Sunbird 0.7 is Impressive

This article was written on October 25, 2007 by CyberNet.

Sunbird 0.7
Click to Enlarge

For some reason I’m really impressed at how fast Mozilla’s Calendar duo is progressing. They just pushed Lightning & Sunbird 0.7 out the door, and they include a completely redesigned event interface along with hundreds of bug fixes. You can see what the new event manager looks like above, and it is much less cluttered than the older version.

Tip: Lightning is the addon for the Thunderbird email client, whereas Sunbird is a standalone application. Only use Lightning if you want your calendar and email all in one program.

Before I get into the other good news why don’t we take a look at the new features for Lightning and Sunbird:

  • It is now much easier to switch between the mail and calendar parts of Thunderbird thanks to a user interface redesign
  • A redesigned event/task dialog has been enabled to gather feedback from the community. It offers a much cleaner user interface and additional functionality including:
    • Events/Tasks can be created in different timezones
    • Attendees can be added from a local or corporate LDAP directory
    • Free-Busy information is available for users of the Sun Java Calendar Server
    • Integrated display of recurrence patterns, reminders and attendees
    • Custom recurrences and reminders
    • Clear separation between tasks and events
  • The new event summary dialog lists all the details of tasks and events for calendar which are read-only
  • The Today Pane gives a quick overview over your current tasks and upcoming events. The Today Pane can be enabled/disabled by a toolbar button
  • Colliding events (events in the same time slot) are shrunk so that they fit into the display of a day. This no longer affects other events on the same day
  • Localized releases of Lightning and Sunbird in Chinese (simplified), Georgian, Lithuanian, Portuguese (European), Spanish (Argentina) and Turkish

Sunbird and Lightning weren’t the only big calendar-related releases at Mozilla today. Remember the Google Calendar extension we wrote about? That also got updated today with several bug fixes, and it now supports synchronizing event attendees.  The new Google Calendar extension only works with Sunbird/Lightning 0.7, so you’ll have to upgrade before installing it.

Congrats to the Mozilla Calendar team on another fine release, and I can’t wait to see what further developments bring to the table!

Mozilla Calendar Homepage

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Both Opera and Firefox Benefit from Mozilla’s jsfunfuzz

This article was written on August 03, 2007 by CyberNet.

Black HatAt the Black Hat conference this week Mozilla announced a new tool called jsfunfuzz that was developed by their very own Jesse Ruderman. This is something developers can use to test the JavaScript engine for both stability and vulnerabilities. Here’s what Mozilla had to say about it:

The responsible sharing of security tools is an important way to contribute to the overall health of the web. We worked with Microsoft, Apple, and Opera to reduce the possibility that this tool might adversely affect users of those browsers. All of these browser vendors reviewed the tool and let us know that they were okay with the release.

The great news is that Mozilla isn’t the only one benefiting from it! Opera posted version 9.23 Beta today that fixes four bugs that caused crashes, and one that could have compromised the security of the browser. All five of those problems were found using the jsfunfuzz tool that Mozilla announced and released to the public.

Of course the tool was developed by Mozilla, and so you would expect it to help them the most…and it has. Using it they’ve found 280 bugs in Firefox’s JavaScript engine with about two-dozen of those that could have been exploitable. More than two-thirds of those bugs have already been fixed, and their working on nailing down the rest.

So even if you aren’t using a Mozilla-based browser, I think we all owe Mozilla a big thanks for making this tool available to the public!

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Mozilla Still Plans On Tabbed Messages For Thunderbird 2

This article was written on November 13, 2006 by CyberNet.

Thunderbird 2 Mozilla has been taking a little longer than I expected to complete Thunderbird 2 which is in the Pre-Beta stage right now. It has been that way for nearly two-months and Firefox 2 has already been released. I thought that Mozilla would have tried to push version 2 out for both Thunderbird and Firefox at the same time but that doesn’t look like it will be happening. :)

The Thunderbird 2 roadmap was just updated a week ago and says that it should be released the first quarter of 2007. That still gives them plenty of time to throw in some features that haven’t yet made the nightly builds and it looks as though one of the features will be tabbed emails:

  • Tools for organizing and managing e-mail
    • Custom Folder Pane Views such as favorites, unread and recently used.
    • Message Tagging
    • Tabbed Messages
  • Be Informative
    • New Mail Alert Improvements
    • Folder Summary Popups
  • Help Fight Junk Mail
    • Improve the current Bayesian based algorithm
    • Token Store Pruning / Aging

I have been using the nightly releases of Thunderbird for quite awhile now and they are remarkably stable. I like the new Mail Alert but tabbed messages will no doubt be my favorite feature when they release it.

