Advertising gone wrong: 23 poorly placed banner ads

Posted on August 12, 2009. Filed under: Internet | Tags: , |

By Adam Maras, Downloadsquad

Have you ever come across an advertisement on a web page that just made you think, “wow. That really shouldn’t be there.”? I’ve come across a few in my time, but it looks like the folks over at BuzzFeed have been running into them left and right; they’ve compiled a collection of 23 examples of web advertising gone bad.feet-ad

Their collection runs the gamut, having everything from an article linking coffee to heart attacks brandishing an ad from Folgers to Google providing “Are you a male virgin?” as a sponsored result to the search query “world of warcraft.” BuzzFeed’s commenters also provided a handful of user-submitted additions to the madness.

Also, if you’re interested in more advertising faux pas, BuzzFeed has compiled 15 examples of poorly-placed billboard advertisements.

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Fast forward to 4.0 with a new Firefox theme

Posted on August 11, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Tech News | Tags: , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad

Mozilla firefox

Not long ago a DeviantArt user put together a Firefox 3/3.5 theme based on Mozilla’s concept for Firefox 3.7. Want to go the extra .3 and jump ahead to version 4? Take a look at Strata40.

By using the them in conjunction with a few Firefox addons – All Glass, Personal Menu, Fission, Omnibar, and Stylish – and following some lengthy but simple instructions you’ll have yet another slick, futuristic look for your browser. The complete rundown is available on SpewBoy’s DevArt page. I didn’t adhere strictly to the 4.0 look (I added bookmarks and downloads buttons), but you’re free to tweak the layout to your liking.

As before, don’t forget to change the FF window title text using Titlebar Tweak or Nightly Tester Tools to make the illusion even more believable. You’ll need NTT anyway to get the theme working on Firefox 3.6, so you may as well have some fun with it.

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In The Pre-Chrome OS World, Google Optimizes Gmail For Netbooks

Posted on August 6, 2009. Filed under: Google, Internet, Tech News | Tags: , , , |

by MG Siegler, Tech crunch

Google is clearly enamored with the netbook space. We already know that it’s serving as an entry point for the new Chrome OS, but Google isn’t just going to sit around and wait for that, it’s starting to optimize its experience for netbooks already. labnolab

Tonight, Google has just released a small new feature in Gmail Labs so that users can optimize their email service for viewing on netbooks. It’s a small, but noteworthy setting as netbooks have become popular, yet most still run sites just as full-sized laptops would. Gmail’s engineers apparently had a problem with that, so they launched the new “Remove Labels from Subjects” feature.

Basically, this does exactly what it says, removes the labels that are normally in front of subject lines in Gmail. The idea is that this will save a lot of screen real estate, especially on netbooks.

While a lot has been said recently about the growing differences between Apple and Google, this attitude towards the netbook is as good of an example as any. While Apple has said time and time again that it isn’t interested in the netbook space (at least as it’s currently comprised), Google is clearly thinking about it a lot.

Google also notes that using its Chrome browser in full screen mode is a good solution for netbooks. That is, of course, until Chrome OS is released.

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Chrome’s New Feature: Click The UI Designer To Close The Window

Posted on August 5, 2009. Filed under: Google, Internet, Tech News | Tags: , , |

By MG Siegler, Tech crunch

This is just kind of odd. Look at the picture below. See the picture of some guy in place of the “X” button? Yeah, that’s this guy.

Apparently, one of Google’s Chrome UI designers, Glen Murphy, has inserted his face into the latest nightly build of Chrome. Specifically, this is the Linux build, which is meant for developers and testers (we haven’t been able to see it on the Mac or Windows versions).

Our tipster was pretty surprised when he downloaded the nightly build and saw a person’s face staring back at him, so he asked around on the Chromium irc channel, and found out it was Murphy (who you can see in a picture here from SXSW three years ago).

Apparently, the next update will remove Murphy’s face. Oh those Googlers, always messing around.

google chrome features

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Google Acquires Video Compression Technology Company On2 For $106 Million

Posted on August 5, 2009. Filed under: Google, Internet, Tech News | Tags: , , |

Google and On2 Technologies jointly announced today that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Google will acquire On2, a developer of video compression technology. The acquisition is expected to close later this year. On2 markets video compression technologies that power high-quality video in both desktop and mobile applications and devices and also holds a number of interesting patents.

on2Some of its codec designs are known as VP3, VP4, VP5, TrueMotion VP6, TrueMotion VP7 and VP8. Its customers include Adobe, Skype, Nokia, Infineon, Sun Microsystems, Mediatek, Sony, Brightcove, and Move Networks. On2, formerly known as The Duck Corporation, is headquartered in Clifton Park, NY.

