Archive for July, 2010

Plugin Check Help for Firefox

After yesterday’s news about the fake Firefox update that is out there in the wild, I thought it might be a good time to go over how you can get your plugins updated.  Thankfully, Mozilla has made this really simple with the Plugin Check part of their website.

All you need to do is go to the Plugin Check website, and automatically your browser is scanned to make sure all your plugins are up to date. If you are up to date, you will see this badge here:

Up to Date!

If you are not up to date, then you will see this badge here:

Need to Update!

When you click the “Update” badge, as seen above – you will be taken to the official website for the plugin in question so that you can get it up to date.  This makes checking all your plugins and getting them updated so much easier. Some of the things it checks for include: Flash, Java, Silverlight, QuickTime, and more. (Those are the important ones though)

If it does not know what it is, or can not find the current version – then you get this kind of weird gray badge here:

Say What?

When then will lead you to a Google search, when clicked, for “current version plugin (PLUGIN NAME HERE)”.  So you can go out on your own and probably find the update you need (if one is needed) within the first few results you get.

Hint: You can also get to Plugin Check, by going to Tools in the menu toolbar, then click Add-ons, then go to the Plugins section. Click the “Get Updates” button at the bottom of the window, and you will be taken to the Plugin Check website.

So, those are the basics when using the Plugin Check website Mozilla provides for all Firefox users.  For people who might not know there way around with updating this, that or the other – it makes the process of getting things updated a lot easier.

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


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The response has been tremendous since Firefox Home, our free iPhone app, became available in Apple’s App Store. We made some updates to Firefox Home, which are now available, so if you haven’t tried it yet, get it now.

We read your comments in the App Store and on our forum and truly appreciate all the feedback you have given us. Your comments and ideas are great input for our future plans with Firefox Home. Keep ‘em coming!

Firefox Home 1.0.1 Available in the App Store
We worked quickly to address the top three problems you reported and have released updates to both Firefox Home (v 1.0.1) and the Firefox Sync add-on (v 1.4.3)

In Firefox Home 1.0.1:
* FIXED: Now supports usernames with uppercase letters
* ADDED: Help button on login page that links to troubleshooting tips
* IMPROVED: More helpful error messages when problems occur
Get this update on iTunes.

In Firefox Sync 1.4.3:
* FIXED: Now correctly supports multi-byte characters in passwords
* ADDED: Ability to complete initial sync if setting up in Private Browsing mode
* IMPROVED: Helpful UI indicator to show sync status
* See the Firefox Sync Account Setup Demo
Get this update on the Mozilla Add-Ons site.

We believe Firefox Home is an excellent Web companion for the iPhone because it lets you access your Firefox history, bookmarks and tabs no matter where you are. We are humbled by all the interest and positive reviews we’ve seen on the Web.

“If you’re at all like me and leave dozens (or more!) tabs open on your home machine, you’ll definitely like the convenience of being able to access something you left open while you’re on the go.” — Chris Foresman, ars technica

“Can’t remember where you saw that important story just before you left the office? Open the app and check your history. Want a shortcut to save you from typing a long URL on the iPhone or iPod Touch? Open the app. (As a bonus, on my tests, it opened Web pages faster than Safari.)” — Bob Tedeschi, New York Times: Gadgetwise

“Firefox’s Home App for iPhone has opened my eyes to a world where desktop and mobile web browsing become one, but we’re not quite there yet. Being able to pick up on the iPhone where I left off on the PC is one of those ideas that suddenly seems long overdue,”  – Jared Newman, PC World.

Firefox Home, Different from Firefox Web Browser
Firefox Home is a part of making the personal Web experience portable across multiple computers and devices. Firefox Home is a valuable app that gives you instant access to your most recently and frequently visited sites, right at your fingertips. You now have the ability to get up and go in a moment’s notice, and access your flight status, reservation time or driving directions you were looking at at your desk without a second thought!

