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Top 10 Firefox Extensions to Avoid 538

jcatcw writes "First there were the 20 must-have Firefox Extension and ensuing Slashdot discussion. Now Computerworld has the top 10 to avoid. For example, NoScript, which does make Firefox safer, but isn't worth the hassle, Or, VideoDownloader for slow downloads, when it works at all. Then there's Greasemonkey — on both lists."
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Top 10 Firefox Extensions to Avoid

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:02PM (#18676837)
    GoToGoatse - The extension takes you to that famous page everytime you click a link.

    I'm still not sure why anyone would install it though.
  • by A beautiful mind ( 821714 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:05PM (#18676879)

    For example, NoScript, which does make Firefox safer, but isn't worth the hassle Says who?
    • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:10PM (#18676969)
      No kidding. This article should be renamed:

      What users need to do to maximize our cashflow.

      • by voice_of_all_reason ( 926702 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:18PM (#18677115)
        It derides fasterfox for wasting bandwidth (a genuine concern), videodownloader on spurious speed/usage claims, and adblock specifically by saying "where would the web be if everyone blocked ads."

        This news source is not objective and is, therefore, made of Fail.
        • by Fordiman ( 689627 ) <fordiman AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @01:50PM (#18678777) Homepage Journal
          Yeah. I was gonna say, Adblock at number 3 the avoid? Not if you're an end-user.

          Though, I gotta say, videodownloader is overrated, especially if you're only after YouTube videos. The below link will work more quickly:

          javascript:(function(){var x = document.createElement('iframe'); x.style.width='1px'; x.style.height='1px'; document.body.appendChild(x); x.src='http://www.youtube.com/get_video?video_id=' + window.location.toString().match(/v=([^\&]*)/)[1]+ '&t='+ document.body.innerHTML.match(/\&t=([^\&]*)/)[1]; })();
        • by ConceptJunkie ( 24823 ) * on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @02:39PM (#18679625) Homepage Journal
          "where would the web be if everyone blocked ads."

          The fact of the matter is that's not the user's problem now is it?

          Don't whine to me if your business model doesn't work because it annoys people. That's the free market, baby. Adapt or die.

          • by ConceptJunkie ( 24823 ) * on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:26PM (#18681319) Homepage Journal
            The more I think about it, the more this article is really awful. It should be titled, "10 Firefox Extensions I Want to Avoid Despite not Having Good Reasons to Do So", or "10 Firefox Extensions that Cripple Our Site And We Are Too Lazy To Do Anything About It", or, given the tone of it "If You Know More About the Web Than I Do, You're A Hopeless Geek, Get A Life".

            For most of the extensions he gives several reasons _to use it_ and then some really lame excuse like "but I don't like it" or "that's too much hassle for me", or "you're just paranoid", the latter being a particularly egregious example of stupidity given the millions of machines that are botnetted. Those so-called "too paranoid" people will be the only ones left surfing when the next big virus/worm/trojan takes down half the 'net.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fraudrogic ( 562826 )
      Adblock and Adblock Plus
      Obviously, we have some bias when it comes to ad-blocking extensions.......But if everyone blocked ads, how would sites such as ours continue to offer content free of charge?

      You know, I can give them the same answer I would for a dvr skipping commercials: Because I can and I will, that's why I use Adblock Plus. Its fantastic and does it's job. I despise commercials and ads. I'm sorry it creates revenue for you but that's not my problem. Are they really asking us to deliber
      • by walt-sjc ( 145127 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:54PM (#18677769)
        What pushed me to adblock isn't ads, it's ANNOYING ads. It's ads that make noise, that flash, that move around the screen, that pop up, etc. Regular simple ads were not annoying to me. Now all content providers suffer because of the behavior of some advertisers.

        That said, I do pay for some premium content, such as the Wall Street Journal, and a couple other work related (and work paid for) news sites. Unfortunately, we don't have a viable micro-payment system yet, so when you hit a site that you would pay 5 - 10 cents to read an article, you can't.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:31PM (#18677343)
      Sure, I miss some content, but normally NoScript is saving me so much time getting there and missing junk adds, flash garbage etc.etc. that the benefit outweighs the losses hundreds of times over.

      constantly having to whitelist sites so that scripts can execute in order

      I admit I don't use myspace / facebook and things that go boing (though I guess that even if I did, whitelisting two sites one time wouldn't really stress me out) but I have to say that you are sadly deluded if you think that I keep whitelisting your site to see the stupid scripts on it. Most of the time, if it doesn't work straight up, then it's a good sign that the content wasn't worth it. You learn this quickly since on the first day you use noscrpt you do try whitelisting, but soon you realise you aren't really seeing anything worthwhile.

