Archive | June, 2009

Welcome Firefox 3.5! Join the Party!

firefox The day a new Firefox version comes out is always a fun day for me, because right now I feel like a little kid on Christmas, waiting to get to open his presents.  Today is the day that Firefox 3.5 is released to the public!

This year I hesitated to download any of the release candidates, because they always seem to spoil some of the surprise.  So, like many of you, I am anxiously awaiting Mozilla’s web site update that says Firefox 3.5 is ready for download.

9:43 AM CST – Firefox 3.5 is out via Mozilla’s web site!

Firefox 3.5 Final - Download Link

Go here to download.  Be sure to add a comment and leave us your first impressions of the newest version of Firefox!

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Firefox 3.5 to be Released Tomorrow?

Firefox 3.5 to be Released Tuesday The word on the street, and by street I mean various online news sources, is that Firefox 3.5 is set to be released tomorrow, June 30th.    Version 3.5, codename “Shiretoko”, does bring a lot of new neat features to the browsing platform. 

My personal favorite feature I have seen thus far, that shows the most innovation is the support for embeddable video, without the use of any plugins or third party scripts.  This multimedia embedding functionality of HTML 5 may not be widely used yet, however this does give it a proverbial first kick in the pants to take off and become successful.

Of course, I wouldn’t be doing the Firefox 3.5 project justice if I didn’t mention the speed boost too.  However, I’m not really sure that is something real users will notice.  Maybe it is just me but Firefox 3 for me right now is still pretty darn fast.  You can check out a full list of features via Mozilla’s web site:

Seems like this time around Firefox’s newest release has either sneaked up on me, or perhaps isn’t getting as much coverage as the last.  What do you think?  Are you excited yet?

Microsoft to Share Firefox Facts?

So that you end your week with something really amusing, I had to share this story I found at CyberNet as it concerns Microsoft’s new browser comparison or “fact” sheet.

Microsoft Facts about IE8

So we are to believe that Firefox and Chrome are both insecure, difficult to use, and unreliable?  The Internet Explorer team might want to check their calendars, because last time I checked – it is June 26th, not April 1st

If that isn’t enough – they also have a MythBusting page.  What is your favorite “fact” they are claiming?

Browsing in Two Dimensions

Two Dimensions theme for Firefox

If your looking for a mostly 2D, grayscale and compact theme for your Firefox browsing ways – look no further than the Two Dimensions theme.  As you can see with the screenshot I included, it is a very slick skin for your Firefox browsing ways that will not disappoint those of you who like to keep things simple. 

It would fit nicely, I think, in my list of lightest popular themes for Firefox.  Who knows, it might earn its spot soon enough.

Thus far a five-star theme, that is rising in the ranks, you can pick up Two Dimensions and add it to your own Firefox installation at the Firefox Add-ons web site.

Browse Faster with SmarterFox

SmarterFox Helps You Browse Faster Another jewel in the ruff I discovered when browsing around the Mozilla add-ons site was SmarterFox.  What does this add-on to the browser do for you?  It helps make browsing the web just that much faster…and smarter!

Where are the features?  Here are some of the thinks I liked about this awesome add-on to your browser:

  • Search by selecting/highlighting text and then clicking on the popup bubble
  • Google results automatically show up in the Awesomebar/URL bar as you type (faster than going to google.com)
  • Easily switch between search engines during a search with a single click
  • Convert text URLs into clickable links
  • Automatically copy on select / paste on middle click / paste on right click (NOT enabled by default)
  • Visit bookmarks quickly with keyboard shortcuts using qLauncher
  • Adds "related articles" side-pane to Wikipedia

There is definitely a lot of browser tweaking to be loved here.  It is that type of extension that does many things well, instead of focusing on doing one thing really well.  So if you would like to kill several birds with on stone – this is the pick me up your browser has been looking for. 

Want to give it a shot?  Pickup SmarterFox on the Mozilla add-ons site and let me know what you think.  Has it helped you browse the Web any faster or smarter?

