I like computers.  I like the internet.  I like free stuff.

What I don’t like is the terrible waste of time (mine) that’s necessary to grab a bunch of nifty free stuff off the internet and get it on my computer.  Like pictures of planes, or music.  I confess to selfishness, but to me it seems like a waste to have to load up a picture in a new tab, then right-click and “Save As . . .”, then send it there, and close the tab, and go do it for the next picture.  I mean, isn’t that why we invented computers, to take away the drudgery of our lives and allow us to experience nifty things?

Well, no, but it’s a good argument, and it leads right into today’s cool tool.  It’s called DownThemAll, and you’ll never guess what it does.

Wrong again.  I better give up the prognostication business and get on to describing the tool.

DownThemAll is an add-on for FireFox.  You’re using FireFox, aren’t you?  Hint: use Firefox.

So you have FireFox, and you have downloaded DownThemAll and restarted FF to make the add-on active.  Now you browse to your page of plane pictures (here, or here).  Or a page of e. e. cummings recordings (here).  Right-click.  Pick DownThemAll.  Watch magic happen.

Why, sure, I’ll show you what magic looks like!  First, find the site where you want to slurp stuff and right-click on the background (clicking on a single photo enables you to download that photo – you presumably want everything).  Select DownThemAll.

You will be presented with all the available downloadable stuff.  Don’t hit Start just yet.

Let’s be a little selective, shall we?  Not in terms of what pictures to get, but in keeping out unwanted junk.  You can switch over to the “Pictures and Embedded” tab at the top, and that gets rid of a lot of the stuff you don’t want.  The stuff still included shows up with a green button at the start of the line.  Take a quick browse through what’s left – you don’t want corner images, or avatars, or little icons (unless that’s what you’re trying to grab).  Another thing that can help is deselecting “All files”, which I have marked with an arrow.

Now you have your goodies selected, let’s get them.  Hit the Start button.  (Note: this thing is fast.  To get this capture of the download I had to go look for some big photos.  I found them, appropriately enough, at BigFoto.com, on their Aviation page, under Themes.)

Works the same way with music. Again, turn off “All files” and turn on “Audio”.

And that’s it.  Doesn’t really matter what you’re downloading – could be a bunch of PDF files or recipes.  There’s also an option for DTA One-Click.  This does what it says – using your preferences, it will download everything it can find on the page.  Make sure you have chosen your page well, and that you have the preferences pointing to a good download location.  It’s terrible to accidentally add a thousand polka songs into your collection of favorite music (unless, of course, Frankie Yankovic is your favorite performer [and if you love polka but hate Mr. Y, I’m sorry]).

Go forth and plunder!  Be careful of copyright violations, and be careful of what you’re downloading.  Like every tool, this could be used for good or “otherwise”.  Keep it on the good side.

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