Version 36 implements one visible new feature: when users pin tiles on the New Tab page, those pins will be synced to other platforms using the Firefox Sync feature. Those using the Android version on tablets will also gain a new, tab-optimized user interface to work with when the app is updated over the coming days.
The web could be in line for a speed boost as the HTTP/2 standard edges closer to being finalized. The updated standard will be the first major alteration to the protocol since the late 1990s, and it includes a number of important updates that should help to make life online faster and more enjoyable.
Although HTTP/2 is yet to be published as a completed standard, it is already supported by some web browsers including Chrome and Firefox. However, it won't be until the standard is far more widely adopted that the real benefits will be felt.
In a new twist to the on-going NSA story, security firm Kaspersky Lab has discovered that a threat actor of previously unknown complexity and sophistication has been embedding surveillance software on hard drives produced by a number of well-known manufacturers. With names such as Western Digital, Seagate and Toshiba mentioned, and the reach of the spy program stretching to dozens of countries, it's not clear quite how many people may be affected.
Although Kapersky does not go as far as naming the NSA, or even specifying which country is responsible for the advanced surveillance, it seems that the spying campaign is somehow related to Stuxnet -- the tool used by the NSA to attack Iran -- and the Flame group.
If you're an Android user, there is a good chance that you use the Chrome browser on your device. Look, I get it, it can be easier and more seamless to use all Google apps. Me? I use Firefox on my Nexus 6. Why? I find it to be a better experience from a speed perspective -- scrolling is very fluid. More importantly though, I enjoy using plugins, such as Lastpass.
Today, however, I noticed something odd. When clicking a link to the Play Store in Firefox for Android, I did not see the app store. No, I instead saw an error message that Firefox was no longer supported. In other words, Google has flagged the user agent for Firefox, thereby blocking it from the web version Play Store.
Ads are pretty much universally hated; in the list of lovable things in the world, ads rank pretty far down. On TV, in movie theaters, in magazines and online, ads are forced upon us and are impossible to avoid. Except that's not true online. Ad-blocking software can be used to filter out the stuff you don’t want to see, making for a happier web browsing experience.
However, it turns out that installing an ad-blocking tool like, ooh... I dunno... AdBlock Plus... is not enough to prevent the appearance of unwanted advertisements. Some time ago we learned about the whitelist operated by AdBlock Plus and now the Financial Times reports that big companies like Google, Microsoft and Amazon have paid to be included on the list so their ads are no longer blocked.
Firefox 35 extends the Firefox Hello real-time communication client tool with a new rooms-based conversations model, plus adds more features to the new search user interface along with improved preferences. Android users gain improved geolocation tools.
Firefox is an excellent browser, and its configurability is a major plus. If you don’t like some aspect of the program then there’s probably a tweak which can help.
Keeping your preferred settings can be more of a challenge, though, especially if an extension changes one or more of them without asking. Preferences Monitor is a Firefox addon which can help by monitoring all your about:config changes, warning you of any that seem dubious, and allowing you to undo them with a click.
When Mozilla announced that Yahoo would be replacing Google as the default search choice in Firefox in the US, there were raised eyebrows everywhere. After all, Google has been baked into Firefox for the past decade, and Yahoo’s days as a top search engine are long gone. Or were long gone at least.
Yahoo’s inclusion in Firefox has given the ailing search engine a major boost, helping it achieve its highest US search share since 2009. Unsurprisingly, this share increase came at the expense of Google.
It’s happened to us all. You’ve spent an age at a website, deep in thought, working on a lengthy forum post or similar wall of text, when the browser window closes unexpectedly -- and you’ve lost everything.
You could get angry, maybe throw things, before calming down and starting again. But it might be better to install Textarea Cache, a free Firefox addon which saves the contents of text fields locally, as you type, and makes them ready for recovery in seconds.
You’re at a web page, maybe reading a forum post, looking at a list of links. You’d like to copy them somewhere, maybe share them with someone else. But your browser has no way to work with every link on a page, so you must copy them individually, select all the text and edit it later, maybe just bookmark the site and come back when you’ve more time.
It’s annoying. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Not if you’ve equipped yourself with the Firefox addon, Copy All Links.
If you’d like to know when your favorite websites are updated then you could monitor their RSS or ATOM feeds, maybe a Twitter account or Facebook page. But if they don’t have any of these -- or checking them all seems like too much effort -- then you’ll probably just keep revisiting the site, again, and again, and again.
Update Scanner is a Firefox addon which saves time by automatically detecting and notifying you about changes to your chosen web pages.
Two weeks ago Mozilla announced that it would be jettisoning Google as the default search option in Firefox, opting instead to go for Yahoo, the search engine that most right-thinking people stopped using, and caring about, years ago (at least Mozilla didn’t select Ask.com).
Firefox 34 launched at the start of the month, with Yahoo as the default choice for US users, and instantly the newly selected search engine saw a massive increase in usage.
Apple makes some really great products. Quite frankly, you really can't go wrong with anything it makes. Sure, I prefer Windows and Linux distributions on the desktop, but OS X is a fine operating system too. The true bread and butter for the fruit-logo company, however, is not its desktop operating system, but mobile -- iOS. I own an iPad and enjoy it for what it is, but I find iOS to be a spectacularly terrible operating system, as it is too restrictive and dumb-downed. For some, the designed simplicity is a benefit, but for advanced users like myself, lack of a user-accessible file system is a non-starter.
The truly terrible crime, however, is that Apple does not allow browser engines other than its own. Google chose to offer a neutered version of Chrome for iOS, but Mozilla famously did not bring Firefox. I was rather proud of Mozilla for sticking to its beliefs and refusing to give in to Apple's policies. Yes, it sucks not having Firefox on iOS, but I supported the decision. Today, however, Mozilla concedes as it is bowing down to Apple in an effort to target more users. In other words, Mozilla is biting into a shiny red apple, but I fear that it is poisoned!
Firefox 34 rolls out the new Firefox Hello real-time communication client and promises faster and simpler persona switching. It also includes a number of improved features, widens support for HTML5 and unveils a new WebIDE app for developers.
While I keep the list short this year, it wouldn't be U.S. Thanksgiving without my writing about gratitude, and why some tech company's executives, employees, and partners should prostrate and pray "Thanks".
Let's start off with Google, which continues a great run that started with Larry Page's return as CEO in April 2011. If he's not all smiles this Turkey Day, someone should slap that man aside the head. I could tick off a hundred things for which he should give thanks. For brevity's sake, so you can get back to the big game and bigger bird, I select some things that might not come to mind.