Under the terms of the agreement, each outstanding share of On2 common stock will be converted into $0.60 worth of Google class A common stock in a stock-for-stock transaction. The transaction is valued at approximately $106.5 million.

According to the release, $0.60 per share represents a premium of approximately 57% over the closing price of On2’s common stock on the last trading day immediately prior to the announcement of the transaction, and a premium of approximately 62% over the average closing price of On2’s common stock for the six month period immediately prior to the announcement of the transaction.

Important to note is that On2 once had a market cap in excess of $1 billion at its peak, after going public on the American Stock Exchange in 1999 following a merger with Applied Capital Funding (which was already listed at the time). Before its entry on the public market, The Duck Corporation had raised $6.5M in venture capital funding from Edelson Technology Partners and Citigroup Ventures.

Back in 2001, On2 made waves by releasing their VP3 compression technology to the open-source community, including their patents on the technology. The technology lives on in the form of (Ogg) Theora. You can find more information about this here.

The agreement is subject to On2 stockholder approval, regulatory clearances and other closing conditions.

Google is reluctant to dive into specific regarding the product plans until after the deal closes, although it’s conceivably related to its immensely popular video service YouTube.

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Carbonite launches online backup for Mac

Posted on March 18, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Tech News | Tags: , , , |

By Brad Linder, Downloadsquad


Carbonite has been providing online backup services for PC users for years. This week the company launched a Mac client.

Here’s how it works. For $54.95 a year, Carbonite provides you with unlimited online storage space to backup all the important files on your computer. At regular intervals, the program will scan the folders you designate and copy any new or changed files to the server. If you’re using your internet connection to download files, watch online videos, or do other things, Carbonite will adjust its upload speeds so it doesn’t interfere with your other activities.

In the event that your computer crashes, or if you need to recover some files you accidentally deleted, you can use Carbonite’s tools to restore the data to your Mac.

Carbonite isn’t the first service to offer online backup for Mac users. Mozy also has a Mac client which offers up to 2GB of storage space for free, or unlimited storage for $4.95 per month (or $59.40 per year).

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Google’s got a new Chrome beta

Posted on March 18, 2009. Filed under: Google, Internet, Windows | Tags: , , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad

On the official Google Chrome blog a few hours ago, Google announced the release of a new beta version that falls somewhere in between the stable and developer branches.

Apart from the speed improvements in Google’s V8 javascript engine, several new features have been added. In addition to the drag-to-split side-by-side browsing feature demoed in the clip above, the new Webkit core includes autoscrolling, full page zoom, and form filling.

If you’re trying to get your hands on it, you may need to be patient. A number of Twitterers are having the same problem I encountered: The downloader application looks like it’s working, but the actual setup process never begins. The announcement only came a few hours ago and Chrome devotees are likely hammering the download servers, which may be partly responsible.

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Google Chrome on Linux progressing, screenshots inside

Posted on March 17, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Tech News | Tags: , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad


Ubuntu users (or users of a Ubuntu-based distro) who have been waiting patiently for the chance to play with Google Chrome, there’s now a dead simple way for you to do it. Thanks to the PPA (personal package archive) for Chromium daily builds team, getting the pre-alpha Chromium browser running on your system is about as painless as it can be at this stage.

You’ll need to add repositories, of course. They are (substitute jaunty or hardy if needed):

deb intrepid main
deb-src intrepid main

Once they’ve been added, running sudo apt-get install chromium-browser in a terminal window will take care of the rest. After the package has finished installing, just type chromium-browser [enter] to fire it up.

While it’s still in its early stages, Chromium on Linux runs as it does on Windows – fast and smooth. Some important features aren’t working yet, like the tab and bookmarks bars and options menu, but nearly everything else is. Incognito, history, download manager, and the new tab view are all functional, and every web page I tested rendered beautifully – and fast.

