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Volume 79

Widgets make Internet exciting and unique

Published (Volume 79, No. 9)

Credit: JAY BAKER/The Pacer
Credit: JAY BAKER/The Pacer

An interesting feature accompanying many internet browsers is the feature known as the widget. These are light-weight pop-up tools that are used to make one’s experience on the web more pleasing and streamlined.

To date, the two main browsers that include these widgets are Firefox (under the name “add-on’s”) and Opera (reviewed next week). These programs allow users to personalize their browsing. Each widget takes up less than a megabyte of space, and are open source. These widgets range from small games to RSS readers and beyond. It is also important to note that these widgets work in an opened browser. This can increase web experience by not cluttering the desktop with multiple windows and relieving the problem of clicking through a plethora of folders to open the applications you need.

To test the waters try out these five widgets for FireFox:

1. Cooliris Previews:
No longer must one endure clicking through a million links in order to get to the page he or she is looking for; Cooliris Preview has solved this all with their add-on. All you have to do is place the mouse on the link and Cooliris shows you what the site looks like that you are about to enter. Take your mouse off the link and the preview vanishes. This can be very handy and save countless hours clicking on sites you don’t really want to view.

2. FoxyTunes:
Many people love to listen to their music while browsing the internet. FoxyTunes cuts out all the switching between browser, to music player and back again. With the touch of a button that lies at the bottom right of your browser window, you can launch and control your media player, whether that player is iTunes, Windows Media Player, Real Player or others. This is all done from one window to streamline your browsing experience.

3. StumbleUpon:
This add-on is extremely helpful in finding sites on the web that one would not think to look for otherwise. By simply clicking the add-on button at the top of your browser window, you can “channel surf” for many popular sites. Help others by finding sites that you like and using StumbleUpon to add that site as popular. StumbleUpon explains itself by saying it is a “collaborative surfing tool for browsing, reviewing and sharing great sites with like-minded people.”

4. AdBlock Plus:
To make the internet run more quickly and smoothly, use AdBlock Plus. Many use pop-up blockers, but AdBlock Plus actually removes the ads that are on the page. Without all those pesky ads taking up a majority of the loading time, one can surf the internet faster than ever. Plus, you no longer have to be sucked into silly internet ads promising that continuously sought after “free iPod”—yeah right.

Downloading from the internet can be a drawn out process which adversely affects your browsing experience. DownThemAll! has solved this problem with this program that includes a built in accelerator to increasing downloading speed at an eye-opening 400%. You cannot believe how much DownThemAll! maximizes ones browsing experience. Every link, picture, and embedded object on a webpage comes up faster than before.