My Ten Favourite Firefox Add-Ons

firefoxI recently wrote about Adblock, the most necessary of all the Firefox Add-ons I use. In the comments, someone asked me which other Firefox Add-ons I use for work and/or play.

Here are my ten favourite Firefox Add-ons.

Adblock Plus - You know those ads you see all over the place when surfing the web? I don't. I haven't seen them in years and I don't miss 'em at all.

Web Developer - An absolute must for any author of web pages, this add-on lets me easily resize the browser, view the CSS, edit the CSS and HTML in Firefox and a billion other web author tasks. Irreplaceable.

Greasemonkey - What can I say about this one? There are many great scripts that customize the way a webpage displays.

TwitterFox - For reading and writing Twitter tweets.

IE Tab - Need to test a page in IE? This add-on lets you do that in a Firefox tab. It's also useful for those sites that just don't work in Firefox.

MeasureIt - Draw out a ruler to get the pixel width and height of any elements on a webpage.

ColorZilla - If I need to quickly know the hexidecimal code for any colour on any web page I visit, this tool tells all. It's awesome.

Forecastfox - Let's me know the current Toronto weather, the high for the day and tomorrow's expected weather.

Screengrab! - This is an old favourite that didn't work in Firefox 2 but was recently updated. It's nice to have it back as it lets me easily save or copy screen caps.

Tabbrowser Preferences - This gives you more control over Firefox's tab behaviour. For example, I have it automatically open _blank targeted links in a new tab.

Honourable mentions go to Extended Copy Menu, Google Gears, Firebug, FoxyTunes, LinkChecker and Better Gmail 2.

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Adblock Plus: The Most Necessary Firefox Add-On

firefoxMy web browser of choice is Firefox. I actually use a portable version of Firefox that can be cloned and run off a USB flash drive. I've tried other browsers, like Chrome, Opera and even IE8, but after five minutes of browsing I find myself missing Firefox terribly.

Yes, there are several Firefox add-ons I use for work and play that I miss when I try Chrome or Opera, but there's one in particular I miss immensely. I can't surf the web without Adblock Plus.

Adblock Plus blocks ads on the Internet. I've been using it for years, and I'm always shocked when I see my favourite sites in other people's browsers. I just don't see banner ads or flash ads or even sponsored ads in Google. I don't even see the ads on, my IM of choice, or all those ads you see in Yahoo! News.

If you use Firefox, you're likely already using Adblock Plus. If you're not using Firefox and Adblock Plus, don't you think it's time you gave it a shot?


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CPU Usage 100%

mouseMy work issued laptop, a.k.a. The One Running Windows, is having a CPU usage issue.

While I work, the CPU usage climbs until it can't climb no more. It then sticks around 100%, making it very difficult to work. Try working without any spare CPU... it's very little fun.

Naturally, I've been trouble-shooting this sunofabitch like crazy. At first I blamed my beloved Firefox, but a switch to Chrome didn't help matters. Then, I thought it might be Songbird, but a move to iTunes spelled no relief. Eventually, I detected a correlation between the use of my mouse and spikes in CPU. Not just the external mouse though, but also the touch pad.

After troubleshooting this damn mouse - CPU thing for a few hours, I remembered it's not my laptop. I don't own it, I just use it. So, I did what I should have done long ago.

I'm getting a new laptop. Here's what I've been seeing all day...


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The Facebook Fiends vs. the Twitter Followers

TwitterIn the beginning, there was MySpace. Back in 2005, I created a MySpace page for my buddy Custom because they had a music player and all the bands had pages. MySpace was (and is) a cesspool of poor design, trolls and annoying teens. I never created a MySpace account for myself.

Then, after a great deal of resistance, I succumbed and got myself a Facebook account in the summer of 2007. I was in a running group that started scheduling runs via a Facebook group, so I really had to play the game or step aside.

Facebook was kind of neat for a week or so, but quickly became stale. I figured my lack of passion for Facebook had something to do with the fact I already had a web presence where I could share notes, pictures and links. Still, Facebook was a great deal more pleasurable than MySpace, and many of my friends were passionate users.

Just last year, I started to tweet via Twitter. It's been about five months, and I'm enjoying this social networking tool more today than ever. It's micro-blogging with a mobile slant, an ideal complement to my blog. The real-time buzz detection via those select few I follow enriches the content over here, and keeps my ear to the ground. I enjoy Twitter about ten times as much as I enjoyed Facebook. I now find myself recruiting Facebook friends to the Twitter fold.

I find there are three types of people in the Social Networking kingdom. The Facebook Fiends, the Twitter Followers and the Twitbook Teeter-Totters.

Facebook Fiends - You know these guys... They embraced Facebook in 2006 or 2007 and haven't looked back. As die-hard Facebook fiends, this community hogs the bulk of their online life and they wouldn't consider leaving. They're too invested in Facebook to switch to Twitter.

