One of the many benefits of the Firefox browser is the vast number of add-ons that enhance the software's capabilities. Designed by other users, these extensions can help organize your schedule, keep track of your favorite websites, or allow you to update your blog without having to visit the actual site. Navigating through Firefox's add-ons directory, however, can be frustrating and confusing. Not all extensions work well or fit your individual needs. The following is a guide to some of the most useful - and stable - extensions I use regularly with Firefox. All of these extensions are available at Firefox's add-on directory. Individual links to each program are also included.
Tiny URL Creator: Sick of sending people interminably long URLs? Tiny URL Creator is a great tool for automatically transforming long addresses into shorter ones. This is particularly useful for services like Twitter, which limit your word count. I've found Tiny URL Creator to be an indispensable plug-in. Right-click anywhere on a site and a box appears telling you that a shorter link has automatically been created. The new address is instantly copied to your clipboard. You can either click on the “Go To” button to double check the link's validity, or click “save” so you don't have to remember the new URL.
Twitterfox: If you utilize Twitter to send frequent blog updates, try this useful tool. After installing the plug-in, the Twitter logo appears in the lower right-hand corner of your browser. Simply click on that icon to view friends' updates and enter your own status in the box provided. You can manage your friends' tweets and update your own - all without visiting the actual Twitter site! Twitterfox functions as a valuable time saver and often works even when Twitter is down for repairs.
Fotofox: Online photo albums can be quite a convenience; friends can view your pictures, you can create slideshows, and best of all, there no bulky physical albums to take up space and collect dust. But uploading a large number of images can be time consuming: you visit your site of choice, log in, and then use that page's uploading tool to select files. What if you could log in and upload all from a sidebar in your browser? Thankfully, such a tool exists: Fotofox, a plug-in that works with Kodak Easy Share Gallery, PixelPipe, Tabblo, Flickr, Marela, Zooomr, 23, and SmugMug. Select one of those sites, enter your username and password, and then you can browse the hard drive for photos or drag and drop your image files right in. Click the “upload” button and watch the photos automatically transfer to the appropriate site. You can even create new albums or upload to existing ones without visiting the actual picture sharing site. Click on the “view” button and instantly visit your online album, skipping the tiresome login process. This handy plug-in really helps organize your photo albums and speeds up the file adding process.