Check the gallery after the break for screenshots from my CrunchBang install.

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Opera 10 Alpha now includes Opera Turbo compression

Posted on March 15, 2009. Filed under: Internet | Tags: , , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad


Today on the official Opera blog the company announced the release of Turbo in the newest version 10 alpha build. Turbo is a server-side technology designed to compress data before sending it to your computer, resulting (hopefully) in a bandwidth savings and speed increase.

You’ll notice a few differences with turbo enabled, such as reduced quality on images and some missing content like Flash – which is supported but may not load unless you click on the element first. SSL-protected content does not get passed through the compression servers for obvious privacy and security reasons.

After giving it a try on my desktop, I found that several pages actually loaded more slowly, likely due to the additional processing by Opera’s servers. Using NetLimiter as suggested in the blog post, however, Turbo definitely improved Opera’s performance.

Turbo is an interesting feature to keep an eye on, especially if you find yourself dealing with constrained bandwidth from time to time.

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Pre browser looks mighty fast in Palm webcast

Posted on March 15, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Mobile World | Tags: , , |

By Darren Murph, Engadget


As it stands, the best shot you have at a “full” web browsing experiencing is with Apple’s iPhone. Granted, Opera Mini ain’t half bad, and Fennec (er, Mobile Firefox, holds a lot of promise, but it’s hard to argue with the sheer performance numbers associated with Safari. That said, it looks like Cupertino has its work cut out for it upon the release of Palm’s Pre. During a recent webcast, viewers were treated to a sneak peek at the Pre loading up Said site is pretty intensive to load, and even on WiFi it takes well over 20 seconds to completely pull up on Apple’s darling. The site took around eight seconds to finalize on the Pre, suggesting that it either has a wicked fast browser or caching abilities, both of which we could learn to appreciate. Hit the read link for a peek at the video, because — you know — seeing is believing.

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Firefox 3.1 beta 3 released

Posted on March 14, 2009. Filed under: Internet | Tags: , , , |

By Jay Hathaway, D ownloadsquad


Firefox 3.1b3 is out today, and the release notes list a few important improvements: faster Javascript with Tracemonkey, improvements to the new private browsing mode, faster rendering and native JSON support. Anecdotal evidence from folks on Twitter and some testing here on my MacBook says that 3.1b3 is noticeably faster than 3.1b2, but still not quite up to speed with Safari 4.

One small-but-welcome improvement in the latest beta is a much better looking “new tab” button in the default theme. I don’t know what they were thinking with that ugly plus-button all the way over on the right of the toolbar, but the new one looks more like a regular tab, and it sits near your existing tabs, where you’re likely to be clicking anyway. As usual, updating to a new Firefox beta will disable some of your plugins until they’re updated. You can force-enable them (at your own risk) with the Nightly Tester Tools add-on.

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Littleshoot Adds BitTorrent Capabilities to Any Browser

Posted on March 13, 2009. Filed under: Internet | Tags: , , |

By Janko Roettgers, Torrentfreak

Have you ever tried to explain BitTorrent to someone who has no clue about P2P? It’s challenging, isn’t it? Things that most of us take for granted really make no sense to users that aren’t all that tech-savvy. Don’t believe me? Just go to a site like Yahoo Answers – and be amazed by the number of people who just don’t understand why their Windows Media Player won’t play back this damn torrent file.

Sure, we could make fun of these people. Or we could help them with an easy way to download torrents without having to know about the pros and cons of enabling DHT in uTorrent. Littleshoot decided to try the latter approach with a new BitTorrent browser plug-in that is being unveiled today.

Littleshoot’s BitTorrent plug-in has been in the making for quite some time now. The company behind it was founded by the former Limewire developer Adam Fisk who initially set out to develop an application for sharing data within a circle of friends. Littleshoot eventually changed directions towards general purpose, browser-based P2P and finally launched last November, albeit without BitTorrent integration.

The plug-in’s first iteration looked a little like a solution that didn’t really know which problem it wanted to solve. Littleshoot offered Gnutella downloads through your browser as well as the capability of publishing data on a separate P2P network that is based on the open source SIP protocol. Both were great in theory, but people hardly shared any data via Littleshoot, and when it comes to media sharing Gnutella isn’t exactly the first choice anymore either.

