Firefox Account Manager: Now a Reality

Account Manager is the latest and most promising feature being developed at Mozilla Labs. Now,  Mozilla Labs has finally released an Alpha version of its Account Manager as a Firefox add-on. This nifty feature allows us to manage login and signup on websites without disrupting our current browsing session. You can read more about Account Manager at this earlier post on Techie Buzz.

firefox-account-manager

The basic concept behind account manager is to allow users to simplify the process of signing in and out of your web accounts. Once you install the add-on you will see a key sign next to the location bar. Clicking on which will show you an option to connect to the current site.

Different websites have different login/logout methods. Account Manager on the other hand, simplifies the login and logout process by providing a kind of a grand unified login procedure user interface. The feature announced last month is now active and can be downloaded as a Firefox add-on in the alpha version. Though, Mozilla has assured that Account Manager will make it to Firefox integration soon. Currently, Account Manager supports Facebook, Google, Yahoo!, Mozilla Add-ons, Mozilla Bugzilla, and GetPersonas.com. (Via: Mozilla Links)

Facebook Like Extension Lets you “Like” any Webpage From Google Chrome

Facebook recently switched from “Become a Fan” to “Like” feature which has received mixed reactions from the audience. But if you want to “Like” any webpage quickly from the browser window and without logging in to Facebook, the Facebook Likes Google Chrome extension might help.

The extension solves two purposes. First, you can share any webpage with your Facebook friends right from Google Chrome. There is no need to copy links, titles, images and paste them in the status update text box. Just hit the “Like” button and the story is shared on your Facebook wall.

The second advantage is that the extension also shows recent related activity from other Facebook users. This does not necessarily mean your Facebook friends, but shows the content which other users are sharing on Facebook. This is a nice way to figure out which stories are getting the votes and  which topic is getting the buzz right now.

To use the extension, click on the “Thumbs up” button placed just right of the address bar as shown below:

The story will be shared with your Facebook friends and you can also see what your friends are “Liking”. Please note the extension does nothing if you are not logged in to Facebook.

Techie Buzz Verdict

The Facebook Like extension for Chrome is the simplest way to “like” any webpage from the browser. One addition would have been perfect – store the username and password in the extension options and share the story, even if you are not logged in to Facebook.

Techie Buzz rating: 3.5 (very good).

Perform Inline Google Searches in Chrome’s Address bar with Inline Google Extension

Google Chrome is probably the only browser which supports searching from the address bar by default. It works simple – you specify a default search engine in the browser settings and type the keywords or phrase in the address bar. The search results show up in a new browser tab which is useful, because you don’t have to open the home page of your favorite search engine again and again.

But if you have the habit of working with multiple tabs,   this feature can get a bit tiring. Whenever you search, the results are shown in a new tab and you have to close or navigate away from the page you were reading.

This is where Inline Google comes in. It’s a nifty little chrome extension which adds pop up functionality for performed searches. The search results are shown in separate pop up windows and you can see the results without leaving the current page you are reading.

To use the extension, hit the “G” icon placed just right of the chrome address bar. This will open a pop up window where you can type your search query:

Hit the “Search” button and the results will be shown in the same window as shown below:

Clicking a search result opens the page in a new browser tab. Currently the extension supports searching web, images, videos and news results.

Techie Buzz Verdict

The Inline Google extension is very simple to use but there aren’t any options which you can tweak. I would want some options being included – loading the search results in the same frame or may be opening the clicked link in the same tab.

Techie Buzz rating: 3.5 (very good).

Customize Firefox FullScreen Mode With MiniMode

In Firefox, you can switch to full screen mode by hitting the shortcut key “F11″. The full screen mode removes all the toolbars, panels, status bar, address bar and presents a clean and clear reading environment. For example: whenever I am writing something or watching a YouTube video, I normally use the full screen mode to avoid distractions.

But there are some problems with the full screen mode in Firefox. The full screen mode hides everything, which is often a barrier for quick browsing. Let’s see some common examples:

1. Can not copy the URL from the address bar: You may want to hide only the toolbars and might want to keep the address bar intact so that you can copy the URL of the page in full screen mode. You don’t want to revert to the normal mode again, just for copying a URL.

2. Can not switch tabs: The full screen mode also hides all the tabs, so if you want to switch tabs – you have to come to the normal mode, change the tabs and then go to the full screen mode again.

3. Can not open a bookmark: Since all the toolbars are hidden, you do not have one click access to the bookmarks. You have to come to the normal mode again, load a bookmark and then switch to the full screen mode.