Going Global
Many of you have asked when Firefox Home will be available for download in your country’s App Store. We’re working to make Firefox Home available worldwide in the very near future. Stay tuned!

Get Involved & Stay Connected
This is the first release of Firefox Home on iPhone, and with your ideas, we hope to provide more features to this application over time. Please leave your comments or ask questions on our Firefox Home Support Forum. Designers, let the creative juices flow and participate in the Firefox Home iPhone Skin Design Challenge.

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Fuzzyfox has put together a great screencast about the Thunderbird Quick Filter, check it out!

Mozilla Thunderbird – Quick Filter from William D on Vimeo.

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In early June we launched a Design Challenge around Mozilla Labs’ explorations in the social space. Students and UX practitioners from all around the world participated and later the wider community came together to bestow the People’s Choice Award.

Without much further ado – the Best in Class honors go to:

  • Amine Zafri for Best in Class: Utility (for the solution that has the highest overall utility)
  • Bianca Pamplona & João Menezes for Best in Class: Design (for the solution that has the most visually expressive concept)
  • João Menezes for Best in Class: Risk Taker (for the solution that tests the limits of current thinking)
  • Toby Shorin for Best in Class: Producible (for the solution that would be the easiest to ship to users immediately)

And the People’s Choice Award (as voted by the wider Mozilla Labs community) goes to:

Congratulations to all participants, the winner of the People’s Choice Award and the Best in Class honorees in this Design Challenge!

Head over to the Design Challenge page and see the winning concepts.

- Pascal on behalf of the Mozilla Labs Design Challenge Team

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Head over to the new Bespin Plugin Gallery to find plugins for Bespin and share the ones you’ve created.

The new Bespin Plugin Gallery makes it very easy to find useful plugins for Bespin and to share the plugins you’ve created.

Top lists in the Plugin Gallery

By downloading the plugins you need and adding them to the search path in your manifest file, you can easily build a custom Bespin editor with a variety of new features. Need Python syntax highlighting? Markdown conversion? Access to gists? Early testers of the Plugin Gallery have added those plugins already and there is plenty more that is possible with Bespin’s plugin system.

It’s easy to share your own plugins… just upload your .js file (for single file plugins) or zip/tar up your plugin directory (with a package.json file) and your plugin is there for the world to enjoy.

Thanks to Ryan Snyder who took the lead on building the Plugin Gallery and the rest of Mozilla’s webdev and QA teams for bringing this site to life!

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Security Tip Seems like over the past few days, there has been a new fake Flash update scam going around, trying to scam Firefox users.  It tells users that they have just updated to the “latest version of Firefox” but the hook here is it says you have an out of date version of Adobe and tells you to download it.

Here is what the page looks like (via F-Secure):

Beware of Fake Update Notices

Then, the download box will automatically appear asking you to save the file, “ff-update.exe” or something very similar to it.  If you do that, then you have successfully installed the virus.

It looks like virus and malware authors are targeting Firefox users, as they would bank users – trying to make you feel like your on a safe place with a page that looks like it belongs to Mozilla.

So be safe out there, and make sure to check and double check anytime your dealing with downloads in any browser out there.

Add me on Twitter! Come follow my daily antics, links, tips and more @mitchkeeler on Twitter!

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


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Jetpack SDK 0.6 is here, yay!

The release includes a couple of notable enhancements:
  • It is now possible to specify a width for widgets to make them wider or narrower as needed.
  • Modules requiring access to Components (and Cc, Ci, etc.) must now explicitly obtain this privilege, which means that modules do not have elevated chrome privileges by default.
Based on the feedback we’ve received from users of earlier versions of the SDK, the release also incorporates a number of bug fixes to improve the reliability of the SDK, including:
  • Certain tests no longer fail when run against a localized (i.e. non-English) version of Firefox.
  • Testing will continue to work against newer Firefox 4 beta builds as they are released.
For more information about the bug fixes and enhancements in this version of the SDK, see its release notes. To get started building add-ons with the SDK, download the SDK and check out the tutorial.