Enter BitTorrent. Fisk teamed up with Julian Cain for this release, who previously developed the Mac torrent client BitRocket as well as Kazaa’s never-released OS X client and who has also been involved in a bunch of other P2P projects over the years. Their ambitious goal is to transform Littleshoot into something like the Flash player of the BitTorrent world. Install it once, then forget about it, and it will work with any content, on any site.

I’ve had a chance to test multiple builds of the client over the last couple of weeks, and I must say Littleshoot has come a long way towards achieving this goal. Install the client, visit any torrent site, click on a torrent download link – and Littleshoot starts do download the files in question right within your browser on a Web 2.0-ish download page. The client even automatically starts a Flash-based audio player if you download an MP3 file, and files can be easily forwarded through Twitter, Facebook and other social networks.


It also offers a search page that makes it possible to simultaneously search isoHunt, Youtube, Flickr, Yahoo Video and the Littleshoot P2P network, or any subset of these services. This search page may not be that useful to advanced users that prefer sites other than Isohunt, but again, it’s a great feature for beginners.

Littleshoot doesn’t come with any configurable options at this time. All data is saved in a default download directory, and the client seeds files indefinitely. However, Fisk told me that future versions of Littleshoot will offer the option to shut down the client after a certain ratio is reached. The current download page already offers details about your ratio as well as your up-and download rates. Speaking of future changes: Littleshoot is still clearly in beta stage. The Windows version seemed especially rocky in earlier builds that I got to test, but most things seem to be working when it comes to the final version that has been made available today.

So what’s the final verdict? Littleshoot may still have some room for improvement, but it’s definitely promising. Not only because this is the first BitTorrent client your mom will be able to use, but also because the Littleshoot team definitely has its eyes set on bigger goals.

One of the plans for future releases is an SDK that will make it possible for website owners to offload the distribution of any file to Littleshoot. Just drop a few lines of Javascript in your blog, and your MP3 file will be available as a P2P download. Says Fisk: “If a site relies on P2P services, they’ll display an “install plugin” window, just like the user sees when they don’t have Flash on sites that require it.” Kinda makes you wonder how long it will take for a torrent site to integrate something like this for all of its files.

The new version of Littleshoot is currently available on this beta page and will launch on the Littleshoot home page later today.

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Google Reader adds comments, risks wrath of web publishers

Posted on March 13, 2009. Filed under: Google, Internet | Tags: , , |

By Brad Linder, Downloadsquad


Google Reader has added a new feature that makes reading RSS feeds a more social experience: You can leave comments on other users’ shared items. In other words, if your friend clicks the share button next to a blog post or news item in Google Reader, it will show up in your Friends’ shared items section along with any comment they’ve left. Now you can also comment on their comment. If multiple friends have shared the same item, you’ll see multiple conversations.

All told, the feature looks and feels a lot like FriendFeed. But there’s one major difference: Google Reader displays the full text of any articles that make their full length items available via RSS. So if your’e someone who only clicks through to articles you’ve read in your RSS reader to see what comments other people have left, this new feature could keep you from ever clicking through to the original web site. And that might be fine for you, the reader. But web publishers who rely on advertising might not be nearly as happy about this development.

Right now Google doesn’t import comments from blogs, so there’s still original content on the original web site. But there’s also currently no way for blogs or other web sites to import comments from Google Reader, as they can from FriendFeed. That may change in the future.

What do you think? Are you likely to use the new commenting system? Would you rather use FriendFeed? Or do you just visit web sites when you want to read and participate in the comments?

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Questionable Microsoft Chart proclaims IE8 is the fastest browser

Posted on March 12, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Microsoft | Tags: , , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad

There have been a lot of speed claims lately when it comes to web browsers – when Apple released Safari 4, I put half a dozen options through the paces to see who came out on top. IE8 didn’t appear in my chart, because it handled the benchmarks so badly that I canceled them before its javascript engine seized up completely and cracked the block.shinola

“Hey, wait just a gosh darn minute!” shouts Microsoft. “We ran our own tests, and they showed that our browser is the fastest!” On a related note, I’ve done my own testing that conclusively proves that I am, in fact, the all time leading goal scorer for the Detroit Red Wings. Sorry, Gordie Howe!

