Firefox 10 Released, Includes New Developer Tools

Firefox 10 is now available. Boy, that was fast. It\’s less than 10 months since Mozilla formally announced the new rapid release cycle and since then we have seen 6 major Firefox releases starting Firefox 5.

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What\’s notable in Firefox 10 is the improved add-ons compatibility, Anti-Aliasing for WebGL, CSS3 3D-Transforms and developer tools such as Full Screen APIs, IndexedDB APIs and new inspect tool with content highlighting and new CSS Style Inspector.

See the video demo:

I  think it resembles Opera DragonFly style inspector in some degree.

There\’s also new element for bi-directional text isolation, along with supporting CSS properties. Also, the forward button is hidden (or grayed out?) until you hit the back button. See Firefox 10 release notes and the complete list of the bug fixes.

 

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Customize Google Menu Bar Using Google Menu Editor

New Google Menu Bar

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I\’m not sure if the new Google Menu bar is already rolled out to all countries. I just received the update last weekend and the update is not affecting all my browsers yet because I think it is cookie-based. My only complain is that you can\’t customize Google Menu Bar the way you like it. There is no preference at all.

If you want to force the update to all your browsers to get the new Google menu you can use the cookie trick to enable it.

If you are still on the black strip menu bar and you wish to stick with it for the meantime, you can customize it too but eventually you will get the new Google Menu sooner or later.

Customize Google Menu Bar

At the moment, the only method I know to customize Google Menu Bar is only available in Chrome using the Google Menu Editor extension.

Using this extension you can drag and drop the order of the menu items.

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After getting the desired order, you have to close Chrome and when you go to Google.com or any Google site, you should be able to see the customized Google Menu Bar. See an example below.

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If you are unhappy with the settings you can go back and change the order or reset the menu to its original state.

So how would you customize Google Menu?

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BlueStacks on Windows 8 to Run 400,000 Android Apps

BlueStacks Windows 8

I have blogged about my beta testing of Bluestack back in October last year on Windows 7 and today BlueStacks is making news again with BlueStacks Windows 8 version on CES 2012.

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On a side note, BlueStacks changed their logo. Now it looks like this:

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BlueStacks What?

If you have only heard of BlueStacks just now, it\’s okay. BlueStacks software only surfaced on the last quarter of 2011 for Windows 7.

On my review, I have mentioned that  If Windows will create an Android version of Metro UI for Windows 8, it will be BlueStacks.  And somehow that came true. BlueStacks app player now integrates with Metro UI and just like any Windows apps, Android apps will run on Windows 8 without any porting.  It\’s amazing what virtualization can do.

More Than 400,000 Android Apps to Run on Windows 8

So what if Windows 8 really comes with 400,00 apps with the help of BlueStacks?  Does it means that creating mobile apps for Windows 8 is already unnecessary? Either way, apps that will come from Windows store will give Windows users more apps to choose from. Sounds like a good deal for consumers because you can get the best of both worlds.

I wonder if Microsoft will have any influence on whether OEM can install BlueStacks on Windows 8 or not. It has been reported that BlueStacks is already talking with manufacturers to ship BlueStacks with their Windows 8 devices.

The state of the downloadable alpha version looks far from what is available in CES 2012 but I think that if BlueStacks can make a polished final product for Windows 8, it can spark more interest from both Android and Microsoft community.

Watch the video below for the teaser:

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Internet Explorer 6 Countdown – The Champions So Far

IE6 Countdown

Here are the countries where Internet Explorer 6 usage shares are already below 1%. All the data details for each country came from CIA World Factbook while the source of the month they country reached 1% is from Net Applications.

The Champions

Norway reached the goal on Oct. 2010; Finland on February 2011; Denmark and Sweden on May 2011; Poland on September 2011, Austria on October 2011 and just recently last December 2011 – Mexico, Ukraine, Philippines, Portugal, Czech Republic and the USA.

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It seems that there is a general trend here with European countries leading the move away from IE6. Norway is the first country to reach the goal. Not surprising as it is the country where Opera came from.

Countries with relatively high usage of Internet Explorer 6 are India, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, and China.

I\’m proud to say that the Philippines is the first Asian country in the list of champions and hopefully our neighboring countries will follow soon.