Twitter Followers - These are people like me, who tried Facebook but prefer Twitter. The promotional potential of Twitter brought us over, but the value-add of those we follow keep us there. We've essentially said goodbye to Facebook and are now loyal Tweeters in the Twitter kingdom.

Twitbook Teeter-Totters - These are Facebook fans who get the attraction of Twitter. Twitbook Teeter-Totters haven't switched but maintain both. How many people do you know that dupe their Tweets as Facebook status messages? That's who I'm referring to here. They couldn't pick a community, so they manage both.

Which one are you?

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Sales Force Web to Lead With Existing PHP File

questionmarkI'm working on a web-to-lead implementation. In a nutshell, the content submitted via an HTML form needs to auto-update a new instance of

I thought it would be straight forward after reading these website setup instructions but I can't get it to work. The issue I'm having is with my existing PHP file that drives the forms. the Web-to-Lead only updates SF when the form action is equal to When the form action is equal to my PHP file, it doesn't work!

Yes, I've already posted in the SF community forums, but I thought I'd try my luck here. Just in case...

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Twitter vs. RSS, the Early Results are In...

Twitter vs. RSSBack in November, I created a Twitter account as a social media experiment of sorts. At the time, I was most interested in Twitter as an RSS feed alternative. Would people follow me on Twitter instead of subscribing to my RSS feed?

It only took a few months for the number of people following me on Twitter to exceed the number of people subscribed to my RSS feed. Here are the totals this morning.

117 Twitter followers
104 RSS subscribers

I swear by my RSS feeds, but I've noted the hesitancy of the "average joe" in adopting this form of syndication. Twitter, on the other hand, seems to be more user friendly... less intimidating.

I have two questions for the readers here... 1) Do you use Twitter? 2) Do you use RSS?

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Obama's Blog: The Briefing Room

MouseAt precisely 12:01 pm EST today, the new went live. Even though he hadn't yet said his oath, that's the moment Obama's presidency officially began.

The new site looks very modern and the heart of the content is the new White House Blog. It's called The Briefing Room and it's all about keeping American citizens, and the rest of us, in the loop. You can even subscribe to the RSS feed at

I'm super biased, but I think a blog is a fantastic tool for the President and his administration to connect with the rest of the nation and the world. There are no comments accepted, I can imagine moderation would be a nightmare, but it is a new age idea from the first Internet Prez.

Welcome to the White House_1232482049343

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Third Time's a Charm for Songbird

musicI used to swear by Winamp for playing my MP3s. For years and years I thought people were crazy for not using Winamp, then something happened with Winamp's development that had me looking for an alternative player. I flirted with the Quintessential Player for a while, and eventually ended up with iTunes.

Songbird is an open-source media player built on the same platform as my beloved Firefox. I've actually tried it twice before, when it was a proof of concept and Songbird 0.2. Now that they've released Songbird 1.0.0, I had to give it a third try.

It's so much better now. It's fast, stable and far more fun than iTunes. Like Firefox, there are add-ons that enhance the experience. For example, there is an add-on called mashTape that gives me band info, a discography, videos and more for each artists I play. I also use the side panel for song lyrics, and another add-on that tells me when an artist in my collection is coming to Toronto.

This is the open source iTunes killer I've been waiting for. It's finally ready for prime time.


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Are Zunes Committing Suicide?

calendarMy personal MP3 player of choice is the iPod Touch. iPods don't commit suicide, at least they don't en masse.

There's word at this hour that 30GB Zunes are killing themselves in droves.

The internet is awash with reports that the 30GB Zune is committing suicide across the planet. Not just one of them, either. It seems that some weird bug is simultaneously killing the music players, like lemmings leaping from a cliff.

Speculation is of course centered around the timing. It is New Year's Eve, after all, and the conspiracy nuts are calling this Z2K (with or without a +9 at the end). Our own NYC Bureau Chief John C Abell prefers the idea that it is "Brilliant Microsoft DRM Technology", which would be the most hilarious explanation.

Let me get this straight. Apple owns this marketplace, but it's a big marketplace, and competition is good for everyone. I myself own an iRiver which still works great while getting FM stations and recording voice to MP3. Microsoft, however, would have to give me a Zune to get me to use one, and even a free Zune that freezes up for no good reason without explanation isn't worth the frustration.

Does anyone out there actually own a Zune?

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Beta Forever?

emailI experienced a frustrating issue with Google Chat in Gmail today. It wouldn't log me in, telling me my system administrator had blocked me. I knew that wasn't true, so I started trouble shooting on my own.

It turns out I had enabled a feature in Google Labs, where Google tests things out before unleashing the enhancement upon the masses. I was enjoying Google Calendar in Gmail, but this apparently broke Google Chat today. Disabling the feature in Labs fixed things.

That's when I realized, Gmail is still beta. It's been 4.5 years since Gmail launched and it's still in beta.

Will Gmail be in beta forever and why exactly is that?

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