But really. Come on, Microsoft, are we supposed to take this seriously or is this some halfhearted attempt at humor like the recent news about Firefox conquering one entire continent (Antarctica)?

Put simply, IE8 is a dog. What kind of dog? A very slow, old dog. Though apparently one that manages to squeak out enough decent load times on a particular bunch of websites for Microsoft to sneak a chart in at the end of a 14-page report showing it to be the browser speed king.

Let’s take a look at the sites Microsoft chose to include in the report: Google, Yahoo, AOL, Facebook, Ask, Mozilla, Blogger. None of these are really giving the browsers a workout, espsecially if it’s only the landing pages that were being tested. How much time do you spend on Facebook’s intial page when you visit? Barely any, I’ll wager. It’s just not a compelling way to measure how fast a browser is or isn’t.

Try it yourself and give your browser a challenge. Send it to a more intense site like Compfight or, and the difference is obvious: IE8 is simply outmatched when it comes to the heavy lifting.

There are things that IE8 does well, and Microsoft should be emphasizing them better – rather than pointing to internal tests and singing drunken choruses of We are the Champions.

I’m sorry, Microsoft, but I can tell the difference between shine-ola and the other stuff, and I think our readers can, too. If you’d like a bigger whiff of the report, you’ll find it in the MS Download Center.

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The Periodic Table of Typefaces

Posted on March 12, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Tech News | Tags: , , |

By Brad Linder, Downloadsquad


OK, look. I can think of a thousand better ways to organize fonts than by creating a spoof of the Periodic Table of Elements. But none of them are quite as cool.

The Periodic Table of Typefaces covers a number of major fonts and includes information about the family and classification of each, the designer, the year the font was designed, and a ranking as cribbed from a number of internet sources.

The table might not be quite as entertaining as College Humor’s Font Conference. But if you’re a font wh… enthusiast, it’s still pretty fun to look at. Click the image to see the full sized table.

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Wednesday giveaway: Comodo Internet Security Pro

Posted on March 11, 2009. Filed under: Internet | Tags: |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad


I took Comodo’s free Internet Security suite for a test drive when they released it last year, and was pleased with how it performed. The company has been a respected provider of firewall protection for years, so it was nice to see them develop a more complete desktop security solution. The free version is packed with great features, and is an excellent free antivirus/firewall/HIP product for Windows PCs.

Thanks to the good folks at Comodo, ten lucky commenters will get their hands on a product key for the Professional version.

Curious about what sets Pro apart from the free version? For starters, you’ll be eligible for live 24-7, “remote hands-on” tech support. Our regular readers are all pretty tech savy and may not need this, but maybe there’s a relative or two on your support list that might appreciate it? That way, you both get a prize – less phone calls for you, and CIS Pro for them!

You’ll also get access to Comodo’s TrustConnect service, which provides you a trusted VPN connection that’s available everywhere – even on your iPhone or iPod Touch. It’s a nice layer of protection to have available when you’re stuck using untrusted wireless access on the road.

To enter, just leave a comment on this post before the clock strikes midnight EST on Sunday, March 15th. We’ll announce the winners on Monday the 16th.

This contest is open to legal residents of the United States only. Foreign DS readers, fear not! We’ve got more giveaways coming up for other great apps that you’ll be able to participate in!

• Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia who are 18 and older.
• To enter leave a comment on this post.
• The comment must be left before March 15, 11:59PM Eastern Time.
• You may enter only once.
• Ten winners will be selected in a random drawing.
• Prize: Key code for one year of Comodo Internet Security Pro (US$39).
Click Here for complete Official Rules.

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Firefox Has Got a 100% Market Share…In Antarctica

Posted on March 10, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Software World, Tech News | Tags: , , |

By Stan Schroeder,

firefoxlogoAnd they say it’s hard to conquer the browser market. Despite Microsoft’s global domination, there are some places where Firefox is a vastly dominant browser. One of them is Antarctica; according to StatCounter’s recently added feature, GlobalStats, in 2009, only one browser was used there.

I’m guessing the data comes from one user – and he’s using Firefox.

Don’t believe me? Check out the graph below. If you go a bit further back in time, you’ll find that Internet Explorer also came on top at times, perhaps because of those pesky Windows Updates. But, this year, it’s all about open source, baby!