I do hope that Mozilla plans to release some updates to both Firefox and Thunderbird soon for applying the partial updates for the programs in Windows Vista. I recently decided to re-enable the User Account Control (UAC) because there aren’t too many things that I do anymore to initiate the annoying prompts. So I figured for the sake of security I would give it another shot. However, in order for Firefox or Thunderbird to apply the nightly updates I have to be running the programs as an administrator. I don’t mind receiving the UAC prompt each time I am updating either program but right now there is no such prompt and the update silently fails. I’m sure Mozilla will be fixing this soon I just hope that it is before the business launch of Vista at the end of November.

Thanks to “Jack of all Trades” for the tip!

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WrapUp: Thunderbird Returning to Mozilla, Windows Explorer Getting a Ribbon in Windows 8, and More

This article was written on April 11, 2011 by CyberNet.

Welcome to the WrapUp by CyberNet. This is a collection of news stories, downloads, and tips that we have collected over the last few days, but never got around to writing about. Don’t forget to send in your own tips, or just leave a comment on this page if you think you’ve got something we should include.


Youtube liveYouTube Launches Live Streaming Service
YouTube has been testing a live streaming service over the last few months, and now they are officially rolling it out. At this time only certain content makers, such as Revision3, are available, but they plan on making it more widely available later on.


Windows aero auto colorWindows 8 Can Adjust Aero Color Based on Wallpaper
A cool new feature discovered in a leaked Windows 8 build demonstrates how you will be able to have the color of the Aero transparency automatically change based on the main color used in your desktop wallpaper. This will be pretty awesome if you have a rotating set of background images.


ThunderbirdThunderbird Returning to Mozilla
In 2007 Mozilla separated Thunderbird into its own organization called Mozilla Messaging, and they announced last week that it will be brought back to Mozilla under the Mozilla Labs umbrella.


Hard drivesApple Purchases 12 Petabytes of Storage
A report suggests that Apple just purchased 12 petabytes (12.5 million gigabytes) of storage, and that it will likely be used for an online iTunes locker and MobileMe in their North Carolina data center.


GroovesharkGrooveshark Pulled from Android Market
Grooveshark didn’t last very long in Apple’s App Store, and now it looks like it has been slapped with the same legal fate in Google’s Android Market.


Motorola xoomMotorola Xoom Estimated to Have Sold 100k Units
Many reports are saying that the Motorola Xoom isn’t doing very well since it has “only” sold 100,000 units in the first month and a half. It may not be selling as fast as the iPad, but that is still an incredible number.


Apple patent bezelApple Patents a Smart Bezel
This isn’t the first time that we’ve seen a touch-sensitive bezel on a device, but the patent filed by Apple shows how they might make use of the technology in a future product.


Firefox slow extensionsMozilla Shames Add-on Developers with List of Slow Extensions
Mozilla has assembled a list of extensions they’ve tested and they go on to highlight the ones they’ve found to slow down the browser the most. As a Firefox extension developer myself I think this is good information to have, but wish they would have contacted the developers first before calling them out in an un-professional way like this.


Windows 8 explorerWindows Explorer Ribbon Found in Windows 8
This article has some screenshots taken of the Windows Explorer Ribbon that will appear in Windows 8. There is still plenty to be done on it since there are barely any icons on the Ribbon, but this will give you an idea of how it will work.


–Tips, Tutorials, and Reviews–

Mac tabsAdd Tabs to the Mac Mail Application
This is a plugin for the Mac Mail App that will add a tabbed interface for composing messages, replying to emails, and more.


Google docs notifierGoogle Docs Notifier Displays Recent Changes
Windows users can grab this Google Docs notifier if you’d like to be alerted anytime there are changes to documents in your account. Of course if you never do any collaboration this probably wouldn’t be very useful since the only thing showing up in the list will be the changes you made.


Online ocrFree Online OCR Service
If you have some PDFs or images that you’d like converted to text then this free online OCR service may be exactly what you’re looking for. The downside is that you are constrained to 20MB uploads.


QuicksyncSimple Folder Synchronization with QuickSync
This free Windows tool isn’t packed with features, but that’s kinda the point. It is a barebones app for synchronizing two directories.


Gmail auto add contactsDisable Auto-Adding of Contacts in Gmail
Google rolled out some new settings last week that target some of the finer annoyances people had with Gmail. One of them is the ability to stop Gmail from automatically adding contacts that you email to your contacts list.


