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More Firefox

In a previous post, I explained some of the multiple reasons that I love firefox and gave a list of some of the most useful extensions that I use. As I am always discovering new things, here are some of the additional discoveries I’ve made with Firefox which have made it all the more useful for me:

  1. Gmail Skins – For those who use gmail, Gmail skins allows you to customize the look of your gmail UI. It sounds like it wouldn’t be very helpful, but my experience would say otherwise. I’ve turned the navigation/command bar traditionally on the left-hand-side and converted it to a one-line menu which I’ve moved to the top of the page. I’ve also disabled the invitations manager (who doesn’t have a gmail account these days?), used a new color theme (because I don’t like Google’s default), and added a side-bar to my gmail window where you can link the left-hand column of your google personal page as a side-bar to your gmail window. In my case, I’ve put access to my google calendar, my google reader feed, and the local weather — all to make gmail, which has now become my email client more or less, more useful
  2. BugMeNot – BugMeNot is a service which allows you to bypass compulsory web registration on a variety of online websites and magazines by supplying free, public passwords and usernames [no premium accounts, sorry] for a variety of webpages (ie New York Times, Washington Post, etc). The BugMeNot extension lets you quickly right-click on websites to just throw in BugMeNot access information so you never have to trouble yourself with that.
  3. Mouse Gestures – Tim Cheng recommended these to me, and they work very well. Basically, they key your browser so that it senses specific commands from your mouse. For instance, if I hold the right mouse button down and drag to the left or to the right, I move forward or backwards in the history. If I make a L-shape while holding the right button down, I close the current window or tab, if I drag up, I create a new tab, if I drag down, I create a new window — and you get the idea. There’s even a place to download new gestures, if you want more. I’ll admit I don’t use all the gestures, but I have found the gestures make it very easy to handle multi-tab browsing, especially when I don’t feel like using keyboard shortcuts.
  4. Keyword browsing – I mentioned before that I am a big fan of the bookmark system in firefox as it allows me to assign keywords, letting me type “reader” to get to my google reader page, “gmail” to get to my gmail page, among others. But, it was a pain to enter keywords, because Firefox, by default, does not let you enter keywords. You have to right-click on the bookmark, select “properties”, and then enter the information. The OpenBook extension changes that — now, by default, you can enter a keyword for every bookmark.
  5. Additionally, I have discovered that Firefox has keyword searching as well. Its difficult to describe in any other way than in usage, but, if I wanted to search for directions to San Francisco International Airport, before I would type “maps.google.com” and then type in “SFO” in the search bar. Now, in the location bar (which you can get to with a simple Alt+D or Ctrl+L), I can just type in “map SFO” and it’ll do all of that. If I want to search Wikipedia, I can type “w open source”, if I want to search IMDB, I can type “imdb Tom Cruise” — you get the idea. This Lifehacker site explains how to do it and has a link to pre-made Keyword Searches, but this has allowed me to get rid of the extra search bar in the upper-right and …
  6. Customizing Google Toolbar – move my google toolbar search bar to that location and hide all the other google toolbar assets. Using the customize toolbar functionality, I’ve also moved the PageRank feature next to the toolbar — thus, I have access to the two main things that I used from the toolbar – the search bar and pagerank.

Anyone else have any firefox advice? 🙂

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