Fireday - Firefox extensions for July 28, 2006

This Week: Showcase, MyCalendar, and GMail Manager.

July 28th, 2006 at 3:00am — Comments: (0) — By: Jonathan Danylko — Tags: Fireday

Showcase

When Reveal was reviewed a while back, the extension was immediately inserted into my extension pile, but since using Showcase, Reveal may be uninstalled soon.

The extension almost provides the same functionality as Reveal except for the following differences:

  • More preferences and customization.
  • Icons and Title are placed at the top, making the previews look like actual windows.
  • Middle-Click and Hold allows zooming in on the thumbnail.

The Showcase Firefox extension takes an existing extension and makes it better. I'm waiting for the next extension developer to do one better than this one, but if you currently are using Reveal (like I am), consider looking into this extension to replace Reveal.

Rating: 5/5

MyCalendar

Everybody loves to put their favorite pictures on their desk and have other people comment on them. MyCalendar attempts to do just that, but there are some downsides to using this extension.

When you install the MyCalendar extension, you access the extension through the Tools/MyCalendar option on the pulldown. If you wanted to customize the calendar, you can't. You'll notice that no options are available for this extension. Since we are selecting our graphic, this should've been a required option for configuring MyCalendar.

If you want a customized graphic, you need to copy the graphic into the root of your hard drive, rename the graphic "mycalendar.jpg," and then click on the MyCalendar extension. If it wasn't named properly or don't have a graphic, you'll just see the calendar itself without a graphic.

Another downside with the extension is that the graphic has to be a certain size, roughly 320x320. If it isn't 320x320, the image tiles (uck!)

A couple of  recommendations to the author is to right-align the images so you can see the image AND the calendar, an options dialog box for configuration, allow the window to resize when the picture is loaded, regardless of the image size (of course, there will be limitations), and allow some custom CSS styles to spice up the calendar (looks kind of drab).

This is truly a good idea, but the extension lacks some fundamental features. If the extension is updated properly, MyCalendar could be a welcome addition to the Firefox extension family.

Rating: 2/5

GMail Manager

GMail has definitely changed a lot of our lives. GMail Drive, 2 Gigs of space, and integration with Picasa application. And then along comes THE manager for GMail accounts through a browser. Wow!

The GMail Manager extension enhances Firefox by providing the current email account status on the bottom of the status bar. Not only will it display the current email account, you can also manage multiple GMail accounts.

The extension also has support for GMail hosted accounts, the ability to import/export existing account preferences, and one-click access to your GMail account.

One of the key features that makes this extension worth owning is the top 10 emails displayed in the tooltip when hovering over the email account in the status bar of the browser. Excellent feature and it doesn't even require a trip to GMail.

The GMail Manager is worth having if you are really busy, because it even incorporates a notification when you receive a new email. Sweet!

This extension can only get better from here on out and deserves a rating of 5 out of 5.

Rating: 5/5

Let me know if you have any comments about the reviews, jot them down in the Chatterbox below, or contact me directly.

Until next week.

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Jonathan Danylko is a freelance web architect and avid programmer who has been programming for over 20 years. He has developed various systems in numerous industries including e-commerce, biotechnology, real estate, health, insurance, and utility companies.

When asked what he likes doing in his spare time, he answers..."programming."

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