

The Toolbar Enhancements extension permits quite a bit of latitude in toolbar placement, allowing toolbars to be placed in a variety of window locations, including the left, right, and bottom of the window and directly below the tab bar. One of the neat features of Toolbar Enhancements is that you can do quite a bit of customization from the context menu (setting icon size and mode) while you are setting up a new toolbar. You can also move toolbars around by right-clicking while you are customizing. This extension's author does warn that you may experience difficulty if you place Bookmarks toolbar items in a toolbar on the left or right or in a toolbar that is placed below the tab bar.

ResizeSearchBox (http://dragtotab.mozdev.org/resizesearchbox/)

Have you ever run out of real estate in the search box? No need to fret any longer, because when you install this extension you can resize the toolbar by using a resizing widget that can be added to the toolbar. After installing this extension, you will have to right-click Customize and add the resizer to the right side of the search box as shown in Figure 7-6. After this has been done, you can resize to your heart's content.

Figure 7-6. The ResizeSearch Box extension in action.

Web Developer (http://www.chrispederick.com/work/firefox/webdeveloper/)

If Firefox has a "showoff" extension, the Web Developer extension just might be it (see Figure 7-7). Even though the target audience for this extension is web developers, so many features nested in Web Developer are useful for everyday browsing I felt it was worthy of being mentioned in this chapter. In fact, so much is packed into this extension that you might be able to devote an entire book just to discussing its features. Web Developer focuses on the following areas:

Figure 7-7. The Web Developer extension installed in Firefox.

  • Disable features

  • CSS features

  • Forms features

  • Images features

  • Information features

  • Miscellaneous features

  • Outline features

  • Resize features

  • Tools features

  • View Source features

  • Options features

Web Developer allows quick access to things like View Source, View Cookie information, and zooming in and out, among other things. Even if you are not a web developer, I encourage you to install this extension and give it a test driveyou might find it useful in your everyday browsing.

Sidebar Extensions

The Firefox sidebar allows you to manage your browser real estate in a number of interesting ways. A few extensions can help you further refine what you do with the sidebar space. SiteBar is one extension that allows you to operate on your bookmarks while you are in the sidebar, and WebPanel Enhancer adds a rich feature set to the sidebar. Give these extensions a try to see how they can help you manage your sidebar experience.

SiteBar (http://www.sitebar.org)

SiteBar is an interesting extension that adds a sidebar to Firefox that allows you to share bookmarks with your friends and family. When installed, SiteBar is added as a menu selection under the Tools menu option. You have to sign up if you want to share your bookmarks with others. It offers user group support and lets you autojoin new members, as well as providing the ability to configure access rights to bookmarks at the user group level.

SiteBar has a well-designed icon bar that allows you to navigate through the sidebar. It also includes a search bar that allows you to search the various bookmarks and folders and a handy widget that collapses or expands the bookmark folders.

This extension can be extremely helpful to users new to the Internet who don't know how to power surf (I could have used this extension long ago when my grandmother first started her journey on the Internet). In other instances, you might be planning a vacation with a bunch of friends, and this might be a good way to share travel information while you are in the planning stages of your vacation. SiteBar has quite a bit to offer and may be a useful extension to add to your Firefox sidebar.

WebPanel Enhancer (http://editcss.mozdev.org/indexwpe.html)

The sidebar can be your best friend, especially when there are extensions such as WebPanel Enhancer around. This extension adds a number of useful features to the sidebar, including the ability to open links, view your extensions and downloads in the sidebar, and view source. WebPanel Enhancer adds these options to the View | Sidebar dropdown list. One interesting extension I was able to add to the sidebar was a calculatoryou might find it useful if you need to do some number crunching while you are browsing.


If WebPanel Enhanceris not enough for you, the author of this extension recommends Content Holder (http://piro.sakura.ne.jp/xul/_contentholder.html.en) as another extension that you can take for a test spin. Content Holder may be particularly useful if you need to compare two sets of pages-an original and a translated page.

