Every time I start to rant against how slow my “browsing” is, I take time to remember how much I loaded my browser. To make internet just what I’d like it to be, it takes a few addons: while I can’t manage to understand why so few people use some of those (like Adblock), some others are just for comfort, or privacy. And as I’m always preaching for my addons every time I have the occasion, I thought I should do a small list, here it is.
The king of all. With Adblock Plus, you will get rid of all ads, everywhere. Ads on internet just don’t exist anymore for me: no more on Youtube to cut your party playlist, no more stupid “targeted” ads on Facebook. And it feels great. Get it here. (It also works to hide any recurrent internet content).
Move up from Adblock Plus, and get Disconnect: this highly strict add-on will block any invisible websites trying to track you, and let you visualize who/how many they are. A quick look on what it says when I’m visiting, e.g., French news Le Nouvel Obs website: 1 request from Facebook, 2 from Google, 1 from twitter and 3 from advertising. Clicking on advertising will also allows you to see WHO is tracking you, something you probably ignored completely until now. You can also easy whitelist any website, when you want some specific social network content to load. Get it here.
Download status bar
Since a certain update, downloading on Firefox is way less practical: you usually need to click twice to access to your download progress information, and you can’t do much more. This is where Download status bar add-on get useful: each time you start a download, a status bar appears at the bottom of Firefox, displaying the name of the file and its download speed and completion status. When the download is over, you can drag the files directly to the folder you want. Get it here.
I’m using this way too much to be proud of it: this plugin allows you to block specified time-wasting websites, after a certain amount of time spent on it (or none), on selected hours/days (or not). You can create up to 6 groups of websites you want to block in a certain way. For myself, I’ve got a group for an amount of time a day (Facebook, Reddit) and a group of website permanently blocked.
Leechblock works well when used with OffSocialNetwork, a website a friend of mine did: set your Leechblock options, ask to define a password and use the one OffSocialNetwork gives you. Now choose a duration (1 week is what works best for me), and forget the password (it should be easy). You just offered you 1 week of better browsing, congrats! Get Leechblock here.
This is nothing but a little “comfort” add-on: it’ll slow down and smooth the scrolling-up/down of your browser. It also brings you a faster navigation as the scrolling is dynamic (the faster you scroll, the faster^2 it goes) and it’s highly customizable. Give it a try! (if you find yourself scrolling while reading on the web, I’ll recommend you to have a look at MagicScroll).
Last of the batch, Social Fixer is an add-on that makes Facebook almost like what it should be: more than deleting adds, like Adblock does, it gives you loads of new options for Facebook display, amongst which:
- Get rid of all the suggestions on the right side: groups, friends, music, films, everything that doesn’t belong to the page you actually want to see can be disable forever with a little cross on the top-right side of those suggestions. It feels great. (Have a look on how many I deleted)
- Get a preview of pictures without clicking: everytime you hoover a picture (profile pic, in your newsfeed, in a comment, from an external link), it’ll be displayed on its original size on your screen. Saves hours.
- Hide the ticker feed. I just completely forgot it existed.
- It fixes timestamps to show actual date/time (“one hour ago” becomes “12:34am (one hour ago)”)
- It hides sponsored stories from the newsfeed.
- It hides all your offline friends in the chat.
And a lot more I won’t describe. As for the others, give it just a quick try, one day or two, I’m sure you’ll love it. Get it here.
PS: I also installed Facebook Seen Notification Remover, but I can’t be sure it works, so it’s not with the others.