What's in My Browser: Squealing Rat

logos(David’s note: We’re starting a new series here at the 2.0 Life, called “What’s in Your Browser?” The browser, it seems, is the new go-bag: everyone’s got it customized, right down to the nitty-gritty, to help them browse better, or faster, or more productively.

We all use browsers differently, and I get a kick out of seeing how other people have customized the “same” browser I use, sometimes to the point you can’t even tell it’s the same.

Our first submission comes from a regular contributor to The 2.0 Life, Squealing Rat.

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4 Firefox Extensions for Savvier Shopping

Post by David Pierce. Find me on Twitter.

Excited Shopping WomanGood economy, bad economy, we’re all still in the business of buying things. And let’s be honest: who buys things in stores anymore? The Web offers a ton of options for anything and everything you could want to buy, and offers great prices and discounts you might never find in a store.

But only if you know where to look.

I know I sure don’t know where to look – that’s why I’ve installed a few choice Firefox extensions that help me do everything from cross-check thousands of merchants to find me the best price, to poll my friends on whether or not I should buy that book I’m looking at on Amazon.

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8 Extensions That Will Keep You Stuck on Firefox

Post by David Pierce. Find me on Twitter.

ffx

I wrote a post a week or so ago over on MakeUseOf about Google Chrome that stirred up some serious controversy. Some people like Chrome, others thought it was totally blasphemous and crazy that I would ever even consider leaving the wonder that is Firefox.

And you know what? You’re all right. I’m using Chrome more and more, but have definitively discovered that I’m not leaving Firefox any time soon. And, as many of the comments said, there’s one reason for that: the extensions.

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An App for Better Reading, Online and Off

228203325_c4d3a376c8 In a world in which we’re constantly connected to each other and to the Web, there’s an in-flow of information unlike anything else in history. We’re constantly being bombarded with information, from a variety of different sources, and we don’t have time to deal with it all. But what if we want to?

Well, in that case, we might want to all become users of Read it Later, the Firefox extension/iPhone app powerhouse that makes reading on and off the Web a whole lot easier, and a whole lot more productive.

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25 Apps that Add Form and Function to Twitter

Post by David Pierce. Find me on Twitter.

twitter_fail_whale

Many if not all experienced Twitter users use an application other than the Twitter web interface, and for good reason. TweetDeck’s my personal favorite; others use Twirhl, Tweetie, or any of a huge number of ways to manage your Twitter account.

But I’m not talking about those. Below are 25 applications that do something Twitter or the applications on which most of us use Twitter, don’t.

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See Where Others Went Next with Fast Forward

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One of my favorite things about the Amazon site is the “customers who bought this item also bought…” category. It shows what other people bought in addition to the product you’re looking at, and is a great indicator of the great related items out there.

Using the new Fast Forward button Firefox extension, that same great functionality can be used all over Firefox. With the click of a button, you can see where others went next from the page you’re currently on. Continue reading

Video-ify Yourself Better

Watch

When I first decided to write this post, I did a bit of searching: how many videos are there on the Internet? That’s a number I couldn’t find, but I did come across some pretty staggering data:

  • In March 2008, 11.5 BILLION videos were watched by U.S. Internet users alone. 1 month, 1 nation, 11.5 billion views.
  • Those numbers broke down as such- 139 million viewers watching 83 videos apiece.
  • The average online video viewer watches 235 minutes of video per month
(Source: Comscore, here)

Long story short, online video accounts for a huge portion of time spent by Internet users, both in the United States and abroad. There are, however, things about online video I truly hate, and I’m going to help you avoid them.

The thing I dislike the most about online video is that it is the only thing I can do. Sites like YouTube, Google Video and the like force you to single-task. I can’t start a video and then go somewhere else, or multi-task with another site while I’m watching the video. Doing so would require a new window, resizing, etc.- just a pain. To solve this, I’ve found a great Firefox extension called YouPlayer. Essentially what YouPlayer does is play your videos in the sidebar. MakeUseOf, one of my favorite blogs, did a great piece about YouPlayer that you can read here.


I love YouPlayer for two reasons: One, the fact that videos play in the sidebar. That allows you to do other things while your videos play, and it reserves a set portion of the screen for the video while allowing you to use the rest of the screen for other things. The second thing that sold me on YouPlayer was the ability to create playlists from around the web. I’m often watching one video, and find another that looks cool. With YouPlayer, you can drag links to the sidebar and watch the videos in order without having to open and close browser tabs, navigate websites, and generally engage in tom-foolery.

To install the YouPlayer extension, go here.

My other beef with online video is that there’s just too darn many video sites out there. YouTube, Google, Vimeo, FunnyorDie, Blip, HolyLemon, Revver… the list just goes on and on. Though most of them are located on a few sites, there are different videos all over the Web. There just isn’t time to search all the different sites for the videos you’re looking for. Luckily, MetaTube has created a great search engine for video sites.

http://www.metatube.net/

It claims to search over 100 sites, and works just like any other search engine you can think of. You can search across all 100 sites, or narrow it down to one particular site. Just select the ones you want to index, and let MetaTube go to town. Its search is fast and easy, and actually removes the need to go to the sites in question. The searches bring up results in the page, so you don’t need to go to the site at all. It saves a ton of time, and allows you to search the sites you’ve heard of, and all the ridiculous numbers of those you haven’t. Search MetaTube here.