Amazon cloud driveMake Amazon Cloud Drive Appear in Windows Explorer
Using a program called Gladinet you can drag and drop files into Windows Explorer that you want to upload to your Amazon Cloud Drive account.



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Mozilla Looks at Graphical Keyboard User Interfaces

This article was written on July 06, 2007 by CyberNet.

Firefox Tab Switching
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Alex Faaborg has done several Firefox mockups in the past that we have covered (bookmarking, notifications, and history). He often highlights features that would make the browser more usable, and I occasionally feel myself longing for what he posts. This time around he posted some ideas of what it might look like to bring the keyboard to life.

The ideas that he came up with combine the power of the keyboard with the pleasure of a user interface. For starters there is the tab-switching mechanism (Ctrl+Tab) which currently has no sort of interface whatsoever. A mockup of what could be implemented is posted above, with a filter box to quickly find the page that you’re looking for. A similar interface would also be used for flipping through your browser’s website history.

Firefox Search SwitchingThe other thing that he designed is awesome…a quick way to search sites as well as your bookmarks. The mockup is pictured to the right, and as Alex pointed out there are currently a lot of inefficiencies in searching through your bookmarks. This design hopes to conquer those problems.

So are we going to be seeing this in Firefox 3? Nope, these mockups were made just to demonstrate the power of a command line interface when it is tied with an user interface. Here’s what Alex says about the future of this idea:

Please note that these are all only conceptual mockups, and we currently have no official plans to implement these features for Firefox 3 (although, we may at some point release a prototype extension through Mozilla Labs).

Just because the command line predated the graphical user interface doesn’t mean interfaces based on windows, icons, menus and pointers are always superior to interfaces based around using the keyboard for input.

It’s both fun and exciting to see such mockups come out of the Mozilla labs, although many of them seem to be more for show and tell. What really matters is how well they are able to implement these cool features if they ever get to that point.

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Mobile Firefox Mockups

This article was written on January 24, 2008 by CyberNet.

We’ve known for a little while that Mozilla had plans to design a mobile browser, and now we are getting some insight as to where they are headed with it. As it turns out they are actually designing two different mobile versions, one for touch screen devices (iPhone-style) and another for smaller screens (like cellphones).

From what I’ve seen they both look really nice, and with Mozilla’s existing fanbase I’m sure the browser would get adopted rather quickly. The one designed for smaller screens doesn’t really introduce anything that we haven’t already seen, and for that reason I wanted to really point out the one designed for touch screen devices. It, well, appears to have borrowed a lot of design ideas from Apple’s Safari browser on the iPhone:

(Click to Enlarge)
Firefox Mobile Touch 1 Firefox Mobile Touch 2 Firefox Mobile Touch 3Firefox Mobile Touch 4 Firefox Mobile Touch 5 Firefox Mobile Touch 6 Firefox Mobile Touch 7

I guess Apple should look at this as quite a compliment since the Mobile Firefox will be inheriting many of the design considerations put in place by Apple. What I’m anxious to see is whether Mozilla has plans to release an iPhone version of the browser once the iPhone SDK is made available.

From what I gather the mobile browser’s bookmarks will be synchronized with the desktop via the Weave service that was recently introduced. This is a smart move by Mozilla, but they aren’t the first to do that either (*cough* Opera Link *cough*).

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on these projects to see if Mozilla can help define the mobile browser market as much as they have done for the desktop browser.

[via Mozilla Links]

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Mozilla Releases Thunderbird 2.0 Beta 1

This article was written on December 12, 2006 by CyberNet.

Thunderbird 2 Beta 1 A big milestone, Thunderbird 2.0 Beta 1, has finally landed for anyone trying to find a great email client that won’t cost them a penny. In a really surprising move only the English-U.S. version is available but I’m not sure if they will add more languages over time or if this is all they have planned for this milestone. From the looks of the release notes page I would say that they are only planning on doing the English-U.S. versions:

Windows: Installer
: GTK2 + XFT (no installer)
Mac OS X: Compressed Disk Image

For those people who haven’t ventured over to the pre-release version of Thunderbird 2 then you may be quite surprised at some of the things that have changed:

