Firefox 11 Arrives with Add-on Sync, Google Chrome Migration and a Look at What 2012 Holds for Firefox

Today, Mozilla announced the release of Firefox 11, the next version of the popular web browser. The new version brings in quite a lot of new features for end users and web developers alike.

For the end user, Firefox 11 introduces add-on sync. Add-on sync uses Firefox’s built-in sync feature to ensure that all your Firefox installations are in sync with the installed Firefox add-ons, in addition to the bookmarks, open tabs, history and passwords.

Firefox sync

Add-on sync has been a much-requested feature and personally, I’ve been resisting from moving away from Chrome to Firefox for the sole reason that sync is such a seamless and painless experience in Chrome, as compared to Firefox. Another feature Mozilla’s brought in, no doubt targeting Chrome users, is the the ability to import browsing data – including Cookies, Bookmarks and Browsing History from Chrome. Till this release, such an import was possible only from Internet Explorer.

Firefox Importing Google Chrome Data


For web developers, Firefox 11 brings in a new Style Editor allowing for on-the-fly-editing of stylesheets. The Style Editor features a two-pane UI, with the file listing on the left and the plain-text editor on the right. The plain-text editor also features syntax highlighting to make it easier.

Firefox 11 also features a new 3D vizualization of the webpage’s DOM tree. Initially introduced as an add-on called Tilt, the 3d visualizer makes use of WebGL to build a multi-layer representation of the webapge’s DOM tree. While it looks gimmicky, it might help few people who’ve been trying to analyze and fix the annoying layout bugs.

Firefox Tilt

For Enterprise users, Mozilla will backport security fixes in the current version of Firefox to a separate point patch, as part of Mozilla’s Extended Support Release proposal.

What’s in the future?

The current version of Firefox brings in preliminary support for SPDY, Google’s alternative for the HTTP protocol. Future releases will undoubtedly improve upon SPDY support. Upcoming releases of Firefox will make addon compatibility less of a hassle. Previously, add-on authors would have to manually update their add-ons when a new version of Firefox was released. Mozilla’s proposal to move to a rapid release schedule caused a lot of anguish to developers and end users alike. Going forward, Mozilla will make all-ons compatible with Firefox 4 and higher, automatically enabled.

Firefox 13 is expected to bring in silent updates – all updates will be automatically & silently downloaded in background and will not be interrupted if the browser is shutdown.

From the Gecko platform point of view, Mozilla will bring in support for a whole lot of new web technologies, including

  • WebRTC for real time audio & video conferencing
  • Web Sockets will be completed to match the W3C specs. Incidentally, Mozilla has dropped prefixes for Websockets starting from this release of Firefox
  • SPDY, HTTP Pipe lining and HTTP Pre-connections
  • DASH and WebM support
  • Support for key input in fullscreen mode
  • Possible support for H.264 & MP3 decoding using codecs present on the OS

Download links

Firefox should automatically update your Firefox to the newest version soon. You can also download the latest version from Mozilla’s website.

Happy Birthday WWW!

Twenty years ago today, the World Wide Web, also known as “the web”, was born at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. This event should not be confused with the Internet’s birth. According to the World Wide Web Consortium’s website, the World Wide Web is “an internet-based hypermedia initiative for global information sharing”. Tim Berners-Lee is credited with the invention of the web, along with scientist  Robert Cailliau.

Berners-Lee envisioned the concept of using hypertext to help researchers share information over the internet. According to Wikipedia, he proposed ”  to build a hypertext  project” called “WorldWideWeb” (one word, also “W3″) as a ‘web’ of ‘hypertext documents’ to be viewed by browsers,  using a  clientserver  architecture.” Berners-Lee used a computer called NeXT as the world’s first web server. On August 6, 1991, “the web” made its public debut.

Today, the World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C, as it is often called, sets the standards for “web” development. Tim Berners-Lee is still very active in the development of “the web” and is the Director of W3C. He was Knighted in 2004 by Queen Elizabeth. He also directs the Web Science Trust and The World Wide Web Foundation.

