Collusion shows you how the various ad networks track your movements across sites to deliver more targeted ads. The visualization is pretty cool. It suggests TrackerBlock, a Firefox plugin that maintains your privacy while you surf.
YouTube comments are notorious for being so mind-numbingly stupid that they cause more brain damage than huffing paint. If you can’t stop yourself from reading them, use the YouTube Comment Snob plugin for Firefox and save a few brain cells for the videos to destroy.
Ironically, going to his site triggered a Quicktime update message that crashed Firefox. The message noted that the latest Quicktime fixes many serious bugs. Indeed. But even though I was in the middle of writing this very post, Firefox restored this edit page with all my text in tact. Oh Mozilla, is there anything you can’t do? (Other than not crash in the first place?)
Tip of the hat to Ray and Or.
Don’t install Internet Explorer 7! I just came back from a Java Users Group meeting, and there were a couple reports of it crashing systems. In addition, it prevents you from rolling back to IE 6. I recommend you avoid for now. In the meantime, Firefox 2 rocks!
By now you’ve already read my article on why you should use Firefox, and how you can customize it. (I’ll continue like you didn’t just disagree.) In that article I was remiss in omitting a great extension that lets you download embedded videos. The obviously named Download Embedded places a small red arrow in the lower right part of the window frame, allowing you to download embedded content. It reportedly doesn’t work for Flash, but I’m usually after regular video content (and I think Flash kinda sucks for video that isn’t animation). This is really nifty since I have a bigger monitor set to a higher resolution; now I can download the videos and resize them to something reasonable. Most newer codecs, especially Divx, allow the video to be doubled in size with little artifacting/aliasing. With Divx I can often go full screen and it still looks great.
Another advantage is that you can now email the videos instead of the links to the hosting page, which often has NSFW ads. Of course, it’s probably not all that important for NSFW videos. But you’re not emailing those anyway, ’cause you’re all good and stuff.
I’ve been using Firefox since it was Firebird, and I’ve never looked back. I only use IE for pages that use custom IE features, and those are getting very rare as Firefox gains market share. Here is my personal setup:
Firefox – The latest version at this time is 22.214.171.124. This offers several advantages over IE, including tabbed browsing, tons of extensions, image blocking by server (kill tons of ads), and a built in search engine box that works with over 6,000 databases.
For some reason, embedded files (Quicktime, PDF, etc) annoy me. Firefox allows you to easily disable those plugins so they launch externally, and they seem to launch quicker that way. More importantly, the standalone viewers allow you more control. I usually play video at 2x original size since I run at a higher resolution, and you can’t do that when it’s embedded.
These free addons improve the functionality of the browser. Here are ones I can’t live without.
Adblock Plus: Web sites cost money to create and run, and are supported by ads. Without ads, they would either die, or go subscription, and I usually prefer they did neither. However, I cannot stand animated ads (esp. Flash ads), and this plugin makes it easy to block servers who provide them (filter suggestion: *doubleclick.net*). For animated gifs, you can simply hit Escape and they will stop.
IE Tab: For those few times when you need to use IE, this offers a button to switch to IE to render the current page, but keeps it in the tab. Press it again, and it’s back to Firefox as a page renderer.
Redirect Remover: Some sites don’t provide direct links, in order to track your behavior. If the link is of the form http://OriginalSite.com/foo.php?site=http://ActualLinkImInterestedIn.com, it will scrub it so it goes to http://ActualLinkImInterestedIn.com. Sometimes that does screw things up, but you can turn it off, or right click and have it open an uncleaned link.
In addition to the standard ones I use (Google, Amazon, Answers.com), I added these, so I don’t have to bother visiting the page before searching. Yes, I’m that lazy.
Wikipedia – Free encyclopedia.
IMDB – Internet Movie Database.
Pricegrabber – Compare prices on everything.
Shopping.com – Another price comparison site.