      Simple message: if you are designing a site; make sure it works fine without the scripts. Otherwise you will lose viewers who just don't care enough.
  • Hey, I like NoScript (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:05PM (#18676881) Homepage Journal
    I use NoScript not for security but because it cuts out one more way that web sites can annoy me, with their javascripted pop-up ads.

    Yeah, it takes a moment to re-enable JavaScript for sites which insist on using it for navigation (which is itself annoying, but sometimes a site has content I want.) But it's less than the aggravation of having the text I'm trying to read covered with a pop-up layer.

    I don't mind polite advertising, but anything that moves (Java, Flash, and most recently Javascript) is going to be worthless unless I absolutely require it.
    • by syphax ( 189065 )

      NoScript is a total pain in the ass, but I love it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Aladrin ( 926209 )
      I avoided installing NoScript for a LONG time because it -is- truly a hassle. (Actually, I had it, and removed it within a few days.) I finally installed it the other day to stay because of the Ajax vulnerability found where sites could cross-site-script and view information from other sites that I'd logged into. The fact that this is not only possible, but possible on multiple browsers... That's scary. So NoScript stays now.

      It's a heck of a lot easier than turning off JS altogether, which is the only
    • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:22PM (#18677199) Journal
      Exactly, you only have to whitelist a site once. And it takes all of 2 seconds. Annoying scripts however, will fuck with you every time you visit a site. It's not long until the benefits manifest. And since we tend to spend most of our time on sites we've been before, it's really pretty rare that I have to whitelist anything.

      In a perfect world, we wouldn't have to deal with client side scripting at all. It's inconvenient, dangerous, and downright impolite. If you want me to see your page, do your processing on YOUR computer. Until then, noscript will have to do.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jfengel ( 409917 )
        There are good uses of JavaScript. Google uses it pretty well; I use Google Maps and GMail continually. The latter really doesn't NEED JavaScript, but it does add some nice features (like the inline autocomplete for addresses.)

        But it's a lot of rope for a web site to hang itself with, and more often than not it's evil.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by pjt33 ( 739471 )
        It might take all of 2 seconds when you have a short whitelist, but I've found that when the list gets long changing it becomes amazingly slow. It feels as though it's storing the entries in a dense array and uses linear algorithms for everything.

        To pre-empt queries as to why I have a long whitelist: work computer, and I imported a whitelist as I was told.

    • by Saint Aardvark ( 159009 ) * on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:29PM (#18677309) Homepage Journal

      One more "me, too". I hate dancing baloney on a web page, and doubly so when it's for useless, distracting, intrusive advertising. Not to mention all the stupid security problems that come up [ckers.org] when you just blindly trust any code to run in your web browser.

      For a handful of sites, JavaScript is worth turning on; for everything else, there's NoScript.

    • by Mr2cents ( 323101 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:32PM (#18677371)

      For some reason, paranoia seems to be cool among Web geeks [...]
      Can you be paying attention to security and not be paranoid at the same time?
  • Sure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by utlemming ( 654269 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:06PM (#18676893) Homepage
    Wow, that was the most biased article that I have read in a long time. The summary, for those that didn't RTFA, they pretty much say avoid all the things that make a web master's life difficult; it was from a website perspective and not from the user. Anyhow, it is not worth the read and definitely is not news.
  • Article translation (Score:3, Informative)

    by kpainter ( 901021 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:06PM (#18676897)
    Number one extension to use: IE7 God, what a lot of drivel.
  • here's the tell... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Naurgrim ( 516378 ) <naurgrim@karn.org> on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:06PM (#18676899) Homepage

    They're just pissed that NoScript and AdBlock knock down their revenue stream.

    "...while continuing to support the sites we love by allowing most ads to appear."

    Bzzt - sorry. I chose to not see ads.

    • This has to be the dumbest articles to ever come from ComputerWorld.

      Think every single poster we've seen here has agreed how his list of mostly good tools, and it does seem targeted against tools that target ads and privacy. There *are* many dumb Firefox extensions he could have covered (like the 'make us your portal' ones) that he didn't. But really, how stupid does he think we are? Anyone even remotely tech savvy will see through his 'list'. Who is this guy anyway? His bio doesn't exactly shine out from t
  • by WarwickRyan ( 780794 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:06PM (#18676901)
    Adblock is bad because it makes their site readable?