“The web” has transformed into a medium for the endless sharing of ideas, entertainment, and commerce. Could the men who set this idea in motion ever have envisioned the powerful influence it has become today? So today, when you check up on friends half-way around the globe on Facebook, or catch the latest gossip on some news website, take a moment to wish “the web” a very happy twentieth birthday!

Flock Browser – Official End of Support

flock-icon-250x250The original Kingof social browsers is as good as dead. The Flock web browser will dieon April 26th. Back in January, we told you that Zynga Acquires Flock; May Take Social Gaming To A New Level. As you probably know, Zynga is the social gaming power-house behind Farmville, Mafia Wars and a dozen other popular social games.

What wasn’t expected by many Flock users, was that they’d be abandoned so quickly, without anything to take Flock’s place. I just received my End of Supportletter today. Apparently they made the announcement on April 13th.

Flock said the following it their FAQ:

Flock will no longer be actively maintained, which means you can keep using the product, but key features will stop working after 4/26/11 and over time the browser will no longer be secure as software updates and upgrades will no longer be provided.

Here was one of the immediate responses from the Flock faithful.

David S: This sucks big time! Zynga’s decision to shut down this fabulous browser is an outrage and should be condemned. I have officially boycotted all other Zynga products and encourage others to do so as well. … I curse the day they purchased the property …

Since Zynga has decided to kill the Flock browser, what do they recommend that their users do now? Here’s what they said:

There are many browser choices. We recommend either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

I think most people expected that Zynga/Flock would work on a new browser that is designed to work with social gaming. All bets are off now, but if you still want to use a good social web browser, I’d recommend Rockmelt, which gives you built-in access to Facebook and Twitter.

Download Internet Explorer 9 Final

Microsoft has just made the final release of Internet Explorer 9 available for download. The beta of IE 9 has been downloaded over 40 million times already. The final version was supposed to launch on March 14, at 9 am PM PST, and it has.

Internet Explorer 9

Internet Explorer has been one of the most abused browsers of all time, especially IE 6. With IE 9, Microsoft has promised to make good with web developers and has embraced most open web standards.

Internet Explorer 8 was quite well received, and even though I use Opera as my primary browser, I still use IE 8 for sites which just don’t work with Opera. I will now be upgrading that with Internet Explorer 9.

To download Internet Explorer 9, just go to this link – Internet Explorer 9 Download

Select the version of IE9 (32-bit or 64-bit) and click on Download Now.

IE 9 offers a much better browsing experience than previous versions, and is also much faster. Here’s a list of the new features IE 9 brings to the table.

Update: Here are some direct download links (Courtesy Win Rumors)

Chrome and Safari Steal Users from Internet Explorer

Based on the 2010 reports from, the web browsers from Google and Apple have slowly been stealing users from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. In the chart below, we can see the trends over the last year. (chart by CNET)

This may be partly due to the new browser ballot in Windows 7 that is required in Europe. However, even if that’s true, Microsoft still has no excuse for it’s falling browser marketshare. When the beta version of IE9 was released in February, no affect was seen on the marketshare. We’ll have to wait to see what happens when the finished version is released.

The gains by Chrome and Safari came at the expense of Internet Explorer‘s dropping percentage, which ended the year at 57%, after starting above 60%. Google’s Chrome browser gained almost 5 points in 2010 and ended with 10% of the market. Safari gained about 1.5 points and ended at about 6%. Firefox and Opera remained about the same at 23% and 2%.

The question that we think most interesting is What browsers do Techie Buzz readers use?. Here’s a chart from Keith showing our data.

The Techie Buzz chart shows more readers using Firefox than Internet Explorer. Chrome users are in third place, followed by Safari and Opera. If we can assume that most technology sites have similar stats, this doesn’t look good for Microsoft.

