January 31

the top 10 Firefox extensions

what follows is a list of the top 10 Firefox extensions I use, in no particular order.

Firebug

Firebug is a tool I use every day as a web developer. This isn’t meant to be a power users-only post, but there’s no way to get around it – Firebug is the most valuable extension (MVE!) I’ve ever used. I use it for non-web development tasks all the time as well – for example, if you get to know how to use it well, you’ll be able to do some light hacking like getting around javascript timers on DMV driving class websites ;)

Xmarks Sync

Xmarks Sync is clutch for anyone with more than one computer that hates having disjointed bookmarks. Xmarks allows you to sync your bookmarks between multiple machines, saving a ton of hassle. It was in peril of being shut down, but luckily it was recently bought and will continue as a freebie.

Form History Control

Form History Control allows you to see all of the saved form entries in your browser. It is useful for managing/deleting saved form information which you may not realized Firefox had saved, but which could be detrimental if it fell into the wrong hands (such as credit card numbers, etc).

DownThemAll!

DownThemAll! is simply a download manager done well. I sometimes have issues downloading from sites like rapidfire, however, that tends to be on the site end, not on this software. Useful if you download big files that need to be paused and continued.

HTTPS Everywhere

HTTPS Everywhere is one of my favorite extensions because it treats a growing internet problem: stolen credentials. Many sites have a secure https option, but do not default to it, such as Twitter (and, just recently, Facebook). This extension will check to see if the site you’re visiting has https (or SSL), and if so, redirect you. No more stolen login information when you login from Starbucks.

StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon simply assists in finding interesting new websites when you’re bored. A simple interface and sure to send you somewhere cool after a few clicks.

ReminderFox

ReminderFox is a to-do/checklist manager. Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done!

Screengrab

Screengrab allows you to take screenshots from your browser in a number of different formats. Most machines have fullscreen capture built-in, but Screengrab allows selections, which is a timesaver.

YSlow

YSlow is another developer tool that tells you why your site is loading slow. Of course, my site loads slow, but that’s just because I’m too cheap for a new server ;)

Extended Copy Menu

Extended Copy Menu is probably the simplest of these extensions, but also one that I use most often (now that Copy Plain Text has died). In trying to be efficient, I am constantly copy/pasting text between web pages. I usually end up having to paste into a plaintext area (like the URL bar) and then re-copy/paste so that I don’t get the text formatting along with it. Now? Problem solved :)

What are your favorite extensions? Let me know in the comments!

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August 25

the top 10 iPhone apps everyone should have

I’ve had my iPhone for a little over a year now, and over that time I’ve grown to love a few apps above all the rest. A few of these are obvious, but I’m sure there are a few you haven’t heard of. And the best part is, they’re all free! I think…

Words With Friends

While I realized I don’t actually have the patience to play this Scrabble-like game after a few months, it is still really well-made, and it is fun.

Audiobooks

Bored at work? Listen to The Anti-Federalist Papers on your iPhone, for free!

Google

How can you not love Googling something just by speaking it?

TweetDeck

If you’re a Twitterer, this is the way to go.

Facebook

Obvi.

YouTube

Yes, it comes with the phone. However, as a YT addict, I couldn’t just pass over this one.

QRANK

Recently found this quiz game and it’s a lot of fun. Similar to the trivia at B-Dubs, and you can play with friends.

Remote

Yes, I’m a lazy slob and I like changing my iTunes from my couch. Get over it.

Pandora

Targeted radio. The way of the future.

Shazam

Even I, the world’s third best programmer, will never understand how this one works. Music recognition? Magic.

August 8

the top 10 websites you may have never heard of, superlativized

  • someecards – most hilarious phrases you’ve never heard of
  • bandcamp – most bands you’ve never heard of
  • blogtalkradio – most radio shows you’ve never heard of
  • halfbakery – most ideas you’ve never heard of
  • liveleak – most important videos you’ve never heard of
  • best of craigslist – most awesome craigslist postings you’ve never heard of
  • ruminations – most random thoughts you’ve never heard of
  • deviantart – most amazing digital artists you’ve never heard of
  • woot – most random products for sale you’ve never heard of
  • infowars – most conspiracy theories you’ve never heard of
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January 17

the top 10 albums of 2008

10. Search the City – A Fire So Big the Heavens Can See It Search the City - A Fire So Big the Heavens Can See It

good, uppity, pop punk album. one of the best bands you’ve never heard of – Christian, too.

09. Quietdrive – Deliverance Quietdrive - Deliverance

this album doesn’t really approach their last, but they’re a great band and it’s still one of the best of the year.

08. Secondhand Serenade – A Twist in My Story

one of the most emo artists I listen to, similar to Dashboard Confessional. apparently this guy is getting pretty good, and I’m glad to hear it.

07. Ivoryline – There Came a Lion Ivoryline - There Came a Lion

another solid pop punk record, by another solid group. this band came out of nowhere and I can’t remember how I found them, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that a friend of mine likes them too. oh hey, the band members are all Christians too (but they’re not a “Christian” band).

06. Anberlin – New Surrender Anberlin - New Surrender

this album rounds out the trio of solid Christian music for the year. Anberlin is just a good band, I don’t have to explain anything here.

05. Empires – Howl Empires - Howl

this band was recommended to me and boy are they great. another awesome artist that came out of nowhere. they also offer the album for free here. I expect their next release to hit the charts.

04. Frightened Rabbit – Midnight Organ Fight Frightened Rabbit - The Midnight Organ Fight

another band that was recommended to me. I’ve only started listening to this album in the past week but it is clearly a best-of-2008 favorite. listen to it.

03. Augustana – Can’t Love, Can’t Hurt Augustana - Can't Love, Can't Hurt

I checked out this album figuring it would be another easily forgotten pop record, but wow was I surprised. I listened to this, basically on repeat, for weeks. Augustana has cemented their place as a favorite band for me.

02. Jack’s Mannequin – The Glass Passenger Jack's Mannequin - The Glass Passenger

the old Something Corporate leader did it again. this is Andrew McMahon’s second solid solo side-project sing-along. if you haven’t heard of it yet you’ve been hiding under a rock.

01. Third Eye Blind – Red Star Third Eye Blind - Red Star - EP

any year that my favorite band releases something proper, they will probably win the top spot by default. however, this really is a good release (even though it’s a 3-song EP) so you should check it out.

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and 10 honorable mentions:

  • Punk Goes Crunk
  • Alesana – Where Myth Fades to Legend
  • Allison Crowe – Little Light
  • Archie Star – Carry Me Home
  • Bayside – Shudder
  • The Flobots – Fight with Tools
  • Jack Johnson – Sleep Through the Static
  • Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s – Not Animal
  • Rise Against – Appeal to Reason
  • Senses Fail – Life Is Not a Waiting Room

I would love to include the new Funeral for a Friend album, Memory and Humanity, but it really wasn’t up to par. same for Copeland’s newest, You Are My Sunshine. and to be fair, I haven’t given Death Cab For Cutie’s new album Narrow Stairs a proper listen yet (in fact, I just realized I didn’t have it, so I’m in the midst of fixing that).

I’ve heard a lot of “2008 was a bad year for music”, but I would have to disagree. either way, hopefully 2009 will be full of fantastic auditory surprises!