Tag Archives: Web Browser

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 Netmarketshare.com, 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 RockMelt.com 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.

rockmelt-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.

4

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.

Download: http://www.rockmelt.com/


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.

chrome-web-app

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

chrome-web-app-new-tab

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.

pale-moon-browser

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.

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

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]

Safe Surfing and Email with Web of Trust

wot-icon[Windows, Mac, Linux] Web of Trust (WOT) is an addon or extension that identifies risky or dangerous links and websites while you are using your web browser. This addon is available for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome web browsers. There is also a bookmarklet for Browsers such as Opera and Safari.

Here’s what the WOT website says about their product:

Protect yourself from online scams, sites with adult content, spam and other Internet threats. The WOT community has rated millions of websites so you can search, shop online and surf for fun without worrying.

When the WOT addon is installed in a web browser, it displays safety information about web sites in two different ways.

First, there will be a WOT icon at the top of the browser next to the address bar. It will be colored green, yellow or red to show you the general rating of the web page you are currently viewing.

wot-ratings

If you click on this icon, you’ll be able to see more details about the ratings.

wot-ratings-for-techiebuzz

The detailed ratings are broken down into four categories: Trustworthiness, Vendor Reliability, Privacy and Child Safety. As you can see, Techie Buzz is a winner in all four areas.

The second way that WOT displays it’s ratings is while you are searching at one of the popular web search engines. Ratings are shown for Google, Yahoo, Ask, Bing and Froogle.

wot-in-google

As you can see, there is a colored icon next to each search result. Clicking on the icons there also gives you more detailed information about each site. You won’t have to worry if it’s safe to click on search results once you have WOT installed.

Some online email services are also covered by the link identification from WOT. Here’s what my Gmail looks like in Firefox. This also seems to work in Yahoo Mail, Live Mail and AOL Mail.

wot-in-gmail

The WOT addon will make your online email far safer to use.

Downloads:

Download the WOT addons for Firefox, IE and Chrome

The WOT Bookmarklet for Opera and Safari

For those who don’t wish to install anything at all in their browser, I’ve found an online search engine which uses WOT to rate the search results.

Safe Search:

Try SurfCanyon’s WOT Search

Techie Buzz Verdict:

There are several other services that offer similar addons or toolbars to make surfing more safe. WOT is my favorite and it supports the widest range of web browsers.

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5

Block Flash Animations in Google Chrome Browser

Today, I decided to look for a Flash blocking extension for the Chrome web browser. One of the web sites that I visit frequently had decided to add a very loud flash advertisement. I couldn’t turn it off or ignore it.

I went to the Chrome Extension Gallery and I found a very good flash blocking extension. It’s called FlashBlock.

flashblock-ext-gallery

Go here to install FlashBlock

How does it work?

Once installed, Flash animations will show as a grayed out icon in your browser window. To view them, just click on them once.

FlashBlocked

You’ll also see a little Flash icon up in the browser’s address bar. You can click on the little icon to add sites to a list of sites that you don’t want to block Flash on.

flashblock-allow

The Chrome web browser is now my default web browser. I made the decision based on speed and also on security. Take a look at Chinmoy’s post here about the Pwn2Own contest, in which Google Chrome was the only browser that was not hacked. Since Adobe Flash is a big source of security exploits, blocking all Flash by default is also a good security measure.

Are you using some other web browser?

You will be ready to surf faster and safer by using a Flash blocking addon. I’m guessing that you won’t miss Flash on most websites.

See also:

Can You Hide Your Web Browser While Surfing at Work or School?

If you have to sneak around, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it. You could get fired or expelled. However, there is one way to hide your surfing from other people as they walk past your computer. GhostZilla was designed to help with this exact problem.

ghost-from-clif What is GhostZilla? It’s a web browser that behaves like a scared chameleon. It blends into your desktop windows so well that anyone who’s more than 2 feet away won’t even see it at first. If someone is looking, a single mouse movement causes GhostZilla to disappear completely.

GhostZilla is a modified version of the Mozilla web browser, which is no longer supported. The Mozilla and Netscape browsers are the parents of the modern Firefox browser. You could say GhostZilla is an aging uncle to Firefox. The main feature of GhostZilla is that it appears inside the window frame of any application window that’s on top at the time.

Here’s what it looks like before you launch –

ghostzilla-word-0-large

– and after you launch GhostZilla, you see this.

ghostzilla-word-1-large

While you are surfing, you’ll notice that the text is displayed in a low contrast mode, and gray images will only appear as you hover your mouse over them.

monochrome-image-google

When you want GhostZilla to disappear, just move the mouse out of the window and it disappears, leaving behind the original window.

ghost-zilla-mouse-moves

To get GhostZilla back, you need to move your mouse all the way to the left edge of the display screen, then back to the right edge, and finally back to the left edge once again. Suddenly, GhostZilla should re-appear in the current active window.

