As part of the process of converting the Jetpack project from a small Mozilla Labs effort building experimental prototypes to a full-scale Mozilla project making real products, project participants have begun to blog about releases, conferences, etc. in the Mozilla Add-ons Blog. Check out that blog for the latest news about the project!

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Xmarks Discontinued

Well, it is a sad day in Firefox Extension Land because Xmarks has announced it will be biting the dust soon.  The cross browser bookmark syncing tool will shut down service January 10, 2011.  I am sad to see Xmarks become another failed experiment for the Web, but hopefully the great minds and people behind the product will move on to bigger and better things.

It is totally understandable to have to give things up if the money is not there.  Believe me, I know it is hard to be profitable out there – as the only money I make on my projects is though my website advertisements.  However, even though I have thousands of readers, ad clicks aren’t really making it easy to quit my day job (even if I wanted to). Maybe this will serve as a reminder that it is hard for good things to remain free, and if you enjoy using a product – you should look for ways to give back to the development of the product.

One thing is for certain, the world of bookmark syncing has to thank Xmarks for paving the way.  For Firefox users, Firefox Sync will soon be your built in replacement for the Xmarks-like bookmark syncing. 

Todd Agulnick, the Co-Founder of Xmarks sums things up nicely here:

I’d like to thank our investors, who stuck with us through uncertain times; my colleagues, who toiled long hours in search of a scalable business; our localizers, who made Xmarks available in 33 languages; and our users, for their unstinting support and willingness to tell us quickly and candidly when we misstepped. You will all be missed.

So long Xmarks – you will be missed!

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© Mitch Keeler 2010 | Check out my personal blog and my hosting podcast too!

 



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One thing that has been requested over the years from Thunderbird users is the ability to mute an individual email thread, so that once you’ve decided you don’t care about a particular conversation, you don’t have to wade through more messages in it as they continue to arrive.

A Prototype

In order to provide relief to folks who don’t mind using something with rough edges, as well as to give interested developers a place to experiment, we’ve created a Mute Thread add-on prototype.

Mute Thread currently adds Ignore Thread and Ignore Sub-Thread menu entries to the Message menu for email messages, like Thunderbird already does with newsgroup messages.

Threads that have been ignored in the past can be reviewed using the View > Threads > Ignored Threads menu option.

What’s Next

We have ideas about how Mute Thread’s user-experience could evolve to be significantly better. But for that to happen, Mute Thread needs a developer or two to lead that charge. If you think this might be you, please let us know!

For installation, more information and a screen cast explaining the add-on, check out the Mute Thread project page.

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Edit Form History

Ever needed to search through, correct or delete the entries that are saved to the form history inside of Firefox?  With Firefox alone, this can not be done. If you download the add-on Form History Control – then you will be optimizing your saved form history in no time at all.

If you don’t clear your browser’s recent history religiously, you might have noticed that you have several entries to choose from when you start to type inside of a text form.

Search Form History

The Form History Control add-on for Firefox gives you the ability to do all kinds of neat things with this information.  You can sort the list of form history.  You can filter (by selecting one of the filters) to slim down the list of forms you are checking into.  You can edit past phrases that have been saved, to correct them for spelling or grammar too.  The best tool included with Form History Control might be the cleanup option.  This will automate the removal of form history.

The history of specific form fields can easily be managed by right clicking in the form you wish to manage.  You can then select to delete the complete history for that specific form, delete the current value you have selected or go in and manage the entries for this one form.

You can pick up the Form History Control add-on from the Firefox Add-ons website.

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© Mitch Keeler 2010 | Check out my personal blog and my hosting podcast too!

 



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Edit Form History

Ever needed to search through, correct or delete the entries that are saved to the form history inside of Firefox?  With Firefox alone, this can not be done. If you download the add-on Form History Control – then you will be optimizing your saved form history in no time at all.

If you don’t clear your browser’s recent history religiously, you might have noticed that you have several entries to choose from when you start to type inside of a text form.

Search Form History

The Form History Control add-on for Firefox gives you the ability to do all kinds of neat things with this information.  You can sort the list of form history.  You can filter (by selecting one of the filters) to slim down the list of forms you are checking into.  You can edit past phrases that have been saved, to correct them for spelling or grammar too.  The best tool included with Form History Control might be the cleanup option.  This will automate the removal of form history.