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If you\’re reading my blog since the beginning I am part of a community who anticipates the demise of Internet Explorer 6 not only because it is ugly but also because many web developers and designers spend so much time tweaking CSS and mark-up languages to make it look okay in IE6 even if IE6 is the one that needs fixing. Microsoft appears to be excited do get rid of this Jurassic-age web browser, but they are too late. Microsoft should have taken the initiative to kill the old and grumpy IE6 long time ago. Perhaps if they have done a little more effort Internet Explorer shouldn\’t be on a big decline since the inception of popular alternative browsers like Firefox and Chrome.

Goodbye to Internet Explorer 6

I will do the unthinkable and recommend PC users to upgrade IE6 to the latest Internet Explorer version — but after you download the latest Internet Explorer browser please download either Chrome, Firefox or Opera and experience the difference of a true modern browser. If you are using Mac, good for you because you already have Safari.

The ultimate goal here of Microsoft is to get rid of Internet Explorer 6 and push the IE upgrades to IE 6 users but instead of upgrading, would it be better to let users choose and adopt a new browser for a greater good?

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Firefox 9 Released, Up to 30% Faster

Firefox 9

I just upgraded to Firefox 9 and according to Mozilla, Firefox 9 ships with a major JavaScript enhancements which makes Firefox 30% faster.

You can see the comparison of Firefox 9 against the earlier version.

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Firefox for Mac OS X Lion also ships with two-finger swipe gestures as well as improved theme integration giving Firefox a better look and feel in Mac OS X Lion.

Mozilla also added support for querying Do Not Track status via JavaScript and font-stretch. Support for text-overflow, HTML5, MathML, and CSS were also improved.

Firefox Add-on Compatibility

One of the major complains for die-hard fans and veterans like me is the add-on compatibility. Add-ons keeps on breaking one upgrade after another. I have switched to Chrome primarily because it feels faster and I don\’t have to worry about Chrome Extensions. I still use Firefox in parallel with Chrome and if you are using an extension that breaks after an upgrade, you may used the Add-on compatibility reporter to enable all plugins that are incompatible. If the add-on is not working or still broken, you can report them. Very handy add-on.

Firefox 9 for Android

As for mobile version of Firefox, Firefox 9 for Android is now optimized for tablets. Finally. I feel that it should have been optimized for tablets from the very first release but it\’s better late than never.

Firefox 9 for Android also has a faster start-up time and camera input support that developers can use.

I still prefer the native Android browser but it\’s good to have handy alternatives just like Firefox.

Last Release in 2011, More to Come Next Year!

I know it is less exciting to upgrade to a major release of Firefox nowadays because of the shorten release cycle.  If you look at Firefox Nightly you can see that Firefox 12 alpha (Aurora) is already available. At this rate there will be 8 releases next year with the 6-week release cycle.

I bet you can\’t even remember what\’s the difference among Firefox 5, 6, 7 and 8.

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Adobe Touch Apps Released for Android, iOS version to Follow

Adobe Touch Apps

Your studio, now everywhere: This is one of the taglines for Adobe suite of tablet-focused apps because Adobe Touch Apps let people work in a whole new ways away from their desks, on tablets, if creative inspiration strikes them. Without restriction when and where to work, the world is your studio.

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Adobe rolled out 6 new applications in Adobe Touch Apps family for Android and they retail for $9.99 each. Adobe Touch Apps require at least 8.9-inch screen so it won\’t run on Kindle Fire. The iOS version is still work in progress (except Adobe Ideas) so Apple creatives need to wait until the rest of these apps ship to iOS early next year.

With the touch interface on a tablet it brings new opportunity to create projects through gestures and direct touch inputs that you can\’t easily do in a traditional desktop computer. For $9.99 these special touch applications could rival their more expensive cousin on the PC or Mac with the simple and straightforward functions

Adobe Photoshop Touch

\"AdobeQuickly combine images, apply professional effects, share the results with friends and family through social networking sites like Facebook, and more — all from the convenience of your tablet.

Some of the core Photoshop features are Layers, Selection tools, Photoshop effects and filters, filter brushes, Edge-aware painting, Refine Edge, Tone and color adjustment.

Adobe Photoshop Touch integrates with Adobe Creative Cloud and lets you share through Facebook easily. It also has versatile image browsing and acquisition feature.

The app supports up to 1600 x 1600 resolution and 16 layers and it saves in a new Photoshop compatible file format PSDX and can be opened in Photoshop desktop version using a plug-in.

Adobe Ideas

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Draw and Design virtually anywhere using vectors, layers, and color themes.

