Read in peace with Clearly browser extension

The Evernote Clearly browser extension for Firefox and Chrome sweeps away the distractions of reading on the web. My video compares the implementation of the Clearly browser extension in Firefox and Chrome, with Safari’s “Reader” mode.

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Firefox Extensions I Can’t Live Without

20070520-firefox_logoThough I’ve used most browsers, I keep returning to Firefox as my “workhorse” browser due to amazing number of extensions and add-ons that have been created for it. Though I’ve bulked it up with several add-ons, there are a few that have proven especially valuable for my professional life.

Yoono is one of the most valuable extensions I use. It gathers in one place (the sidebar) my social networking sites, Google Reader to read my RSS feeds, web notes, and music streaming via lastfm.com and imeem. Web notes has been the most important feature to me personally as I write drafts of blog posts and conduct research. My web notes are stored “in the cloud” so they are accessible from any of my computers. I can even read, respond and compose in GMail without going to the application. All this while listening to my Pat Metheny playlist on Lastfm, so very cool.

Morning Coffee is the first add-on I use each morning. My daily routine consists of getting a real cup of coffee, starting up Firefox, then clicking on Morning Coffee. As the app’s site describes, Morning Coffee “lets you organize websites by day and open them up simultaneously as part of your daily routine. This is really handy if you read sites that update on a regular schedule”. It’s a great app to start your day.

TwitterFox is my light-weight Twitter app that I use when I don’t have the Yoono sidebar open or my Seesmic desktop app running. TwitterFox adds a small icon to the status bar and notifies you when those you follow have posted tweets. You can tweet from TwitterFox and it can handle multiple Twitter accounts which is particularly important to  me.

Evernote is my preferred information capture application that I’ve written about before. Evernote provides a toolbar button and context menus to add a selection or entire page to Evernote. If you haven’t used Evernote, you should check it out.

Xmarks (formerly Foxmarks) syncs my bookmarks across the various browsers I use on all my computers, i.e. laptop, home desktop, and office computer. It can also sync passwords. This one is a lifesaver.

The extensions/add-ons above are the ones I most rely on. I’d like to hear about the extension you “can’t live without”.

Yoono sidebar versus Flock – does one need a social browser?

yoonoWhen the latest version of Flock arrived on the scene I spent several days using it as my primary browser. I never used Flock much in the past as I was not a regular participant in the “social web” and bookmark synchronization across the various browsers I use was less than satisfactory. I am impressed with this new version as all the Firefox extensions that I regularly use worked with it and I was able to easily sync my bookmarks. Its social media integration is top-notch for my uses, and access to media, both mine and my Facebook friends was pretty cool. But, after a while it became too distracting when all the features and media bars were open. Having been use to the clean user interface of Safari Beta 4, I started to feel overwhelmed by Flock, and slowly started to move back to Safari and Firefox 3.5 RC1. And then I ran into Yoono sidebar.

As Webware remarked “Yoono now offering an elegant solution to social networking clutter “. Yoono connects to all  the major social networks and can update your status across them at the same time. Most of the major IM services are also available. The Discovery widget recommends websites, products, images and videos related to the site you’re currently viewing. It can also highlight keywords on a web page for quick access through Discoveries. Highlight a word on a web page and discover related content videos, Google search results and Wikipedia.

Yoono makes it easy to share links, images and video right from the page you’re on through all your social networks at the same time. You can even drag and drop media from the page you’re viewing into an IM conversation. Other widgets in beta at the time of this post permit you to stream music from last.fm and Imeem. You can check your Yahoo mail or Gmail accounts. The news widget allows you to access your Google Reader or Digg feeds. There’s even a widget for web notes available to your other computers connected to the Internet. Notes can be organized into folders, and Yoono provides basic word processing functionality like bold and italic formatting, underlining, strikeout, bulleted lists, highlighting, embed a link, etc. You can even send your notes to your blog. The media bar lets you search for YouTube videos, images on services like Flicker, and then add them to your note. Yoono is amazing.

No doubt, Flock is a good application if you are looking for a dedicated social media browser. But for me and maybe you, Yooono is all you need. I’ve found Yoono to be the most efficient and useful sidebar I’ve ever encountered. On my wish list is a widget to connect to YouTube favorites and Pandora personal radio stations. Yoono has been a constant companion since I installed it. It’s available for Firefox and a beta version for IE8. Highly recommended. Give it Yoono try. http://www.yoono.com/

Update: A previous version of this post indicated the need for syncing notes across computers. I missed seeing that functionality (as pointed out in the comments) and subsequently deleted the reference.

I continue to use Yoono, especially for writing drafts of blog postings and notes for my textbook. I like being able to work on notes in the sidebar, while displaying web content in the main browser window … and listening to Pat Metheny via the Last.fm Yoono widget at the same time, and all in one app. Brilliant!

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