Last project of the year

I’m working on a secret extension for the Extend Firefox contest. A bit simpler than other stuff I’ve done, but still pretty cool. Nothing fancy, just an interesting twist as usual.

I’ll release it here in a few days. It’s starting to be pretty stable.

Apple Mozilla Software

mozPod 0.1 Released

I decided to release mozPod 0.1 as a late Christmas Gift. This is of course a 0.1 release (beta quality at best), so of course feedback is desired. I’m positive bugs remain, and I’m positive there are some larger bugs still in that code. Testing is needed to locate them. So if you download, make sure to come back here and let me know how it goes for you. I know there is no unicode support just yet, and the Thunderbird UI may get a little slugish during sync (though once sync is done it should go back to normal).



For those who don’t know, mozPod is a Mozilla Thunderbird extension to allow for easy transfer of the users address book to the popular Apple iPod for mobile use. The extension has a minimal UI and is designed to be as automatic as possible.


Special thanks to David Bienvenu (who hopefully will get a blog sooner than later 😉 ), and Boris Zbarsky for their help, and everyone who volunteered and participated in testing.

Blog General

RSS Feed Update

I’ve made some changes to how RSS feeds around here. First and foremost we use the Firefox Feed Icon in hopes of pushing it as a standard. Secondly all links in RSS feeds should now be absolute links thanks to a few new lines of code. That should remove any issues bothering some people whose feed readers couldn’t figure out how to handle them.


Tracking Santa

Using Google Earth you can now track santa. You’ll need to open this kml file in Google Earth and it will start tracking Santa.

You can press F11 to put it in Full Screen mode (and again to get out of full screen) to turn your computer into a Santa tracker.

Geeks should note it’s a very interesting use of Google Earth’s refreshInterval tag. By essentially wrapping the data the “tracking” is done.

Blog Google

Sixth Robert

I’m now the 6th Robert on Yahoo. I haven’t even found myself on Google.

It’s going to take a lot to topple Robert Scoble.

Edit: No longer on the list as of 12/26/2005. Hmm.


Happy Festivus

Once again Happy Festivus.

This year, there is quite a bit of media coverage this yet. Yea!

Unfortunately no stores seem to have any commercials that mention it. Perhaps it’s time that change?

Funny Politics Security Software

Google Earth A Threat

If some of this silliness keeps going on, were going to end up having airplanes without windows, because it could threaten security if you look outside.

Perhaps it’s time for some countries to consider building roofs over classified equipment, or perhaps putting a tarp over it. What ever happened to underground bunkers and camouflage?

Blog General

Site Maintenance

Like every good master, did a little site maintenance. Well, quite a bit actually. Most shouldn’t be visible (just yet). If you notice any problems let me know. I did correct a few pesky things, but you never know what may come up.

Had a problem with trackbacks not working, though that should be resolved now.


Firefox Myths?

Someone looking for their 5 minutes of fame (obviously not worth 15 minutes) decided to post some Firefox Myths. It’s an interesting read, though has a few oddball statements, that really don’t make sense.

“Firefox has lower System Requirements than Internet Explorer”

The author omits that the “system requirements” don’t make the product usable. It’s just the lowest tested environment where the product runs. Windows XP can run on a 233 MHz CPU with 64 MB RAM. It doesn’t include a warning that you’ll throw it against a wall for the poor performance. To use any modern browser you going to need more than the minimum specs. Just ask any gamer how accurate the “minimum specs” are.

“Firefox is faster than Internet Explorer”

“Faster” can refer to many things (boot, CSS rendering, HTML rendering, large file rendering, UI responsiveness, etc. etc.). Assuming boot time, yes IE is faster considering it boots on startup. I don’t think anyone has calculated what IE would take if it didn’t integrate into the OS. My bet would be Opera is the fastest on Windows.

“Firefox is a secure Web Browser”

This is literally the first time I’ve heard that argument. The closest I’ve heard is “more secure”. Nothing more than a “Hello World” program is secure. Every product has vulnerabilities no matter how good the programmer, and no matter how good the audit on the source code. The question is how easy to detect and utilize are the vulnerabilities. I’d say since you can trick an IE user into trusting an ActiveX object (you can’t do that in Firefox since it won’t use ActiveX), there’s an advantage right there. Social Engineering is a form of hacking. You don’t have to know how to program to hack. The closest Firefox has is Extensions, though they seem to be mainly limited to more advanced users, who tend to be a bit more cautious.

