Tag Archives: Google Chrome

Goodbye Firefox?

The Horror

I still have my t-shirts. I’m not sure how they’ve held up over so many years, especially with how frequently I have worn them – one for Firefox, one for Thunderbird – both from the official Mozilla store.

Image representing Firefox
Image via CrunchBase

I’m fairly certain I’ve been using Firefox since 1.x, and perhaps even before. I jumped ship from Internet Explorer as quickly as possible and having been a long-time fan of Netscape Navigator, Firefox with its relations to Netscape was appealing to me.

Today I did something that I’ve seen coming for a long time now. I’m not sure if it will stick – but I’ve done it.

  • I exported my bookmarks from Firefox into an HTML file (I probably have several thousand, carefully categorized).
  • I imported my bookmarks from the HTML file into Google Chrome (it looks like they came over without a hitch).
  • I closed the almost-always-running instance of Firefox.
  • I unpinned Firefox from my Windows taskbar.

Now I sit stand in front of my computer, the monitor flashing its warm blue glow, my fingers typing on the keyboard as if nothing has changed, and yet something has changed – something significant. For over five years now a large portion of my life and work has occurred via the Firefox browser, and now, now it is no more.

What Happened?

Firefox’s bloat over time was a big hassle for many – but I held onto Firefox through all of that. The slow release cycles compared to Google’s Chrome drove others crazy, but I held on through that.

What finally drove me (several years ago) to begin using Chrome for at least a significant portion of my web activities was the profiles – something that Firefox never really was able to handle well, as far as I know, still can’t. I have different “personas” on the web – they are all me (Dave Mackey) and I don’t pretend to be different people, but I operate for different functions. I am the personal me, I was the corporate me, I am the techie me, and I am the pastor me. Each of these personas was best served by a separate profile. With thousands of links organized into categories, it was too confusing to try and keep track of everything all mashed into one profile – so now, my ministry links are in my ministry profile, my personal links are in my personal profile, and so on.

Any Hope of Reconciliation?

Sure there is. I have never used Chrome as my 100% primary browser. Up to this point I’ve primarily used Chrome for web app (GMail, Facebook, Calendar, Asana, Keep) and have used Firefox for browsing and discovery (e.g. StumbleUpon, Digg, RSS, Zakta). There may be issues that arise when I use Chrome for everything that weren’t present when I used it for only these app’ish purposes…but I sort of doubt it.

Still, there is hope for reconciliation in my relationship with Firefox. Why? Because, quite honestly, I don’t trust Google. No, I’m not paranoid. Yes, I let them collect all sorts of info. about me and use it to target their advertising at me. I’m not worried about that – I’m worried about commitment. Google has axed far too many products or twisted them beyond recognition to be entirely trusted. I now Google Reader is the latest example, but there have been so many others – anyone remember their attempt with wikified search? Or how about that note taking application – what was it called?

So, Google, here is your word of warning: I’m watching you. Customer acquisition isn’t the whole game, to win customer loyalty you need to be loyal too, and you’ve fumbled quite a few times in this area!

Google Chrome Extensions – A Curated List.

Here is a fairly huge and curated list of Google Chrome extensions. Those I use are bolded, those I have used are italicized, and those which I am considering using have an asterisk. Which ones am I missing that you can’t live without?

Productivity

  • Google Keep – This isn’t an extension, but a web app., but it might as well be an extension. In any case, it integrates with Google Drive making it awesome and simple. There is also a nifty Android app. as well.
    • Sticky Notes – This was my preferred application before Keep, it lacked sync however.
    • Quick Note.
    • Chrome NotePad.
  • Browser Clipboard.*
  • Springpad – For taking notes.
  • Google Calendar Checker.*
  • Meeting Scheduler for Google Calendar.*
  • CleanPrint.*
  • EasyBib Tools.*
  • Lazarus Form Recovery.
  • Google Translate – A useful extension, but one I wouldn’t use frequently enough to make worthwhile.
  • Print Friendly & PDF – Allows you to select actually what you want to print on a page and print to PDF.
  • Google Calendar.*
  • StayFocusd.
  • Ginger – Corrects spelling and grammar.*
    • Spell Checker for Chrome.*
    • After the Deadline.
  • Harvest Time Tracker.

