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All Things Appy: Top 5 Firefox Utilities

All Things Appy: Top 5 Firefox Utilities

Firefox offers a batch of handy plug-ins that make life easier for computer users. TechNewsWorld's top pick is the download manager DownThemAll! for its acceleration of the process. The NoScript Active Content Blocker is a great security add-on, though a bit tricky to learn. Still, it beats having to clean up and recover from a malware attack.

One of the ways apps and plug-ins contribute to our computer-driven lives is in providing utilities that streamline the optimization and configuration necessary to get the best out of our machines. Firefox, the Mozilla browser, has a formidable set of utilities.

This week, All Things Appy takes a look at the five best, must-have utility add- ons available within the Firefox browser environment.

About the Platform

Add-ons, also called "Extensions," "Appearances" and "Plug-ins," can be downloaded from the Add-ons menu item in Firefox.

Enter the add-on you need into the Search box on the Add-ons page, or alternatively, look for the "Browse all add-ons" link and choose it.

Click on the add-on you need, allow it to install, and then restart Firefox.

No. 1: DownThemAll! Download Manager

DownThemAll! by Nils Maier, Federico Parodi and Stefano Verna has an average of 5 stars out of 5 from 1,247 user reviews in Firefox's Add-ons library. The add-on has a total of 1,947,004 users.

downthemall

Sometimes poor connections mean you need to download video files before you can watch them, or you simply need to download Web assets so you can work on them.

In any case, DownThemAll! is an outstanding accelerated download manager that improves on the built-in Firefox manager.

Check links you want to download by hand, build your own filters, or perform a reliable one-click batch download.

No. 2: NoScript Active Content Blocker

NoScript from Giorgio Maone has an average of 5 stars out of 5 from 1,176 user reviews in Firefox's Add-ons library. The add-on has a total of 2,178,646 users.

Let active content run only from sites you trust. NoScript protects you against clickjacking attacks.

JavaScript, Java and other executable content runs only when you tell it to -- from trusted domains you choose.

NoScript is a little tricky to learn, but it's worth spending the time learning it, rather than the time cleaning up your PC after a malicious exploit.

No. 3: Tab Mix Plus Tab Manager

Tab Mix Plus from Onemen and Gary Reyes has an average of 4 stars out of 5 from 1,985 user reviews in Firefox's Add-ons library. The add-on has a total of 1,404,462 users.

Tab Mix Plus is everything you could want in a tab manager, including copying tabs, changing tab click options, and importantly, a session manager that can restore tabs and windows.

Protected tabs can be stopped from closing, and frozen tabs locked down so the user can't navigate away from the page -- useful in multi-user environments like a trade show or a kiosk.

No. 4: Go-Mobile User Agent Toggle

Go-Mobile from Geek in Training has an average of 5 stars out of 5 from four user reviews in Firefox's Add-ons library. The add-on has a total of 1,035 users.

The Go-Mobile add-on tells websites that your browser is a phone rather than a PC. This is super-useful if you're bandwidth-challenged and need to speed things up, like when roaming on some networks, or being nickel-and-dimed for every byte -- for example, when traveling with a laptop overseas.

Websites deliver the mobile version if there is one. This utility is also useful for site owners who want to see what their website looks like in a mobile environment.

No. 5: ReloadEvery Page Reloader

ReloadEvery from Jaap Haitsma has an average of 4 stars out of 5 from 584 user reviews in Firefox's Add-ons library. The add-on has a total of 271,692 users.

Jaap Haitsma's ReloadEvery add-on allows you to set a reload schedule for a particular Web page. Great when waiting for a news update. Settings can be customized down to a refresh every five seconds.

TechNewsWorld likes this app a lot but places it in a runner-up position because we think the publisher should advise add-on users that each page refresh puts a strain on the website's server. Page delivery costs -- go easy on the server, guys.


Patrick Nelson has been a professional writer since 1992. He was editor and publisher of the music industry trade publication Producer Report and has written for a number of technology blogs. Nelson studied design at Hornsey Art School and wrote the cult-classic novel Sprawlism. His introduction to technology was as a nomadic talent scout in the eighties, where regular scrabbling around under hotel room beds was necessary to connect modems with alligator clips to hotel telephone wiring to get a fax out. He tasted down and dirty technology, and never looked back.


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