Tag Archives | review

How Exciting is Prism 1.0 beta?

Good, Bad and Ugly Facts on Prism 1.0 beta I was really excited by the idea of Prism back when it was first released, but little has been done with the product until now.  Last week, Mozilla announced the launch of Prism 1.0 beta and a new site to promote it.  So, now that some time has gone by, and we have all had time to play with it – time to cover the best and the worst about this most recent release.

What I Like About Prism 1.0 beta

Overall, I like Prism as a product.  The idea of being able to run something like Gmail as an application rather than as a web page interests me.  Here are some of the newest Prism features that Mozilla is extremely happy with:

  • New API functionality for allowing Prism-enabled web sites more desktop like power.
  • Ability to set fonts, proxy settings and other application-specific settings.
  • The ability to clear private data on demand.
  • Applications are automatically updated when new Prism versions are available.
  • Tray icon support, as well as submenus for dock and system tray menus.
  • Full OS X 10.4 support, and further OS X specific enhancement.
  • Support for SSL exceptions.

So there you have it; all great things to love.  So what still bugs me about Prism?

What I Don’t Like About Prism 1.0 beta

This might seem a little superficial, and many will answer my annoyance with the fact that is is still, “just a beta” but I don’t like the file download.  When downloaded your just left with an unzipped folder that says Prism.  Why not install it like a regular application?

I also think they need some simple scripting in there, to customize Prism a little ‘bit more.  How could this problem be solved?  Allow Greasemonkey scripts (or something like it).  Eventually somebody will figure out that step on their own, so they might as well get ahead of the curve.  If it is a product that comes from Mozilla, I want it to be customizable.  Firefox is customizable.  Thunderbird is customizable.  Prism just is not customizable enough for me, right now.

Final Thoughts?

Overall, it is getting there – however I am not sure they have been able to release this in a way that gets everybody excited about it.  The biggest hurdle for them, right now, is to answer those people who will say, “So… why not just launch it in the browser?”.  Those of us who are excited about it will answer back with, so that you can create separate applications for web sites you use, of course.  However, returned with another why, the argument for Prism just is not there yet. 

Prism is a fun toy for enthusiasts, but right now isn’t there for the general public yet, and I’m not sure how they would get there.  Do you?

Find a Persona That Fits You!

Firefox’s Personas change-around got an update and a new web site dedicated to it here recently.  What will your browser wear today?  It is up to you to choose at GetPersonas.com.

Get Your New Firefox Persona

You now have an online gallery of Persona skins to browse through, from the newest to most popular.  You also have several categories of themes to choose from too.  The best part of the site, is if you have the Personas change-around installed, it will change as you hover over each preview image.

My only beef with Personas now is the fact that it dims my tab bar so much, on most skins I have a hard time seeing the text on the tabs.  Back to the web site though, GetPersonas.com also allows you to login and submit your own skins too.  Let me know if you do in the comments, as I would really like to see some new interesting designs.

Foxmarks is Dropping the Fox (Xmarks Review)

Foxmarks is now Xmarks Foxmarks, one of my favorite Firefox add-on suggestions for bookmark syncing and backup, is changing names today.  Foxmarks is becoming Xmarks(Waits for the “X marks the spot jokes)  The new Xmarks service looks to be more geared towards sharing links, ala Stumble Upon and Digg. 

Why make the move?  Well, one would guess that sharing links might be a more profitable business model, more so than bookmark syncing alone.  Via the Xmarks blog, here are some FAQs for those of you who might have questions about the change:

  • Xmarks is a superset of Foxmarks – it adds web discovery features to our world-class bookmark sync.
  • If you choose to upgrade to Xmarks, it will work seamlessly with your existing Foxmarks account and will sync with your other computers running Foxmarks.
  • Foxmarks.com and our existing Foxmarks add-ons won’t change overnight. We expect to have upgrades to all three Foxmarks versions available by the end of March and we’ll provide you with more detailed info once we return from the DEMO conference.
  • We’re still hard at work finding better, faster ways to sync more things in your browser.