Tabs

  • TabCloud
  • OneTab – This turns your tabs into a list, freeing up memory.
  • Speed Dial – Choose which sites appear on your new tab page.*
  • TabJump – Intelligent Tab Navigator.*
  • IE Tab – Are there really sites you still need to browse in IE? Yes, a few.
  • Incredible StartPage.*
    • FoxTab Speed Dial.*

Phone

Updated: 3/20/13

  • Google Chrome to Phone – Send a page from your computer to your phone’s browser.
  • Google Voice.*
  • SMS to PC Options – Now has an entire page reviewing the various options.

Web Master

  • Google Publisher Toolbar.
  • Create Amazon Affiliate Link (from Travis Illig).*
  • Zemanta – I ended up just installing the plugin into WordPress, it is an excellent way to find related articles for blog posts and Creative Commons licensed images to insert into posts.
  • Buffer.*
  • SEOquake.*
  • Alexa Traffic Rank – I may replace this with something like SEOQuake which provides a fuller view from more services.

Twitter

  • Silver Bird – This is a sleek, streamlined Twitter client. As with all Twitter clients I’ve found, they don’t offer a “mark as read” feature, making them and Twitter, IMHO, essentially useless.
  • Twitter for Chrome
  • TweetDeck

Email

  • Smartr Inbox for Gmail – Made by Xobni, provides integration with social networks and intelligence about relationships using data within email.*
  • PowerInbox – Social network integration, blahh, blahh.
  • Attachments.me for Gmail.
  • ToutApp for Gmail.
  • Streak – CRM in your email.*
  • Cleaner Gmail.*
  • Contactually – Offers CRM in your inbox, but feature set is very limited for free, then moves up to $20/mo/user.
  • Yesware – Tracks who opens your emails.
  • Rapportive.
  • Boomerang for Gmail.
  • Right Inbox.*
  • YouSendIt for Webmail – Allows you to send large attachments via email.

Todo

  • Any.do
  • Google Tasks – Integrates with Google’s official tasks management application, but inferior to most others.
  • Remind Me (by Astrid) – If I didn’t use Asana, I would use Astrid. They are amazing, integrate with Google Tasks, have this app and a mobile app.
  • Toodledo Tasks.
  • Todoist.
  • Taskforce.
  • GQueues.
  • Teambox for Gmail.
  • Google Mail Checker – I just keep a pinned tab with GMail open.
  • Wunderlist.

Clipping

  • Save to Google Drive
  • Diigo Web CollectorMakes it easy to highlight text on webpages, save and clip portions of pages.
  • Evernote Web Clipper – I use Diigo instead.

Image Editing

  • PicMonkey – Allows one to edit photos, can integrate with Google Drive.
  • Explain and Send Screenshots.
  • Pixlr Editor.
  • Awesome Screenshot Capture & Annotate.

Bookmarks

  • Xmarks Bookmark Sync – Once the leader in bookmark syncing it has fallen sadly behind Google Chrome’s native capabilities, though it still rules for cross-browser syncing. Wish LastPass would put some time into this extension/site.
  • Bookmark Sentry – Checks for dead or duplicate links.*
  • Kippt
  • Delicious Bookmarks.*

Discovery/Sharing

  • StumbleUpon – The grand-daddy of site discovery.
  • Pinterest Pin It Button by shareaholic.
  • AddThis – For sharing stuff.
  • Pearltrees
  • Similar Sites Pro – I find it easy enough just to go to their website, no need for an extension.

Security

  • Dr. Web Anti-Virus Link Checker.
  • Ghostery.
  • LastPass – A robust password management solution. A must-have.
  • Web of Trust (WOT) – Helps you to find trustworthy/safe websites.

RSS

Search

  • Wajam
  • Google Personal Blocklist – Allows one to remove specific sites from your Google Search results. I use it mainly to get rid of content farm articles.
  • Google Webspam Report – Allows one to report spammy results via Google Webmaster Tools. I think I wouldn’t use it frequently enough to make it worthwhile, can just manually go to GWT.