Headup Delivers You Related Content in Firefox

headup - giving you inline searches without leaving the page your browsing The idea of having a Firefox extension that gives you content related to what you are looking at is nothing new really, however I have found a Firefox add-on that will help you get it done in a new and exciting way. 

Headup underlines words on pages when you browser.  When you hover over those words, you get relevant content from popular web services. 

Headup - find more information as you browse Online

Technically speaking, they  “presents you with textual and rich media content related to the objects and terms it identifies on the pages you browse.”  Here are a few more examples from their web site:

Use Headup’s ability to recognize objects and relationships to discover all kinds of information quickly and effortlessly. Here are some examples:

  • Discover which of your friends like a particular band and gain access to the band’s videos and lyrics.
  • Find blog posts and stock news about a company and discover which of your contacts work there.
  • Get alerted about your friends’ birthdays and see which books they’re likely to enjoy as a gift.

Overall, I have to say it is an interesting idea – and a cool tool.  Sometimes these semantic plugins kind of confuse the general public, so I would really recommend playing with Headup to see if it is right for you.  You can pickup the Headup add-on on Headup.com or the Mozilla Add-ons web site.

Firefox 3.5 Preview – What’s New?

We are about to roll upon that point in the release time frame for Firefox 3.5 where everybody and their grandmother is going to be telling you about all the cool new features that will be in store for you once this newest version of the Firefox browser is released.  To get ahead of the curve, Mozilla’s Mike Beltzner gives a quick preview of what’s new and exciting in Firefox 3.5 in this video tour:

Getting in on the fun, the Lifehacker team has also posted a list of the top 10 Firefox 3.5 features you should check out, if you want to see what is in store for your favorite browser.

Bonus – Also worth mentioning is there is rumors that Firefox 3.5 could be out by June 30th?

Simple Password Generation for Firefox

For you system administrators, network engineers, and heck – really anybody who needs to come up with a fool proof password, I have an add-on for Firefox that will fill your needs.  The simply named pwgen – Password Generator for Firefox is a simple, yet efficient way to generate a random password on the fly.

password generator for Firefox

Once you install it, a small “P” icon will show up in your browser’s status bar.  All you have to do is click on it, and a password will be generated using the settings you have put in.  By default, the password will be shown to you and copied to your clipboard.  To change the options, all you need to do is right-click on the icon and select options.  From there you have a number of specific settings you can change, such as what the first and last characters start with, the password length, if you want to display the password or not or if you wish to copy the password to the clipboard or not.

Why use a complicated password?  Well, if a password is too short or simple, it is vulnerable to attack.  The simpler the password is, the easier time somebody will have to figure it out.  On the flip side, the more complicated the password, the harder it will be to figure out.

All in all, the pwgen – Password Generator extension for Firefox is a perfect one for those of you who may have a hard time coming up with a random mix of letters and numbers to use for your next secure password.

Challenge Issued to Extend Firefox 3.5

Extend Firefox 3.5 Coming back after a one year hiatus, the Extend Firefox contest is ready to make you into the next great Firefox extender?  A personal favorite of mine, the global developer contest for Firefox always brings in a lot of cool, unique and fun extensions for people like me to use and review.  

What are the prizes this time around?  Here are just a few:

  • Development gear, including a brand new 15" MacBook Pro
  • A license for the TextMate IDE by MacroMates
  • A license for the Versions SVN client by Sofa
  • A license for ExpanDrive by ExpanDrive
  • Firefox Ogio Metro Backpack stuffed with t-shirts, stickers, and more

Sure, I got passed up for being a judge again this year, but hey… can’t argue the fact they do have a nice selection of judges to choose from.

Last year’s contest received over 100 add-on submissions, which will be a hard record to beat.  However, with some hard work I think that record can be broken.  Extend Firefox 3.5 is open now and runs through October 2nd, 2009.  Good luck to all that enter!