So what new features will be brought on with the new business model?

Smarter Search – In your Google search results, Xmarks will highlight the top three sites based on bookmarking history.  Put your mouse over the special icon to the side of the search results to learn more information such as reviews, and rankings.

Smarter Search in Xmarks

Site Info Lookup – Clicking on the Xmarks logo in your location bar will bring up a detailed box letting you know more information about the site you are on, and help you discover other sites just like it.

Site Info Lookup in Xmarks

Then of course, you have the bookmark and password backup and syncing capabilities that Foxmarks already brought to the table.  The Xmarks browser add-on is Firefox only right now, but they promise to have Internet Explorer and Safari versions running soon.  Firefox fans can grab the Xmarks add-on here to try it out.  It is worth pointing out that you can install Xmarks even if you have the Foxmarks add-on installed on your computer. Xmarks will upgrade your current Foxmarks add-on and continue to sync and back up your bookmarks (and optionally passwords).

So what do you think about the change?  Excited about the new features, or disappointed that an old Firefox friend is changing its ways?

Store 50 Tabs in Multiple Extra Rows

1230289252 Are you running short on room for your multiple tabs?  TooManyTabs is an add-on for Firefox that will give you the ability to store up to 50 tabs in multiple extra rows with a simple click.

In turn, with this extra organization, you have better visualization and prioritizing for the pages you are navigating through.  Here are a few more details from the TooManyTabs developer:

Instead of allowing idle tabs to waste your PC’s memory, you can now put your tabs on the extra rows, remove them from the memory, and restore* them in your browser when you need them again. The extra rows also allow you to better prioritize and visualize your tabs. Finding the right tab have never been easier! It is now guilt-free to be a tab-aholic!

Better Tab Management

Some more features of this extension include:

  • Restore up to 20 recently closed tabs
  • Marking tabs in different colors
  • Options to customize number of rows
  • Option to open tabs adjacent to your selected tab
  • Open all tabs of the same row in TooManyTabs

As an extra bonus, you can also pin your most visited tabs onto the TooManyTabs and access them anytime.  Also, pinned tabs will stay on the TooManyTabs row until you unpin them.  To learn more about the development of this Firefox extension be sure to check out their official web site, and if you are ready to give it a shot – you can pick it up on the Firefox Add-ons site.

Quickly Jump to Un-Linked Hyperlinks

You can file this one in the folder of annoying things you find on the Web.  Not to slip into Andy Rooney here, but don’t you hate it when you find a super long link you’d like to visit but it is not hyperlinked?  You have to copy, paste, open a new tab and then navigate to it.  It should be a simpler task to tackle and thankfully the Copy and Go extension for Firefox makes it an easy thing to do.

Copy and Go!

Here is what the developer of the extension has to say about Copy and Go:

With this add-on you just need to mark the link, and choose Copy and Go from the right click menu. The add-on will simply copy the marked text URL, and will open it on a new tab. That’s it!

This makes for a great addition to any Firefox installation you might have.  You can pick up Copy and Go on the Firefox Add-ons site.

GoogAzon – Product and Web Search Combined!

I love shopping with Amazon.  Now before you say how close-minded I am, let me remind you they allow a person to purchase a  JL421 Badonkadonk Land Cruiser Tank when they so desire.   If you too feel the love for Amazon and the goods they provide, try out GoogAzon

This is an experimental add-on for Firefox that will give you the top ten results in Amazon for every Google search you do.  See something you like?  Click the Amazon link it gives you.

GoogAzon in Action!

Check out the screencast of it in action here.  Use another search engine?  Don’t worry!  GoogAzon works with Yahoo or MSN Live searches too.  The last feature worth mentioning is the “share” link which allows you to e-mail to your friends (or yourself) with the results displayed.

Download, install and learn more about GoogAzon on it’s official web site or the Firefox Add-ons site.

Pros and Cons of Feedly Add-on for Firefox

whatsnew.part1 Is Feedly worth your time?  As a new type of article for Firefox Facts, I thought I would weigh in on both the pros and the cons of this add-on and give you my final thoughts on if it is a keeper or not.  Mind you – I am a very picky man.

