Firefox 18 beta launches, faster JavaScript and Retina support

Mozilla may be suffering a bit lately thanks to the growth of the Chrome web browser, but they are still a popular choice for many computer users. They have also begun updating the browser at a much faster pace in order to keep pace with the competition. Those frequent updates don’t always result in cool new features, but the release today of the version 18 beta does bring some welcome new features.

Whenever a company updates their software I always tend to go first to the changelog so I can find out exactly what I am looking for. In this case I was surprised to find a couple of nice updates.

The first was a major inprovement to JavaScript by implementing the much anticipated IonMonkey engine. This should improve the display of web apps, games, and other JavaScript-heavy sites and services. The second was new support for Apple’s Retina displays. Beyond these two important changes, there are several other things that are notable.

Changelog

  • CHANGED: Performance improvements around tab switching.
  • DEVELOPER: CSS3 Flexbox implemented.
  • DEVELOPER: Support for new DOM property window.devicePixelRatio.
  • DEVELOPER: Support for @supports added.
  • DEVELOPER: Improvement in startup time through smart handling of signed extension certificates.
  • HTML5: Support for W3C touch events impemented, taking the place of MozTouch events.
  • FIXED: Disable insecure content loading on HTTPS pages (62178).
  • FIXED: Improved responsiveness for users on proxies (769764).

If you are already using the beta version of Firefox then you should receive this update automatically. If not, then head over to the Mozilla Beta Channel to make the switch. The final version will be released in January.

Mozilla Pushes 16.01 Update for Firefox

Yesterday Mozilla took the unprecedented step of pulling down a version of Firefox and warning those who had already installed it to stop using the browser.  The move came after a rather bad security flaw was found in the software that would allow a malicious site to potentially be able to determine which websites users had visited and obtain access to the URL or URL parameters.

The company quickly pushed a fix for the Android version of the web browser, but took until today to issue a similar patch for the Windows version of Firefox.  Mozilla has now made Firefox version 16.01 available for download and those who have the browser installed should receive an automatic update upon the next launch.

While it was perhaps a bit of an embarrassing escapade, the company did work fast to fix the issue.  The flaw was less of an actual security threat and more of a privacy concern, but it was an issue that still needed to be addressed quickly.  You can head over to Mozilla to grab the update if you didn’t receive it automatically.

Firefox OS Launching on ZTE Handsets Soon

Mozilla has been hard at work on a Firefox operating system that will power mobile devices, mostly of the lower-end variety.  The OS has been rumored to be launching first in Brazil in early 2013.  Now, hardware maker ZTE is rumored to be the first to get devices on the market, and they are expected very soon.

ZTE has several Android phones on the market currently, and the move to partner with Mozilla came as a bit of a surprise.  “We are trying to increase our efforts in coming up with our own operating system, while introducing products based on Android,” said ZTE spokesman David Dai Shu.”It’s all part of our wider plans to create a better balance of products using various operating systems. We won’t just rely on Android or Windows.”

With Android and iOS leading the market, and Windows Phone slowly making up ground, it will be extremely tough for Mozilla get any foothold, especially given that they are several months away from launch.  However, their attempt to aim at the low end of the market, potentially picking up those who currently use feature phones, may find a niche.

Mozilla Shows Off First Picture of Firefox OS

Perhaps it wasn’t really an official release, but Mozilla developer Rob Hawkes has tweeted a picture of the new Firefox OS running on a mobile phone.  It’s not much of a leak and it really doesn’t show off the new operating system, but it is enough, for now, to serve as notice that another contender is on their way to the mobile market.

The OS is pictured running on a Samsung Galaxy S II, which is traditionally seen running Android, but apparently this was the device of choice for much of the development for the Boot to Gecko-based OS.  The Firefox OS will actually be optimized for lower end devices, making it a competitor for entry-level smartphones like the Lumia 610.

Mozilla doesn’t plan to get Firefox OS to market until 2013, and it will launch first in Brazil, so U.S. users have quite a while to wait for handsets.  It also remains to be seen if the operating system can even compete with what has become the big three – iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.  It’s possible that, with Symbian and Blackberry falling out of favor, there will be room for another mobile OS, but we will find out for sure over the next year or two.

firefox-os

GNC-2011-12-22 #731 Happy Holidays

I talk about the GoDaddy SOPA controversy in detail. I have a lot of fun on today’s show, and for those watching the video of the show I try out some new camera angles. We still need to raise about $2500.00 to meet our fund raising goals for our Support Staff. I hope you will help us out see the links at the bottom of the page.