Downloading Extensions

There is certainly an abundance of content on the web for you to download, and although the Firefox Download Manager can handle the load with relative ease, there are extensions that can further help out in this space. The lead engineer of the Firefox browser created Magpie, which is one extension you can try out if you want a little extra functionality when you are downloading content. If you want a different way to view your downloads, the Download Status Bar gives you the chance to manage your downloads in a status bar. It's all about different strokes for different folks.

Magpie (http://www.bengoodger.com/software/tabloader/)

Magpie is an extension developed by Ben Goodger, the lead engineer of the Firefox browser project (see Figure 7-8). This extension lets you save images, videos, and documents that you come across on the Internet. The best part of this extension is that it is designed to download these files quickly and efficiently, in large part due to its support of the Bukster protocol. Bukster is a freeware web application that allows users to scan web pages and quickly download only the specific content they are interested in.

Figure 7-8. The Magpie extension options screen.

The Bukster protocol affords you the opportunity to bulk-download files that are within a numeric range (bkstr://www.foo.com/{01-150}/{01-10}.gif downloads, for example, would download 1,500 gif files).

Let's say you are looking at a page that has a number of files linked to it. With Magpie, you can save all those files by simply pressing Ctrl+Shift+S. You can also have a number of images open in tabs, press Ctrl+Shift+S, and conveniently all the tabs close and the files are saved to the location you specify.

As if Magpie doesn't have enough to offer, it also allows a URL Interceptor feature. Because some sites "mangle" links, you may be rerouted to another site for tracking purposes or the like. An example of such a link might be http://www.suspectsite.com/bad.cgi?another&place=http://insteadgohere.com/ &more. Magpie lets you figure out what pattern the site might be using to mangle the link and then allows you to instantly sanitize it by pressing Ctrl+Shift+C. A magpie is someone who hoards or collects things, which is what you might find yourself doing if you start using this extension on a regular basis. Have fun!

Download Status Bar (http://downloadstatusbar.mozdev.org/)

We all spend time on the Internet downloading files and programs, and the Download Statusbar extension attempts to add some additional functionality to Firefox's download capabilities. Download Statusbar affords you the opportunity to keep track of ongoing and completed downloads in a status bar that conveniently auto-hides when it is not being used.

Some of the extra features this extension offers include the ability to see an in-line view of the percentage complete, remaining time, and download speed. A handy tool tip gives an expanded view of the download in progress, including things such as the source and destination of the download.

One extra bonus that this extension provides is the ability to manually scan completed downloads with whatever virus program you have installed on your system.

Navigation Extensions

Let's face iteverybody navigates the web differently. When I was in Hawaii recently, I came across a Dollar Rental Car agent who typed on his keyboard like he was playing a piano, moving his fingers across the keys in sweeping motions (actually, it was rather cool to watch). A number of extensions make it easier for you to move around the browser.

Mouse gestures are one example of a way to navigate the browsing space. Mouse gestures combine mouse movements and clicks to execute specific commands in the browser, without having to rely on the keyboard. Usually this is accomplished by holding down the mouse button, moving the mouse to make some sort of gesture, and then releasing the mouse button. In Firefox, mouse gestures can be used to navigate back and forward between pages, switch between tabs, or manipulate the size of text or images on a page.

The All-in-one Gestures extension described next is just one of many that are available. I encourage you to try out some of the other mouse gesture extensions that are out there as wellyou might find one that is more to your liking. I believe much of this really boils down to personal preferences.

All-in-one Gestures (http://perso.wanadoo.fr/marc.boullet/ext/extensions-en.html)

All-in-one Gestures is one of several extensions that lets you perform commands using a variety of techniques, including mouse gestures, rocker navigation, scroll wheel navigation, and page scrolling.

This extension has a good selection of preferences. From the General Preferences tab you can manage gesture trails, link tooltips, and scroll wheel navigation, and configure your general middle button scrolling options. The Gestures Customization tab lets you configure your gestures for many of the browsing options available. Finally, the Advanced Preferences allow you to set the Trigger button for Mouse Gestures and Scroll Wheel Navigation as well as configure more advanced middle scrolling options.