    NoScript bad because it stops nasty/naughty javascript?

    PDF download bad because it stops embedded PDFs breaking your system (but also stops hacked tracking links from working)?

    TrackMeNot because it stops you being tracked and wastes bandwidth?

    I'd suggest the only waste of bandwidth their is their site!
    • by jandrese ( 485 )
      Trackmenot did seem a bit rude. Sending random queries to search engines constantly (if the article is correct) sounds more like a DDOS than anything else.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Zebai ( 979227 )
      They really pushed it by mentioning adblock, but they totally lost their credibility when they mentioned PDF download, the only people who will EVER want to view a PDF in browser, are those who don't know there are other options.

      And to top it off, when you didn't think site could lose any more karma, i see a link to another article

      http://www.computerworld.com/blogs/node/4251 [computerworld.com] Why Firefox has lost its mojo

      This article states that IE has bridged the gap in features and quality because a few copycat fe
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Oops! that reminds me... I rebuilt my system and forgot to reinstall the addons.

      *goes to the article to find out what add-ons to download*.
  • by Pope ( 17780 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:07PM (#18676915)
    Avoid any so-called "performance" tweaks that do nothing but open a few dozen connections to every web server you visit. It's fucking pointless and does nothing but piss off server admins. Cut your max connections down and make sure pipelining is on to get real, actual performance increases.
  • by Skadet ( 528657 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:09PM (#18676933) Homepage

    Adblock and Adblock Plus

    Obviously, we have some bias when it comes to ad-blocking extensions, as Computerworld is an ad-supported site. We also understand that these are very popular extensions. But if everyone blocked ads, how would sites such as ours continue to offer content free of charge?
    Who says free content at the price of advertising is a good thing? Take a good look at TFA. Do you SEE those ads? I'm on page two, which weighs in at 136kb. That's for what, two paragraphs of text? And don't forget -- gotta navigate all 4 pages for maximum impressions!

    Really, sites like Slashdot, Google, etc. have it right. Minimally intrusive ads with quality content == a good experience for most users.
    • by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:26PM (#18677261)
      "And don't forget -- gotta navigate all 4 pages for maximum impressions!"

      You hit on one of my pet peeves -- web sites that break a single article into multiple pages. I rarely go beyond the first page, and I only read the first page of this self-serving article. If I knew ahead of time that this was one of those articles, I would have skipped it entirely. Maybe a [WARNING: multiple pages] heads-up is warranted on future Slashdot postings.
  • by 14erCleaner ( 745600 ) <FourteenerCleaner@yahoo.com> on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:09PM (#18676937) Homepage Journal
    ...but that's probably because my NoScript and AdBlock settings impaired my viewing experience.
  • They practically beg for you not to use adblock or adblock plus. I say too freaking bad. If they really want to keep cheap bastards like me from using their site, they will have to do some artful coding to detect that I am not looking at their 3rd party ads.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Nasarius ( 593729 )
      AdBlock used to offer an option of loading but not displaying the ads, though I don't see it in AdBlock Plus. It's effectively impossible to detect that, unless you do something like Salon, which grants a "day pass" for watching an ad. Just add a simple captcha to the end of the ad if you really want to be a dick about it.

      But the future of Internet advertising is with astroturfing, viral ad campaigns, etc. That can't be blocked with any technical solution.
  • A little Bias (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Herkum01 ( 592704 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:09PM (#18676947)

    I also love how they put in 'Adblock' and 'Adblock Plus'. They say, well we don't like it being an advertising web site, but trust us, it is not very good.

    I thought 'Adblock' was a great extension and very effective.

    I also like 'Noscript', it is simple to prevent sites that insist that they and every site they connect to should be allowed to run javascript on your browser. 'Noscript' allows me to specify only the sites, like the one I am browsing, to actually run Javascript instead of every ad aggregator that wants information on you.

  • by frdmfghtr ( 603968 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:12PM (#18677001)

    Does NoScript make Firefox safer? Sure. Is it worth the hassle? No. For some reason, paranoia seems to be cool among Web geeks, but for the most part, it is totally unwarranted unless you're sending and receiving sensitive data. Most typical Web surfers who install this extension remove it after the novelty wears off.

    Paranoia is not "cool among Web geeks,", it's an unfortunate necessity when wandering the jungle that is the World Wide Web. How many times do we hear about exploits using JavaScript? Too often, in my mind's eye. If a particular site that you trust needs JavaScript to run, then whitelist it, even if just temporarily, with two mouse clicks.

