Hacking Firefox

I was about to write an item about how all the enthusiasm about Firefox seemed a bit much, given some annoying issues I've had with the upstart Web browser. For instance, I had grown used to Internet Explorer's

I was about to write an item about how all the enthusiasm about Firefox seemed a bit much, given some annoying issues I've had with the upstart Web browser. For instance, I had grown used to Internet Explorer's "inline autofill," which fills in the Web address you're typing before you're done, so I found the lack of this on Firefox more and more annoying. Then there's that tiny Google search box on the toolbar. Yes, you can type all the words you want, but you can't see them all later. And where's the print button? I never have gotten the hang of remembering "Ctrl P" instead.

Before dashing off a curmudgeonly post, I decided to check the Web for fixes for these. Turns out there are fixes for all of them. Cool! This will come as no news to seasoned Firefox users, but you can actually tweak this puppy quite a bit. (Actually, there's a whole book on it.) In minutes, I had installed a print button, expanded my Google search box with the aid of a software extension, and enabled autofill with another tweak.

It was all more geeky than it needs to be. Still, the number of you can add is pretty awesome. And if you like living a little dangerously, check out Greasemonkey. It's a Firefox extension that lets you add any of hundreds of scripts to change the way various Web sites work on your computer, such as automatically redirecting you to printer-friendly versions of articles and blocking annoying ads.

More than ever, these days, it's your Web. Got any favorite Firefox hacks to share?

UPDATE July 19: Greasemonkey creator Aaron Boodman warns today of a serious security flaw in the program, and suggests uninstalling or disabling it, or upgrading to a less powerful version that's also less dangerous. A more permanent fix is coming, he promises, but it could take several days.

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