Online video is a phenomenon that is really here to stay, and one that will continue to improve. With MetaTube and YouPlayer, you can make finding and watching the infinite number of videos easy, fun, and actually worth your while.

Search Content of the Pages You Bookmark

File

I have become totally and utterly reliant on delicious, formerly del.icio.us, for bookmarks. I use a number of different computers, and need a place to put all my bookmarks somewhere on the web. For those who haven’t heard of delicious before, here and here are two resources for learning more, and here is the delicious website.

One issue I’ve always had with delicious, though, is that you can’t search within the pages of the sites you save. You can search the titles and tags of the pages, but not the actual content of the page. I often tag things in such a way that they can be tough to find (my fault, not delicious’), and wish the search was more robust.

I’ve found recently two different ways of searching the pages I’ve bookmarked, which have made finding what I actually tried to bookmark a lot easier. The first is called Del.izzy, and works right from its site. You give it your login info, and it loads your bookmarks. Search for a word or phrase, and it comes up with all the times your search appears in your bookmarks.

For example:


Check out del.izzy here (via Lifehacker)
The del.izzy site seems to be having some issues with delicious, namely delicious keeps throttling it randomly. When it works, del.izzy is great, but it’s not always up. If it’s not functional, there’s a great Firefox extension that does almost the same thing, called deliGoo. Not much to say about this one, except that it does the same thing as del.izzy, and does it pretty well. Don’t like installing things if I can avoid it, but if you need to search your bookmarks often, this one’s a good one. Download it here.

For me, someone with a ridiculously large number of bookmarks, it’s helpful to have a more robust search engine, and to not have to give everything 46 tags just to be able to find it later.

The Internet, On Your Computer

Explore

Ever want YouTube videos on your desktop so you can watch it online? Or want to download a music file, but can’t find where it is? Happens to me constantly.

Enter DownloadHelper, an extremely helpful Firefox extension. It’s there to help you download files of a huge number of media types, from YouTube videos to music files to even some files from online radio players.


Here’s a bit of the description from the DownloadHelper website:

Just surf the Web as you are used to, when DownloadHelper detects it can do something for you, the icon gets animated and a menu allows you to download files by simply clicking an item.

For instance, if you go to a YouTube page, you’ll be able to download the video directly on your file system. It also works with MySpace, Google videos, DailyMotion, Porkolt, iFilm, DreamHost and others.

Since version 3.1, you can setup the extension to automatically convert the downloaded movies to your preferred video format.

When you are on a page containing links to images or movies, you can download some or all of them at once. Moving the mouse over the items in the menu will highlights the links directly in the page to make sure they are the ones you want to pick up.

DownloadHelper also allows you to download files one by one, so that you keep bandwidth to surf for other stuff to download.

To modify your preferences, like changing the download directory, right-click on the icon and choose “Preferences”.

The thing I really like about this is you can surf as normal, and the icon that comes with the extension goes bonkers when there’s a media file to download. You can check it out, and download one or all with minimal effort. I’ve grown attached to downloading YouTube videos recently, and this is the way to do it.

The extension can be downloaded here. It redirects you to another page the first time you open Firefox after installing, but after that should work fine.

5 More Reasons To Love Firefox

Use

This post, as with many, falls under the category of “Do you have Firefox? If not, why not? I should punch you in the mouth.”

If you’re not convinced, though, here are five Firefox extensions, or add-ons, that make Firefox absolutely killer as a browser. I’m ignoring the big ones (delicious, stumbleupon, etc.) because everyone already knows those, and what fun is that?

Speed Dial(here)
DO you spend the majority of your time on the Internet looking at, like, 6 pages? ESPN, I Can Haz Cheezburger…That’s all I got. If you visit a few sites frequently, Speed Dial is an awesome extension that turns your homepage into an Opera-style page, with clickable thumbnails to 9, 12, 16, etc. of your favorite sites. It makes them easier to get to, easier to see at a glance, and saves a bunch of time. It also loads quickly, which makes me like it more than some other extensions that do the same thing.

Fast Video Download (here)
Can’t get enough of the sneezing panda on YouTube? With Fast Video Download, you can easily, through one click, download videos from Youtube and a huge number of other sites. Bring the pandas with you!

PDF Download (here)
Do you deal with PDF’s? If you said “what’s a PDF?” then probably not. If you do, though, PDF download is a huge help. It lets you choose whether to download a pdf, view it as html, use an external app,or just let Firefox do what it will. No more dealing with Adobe Reader and its epic slow-itude!

ScribeFire (here)
This extension is a blogger’s dream. You can post, edit, view, and manipulate your whole blog from this small extension- particularly for Blogger users like myself, this is a much better interface as well. For a full review, check out MakeUseOf’s look at it here.

FireFTP (here)
I was amazed by how often, in the working world, you need FTP. I was amazed mostly because I had no idea what ftp was, and was surprised other people did. FireFTP is a great client for uploading and downloading to other people and websites, and in my opinion works much better than a standalone browser.

All of these have saved me enormous effort and time in working on my computer. They work well, look good, and don’t break (CoughInternetExplorerCough). Just five more reasons Firefox rules.

What should have gone on this list that I missed? Let me know in the comments.