5. Search resources

LookItUp adds functionality to Firefox that's similar to IE8's web slices. Highlight a word or phrase and then hit a keyboard shortcut to search the resource of your choice. There are several shortcuts built in.

Hitting [W] looks up the content on Wikipedia, while [V] does the same search on Wiktionary, the open-source dictionary. You can configure your own search sources too.

Meanwhile, Simplepedia applies a cleaner, more modern look to Wikipedia that will satisfy the grumblings of any graphic designer.

6. YouTube add-ons

There are several YouTube amending Greasemonkey scripts, but the most frequently updated is YouTube HD Ultimate. Its main feature is that is forces all YouTube videos to play back at the highest resolution possible, but there are a slew of additional enhancements too – including the ability to darken background content and download videos.

The author is active on the project, often adding features in response to user requests and making sure that updates are made available promptly when YouTube rolls out new features and additions to the site.

If this sounds like overkill to you and all you need is a simple menu that lets you download all of your favourite clips to your local machine, Download From YouTube will do that for you without any added extras.

7. RTM and Ebay

Remember The Milk is one of the net's most well-known task management services and one of its best. Could it be better?

RTM

Andrew Paprotsky thinks it could be – which is why he created A Bit Better RTM, a Greasemonkey script that adds keyboard shortcuts and tweaks the layout of the program just enough so that it works in the way that he – and 11,300 or so fans – prefer it to work. We like Remember The Milk too, and this add-on makes switching between to-do lists much easier.

Ebay warriors know that feedback is everything – and that a score below about 97 per cent should start alarm bells ringing. Now, we know that 97 per cent doesn't sound like a low score, but it's still on the border between buy and not-buy.

The Greasemonkey Ebay Hacks – Show Only Negative Feedback Mod will help you decide whether to risk it using the www.toolhaus.org feedback database. You can see exactly where those black marks came from and if there's a pattern.

Then, more accurately informed, use SnipeStreet Express to win the item. This script uses a free web service that waits until the dying seconds of the auction to place your bid, increasing your chances of bagging a bargain.

8. Invisibility Cloak

It sounds like it should be a network security tool – but Invisibility Cloak is there to save you from yourself, not the prying eyes of hackers and nosy colleagues. Everybody who regularly works at a computer with a web connection knows well the temptation to [Alt]+ [Tab] between graft and play, spreadsheet and Facebook.

Invisibility Cloak is a script that blocks your access to time-wasting pages during office hours. It was created by the folks at Lifehacker, and you may want to add their site to the default list of Metafilter and Flickr by going to 'Manage User Scripts' in the Tools menu. If your ability to stay focused is dodgy, this script could be a lifesaver.

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First published in PC Plus Issue 288

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