Pump up your browsing

Do you remember dial-up, flashing JavaScript images and Netscape? The web used to be a primeval place but luckily things have changed, and nothing symbolises this change more than internet browser Mozilla Firefox's selection of add-ons.

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By  Gareth Van Zyl Published  March 16, 2009

Do you remember dial-up, flashing JavaScript images and Netscape? The web used to be a primeval place but luckily things have changed, and nothing symbolises this change more than internet browser Mozilla Firefox's selection of add-ons.

Today, it's not only about what's on the web but also about how you surf the web. The popular Firefox browser has thousands of add-ons (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/) that add an extra dimension to your internet browsing from seeing Google with a dark background to changing your desktop theme into an all out NASA rocket experience. To weed out the useful from futile and help you evolve your web browsing, Windows ME lists its top ten Mozilla Firefox add-ons.

10. Foxmarks

Have you ever bookmarked a web address at work and then, by the time you've got home, you've forgotten what the web address is that you've bookmarked? Foxmarks is the solution. Once you've installed the add-on, you sign into your Foxmarks account, and Foxmarks stores all your bookmarks (even your passwords) onto a database on a third party server (Foxmarks manages over half a billion bookmarks). You can also separate your work bookmarks from your personal bookmarks and then maintain them across your various computers as long as all of those computers have this Firefox add-on.

9. FoxTab

When surfing the web maybe you run into the nasty habit of opening dozens and dozens of web pages. But by just right-clicking on a link in your bookmarks and selecting the ‘Open in a New Tab' option, you can open up a whole new browsing experience with the use of tabs. Tabs are multiple instances of web pages that appear in your browser and FoxTab extends your ability to control these tabs. FoxTab offers you the ability to duplicate tabs, reload tabs and copy tabs.

You can also open a completely new tab that is blank and then surf to whatever website you choose. It may seem to be simple in concept but it is very useful for those who surf dozens of web pages at the same time. FoxTab also has a session manager that saves your tabs if the browser crashes.

8. Web of Trust (WOT)

Apart from using the latest Anti-Virus software, another tool that can make your web-surfing that much safer is using Mozilla Firefox's Web of Trust (WOT) add-on.

This add-on warns you about websites that try to scam visitors, deliver malware or that send spam. It further keeps you safe from Spyware, adware and viruses, browser exploits, unreliable online shops, phishing, spam and other Internet scams and annoying or malicious spam A colour-coded icon appears in your browser bar that gives an indication of how safe the website is, with green being the safest and red the most dangerous.

Once you've visited a site you can also give the site a rating according to "Trustworthiness", "Vendor Reliability", "Privacy" and "Child Safety". Also, before visiting a potentially harmful website, WOT warns you and saves your computer before any damage can be done.

7. Ad Block Plus

This add-on is a must-have if you're really annoyed by those ads that keep popping up on your screen when visiting a particular site. It works in a really simple way: all you have to do is right-click on a particular banner ad and choose "Adblock" from the context menu. Voila! The banner will not be shown again. If you come across similar banners in future again, the banners will be covered in stars. Alternatively, you can choose a filter subscription service that will do all of this for you automatically.

6. Webmynd

We all use Google just about everyday of our lives and it is easy to get bored of the results that come our way whenever we conduct a search on a particular topic. Maybe you would like to have a broader view on some of the search results that comes your way.

Then you need to download Webmynd. This is a useful add-on that embeds the search results you most value from the sources you most value. Of course, Webmynd does have a few sources that it already relies upon such as YouTube, Wikipedia, CNN, reddit and Flickr. Webmynd doesn't only allow you to search the web better, but it also gives you the ability to manage your browsing history better.

Maybe you've tried going back into your history folder and found it difficult to navigate through names of dozens and dozens of web pages that you just cannot remember. Webmynd provides a feature that records your web pages and allows you to then track back those web pages visually.

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