And keep the feedback coming, as it really helps us figure out how to make the experience of building add-ons with the SDK even better!

To provide feedback and participate in the Jetpack project:

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Tab Candy in Firefox Tab Candy is the most exciting Firefox feature I have seen in a long time.  The problem we all have is it becomes harder, as the day goes along, to keep our tabs organized.  We all multi-task, and the regular horizontal tab toolbar with ten to twenty open tabs is not helping us.  That is where Tab Candy comes into play.

With just one keystroke, you can zoom out of your browsing experience and see all your open web pages like thumbnails.  You can then reorganize and arrange these windows in different ways.

What is so special about Tab Candy?

You could easily create a group for your mail, calendar and RSS reader.  Then you could make another group of tabs for your work related web pages you have to look at.  Many extensions out there for Firefox try to do this, but Tab Candy is the first execution of this tab reorganization that has really gotten me excited to see more.

Check out this video by Aza Raskin to get a better picture of what Tab Candy will mean to the way you really use the browser.

Mark my words, this will be the must-have feature in the next generation of the browser wars.  I might sound like a fan boy when I say it, but this is why I love Firefox.  They don’t tell you how you have to browse – they give you many different ways to get the job done, and you can use the way that works best for your own needs.

Right now Tab Candy’s future in Firefox 4 has been delayed due to some implementation challenges, so let me be one of the first to tell them, “Please get this feature added to Firefox 4, I really need it!”.

<object width=”550″ height=”364″><param name=”allowfullscreen” value=”true” /><param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always” /><param name=”movie” value=”;;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00ADEF&amp;fullscreen=1″ /><embed src=”;;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00ADEF&amp;fullscreen=1″ type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowfullscreen=”true” allowscriptaccess=”always” width=”550″ height=”364″></embed></object><p><a href=”″>An Introduction to Firefox’s Tab Candy</a> from <a href=”″>Aza Raskin</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a>.</p>

Add me on Twitter! Come follow my daily antics, links, tips and more @mitchkeeler on Twitter!

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


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Guten Tag! 你好! Cześć! Olá! Привет! Bonjour! Γεια σας! Hello!

The new update of Firefox 4 Beta is now available in 23 languages for testing and feedback. Thanks to the help of the global Mozilla community, we’re now able to bring Firefox 4 Beta to more people around the world. This update to Firefox 4 Beta continues with changes to the look of Firefox with tabs appearing on the top of the browser and introduces the ability to turn tabs into App Tabs.

What’s new in this Firefox 4 Beta update?

Continued Evolution of the New Firefox Look – Tabs on Top

  • Mac and Windows users now have all their tabs on the top of the browser. We moved the tabs to the top to make it easier to focus on the Web content and easier to control the tools in your Web browser.
  • If you have Windows 7 or Windows Vista, the Menu bar is replaced with a single Firefox button so you get to the most used options with just one click.

App Tabs

  • There are some websites you visit many times throughout your day, such as your email, social networks, music or game sites. Now you can turn the websites you use most into App Tabs to easily find the ones you need.
  • App Tabs offer a better way to manage tabs, saving space on the tab bar and making it easy to find frequently used tabs. Check out this video from Alex Faaborg for more details on App Tabs.

New for Developers: Under the Hood

CSS3 Transitions:

  • The Firefox 4 Beta now has support for new CSS3 features like Transitions and Transformations, making it fun to add elegant animations to your websites.
  • To show what CSS3 Transitions can do, we added them to the Firefox 4 Beta “What’s New” page. For more information, check out this post and demo from Paul Roget.

Retained Layers:

  • Adding Retained Layers in Firefox 4 Beta allows for super-fast scrolling on complex websites. See Robert O’Callahan’s post for more information.

