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4 Firefox Add-Ons to Ease Your Online Life

4 Firefox Add-Ons to Ease Your Online Life

    I’ve experienced 100s of Firefox add-ons, and have whittled them down to about two dozen I use on a regular basis — even out of these, I have favorites. Here are 4 I find both casually enjoyable and sheerly indispensable; I hope they add value to your browsing. Even if you’ve heard of them before, I share specific reasons why they’re so useful + fun (usefun!). All are compatible with the wonderful Firefox 3:

    DownloadHelper

    Ever wanted to download Flash videos from YouTube or another site and found yourself frustrated by sluggish web conversion utilities?

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    This add-on keeps rocketing in popularity, and with good reason: it simplifies the process of downloading multimedia with a couple clicks. It can be as easy as opening a movie-playing page, clicking the toolbar icon, and selecting the file to download. Moments later, it’ll be on your hard drive.

    The interface is a bit odd at first, but once you get up to speed, it’s a breeze. I use this for archiving FLV copies of videos I’ve created — please don’t do bad things with it.

    Picnik

    Picnik has saved me a tremendous amount of time by removing wasteful steps in my workflow. This add-on provides an easy path to visually send a webpage into my fave online Picnik image editor (many features are free) so it can be cropped and edited with delicious effects, then posted on your blog, Flickr, another photo-sharing site, or even saved back to your hard drive. For that reason alone, it has a halo appeal for bloggers who need webpage screenshots… fast!

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    Before, I suffered with saving screen captures to disk, then Photoshopping them because most lesser editors are too limited on the tasty eye candy. But Picnik has a fine balance of both, and enables the process to take place totally online.

    Alas, the Picnik add-on can’t capture your web browser or other apps’ user interface; you’ll still need a utility like Gadwin Printscreen (free) or SnagIt for that.

    ScrapBook

    Perhaps you desire to capture a webpage’s appearance, not as a static image but as an annotable file? ScrapBook will do that and more for you: it can cache whole webpages or parts of them for later review, then you can add notes and sort your clippings into folders.

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    This is terribly handy if you’re on a laptop and want to save some offline reading material for when you get on a plane or train.

    There’s lots of excellent note-taking assistants like EverNote out there, but ScrapBook integrates extremely well into Firefox.

    Tree Style Tab

    Arguably, I may’ve saved the best and most un-obvious for last. Tabs are a fundamental and common feature in every popular web browser, but they’re often positioned horizontally. If you’re a frequent tabber, instead of messing around with proportionally-shrinking or even multi-row horizontal tabs, wouldn’t you like to be able to have a long list of vertical tabs? Even better, you can expand/collapse these into trees, change the width of their titles on-the-fly (or lock the width), and tweak the nitty-gritty details. Also, on the rare occasion should you want to revert to horizontal tabs, Tree Style Tab gives you that power too.

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    Once I transitioned to vertical tabs, I never looked back: vertical tabs are far easier to manage and sort, exponentially boosting my effectiveness and allowing me to make far more use of Firefox’s “Open All in Tabs”, since the tree-view helps keep clutter down.

    Are you skeptical? Think of how long info-lists like menus, phone numbers, and spreadsheets are organized: vertically. Then dive in, for Tree Style Tab is even more tasty with the popular Tab Mix Plus.

    Here’s a raw shot of my vertical tabs before being Picnicked as shown above, but there’s no better way to understand than to experience this joy yourself — click for full-size:

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      Last Updated on February 15, 2019

      7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

      7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

      Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

      Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

      Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

      So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

      Joe’s Goals

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        Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

        Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

        Daytum

          Daytum

          is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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          Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

          Excel or Numbers

            If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

            What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

            Evernote

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              I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

              Evernote is free with a premium version available.

              Access or Bento

                If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                Conclusion

                I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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