Looking at the operating systems used, Windows 2003 stands at 80 percent, with Windows XP holding the other 20 percent. Unsurprisingly, Google is the only search engine used. As far as the mobile browser market is concerned, Antarctica is still virgin territory. So, if you have an iPhone, and you don’t mind the coldish weather…

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LiveSlices showcases useful web slices for IE8

Posted on March 8, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Windows | Tags: , , |

By Lee Mathews,


One things I would have liked to include in Pimp Your IE8 was bigger list of webslices, but the collection at the Microsoft addon site isn’t all that impressive. The crew at LiveSlices, on the other hand, has put together several that are well worth installing.

Among their listings are slices for CNN headlines, Google News, new Flickr uploads, a slice for viewing Twitter updates, and one for unread GMail messages. The Twitter update slice is perhaps the best executed, though it only updates every 15 minutes – likely not often enough for hardcore users, but you’re probably 1) using a Twitter client and 2) not running IE8 as your primary browser anyway. The Flickr slices work nicely as well, and provide instant eye candy right in your bookmarks bar.

Create an account on the site, and your settings can be stored for speedy re-install if you have to reformat your machine or remove and reinstall IE8.

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Mozilla rethinks the behavior of new browser tabs

Posted on March 7, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Software World | Tags: , , |

By Brad Linder,


A few months ago Mozilla embarked on a quest to determine a way to make new browser tabs more useful. Right now, when you open a new tab in Firefox you get a blank page. Compare that with Google Chrome, Safari, or Opera, which show you a list of shortcuts to your bookmarked or frequently visited pages.

Today Mozilla’s Aza Raskin shared some of the team’s conclusions, based on user feedback. Basically, most of the time when you open a new tab it’s because you’re going to load a web page or conduct a search. The image above shows a screen that tries to help you accomplish these things without getting in your way or requiring much user interaction.

Along the right side of the window you’ll find a list of frequently visited web sites. The list is generated automatically, much like the shortcuts that pop up when you launch a new tab in Google Chrome. So there’s nothing too new there. But the cooler stuff takes place on the left side of the screen.

When you open a new tab to start a search, there’s a decent chance that you’ve highlighted and copied some text from another tab. So if you’ve already copied some text to your clipboard, you should be able to conduct a search in the new tab with a single click. Ultimately this action would be tied to your default search engine. Likewise, if you’ve selected URL, you’ll be able to open it in a new tab with a single click.

You can take this new tab feature for a spin by installing the latest development build of Firefox 3.1 and then installing the New Tab proptype plugin.

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California targets internet maps, seeks blurry buildings

Posted on March 5, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Tech News | Tags: , , , |

By Brad Linder –


California lawmakers are considering legislation that would require online mapping services from companies including Google, Microsoft, and AOL to blur details of public buildings like schools, churches, hospitals, and government buildings.

The goal is to prevent terrorists from being able to obtain detailed images of buildings and surrounding areas by using Google Earth. But it’s not like a terrorist or an amateur photographer couldn’t just stand in front of these public buildings and snap their own photos, or use pictures already posed on internet photo sharing services like Flickr and Picasa.

Some companies have already taken steps to blur or remove sensitive information including detailed photos of military bases or pictures of shelters for abused women.

It’s not clear if and when the California bill will come up for debate in the state Assembly. Just because a lawmaker introduces a bill doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going anywhere anytime soon.

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EU! Internet Explorer now uninstallable in Windows 7

Posted on March 5, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Tech News, Windows | Tags: , , |

By Lee Mathews –

windows-7While it’s not likely to placate those who are out for browser blood, Microsoft has taken steps toward pacifying the European Union in the latest RC builds of Windows 7.

As you can see in the updated Windows Features screen captured by AeroXperience, Internet Explorer 8 can now be removed just like Tablet PC support or Chess Titans. Unlike older versions of Windows where stripping IE with a tool like NLite usually caused some kind of headache down the road, Windows 7 appears to plug along just fine after removing the executable.
What the ultimate solution will look like remains to be seen. Some outlets still like to suggest that Microsoft would actually have to ship Windows with other browsers pre-installed, though a more likely solution would be to offer alternatives for download – for example, through links on the welcome screen.

It’s also good news for Google, who have been sweet talking OEMs since late last year in attempts to bundle their browser on new laptop and desktop PCs.