It appears that the more people know, the less they use Internet Explorer. Many people feel that the crucial advantage to using Firefox and Chrome is that they are more easily customized by using Addons and Extensions. Do you think Opera’s adoption of extensions will help them steal share from Microsoft?

Internet Explorer Critical Security Flaw – Early Present for Microsoft

malwareHave you opened all of your Christmas presents yet? Microsoft’s biggest present was a huge security headache that hit them just before Christmas. On December 22nd, Microsoft was forced to warn everyone that Windows users are now vulnerable to a flaw in all versions of Internet Explorer. This flaw, known to take advantage of specially formatted CSS (web page code), doesn’t have an easy fix.

metaploit-logoSo far, nobody has detected hackers using an exploit based on this zero-day CSS flaw. However, an exploit has been published and even included in the Metasploit security defense suite. That means that it’s only a matter of time before Microsoft’s problem becomes a problem for all users of Internet Explorer. Microsoft has promised that they are working in a fix for this flaw. Will it get here in time to save us from thousands of hacked home computers?

Here’s my suggestion to all of those using   Internet Explorer:

Download and install a different web browser such as Firefox, Chrome or Opera. Only use Internet Explorer if it’s absolutely needed. Once you’ve done that, you can patiently wait on Microsoft to fix this problem.

Affected Operating Systems: Windows XP, Vista, 7

Affected Browsers: IE6, 7, 8, 9

What is RockMelt? Do We Need a Facebook Web Browser?

Yes, there’s a new web browser designed around the idea that you can share more, and share more quickly on Facebook and Twitter. That alone may turn some people away, depending on how much they value their privacy. However, after trying it for a short time, I can see how this browser could easily turn normal Facebook users into hyped up Uber-Facebook users.

RockMelt was founded by Eric Vishria and Tim Howes, and is backed by Netscape developer Marc Andreessen.   It was released yesterday, mostly by invitation only. You can get a copy of this browser by visiting and signing up via your Facebook ID.

After signing up late last night I received my invite and downloaded it. The install went fairly quick and here’s the first thing I saw … a Facebook login.


Yes, that’s right, it seems to be required. However, that makes sense.

It took me quite awhile to figure out most of the actions I could perform. If you open the RockMeltmenu at the top right corner of the browser, and click the Helpitem, you’ll find help for a few basic tasks. Here’s the first thing you see there.


As some of you have already noticed, RockMelt is built on top of Chromium, which is the basis for Google’s Chrome web browser. Those using Chrome now won’t have a hard time getting around in the browser.

Rather than go into too many details, I’ll show you the RockMelt video preview. It’s very well done.

RockMelt video

Techie Buzz Verdict:

I tried it, I like it, and haven’t found any major bugs yet. If you are already using Google Chrome, and you’re in Facebook often, there’s no reason not to give RockMelt a try. You don’t have to make it your default browser, and it won’t do anything to your current web browsers.   My wife reports that Farmville works very well in Chrome and RockMelt.


What are Chrome Web Apps?

chrome We recently told you that the developers of Google’s Chrome web browser have released version 7 of Chrome. In order to use it, you have to be running the dev channel version of Chrome or the new Canary build of Chrome. One of the interesting new features in Chrome 7, is support for Chrome web apps, which will be available in the Chrome Web Store in October.

The question I’m raising today is What are these Chrome web apps?. An answer at Wikipedia was useful, but as I expected, it’s full of techno-jargon that immediately makes me skip through most of the article. I’ll save you the trouble of trying to sift through the jargon. In most cases, a web app isn’t any different than many existing pages on the internet. Any time you visit Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, Google Docs, or even Youtube, you are using a web app. A web app is a web page that performs a specific job or set of jobs using your web browser. Usually web apps require that you download files and data that they need to function. Chrome extensions also have the same requirement and they offer you the ability to change the way pages look or add tools and services to existing pages.

