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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Firefox 3.1 beta 3 released

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

By Jay Hathaway, D ownloadsquad

firefox3

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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Mozilla rethinks the behavior of new browser tabs

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

By Brad Linder, Downloadsquad.com

mozilla-new-tab

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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Flock still undecided on switch to Chrome

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

By Jay Hathaway -Downloadsquad.com

flockchromerumorTechCrunch is at it again, posting things about companies that the companies themselves aren’t even aware of. This time, it was a report that the popular social browser Flock, which is currently built on Firefox, is switching to Chrome. Not so fast, Flock says. TechCrunch updated their post with this comment from Flock CEO Shawn Hardin: “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.”

A friend at Flock tells me that no final decisions have been made about Chrome. It looks like Flock’s CEO isn’t being dodgy when he says it’s too early to comment; they really haven’t made the final call yet. If Flock makes a decision, we’ll be sure to let you know. For now, any speculation is just jumping the gun.

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Mozilla demos impressive Firefox 3.1 features at SCALE

Posted on February 24, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Software World, Tech News | Tags: , , , |

By Ryan Paul

Mozilla evangelist Chris Blizzard demonstrated the latest innovations in standards-based Web development technology during a presentation at the Southern California Linux Expo.

During a presentation on Saturday at the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE), Mozilla evangelist Chris Blizzard discussed some of new features that will be included in the next version of the Firefox Web browser. He demonstrated how several emerging standards-based Web technologies can be used together to produce impressively sophisticated Web applications.blizzard

The Firefox Web browser got a massive overhaul for version 3 with a multitude of significant improvements and useful new features. Mozilla is currently preparing to ship Firefox 3.1, an incremental release that builds on the strengths of 3.0 and delivers valuable enhancements for Web developers. Some of the experimental new capabilities that are going to be introduced in 3.1 could someday redefine the way that Web applications are used and designed.

Web applications are increasingly adopting JSON as a format for data interchange instead of conventional XML. Because JSON is syntactically identical to conventional JavaScript data structures, Web developers often parse it with the eval function. This approach is plagued with security problems and also suffers from mediocre performance.

Firefox 3.1 will include a native JSON parser that can be used by Web applications instead of eval. Preliminary testing has indicated that the native JSON parser in Firefox delivers significant performance gains. This feature could soon be broadly used by Web application developers because Microsoft intends to include its own fully compatible implementation in Internet Explorer 8.

Another impressive feature that Web application developers will be able to take advantage of in Firefox 3.1 is support for worker threads, which provide support for concurrent execution in JavaScript. Worker threads will make it possible to perform complex computations in the background, so that the browser and Web application don’t hang or become unresponsive.

The HTML 5 video element will also arrive in Firefox 3.1. This will allow video content to be embedded directly in Web pages, controlled with JavaScript, and manipulated through the DOM. It’s a major step forward for rich media content on the Web. Firefox 3.1 will ship with built-in support for the Ogg Vorbis and Theora formats—open audio and video codecs that are believed to be unencumbered by patents. The actual codec implementations are integrated directly into the browser itself, so content in those formats will be playable without requiring any external components or plugins.

Blizzard says that Mozilla aims to encourage an explosion of creativity around video that will mirror the kind of uninhibited innovation that has flourished in the Web’s inclusive standards-base ecosystem. Mozilla is actively contributing funding to Ogg development efforts to help accelerate the process. He says that Theora, which is used by Wikipedia, has the potential to achieve quality comparable to MPEG4. High definition video, however, will require the Dirac format, which could eventually be included in future versions of Firefox when it matures.

To illuminate the possibilities that are unlocked by these new features, Blizzard showed several technical demos. One of the demos used the HTML 5 video element to display a space shuttle launch. As the video played, JavaScript code running on the page used the video time index to retrieve launch data from a JavaScript array and draw graphs that show the shuttle’s speed and altitude increasing during the launch. You can check out the demo yourself, if you are running a Firefox nightly build.

The most impressive demo that he showed during his presentation used JavaScript in worker threads to programmatically detect motion in a playing video. This one has to be seen to be believed:

The presentation also discussed several other new features, including SVG filters for HTML, cross-site XMLHttpRequest, DNS prefetching, and embedded font support. For a complete overview of the presentation and some instructive source code examples, you can read Blizzard’s slides, which are available from his personal blog.

Source: arstechnica

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Mozilla And Skype Back EFF On iPhone Jailbreaking DMCA Exemption Request

Posted on February 19, 2009. Filed under: iPhone, Skype, Software World | Tags: , , , , |

by Robin Wauters

In a filing with the US Copyright Office, both Skype and Mozilla have expressed their support to a request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) for an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act related to iPhone jailbreaking, says AppleInsider. This exemption would take away Apple’s ability to charge groups with DMCA violations for circumventing the iPhone’s security by modifying Apple’s internal software.iPhone-Jailbreak

VoIP service provider Skype has backed the EFF’s exemption request, claiming that “copyright law should not interfere with a user using his or her phone to run Skype and enjoy the benefits of low- or no-cost long-distance and international calling.”

AppleInsider correctly points out that VoIP apps are in fact allowed on the iPhone, as long as they use Wi-Fi.

Mozilla CEO John Lilly, in turn, said he doubted “Mozilla would venture into the iPhone even if the Copyright Office grants the DMCA exemption over jailbreaking”, stating that the iPhone SDK agreements clearly show its Firefox runtime is not welcome on the device in a recent interview with ComputerWorld. Note that Mozilla is developing its own mobile browser (Fennec) at the moment, which will compete against mobile browsers based on WebKit, including Apple’s Mobile Safari.

Apple’s fillings say the EFF’s exemption request is uncalled for, as the DMCA already has provisions that allow circumvention to enable interoperability (which is the EFF’s prime reason for the exemption request). It also claims the EFF is trying to use the courts to attack its unique business model, and that the EFF does not present any evidence to back up its claims that decriminalizing jailbreaking would result in increased innovation.

In response, EFF’s Fred von Lohman says Apple’s argument against the exemption are “FUD,” “corporate paternalism,” and “absurdity.”

Source: techcrunch

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