Note: I am hiring 4 writers email me geeknews@gmail.com

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Inside Space Shuttle Atlantis.
30 Years of Toys.
markzuckerbergofficial.com

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Credits:
Jack Ellis – Executive Producer
Mike Baine – Associate Producer

Support CES 2012 Support Staff $25, $50, $100, Your Choice

GNC-2011-12-19 #730 Two Massive Contest!

Do you have video editing skills? There is cash on the table for a winning entries. Plus I have a couple of fun prizes to give away in the form of some Roku’s listen to get the details. Your really going to enjoy tonight’s show as the content flow was close to perfect.

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Go to facebook.com and type: Let it Snow.
SOPA already here?
Mysterious LTE Chip.
Smallest Black Hole.
Concrete Buffer Gone Wild.
More Stories on Jobs?
BBC Codelab – Hack to the Future.
Sending Music to the Cloud.
ASUS upping its Game?
Chrome now #1?

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Credits:
Jack Ellis – Executive Producer
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Before You Cyber-Shop, Become Cyber-Safe: Tips to Shop Safer Online.

cyber-safe

Be cyber-safe

It’s that time to go and get your gifts for the kids, parents, siblings and the hubby. Some of us braved the cold and dark of night to stand in line for some super doorbuster deal. However, others stayed at home with cocoa and a restful nights sleep, for their trip to shop means turning on the computer and getting it all online.

As you get ready to brave the online crowds on the website, let’s run through a little checklist so you can be safe in purchasing items. With these ideas, you are better protected from malware and scams.

Update Your Computer, Browser and Anti-Virus

This is probably the most important thing to do. There are several security updates that patch holes to your computer. If you are planning on entering a credit card, you want to make sure nobody can watch your transaction. Run some scans on your computer, run the updates to the computer (Mac or PC), then open up your web browser and check for updates.

Chrome : Choose the wrench icon on the right and “About Google Chrome”. It will update software automatically.

Firefox: Choose the “Firefox” tab on the top-left. Choose “Options -> Options”. Select “Advanced” and the “Update” tab.

IE: Go through Windows Update to get the latest version

Safari: Through the software update option

Windows 7: Windows Start button – Type in “Windows Update” in the Run box.

Windows XP: Open IE browser and type in Update.microsoft.com

Mac: Choose the Apple and Software Update

Anti-Virus may be trickier since there are different versions out there. Most important, if you don’t have anti-virus on your computer, put it on now. Avast and AVG are two great programs that have free versions.

What Websites are You Shopping At?

If you are going off the beaten internet path, it’s important to make sure the website is a verified seller. Most of the time, you can find badges on the site saying if they are trusted. When in doubt, do some simple searches. Also check the retailer’s reviews at a site like Resale Ratings.

Finally – When you are checking out, make sure you are on a secure page. Chrome, Firefox, Safari and IE all indicate if your credit card will be encrypted or not. If the lock icon is closed, you are on a secure page.

Email: Trusting links, Query Confirmation Email or Bank Email

You might be getting tons of “Black Friday” or “Cyber Monday” deals through email. Be careful what you select – there are misrepresented Spam mails out there. I just got one the other day from the New York Times to get a 1 year subscription. The email looked like it was from the NYTimes, but the links went to some other site like newyorktimes.some_domain_name dot com.

When in doubt, do a Google search on the email deal. If Walmart is having an online sale, then go to Walmart.com and find the deal through their website.

You might also see confirmation emails that could be phishing schemes. You get an email saying “Congratulations: You just purchased…”, but you didn’t purchase anything. There is a link saying “I didn’t purchase this” or something related. When you click on the link, it tells you what to do on a refund.

DON’T CLICK! (don’t even trust the links in the email)

What you should do is go to the website directly and find a phone number to call. Verify with an agent there is a purchase for you. Also, check your card statements. some purchases update within minutes.

