Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Initial Design Mockups for Firefox 3.7/4.0

Lifehacker has just pointed out that Mozilla has released some initial brainstorms of the design for Firefox 3.7 and Firefox 4.0.

It looks like they are going in the direction of creating a simplistic interface following the path of Google Chrome and Safari. Hiding the menu bar by default and using the two buttons (XP) on the right side. They also seem to be following Safari 4.0 changing colors with the Windows theme. See this. Notice that the toolbar color changes with the Windows theme color. On Vista, its just a tools menu with the page menu on the tab bar left instead.

This design also features (for Windows Vista/7) a full glass interface.

The current design for Firefox 4.0 features the Omnibar and Top Tabs.

Find out more:
Mozilla Links

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

User Agent Switcher (Firefox Extension)

An interesting article came up on CNET Download.com about a Firefox extension I wish I found long ago.

Its User Agent Switcher which lets you pretend to be another browser. Opera has something similar to this built in. Handy for those sites that simply won’t load in Firefox. Unlike IE Tab (and related add-ons) the site still uses Firefox, only pretending to be other browsers like IE by “switching” the user agent.

Be aware however, that many sites want Internet Explorer because their site breaks in other browsers.

Read CNET Download.com’s Post here.

User Agent Switcher (Mozilla Add-ons)

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Last Password You Have to Remember

Do you have trouble remembering passwords? Is writing them on a piece of paper or text file not working? Well then password managers are what you need. Most browsers have one built in, but they are really simple and quite insecure. For example, in Firefox, with just a click on a button, all your saved passwords are revealed. You could add a Master Password, though most people do not. Some browsers like Google Chrome don’t even have a Master Password. Thats when third party managers come in.

Product Name: LastPass Password Manager
Platform: Windows, Mac, and Linux
Browser Integration:
Firefox Add-on, IE Add-on, Bookmarklets for any browser on any platform that supports Javascript (including Chrome, Safari, Opera, and even iPod Touch and iPhone)
Version Reviewed: 1.51.2

95 out of 100

Upon installing LastPass, it will prompt you to set up a LastPass Account. Account you say? Yes, thats because this is fully online. LastPass is an online password manager. While that may seem a bit scary, the LastPass servers are host-proof, meaning even their employees cannot access the data. In addition, only the encrypted data is stored on their servers. The key to decrypt it lies in your hands, the master password. All encrpytion and decryption is done on your own computer. The key is not stored on their servers. They use a “salted hash.” Learn more about this here. Learn about their technology: AES-256 bit to secure your data here.

View the details in this flash slideshow. Having problems viewing it or want to view it in full screen? Click here (Picasa Web Albums).

I just started using LastPass and have officially switched to it for my password management. Having it stored online is very handy since I can use it to logon public shared computers.

I can also finally access all my stored data from Firefox and use it on virtually any browser.

Unlike most other Password Managers that integrate with the browser (including Firefox built in), LastPass doesn’t only fill when the page loads. Some sites, like CNET Download.com, fail to be autofilled by managers like Firefox built in because their login screen doesn’t load a new page. Its just a Javascript overlay window. LastPass fills it whenever the login forms appear not just when the page loads.

Also, unlike other managers, LastPass is multi platform and works on just about all browsers (though its superior on IE and Firefox).

It is also capable of searching your computer for stored passwords that are not properly secured and can easily be accessed by hackers. I had no problems having all my Firefox saved passwords imported into LastPass and deleted from Firefox.

Note: You must have third party cookies enabled or have lastpass.com on the Always Allow list or it will always log off automatically each time the browser closes regardless of your auto log off time settings.

Being all online means that you will have to put some trust into the folks at LastPass. While their host proof server has excellent security methods, this might not be the product for those who are really paranoid about their personal data.

Overall, LastPass is a very straightforward and easy to use yet powerful password management tool. The only password I need to remember now is my Master Password.

I have to say, LastPass rocks!

LastPass Home Page
LastPass Download Page
LastPass from Mozilla Add-ons (AMO)
Bookmarklet is available from within your account. Not recommended for Firefox and Internet Explorer as the plugin is much more superior. Learn more here.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

VLC Media Player 1.0.0 Released!

Do you use VLC Media Player? If not, why not give it a try today! Free and open source. What exactly is it? Its a simple yet powerful open source and cross platform alternative to other media players as it can play just about any media format you throw at it.

This popular media player has just received a major update today. Support for HD and other new formats, finer speed controls, customizable toolbars, AirTunes streaming, and much more are among some of the new features. It also received a lot of bug fixing work and annoyance fixing.

Give it a try today!

VLC Media Player [VideoLan]

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Google Apps Drops the Beta Label

Do you use Google Apps products like Gmail, Google Calendar, and/or Google Docs? You may have noticed it always had that Beta label on it. Today, they finally drop the Beta making it a “final” product though it probably makes no difference. Gmail has been in “beta” for over 5 years.

How does this change make you feel? More confident using Google Apps?

To me, it doesn’t really make a difference. If you want that label back to “soothe the soul” there’s a new Gmail Labs feature that adds the Beta label back to the logo.

Leave your thoughts about this in the comments.

More information can be found at:

Official Gmail Blog
New York Times

Friday, July 3, 2009

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