Well bless my cotton socks if they haven’t gone and released an update for Thunderbird as well. If you are using FireFox the chances are you’re using this too. If not I hope you are using something nice and secure. Talking of which, a security vulnerability affecting Mozilla Suite, FireFox and Thunderbird was reported on 7th July. Mozilla released a fix for it on the 8th July. So a whole 24 hours then. Microsoft’s average at the moment is 100 days and they wonder why everyone moans about them. Tut tut. Anyway if you’re interested you can read about it over at Mozilla. The latest versions of the Mozilla products include the fix but if you are using any of the earlier versions and don’t want to update you can get a patch at the link above. This vulnerability does not affect users of Linux or Mac OS. Does that mean just Windows again then??
I’ve recently spent a few hours checking out all the extensions you can get for Firefox and have found 3 that I think are quite useful.
Google Page Rank Extension
This extension will place a small bar-graph on your status bar to show how the page you are viewing is ranking at Google. This means that you can see how the different sites that you visit (including your own) compare with each other in rank status. It is just a bar graph and does not give you statistics but it’s handy as a “quick-view”.
A very simple but useful plugin for web site developers. IEView adds an option to the “right-click” context menu which enables you to switch to Internet Explorer. Very handy when you want to quickly see how your new page design gets broken by the “browser-from-hell” or if you come to one of those damned “IE only” pages! It also opens this view in a new page so you can easily close it and be back where you were before you switched.
There is so much in this plugin that it is best if you click on the link and go have a look for yourself. It can be set up with it’s own toolbar or left in the “Tools” menu for when you want it. You can validate any page you are viewing with a couple of clicks. This includes HTML, CSS and accessibility validation. You can change the validation services it uses, you can edit CSS “live”, view the CSS for a single element, use a style sheet on your machine to view a page with and it is highly configurable. Go check it out.
This isn’t a Firefox extension but whilst I am throwing links at you I thought I’d include it. Many WP users are just starting to get to grips with coding. This is a very nice article about CSS with plenty of resource links for people who are new to the web design game. Very useful!
I was over at Mezzoblue and went through a couple of links, as you do, and came to Hixie’s Natural Log. It’s an interesting read but I thought I’d extract this quote for you all to digest:-
“Another point that came out of the discussions is that, in case there was any doubt, Internet Explorer in Longhorn will not support XHTML or SVG. (Microsoft suggested they would need some significantly more comprehensive test suites before they started working on standards compliance again.)”
So that’s back to square one then!!
This isn’t my normal kind of thing but I happened on this site yesterday and I thought I should share. If you use FireFox and you’re into wallpaper he has just the thing for you. If you use Camino or Safari he has things for those too. This is one hell of a good designer. I like his site format and whilst you are there make sure you look through his portfollio. I’m saying nothing but you will find one or two familiar things in there. :cool:
I’ve been watching the development of Service Pack 2 for some time now. Of course it should have been released by now but as is the norm with Microsoft it has been delayed and the current release date is July. Mind you I’d rather they got it right than have to download lots of patches soon after installing the service pack.
I had a quick look at the RC2 version of the pack a few weeks back and got the shock of my life. It was 230 MB! Now I have a paltry dial-up connection, not that I’m complaining, but a download of that magnitude is going to take about 15 hours. So what are all these megabytes for? Well it would appear that we are going to get a more or less completely new Windows which will contain all the little tweaks and security patches that we’ve all been waiting for. So why the new Windows? Because some of the changes are quite deeply embedded in the code which has meant an almost complete re-write.
The added security is very welcome but it will likely cause as many problems as it solves. The infamous XP firewall is getting beefed up. Great. The existing one is crap. Might as well not have one. Trouble is the new one will be switched on by default. Fine if you don’t use another firewall but a bummer if you do. If you use something else like Zone Alarm, Sygate or Tiny you’ll have to remember to switch the XP firewall OFF cuz they will most likely conflict. So am I suggesting you keep the one you have now in preference to the new, beefed up XP one? You bet. Have you noticed all those Windows applications that try to sneek onto the internet when they think your back is turned? If you use a firewall such as the ones I’ve mentioned above they will block these little beggers and tell you about them just in case you want to let them through. You can bet your bottom dollar that the XP firewall will let this Windows stuff through without question. After all, Microsoft would be lost without all that free information they get from millions of unprotected PCs every day.
A couple of other things they are doing I shall deal with together because the problems they will cause are internet related. The IE security has been improved with the addition of a pop-up blocker and an Active-X blocker. Again these are welcome additions but let’s think about web developers for a moment. Many of them, though not all thankfully, have been developing web sites for the 95% or so of surfers who use IE. At the moment IE doesn’t block pop-ups or Active-X applications so many of these sites use them ad nauseum. Now let us not forget that Flash is an Active-X application which IE is now going to be able to block along with all those pop-ups. I don’t have a problem with Flash other than some of the larger Flash files can take a while to load up with my dial-up connection. In any case I use Proxomitron which stops it loading but puts a link in it’s place which I can click on if I want to see it. If I don’t want to be bothered I can just carry on viewing the site having saved a bit of time by not having loaded the application.
As I write this many application developers are in urgent discussions with Microsoft to try and avoid the situation where IE users will not be able to view their sites in full. I gather that the current thinking is that you will be able to “allow” specific sites using a “white list” not unlike the “white lists” you can create in Mozilla/FireFox/Opera for cookies, animations and pop-ups etc. It’s quite funny really how much aggrevation a bit of extra security for IE is causing with web developers who obviously consider that a client’s internet security is less important than their precious designs. Ha ha. Bugger ‘em.
OK. So I’m trawling through Brian’s blog over at chordaltheory.net (do go have a look) and he’s talking about LiteStep and GeoShell. He suggested I check out his "writings" page...