The history of specific form fields can easily be managed by right clicking in the form you wish to manage.  You can then select to delete the complete history for that specific form, delete the current value you have selected or go in and manage the entries for this one form.

You can pick up the Form History Control add-on from the Firefox Add-ons website.

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© Mitch Keeler 2010 | Check out my personal blog and my hosting podcast too!

 



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Disable Session Restore in Firefox

Due to privacy concerns, some Firefox users may wish to disable or turn off the session restore feature in Firefox. As an example, if your computer is used by multiple users, the browser could crash while you are checking your Gmail account.  Rather than restoring Firefox, you decide to go do something else.  When somebody else comes in to launch Firefox, the browser will be restored to your inbox (due to fact that is where it crashed).  If you want a little more browsing privacy, here is how you disable the session restore feature in the browser.

First thing you will need to do is visit our old friend, the about:config screen.  In the address bar, type in:

  • about:config

and then press the "Enter" key.  If you are warned about the fact that you can really mess Firefox up if you muck around inside of about:config, just go ahead and click "I’ll be careful, I promise!" and continue.

Now, find browser.sessionstore.resume_from_crash in the list.  You will want to double-click that entry, and then set it to false.  Session restore inside of Firefox will now be disabled.

Here is what Mozilla has to say about the privacy issues that might exist:

Session Restore may keep you logged in to sites that you were logged into before you closed Firefox. If someone else used your computer after you, they could access your account on these sites. If this is a concern then you should not configure Firefox to open all windows and tabs from your previous session ("Show my windows and tabs from last time" option described above).

I would not consider this a huge privacy problem, but if it is something you are concerned about – it is nice to know Firefox left the option open for you.

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© Mitch Keeler 2010 | Check out my personal blog and my hosting podcast too!

 



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Since Mozilla Labs launched the Concept Series with an open call for participation we’ve had thousands of people join in, share ideas and develop concepts around Firefox, the Mozilla projects and the Open Web as a whole.

In response to our open call Billy May, in early 2009, produced a throw-away concept for an “Open Web Concept Phone”. Working directly off of that community feedback, Billy has since finished the exploration with his concept “Seabird”.

The following write-up is by Billy May and explores what an Open Web phone might look like:

Concept Series: Seabird

Also available in 3D on YouTube (cross-eyed/red-cyan/etc):

Overview

The Mozilla Seabird, part of the Mozilla Labs’ Concept Series, is an experiment in how users might interact with their mobile content as devices and technology advances. Drawing on insights culled from the Mozilla community through the project’s blog, a focus quickly developed around frustrating physical interactions. While mobile CPUs, connectivity and development platforms begin approaching that of desktops, the lagging ability to efficiently input information has grown ever more pronounced.

Seabird Concept 1

Interaction

The Seabird, then, introduces a few possibilities into how user interaction might evolve with the advancing motion capture and projector driven innovation in the market. First out, the Seabird imagines how a multiple use dongle might augment the crowded gestural interface with greater precision and direct manipulation of content in 3D space.

Seabird Concept 2

Pico Projector

With mobile phone companies such as Samsung, LG and Motorola moving towards display applications for projectors, the technology remains open for expanding user interaction and input at the same time. The Seabird, on just a flat surface, enables netbook-quality interaction by working with the projector’s angular distortion to deliver interface, rather than content. With the benefit of a dock, each projector works independently and delivers laptop levels of efficiency.

Seabird Concept 3

Design

The form development took its cues from various aerodynamic, avian and decidedly feminine forms. Its erect posture intends a sense of poise while its supine conformity to the hand reconciles that with the user’s desire for digital control. The curvature of the back also serves a functional role in elevating the projector lens elements when lying flat.

Seabird Concept 4

Seabird is a community-driven exploration and does not mean that Mozilla has plans to produce an OS or hardware at the moment. Find out more about Mozilla Firefox for Mobile here.

Seabird Concept 5

Download pictures in high resolution.

FAQ

Who created this project?

Seabird was created by Billy May, a Mozilla Labs community member who in early 2009 created an initial vision of what an Open Web mobile phone could look like. Seabird is Billy’s followup project in which he incorporated the feedback he received from the wider community on his first throw-away concept. To learn more about Billy May, please visit his homepage.

