Goodbye Yahoo! Shortcuts, Hello Zemanta!

When it was released, the Yahoo! Shortcuts plugin seemed like it was going to be a HUGE help in making my posts more useful and more attractive, and while it helped, I finally got fed up with it and turned it off. There seemed to be very little development going on for it and some of the major bugs, like stacking the photo credits if you use the same picture for multiple posts and the fact it blew up and spewed code on my archive page led me to deactivate it. The Yahoo! search links were also not very helpful in adding other relevant content, and for some reason it didn’t like double spaces after a sentance. so blah! and bye bye.

Now, new on the scene is Zemanta, currently available as a Firefox plugin. I’ve installed it and am giving it it’s first run and I have to say I’m impressed. It’s still in heavy development but is very impressive, here are a few of things they are doing better than Yahoo! shortcuts:

  • Zemanta puts everything on the Write Post screen, With Yahoo! you had to jump to a new page, make your additions and then jump back and fix anything the plugin made a mess of.
  • Link suggestions are single click and go where you would naturally want. Right now you can generally pick between the site’s home page or a Wikipedia entry, more options are on the way.
  • Tag suggestions! Zemanta suggests tags for your post from your content and semantic search for related keywords you may not have written about.
  • Related Article Suggestions from around the web (see below). You may not like this if you hate the idea of sending a reader to another site, but it increases the benefit to your reader and that’s important for return visitors.

There are a few things that I would like to see added, or if they exist make it easier to find them:

  • A WordPress plugin. It’s not hard to install Zemanta, but if it were a WordPress plugin I could use it on any computer and any browser. Then it would have access to suggest from my existing categories and make use of other internal WordPress functionality.
  • Gallery Scroll for more pictures, everything I see now is Firefox and WordPress none of which I want to use so let me scroll for more than just the 9 available.
  • Internal links – give me a section of related links that are only from my site
  • OPTIONS! Give me options! What if I don’t want suggested articles with adult content and want all my inserted links to be no follow? Even changing the color scheme or the ability to turn off some of he features would be nice.

Overall, I’m impressed. I’m not real sure about the Zemified button down there, but I’ll certainly leave it up for this post!

400 Million Downloads!!!

Foxkeh banners for Firefox 2Yeah this is old news but I just saw that Firefox has passed the 400 million download mark. That is a lot of downloads. If you are still in the dark ages of browsing and think IE is the browser of choice wake up! Firefox is lean, mean, secure, and feature rich. Extensions make the Firefox experience so beyond the IE one. IE7 is just a poor copy of some just some of the Firefox features. Spread Firefox today.

Firefox Extension Spotlight: Copy Plain Text

firefox-logo2.pngFirefox is my browser of choice. Why? There are many great things about Firefox but my No. 1- Extensions. Extensions do just what you think they extend the abilities of the web browser. There are many I can not live without. There are hundreds if not thousands to choose from.

The one I am featuring today is Copy Plain Text. It is very simple but very good. It does just what it says it gives you the ability to highlight any text on a web page and copy it as plain old text. For anyone that does research or writing from the web knows that when you copy from a site you often get rich text instead of plain text. I often kept a Notepad window open and copied to Notepad first and then copied again from Notepad to my Word doc. Otherwise when pasting into Word or whatever office app you use you would end up with poorly formatted rich text. The days of double copy and paste are over. Simply install this Firefox extension and your right click menu will now have an option that says “Copy Plain Text.” This is a small extension that you may just find you can not live without. The author’s description is as follows…

Have you ever copied text from a website and pasted it into an email program, such as Thunderbird, but been frustrated that the text formatting (bold, italic, font, etc.) were copied with it? This extension copies the text without all the formatting.

Try it out and let me know what you think. Do you have any Firefox extensions you can’t live without?