James O'Neill's Blog

December 15, 2009

Add-ons and plug-ins – do you have a favourite ?

Filed under: Internet Explorer,Powershell,Social Media — jamesone111 @ 2:13 pm

I was chatting with a couple of colleagues yesterday about internet explorer. Someone grumbled “When people think of browser add-ons they automatically think of firefox, but there are some really good ones for IE”. I have talked in the past about IE7 pro (which despite the name works with IE8).  I use it for four things – first it has a flash blocker. This gets round my issue of not being able to use a page when there is some animation going on, without needing to turn the flash add-on off  [yes, flash is an IE add-on, so is Silverlight.] Secondly it will block content being pulled in from selected external sites. This helps defeat flash but also stops those firms which want to track my visits to sites. Finally for things which get through the first two it has the ability to cut out some of the really annoying bit of a page – those which would circumvent the flash blocker. Although this is mostly targeted at adverts I used it to make the Independent newspaper’s web site usable.  The last trick it has contributes to my habit of having dozens of tabs open – click/drag opens a link in a new tab – it has other mouse gestures but that’s the only one I use. [Some people like the download manager  , but I’m not one of them]

I added an accelerator for twitter but after that I’m not really using any add-ons. In yesterdays conversation my other colleague said – roughly “I have no plug-ins at all and I don’t think many people use them, a lot a buggy and they all slow the browser down to different degrees”. So … if you have added anything to IE7 or 8 that you really wouldn’t be without  (or for that matter if you use firefox because of an add-on) , please post a comment.

I write my blog posts using Windows live writer and I’ve talked before before about one which adds tweetmeme support to each post. This morning I’ve been trying to help someone get the onefor Bit.ly – I had to add &history=1 onto the end of the password to get it to log my links to a history on bit.ly – which is much more useful as I can see which links people are following. It won’t work for him. I guess the same criticisms can be made for Live writer plug-ins as IE ones, but the same question interests me – if you blog with live writer and have a favourite plug in, please post a comment.

Finally, I was talking James Brundage – the guy behind the PowerShellPack which is in the Windows 7 resource kit and also available for download, part of that is an add-in for the PowerShell interactive scripting environment. It adds a menu and a set of short-cut keys – among other things to copy the text with syntax colouring. If you ever need the code to “un-bitly-fy” a URL here it is , in colour. Of course it works for more than bit-ly – it gives back the canonical URL for anything which is redirected from another URL.

Function Get-trueURL {            
    Param ([parameter(ValueFromPipeLine= $true, mandatory=$true)]$URL )            
    $req = [System.Net.WebRequest]::Create($url)             
    If ($resp.StatusCode -eq 301 ) {$resp.GetResponseHeader("Location")}            
    else                           {$resp.responseURI}            

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

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