Top 5 Helpful Foreign Language Firefox Extensions

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It may come as a surprise to most people that when it comes to languages used on the web, English only accounts for 30.5% of all Internet users.  If you’re using the Firefox browser, here are some free extensions to bridge any language gap you come across on the web. 

1. How to easily switch language dictionaries within Firefox

One of the key features of Firefox is it’s built in spell checker.  This of course goes awry if you’re typing in another language.  Fortunately, you can download dictionaries for other languages, and "Dictionary Switcher" is an extension you can use to toggle languages automatically so you’re always using the correct dictionary when you’re surfing the web.

2. How to translate major languages fast

gTranslate is an extension which hooks onto Google’s translation engine, so all you need to do is select some text, right-click and it will translate it for you on the spot.  What I also like about it is that it can even automatically detect the language on the site so it saves you more time.

3. How to learn Chinese by surfing the web

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"Perapera-kun" is a translation tool which goes beyond basic Chinese to English translation work. Working with both Simplified and Traditional characters, just hover your cursor over Chinese text and you’ll get definitions, and an option further explore a selected word, e.g. whether it is a noun, verb etc.  Not only that, it also allows you to export words to a file to study later.

4. How to type in Indian languages in web pages

Indian languages are often overlooked when it comes to web translation tools.  The IndicIME toolbar project addresses that by helping users who want to key in text in Indian Languages in Web pages (Web forms, Emails ) but don’t want to localize their entire Operating System or Browser Application.

It currently supports the following languages:

  • Devanagari (Hindi, Sanskrit, Marathi)
  • Bengali
  • Gurumukhi (Punjabi)
  • Gujarathi
  • Kannada
  • Malayalam
  • Oriya
  • Tamil
  • Telugu
  • 5. How to quickly type in accented & international characters

    The Firefox extension "abcTajpu" allows you to type in accented letters, international characters, and various symbols into Firefox or Thunderbird, either simply by using a context menu or quickly by keyboard macro (you can even define your own).  Fantastic especially if you’re a heavy European language web user.

    What other language tools do you use?  Tell us in the comments!

    How to Backup ANY Browser – 5 Tips for Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Opera

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    No matter which browser you’ve picked for everyday use – chances are you’ve customized your browser to make it your own.  Here are 5 free tools which will let you backup and preserve your browser profile, so all the tweaking you’ve done is safe.

    1. How to backup Google Chrome

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    Google’s shiny new browser doesn’t come with extensions yet – but ‘Google Chrome Backup’ will help you save all your bookmarks and settings.  Not only that, you can easily create multiple user profiles (each with different settings/bookmarks) and switch between them quickly.

    2. How to backup Firefox & Flock

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    Mozbackup is a cross Mozilla backup utility which allows you to backup and restore bookmarks, mail, contacts, history, extensions, cache etc.  It works for Firefox, Flock, and any of the other Mozilla based browsers eg. the Sea Monkey browser.

    3. How to backup Safari

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    (Mac Only) Apple provides an uncharacteristically round-about way of backing up your bookmarks on its support portal, but if you’re interested in getting a tool which would help automate the process, try out ‘Safari Backup And Restore’

    4. How to backup Internet Explorer

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    BackRex Internet Explorer Backup is a backup and restore tool for Internet Explorer. It allows you to backup favorites, history, proxy settings, fonts, autocomplete passwords and cookies.  Not only that – it supports backups across different versions of IE eg. IE 6 to IE7 and vice versa.

    5. How to backup Opera

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    The good folks at Opera were the only browser group to actually release a proper official backup utility for their browser, and as a result – it’s a top class product called OperaFly.  Aside from handling the basic backups, it also has the ability to backup and restore to/from an FTP server, send backups via email, and to restore backups from a http site.  It also allows for pre-scheduled backups and automatic backups when the browser is closed.

    Help Set a World Record With Firefox

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    Yes, I may be a Flock user now, but I fully appreciate the fact that Flock wouldn’t exist if not for the kind folks in the Mozilla Foundation which have worked tirelessly on the development of Firefox and have made the source code openly available…  All of which has resulted in superior alternatives to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. 

    Anyhow, SpreadFirefox.com is organizing a worldwide effort to put Firefox in the limelight by setting a Guinness World Record for the most software downloads in 24 hours.

    All you have to do is get Firefox 3 during Download Day to help set the record for most software downloads in 24 hours – it’s that easy.

