3 Firefox extensions for college students

If you’re like more than 50 percent of our readers, you’re visiting this blog using Firefox. Good for you! For those of you who are still using Safari or Internet Explorer, there’s never been a better time to switch. Mozilla, Firefox’s parent group, has released Firefox Campus Edition, a copy of Firefox bundled with add-ons designed to appeal to college students.

The add-ons (music plugin Foxytunes, note-taking plugin Zotero, and social media plug-in Stumbleupon) are good, but they aren’t the best on offer for add-on-savvy college students. Here’s a rundown on the plug-ins in the pack and the superior alternatives.

Mozilla recommends: Foxytunes
But what’s really good is: Songbird

MP3 blogs are great places to find new music, but sometimes it’s difficult to get at their MP3s. Songbird solves that problem. It’s a music player that runs on some Firefox code and will play music and videos on your desktop or on the internet. It’s greatest use comes in its seamless integration of web browsing and music nabbing. Check out this video demonstration.

Foxytunes, on the other hand, is just a web browser-based media player for music that’s already on your computer. Its ability to look up lyrics and artist info is supposed to be a big deal, but I already have iTunes, and I know how to use Wikipedia and Google.

Mozilla recommends: Zotero
But what’s really good is: Notesake

Zotero opens a bar in Firefox that lets you take notes while surfing the internet. I think Notepad’s fine for that, but if you insist on staying in Firefox you’re better off with Notesake, a website that lets you write, search, organize, and share your notes. It’s not a plug-in so much as it is a website, but it’s better.

Mozilla recommends: Stumbleupon
But what’s really good is: del.icio.us

Both of these plug-ins connect to social media sites where users vote or bookmark their favorite sites. The top sites show up more often. Stumbleupon’s all right, but if my friend’s experience is indicative of a larger trend, most of the site involves creepy men hitting on teenage girls by complimenting their taste in articles. Plus, the Stumbleupon toolbar is huge and reminds me uncomfortably of spyware toolbars from IE.

Del.icio.us, on the other hand, is great. Its plug-in is only two discreet buttons, and the site has a pleasing minimalist design. When you’re surfing the internet and find an article you want to return to or have easy access to later (the last thing I bookmarked was the To Catch a Predator soundboard). You can also see what your friends are bookmarking and recommend them sites.


-Will Sommer, blog editor

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