Uncategorized

  • Evernote Clearly – Removes distractions from pages you want to read. I don’t find this necessary, and I like to support blogs monetization.
  • Adblock Plus – A favorite of many, I don’t use it b/c I believe in supporting sites that use ads as their basis for revenue.
  • Pulse.
  • Last.fm Scrobbler – For listening to music.
  • Better History.*
  • Send to Kindle (by klip.me).*
  • iMacros for Chrome.*
  • FreshStart – Cross-browser session management.*
    • Session Manager.*
    • Session Buddy – Looks interesting.*
  • Anti-Porn Pro (by clouduacl).
    • Blocksi.
    • FoxFilter.
  • CloudMagic – Search multiple online web apps.
  • Yoono*
  • AppJump App Launcher and Manager.
  • TLDR
  • OneReceipt.*
  • Bitly.*

Bibliography

Firefox Add-Ons.

I have a Firefox t-shirt from ohh, so long ago[1], I’ve been using Firefox for so many years[2]. Today I’ve compiled a list of add-ons which I believe are useful/interesting for Firefox. I have not used all of these – those that I currently use have a ** by them and those which I have used in the past but am not currently using have a * by them.

I must admit, I’m really thinking about moving from Firefox to Google Chrome entirely. It has taken me a long time – but I’m seriously considering it. Right now the biggest thing that keeps bringing me back to Firefox is its bookmark management – it is easily and significantly superior to that included in Chrome.

It saddens me that at some point Mozilla dropped the ball with Firefox and we all watched as Chrome gained market share and Firefox seemed to be doing nothing. Mozilla seems to be rectifying this situation now – but it may be too late. The addition of a PDF reader to the browser was a slick move, but probably not enough.

Well, I’m not really here to talk about whether Firefox or Chrome is a better browser – that is another topic for another day…

Bookmarks

Speed

Tabs

Commerce

Social Media

Curation/Discovery

Security/Ad Blocking

Downloads

Development

Email

Translation

Customize

Productivity

Other

IRC

RSS

  1. [1]Yes, I also have a Thunderbird t-shirt from the same time period.
  2. [2]Yet, I’m also old enough to remember before there was a Firefox, when IE dominated the landscape, and Netscape was the main alternative browser, but even it had basically died.

Texty – Finally, Text Messaging Improves!

[Update: The application has undergone several naming revisions, it is currently MightyText.]

I’ve never been a huge fan of text messaging. Maybe my fingers are too big or maybe I can type too fast on a computer keyboard – but text messaging has always been frustrating to me when it involves any sort of sustained or substantive conversation. In spite of its primitive nature in many ways it has been and continues to be a major means of communication and its influence seems to be expanding rather than contracting. Thankfully, Texty has come along as one of a number of innovative startups that are stretching what SMS is and does…and I was lucky enough to get in on the Texty closed beta and have been using Texty for perhaps 1-2 weeks.

What is Texty? I’m glad you asked. It consists of two components. One is an application that runs on your Android phone, the other is an extension that runs on your computer in the Google Chrome browser. These two components communicate with one another – transferring text messages sent to your phone to the computer and transferring messages from the computer back to your phone.

Now my wife (who is a SMS fiend!) can text me to her heart’s content and I can reply back in a timely fashion without ever touching my phone! Sure, you could do this before but usually this involved using a different number for text messages sent from the computer than your actual phone number – and this became confusing.

Texty is a great step forward and I won’t be surprised if Google snaps them up (just for intellectual property rights). What Texty is doing is something that should have been a standard feature long ago.

That said, Texty isn’t the perfect application. A few features I’d love to see that would take the application to the next level are:

  1. Provide me with a way to backup/store my SMS messages – both from Texty and the phone – to my computer or the cloud. I don’t like having tons of text threads open or to have all the previous days and weeks conversations showing when I’m texting someone – but I do like to have these in the archives (so to speak) for future reference.
  2. Right now if you read a message on your computer via Texty and then look at your phone it looks as if you have unread text messages. Texty needs to mark the messages that are read on the computer as read on the phone as well. The easiest way to do this is if I send a reply after receiving a text message in Texty, then obviously I’ve read the message that was sent previously. I’m sure some folks will disagree – so perhaps this could be an optional configuration.

Have you used Texty? What do you love/hate about Texty? What about SMS in general?