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17 Firefox Extensions That Make Blogging Easy

17 Firefox Extensions That Make Blogging Easy
Firefox Extensions That Make Blogging Easy

The great thing about the Firefox browser is when you have a problem, there is usually a solution in the form of an extension. As a blog writer, I’ve been using a few that smooth out the experience and get rid of a few annoyances.

Here are a few suggestions.

Collecting

Google Notebook – Highlight the content you want to save, Note it with this extension. You can organize different ‘notebooks’ with their own sections. Each note will have a link back to the original website.

Session Manager – Great for doing research and rounding up a few sources. Save the session of tabs so you can come back to them later.

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coComment – Keep tracks of comments you’ve left on other websites. This is particularly useful if the comment section is providing more resources than the actual post content.

Speak It – Have articles read out to you so you can do the dishes while researching. Not to be used while at the computer – speed reading = productivity. This extension uses the Microsoft TTS Engine.

DocuFarm – This is a cool extension that previews word, PDFs etc within Firefox. It comes with a search, which you can also use to search PDFs!

Writing

Scribefire – Performancing.com’s popular split-browser blog editor. Multiple blog management, categories and simple source editing. FTP Uploads are available but buggy. No good image support.

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Deepest Sender – Very similar to ScribeFire, these two extensions lack greater features like image uploading, time-stamp editing and compatible tagging. Both are very easy to set up.

Resizable Text Area – If you stick with your regular blog editor, such as WordPress, this extension comes in handy to resize the text area quickly and freely.

Spellbound & Google Toolbar – Inline spell-check, ala Microsoft Word. Use the extension or Google Toolbar’s built-in spell-checker. Both work great. Superseded by Firefox 2’s built in spell check.

Tabinta – turns the Tab Button to a text editor spacing tab rather than cycling through the web forms. Only interacts with the text area, otherwise does the regular Firefox tabbing.

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Split Browser – Great when copy and pasting content and URLs, this extension makes it easy to split any tab any which way. Put your editor in a ‘sidebar’ and continue surfing the other tabs in the other pane.

Copy Plain Text – This is a can’t-live-without extension for me. When I copy text, I don’t want any of the original site’s formating, links or text-link-ads to be copied over as well. Just the text. That’s what this extension does.

Copy As HTML Link – Use this extension in conjunction with Copy Plain Text to create links for your posts. Only make links when you want with the text you want.

Images

Web Developer – Other than View Source and those functions, Web Developer is great for getting image information like size etc. If a site is making it hard to get access to their images, use the View Image Information button to get all the images and their links. Respect copyright.

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Snagit – to use with the SnagIt image capture application, this extension just makes it easy to start grabbing screenshots while still in Firefox.

Picnik – this web based app trumps SnagIt in many respects. With the Picnik extension you can grab a screenshot of the visible page, or the entire page, with one click. The same goes with any images on the web, including a button at Flickr.com.

Picnik is also a very good image editor. I don’t use anything else to edit images for articles. You can take any photo, from your computer, Flickr or Picasso account, or anywhere on the web, and start editing without downloading anything to your computer.

Please share any you have to add.

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Craig Childs

Craig is an editor and web developer who writes about happiness and motivation at Lifehack

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

More About Goals Setting

Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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