All-in-one Gestures is a well-designed and well-maintained extension that should provide you with all the horsepower you need to browse the web at warp speed.

Search Keys (http://www.squarefree.com/extensions/search-keys/)

Many times navigation is about getting to what you want quickly and efficiently. I find that I have a tendency to click the wrong link when I have performed a Google or Yahoo search. Search Keys is a handy extension that adds a number next to the individual items in a search, allowing you the ability to type the number and go right to that search result. At the time of this writing, Search Keys supports Google, Yahoo, and del.icio.us searches. Even though it doesn't support all search engines, it still can be useful when you're trying to wade through pages and pages of search results, especially when you can hold down the Alt key to open your set of results in new tabs or the Shift key to open the results in new windows.

Email Extensions

There are a multitude of email choices out there, but enough web surfers are using webmail services these days that extension developers have definitely taken notice. The following two extensions should make it infinitely easier for webmail users to manage and respond quickly to email while they are in the confines of the Firefox browsing environment.

Gmail Notifier (http://nexgenmedia.net/extensions)

The Gmail Notifier is an extension that allows you to log into your Gmail account (Figure 7-9 shows the login screen) and then receive notification when you have messages. This notification is shown in the status bar and includes the number of new email messages you have received, subject, sender, as well as the amount of space you are using. You can also tweak a few other preferences, including how often you want it to check your email in addition to whether to open it in a new tab, an existing tab, or a new window. If your status bar is getting cluttered and you don't want to see the Gmail icon there, you can also add an icon to the toolbar so you can manage your mail from that location. Gmail Notifier is a clever extension that will definitely improve your email management.

Figure 7-9. The Gmail Notifier Login.

WebmailCompose (http://www.jedbrown.net)

WebmailCompose is a handy extension that allows you to configure mail to: links so that they load in your webmail's compose page. You can set your preferences for the major players in the webmail space, such as Yahoo, Gmail, Netscape, and Hotmail. By virtue of a simple right-click, you can launch your webmail app and be on your way to speedy email composition. I can see this extension being very useful for anyone who clicks on "Contact Us" links on a regular basis.

Extensions That Are Applications

One of the great things about Firefox is that you can install extensions that actually run as applications within the browser. Two of the best examples of applications that integrate with Firefox are ChatZilla and Mozilla Calendar. The best thing about these two applications is that you can manage your chat-ting and scheduling without ever having to leave the browsing environmentno need to be switching back and forth between external applications.

ChatZilla (http://www.hacksrus.com/ginda/chatzilla/)

ChatZilla is a well-designed cross-platform IRC client that fuses Internet Relay Chat (IRC) with existing web standards, such as JavaScript, HTML, and CSS (see Figure 7-10). ChatZilla adds a menu option under Tools that allows you to launch the client and get right to chatting. If you prefer to add an icon to the toolbar, you can do that too. There are a number of preferences that can be configuredenough to satisfy even the most savvy IRC user. The author of this extension has a fairly comprehensive FAQ that should answer any questions you have related to the program: http://www.hacksrus.com/~ginda/chatzilla/faq/chatzilla-faq.html.

/msg you: Use it!

Figure 7-10. The ChatZilla login window.

FAQ: What is IRC, and how can it be useful in relation to Firefox?

IRC stands for Internet Relay Chat. After you connect to an IRC network (which is composed of a variety of IRC servers), you can join a channel where you can chat about a variety of topics related to Firefox. On IRC, channel names begin with the # sign. There are a number of developer and help channels that you might find useful on IRC. Under the Mozilla IRC network (moznet, or irc.mozilla.org), #mozillazine is particularly beneficial if you have questions regarding Firefox. #firefoxis primarily a developer channel,

Mozilla Calendar (http://www.mozilla.org/projects/calendar/)

The Mozilla Calendar Project is a XUL-based calendar that is built for the entire suite of Mozilla products, including Firefox, Thunderbird, and the Mozilla suite (see Figure 7-11). The calendar is based on the iCal standard, which is an open source calendar effort. There is also a standalone version of the calendar that is known as Sunbird, which uses the same codebase as the Mozilla calendar.