So what’s the big deal? Why are they even called web apps instead of extensions? My best guess is that they are doing this to make it easier to market (sell) these downloads. However, even though web apps aren’t much different from Chrome extensions, there are a couple of differences.

One big difference is that you’ll only find most of them in the Chrome Web Store. Some of those web apps will be free, but most of them will likely cost you a few dollars. Google will make money on them and so will the people who create them.

Another difference is that the tab for a running web app looks different from a normal tab. Here’s a screen shot to show that. The tab on far left is a Gmail web app. It’s a single icon with no text. Next to it is a normal tab showing Gmail.


You’ll also be able to see all of your installed web apps on the Chrome New tabpage.


I love the fact that only the icon is showing on web app tabs. That’s great for those of us who have lots of tabs open in the browser. Other than that, what is there to like about web apps rather than extensions? At this point, I don’t think that there’s much to like unless you like paying out money. It’s a great deal for Google and the web app developers. It’s not a great deal for the average surfer.

If you’d like to play around with Chrome’s new web apps, DownloadSquad has a page telling you how to install web apps. I’m not going to be using them much unless they are free.

If you have tips or opinions about Chrome web apps, be sure to comment below or email me.

Put Firefox into Hyperdrive with Pale Moon

palemoon-ico [Windows Only] What is Pale Moon? It’s an open source project that takes the Firefox web browser code and recompiles it to run faster in Windows.

Here’s what the author says about it:

Why settle for a basic build of your Firefox browser on Windows Operating Systems when you can have one that performs 25% faster? Mozilla does not provide optimized browser packages for Windows, while many Linux users get the advantage of a browser built specifically for their system. That needs to change! So, here is the Pale Moon project: Custom-built and optimized Firefox browsers for Windows Operating Systems.


I have been using Pale Moon for a few days now, and I did notice a performance boost in comparison with my usual Firefox installs. I would have to say that Pale Moon is a winner.

There are no drastic differences other than the name. All of your old addons should continue to work. You’ll just get around the web a little faster. The author of Pale Moon claims that only real differences are that it doesn’t support the accessibility features or parental controls. Since I don’t use either one, I don’t know what I’m missing.

There’s even a Pale Moon persona (theme) available on the home page that makes it look very cool.

Download and try Pale Moon

Techie Buzz Verdict:

The only major drawback to using Pale Moon is that it may sometimes be a release or two behind Mozilla Firefox. Other than that, there’s not much difference from what I can tell. I can’t think of a good reason why I shouldn’t recommend it for every Firefox user running Windows.


Techie Buzz Rating: 4.5/5 (Excellent)

Coming Soon : Fizzik A Social Web Browser

[Windows Only]  Fizzik is a new web browser that is targeted to keep you updated with the social media as well as news and videos. The browser is built on Microsoft technologies.

Features that this new browser offers

Custom Channels : The Bing search is integrated into the browser by default. You can create custom Channels to categorize your common searches which sounds somewhat like the Google alerts to me. This will help you stay informed on all the top news as it appears on the map.

Video Integration : The browser has services like Youtube integrated so that you are always on top of the new ones. You do not need to watch videos on the web pages anymore. The video playback can be watched full screen on the browser itself. This will negate all the distractions while the video plays and ensures that you enjoy the video presentation solely.

Social Media : The browser promises to enrich your social media experiences above all. As it sounds they will also let you find gems in your piles of status updatesmaybe that means creating groups. Last but not the least the browser has got its own collection of built-in sharing options to help you share what you like.

The tool uses Microsoft .NET and Windows Presentation Foundation 3.5 build and is aimed to work on almost all Windows Operating Systems. While browsing Internet Explorer is used, and Adobe’s Flash player is used during video playback.

Demo : The demo video of this yet to release social browser Fizzik can be found on Youtube.

Techie-Buzz Verdict

This tool is yet to release and hence its a tough call to hint anything about it right now. If everything goes as promised this browser is surely going to win my trust.

[via Channel 10]