XPCOM Framework:

  • We made changes to the XPCOM framework that improves start up time when you load Firefox. See Jorge Villalobos post for more information.

There are more features to come in future Firefox 4 Beta updates and we need your help to test them. Already with help from our community of testers, we were able to get valuable feedback on the first Firefox 4 Beta that enabled us to fix more than 670 issues in this update.

Help build the best Firefox ever!

Firefox 4 Beta includes a new Feedback Add-on so at any time you can click the Feedback button to tell us about what you do or don’t like. The Feedback Add-on includes Mozilla Labs Test Pilot, and will ask you to take part in anonymous studies. The latest Test Pilot study explores the ways people interact with the Firefox menu bar, Firefox button (on Windows Vista and 7) and toolbar controls. You can choose to opt-out of any or all studies and manage your settings in the Feedback button (no data will be sent to Mozilla without your permission).

Testers will receive automatic updates to the Firefox 4 Beta, so stay tuned for the next release in the coming weeks.

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This is a guest post from Coleman Foley, one of the participants in Mozilla Labs’ Crowdsourcing Project:

Today, volunteers from California to Sweden came together to discuss how to improve crowdsourcing, responding to a call from Mozilla Labs for volunteers to “Crowdsource Crowdsourcing“. We are practicing what we preach here. Pretty much everybody had a say in our initial discussion. Pascal Finette of Mozilla Labs got us going by telling us we should split up into three groups. From there, we took over. We got into the groups we wanted, then each group chose its own way of communicating and decided how to proceed until all the groups reconvene in two weeks.

For example, my group, which is trying to define best practices for crowdsourcing, decided to sign up for and participate in some crowdsourcing sites, and to report back on Thursday with initial findings. A second group is analyzing past Mozilla Labs Design Challenges to figure out what went wrong and what went right. The third is diving into crowdsourcing theory. We plan to fuse our findings when we get back together.

We have a wide variety of interests and backgrounds here, with an entrepreneur, a biophysicist, an electrical engineer, a couple of psychology majors, and, of course, many designers and programmers.

  • I am a computer science major at Chico State who is all about usability. I blog at
  • Roei Yellin is an Israeli entrepreneur working on a crowdsourcing startup.
  • Matt Evans is Mozilla’s QA Director.
  • Jan Dittrich is studying for a Media Arts & Design B.F.A. at the Bauhaus University in Weimar.
  • Abraham Taherivand has an Information Systems BS and an Information Management and Engineering MS. He has done a ton of things in innovation, which you can learn more about at his website.
  • Jimmy Chion has a bachelors’s degree in Cognitive Science Stanford and is now near completing a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering.
  • Chao Xu is majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics at Stony Brook University.
  • Piyush Kumar majored in Electrical Engineering and minored in Computer Science for his BS and is going to get an MS in Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University.
  • Ryan Bubinski is studying studying biophysics and computer science at Columbia.
  • Peter Organisciak is working on an MA in Digital Humanities at the University of Alberta and is going on to study Information Science at the University of Illinois. His thesis is on the motivations of crowdsourcing participants.
  • Zach Williams is a Psychology major at Tarleton State University in Texas, with a passion for web design and user experience, which you can see at his beautiful website.
  • Joao Menezes studies Graphics/Interaction Design at UNIVILLE University, Brazil. He has participated in several Mozilla projects.
  • Ola Moller studies Social/Digital Media & Concept Development at Hyper Island in Stockholm. He has led and participated in two creativity crowdsourcing projects in Sweden, which you can learn more about at his website.
  • Eugenia Ortiz (who goes by Euge) is another student from Argentina. She is big on User Experience. Learn more about her at
  • Ajay Roopakalu is a computer science major and applied mathematics minor at Princeton University. He blogs at

This is how you crowdsource crowdsourcing: gather volunteers from every part of the world and many backgrounds, let them organize themselves, and watch the magic.

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