My contribution to today’s Firefox release

29 October, 2013 § 6 Comments

I haven’t written up one of these blog posts in a while. The previous one was in August 2012 for Firefox 15. Coincidentally, that post mentioned a subtle change to the site identity area of the web browser.

In today’s release of Firefox, there is another subtle change to the site identity area of the browser. Pages that are a part of Firefox itself, whether it be the built-in home page (about:home), our troubleshooting page (about:support), or others now sport a special Firefox branding within the location bar. The goal of this branding is to increase awareness and trust with these pages.

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Clicking on the Firefox name or the two-tone Firefox logo next to the name will show a popup notification that explains that this is a secure Firefox page.

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These changes were previously announced when I introduced them to the Nightly channel of Firefox this past July.

Picking Up The Crumbs

17 June, 2013 § 24 Comments

A few days ago a new feature landed in Firefox Nightly that makes closing multiple tabs easier than it was before.

I often find myself in situations where I have multiple tabs that I opened only to look at for short periods of time. Sometimes I reach this state while reading articles on Hacker News or looking at funny pictures on Reddit. At the end of looking at the tabs, it would be nice if Firefox had a way to close these ephemeral tabs so you can get back to your previous work quicker.

Close Tabs to The Right

Well, Firefox now does! If you open lots of tabs from Reddit and then want to close all of the tabs to the right of Reddit, just right-click on the Reddit tab and choose “Close Tabs to the Right”. It’s easy and quick!

Why “close tabs to the right” and not “close tabs to the left”? When we open new tabs they appear on the end, and so naturally tabs that have a longer lifetime end up being promoted to the start-side of the bar. This leads us towards the situation where closing tabs “to the right” is a simple way of closing the ephemeral tabs.

Users who are using Firefox with a right-to-left locale such as Hebrew or Arabic should see the equivalent “Close Tabs to the Left” feature.

Huge thanks go out to Michael Brennan who contributed the patches and automated tests for this feature! Unless something drastic happens, this feature will find its way to Firefox Release in just over 12 weeks in Firefox 24.

A new semester, a new capstone project

11 January, 2013 § 3 Comments

This is the first week of a new semester at Michigan State University, and with that brings a new group of students who will be working on a senior capstone project with Mozilla.

This semester the students will be focusing on multitouch gestures within the browser. They’ll start out the semester by fixing a few good-first-bugs, then they’ll move on to adding some gestures to standalone image and video documents. The final step of the project will be to focus on improving our pinch-to-zoom for webpages in Firefox.

As the semester progresses, the students will be blogging their progress on their own blogs (I may crosspost them here from time to time):

Brandon Waterloo: http://brandonwaterloo.wordpress.com/
Raymond Heldt: http://heldtray.wordpress.com/
Bill de Araujo: http://spartanfire.wordpress.com/

Here’s to a great semester!

Identity theft with Comcast?

28 November, 2010 § 1 Comment

Over the holiday weekend, the cable box in my house stopped working. The user interface for the cable box functioned fine, but the picture and audio were completely gone. I brought the cable box to Comcast and swapped it with one that they had in stock for no charge.

The next day I hooked up the cable box and called Comcast to sync up the box with their licensing service. When I was on the phone with them, the operator mentioned that there was a pending service order in a couple days and they could do the work then if that wasn’t a problem. Weird, nobody here knew anything about this service order.

Somehow there was an order in for telephone and cable service upgrades/installation. The phone number they had on file as requesting this service had nothing to do with us. Googling the phone number got us a name and address of a house in the next city over. It goes without saying that we promptly got the service order cancelled.

In the end, I’m happy that we noticed this before it happened.

Could we be a victim of identity theft? How could an order like this be placed on our account? What would have happened if we hadn’t noticed?

Thank you Tom Izzo

16 June, 2010 § Leave a comment

Thanks Tom. These past few days have brought a community and state together for a common cause that will most likely be forgotten about when Midnight Madness comes around.

Often times a coach of a college basketball team has to help his players choose if they should leave college for the pros, and just recently Izzo got to trade places with his students (not for the first time though).

Izzo could have decided to leave East Lansing and move down to Cleveland to coach arguably the best professional basketball player right now. But he didn’t.

As an MSU student and alumni, I am glad that Tom decided to stay at MSU. The basketball program has helped the university tremendously, and much of the thanks go to Mr. Izzo and his family.

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