I have a love/hate relationship with iOS. My iPad Air is a satisfying tablet; I enjoy using it, but I feel guilty. Why? I have some specific computing beliefs that Apple's operating system is at odds with. Namely, I do not like that users cannot change the default web browser. Even worse, I find it horrible that alternative browser engines cannot be used. While I am sure Apple has its reasons, it is an undeniably bad practice which harms users by limiting choice.
Firefox is not found on iOS for this reason. Mozilla initially refused to cave to Apple and release a neutered version without its own Gecko engine. Last year, however, Mozilla announced that it was bringing a version of the browser to the mobile operating system by saying, "we need to be where our users are so we're going to get Firefox on iOS". While I am still dismayed that browser will not use the Gecko engine on iOS, I've come to accept it as a necessity for Firefox to survive. Today, Mozilla announces that the project is still on track and a beta is on the way soon.
The mobile landscape seems to be set for the near future. Android and iOS will continue to dominate, while Microsoft will hope to reach respectable market share with Windows 10 Mobile. While there are other hopeful operating systems in this segment, such as Ubuntu and Firefox OS, the odds are not in their favor. With that said, more options are better and I see potential in Mozilla's operating system.
Today, Mozilla announces the launch of new devices running Firefox OS, courtesy of Panasonic. Wait, is Panasonic releasing new smartphones? No. Actually, these are televisions running Firefox OS and they are available now. Whoa. A 4K TV that can run web apps? Sign me up!
Believe it or not, a year has passed since Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP. And even though the 13 year-old operating system no longer receives security updates -- at least not officially -- it is still being used by roughly 17 percent of Windows users. For some companies it is reason enough to continue to support Windows XP today, even though its maker has long left it for dead. And Google is one of them.
Six months after Windows XP support ended, Google announced that its Chrome browser would continue to be supported on the OS with "regular updates and security patches until at least April 2015". That was done in order to give its users more time to finish migrating to a newer Windows release, one that would, hopefully, be officially supported by Microsoft for many more years to come. Obviously, that hasn't gone as expected. But instead of pulling the plug, Google is now giving Chrome users on Windows XP another reprieve.
Firefox is important to me and I hope it is important to you. Even if you do not use the browser, there is value in having an open source browser available that isn't based on WebKit or a fork of it (Blink), as so many are nowadays. Variety is the spice of life, and having only one browser engine is not only sad, but dangerous; competition drives innovation.
If you are an Android user, you probably use Chrome or the stock Android browser and that is OK; both of those browsers are great. With that said, some people, such as myself, prefer Mozilla's Firefox. It is fast, buttery smooth and offers plugins. Today, Mozilla announces that Firefox for Android has been downloaded 100 million times. Whoa.
If you find something interesting while researching online, your first instinct will probably be to bookmark the page for reference later. And that’s just fine, as long as you can find the bookmark later. And remember why you saved it. And don’t mind re-reading the entire page to locate the fragment you need.
Save Text To File is a Firefox add-on which could make this much easier. If you’re only interested in a paragraph or two of text, forget bookmarks, just select what you need with the mouse, then right-click, Save Text To File > Save, and your chosen words are saved directly to a local file.
The new release debuts the Heartbeat user rating system, plus a number of incremental improvements and tweaks. Version 38 has also been made available in Beta and includes some more radical changes, including a new tabbed-based preferences UI.
Mozilla could soon find itself at the center of a new controversy, as it just approved a Firefox extension, called Men Kampf, designed with the sole purpose of replacing so-called "radfem rethoric [sic] with nazi friendly alternatives".
Men Kampf scans the page that the Firefox user visits for any words considered to be linked to feminism -- certainly not radical feminism, as claimed in the description -- and replaces them, on the fly, with said "alternatives". As such, an article about feminism will quickly appear to be one about nazism. The developer behind the extension, Erim Secla, says that it's all "just for fun" in Men Kampf's description. Except that it's not.
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.