A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, there existed a light-weight browser that lived in the deep shadows of Internet Explorer. It was based on the source code of Netscape, a fallen bird which fell prey to Microsoft. It had a wonderful feature – the ability to increase features by installing extensions. Fast-forward to 2008, and that browser is now known to the world as Mozilla Firefox.
It is obvious that Firefox has much more functionality because of these addons. Add to it the fact that the primary reason for not switching from Firefox to alternate browsers is the addons and you will get an idea of how great the concept of addons is.
Internet Explorer has always been late to incorporate industry-standard stuff, whether it is plugin architecture or valid XHTML rendering (in fact they’ve still not fixed it). However, ‘better late than never’ as they say. From version 7, IE supports addons. Although the variety is not as large as that of Firefox, there are still a few good choices.
Below, we present to you six addons that are useful for everyday browsing activities:
(1) C No Evil Toolbar : Comparable to the Adblock Plus extension for Firefox, C No Evil lets you do that literally – see no
evil ads. You can block ads and replace them with custom images that you choose (any .gif or .jpg file). So, you can save bandwidth, speed up loading times and also get rid of those ugly ads.
(2) Video Downloader : Video Downloader can be used to save web videos (FLV) to your hard drive with a click (a right-click and left-click each, actually). This can then be converted to mpeg file by using one of the converter tools, or viewed directly using free VLC player. When downloading videos make sure to save them as .flv files (some_video.flv).
(3) FindAsYouType : Firefox has a useful instant search function, where text is highlighted as you type. With this addon, you can add that functionality into Internet Explorer. To use it, press Ctrl+F and type your query – results will come up as you type. No more clicking OK/enter key.
(4) IE Autorefresher : AutoRefresher does in IE what ‘ReloadEvery‘ extension does in Firefox, and the built-in ‘Reload every > xx seconds’ function (from right click) does in Opera. You can set the interval between automatic reloads, and this can be set for each tab separately. AutoRefresher can be useful in several ways – to monitor the live cricket scores page, or to monitor the number of Diggs for your story once it becomes popular (I have used this for that particular purpose).
(5) QDictionary : Having a handy dictionary is useful, especially if you browse around a lot and come across unfamiliar words. There are no irritating popups or assistants (think MS Office) in it – just highlight the word you want, right-click it and select “Look up” or “Thesaurus”. One problem is that you need to be connected to the internet, and this addon connects to m-w.com. But since you’re browsing (which is usually online), there won’t be any problems.
(6) IE 7 Pro : Little overwhelming and takes some time to get used to, but totally worth it. In fact IE7 PRO already incorporates several of the above extensions. Includes powerful tab manager, AD and Flash blockier, Session crash recovery, Web accelerator, Webpage capturer, Greasemonkey scripts support, Firefox style inline search, spell checker and an excellent mouse gesture feature that lets you assign various functionalities to simple mouse gestures.
(By) Sumesh is a blogger and freelance writer. Visit his blog TechZilo for blogging, web and software tips.
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