A few years ago I discussed Adblock Plus. At the time this was a great tool, but it has become somewhat bloated and will now allow advertisers to bypass its filters if they pay Adblock Plus.

The replacement is uBlock Origin. It does the same ad blocking (right down to using the same curated lists of what to block) as Adblock Plus but is much more lightweight. You can read a lot more how it is quicker and less of a memory hog, as well as all the ins and outs of using it at their wiki.

The Firefox plugin User Agent Switcher is a quick and dirty way to often get past login requirements on several news sites. By setting the plugin to report that you’re the GoogleBot, you can often view content on sites that would otherwise require a login. This works because sites will allow Google to browse their site freely so all of the content gets indexed for the search engine. However, when you show up, it realizes you’re not Google and forces you to log in or sign up to view the same content.

The plugin is also useful if you’re your checking out how your site handles requests from mobile phones. I set it to report the my browser was a Windows Mobile phone and then used the Mobile Press plugin for WordPress to reformat my blog for mobile phones. This way I could check out how everything was working without having to go back to my phone constantly.

I’m using TwitterFox within Firefox to keep track of everything on Twitter. The add-on sits in the status bar and pops up a window similar to the update available window with any new tweets. The timeline is nicely color coded so you can quickly tell apart you normal messages, @ replies and direct messages. It also handles more than one Twitter account with ease.

ForecastFox puts a highly customizable forecast inside Firefox. You can include up to a 5 day forecast with temperature, precipitation type, wind speed and other information as well as the current conditions including heat index or wind chill and the current radar image for your location. ForecastFox will also pop up severe weather alerts, such as thunderstorm, tornado, or winter weather warnings.

Firefox is fast, but you can squeeze a little more speed out of it by not having it draw all those ads that are on almost every web page. I use Adblock Plus to keep them from showing up. It works great, blocking nearly every ad and not messing up the page layout. If you do run into the occasional problem with it, you can easily disable the plugin for the particular page or site. On the other hand, if you get an ad that you shouldn’t it’s easy to let Adblock know about it and have it remove it in the future. Once you’ve got Adblock installed, make sure you set it up for a filter subscription, which it will prompt you to do once you restart Firefox. This will make sure Adblock knows about the latest ads and how to block them.