    I don't call it "paranoid," I call it "due caution" and it is, in fact, worth the minor hassle.
  • by illegalcortex ( 1007791 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:12PM (#18677015)
    This is a good opportunity to bring up a problem with NoScript. It seems to have a flaw with certain sites. With digg, it sometimes makes the thumbs and the show/hide comment links not work properly. It breaks the thumbs completely and instead of the show/hide working in a DHTMLish way, it instead follows the href version of the link. This bug doesn't show up all the time, but on a page where it does show up, you can reload over and over and still get the bug every time.

    It does this even when all the sites it lists for the page are set to allowed. But if you set it to "Allow script Globally" (basically, letting EVERYTHING through) and reload the page, the bug goes away. So something there is being blocked that shouldn't be.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      It was a glitch in dynamic inclusion of external scripts through the document.write("<script...></script>") hack used by some AJAX libraries (e.g. Scriptacolous on Digg). This was an rare problem under normal conditions, but NoScript filters used to make it appear more frequently.

      Good news is that current NoScript Release Candidate [noscript.net] fixes this issue once (hopefully) for ever.

  • by Excelcia ( 906188 ) <kfitzner@excelcia.ca> on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:14PM (#18677033) Homepage Journal

    But if everyone blocked ads, how would sites such as ours continue to offer content free of charge?
    If everyone who didn't want to see ads blocked them, then the ads that were seen would have more value because they would be seen by people who wanted to see them. Pushing an ad on someone who doesn't want to see it is, what, going to suddenly make that person buy something?

    I freely admit I block every ad I can. If I'm going to buy something, I'll actively go looking for it. I resent people telling me that I'm damaging them by not displaying their ads on my PC. Your ads are valueless when displayed on my PC anyway, so why should I expose myself to them? The ad industry has not endeared itself to the internet community. They have only themselves to blame for people wanting to block them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kjella ( 173770 )
      Pushing an ad on someone who doesn't want to see it is, what, going to suddenly make that person buy something?

      Why do you think telemarketers hate do-not-call lists? They should be celebrating to high heavens, since all their non-customers got sorted out of the pool. *BUZZ* wrong answer. There's plenty people that don't want to be bother with them but who respond to ads - not directly but then you don't see a TV ad and immidiately call and order unless it's TV shop. Hell, there's plenty people like you that
  • Fasterfox (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SevenHands ( 984677 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:19PM (#18677131)
    How about a plugin that fetches all subsequent pages of articles and condenses into a single webpage so a user doesn't have to follow five page links to read the whole article.
  • by stormpunk ( 515019 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:21PM (#18677181)
    I'll be happy when slashdot submissions list the allononepage version of articles.
    http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?com mand=printArticleBasic&articleId=9015599 [computerworld.com]
  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ ( 559379 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:26PM (#18677265) Journal
    The Henry Earl [thepangburns.com] extension! If you don't know about Henry Earl, read up on him here [monkeygumbo.com]. Show the brother some love.
  • by pestie ( 141370 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:26PM (#18677269) Homepage
    Seriously. I don't often cry "worst evar!" but this qualifies. I'm going to be installing that PDF-downloader extension just as soon as I'm done mocking this list for sucking so hard. And while I do agree that NoScript just breaks too many sites (and it's only going to get worse as the web gets all AJAXy and buzzword-compliant), I don't think I'd bother with the web without tools like Adblock Plus. What can I say - I'm sensitive to noise, both visual and audio. I find it harder than most people to filter out extraneous crap from my sensory input. Maybe it's because I grew up muting the TV audio during commericals (it got to be reflexive in our family) but advertising grates on my nerves like nobody's business. I'll tolerate Google-style text ads, but I find anything with graphics distracting and want it gone.

    And yeah, some of it is my significant anti-consumerism bias, too. I block ads on principle, as I consider them an ever-increasing intrusion into my life. Yes, people have the right to create and use advertising, but I have the same right to use any legal means to keep them away from me. And for those who ask, as this article did, "what would happen to all the great ad-supported sites if everyone used these tools," well, they'd be replaced by something else - subscription-driven services, smaller clusters of free services, etc. I love the web as much as the next guy, but it's not like I'd be lost if the entire web went dark tomorrow. I have other interests. But that's not going to happen anyway.
  • by cos(x) ( 677938 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:31PM (#18677351)
    For those who cannot (*BSD, non-i386 Linux) or do not want to run Flash, VideoDownloader is pretty much the only way to watch YouTube videos. That, and sometimes it actually is great to fetch a video from YouTube for offline viewing, even if you have Flash installed. Sure, the server that the extension uses may go down sometimes, but so what? Just wait a couple of seconds and try again.
  • by SCHecklerX ( 229973 ) <greg@gksnetworks.com> on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:32PM (#18677365) Homepage
    Computerworld, you get no sympathy from me for being an ad-supported site.