“Firefox is a Solution to Spyware”

See above.

“Firefox is Bug Free”

Ok, I admit I literally laughed at this one. I can’t imagine anyone with any computing experience possibly making this claim. So I’d say the author made this one up. As the author points out it’s impossible for software to be bug free.

“Firefox was the first Web Browser to offer Tabbed Browsing”

Again something I doubt is really said, especially considering as Asa Notes:

In September of 2001, Dave Hyatt added a tabbed browsing mode to Mozilla. This feature was release in Mozilla 0.9.5 in October of 2001

Yes that’s right. Mozilla (SeaMonkey) had tabs before Firefox was even on the radar. He also notes Netcaptor as being first.

“Firefox fully Supports W3C Standards”

Again not likely anyone really says that. Anyone who cares enough to even know what W3C Standards are knows how poorly implemented they are. Interestingly the author omits that IE doesn’t fair to well in most categories of the site the author choose to reference. The author also misreads the statistics:

Feature MSIE 6 Firefox 1.0 Firefox 1.5
XHTML 1.0 changes 58% 100% 100%
XHTML 1.1 changes 39% 24% 24%

Notice the word “changes” as the stats author defines it (“not covered in the sections above”). The results are cumulative. You can achieve 100% XHTML 1.1 but still be pretty much nowhere because your XHTML 1.0 is so low. 100% XHTML 1.0 and 24% XHTML 1.1 (Firefox) is more usable than 58% XHTML 1.0 and 39% XHTML 1.1 (IE) for most (if not all) real purposes. Now to be fair to everyone the author notes “Percentages only concern the features tested by this resource”. I’m not sure if there is a more through analysis than that. If someone knows of one, please leave a comment.

“Firefox works with every Web Page”

This is the topic I have a fair amount of experience with, considering I implemented the reporting tool, and work with the data a bit. Of course the author managed to pull a percentage (15% incompatible) out of it’s proper context to make the percentage appear to be something static, when in reality, the source the author quotes states:

If Mozilla and the other non-Microsoft browser outfits hold their own or gain share, the 15% of Web sites that aren’t completely compatible with non-Microsoft browsers will come under pressure to design their sites to open Net standards. That way, Microsoft won’t be able to control how content is presented on the Web.

I personally can’t vouch for the accuracy of that number to begin with, so I’ll take it as truth with a grain of salt. I can’t imagine how someone could even make such a number without testing each website on the internet manually (since you can’t tell compatibility by machine since expected output isn’t a quantitative term. You’d need some revolutionary AI to do a task like that). Then you’d most likely need to factor in a site’s relevance. A 12 year olds GeoCities website shouldn’t have the same weight as Google for example (considering each to be 1 website). It’s actually an interesting statement. I’d love to know how WebSideStory (who came up with the stat) actually calculated it. If anyone from WebSideStory is reading, and would be willing to email me a bit more on the topic, I’d love to get a better understanding of the number.


Overall it was an entertaining read, though I’d question how many really are “myths” and how many are made up “myths” so the author had content to write about. Most of them are highly technical, and anyone who would even mention them would know how ridiculous they are. It’s like a Chief believing that Extra Virgin Olive Oil has to be pressed by virgin women (for those wondering EVOO is actually the first press, regardless of the history of the person who actually does the press).

In The News Mozilla

The end of Internet Explorer 5 for Mac

Microsoft Says:

In June 2003, the Microsoft Macintosh Business Unit announced that Internet Explorer for Mac would undergo no further development, and support would cease in 2005. In accordance with published support lifecycle policies, Microsoft will end support for Internet Explorer for Mac on December 31st, 2005, and will provide no further security or performance updates.

Additionally, as of January 31st, 2006, Internet Explorer for the Mac will no longer be available for download from Mactopia. It is recommended that Macintosh users migrate to more recent web browsing technologies such as Apple’s Safari.

We all knew that was coming, they haven’t updated the thing in ages… I wonder why they didn’t mention Firefox or Camino (which is sometimes unfortunately forgotten with all the Firefox marketing). It seems a lot of Mac users still use IE on the Mac, despite it’s age. Simply because they think it’s the same as IE for windows (when in fact they don’t share any more than the name). Hopefully they will begin to migrate to something more modern. IE5/Mac had some advanced rendering for the time, but by today’s standards, it doesn’t do much.

[Via Slashdot]