Firefox 1.5 released

YES!!! The long awaited sequel is here. Get the official update of Firefox. It’s available on Windows, OS X, Linux and some 20 odd language versions. 20 times 3 makes 60, not? See all versions.

This release comes with a revamped preference panel, tabbed browsing enhancements, loads of bugfixes, faster back- and forward, … in short it just got better. How much, you’ll have to find out yourself.

BUT If you plan to upgrade, please make sure none of your critical extensions break. If they do, persuade the original extension creator to fix his/her extension ASAP. Or take a look at the Mozilla Quality post: “Some help testing Extensions for Firefox 1.5“.
Personally, the only extension that hasn’t been updated for me, are the Furl Tools.

And as of this release the new mozilla.com site is live as well. (As opposed to the former .org one)

On a sidenote: I expect the Portable Firefox version to be released very soon.

Go Get It!

Update: This final release seems to have the same timestamp of FF RC3. Which some of us have been running since November 11th. I must admit, I have not run into issues since. Some extensions reserved.
And it seems mozilla.com is favoured over mozilla.org. I see former links pointing to .org redirected to the .com.

Animated shorts

I love ’em! Especially the CGI kind. Having some experience with 3D apps, I know how time- and resource-consuming it is to make a perfect animation. Not to mention the skills needed.
(Allright, stop-animation with clay is harder. Sorry Gromit. But I hear … they’re also turning to computers to speed up the workflow. Heresy, I say! ;-))

Anyway, there is a wealth of demo-reels and animated shorts to be found on the web. So let’s start with a household name in computer generated images: Blur Studio. Here’s their animated short: Rockfish.

Rockfish Still by Blur

Synopsis: ‘Rex Hunt’ meets ‘Tremors’.
View the short: Large version / Small version (Quicktime required)

{Canvas} demo

If you’re viewing this post with a release candidate of Firefox 1.5, take a look at the below <canvas> demo.

Canvascape - 3D Walker

For now, you can only walk through a maze from a first person perspective. But it runs smooth and looks pretty impressive.

See the “3D Walker” demo on Canvascape

PS: It is rumored to work on Safari too, but I haven’t tried it yet. Confirmed. The demo works fine on Safari (2).

Small update: It appears to be a bad idea to use (encoded) tags in post titles. So I changed it slightly.

Update: This just has cross-browser* Wolfenstein 3D written all over it. 🙂 Or, … yes there I go again… Google Earth?

*IE6 doesn’t support the canvas-element nor is there an indication IE7 will.

Exploring the earth from your couch, part 2

Imagine yourself sitting down on your couch in front of your television, as usual. A drink in one hand, the TV remote in the other. Don’t worry, the chips are within reach. Within the press of a button, or two. You spin up a three dimensional globe and with the directional buttons on your remote you ‘cruise’ around the earth. Occasionally zooming in to street-level (provided a plane taking off from O’Hare isn’t blocking your view.) and back up again.

Maybe check out the beach of your next vacation spot? Or the surf? Maybe find out where ‘Moldavia’ is located, if it really exists…? Show your holiday photos from Florida superimposed on a map, to your inlaws? Brag about how you developed altitude sickness going up ‘this’ mountain? Or take a look at some impact craters? Or…

Virtual Earth on a Media Center PC (Sean McLeod)

Well, Sean McLeod pulled it off, sort off. If you own a Media Center PC and are willing to do so some ‘hackery’ stuff. You could be viewing the earth in its full satelite glory from your couch for real. (Judging from the pic above.)

Now, I don’t own a Media Center PC, Front Row capable Mac, TV-Set Top box nor any other TV-enabled device. (Yes a laptop could be attached to a tv, but where’s the remote…) But if you think about it. Wouldn’t that be ‘swell’…
Maybe Google should consider porting Google Earth to XBox or Playstation?

IMHO, we won’t be seeing the last of this!
Internet on a TV sucked, big time, because TV’s aren’t meant to be read off. They’re meant to be viewing pictures at a rate of 25 or 30 frames a second. Thus, viewing satelite images of your neighbourhood, on your TV, with you in control of the view… Excellent!

Thanks to James @ Spatially Adjusted. (Part 1 is over here)

Google Analytics… *Big Yawn*

So 48 hours after launch the site is at least reachable. But still no data to analyse. Thus no comparison. A vague memory begins to boil up, I have never, ever, seen any Urchin report before. Although previously encountered hostingproviders offered them…
(I’m starting to see a trend here…)

It’s beginning to look like, as we say in The Netherlands: “Doodgemaakt met een blije mus.” I won’t translate, because the finesse will be lost. And to the Dutch: Yes it’s spelled wrong.

I’ll leave the smart comments to Steve Rubel and Technorati. *signing off*

Update (16-11 11:00 GMT+1): The data is up! Finally 🙂 Let’s see how it fares…

Update 2 (16-11 17:15 GMT+1): It’s only ‘old’ data from 1.5 day of measurements. No new data has been added this afternoon. So much for the hourly update. 🙁
BTW: The launch of Google Base today does not seem to be a problem. 🙄

Update 3 (17-11 13:15 GMT+1): And it gets even better, I ‘Can not sign in‘.

