Firefox Flicks Winners

Mozilla have announced the winners of the Firefox Flicks video contest:

The winning submissions are:

Grand Prize
"Daredevil" by Pete Macomber

Second Place
"Wheee!" by Jeff Gill

Third Place
"Fox Fever" by Andrew N. Green

Honorable Mention
"This is Hot" by Danny Robashkin

Honorable Mention
"Give Me the Soap" by Chris Wedding

Cnet interviews Asa Dotzler from Mozilla and the creator of the winning entry, Daredevil. 

Spyware Quiz

According to McAfee, most users are unable to spot spyware on websites.

"According to the first-ever Spyware Quiz conducted by SiteAdvisor, a staggering 97% of Internet users are just one click away from infecting their PCs with spyware, adware or some other kind of unwanted software. Even though the threat of spyware has received extensive media coverage, just 3% of the 14,000-plus consumers who took SiteAdvisor’s spyware quiz received perfect scores."

You can take the quiz here. From just looking at the screenshots, I got 7 out of 8 questions correct. The one I got wrong was Blubster which I thought was safe. Probably because it looks too much like certain Web 2.0 sites and looks very much like Flock.

I would never actually download smileys, screensavers, etc. and if I did I would probably Google the site first.

Google promoting Firefox

Several people have pointed to Google advertising Firefox with Google Toolbar to some users. I guess this can be seen as good news for Firefox as it could mean Firefox gets out to a larger audience.

However, I don't really like the fact Google is effectively trying to become the main and primary distributor of Firefox. It's Adsense program has encouraged many users to link to Google's Firefox download page which comes bundled with the Google Toolbar rather than linking to Mozilla's official page.

Google's advert seems to be more of an advert for Google Toolbar than Firefox. Now perhaps thats the only way Google can justify advertising Firefox and it's better than them advertising Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer because it still gets people to switch to Firefox. However, if everyone downloads Firefox through Google, people begin to think Google Toolbar (which some people may consider to be spyware/bundleware) is an essential part of Firefox. 

For example Dave Winer, who invented XML-RPC, RSS 2.0, OPML, etc., got confused and thought that there was no choice but to download Google Toolbar with Firefox. 

Another issue is people loading their webpages chock full of Firefox adverts and notices to make money on Adsense. This can give users a negative impression of Firefox.

Internet Explorer Add-Ons

The IE Blog announces a new Internet Explorer Add-Ons site. It sounds like this new site is Microsoft's attempt to build a rival to Firefox's thriving extension ecosystem.

I don't think Internet Explorer is ever going to be able to compete with Firefox's extensions system. For a start, compare Internet Explorer's Add-On Manager with the Firefox Extensions window. Firefox beats IE hands down for ease of use.

On the quality of extensions front, Firefox wins again. There are tons of great extensions, most of which are free to use and open source.

Anyone who has experience with writing web pages and Javascript should find it pretty easy to write an extension. In contrast, Internet Explorer Add-Ons will require you to have knowledge of programming languages such as Visual Basic or C++, development tools and there isn't a nice way of packaging add-ons.  

Thinkfree Web Office

Thinkfree Online is a web based office suite which offers both Java and Javascript editing versions.

Extremetech says: "ThinkFree uses both AJAX and Java. The company admits that AJAX is more portable in that it doesn't require a plug-in, but they contend that Java is needed to provide true Microsoft Office compatibility and functionality. Solutions like ajaxWrite can mimic an installed word processor interface with some success, but ThinkFree's take is that they don't want to limit users to one browser, as ajaxWrite does. And ThinkFree goes a lot farther than ajaxWrite in mimicking Microsoft Office functionality. Note that the office suite doesn't include a database app, so it's not really a complete replacement for Microsoft Office."

I tried it out courtesy of Bugmenot. It's quite slow and I still don't see the point of web based office suites. The most interesting thing was the Javascript based editor they use is the open source TinyMCE.

TinyMCE is also used by Geneone, WordPress and Flock. 

No Places in Firefox 2.0

Firefox lead engineer Ben Goodger says that Places will not be in Firefox 2.0. The new Places system delivered an overhaul to the old bookmarks and history system and featured SQLite technology. 

Ben Goodger wrote: "What we have learned though is that the work required to complete Places is probably too substantial to gate the Firefox 2 release. It falls more into the "significant rearchitecture" category of feature that's generally been targeted at Firefox 3."

Michael Schroepfer said: "This is a difficult decision – but doing it this early in the release cycle gives us the time to focus on delivering an extremely high quality FF2 in Q3 and gives Places the room it needs to develop into a truly innovative feature." 

Places will be moved to the trunk and should be in Firefox 3.0. 

Quite disappointing and it'll put the size of the Firefox 2.0 upgrade on more of a par with the Firefox 1.5 upgrade. However, I don't disagree that it was the right decision as Places is no where near usable by end users.

Geneone Update

Over the last week or two, I've reorganized and renamed many of the classes in Geneone. All classes now follow the PEAR method of naming and file locations. For example:

  • The Gene class can be found in Gene.php
  • GeneAuth has become Gene_Auth and can now be found at Gene/Auth.php
  • Gene_Object_Model_Blog can now be found at Gene/Object/Model/Blog.php.

Eventually it should be possible to use the PEAR installer to download and upgrade Geneone libraries. You then simply have to download a frontend which will contain the loader code and Smarty.

Since PEAR is an integral part of Geneone it makes sense that it should be possible to upgrade Geneone and it's dependencies by running pear upgrade-all. Of course, there is still no reason why you can't download stuff the traditional way.

Multiple Pages

Screenshot of multiple page functionality

I "borrowed" a bit of the TinyMCE code from WordPress (with a few modifications) to create a buttom to split content up in to multiple parts.

I implemented this feature because I might often embed large images, pieces of content or video on my blog and it doesn't make sense for this to show on the front page of the blog. Long articles can also be split up into multiple parts.

Form UI

I decided to revamp the look of the forms a little based on the beautiful forms at The Wolf's PixelCarnage blog (I hope you don't mind ).

Compared with the old look, font size on the field labels have been turned up and the actual form fields are slightly indented which should make it easier to glance through a form quickly. 


Firefoxit is an extension to run widgets inside Firefox. It's still very early in development stages and there seem to be almost no widgets but it looks like a promising project.

At the moment you can only show Firefoxit widgets when your inside Firefox. Press F6 to activate the widget screen.

I think the extension needs a bit more on the aesthetics side, getting the widgets to show when not inside the browser, customization and compatibility with other widgets such as Dashboard and Opera.

A new beta is coming soon and it looks like development is continuing so this project could churn out a nice extension to rival Opera's widget support.