  • Message Tags: Create your own tags for organizing email. Messages can be assigned any number of tags. Tags can be combined with saved searches and mail views to make it easier to organize email.
  • Visual Theme:Thunderbird 2′s theme and user interface have been updated to improve usability.
  • Session History Navigation: Back and Forward buttons allow navigation through message history.
  • Folder Views: Customize the folder pane to show favorite, unread or recent folders.
  • Improved Support For Extensions: Extensions can now add custom columns to the message list pane in addition to storing custom message data in the mail database.
  • Improved Offline Management: Thunderbird (Linux and Windows) automatically adjusts the offline state based on current network connectivity.
  • Improved New Mail Notification Alerts:New mail alerts include information such as the subject, sender and message text.
  • Folder Summary Popups: Mouse over a folder with new messages to see a summary of the new messages in that folder.
  • Saved Search Folder Performance: Search results for saved search folders are now cached, improving folder loading performance.
  • Find As You Type
  • Improved Filing Tools: Recent folder menu items for moving and copying folders to recently used folders. Move / Copy again functionality.
  • Updates to the extension system: The extension system has been updated to provide enhanced security and to allow for easier localization of extensions.
  • New Windows installer: Based on Nullsoft Scriptable Install System, the new Windows installer resolves many long-standing issues.
  • MacOS X Universal Binaries

I’m still using the nightly builds of Thunderbird and have honestly never experienced a single problem. In fact, I would have to say this is the most stable pre-release application that I have ever used. Now I am just waiting for them to implement the tabbed messages feature and I’ll be really happy.

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Firefox 3 to Include Separate Vista & XP Themes

This article was written on October 18, 2007 by CyberNet.

Firefox 3 Places Mockup Mozilla has started to to post some more information regarding how Firefox 3 will adapt itself to the look of multiple operating systems. One of the big changes that Mike Beltzner, Mozilla’s User Experience Leader, mentioned in an article was the two different icon sets that will be created for Windows alone. There will be one for Vista and one for XP. Each set will contain 120 different icons, which means they have 240 icons that they need to make for the two different Windows Operating Systems.

An inventory of the necessary icons have already been posted, but none of them have been updated to reflect the changes that are yet to come. As of right now they are looking for a contributor or a contractor that is willing to produce the icons in the time frame that they have. Here’s what they would like to have done at each milestone:

  • 10 icons done in XP and Vista styles as an initial proof-of-concept by the end of the month
  • the most frequently viewed icons delivered as a first draft in time for Beta 2
  • the full set of icons delivered as a second draft in time for Beta 3
  • the ability to make small revisions before the release candidates

The icon inventory site says that the due date for the second milestone (Beta 2?) is in early December, and the third milestone (Beta 3?) isn’t until February 15th! I thought that Firefox 3 would be out by January of next year, but that doesn’t appear to be the case at all.

There are also some lower priority items for Vista that will probably not make it into Firefox 3, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed:

A Windows Vista theme which can be installed by Vista users to include Vista-like widgets and control layouts, tabstrip and other changes for Vista look and feel (to be shipped alongside, not with, Firefox 3)

That almost sounds like a theme utilizing the Aero effects available in Vista, much like what Internet Explorer 7 does. That would be truly awesome if that’s the case.

Beltzner has also begun discussions about the new theme for Linux which has got to be a tough cookie to crack. Think about all of the different Linux distributions available and how many of them look different. It’s probably going to be pretty strenuous to develop something that looks good on them all, and lets not forget that they are also working on a Mac-specific theme. There’s no doubt that they have their hands full.

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Firefox 7 now officially available, promises ‘significantly’ reduced memory usage

A new version number for a browser release may not be quite as major as it used to be, but Mozilla is promising a few fairly big improvements with the just-released Firefox 7. The biggest of those are all in the performance department, including “significantly” reduced memory usage (up to 50 percent less in some cases), and a new version of the hardware-accelerated Canvas that promises to speed up HTML5 sites. Also making its debut is a new Telemetry feature that lets users anonymously provide browser performance data to Mozilla if they choose to opt-in. Hit the links below for the complete rundown and download link.

Firefox 7 now officially available, promises ‘significantly’ reduced memory usage originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 27 Sep 2011 14:56:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Firefox for Honeycomb nightly builds now available for the brave beta testing few

“Boot to Gecko” this is not, but it’s still a tasty morsel for the beta testing hordes. Mozilla’s mobile group, which has been hard at working translating its popular browser to Android slates, appears ready to dole out the first downloads of its UI-in-progress. The team’s begun reaching out to its user community, offering up nightly builds of the tablet-based Fennec and soliciting feedback testing. If you’re the type to get your hands dirty coding, you can even sign-up to help the crew debug the early stage browser and speed up its official release. Feel like taking a crack at Firefox for Honeycomb? Then hit up the source below to preview the in-development goods.

Firefox for Honeycomb nightly builds now available for the brave beta testing few originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 14 Sep 2011 20:02:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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