Figure 7-11. The Mozilla Calendar.

Mozilla Calendar provides some useful documentation in its FAQ. Because the product is still under development, some users may find that it is lacking in certain areas (as of this writing, there is no support for Palm Pilot synch and no direct support for Outlook), but it is still a great way to be able to manage your calendar without ever having to leave your browser. You can also install the Mozilla Calendar in Thunderbird.

Extensions That Improve Browsing

Browsing can be fun, but there are still annoyances that can get in the way, and you need things to help you neutralize these annoyances. The extensions in this category do just that: they help you deal with the distractions and easily get on to what you want to dothey let you see content on the web without interruptions. Adblock helps you control images, and BugMeNot helps you when you don't have the patience to deal with website registrations. Once you try these extensions, I think you will see how they can make your web surfing much simpler.

Adblock (http://adblock.mozdev.org/)

Of all the extensions discussed in this section, Adblock might be the one that is a must-have for Firefox, because it contains more powerful capabilities than Firefox's built-in image blocker. Web surfers can often be overwhelmed by sites that contain more ads than their eyes can handle. The Adblock extension serves as an elegant content filtering plug-in for Firefox, allowing you to construct filters that remove images, banner ads, and so on so that you can get to the content you want with a minimum amount of distraction. When you install Adblock and start using it, you will definitely see the difference.


Remember, the Internet is all about revenue, and many sites live or die by their ad click-throughs. So if you have a favorite site that you visit regularly, you might consider turning off Adblock for that site in order to support it.

After you've installed Adblock, just right-click any ad and select Adblock from the menu. You then can block that particular ad or all ads coming from that domain. Adblock also lets you put an overlay on Flash ads.

Adblock installs under the Tools menu option. You can set your various filter preferences through the Preferences menu item.

FAQ: Is the AdBlock tab missing?

If for some reason you come across a plug-in but don't see the Adblock tab, this means that the plug-in has been cropped. Simply select Overlay Flash from the Tools menu, or type its shortcut and you'll be able to click directly on the overlay to manage the plug-in.

BugMeNot (http://roachfiend.com/archives/2005/02/07/bugmenot/)

Not long ago, I came across an email thread where someone recommended going to a website to read an article about Firefox. Apparently the website required the user to register before the article could be accessed. In the email reply the person said that they didn't "do" website registrations.

Rather than have him miss reading the article, someone else replied to this email and included a link to BugMeNot, an extension that allows the user to bypass this type of web registration by virtue of a simple right click in a username/passworld field. BugMeNot fills in the website fields with the first username/password combination it finds in its database. If BugMeNot can't locate a valid username/password combination, it leaves the fields open and gives you the opportunity to register for the site. I tried BugMeNot on a number of newspaper sites and was able to get a username/password just about every time.

This is a definite must-have extension if you do a lot of online reading and you don't want the hassle of having to register for a site you might not otherwise go to on a regular basis.

Search Extensions

Every day, Internet users all over the world enter keywords into search engines to try to wade through the plethora of information that is available on the Internet. A number of search extensions are available for Firefox, but two of the more interesting ones are the Mozilla Amazon Browser and Googlebar.

Mozilla Amazon Browser (http://www.faser.net/mab/)

The Mozilla Amazon Browser (MAB) is a XUL application that is installed as an extension. When installed into Firefox, it adds a MAB selection to the Tools menu. When you select MAB, it launches a web app interface that allows you to search amazon.com (UK, DE, and JP versions as well) without all the image clutter that might otherwise distract you from your shopping experience. Think of the MAB as amazon.com with the AdBlock extension installed, because in a way it distills information to the simplest levela no-frills text search. In addition to being able to do price comparisons across different Amazon stores, MAB allows you to also search Google in case you need a little more information regarding the item you have selected.