    If ads had continued to be a small banner at the top or bottom of the page with NO ANIMATION, or even small ads down the sides that didn't interrupt the flow of the CONTENT (again, no animation), then guess what? I would never have seen a need to use ad blocking software.

    The fact is that advertising has gotten very intrusive and counter productive. Hell, I'd likely visit a few advertiser's sites, but now I never see them because of the way they were changed to be as intrusive as possible, hence sent to the bit bucket. WHy do advertisers believe that being as in-your-face as possible would do anything BUT piss people off about the stuff they are trying to sell?

    That decent ads (see above ... small banners, no animation) get killed too is collateral damage, and it's the advertiser's own fault that people see fit to block the crap. Many even constitute security hazards. Yeah, I'm going to allow THAT to be displayed on my browser (yes, it is MY BROWSER, and it is meant to render things as the USER sees fit...many seem to have forgotten that).

    So cry me a river. I'll stick with adblocking software. It's your own damned fault that people block your precious advertisers these days.
  • Fasterfox (Score:5, Insightful)

    by glwtta ( 532858 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:35PM (#18677409) Homepage
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but Fasterfox doesn't prefetch links unless you specifically enable that option (or they are marked for prefetching, and who does that?). It doesn't matter which level you select, the indiscriminate prefetching is a separate option.

    Its main benefits are multiple connections and pipelining (oh and the timer - I love the timer). To say that you should throw the whole thing out because they don't like prefetching (which is indeed a poor idea) is just plain silly.

    Also, what's with the extremely patronizing tone of the whole article? Who made them the hall monitors of the internet?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pjrc ( 134994 )
      Some time ago, I got a complaint from someone trying to use my website. I use mod_throttle, mainly due to people trying to run automated whole-site downloader programs that get stuck inside the bugzilla pages. When that happens, every perl-rendered bugzilla page chews up excessive CPU time and they're so heavily interlinked that this continues on forever. The bugzilla documentation specifically recommends installing mod_throttle to deal with this well known problem.

      In this guy's case, he wasn't really ev
  • by Roadkills-R-Us ( 122219 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:40PM (#18677497) Homepage
    Within just a few minutes, CW was slashdotted. It's mindboggling that any real media company converting to the web can't handle the hit rate.
  • by mr_3ntropy ( 969223 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:43PM (#18677553) Journal
    Here is the real list [mozillazine.org] of problematic extensions. I found it when trying to figure out why my FF has become so slow that I have had to go back to IE (yes, imagine how bad it must be). My tabs just remain stuck on "Loading..." with a white page and nothing happens. And the memory usage keeps climbing. Yes even with all latest versions of everything. So I set out to minimize my add-ons to the barest that I must have.

    So far I have 4 I can't live without. Adblock, IE View Lite, Firefox View, and BugmeNot. Out of these I am assuming only an "Always on" types like Adblock can cause memory + slowdown issues. The others should not hurt much right?

    The blacklist has some popular extensions like Adblock, but usually its only the older versions with problems. Tab Browser Extensions and Tab Browser Preferences particularly stand out as they are not recommended.

    Oh and the article is drivel.
  • Noscript..... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hendersj ( 720767 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @01:50PM (#18678781)


    Does NoScript make Firefox safer? Sure. Is it worth the hassle? No. For some reason, paranoia seems to be cool among Web geeks

    I guess they think that having your system pwned and turned into a spam-spewing zombie DoS machine of death is what really makes one cool.

  • Unfounded (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sacrilicious ( 316896 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:57PM (#18681807) Homepage
    Does NoScript make Firefox safer? Sure. Is it worth the hassle? No. For some reason, paranoia seems to be cool among Web geeks, but for the most part, it is totally unwarranted unless you're sending and receiving sensitive data.

    This is a pretty broad set of statements to make, and I doubt the article's author has anything but his own opinion to back it up with. Example: Google Analytics javascripts are everywhere, directly allowing google to track an individual user's journey to any pages that include them. The author apparently doesn't think that visits to such pages are "private information". Or maybe the author doesn't realize how such information is tracked and might be used.

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser