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A welcome end to peripatetic blogging

by mel starrs on May 20, 2008

in Blogging and social networks

Firstly, apologies for the hourly del.icio.us posts – I think I’ve fixed the problem now and there should only be one a day now at most. We shall see…

Broadband services have resumed and I’m back on my old computer. After a year of being mothballed, it’s behaving remarkably well and I’m poking about at all the extensions and add-ons I previously used on Firefox and around my PC.

Some of these are real time savers so I thought I’d share my top list of productivity tweaks for Firefox.

  1. Use Firefox as your browser. Seriously, why use IE? Plus all of these add-ons and tweaks are for Firefox, so this list will be of no use to you if you don’t start there
  2. Use del.icio.us and the Firefox browser button to post interesting articles and then publish to your WordPress blog using Postalicious. A massive time saver for comments on articles under 255 characters.
  3. For longer clips from webpages, try using the Google Notebook extension, which allows you to clip direct from the page into Google Notebook (including a link to the original article). As I’ve said before, Google Notebook can then be used to draft up blog posts. There is then the option to send to Google Docs and blog direct from there, or use your favourite blogging platform (I tend to work inside WordPress). You can find the download for Notebook extension once you have set up for account.
  4. As part of the peripatetic lifestyle, I have fully embraced the Google mothership, as you can log in from any computer and everything is only a few clicks away, plus the search functions are awesome. So, it’s no surprise that I use Google Reader as my RSS feed reader. Once you have over 1000 posts to read, you get a message which says 1000+, which is a bit depressing. Better to know exactly how many posts you have not managed to read (and let’s face it, it might force you (well, me) into culling a few feeds which have outlived their stay), so I use Google Reader Notifier Firefox Extension. It quietly sits at the bottom of my browser and updates at set intervals to tell me how many unread posts there are. I like the fact that I can set it to be unobtrusive – I check it when I want to, not when something happens (it’s on my terms rather than forcing me to be reactive – I’ve turned off Google Mail notifier because it intruded into my workflow too much).
  5. My two favourites add-ons for Firefox are both for links within webpages. The first is Linky. This is an outstanding add-on and I’m sure I only use a fraction of it’s functionality. I use it to highlight lists of links on a page and open them all at once, each one in it’s own tab. It saves me hundreds of mouse clicks and enables me to power through research. I cannot recommend it highly enough. The second one is a similar idea and allows you to download multiple files (pdf’s, mp3’s, .docs, etc etc) which have been linked to from a single webpage. It used to be called Download Them All! but has now changed to Downthemall (which I read as Down the mall – shopping on my brain). Again, a great timesaver.
  6. And to keep track of all this time I am saving, I use a wee add-on called time-tracker which allows you to track how much time you are spending online. Useful for those times when you say “I’m just popping online for 10 minutes” and 6 hours later you wonder where the day went.

Feel free to add any others you find useful in the comments.

As I’m back at my desk now, I can now try out such goodies as Google Earth and SketchUp, Second Life and Twhirl. I forsee vast chunks of time disappearing forever…

  • http://www.degreedays.net/ Martin B

    In addition to many of the above, I’m rather fond of the Flashblock plugin – it replaces Flash ads and so on with an arrow you can click if you want to view them. I usually don’t want to view them so the occasional extra click outweighs the bonus of less stuff flickering at me.

    Also the Session Manager plugin can be useful for saving a session (when you’ve got lots of tabs open that you’ll want to continue with tomorrow).

  • http://www.degreedays.net/ Martin B

    In addition to many of the above, I’m rather fond of the Flashblock plugin – it replaces Flash ads and so on with an arrow you can click if you want to view them. I usually don’t want to view them so the occasional extra click outweighs the bonus of less stuff flickering at me.

    Also the Session Manager plugin can be useful for saving a session (when you’ve got lots of tabs open that you’ll want to continue with tomorrow).