Sunday, April 08, 2007

Making Material with Mozilla

My "to-be-blogged" folder in Firefox is getting thinned down fast.

Linking and Commenting

I only drop comments on a handful of websites and forums.

When I do, it can be a bit tedious typing in the HTML code for links.

However, there are a number of great Firefox/Mozilla Add-on extensions that can assist with this.

MakeLink - adds a simple context menu that copies and pre-formats a link to the clipboard. You can then paste it into a comment field (or wherever else you may want).

What makes this link so great is that it automatically gives you three options depending on what you select for copying:

  1. When used with a link, it uses the link text and URL.
  2. When used on non-linked selected text, it uses the page URL as the link URL.
  3. When used elsewhere on a page, it uses the page URL and title for the link.

It also can select and format for forum code links, Markdown, and plain text URL.

And if you are really clever, you can even come up with custom patterns for copy/markup.


CoLT - While I use MakeLink tons now, CoLT is almost like a kissing-cousin. I like it a lot as well. CoLT provides two items to the right-click menu. You can copy a formatted link as HTML markup code for dropping in a comment field, or you can copy the link in a very nice "plain text" format. It also lets you define some custom link formats.

CopyAllUrls - Got lots of tabs open? Want to copy them all URL markup formatted? This is the extension for you!

Set your copy format options, then when you got bunch of tabs open you need to copy the URLS for (say to an email) just right click any page and select the "Copy All Urls" option. Then go paste-em.


Send Tab URLs - If you want a quicker way to send up to 24 tab URL's to your default email client, this might interest you. (BTW-you can go higher than 24 with an about:config tweak.)

Supports Mozilla Thunderbird, SeaMonkey Mail, Outlook Express, and Office Outlook. Others may also work...or might not.

Tab URL Copier - Another extension to simply copy the URLs of all open tabs.

Matt Cutts' link collection method

Seems that Matt likes to just open a new Firefox tab when he sees a link worth looking into later. Then he keeps on trucking.

Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO » Wanted: convert Firefox tabs to links -

This works great for him until he has to convert them into links.

I've run across some posts by other bloggers who do the same, just leave open tabs (and make sure Firefox is set to relaunch with previously open locations) and select as needed.

That's a bit "messy" for my organizational tastes.

Claus's link collection method

For my own personal style, here is how I manage things:

  1. I have (among the many) a special set of three folders on my ever-visible Firefox bookmarks toolbar:

    • "To Blog" - This is where I drag/drop potential blog links for keeping.

    • "Blogged" - This is where I move links to after I have blogged them.

    • "To Sort" - This is where I keep blogged links I want to (eventually) place in my main bookmarks.

  2. Before I begin a blogging session, I sort and try to categorize the links in the "To Blog" bookmark folder by dragging them around and seeing if any patterns/themes exist. If so I add a separator to keep them together.

  3. As I might not blog a theme/topic immediately, if I find additional links, I just add them to the sorted group in the "To Blog" folder.

  4. When I begin a blogging session, I open up Windows Live Writer on my right monitor and Firefox on my left display. (Dual screens rock!)

  5. I then open my bookmarks in a Firefox Sidebar and scroll to the expanded "To Blog" folder.

  6. Then I can launch each one as I go in my browser and begin my blogging writing in Windows Live Writer.

  7. One Bonus feature that makes Windows Live Writer so nice is I drag-drop the bookmarks directly onto Windows Live writer and they remain properly formatted! Major time saver!

  8. When I get done blogging, I move the blogged links out of "To Blog" and either keep them for a while in the "Blogged" folder for later reference or I move the gems into the "To Sort" folder.

  9. As time allows I will go back and move the links I want to keep into a more permanent location in my Firefox bookmark folders, proper.


I've been using this method to help me organize my blogging finds so well that it is second nature now. I do it so automatically I don't even think about it.

Really saves me a bunch of time.

And when I am at work and find some good URLs to blog but want to send home? I dump them into a similar folder on my work machine's Firefox bookmark bar. Then at the end of the day I open them all up and use CopyAllUrls to copy 'em all up. Then I paste them into my email client and send them to my home email address for later retrieval that night.


Bonus Firefox Add-ons:

FullerScreen - Everyone probably knows that by pressing F11 in Firefox or IE you get a "full-screen" render of the browser window.

However, this Firefox add-on takes that view one step more max. It removes the upper and lower toolbars from the full-screen view as well, and displays them only when you hover near those areas. Spotted on Download Squad.

Want something even better?

Full Map + FullerScreen - It is WAY COOL to play with Fuller Screen when using the Full Map extension for Firefox. Putting them together allows you to super-size your Google Maps views. Satellite image surfing to the max! I feel like Superman!

Dr.Web anti-virus link checker - I've mentioned this one before, but it is so cool. Want to scan a link/file before you click/download to make sure it is safe? Try installing the Dr. Web anti-virus link checker. It works very fast and is very handy.

From the developer's page:

...the scan of the page or file you want to access will be performed on the servers of the Doctor Web Global Update system with the most up-to-date version of the Dr.WEB scanner and latest updates of the virus definitions base.

Mozilla Add-ons are so cool!

They are one of the features that make Firefox such a joy to use.


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