MAB has a lot of great features, but the best thing is that while you are shopping you can add items to your cart and then check out using the normal Amazon method. While MAB might not be for everyone, I found it to be a slick way to navigate the amazon.com waters as well as a great example of a powerful application that can run within Firefox.

Googlebar (http://googlebar.mozdev.org)

If Google is the Cadillac of search engines, the Googlebar might be the Rolls Royce of extensions (see Figure 7-12). Originally available only for IE users, the Googlebar team (not affiliated with Google, Inc.) decided to bring that functionality to Mozilla users so that you can manage all of Google's specialty searches from one handy toolbar.

Figure 7-12. The Googlebar installed in Firefox.

The Googlebar is well designed, with crisp icons and a bevy of features that even the most savvy searcher will enjoy. It includes a number of interesting options that can be set in the Googlebar preferences, which can be accessed from the Google icon located on the left side of the toolbar. Some of these options include the ability to configure keyboard shortcuts, site options, and save history. International users will love the ability to be able to select their countries in the options. Even better, if you want the Googlebar to be language-specific, you can visit the Googlebarl10n Project to see which foreign language packs are available.

If you are looking for the Holy Grail of search toolbars, the Googlebar just might be it.

Miscellaneous Extensions

So many other categories could have been included in this book, but I had to limit the number, so this category became a catchall for other fun Firefox extensions that you can explore. ForecastFox, MapIt!, and FoxyTunes are all practical extensions that can help you in your everyday Internet surfing, so that is why I chose to include them in this book. All of them are definitely more fun than the game Barrel of Monkeys that I used to play incessantly when I was a child.

ForecastFox (htp://www.forecastfox.mozdev.org)

Figure 7-13. The ForecastFox options screen.

This was one of the tougher categories for which to recommend extensions, simply because there are so many interesting extensions out there for Firefox. So just consider the kinds of things you might do on a daily basis. Checking the weather is one of them, so ForecastFox fits the bill nicely (see Figure 7-13). All you have to do is enter your zip code into Forecast-Fox, and, thanks to weather.com, you can embed weather forecast information for your area into the browser. When installed, it adds a series of three icons to the location you specify in the options. (I used the status bar because that seemed to be the place that was least intrusive in my browser configuration.) The icons show you the weather now, today's forecast, as well as the following day's forecast. Now there's no excuse for going out without your raincoat.

MapIt! (http://mapit.mozdev.org)

I have a terrible sense of direction and no GPS installed in my Miata, so I rely on online mapping to get me to my destination. MapIt! is a handy extension that pulls maps from MapQuest, Yahoo! Geocode, Terraserver, and GlobeXplorer. When you right-click an address, MapIt! generates a street map of an address you have selected. At this time, MapIt! supports only U.S. addresses, but there are plans to support international addresses in a future release. MapIt! is a great extension that allows you to navigate the highways and byways of the world as easily as you can navigate the web with Firefox.

FoxyTunes (http://www.iosart.com/foxytunes.firefox)

I would be remiss if I didn't include at least one extension that allows you to listen to music while you are web surfing. FoxyTunes allows you the ability to control your music experience within the Firefox browser. It supports a variety of different media players on all three platforms including iTunes, Windows Media Player, Winamp and Real Player. FoxyTunes allows you to position its set of controls in a number of places in the browser, including the toolbars and the status bar. Figure 7-14 shows FoxyTunes installed in the Firefox status bar. Other features include the ability to configure keyboard shortcuts, the ability to pop up/hide the player with a mouse click, a sleep timer, and an alarm clock. Now I just have to decide what song to wake up to when I am napping at my deskmy guess is that it will be something from Nirvana.

Figure 7-14. The FoxyTunes control panel.

    Firefox and Thunderbird Garage (Garage Series)
    Firefox and Thunderbird Garage
    ISBN: 0131870041
    EAN: 2147483647
    Year: 2003
    Pages: 185

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