Thursday, November 06, 2008

Favorite Firefox add-ons

Since I've been setting up Firefox and associated apps on my new work laptop, I thought I'd list my current set of favorite add-ons for Firefox 3.

I've used Firefox and some of these add-ons for years, and they help to make Firefox that much more useful and safe for day-to-day browsing. There are literally thousands of add-ons to choose from, so these represent the best and most useful of the ones available in my experience.

Adblock Plus blocks ads, period. Modern replacement for Adblock + Filterset.G Updater.

Download Statusbar makes it easier to track and manage multiple downloads, nicer interface than the download manager included with Firefox 3. Alternately, if you need to queue up and manage dozens or hundreds of downloads, use DownThemAll! 1.0.3 instead.

Video DownloadHelper 3.3: downloads videos from sites like YouTube for local use.

Feed Sidebar 3.1.4: the least annoying feed reader I've ever used. I love the idea of RSS/Atom feeds as a way to view and stay up to date with content, but Feed Sidebar is the first reader I've used in 3 or 4 years that I didn't delete after 2 weeks of use.

NoScript protect your Firefox session from malicious code. Practice safe browsing! Firefox with AdBlock Plus and NoScript installed makes your browsing about as safe as you can get on the web these days.

QuickProxy 2008.08.04: gives you a statusbar button to turn proxy support on and off. Couple this with PuTTY or another SSH client configured for SOCKS5 connection forwarding to your desired SSH server, and you've got an instant VPN for your Firefox session.

I've used other add-ons over the years, including Better Gmail (improved Gmail interface tweaks), ChatZilla (IRC/chat client), FasterFox (speed tweaks), FireBug (monitor and debug CSS/HTML/Javascript code and page load time) FireFTP (full-featured FTP client), FlashBlock (blocks Adobe Flash applets), ForecastFox (weather forecasts), Foxmarks (bookmark synchronization), User Agent Switcher (change your browser's identity); and any list of Firefox add-ons needs to include the amazing GreaseMonkey.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election 2008

"Politicians and diapers should be changed often, and for the same reason." - Mark Twain

Voted this morning at 7:06am at our polling station, and there were around 10 people ahead of me in line. I was impressed at the number of staffers on site, it looked like about twice the number that were there in 2006 and 2007. This isn't a huge district: there's 6 voting districts and 19 polling precincts in the county, serving around 70 thousand residents and perhaps 40 thousand registered voters.

Frederick County VA Polling Places Number of Precincts & Registered Voters by Counties & Cities within Congressional Districts - September 1, 2004

Heard from my mother-in-law this morning, she got to the polling station in Lake Ridge (eastern Prince William County VA) around 6:15am and didn't get through the line and out until 7:30am. My guess is that the suburban counties in Northern Virginia are going to get crushed by voter turnout today, so it'll be interesting to see what the Virginia SBE reports starting at 7:30pm this evening.