Buy with Credit Card

Speaking of Credit Cards, most major cards and Paypal come with fraud protection. If you feel unsafe about any purchase, make a call to your credit card company. Never purchase online by sending a check or  wiring cash to someone’s account. If they cannot get a verified payment service like Paypal, Amazon, Visa, Mastercard, American Express or more, then this purchase isn’t worth it.

Ask For Help

Ok, so you are not Internet savvy. You read through this article and your head began to spin. If that is the case, then ask people for help. Talk to your friends. Seek out someone you know that does this stuff on a regular basis. What is worse is if you do not update your computer. Never think “Oh, I’ll just do it later…”

Cyber crime rises during the holidays. We are purchasing more online. So it’s important to stay safe. That, and get the best deal on a tablet…

GNC-2011-09-22 #707 Big Move by Facebook?

I spend a huge amount of time on the Facebook economy plus a huge stack of news and information. As always a full 60 minutes of tech content for your listening or viewing pleasure.

Update: For the first time in the history of the show, I had to go in and do some post show editing. Pretty big gaf on my part but it was to big to let the original file remain.

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Listener Links:
Netflix Stock Crashes.
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Links to articles covered in this Podcast on the GNC Show Notes Page [Click Here]

Credits: Jack Ellis – Executive Producer

GNC #697 Police State?

Meetup in Albuquerque is on for next week if you want to attend please email me ASAP. We are also collecting prizes for show #700 if you would like to donate a product or service drop me a line. This show gets very serious almost out of the gate we all need to make sure we protect our freedoms.

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Space Hotel.
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Show Links:
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FBI_Surveillance_VAN?
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Cut your Headphone jack in Half and Patent it.
DHS Scanning us on the Streets?
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AES Cracked?
NASA Space Weather Video.
NASA says Aliens to destroy us over Environment?
iPhone for T-Mobile?
Lion Updated.
Microsoft App Store.
70/30 AT&T & Verizon Iphone.
Music Publisher says Uncle.
Redbox Coupons and Tricks.
Netgear SetTop Box.
MafiaaFire Plugin.
uTorrent 100 Million Active Users!
Follow the BitTorrent Money.
CTRL-F “Find”
Energize Me!
Fox ask those cut off to cry!
Vid.ly = Very Expensive.
Netflix vs Amazon Video.
Nomad.
Cover some P2P Tracks.
1 Million Dollar Vacation to Space.
HDHomerun.
Skitch.
Foursquare adds Events.
Firefox 7 Beta.

GNC #696 Sea of Change

All we are planning the server upgrade for Thursday, all of my other sites have been moved to the new box and we will be doing some test with a second new server as well to see how well it stands up to some data delivery test we will be doing. Major investment in new hardware to support the show and the site.

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Listener Links:
Pakistan Sharing with Chinese.
Virus cause Blood Pressure increase.
Flash Mob Calls?
Getting wrong email.

Show Links:
Google Purchases Motorola.
Google TV + Motorola = Win?
Google Partners Weigh in.
Water Fight Plan leads to Arrest?
Windows 8 Blog.
AT&T fighting back on T-Mobile Lawsuits.
Nielsen + Facebook = Spying.
Amazon Student App.
MPAA Wall Street Reform Lobbying?
Windows Security Looking Better?
Apple Tampering with Evidence.
AP Fair Use Avoidance?
College can snoop on Students email.
Internet + TV = Making Kids Smarter?
More Police Insanity.
Fox Blocks 90% of viewers from online content.
Firefox no more Version Numbers.
Amazon outage lessons learned.
Computer for Seniors Insulting.
Spy on Kids Pay Up!
Cell Phone Usage break down.
Microsoft Reader RIP.
FCC Goes after BART.
Bart Anonymous Demonstration Fizzles.
Why all the mobile device profiling?
Songwriters get rights back after 25yr wait.
Horse Cops get Computers!
AT&T & T-Mobile leaked merger docs.
Counting to 100,000 Insanity?
Facial Recognition use in UK Riots.
STS135 Video.
P2P Target on Canadian Politician.
New Zealand ISP CEO Speaks out.
Camera Lens Shot Glass.
Moon Rug.
New Toothbrush charger by Induction.
Adobe Patches Flash.