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 188.8.131.52. 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.