This is when you need the Minimode add-on for Firefox. The add-on helps you to customize the full screen mode according to your needs. Once the add-on is installed, restart Firefox and open the add-on preferences from “Tools > Add-ons > Minimode > Options”.

As you can see, you can choose the elements you want to hide by selecting the appropriate checkboxes in the add-on settings. The keyboard shortcut is Control + F11, which will hide all the toolbars except the tab bar and the title bar. This is useful, because I can switch the tabs even in the full screen mode. From the add-on preferences, you can choose to show any combination of toolbars in the full screen mode.

Here is how my WordPress writing pane looks, after I have installed the add-on and writing this article:

Techie Buzz Verdict

The Minimode add-on lets you customize the full screen mode in Firefox. You can choose which elements to show and which elements to hide, thus making it a very handy extension for productivity. One flaw spotted: don’t try to hit F11 after the add-on is installed, it freezes the screen. Hit Control + F11 instead.

Techie Buzz rating: 3.5/5 (Very Good).

Wiimote Controlled Firefox

This recent entry at Mozilla links shows a Wiimote controlled Firefox. Paul Rouget has written a neat hack which allows us to use the Wiimote with Firefox. Over at his website, Paul writes,

Everybody has his or her own reason to hack Firefox. Mine is usually:  “just for fun”.

So,  “just for fun”, and to show how far you can go with the extension mechanism, here is a little useless extension I wrote: a  Nintendo Wiimote driver for Firefox.
What does it do? It brings Wiimote events to web content. You can change tabs with a “forehand/backhand” tennis drive and, in your web page, make your elements move using Wiimote events (rotation, g-force, position, etc.). Web pages, of course, do not support this API. But, with another extension, such as aJetpack or  Greasemonkey, you can “hack” a website to add support for the Wiimote.

although the extension is open-source, it works only for Linux currently. Check out this video:

Wiimote for Firefox from Paul Rouget on Vimeo.

Add Sticky Notes and Comments on any Webpage with XSticky

Sticky notes are a great way to quickly jot down ideas and comments. You can use Sticky notes for a variety of purposes like to-do lists, task management, ideas etc.

We have earlier seen some useful desktop application for creating and managing sticky notes. But if you want a simple sticky note application for Firefox, try the Xsticky Firefox add-on. With the Xsticky-Addon you can easily create Sticky-Notes at every webpage you like.

Once the add-on is installed, right click on any webpage and select “Add Sticky note”. This will open a yellow square box where you can add text and save the note for later viewing.

add-sticky-notes-webpages

You can create as many notes as you want and the boxes can be moved anywhere on that page or minimized to the bottom. Other features includes changing the background color, transparency and font size.

I found this tool especially useful for designers, who tweak the CSS properties of themes and HTML layouts. You can quickly note down the hex codes and other CSS properties while designing a theme and do not have to rely on other applications for the same purpose.

Writers can also use this tool to their advantage. Suppose you are reading a blog post and suddenly got a unique idea about the same topic. You can note down that idea on that same webpage and return to that page later on. This helps on outlining and creating a rough draft of a news item, which you may wish to blog at a later time.

With over 16000 downloads the add-on seems to be quite popular and one of the best sticky notes extension for Firefox. Please note that the note text is saved locally in the add-on preferences and will be destroyed if you uninstall the extension. Google Chrome fans can try this extension for creating sticky notes in the Chrome browser.

Techie Buzz Verdict

The add-on looks cool but there should be a way to backup the notes and comments. Syncing notes can be difficult but a decent backup option is much expected. Otherwise you will loose all the notes when you reinstall Firefox.

Techie Buzz rating: 3/5 (Average).

What’s New in WebKit2 | What Webkit2 Has to Offer to The Browser World

WebKit, the open-source engine behind browsers like Apple Safari and Google Chrome has recently announced that it will bring a new API layer to itself creating a WebKit2. This will let web content and the application to run in two different processes.

This model is already implementated in many browsers like Internet Explorer and Google Chrome. Google Chrome has gained some great success in launching tabs as separate processes.

Though, the addition of the feature to the WebKit engine itself means, other browsers using this engine need not develop their own. This feature is exactly what Mozilla has been working on for a while now. Chrome already has this and calls it the Sandbox. This change will make it much easier and faster for Safari to implement this feature and get even in the race.

The name WebKit2 has been chosen because it is the next version but it does not feature any major changes apart from this.

As soon as the change arrives, browsers based on WebKit will directly see this. This includes the iPhone OS browser, the Google Android and the Symbian s60 browser. This will make them much more stable on mobile devices.