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Xenocode lets you run Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer from a flash drive

Posted on March 4, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Software World, Tech News | Tags: , , , , , |

By Brad Linder


There have been portable versions of web browsers including Firefox, Google Chrome, and Opera that you can run from a USB flash drive for a while. Basically these apps let you store your data to the flash drive allowing you to run these apps on Windows without installing anything or writing any data to the Windows registry.

Xenocode takes a different approach. And it works with other applications including Safari, Internet Explorer, and other desktop and web-based apps like Google Talk, Gimp, and Adobe Reader. That’s because Xenocode employs virtualization techniques that detache an app from the operating system it normally runs on. Xenocode apps can be run from a web browser if they’re deployed online. Or you can download a single executable file for some apps and run them from your hard drive or a USB flash drive.

Some of the web browsers are a bit on the old side. The version of Google Chrome available for download is out of date, and Xencode offers an executable version of Safari 3.2.1, not the newer and much cooler Safari 4 beta. But if you’re looking for a way to try out a browser or another app without installing it first, Xenocode is worth checking out.

Source: downloadsquad

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Flock Ditching Firefox, Moving To Google Chrome

Posted on March 3, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Tech News | Tags: , , , |

By Michael Arrington

flocklogonewFlock, a social-focused browser startup that has raised nearly $30 million in venture funding, has ceased building on top of the open source Firefox browser, say multiple sources. The next version of the Flock browser will be built on Google’s open source Chrome browser platform. The last version of Flock was released in October 2008.

Flock first launched in October 2005 and has had 6 million or so downloads. But it still has less market share than even Netscape, which was discontinued over a year ago.

In the past Flock has said all it needs is a few tens of millions of users to score big dollars from the search engines (each active user generates $5 or so in search engine revenue). But after three years of trying, Flock hasn’t been able to achieve more than a fraction of that number of users.

As to why Flock is leaving Mozilla: sources say that they’ve become frustrated with Mozilla’s lack of attention to Flock’s needs. One source says Flock felt like the “red headed step child of the Mozilla development community.” Sources are also saying that Flock feels that Google Chrome is far easier to work with than Firefox.

One problem is that Chrome isn’t yet cross-platform and works only on Windows machines. But Google is actively working on Mac and Linux versions of Chrome and should release them in the next few months. Right about the time the next version of Flock is released.

Flock hasn’t yet returned a request for comment on this story.

Update: Flock CEO Shawn Hardin responds in the comments:Mike,I was responding to your email from only a few hours ago when I saw your article. It’s important to clarify a couple of things. We haven’t ceased development efforts on the Mozilla platform. Our upcoming release of Flock 2.1 is built on the Mozilla platform. Having said that, the browser space is heating up, and we’ve seen a variety of exciting technologies emerge over the last several months that are appealing.We always have and will continue to make architectural decisions that balance what’s best for our users and what’s best for Flock as a business. This has resulted in a healthy, growing user base and business for Flock, and we expect this to continue in 2009. In fact, with over seven million downloads almost entirely from word of mouth, Flock enjoys a highly satisfied user base with consistently over 92% customer satisfaction, very strong net promoter scores, and an average of four hours of usage per day.With a continuing focus on user-centered browser innovation, our team is in active research and development on a range of exciting new enhancements to Flock. It is still far too early to comment on anything specific, but we are very excited about this design phase…

Source: techcrunch

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Foxmarks bookmark sync service becomes Xmarks

Posted on March 3, 2009. Filed under: Internet |

By Brad Linder


Foxmarks was a service that let you sync your Firefox bookmarks across multiple computers. But then last month Foxmarks did something silly: The company added support for Internet Explorer and Safari bookmark synchronization, which made the Foxmarks brand obsolete.

Today, the team has remedied the situation by rebranding itself as Xmarks.

Xmarks is also launching a new web portal which makes use of some of the data the company has been collecting over the last few years. For example, you can type any URL into a search bar at to find information about a web site as well as similar web sites.

There’s also a new “smarter search” feature” that adds information to Google search results. An icon pops up next to results that are heavily bookmarked by other users. And if you scroll your mouse over that icon you can find more information about the site. Or if you’d prefer to just use Xmarks to synchronize your bookmarks, you can turn off the smarter search feature.

Source: downloadsquad

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