In The News Mozilla

Using Firefox to protect privacy?

Seeing this article about teens revealing too much online got me thinking about a potential Firefox extension.

Part one would need to be installed in the system level extensions folder (Firefox/Extensions), and would examine all text input via textboxes. By matching against a list of information it wouldn’t let the user post any information deemed sensitive (could be name, location, school, etc.). It could get a little smarter by even allowing rules per domain.

Another extension to complement it would be installed in the user’s extensions folder (like normal) and allow configuration (password protected of course).

A few years ago now, I started the Securita project to bring content filtering to Mozilla, but never really got past a proof of concept (it essentially has a blacklist of about a dozen words).

Both are rather tough to implement as it’s rather hard to truly block something (a porn site could use no images, instead resorting to pure text, or could be written in german when the filter only understands english). There’s also workarounds that would need to be defeated, so that “S@lly” == “Sally”, “Bob” == “Robert” and so on.

It’s a pretty tough job to really make something like this effective, though it would be beneficial for schools, and parents looking for a good free aid. I say “aid” because there’s no true substitute for supervision despite what many want to believe, filters and software don’t have enough AI to have the logic of an infant, forget about a quick thinking teenager. Don’t forget for less than $100, you can output a mirror video cards with TV out.

It would be an interesting project, though I do believe there would be somewhat of a difficult extension to make truly effective.
Just food for thought.


GeoLocateFox 0.1.1

GeoLocateFox 0.1.1 has been released. Changes are:

  • Firefox 1.5.0.* Support
  • Flock Support
  • SeaMonkey Support
  • Small fix to detection code
  • Small ui fix

Get GeoLocateFox

Mozilla Software

Wengo Preview

Daniel Glazman hooked me up a few days ago with a preview of the OpenWengo extension for Firefox he’s been working on. It didn’t work with a build of mine (likely my fault), but did of course work with Firefox which I tested with. I’m on very limited bandwidth here, and voice quality was very good in the limited testing I did. That was not only subject to my terrible connection, but had a trans-Atlantic hop, so it’s likely the worst case scenario most users will ever experience when using VoIP. It seems stable, and has a very well designed UI. The Dialpad UI (featured below) did strike me as a little basic (just regular buttons for numbers), but it’s an early build, I wouldn’t be surprised if that gets a little better looking over time. Address book is similar to Thunderbird in what it includes. Personally I’d love to see it support reading Thunderbird’s address book.

At this point the UI option for chat and SMS are implemented, but the feature itself doesn’t exist. He’s now working on chat right now, so I suspect we’ll see that soon. It looks like it’s pretty standard from the screenshot he provides.

Hopefully OpenWengo will work with GoogleTalk in the near future.

Overall, I think it’s got strong potential to beat Skype. I haven’t yet tested it’s Firewall skills (I’ll post again when I see how it does in this test). Provided it can meet/beet Skype with Firewalls, the biggest problem would be getting enough users to be useful. Working with Google Talk would be a big step in that direction.

Below are some screenshots I took:

Login Menu Wengo Address Card 20060131_wengo_buddies.png 20060131_wengo_dialpad.png


GeoLocateFox Update

FYI I’ve updated GeoLocateFox to let it install in 1.5.x installs. Nothing else changed, it’s literally just the install.rdf that changed hence it’s still 0.1.

Google Mozilla

Introducing GeoLocateFox

GeoLocateFoxI got this idea back in mid December, wrote down a few lines of code, and stashed it to the side because I was in the middle of finals. Around new years I came back to the idea and implemented it. This ended up being a submission for Extend Firefox. I’m not sure what others will think of it, but I found it fun. It’s still a little limited, but has some potential.

What does GeoLocateFox do?

The extension makes use of geolocation meta tags provided by some webpages (such as this one). On such pages, the icon GeoLocateFox Icon illuminates to alert you to such content. You can then put your mouse over the icon to get a map of where the website originates. Double Clicking on the icon will bring up a full size map.

Why aren’t there any non-US maps?

For the moment, this only works on coordinates in the United States, as Yahoo Maps has yet to implement other parts of the world (this is hopefully coming soon).

