Meebo released its Firefox extension earlier this morning. It lets you chat with people on six different popular chat clients, or sign in to all at once with your Meebo ID using a sidebar in your browser. The 64k extension is aimed at solving the problem of providing active notifications for friends and conversation activity--one of the most widely requested features from Meebo users, and the hardest to implement without something that has deeper access to your browser. If you've ever used Meebo before and have been annoyed that you can't tell a whole lot about what's … Read more
What do you get when you cross a Firefox with a chameleon?
An open-source Web browser whose user interface is adapted to the look of the operating system it's running on. One change planned for the upcoming Firefox version 3, code-named Gran Paradiso, is this more native appearance.
"The Web browser is an incredibly central piece of the user's operating system, and we don't want the user's initial reaction to be that they have modified their computer to add some type of strange, foreign application," said Mozilla interface designer Alex Faaborg in a blog posting last week. &… Read more
Do you consider yourself to be a privacy aware Internet user? Are you concerned about your security online?
You've installed antivirus and spyware software, which you also keep updated. You regularly update your operating system for any security patches. You have a firewall on your home computer and have locked down your home wireless network with a WPA2 password. Most importantly, you've ditched Internet Explorer and jumped on the Firefox bandwagon.
Your job is done, right? Think again.
While installing Firefox (and not using IE) is one of the most important steps users can take towards a safe online experience, Firefox is (alas) not totally safe out of the box. Luckily, Firefox provides a very flexible framework for open-source programmers and commercial vendors to create their own software add-ons for the browser. A number of these software extensions fix critical design flaws in Firefox--or simply improve transparency so that users have a better idea of where they are and which sites they're interacting with. I've selected a few of the best ones, which I highlight below.
Mozilla's WebRunner is a single-serving version of Firefox that strips away all the bells and whistles. There's no Web surfing to be done with this lightweight tool. Menus, extensions, themes, toolbars, and navigation have all been excised, like a sculptor cutting away excess marble.
What you're left with is a Site Specific Browser for Windows, Mac, or Linux that uses bookmark files with the WEBAPP extension. The installer configures these files to open in WebRunner, but there's no "launch program" icon or option. You just double-click on a WEBAPP file you've downloaded or created, and off you go, ready to get to work without getting distracted by the temptation to surf anywhere else.
If you're tired of waiting for Google to make some much-needed improvements to Gmail, Better Gmail has been adding useful functionality to the e-mail client since earlier this year. An update earlier this month finally gave Gmail what users have been clamoring for: integration with Google Reader.
Written by Lifehacker editor Gina Trapani, the extension is basically a collection of her favorite Greasemonkey scripts. It does more than just slap your feeds onto the bottom of your in-box, though. It adds a Collapse/Expand Gmail link to the top-left nav, just under the Compose link. This hides your e-mail and pulls the Reader up to the top, and swtiches to Expand when the in-box is hidden. It also adds a control panel to central left nav for managing your feeds, a neat work-around so that you can collapse the Reader's built-in navigation. The Reader pane is collapsible, too, so you can hide the perpetual distraction of feeds from the perpetual distraction of e-mail.
We don't often give a lot of attention to WordPress (for Windows or Mac), Movable Type and other self-publishing blogging systems. They often require a bit more determination than merely creating a Blogger or Livejournal username, password, and some pithy-kitschy title to show the world how witty you truly are.
WordPress has two very strong aspects: The installation really does take about 5 minutes, and it's highly customizable with plug-ins that absolve the user of having to be a CSS expert. OneClick is a two-part plug-in for WordPress and Firefox that simplifies the plug-in experience even further.
Finally! Years ago, Mozilla looked at doing a mobile web browser (dubbed "Minimo"). I was very hopeful at the time, but nothing came of the effort. Today, however, I saw news that Mozilla is at it again. With mobile booming, it's not a moment too soon.
Given the state of mobile browsers - they all stink in my experience - the timing is perfect.
As Mozilla continues to develop Mozilla2, the second version of the platform on which Firefox is built, it will add mobile devices as a category. That means developers of Mozilla2, which is expected to be complete in early 2009, will keep mobile phones in mind as they build the new platform....… Read more
I just got a chance to try out a Webware PC: a computer built around the new P5E3 Deluxe/WiFi-AP motherboard from Asus. What makes this motherboard be hardware for Webware is that it has a Firefox Web browser (running on an embedded Linux operating system) burned into ROM. It also has Skype. You turn it on, and in fifteen seconds (I timed it), you can be in Firefox and surfing the Web.
You can also boot it into Windows, or whatever OS you have installed on the hard disk. Boring.
This built-in browser has a lot of great things but some drawbacks too.
In the plus category: This alternate operating system, provided by DeviceVM to Asus, is fast and convenient. There's no giant OS to boot before you get into your browser, which is a slimmed-down version of Firefox, not some weird, quasibrowser that doesn't do what you want. There's a Flash plug-in installed so most modern sites render properly. Flash videos play just fine. The system saves all your settings (including bookmarks) in memory, so you don't have to start from scratch every time you fire it up.
The P5E3 motherboard has nearly everything built in that you'll need. Connecting to a network--wired or WiFi--is fast and easy. Skype has access to the board's audio in and out ports.
Because the DeviceVM platform doesn't have access to the hard disks connected to the motherboard, the system is very secure. So if, say, guests wants to use your PC to check their Web mail, you can boot them into the ExpressGate environment (that's what Asus calls it) and not worry about them junking up your PC. You might want to clear your private data from the Firefox cache first, though.
And this motherboard is "green," at least in theory. Many people leave their PCs on all the time, because launching a browser from a cold PC can take several minutes. With this setup, you can turn off the PC when you're done browsing, and when you need to get back online, you can be there in seconds.
Should you get one of these motherboards just for its ExpressGate feature, though?
The iPhone isn't a true mobile computer yet, but it's on the right track, according to a Mozilla executive.
"Getting a no-compromise web experience on devices requires significant memory (>=64MB) as well as significant CPU horsepower. High end devices today are just approaching these requirements and will be commonplace soon," wrote Mike Schroepfer, vice president of engineering at Mozilla, in a blog post Tuesday, implying that while the iPhone and its current competitors don't quite have what it takes under the hood to be full-fledged mobile computers, we're not all that far away. … Read more
I really like this article that discusses 10 ways to make open-source software easier to use/more humane. Here are a few of the 10 (I'll leave you to the read the rest, all of which are insightful):Get a Benevolent Dictator Someone who has a vision for the UI. Someone who can and will say "no" to features that don't fit the vision.… Read more