10 useful Firefox-based apps

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Miro

Miro is a media player that its developers bill as specially designed for HD video. It supports playing video files in several formats, including MPEG, QuickTime, WMV and Xvid, and can download video from YouTube and other sites. The program can also be set to download video podcasts via RSS feeds and bittorrent.

Miro's developers emphasize community contributions, so users are encouraged to submit RSS feeds to their own originally produced video content. Selected videos are featured in the program's start page, which presents thousands of shows you can browse through, and search for, under an attractive interface that looks like an online media store.

Songbird

This started out as a straight-up iTunes clone that suffered stability issues in its early releases, but over the course of its development has evolved into a fully usable alternative to Apple's media player. Songbird's user interface works similarly to iTunes. It supports video playback, DRM-protected music downloads from the iTunes Store, and you can add a lot of other features by installing add-ons.

Officially, Songbird supports synchronizing with Android and Pre smartphones, but there's also unofficial support for the iPod/iPhone through an add-on.

Spicebird

Along with Web editors, there is no shortage of standalone e-mail clients built upon Mozilla. But we think Spicebird is the one most worthy of mention; essentially, it merges together Thunderbird (Mozilla's official e-mail program), Sunbird (a defunct calendar program) and Telepathy (a real-time instant messaging system) to present a collaborative and more robust e-mail client.

Besides chat and a calendar, it includes a simple project manager, and various widgets running within it that access Google Maps, weather information, international time zones and RSS feeds. With Sunbird, you get an e-mail command center on steroids.

TeleKast

Do you produce video blogs where you talk directly to the camera? Then you'll find TeleKast not only useful but necessary. You can write your script with it (or import text in XML format, or copy and paste words into it from an outside source) and edit it. Then TeleKast's teleprompter function will display your speech full-screen in large, bold white font against a black background. Hit the "Enter" key, and the words scroll up at a comfortable reading pace.

XULPlayer

This media player is built on Mozilla technology combined with that of MPlayer. XULPlayer utilizes Mozilla's XULRunner runtime package which makes it easier for users to customize its user interface.

And it's not just for playing video, but can convert video files to other formats. XULPlayer has presets to easily transcode your video so that it can be played on your mobile phone, media player, gaming handheld, or other devices. It also features video-streaming through peer-to-peer technology.

Howard Wen reports on technology news, trends and products as a frequent contributor to Network World and Computerworld.

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This story, "10 useful Firefox-based apps" was originally published by Network World.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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