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Pimp My Zilla

Other core Firefox benefits include the built-in pop up blocker, support for RSS feeds and the nifty little search box at the top right. But what’s really, really great isn’t just the default features – it’s the fact that its ‘extensible’ enabling hoards of eager users to create useful plug-ins.

Take the search bar at the top right – it doesn’t just work with Google – press the drop down button and you can choose to search other useful sites such as Dictionary.com and Amazon. This is great but as usual, it’s all a bit US centric.

But check the this page and you’ll find plug-ins for Amazon UK and Ebay UK. And on this page you’ll find one for Dealtime UK. Which is nice.

The killer plug-in for me though, and the reason why I’ve gathered you all here today, are the downloadable themes. Admittedly the concept is nothing new – I remember selecting ‘skins’ for the Sonique MP3 player (remember that), Winamp and the Opera Web browser. But having discovered this superbly tasteless skin called Pimpzilla, I’ve got into the whole concept once again. Described by its makers as, “probably the most tacky and overdone piece of GUI design out there” it has to be seen to be believed so check out these screenshots.

Complete with diamond encrusted browser buttons and a sumptuous leopard skin background it’s the sort of sophisticated look Ali G or David Beckman would go for. Aiight! Yes, it’s truly chavtastic, and must only be displayed with suitable irony. Despite my being fully aware of this, Workmate Riyad said I deserved to be slapped for using it, and to be honest, he’s probably right.

On a slightly more serious note, I’ve also discovered some other great plug-ins – such as one that enables me to right click on a word and search in an online dictionary of my choice and a right-click tool that gives a word count of selected text. Keep hunting and you'll quickly find one that you'll soon wonder how you ever lived without.

For the truly geeky, there are even ways of optimizing the performance of Mozilla. This page explains how to enable ‘Pipelining’, that in certain situations can make Firefox work faster over a broadband connection. And there’s even a guy who has created special versions of Firefox optimised for specific CPUs – seriously geeky.

So with a whole community behind it, it seems that the future of Firefox is looking pretty healthy. And it’s only up to version 1.02! Come the summer, and Microsoft will have to do something special with IE7 for it to stem the tide of switchers.

As Snoop Dogg would say, ‘Download it While It’s Hot! 'Fo shizzle ma nizzle!'



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