How does this relate to Mozilla / Mozilla Labs?

Billy is a community member in the Mozilla Labs community and created Seabird in his spare time. Seabird is not a Mozilla or Mozilla Labs project but part of the Mozilla Labs Concept Series. The Concept Series provides a place for the wider community to create and collaborate on projects which push the boundaries of the Web and the browser.

Does Mozilla have plans to produce a mobile phone?

No. Mozilla produces Firefox for Mobile, the popular Firefox browser for mobile phone systems such as Nokia Maemo and Android. You can find out more about Mozilla Firefox for Mobile here.

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Popular TV and Movie Personas

What are some of the best Personas you can pick up for Firefox from the Film and TV category?  I recently took a trip through some of the user created backgrounds for Firefox, and found ten of the best examples.  These are all Personas I find both usable and fun to look at, and might help lighten the day the next time you launch your favorite browser.

Here are my top 10 favorite Film and TV Personas for Firefox:

Cookie Monster

Cookie Monster Persona

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Nightmare Before Christmas Persona

Star Wars Death Star

Star Wars Persona

Sponge Bob Square Pants

Sponge Bob Persona

Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction Persona

Spiderman

Spiderman Persona

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland Persona

South Park

South Park Persona

True Blood

True Blood Persona

Star Trek – Red Shirt

Star Trek Persona

There you have it.  Let me know which one is your favorite in the comments or if you have another Persona background to share, be sure to post those too. 

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© Mitch Keeler 2010 | Check out my personal blog and my hosting podcast too!

 



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This week Mozilla joined Open Invention Network as a licensee. OIN is an organization which helps protect the Linux ecosystem by building a variety of defenses against patent attacks. These defenses include both traditional mechanisms, like defensive patent pools, and more innovative approaches, like the Linux Defenders project, which uses a variety of methods to proactively prevent the publication of particularly egregious patents. As a licensee, we’ll have access to OIN resources in case we’re threatened by operating entities with patents, and over time we’ll likely become more involved in providing our own ideas and resources to OIN projects.

Patents owned by Open Invention Network are available royalty-free to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux System. By joining, Mozilla receives cross-licenses from other OIN licensees, but more importantly, for the long term, it affords us a chance to work with OIN in reducing IP threats to open source development and innovation. This may include a defensive publications program that would make it harder for others to patent work created by Mozilla contributors, sharing defensive tactics, and cooperation to minimize patent threats.

This doesn’t mean we’re suddenly enthused about patents in any way, but OIN is doing some good work, and I believe that any protections that they afford Mozilla are on the whole more positive, and outweigh reservations about the patent the system.

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Web Notes for Firefox

Need some built-in note taking features when it comes to browsing the web?  The Web Notes add-on for Firefox might be the extension that makes your day.  This simple add-on features a floating window that can be placed anywhere on the screen for your note taking needs.

Here are a few more features of this handy browser extension:

  • You can right click a tab for options.
  • Saving notes is automatic.
  • Anytime you change a default note it will be saved for that web site.
  • You can directly access a web site that has a saved note by left clicking the site in the Sites menu item in the Options menu. If you right click the site you can edit the site’s name.
  • The Web Notes window may be minimized or restored by clicking on the Web Notes menu item in the Tools dropdown or, if you have installed it, the Web Notes toolbar button image. The minimized window can also be restored by resizing it.
  • If you move the minimized note to a convenient location, it will stay there and be remembered the next time you open Web Notes.The minimized Web Notes window will automatically be restored for web sites that have a Web Notes’ note. Those that do not will have a minimized Web Notes window. This behavior (auto min/restore) can be turned off and on in the Options menu. This setting will also be remembered the next time you open Web Notes.

Now, while it might not yet substitute my current Notetab Std being open 24/7 for my note taking needs, it is a good start.  It has many more features than one would think, and you really have to try it out to see if it is right for you or not.  Anything that helps organize wins my vote, so go give Web Notes a shot.  You can download Web Notes over at the Firefox Add-ons website.

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© Mitch Keeler 2010 | Check out my personal blog and my hosting podcast too!

 



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