If you believe the front page of Feedly.com, even Leo Laporte tweets, “My new favorite Firefox extension (and home page): Feedly.”.  I have heard about Feedly for a while now (from several sources), so I figured it was time I gave it a shot.  You can pick up the add-on for Firefox via the official Feedly web site or the Firefox Add-ons web site as well. 

The Install of Feedly

The toolbar icon for it is automatically  placed in your navigation toolbar, so I give it a click and it already has me signed in and has found my Google Reader account.  That is pretty cool.  Under social connections, it is asking me if I want to import Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Twitter or Friend Feed.  I handed it Twitter, then watched it work.  Ok, think this thing is up and running!

The Pros of Feedly

  • I like the fact it works with Google Reader and Twitter (the only two I tried) right off the bat, with no problems at all.

The Cons of Feedly

  • The ad box on the right of the web page layout is HUGE! (conveniently not shown in front page screenshot above).  Here is the huge ad in question.  You can click it to get the actual ad dimensions:

    feedly-huge-ad

  • The toolbar icon is ugly and has rough edges
  • I had to resize my browser to larger than 1024×768 to see the page correctly (without a horizontal scroll bar).  Should be a more flexible layout.

Final Thoughts on Feedly

I have to say, after spending a little ‘bit of time with Feedly, I just don’t get it.  Why do I need a Firefox extension for this?  Couldn’t they do it all as just a web site that imports things I plug into it?  Now I understand all the social aspects, but it just does not tickle my fancy.

Agree or disagree?  Let me know what you like about Feedly and maybe you might win me over.

New Firefox Add-ons Site Goes Live

I shared a preview of it with you a few weeks back, and it looks like the Mozilla team has flipped the switch on the new Firefox add-ons web site.  All your old favorite features are still there, the categories the search and the recommended extensions.  They are all just displayed in an updated and prettier fashion. 

New Firefox Add-ons Site

At first glance, it didn’t really give me any shock and awe feeling or emotion but after navigating around it for a while it is an improvement over the older styled web site.

So What is New to Love?

reviews-for-firefox-addonsThey have made the "review and rate" box easier to reach when checking out add-ons one by one, which will encourage more feedback to be given.  Also there are a few more related links on each add-on’s web page to give you that, "Well, if you like this then go check out that!" sort of feeling.

The larger search box at the top of all the pages is a welcome addition too.  Not only does it give it that Web 2.0 feeling but it is handy to have it bold and in my face when looking where to search for more extensions.  

Also when you are doing a search, you now have the option to "Add to Firefox" right from the search results.  You no longer have to search, pull up the addon’s profile, and then add it to your browser.  There are a lot of little things that just make this a really welcomed update I think for many Firefox users out there.

To get some more inside information about the back end of things be sure to check out Basil’s Bodacious Blog

New Look for Firefox Add-ons Site

Along with Firefox 3 , it looks like Mozilla will be giving a refresh to the Add-ons web site as well. Out of a one to ten score, I would give it myself a 8.5.

new-firefox-addons-site

I like it – but the middle seems unorganized some. Not sure if I am in love with it 100%. The far right column I think needs some color too.

new-firefox-addons-review

For the single review pages, I do like they added the comment and review box a little higher so it is more noticeable. I don’t know, still rubs me as a little “vanilla” though. Vanilla isn’t a bad thing though. What do you think, good change or bad? Get the preview here!

Finally Firing Up Firefox 3

I took the leap (actually would call it more of a hop) to try Firefox 3. I’ve done my best to say away but couldn’t do it any longer. Now is this going to turn Mozilla on it’s head or just be a little update nobody cares about?

Well, with style – you see more of the same. That isn’t always a bad thing though. Sure we all like flashy new interfaces, and Firefox 3 has optimized and changed a few things around. Firefox was never designed to be pretty (that is what themes are for). Firefox is optimized for getting things done. Continue Reading →