Saturday, September 3, 2016

E10S and Me

With the recent flurry of announcements about Firefox and Electrolysis (E10S), I decided to see if my primary computer was ready. The short answer is no. The longer answer is that Mozilla still has a ways to go making this a user-friendly switch. First, you have to know to go to about:support and find the Multiprocess entry. Then, if you're like me, you may discover the flag is set to 0 because of incompatible Addons. From there you must compare your list of addons to the Are we e10s yet? page. If Firefox is smart enough to know that Addons are blocking my migration, why can't it just tell me which ones? About:addons could have a banner at the top that says "Hey, you have a choice to make." For me, the main blocker is NoScript. I don't think I could survive websurfing without NoScript, both from a security standpoint and from an annoyance standpoint. 5 of the Top 10 addons list their compatibility as Unknown. As much effort as Mozilla has poured into their browser, I would have expected them to get the Addons ready by donating time/money. Marketshare is unacceptably low, and this is key to getting power users to continue recommending Firefox to people.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Enough Privacy?

I'm trying to debug by Candy Crush is slow to load in the latest Firefox. It seems to go faster in Safe-Mode, so that's good. The next step, of course is disabling all add-ons. If I didn't know better, then I'd be asking why "Restart with add-ons disabled" isn't the same. For those of you that don't know, it is because that invokes Safe mode which also eases up on some other restrictions.

But that is something for another post. As I was re-instating my add-ons, I realized that while I care about my privacy, I don't know the best way to achieve that. I have at least 5 add-ons related to that. I know I'll keep NoScript, but which of the others do I also need? The Add-Ons website lists more than 1100 extensions to choose from. How is someone supposed to choose?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

How I use Google Reader

There was a time when I subscribed to a dozen e-mailed newsletters. Now I subscribe to 42 RSS feeds. Some of them are daily and things such as Dear Abby. Some are more prolific such as the NYTimes, USA Today, and Failblog. Subscribing to the RSS feeds allows me to make my way through the postings at my own pace. I begin my day by scanning through the headlines. I put a star next to any articles that I think I will want to read, and then mark everything in that category as read. I may only be interested in 2 out of 30 headlines, and this is a quick way to scan through them. Some things such as Failblog collect in the Pictures folder and can reach 50 before I start to go through them. E-mail would never work for how I consume this media. Once a day isn't frequent enough for many of them; breaking news would no longer be breaking. Some websites update irregularly. I wouldn't want to visit 42 websites each day, either. 2000 items go in front of my eyeballs every 30 days. Over time, some feeds have gone into the Probation folder. If I find that their signal to noise ratio is too low for my tastes, I know it is time to move on. Some feeds redeem themselves. Of course with Google Reader, I have access to a synchronized set of headlines from any computer and my smart phone. There are some features that Google Reader has that I don't make much use of. I share maybe one item a week, either through Facebook or Gmail. I am signed up for Google+, but I never go there; I have no incentive to switch from Facebook where my friends (and games) are. While the discovery portion of Google Reader is interesting, I've only used it to pass the time and not found anything new to subscribe to. I already read a lot and am more likely to cull my list than to add to it. But those are my interests and I can imagine how someone else might find it very helpful. There are some areas where I would have hoped for improvement. While headlines can be sorted by oldest, newest, and magic, I don't know what "magic" means. It does not seem to have a concept of trending topics. There is no way to group headlines on a topic such as the demise of Google Reader. When I'm looking at an article, there's no shortcut to find more articles on the same topic. Google News does this, so it shouldn't be hard to implement that for them. So now I have three months to find an alternative. The Save Google Reader petition on has already surpassed 100k signatures. Based on hashtags, ReplaceReader is ranking Reader replacements. Time will tell what will happen next. I shall be patient.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Oooo Faster!

I used to be on the Firefox nightly bandwagon. Then things got unstable and I decided that ... well ... I'd stick with the stable builds. I've wanted a 64-bit version of Firefox and with all the great performance improvements I've been reading about every day, I decided to try the bleeding edge of Firefox again. This article about FX8 for x64 convinced me to give it a try. With Flash x64 (beta) installed, I'm able to play my games. Unfortunately, quite a few addons are not compatible, so I'm using the Compatibility Reporter to submit those. We'll see how long I can live without them.

Update 1:
about:startup shows that my startup times are 1/3 of those from Firefox 5. Memory footprint, with the addons I still have enabled is about 320 MB according to about:memory.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Xmarks Sync is Sunk

I, along with millions of other people, am a fan of Xmarks. But today's Xmarks blog post by Todd stated that this wonderful tool will be shutting down. They just weren't able to make a profitable model out of it. The new Firefox Sync definitely doesn't help matters. While I'm a big fan of Xmarks, I consider baking Sync into Firefox to be bloat.

I first started using Foxmarks to synchronize my bookmarks across my home and work computers. As time went on, I found a few other aspects very useful and unfortunately Sync lacks them. The first item is the ability to separate my bookmarks into groups. At work I'll bookmark intranet sites, but I can't use them at home. At home I have bookmarks that I'll never visit while I'm at work.

The next feature was syncing between IE and Firefox. While I use IE Tab Plus to embed IE into my Firefox, sometimes I need to actually open IE. Xmarks has it so that the very same bookmarks are there.

My current mobile phone is just a phone. When I travel, I like to have the ability to log onto Xmarks and have access to my bookmarks from any computer.

I think the name Firefox Sync was poorly chosen. It is a very limiting name and has the connotation that it will never work with anything other than Firefox.

The Xmarks team was clearly able to overcome these items, so I hope that Mozilla will as well. My 30 seconds of searching didn't bring me to a list of enhancement requests in Bugzilla for either Firefox Sync (or Weave), but I'm sure someone will read this and quickly let me know where to go.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Reminder: You can get Flash without that download manager

Here's a thread on MozillaZine for downloading Flash directly. Just going to the Adobe website prompts you to use that download manager. Why? Why? Why? Don't answer that. So here is a friendly reminder that you don't have to go through that goofy process. Download. Close your browser. Install. Enjoy your hardware accelerated Flash pr0n.

Update: Oh yeah, they fixed a lot of security bugs, too.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

How I block ads

Previously I posted about why I block ads: namely that I'm not interested in them. But I didn't mention how I do my blocking. I have two methods: NoScript and CSS. I've had that CSS for years without having to update it. It does display:none based on some patterns and has served me well. I have broadband and I'm not worried about the ads being downloaded. So if the website is getting paid per display, they should still get their money, right?