5 Safari extensions I use every day

SafariScreenSnapz001

I’m not ashamed to admit that, even as a web developer, I prefer Safari to Chrome and Firefox on my Mac (Windows is another story). Many of you who use Macs may use Safari by default since it came installed on your computers, but you may not have enhanced it using add-ons called Extensions. I wrote about Safari extensions a couple of years ago but thought they’d be worth revisiting–specifically, I want to share five extensions that make the web a more productive environment for me on a daily basis–in fact, these are the only five extensions I have installed; I’m not just rounding to a convenient number.

1. 1Password

I should try to measure how much time 1Password saves me on any given day. I’ve plugged this product a number of times in the past, and while the actual app is a useful tool for generating and organizing passwords for all your online accounts, it becomes a daily utility when you install the Safari extension. Once added, you can quickly call up account information for whichever site you happen to be visiting at the moment–and if you don’t have an account on that site, you can generate and store a secure password for it in mere moments. The 1Password extension is included with 1Password, which starts at $49.99.

2. Shut Up

Another non-secret: I think most comments sections on websites (even this one, sometimes) are worthless. Thank goodness for Shut Up, a simple little extension that does a pretty good job of hiding anything labeled as a comment in a page’s behind-the-scenes HTML. If for whatever reason you need or want to check them out, turning comments back on is as simple as clicking a button.

3. ClickToPlugin

It’s not pretty, but ClickToPlugin does a very important job: It keeps annoying (and battery/bandwidth-hogging) Flash files and videos from loading by default.

4. Pinbar

My social bookmarking site of choice is Pinboard (I moved from Delicious when Yahoo! started talks of shutting it down, and felt services like Diigo were too heavy for my needs). Pinbar enhances Pinboard with a couple of basic buttons to simplify adding new links and accessing my current links. There’s also an optional toolbar to give you some additional features, but I never use it. (Note: While the Pinbar extension is free, Pinboard is not–how much you pay for it depends on how early you sign on. As I write this, a lifetime Pinboard account will set you back $9.70.)

5. Do Not Track Plus

Most recently, I’ve installed Do Not Track Plus is an indispensable extension that helps you spot how many services a given web page is using to track you, block them by default, then notify those services if you’d prefer they not track you. While often these services work to provide some convenience to you, the user/reader, other sites are merely interested in your information for marketing purposes. (Full disclosure: There are currently anywhere from two to six services reported as tracking you when you visit our blog. We only pay attention to one of them–Google Analytics–and even then only to monitor site-wide activity–for example, to see which posts are popular on a given day.)

There are lots more Safari extensions available for you to download and install; these are just the five I use. Visit Apple’s Safari Extension Gallery to check out more.

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Aaron Sumner

Aaron Sumner is the Director of Technology for Research and Development at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning. He has worked in web development and instructional technology since 1994.