For those of you using FireFox, you’re probably aware that the primary benefit of FF over other browsers is its extensibility. With plug-ins written for FF, you might not ever have to leave your browser … ever. There are so many things you can do with it, it’s pretty much an indispensable tool, and I have no idea why more businesses aren’t using FireFox as their browser of choice, especially when you consider some of the problematic security- and virus-related issues of Internet Explorer.
So, I thought I’d share some of my favorite extensions and plug-ins for FireFox. These are tools I’ve found essential for surfing and working on the Internet, and I can’t imagine a browser experience without them now.
Cool Iris preview is a nifty little program which lets you hover over a link on web page and delivers the target page in a separate, Cool Iris window. Instead of having to rely on a thumbnail to preview the content, you can actually visit the page … without having to either open a new window or open a new tab. You never leave the page you’re on, so if it turns out you don’t like the content of the page being linked to, you can shut the Cool Iris window and forget it forever.
Why it’s Cool/Essential
I love Cool Iris because I read a lot of blogs, and sometimes those blogs don’t have the full content sent to feed readers. So, rather than have to open the blog in a new instance of the browser or a new tab in the current instance, I can let Cool Iris open the blog in a new window, check it out and decide if I want to read the rest of it. If I do, then I just … well, read it. When I’m finished I close the Cool Iris window and I’m back at my patiently waiting feed reader, and I’m on to the next feed. Sweet.
This is especially useful for articles which cite multiple other articles or archives of the site. I can do all the background leg work and never leave the original article.
Oh, and if you want to preview the linked content, without having to read it then, you don’t have to leave Cool Iris’s windows open. (You can, however, open what’s called a Cool Iris stack and go through them at your leisure, but I don’t do that.) There’s a button on the Cool Iris window to allow the window to open in a new tab in the browser. Get to it when you want. And, if at some point Cool Iris is bugging you, you can always disable it right from the browser’s status bar. Easy-peasy, breezy.
Now, sometimes Cool Iris is slow to open a new window, and other things you run might interfere with it opening a target but it won’t tell you what or why. So, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I can’t do without it now.