Why not use Google?

Currently this extension only supports Yahoo! Maps. The intent is to support multiple mapping providers including Google, but to date only Yahoo! has a terms of use that allow for non-webapplication use. Google explicity prohibits such use right now. They were contacted by me in mid December about this extension, but to date have not replied with permission to include their service. While it may in theory be ok
to do considering Firefox is a web browser, and we are not doing anything harmful or commercially, I don’t wish to get into any trouble, it’s their API, and I respect that. Perhaps someone from Google Local will contact me about this. I’d love to add in support for it (would be great for international use).

Where can I get it?

For now you can get it here. I need to setup a project page at mozdev at some point. This is a 0.1 release, so there are still bugs.


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.

Apple Mozilla Programming

iPod Sync Private Testing

Before I do a more general release, I want to get a few more technical people to give it a try, so I can get any big issues resolved.

Please email me (using the form) the following info if you wish to participate:

iPod Version

You will need to be using Thunderbird 1.5. This is rather untested stuff, so I do put an emphasis on only technical users with experience testing and doing QA with Mozilla products.

If you don’t think you qualify, just wait a little longer until this round is over. I do plan on a 0.1 release by the end of the year.

Update [12-26-2005]: It’s out, and available here.

Apple Mozilla

iPod Sync Unteaser

Unfortunately it’s not done yet. The big issue remaining is to ensure the Thunderbird UI doesn’t completely freeze up (which many people apparently don’t like). I just don’t feel it’s right to release like this, since it’s annoying and problematic. My first stab at it was unsuccessful, so I’m taking it on from another angle, but need some solid time to sit down and really dig into it. I’ve been hoping to also handle non-ASCII characters as well, but that might get pushed out to the next release. My plan was to have done this already, but real life interferes with my plans at times. This week is Thanksgiving (read: I’m not coding when I can be eating, as I’m sure most of you can relate with), and I’ve got finals rapidly approaching (read: less coding time). I’ve also got a few other projects that I’m balancing here. There’s lots of great announcements coming up on this blog in coming months, so keep an eye on that RSS feed.

So how much longer?
The correct answer is “when it’s done”. My true hope is by the end of the year at the latest (which is only a couple weeks). Hopefully earlier than that (I’d really like to have it by early December). It all depends how much time I get to work on it.

I guess that’s just life… everything takes a little longer than you want.

Daniel Glazman is sitting on two really sweet extensions (CaScadeS II and OpenWengo), and hacking away at them ever so diligently. So I’m not the only one making people crazy by not going fast enough (seriously, check out some of those screenshots on his blog. Really cool stuff he’s been working on).

While your waiting, check out the Mozilla Quality Blog for ways you can help ensure 1.5 totally rocks. There’s no such thing as too much testing.

Update [12-26-2005]: It’s out, and available here.

Apple Mozilla

iPod Sync

Looks like things are delayed for several days. The biggest issue is not freezing the Thunderbird UI during the sync. Boris Zbarsky was kind enough to take a stab at getting threading going, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to work out. I’ve got another approach in mind, thanks to David Bienvenu, but I’ve yet to get that worked out. In addition to that, I’ve got enough going on that I don’t have the necessary time to code/debug that right away. This is still a hobby and not a job [shameless plug I’ll be looking for one this summer], so please be patient.

So earliest possible timeframe is some point next week. More realistically is 2-3 weeks, because there are several things (of various sizes) I would like to actually do before I start with some testing. Rather than a release I’ll likely take a few beta testers reading this blog (so keep reading if your interested), and expand from there based on feedback.

For those wondering, I will be supporting Lightning, though likely not until there’s more integration with Thunderbird. I’ll judge that as we go along. Lightning support is still in question. Having two instances would be rather awkward, both polling for the iPod device. Something that just shouldn’t happen. Not to mention Sunbird is still somewhat early in development. I’ll evaluate that as time goes on, based on demand, and Sunbirds development.

It’s great to see so much support for this project. It’s more than I actually expected to see.

Update [11/08/2005 11:05 AM EST]: Corrected Sunbird/Lightning confusion.

Update [12-26-2005]: It’s out, and available here.