Update 4 (18-11 13:00 GMT+1): Finally some confirmation: I have installed Google Analytics, but all or some of my data is missing from my reports.

Currently, report updating for Google Analytics is experiencing delays. As a result, you may not be seeing any data in your reports even after implementing the Analytics tracking code.

Update 5 (24-11 14:00 GMT+1): Registered users received an official e-mail from Google confirming all the trouble. I must say, things are working a little better these days.

Disruptive technology, the Firefox way

No this isn’t about Firefox taking over the world. It’s about taking over my ‘browsing experience’. 🙁

Just moments ago I was minding my bussiness perusing stuff on the internet. When I suddenly was confronted with a popup. A popup? In Firefox??? Yes a popup, pleading me to restart Firefox… No thank you, I’m not ready for a restart just yet… You are ‘disrupting’ me!

Firefox Software Update popup

I do applaude the concern at Mozilla to provide me a safe and up-to-date browser. I do think the blue/green/red ‘christmas trees’ were a little bit confusing. (If you see one in your copy of Firefox right now, I suggest you click on it.) But ‘disrupting’ a user while at work is a bit too much, IMHO. Especially when there is no further indication as to why I really need to restart my browser. Clicking the ‘details’ link does not reveal what is ‘updated’.
To cut things short: Bad user experience! How about a less intrusive way, somewhere in between a popup and a ‘christmas tree’? ‘Important update’? You and everyone else has an ‘important update’! 🙄

Update: It seems there is some confusion about the ‘christmas trees’ I was talking about. Here’s what they look like.
Firefox Update "Christmas Tree" Icon
They also come in a blue and red variant. But I’m confused as to what the colors mean. Red is propably critical. I guess.

Firefox: “The choice of criminals”

If I may quote the ‘Alternative browsers pose challenge for cybersleuths‘ article by C|Net:

Internet Explorer hides nothing from police and other investigators who examine PCs to discover which sites the user has visited, according to a class held Wednesday at the annual training meeting of the High Tech Crime Investigation Association. Investigators know the location of the IE browser cache, cookie files and history, and they know how to read those files. Also, popular forensics tools can help out.

But that story changes when it comes to alternative Web browsers such as Firefox and Opera, instructor Glenn Lewis said at the well-attended session. These programs use different structures, files and naming conventions for the data that investigators are after. And files are in a different location on the hard drive, which can cause trouble for examiners. Furthermore, forensics software may not support the Web browsers, he said.

Where’s a :smilie_hitting_brick_wall: icon when you need one? 🙄

Happy Birthday Firefox

A year ago, to the day, Firefox 1.0 was launched. So I guess a ‘happy birthday’ is in order. 😎

Logo Firefox 1.0In the past year this little app shook up the browser world. Among some of the things accomplished are, in no particular order:

  • Grab a larger than 10% marketshare. Exceeding the ‘promise’ made at launch.
  • Wake up that other browser development team, in Redmond.
  • Change the way I work on, code and debug my websites/applications.
  • Make companies big or small aware they have to support web-standards a.k.a. not only support IE.
  • Inspire Opera to also deliver a fine browser for free.
  • Setting a few download records. The current score is more than 106 million downloaded copies (spread over 7 iterations).
  • Prove that Feature Creep is bad and Open Source Software doesn’t have to come with a ‘Nerd Alert’.

You also may want to take a look at:

All that is left is the wait for Firefox 1.5

Update: Next part is adult only!!! So if you are not of legal age in your corner of the world, try Disney. For Tarantino afficionados: Kill Bill’s Browser LOL 😀 And for some Firefox Ooh Lala. Firefox, definitely the cutest and sexiest browser in the world! 😉

Extend Firefox Contest

The Mozilla foundation kicked off a competition for Firefox extension developers (to be). So if you have an idea for an new extension or upgrade your existing one, take a look at the extend firefox contest.

Do so before January 6, 2006. And it’s not for eternal fame only. There are some nice prices to be had.

PS: I’d like to have a GMail notifier that checks multiple accounts, maybe throw in a POP3 checker for generic mail accounts… It’s just an idea. 🙂

Update: Asa is pointing to the “New features for extension developers in Firefox 1.5” by Jesse Ruderman. Which should provide enough idea’s for 1.5 extensions.

Yahoo! Local Maps Beta

Yahoo Maps Beta LogoYahoo! Maps is offering a Beta version which is based on Flash! – shock & horror – What were they thinking? 😉

I do like it. It’s snappy, looks good and simply works. (hearing that MS?) Go see the Yahoo! Maps Beta for yourself.
For instance check out the ubiquitous “Pizza in Redmond” sample. Hover & click to see more info. Nice. Although at the largest zoom-level you won’t find anything.

Another nice feature is Live Traffic with which you’ll get up-to-date traffic info like congestions and construction work details. Now all they need to do is add the rest of the world and of course satellite imagery. Take a look at the features overview.

How about an API you ask? Here are the Yahoo! Maps Developer APIs.

Also see TechCrunch’s story on the Yahoo! Maps Beta and WeBreakStuff’s first look .

On a sidenote: Is it the time of the year or what? It seems everyone is releasing stuff like crazy.