    The official date for the launch of Firefox 3 is June 17, 2008. Join our community and this effort by pledging today :)

    Update 4/July/2008: Success! The world record was ratified by Guinness with a whopping 8,002,530 downloads in 24 hours!

    How to Set Website Specific Text Sizes

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    We’ve already talked about various ways to save your eyes from your screen, but here’s one more tool that I came about on which makes your life so much easier if you’re having vision problems and struggling to read text on the screen. 

    NoSquint is a Firefox extension that allows you to adjust the default text zoom level, which is very useful if you have a small display or run at a very high resolution. NoSquint also gives you the option to remember the zoom level per site.

    Now that latter point means that you no longer need to constantly change your text zoom back and forth as you visit different sites, making the web much more accessible.

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    Works on the Firefox browser (and yes – Flock too), sorry Internet Explorer users.

    What other web accessibility tools do you like?  Let us know in the comments!

    Top 10 Ways Best Ways to Manage Firefox Tabs

    The ability to use tabs for web browsing was one of the key reasons why I switched over from Internet Explorer 6 to Firefox all those years ago.   

    Now that IE7 has come along and has incorporated tabs in their own browser as well, does it make Firefox any less appealing?  Not with amount of development which has taken place with the tabs function. Here are some prime examples:

    1. Color tabs to make them more distinct

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    The ‘Chromatabs‘ Firefox extension tints browser tabs with a color specific to the website loaded. This helps you identify tab contents based on a distinct visual cue.  It can pick a random color automatically (based on the site’s hostname), or it can pick a color based on the site’s tab icon.

    2. Group tabs automatically

    With the ‘Separate Tabs‘ extension, tabs can be grouped automatically by host URL making the arrangement of tabs much more logical.

    3. Preview all tabs at once

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    Showcase provides a new way to manage your Firefox tabs and windows by showing them as thumbnails in a single window, tab or sidebar. Includes a find bar that will filter the thumbnails, and the capability to select the thumbnails in the same way you would select files in your system.

    4. Preview tabs as you mouse over

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    While the ‘Showcase’ extension described above is useful, Tab Scope provides a much more subtle approach to the situation, displaying tab previews only when the mouse is moved over the tab.  Don’t be fooled though, it even allows interaction navigation within that preview itself.

    5. Share your tabs to a friend via email

    The ‘Send Tab URLs’ extension adds a File menu command to the main browser window; when choosing this command, a new email message is automatically created, containing a list of URLs from all browser tabs in the current window.

    6. Enhance your tabbing options with Tab Mix Plus

    Tab Mix Plus‘ enhances Firefox’s tab browsing capabilities. It includes such features as duplicating tabs, controlling tab focus, tab clicking options, undo closed tabs and windows, plus much more. It also includes a full-featured session manager with crash recovery that can save and restore combinations of opened tabs and windows.

    7. Save space to view more tabs in a single screen

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    This extension adds a new ‘FaviconizeTab’ option to the context menu of the tab.  When it is clicked, The width of the tab becomes small up to the size of favicon.  It returns to the former size when ‘FaviconizeTab’ is clicked again.

    8. Count the number of tabs you have open

    Tab Counter‘ is a simple extension that counts the number of open tabs per window and displays the count in the toolbar.  Mainly for fun or you need an indication of how much system resources you are clogging up by having that many tabs open at once.

    9. Identify unused tabs

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    If you have too many tabs open and need help identifying the tabs which you are probably no longer using, the ‘Aging Tabs‘ extension makes unused tabs fade with age.  This highlights potential tabs which may be just adding to clutter.

    10. Control Tabs With Your Keyboard

    Firefox makes mouse-less browsing a breeze with these simple shortcuts:

    • Ctrl T will open a new tab
    • Ctrl shift T will undo closed tab
    • Ctrl Page Up and Ctrl Page Down will scroll through your tabs
    • Ctrl Number will bring you instantly to a certain tab.  eg. If you hit Ctrl and ?3? you will go to the third tab
    • Ctrl D will bookmark the current tab
    • Ctrl Shift D will bookmark all the tabs in the window

    Bonus Tip #1: You can move Firefox browser tabs from one window to another by dragging and dropping it.

    Bonus Tip #2: Disable tab scrolling : Although it does make tabs slightly easier to read on occasion, scrolling through tabs is a hassle.  The How-To-Geek blog goes through two useful ways to work around this scrolling feature.

    How do you deal with your Firefox tabs?  Tell us in the comments!

    [tags] firefox, firefox extensions, firefox addons firefox tabs [/tags]