One of the cool things about running my own website is getting to see the “back end” of things. I am able to get all kinds of information on my site, who reads it, when they read it, what they click on, how long they visit, and more. I really had no idea that website owners can see this information. It is really very useful, though. I am able to learn about my readers and what they like (and don’t like).
One of the many things that I am able to see is what browser my readers are using. The other day I was looking at the stats and I was astounded to find out that almost half of you still use Internet Explorer. I really, really thought that everyone knew of the advantages of Firefox over Internet Explorer, but apparently, that is not the case.
So, today’s COMPUTER TIPS AND TRICKS is all about Firefox. If you think your web browser doesn’t matter, then keep reading. And if you already use Firefox, then scroll down to see some of the amazing add-ons that will make your web experience even better!
There is so much information on the web about Firefox and its superior features for safe (and fun!) web browsing. The latest version, Firefox 3, has some truly amazing features. I won’t go into great detail here because there is so much already out there. Do a quick Google search and it is easy to see why more and more people are choosing Firefox (and I really want my readers to be some of them!)
There is a great review of the most recent version of Firefox HERE.
Here is what computer critic Paul Thurrott says about it:
“Mozilla Firefox 3 is the fastest, safest, and most feature-rich Web browser available on any platform and I recommend it to one and all. This is one area where Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux users can simply agree: Firefox is without peer, and regardless of which browser you’re currently using–be it a previous version of Firefox, any version of Internet Explorer, or, heaven forbid, Apple’s buggy Safari–you need to upgrade to Firefox 3 immediately. I recommend Firefox 3 without hesitation and without caveat, as it is one of those very rare software products, and a key tool in my own personal computing arsenal. No software is perfect, but Firefox is close enough. Highly recommended.”
Another in depth review of the top browsers (Firefox, IE, Opera, and Safari) while they were all in beta, had this to say: “Firefox remains the best browser on the whole, with great features, impressive improvements all-round, a revised bookmarking system and thousands of add-ons to make it easy to perfectly customize. The improvements in performance are stellar, it’s got some well-integrated features that everyone will use (resumable download manager, tag-ready bookmarking) and it offers, overall, a better, richer Web experience.”
If you are already using Firefox then here are some great ways to make your use of Firefox even better!
One of my favorite features of Firefox features is the new Star icon. It is located at the end of the address bar, right next to the RSS icon. Click it once to store the page’s URL as a bookmark; click it twice to assign the bookmark to a new or existing folder. You can also give it tags: short keywords to help when searching through your bookmarks. Use the new Library feature to create and store searches. It makes bookmarking so easy!
Firefox is most widely known for its endless ability to customize your browsing experience. Add-on after add-on are available to do some pretty amazing things. I want to show you some of the great ways you can use Firefox. Here are some of the most popular (or just coolest!) ad-ons. Try one (or ten!) today!
Themes: Check out all this cool themes you can have to make your viewing experience better or even just prettier 🙂
Look at my pretty pink browser bar!
Ad block Plus: Ever been annoyed by all those ads and banners on the internet that often take longer to download than everything else on the page? Install Adblock Plus now and get rid of them. (Just note that this will disable all banner ads at places like DST so if you like the banners, don’t use this. You CAN disable and enable with a click of a button, though.)
DownThemAll: The first and only download manager/accelerator built inside Firefox! (Never be annoyed with multi-part downloads at your favorite scrapping sites again!)
FoxMarks Bookmark Syncronizer: If you use Firefox on more than one computer, you’ll want Foxmarks. Install Foxmarks on each computer, and it works silently in the background to keep your bookmarks and (optionally) passwords synchronized. Foxmarks also keeps your data backed up and safe from computer failures. If you’re away from your computer, Foxmarks allows you to access your bookmarks online by logging into my.foxmarks.com. (Okay, this is so, so, so hot and I just learned about it. Just the other day, I had to get out my laptop and email myself links to some bookmarked sites because I didn’t have them on my desktop. No more of that nonsense for me!)
StumbleUpon: StumbleUpon discovers web sites based on your interests, learns what you like and brings you more.
Cool Iris: Full-Screen, 3D — Cooliris (formerly PicLens) transforms your browser into a visually stunning, lightning fast way to search, discover, view and share online photos, videos and more. Our unique “3D Wall” lets you effortlessly zoom your way around thousands items on a single, ever-expansive wall. It’s the fastest way to search and enjoy Google Images, YouTube, Flickr, Hulu, and hundreds of other sites. See HERE for a list of all features and supported sites. (Check this out…you can do a search for something like cribs, Hawaii, or alphas and it will bring up images from all over the web in a cool 3D wall of photos. Here is a search I did for “Project 365” with a search in just Flikr.)
WOT: WOT, Web of Trust, warns you about risky websites that try to scam visitors, deliver malware or send spam. Protect your computer against online threats by using WOT as your front-line layer of protection when browsing or searching in unfamiliar territory. WOT’s color-coded icons show you ratings for 20 million websites – green to go, yellow for caution and red to stop – helping you avoid the dangerous sites. Surf safer and add WOT to your Firefox now.
InterClue: Ever wanted to know what was behind the link before you clicked? Interclue tells you everything you need to know before you open yet another tab.
Read It Later: Read It Later allows you to save pages of interest to read later. It eliminates cluttering of bookmarks with sites that are merely of a one-time interest.
Morning Coffee: Keeps track of daily routine websites and opens them in tabs…(Seriously, could this be any more hot?? I go to the SAME places EVERY day…what a time saver this will be for me!)
PermaTabs: Turn tabs of your choice into permanent tabs. PermaTabs can’t be closed accidentally no matter what you click (even actions like “Close other tabs” will not affect them) and will stick around between sessions.
ColorZilla: With ColorZilla you can get a color reading from any point in your browser, quickly adjust this color and paste it into another program. You can Zoom the page you are viewing and measure distances between any two points on the page. The built-in palette browser allows choosing colors from pre-defined color sets and saving the most used colors in custom palettes.
Session Manager: Session Manager saves and restores the state of all windows – either when you want it or automatically at startup and after crashes. Additionally it offers you to reopen (accidentally) closed windows and tabs.
ColorFul Tabs: The most beautiful yet the simplest add-on that makes a strong colorful appeal. Colors every tab in a different color and makes them easy to distinguish while beautifying the overall appearance of the interface. An essential…
And finally, the IE tab. For those ancient sites that still insist you use IE (because they don’t know how much cooler Firefox is!) you can install the IE tab which eliminates all the other reasons to keep using IE by forcing Firefox to render a page using the Internet Explorer engine. You must have IE installed on your machine for this plug-in to work, but the convenience and saved resources can’t be beaten.
One thing I LOVE is that I can enable and disable these add-ons with a click of a button. Sometimes I am in the mood and sometimes I am not!
So, are you convinced yet? There are SO MANY reasons to use Firefox. I hope that you are intrigued enough to try it! If you do it for no other reason…at LEAST do it for security reasons. With anti-malware, parental controls, anti-virus software, clear private data, customize security settings, add-ons, password manager, pop up blocker and MORE, Firefox is by far the safest (and hottest!) way to surf the web!