In my quest for the ultimate web experience, I have tweaked my GMail CSS, added functionality like HTML signatures to my GMail and added vista like features to my tabs in my browser amongst other things.

Post my Firefox 3.0 installation, I was most impressed that the installation process included the migration of most of my FF2 plugins and those plugins that didn't work in 3.0, were promptly updated to be compatible with version 3 of the browser offering by Mozilla.

So, here is how I built the ultimate browser:

First, ditch Internet Explorer and get Firefox 3.0!

Then add the following 11 plugins to your Firefox:

1) Tab Scope: Allows for fully functional preview screens of each tab on mouse-over. The latest version allows you to treat it as fully functional webpage that is clickable as well!

2) Stylish: Allows you to install CSS files that overwrite the default styles of a webpage as I did with my Cool Gmail Skin!

3) Firebug: A web developers dream! A must have for anyone with the slightest of technical web knowledge!
4) All-in-one Gestures: Allowing for really quick mouse gestures that opens new tabs, opens new windows, goes back, closes tabs, closes windows, minimizes windows, etc. It's super nifty once you get the hang of things and get used to holding down the right-click to pull off these moves!

5) Cooliris Previews: This plugin allows you to view what is on the other end of a link. Simply put your mouse over a link and it will open up a fully functional window of the result page of clicking on that particular link! Veeeery cool when you are searching for something, but don't want to waste your time by opening too many links!

6) Download Status Bar: The Firefox standard download status bar is sad! It's an annoying popup window and gets in the way of browsing effectively. This plugin puts all the functionality into the bottom toolbar with pause and resume features, mouse-over for detailed info and even double click to open the file directly from the toolbar. A must-have!

7) Fast Dial: This is one that I have only just added. It mimics the feature of Opera and allows for speed dial type bookmarks with thumbnail images. Facilitating super fast browsing to often visited webpages. I'm still new to it and it needs some getting used to before it becomes seamless.

8) Flagfox: This too is a new plugin to me. It displays a small image of the flag that represents the country in which the website is hosted in. With local-only bandwidth starting to emerge as a key pricing standard by many ISP's here in South Africa, it is good to know which websites are hosted in your country to avoid paying increased ISP rates!
9) Tabs Open Relative: If you are tab junky like I am, you will soon become very annoyed with the fact that new tabs open at the end of the queue and not next to the tab in use. This plugin solves that very problem and will open a new tab relative to the tab that you are currently using, so it becomes so much easier to manage!

10) Tiny Menu: The top menu is just plain annoying. I never used mine, unless it snowed and I'm wearing my left shoe on my right foot on a Sunday. The top menu is now summarized into one very cool, easy-on-the-eye menu item with access to all standard menu items through it. It's true value is noticed after you install it and you realize that you haven't clicked on it for a while clearly proving the point that you never use the standard top menu anyway!
11) Update Notifier: A simple but essential plugin that keeps track of all the plugins and the browser for latest updates, it will notify you when one becomes available. This is cool when you have so many plugins and don't have the time to go back and check for updates manually for each of them.

My search will continue for the most kick ass plugins by sifting through the thousands available, but I will need to make sure that each one that I add to my browser actually adds value and isn't just gimmicky.

Long live Mozilla and open source!

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