Adobe Ideas is the only Adobe Touch Apps that came to iOS first unlike other Adobe Touch Apps which came to Android first and will be available in iOS later.

Since it is vector base, drawings can scale to any size without pixelation. It supports layers and 50-level undo/redo, vector erase, huge virtual canvas and variable-size brushes using multi-touch control.

One complain that I saw from Android Market Place is that the Android app online gives you two layers: a drawing layer and an image layer. With iOS, you can add up to 10 layers.

Adobe Debut

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Using Adobe Debut you can present to a client using and get the client feedback right there in the meeting.

You can access designs from Adobe Creative Cloud service and display Creative Suite designs in high fidelity rendition suited for tablets.

Then, you can collect feedback with a convenient markup pen tool, and then export the results as a PDF to check later or share with clients or other team members.

Adobe Proto

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Create interactive wireframes and prototypes of websites and mobile apps with Adobe Proto.

Using gestures and rough sketch, you can create website and mobile app wireframe layouts with simple finger strokes on your tablet\’s touchscreen.

It takes advantage of the WebKit preview and it supports jQuery as well. Interactive wireframe components can be inserted from the component toolbox, including menus, tabs, accordions, and more, to quickly capture your design idea. Best thing of all, wireframe use well-know CSS grid systems so you can easily translate your prototype to a standard-compliant design.

Adobe Collage

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Capture ideas and concepts by combining images, drawings, and text into conceptual moodboards.

You can add assets by searching and importing inspirational images and content from Adobe Creative Cloud, Google, YouTube, Flickr as well as your camera. Adobe Collage can also import PDF, PSD and AI files in Adobe Collage. When done, you can upload your files to Adobe Creative Cloud to refine later and share with others.

Adobe Kuler

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Create, explore, download, and share color themes that can inspire any design project for inspiration.

Adobe Kuler can extract color themes from images or photos, using unique color extraction moods. You can easily use your own images, or browse images from Google or Flickr.

There are hundreds of thousands of themes in the Kuler community that you can browse and discover as well.

Summary

When Adobe decided to let go Flash mobile, I am sure there are more ways they can capitalize the growing tablet market—this is it.

With touch friendly Adobe Touch Apps, Adobe has provided creative individuals the tools to create inspiring design and artwork which live up to the standard of Adobe desktop applications.

Looking at some comments from the Android Market place, it seems that some applications have very big room for improvements. This is the first version of the Adobe Touch Apps family and we can expect more refinements. When they all ship to Apple iOS we can expect that it is more polished.

You can browse the list of Adobe Touch Apps in the Android Market.

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Firefox 8 Download Celebrates 7 Years of Firefox Goodness

Firefox 7th Anniversary

Happy 7th  birthday to Firefox and  congratulations on making it this far. I can still recall my experience with Firefox 1.0, also about 7 years later, and it was awesome.

I\’m very glad that Mozilla foundation exists because without them we will not have one of the most popular open-source browser that started serious revolution in pushing Internet Explorer market share down and rethink what web browsers can do.

Firefox 8 Released

Firefox 8 is the latest version of Firefox and Firefox 8 download is available in the stable channel since yesterday.

For the first time, Firefox prompts user to enable or disable add-ons after installation. Add-ons installed by third-party programs were disabled by default but users may wish to enable them manually. Those add-ons installed by users were enabled by default. Historically, those add-ons installed by 3rd parties were problematic so Firefox 8 gives user the opportunity to fix 3rd party add-ons that might be causing poor performance on Firefox.

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Twitter Search is also added in the search bar for some languages. It brings Twitter search closer to anyone using Firefox but I don\’t see the benefit of  using it because I can just use Twitter search right when I\’m in Twitter website.

Firefox 8 also added preference to load tabs on demand, improving start-up time when windows are restored, CORS support for cross-domain textures in WebGL, support for HTML5 context menus and insertAdjacentHTML.

It also improved performance and memory handling when using <audio> and <video> elements, CSS hyphen for many languages and websocket. Of course, there goes the usual stability and security issues.

Imagine a world without Firefox. We might still be using Internet Explorer 6. Let\’s hope that for future releases there will be more visible changes and improved user-experience. These are all needed to get more support from average users and get some lost market share from other web browsers like Chrome.

So go ahead and download Mozilla Firefox 8 for your computer and let\’s celebrate Firefox\’s 7th birthday!

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