There are a few problems with GhostZilla as it currently stands.
• It’s an abandoned project
• The original website is no longer there
• It doesn’t work as well in Vista/Win7 (XP is fine)
• It’s pretty big – 26mb

GhostZilla is a free and open source (FOSS) portable app. You can download it, unzip it and run it from a folder, flash memory stick, USB thumb drive or CD. To start GhostZilla, double click the Start-Ghostzilla-CD.exe file.

There is a current add-on project, named GhostFox, which is trying to duplicate the features of GhostZilla in the Firefox browser. However, I have not been able to get it to work because of add-on compatibilities. Once this add-on is working, it should be the ideal way to go.

If anyone out there has the time, I’d like to see a portable version of Firefox with the GhostFox add-on enabled and running by default. Be sure to let us know if you succeed.

Download GhostZilla:

http://www.portablefreeware.com/?id=681

Techie Buzz Verdict:

GhostZilla is a great idea that isn’t great for everyone at this time. It’s old, it’s big and it’s no longer supported. However, some of you may find it useful. Remember that I warned you not to secretly do your web surfing at work or school.

Techie Buzz Rating: 2.5/5 (Average)

Browser Saturday: Firefox In Technology of the Decade, Arora is Alive, Chrome Flash Extension and MS Browser Ballot

Welcome to the first post of our new weekly column Browser Saturday, where the Techie Buzz team will try to aggregate latest innovations and updates around the browser world.

Firefox is one of the 25 Technologies that changed the decade

The eWeek.com has listed Firefox among the 25 technologies that changed the decade. Firefox is at 9th place. eWeek says:

Just a few years ago, the future of the Web and the browser looked bleak. Internet Explorer dominated the market, and Microsoft wasn’t interested in browser innovation. But when Mozilla released Firefox, we finally got real browser choice and innovation.

Firefox is the only software product in Top 10. OpenOffice.org, Gmail, Ajax and iPhone are the other names in the list.

Arora is not DEAD!!

Arora is a light-weight cross-platform WebKit based browser, which comes with a unique feature: built-in Ad blocker. I personally appreciate Arora (& it is my alternate browser!). Unfortunately, the development process is too slow and users were suspecting if the project has been abandoned. But Benjamin Meyer, the main developer behind Arora, recently responded to a mail thread and explained his future plans. Meyer told:

I did suspend my own development for several months while I determined if I could actually work on Arora and related libraries at my new place of employment (My old company TorchMobile was bought by RIM).   At the end of the summer there was a ton of development mostly by me trying to get the adblock stuff in.   Going from that to nothing doesn’t look good in retrospect.     More recently I have been reviewing various patches and some have gone in.   I will be making another release in the near future.

Another Chrome Extension To Download Flash Videos in official gallery. Will Google remove it too?

Flash Video Download is a new extension for Google Chrome. It enables users to download flash videos from the sites like dailymotion and YouTube. The extension is hosted in the official Chrome extension gallery (owned by Google). In past, Google had removed such extensions from gallery because such extensions violate gallery policies to not create extensions that enable the unauthorized download of streaming content or media.

Interestingly, now there are many similar extensions featuring in gallery (another here). Will Google remove these extensions again?

Microsoft reveals browser ballot screen

Microsoft has revealed the browser ballot screen, which will be available to Windows users in EU soon. Download Squad reports that the rollout begins from the next week.

Techie Buzz has already told users about EU’s anti-trust complaint against Microsoft.

Block JavaScript in Google Chrome. NoScript’s features in Chrome!

If you have just migrated to Chrome from Firefox, you may have noticed that there is no Chrome version of NoScript the popular Firefox add-on to block JavaScript on web pages. NoScript blocks JavaScript, Java, Flash, Silverlight and several other executable contents by default and gives users a choice to allow these content from trusted sources only. Hence, it makes browsing faster and safer. I can’t imagine web browsing without NoScript, and this is one of the many reasons to stick with Firefox.

If you miss NoScript in Chrome, I have good news for you: Google Chrome will have similar content filter options soon. The latest Dev channel v5.0.317.0 for Windows has an option to selectively control cookies, images, JavaScript, plug-ins and pop-ups. Users can either block this content or opt to allow only certain trusted sources.

How to block JavaScript and other contents in Chrome?

disable javascript in google chrome

If you are using Dev channel of Chrome on Windows, you can access these features by updating it to latest release. Move to Options->Under the Hood->Content settings. This setting window provides better management of images, JavaScript, plug-ins, and pop-ups.

The recommended option is to block all JavaScript and add trusted hosts as Exceptions. Although, blocking JavaScript may result into unusual rendering of web pages. You can set options for cookies, images, popups and plug-ins similarly.

content setting icon in address barYou can also control your content settings from the address bar. If there is any blocked item on the current web page, a small icon will appear in the address bar, and users can manage settings by clicking on it. This feature is similar to NoScript, where you can control settings from the status bar icon.

I hope to see this feature in stable version of Chrome soon. :)