has an undiagnosed addiction to steamed pork buns
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posts during November 2007

Firefox 3 Beta 1

It’s finally here! The first beta of Firefox 3 (Gran Paradiso) was released a few minutes ago. Although I’ve occasionally used Firefox 3 for testing and experimentation purposes, today was the first day I finally made the switch to using it full-time. And I’m glad I did – it’s awesome. I can’t speak for the other platforms, but the difference on Mac is amazing. The visual refresh hasn’t landed yet, but you can see what’s in the works here.

The browser just feels faster, and OMG cocoa widgets and unified toolbar! One of my favorite features that I’m slowly taking advantage of is being able to start typing any part of a url or page title and have the page I was looking for appear right in the URL bar.

So, if you want to try it out, head on over to the download page. And if you’re on Mac, I highly recommend installing the prototype theme of the visual refresh – it’s awesome. (Note: this is still a beta, so bad things could happen, so use at your own risk! But if you’re on Mac, it’s pretty much worth it.)

If you’re looking for information on what’s in Firefox 3, check out the release notes page. I’ve included a short summary from the announcement of the main things below in case you’re not interested in the details.

  • Improved security features such as: better presentation of website identity and security, malware protection, stricter SSL error pages, anti-virus integration in the download manager, and version checking for insecure plugins.
  • Improved ease of use through: better password management, easier add-on installation, new download manager with resumable downloading, full page zoom, animated tab strip, and better integration with Windows Vista and Mac OS X.
  • Richer personalization through: one-click bookmarking, smart search bookmark folders, direct typing in location bar searches your history and bookmarks for URLs and page titles, ability to register web applications as protocol handlers, and better customization of download actions for file types.
  • Improved platform features such as: new graphics and font rendering architecture, native web page form controls, color profile management, and offline application support.
  • Performance improvements such as: better data reliability for user profiles, architectural improvements to speed up page rendering, over 300 memory leak fixes, and a new XPCOM cycle collector to reduce entire classes of leaks.

Huge thanks and congrats to everyone that’s been working for so long on Firefox 3 and Gecko 1.9 (27 months!).

Stupid Filter

“Because the internet needs prophylactics for memetically transmitted diseases.”

There’s a new open source project at StupidFilter.org to create filtering software that can detect “stupid” comments on the internet, such as comments on YouTube and similar sites. While this is an interesting project, the part that really caught me is that they’re going to release it as a Firefox extension. (They actually said plugin, but I’m guessing they meant extension.) While they mention other forms of delivery, all but the extension are aimed at the hosts of the content, not the consumer.

When I first read about the project on Slashdot, I thought “I hope they make it a Firefox extension”. It’s exciting that so many of the ideas and innovations people have these days are implemented through Firefox add-ons. Hopefully we’ll see even more of that in the future, as Mozilla is investing heavily in its add-ons community and I expect the results of that will be apparent in Firefox 3 and the upcoming changes to the add-ons website, as well as some much awaited new tools for add-on developers that I’ll be blogging about in the coming weeks on the WebDev blog.

Handsfree iPhone calls

I had been looking for an adapter for my iPhone so that I could connect it to my cassette adapter and play music from the phone in my car, when I came across the Shure Music Phone Adapter. It’s meant to allow using an iPhone with any set of headphones and has a microphone and button built in so that you still have the functionality that the iPhone earbuds have. I decided it was worth spending some of my Apple Store credit on and ordered it.
Shure Music Phone Adapter
I was eager to try the adapter out with receiving a call in the car, because I assumed the music would fade out, I could use the button to answer the call, and take the call over my car’s speakers with the adapter microphone and not have to use my hands. Of course, this one time I actually wanted people to call me while I was driving, I had to wait several car rides before it happened. When it finally occurred, everything happened like I was expecting and the reception on both ends was perfect.

So, if you’re looking for a way to make handsfree calls with an iPhone and be able to listen to your music at the same time, I suggest this adapter.