I’ve recently joined the touch-friendly Tablet-PC crowd, with the Fujitsu P1610. It looks like a regular laptop, but you can swivel the display around and use it like a tablet – this is great for casual web browsing, especially with FireFox. However, it’s not perfect, and I’ve come across a handful of FireFox addons that I would call must-haves. These addons either make it alot more touch-friendly to use Firefox, or they add some other really useful benefit, and I’ve found it tough to do without them.
1. Foxmarks – If you have multiple computers, and you’re not using Foxmarks, you should be. It’s easy, it’s fast, and it works behind the scenes. Three traits of a great technology. Basically, Foxmarks keeps all your bookmarks/links/usernames/passwords in sync between multiple Firefox installations (and you can access all that from your phone, too!). It’s just plain brilliant, and allows me to easily mark something on my main laptop to go check out on the tablet later on.
2. Grab and Drag – This is the real killer – it lets you grab anywhere on a webpage, and drag it up or down. It basically makes the entire browser window a scrollbar. However, it doesn’t get in the way of work, as you can still click on links easily, and also still highlight and copy text. Grab and Drag also supports kinetic scrolling, so you can give it a little flick on a long webpage and it’ll keep on scrolling.
3. IE Tab – This is more of a general-use addon, and only works on Windows machines, but it basically lets you open an Internet Explorer window as a tab in Firefox. This is useful for sites like Netflix, which require you to use Internet Explorer to use the online streaming feature. You can setup filters, too, so that certain domains always open in an IE tab, which is really handy.
4. Adblock Plus – Given that I make my living mostly off online advertising, I don’t normally condone this plugin, or others like it. However, with the limited resources of a netbook, and with sites like IMDB, whose advertising could likely crawl out of the screen and eat you alive, it’s certainly handy.
5. TinyURL Creator – This plugin will automatically create a TinyURL for any website or weblink that you come across. Just right-click on the page or the link, and choose ‘Create TinyURL’. You’ll soon get a little popup letting you know that the URL is copied automatically to your clipboard. Brilliant for sharing uber-long URLs in a more user-friendly manner.
This is obviously a small list of the addons I use, but they’re ones that I really find to be vital for productive surfing, specifically on a netbook or TabletPC.