Speed Dial and Beyond Opera 11.50

\"Opera\"What does Chrome\’s Most Visited Sites, Safari\’s Top Sites and Internet Explorer\’s Most Popular Sites have in common? They were all inspired by Opera\’s Speed Dial feature that Opera introduced in version 9.2. Speed Dial became an instant hit and it became available in Firefox as an add-on soon after. Other browsers basically copied Opera. One can argue that it is one of the most popular contribution of Opera in the browser market next to tabbed browsing that it popularized in the early 2000.

Opera just released version 11.50 (\”Swordfish\”) which pushes the boundaries of Speed Dial as it is now possible to use extensions on Speed Dial.

Opera 11.50 supports a new type of extension that lets you show live, real-time content right in your Speed Dial. This makes it easy to check the weather, see what\’s new on your favorite blogs or view the latest tweets—just by opening a new tab to look at your Speed Dial. Find useful and interesting examples of these extensions in our extensions catalog.

Swordfish also has improved user interface. The default theme is even lighter, brighter, and is more user-friendly. Of course you can always customize the look and feel if you don\’t like the default skin.

Opera now also offers synchronization of password using Opera Link similar to sync features of Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

Easy installation of missing plug-ins was also added as well as faster and better web standards support. The complete change log  is available for different OS.

In addition, Opera is now allowing testers to quickly test bleeding-edge version of Opera browser via Opera Next which is a separate product made for testing only. I believe this is the answer to increased speed of releases of web browsers like Chrome and Firefox.

With 200 million strong users and still growing, I am just amazed how Opera thrives amidst the browser wars. There are many browsers out there and Opera is probably one of the most underrated.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjYQRru46-I&w=590&h=349]

 

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Samsung Kies MTP Problem

Samsung should have learned a lot from the very successful Samsung Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab models already but apparently with the release of Samsung Galaxy S II, it seem that the annoying MTP error connection in its Kies application on Windows is still there. In this post, I used Kies 2.0.1.x.

There are several ways to fix this problem but the following worked for me:

1. After installing Kies, let the drivers install.

2. After it finished installing the drivers, go to Settings -> Applications -> Development and check \”USB Debugging\”. Follow the screenshots below.

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3. Connect your phone to PC using USB (additional drivers will be installed)

4. Disconnect phone from PC

5. Disable USB debugging

6. Reconnect phone to PC using USB and it should work.

If you know a faster way or better alternative to fix this, let me know.

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Browser Wars Illustrated

For someone who likes to watch the market share of internet browsers, I find this art compelling beyond words.

So Chrome is brawling with Firefox aggressively while the nonchalant Internet Explorer is eating glue? Hilarious and  it\’s so true. What more can I say. Thanks Shoze for making this cool illustration.

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If you would caption this illustration, what would it be?

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Firefox 5 with Do Not Track Support and a Lot More

Firefox 5 is now officially available for download, only 3 months after the release of Firefox 4. It\’s probably the quickest major release from Mozilla yet after adopting the new rapid release development cycle which is like Google Chrome development cycle.

The latest version of Firefox includes more than 1,000 improvements and performance enhancements that make it easier to discover and use all of the innovative features in Firefox. This release adds support for more modern Web technologies that make it easier for developers to build amazing Firefox Add-ons, Web applications and websites.

On the surface, you can\’t really distinguish the difference between Firefox 5 from the earlier version. There is long list of features added and improved in this release but to name a few they are:

  • CSS animation support
  • Do-Not-Track option made more visible
  • Improved background tabs and HTTP idle connection performance
  • Improved canvas, JavaScript, memory, and networking performance
  • Improved standards support for HTML5, XHR, MathML, SMIL, and canvas
  • Stability and security improvements

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Mozilla Firefox is the first browser to support Do No Track privacy feature across platform including Android. This feature tells the websites that the user wants to opt-out of online behavioral tracking. It now more visible to users in desktop and mobile version of Firefox:

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So what are you waiting for? If you are still using Firefox 4, just go to Help -> About Firefox and click on \”check for updates\” or you can download Firefox here.

 

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Mozilla Firefox Philippine Mascot Named

I was at Mozilla Firefox 4 Philippine Launch last Saturday and for me, this is the highlight of the event apart from the raffle. :)

USA, Japan, China, Taiwan and Indonesia already have local mascots name. They are Kit, Foxkeh, G-Fox. Foxmosa and Kumi respectively. It\’s only a matter of time until we get our own Pinoy Firefox mascot.

The cute Firefox mascot, sporting a katipunero-like salakot with matching scarf, was created by comic artist Martin Jimenez. Mr. Jimenez confessed at the event last Saturday that he tried giving the critter a name but he could not just come up with a good one so he let the community decides for the official Philippine Firefox mascot.

There were many creative entries. Some of the witty ones submitted were \”Wat\” … as in Wat the Fox (WTF!) and Manny Foxquiao.

In the end, the community voted for the name Alab, which means fire, flare or blaze.

So there you have it. Let\’s welcome Alab, the Official Mozilla Firefox Philippine Mascot.

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Firefox 4 Finally Released!