WebKit2 will release a C API to make use of this new implementation model. This will facilitate development of browsers using this new feature.

(Via: WebKit-Dev)

Remove Colors and Backgrounds From Webpages With NoColor Firefox Add-on

Quite often, you may find some blogs with horrible designs and backgrounds. The content is good and you want to read the page but the colors used in the site’s layout make it impossible to read. If you want to get rid of all the colors from a webpage, the Nocolor Firefox add-on will come in handy. The add-on removes all the background images and colors, thus offering a clean reading environment.

Download the No Color Firefox add-on. Internet explorer users can try IESurfGear instead.

Once the add-on is installed, restart Firefox and go to Tools > add-ons > Nocolor > Options. Choose the text and background color which you want to see once you use the extension.

nocolor-settings

The add-on adds a small button in the status bar and a link in the “View” menu so that you can quickly remove all the background garbage from cluttered webpages and read the content at ease.

I tried the add-on on Techie Buzz and here are the results:

Before

before-using-nocolor

After

after-using-nocolor

Note that the add-on is not an ad blocker and neither it removes the borders. It will remove the background colors and replace the text color with your chosen color from the add-on options.

How this add-on can be used as a Design tool

If you love designing websites and themes, often you would search the web for design inspiration. Whenever I am designing something and want to create a CSS structure for a theme or layout, I will head over to a popular blog or website and see how the designer has implemented the CSS. I would turn on Firebug and then see the different Div tags one by one and learn to code myself.

But most of the themes contain colors, images and other graphics which is of course a barrier when you are learning to code. The Nocolor add-on, paired with Firebug helps to copy the CSS structure with all colors disabled.

Techie Buzz Verdict

The add-on removes the colors but should have more options to choose from. I would love to see more features included in the future versions – remove the borders, block the ads etc.

Techie Buzz rating: 3/5 (average).

RSA Security 1024 V3: The Unclaimed Root Certificate Mayhem in Firefox

Mozilla security saw a new bug-report filed at bugzilla reporting an unclaimed RSA root certificate. The certificate goes by the name of RSA Security 1024 V3. Both Verisign and RSA have declined ownership of this certificate.

Kathleen Wilson, an active Consultant at Mozilla Corporation has been actively digging through Mozilla security issues. He writes at this Mozilla security Google group saying,

I propose that the “RSA Security 1024 V3″ root certificate authority be
removed from NSS.

OU = RSA Security 1024 V3
O = RSA Security Inc
Valid From: 2/22/01
Valid To: 2/22/26
SHA1 Fingerprint:
3C:BB:5D:E0:FC:D6:39:7C:05:88:E5:66:97:BD:46:2A:BD:F9:5C:76

I have not been able to find the current owner of this root. Both RSA
and VeriSign have stated in email that they do not own this root.

This issue got everyone worried about this being a rouge certificate. However, later Wilson assured the certificate’s origin by saying,

I have received email from official representatives of RSA confirming
that RSA did indeed create the “RSA Security 1024 V3″ root certificate
that is currently included in NSS (Netscape/Mozilla) and also in Apple’s
root cert store.

He also added that that RSA has since, dropped the root certificate and so should Mozilla. In another mail from RSA, it was told that the private key for this root was safe with RSA. This assures that this flaw was not exploited and now the certificate will be removed from NSS (Network Security Services).

[ Via: LinuxToday ]

Firefox 3.6.3 Patches Pwn2Own Flaw, Back to Security

Mozilla has released a quick update to its flagship Firefox Browser. This release 3.6.3 fixes the security flaws exploited at the Pwn2Own contest. The security flaw discovered at Pwn2Own affected only Firefox 3.6and later versions directly.

firefox-logo

The Mozilla Security Advisor had added this flaw to their website writing,

A memory corruption flaw leading to code execution was reported by security researcher  Nils of MWR InfoSecurity during the 2010 Pwn2Own contest sponsored by TippingPoint’s Zero Day Initiative. By moving DOM nodes between documents Nils found a case where the moved node incorrectly retained its old scope. If garbage collection could be triggered at the right time then Firefox would later use this freed object.

This flaw was address on April 1st, 2010 by Nils who also happens to be a security researcher. Mozilla has been quick in responding to this zero day exploit. The exploit of this flaw was a big challenge in itself, it being a zero day flaw.

To get the latest secure version of Firefox which has a fix for this flaw, go to Help -> Check for Updates and install the latest suggested release.