Monthly Archives: January 2011

WebCott Automatic Boycotting…

I just started writing my first Firefox Extension (you can try it - but warning -  it has just been written by me and this is my first extension).  It’s designed to automatically help you boycott certain websites.  In the current implementation it just redirects to a WebCott blocked page on my website.

Anyway the two items I am blocking are:

  • All Fox News / News Corp properties – I am really tired of going there accidentally from Google News, I don’t want to support them with my advertising views/clicks.
  • Websites that don’t support Linux (not currently any sites!)

So, I thought I would ask the planet, what would you boycott (for the Linux part)?  What sites do you want to see included? (I will remove all links before posting)

Should I include sites that have partial functionality (aka Netflix let’s you arrange the next DVD right?)  or items that work, you just have to use Wine? (aka Steam and friends)  or how about sites partially owned by competitors (thing MSNBC)..  I don’t have a great formula for this yet… Perhaps just start with sites that just block Linux users outright (or use ActiveX , etc).  What do you think?  What sites just don’t work for you at all?

Try the new Firefox Beta!

Firefox’s new version 4.0 has some very impressive new features.  Features like HTML5 Video (video without Adobe  Flash), WebGL for cool new graphics, and Firefox Sync (which allows you to sync open tabs, favorites, and more between your computer and mobile devices).  Of course, they’ve made it much much faster.

If you are up for it, installing the new beta of Firefox, using it as your regular browser and submitting feedback can help Mozilla make a better Firefox 4, which helps us all make a better web. Perhaps you could also ask someone who is not technically-inclined to try the beta (my item #3 will explain why that is important).

What will it take?

  1. A very little bit of your time to download and install Firefox 4.  You will need to close your current browser to start up the new Firefox 4 Beta.
  2. The possible inconvenience that a bug might find you!  Bugs aren’t supposed to happen, but sometimes they will – especially during beta testing. A bug is something that you can help find so that Mozilla can fix it.
    What if a bug finds me?

    • DON’T PANIC!   If the bug prevents you from working, you can simply close Firefox Beta and open the old version of Firefox, which will remain installed on your computer even while you test the beta.
    • If a crash dialog comes up (they are hopefully very rare), try to remember what you were doing so that you can type it in the box. Crashes can be disconcerting, but little details can sometimes help Mozilla fix them.  (Ex. I just clicked play on a movie, but then quickly clicked pause and then the crash dialog box came up)
    • If a site doesn’t work, use the “Feedback” button in the top right corner
  3. Help more! Once you have the Firefox Beta installed, the two items below will help Mozilla make Firefox 4 even better!
    So… you want to help out more! Good for you!

    • The first way is to click on the “Feedback” button, and then click All Your User Studies.  First, take the Firefox 4 Beta Users Background Survey. Next, go to Settings and check automatically submit my data.  You can also turn off notifications here.   These studies help Mozilla understand how people are using Firefox and adapt the interface to better suit what users want.  We want non-technical users so that we can learn more about how the general population uses Firefox, not just geeks.
    • The second way is to help test the new way Mozilla is making Firefox super fast!  Depending upon what kind of features your  computer has, Mozilla will use the best features to speed it up. Different computers will behave differently with this new kind of accelerated speed.  To help tests this you can:
      1. Get Grafx Bot!
      2. Go to Tools -> Grafx Bot.  If you don’t see the Tools Menu, Right click on the Firefox button, and then check Menu Bar.  Then go to Tools -> Grafx Bot
      3. Once you click Start it should begin the tests (or restart and then you can start the tests).  It will take about 15 minutes. When it finishes, it will ask you to evaluate the images on the screen, which are comparisons of the accelerated images vs. the unaccelerated ones.  Your responses tell the developers whether the accelerated features worked correctly on your computer.

I hope you find this useful!  I’m hoping to see Firefox 4.0 reach 1% market-share before the final version is released (at .50% now) because this will give us really great testing and survey coverage for the release.  All of that should make it a better release!  Spread the Firefox Beta!