\"Firefox\"Finally, after waiting over 2 years and 9 months… Firefox 4 is finally released.  It feels like Chrome in most aspects but I can still sense the uniqueness of Firefox with version 4.

It is the faster Firefox released yet. The performance boost is up to 6 times faster with improved start-up and page load times, fast javascript engine and hardware accelerated graphics. There is also crash protection from buggy plugins.

For the first time it feels like Firefox 4 is less bloated than Chrome because it uses less memory with several add-ons already installed. You can check the latest browser speed test comparing Firefox 4, Internet Explorer 9, Chrome 10 and Opera 11 here.

Aesthetically, Firefox 4 received several facelifts. It looks more sleek thanks to tabs on top similar to Chrome as well as single Firefox menu button similar to Opera. There\’s also \”Switch to Tab\” which helps you check and see if you already have a particular site open while on the Awesome bar. If you do, you’ll be directed to the existing tab so you don’t open a duplicate. Then there\’s also Panorama that lets you drag and drop tabs into manageable groups for better organization.

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Security is also one areas that Firefox 4 improved a lot because Mozilla believed in keeping users in control over their personal information. Site Identity Button serves as instant web ID that gives you more information about the sites you visit. Then there is \”Do Not Track\” option that users can enable to opt-out of tracking used for behavioral advertising. Firefox also added HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS): which automatically establishes secure connections to stop “man in the middle” attacks and keep sensitive data safe from interception during the log-in process, as well as Content Security Policy (CSP) to prevent cross-scripting attacks. Twitter just implemented CSP on mobile.twitter.com, giving extra security for mobile users.

With regards to customization, Firefox is still the best customizable browser out there. Chrome can\’t still show a side bar and you cannot really control the toolbar location. Firefox still gives you complete freedom where to place your buttons and customizing toolbar has never been easier. The new add-ons manager will give users better ways to discover new add-ons, personas, and more. Lucky that my favorite add-ons did not break when I upgraded. If you have add-ons not compatible with Firefox 4, give it some time until developers catch up on the new Firefox API.

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There are more exciting features in Firefox 4, I just highlighted a few. Everyone is recommended to upgrade to Firefox 4 as soon as possible to take advantage of the new features. If you\’re new to Firefox, you may visit Getting Started with Firefox or just watch the video below for a 60-second video highlighting what\’s new in Firefox 4.

Show your support to Firefox by joining Firefox 4 Twitter party.

You can also monitor the download stats here.

Meanwhile, as we enjoy Firefox 4 release, Mozilla is already busy designing Firefox 5 mock-ups.

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Firefox: Racing to Bigger Version Number

\"Firefox\"Opera 11, Chrome 10, Internet Explorer 9, Firefox 4… Hmmm. Get the picture?

I\’m not sure if you have noticed it but on my browser watch list, Chrome has already the 2nd biggest version number on the list of popular browsers, next to Opera 11 of course. But not for long because of Chrome\’s blazing fast iteration, we\’ll get Chrome 11 before May 2011 and just 6 week later, Chrome 12.

Who could care about version numbers, you ask? Well… perhaps your average joe will compare two browsers and may think something along this line: \”Hey, this browser is version 12 so it is better and more updated than this one which is only version 4.\” This is may sound like a sleazy marketing tactic but to Chrome\’s defense, it really is better and more updated than any of the browsers on the market right now.

Back in the days when I only care about Firefox and Opera, it seems that Opera is releasing way too many major releases and it felt like they are releasing too fast. However,when Google Chrome came into picture, the development of Opera seems to be slower in comparison to Chrome even if it is still the new browser on the block.

Notice how Internet Explorer suddenly picked up speed on releasing major updates? Between IE6 and IE7, it took Microsoft an effing long time to update the worst browser on Earth — 5 years, 1 month and 21 days. When Microsoft released IE8 they only took 2 years, 5 months and 1 day to release. Then Internet Explorer 9 was released few days ago just about 2 years after IE8.

When you look at Firefox 4, between Firefox 2 and Firefox 3, it took only 1 year, 7 months and 24 days. which relatively fast that time. Then after that, nothing really revolutionary came into Firefox. Recently, Mozilla announced that Firefox 4 will be released on March 22, 2001 (finally!!) and If you discount 3.5 and 3.6 releases, that is over 2 years and 9 months. Quite a long wait but it\’s worth it.

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Now, if you think about it — I am not surprised when Mozilla released an ambitious roadmap for 2011. Then this document (draft) surfaced telling about the 18-week development process plan. You can read about the details reported by Arstechnica here. But in summary, the aim is to improve the procedures used by Mozilla and deliver updates in tier-model similar to Chrome\’s channel system; staggered releases allowing continuous new feature development on other tiers.

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One thing that is not addressed in the drafted document is the extension compatibility. Then again, the document is just a draft and Firefox team has not finalized the solution about it yet.

Without a doubt, with all the development plans and vision for year 2011, it is clear that Firefox is in a race to hasten major development iterations. Whether this is just to combat bad marketing, recover momentum or both, I\’m sure that it is for the betterment of Firefox.

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