AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

Jun/11

13

John Fallowsmith on Loving Firefox and Foxy Add-ons

My name is John Fallowsmith and I’m a Firefox lover. I’ve tried not to be so attached to my foxy little friend, but I can’t help it. Each time I stray elsewhere, I come back to her open arms, her many talents making any other browser seem limited and limiting.

Lesson Learned: Firefox is a free web browser created by Mozilla. It does many of the same things as other browsers like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, and Opera, in that it lets me surf conduct research on the web, read webpages, etc.

Where Firefox stands out is in its add-ons. Add-ons are little programs that add functionality to the browser, and there are over 5,000 from which to choose. Add-ons can make reading easier and safer, they can help you to find things more readily, they can greatly expand your bookmarking and annotation capability. Here are a few add-ons that have helped in my evaluation work.

Hot Tip – CoolPreviews: Mouse over a link to preview the website in a little pop-up without having to navigate to the site.

Hot Tip – FoxLingo: This all-in-one translation and dictionary tool supports over 3,000 languages. I’ve started collaborating with colleagues in Vietnam and Europe. Although we communicate primarily in English, they regularly share content in other languages. FoxLingo adds a little toolbar to my browser that will translate entire webpages, lets me put phrase into the search bar for translation, gives me a world clock to find common times for meetings, and a whole lot more. This is a daily go-to tool.

Hot Tip – Diigo Toolbar: I can highlight and clip text, bookmark pages, annotate pages, and save it all to my own Diigo account for access later. This makes online research – whether for your next trip or for background on your evaluation site – so much easier. Luisa Guillemard wrote more about Diigo back in December on aea365 (thanks Luisa – you got me hooked!).

Hot Tip – Read It later: So simple, yet so useful. Does two things that I love (it may do more, but this is all that I need): (1) one click saving of pages for reading later – including reading offline (great for plane), (2) has an option for stripping away images and ads so you can save just the text.

I can trick out Firefox to look just the way I like in a smart skin that makes it cute as a button and with tabs organized for easy browsing. Now I know that I may be blinded by love, so tell me – what are your favorites for Firefox? Or is your love Chrome, Safari, something else? Do share!

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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1 comment

  • Kelci Price · June 13, 2011 at 9:29 am

    I recently started using Firefox so that I would have access to Zotero – a free add-on that is essentially the same as EndNote. I’ve found it to be invaluable for organizing my PDF library, and for capturing new information. My four favorite features:
    1) Zotero can capture a webpage with one click and add it to your library. This feature is great for keeping snippets of blog, articles, etc. that are related to your research topic.
    2) Zotero is well integrated with major databases (e.g., JSTOR) so it can often automatically grab both the bibliographic information and the attached PDF from these sites. Very handy. For PDFs you already have, Zotero can read the metadata and automatically generate a reference for you so you don’t have to type it all in again. Genius.
    3) Zotero can sync ‘to the cloud’, so that you have access to your library (and the attached PDFs!) from any computer. No USB drives needed. For a very nominal yearly fee ($20) you can upgrade from the free storage to 1GB, which is more than enough for most people’s library.
    4) Zotero can communicate with Word, so you can insert citations into your documents and automatically build a bibliography.

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