Entries from September 2005

Firefox 1.5 Beta compatible extensions

FirefoxThe Mozilla organization released the first public beta of Firefox 1.5 yesterday. It boasts a zillion bug fixes, new features, and lots of improvements all around. Once Firefox 1.5 is out of beta and released I’ll build a G5-optimized version, as usual. You can also get a G5-optimized build of the beta on the Firefox nightly build page (the September 9th build is the beta).

The beta is great, but one problem is almost all existing Firefox extensions will not work without some tweaking. I’m an impatient (and rather nerdy) guy, so I whipped off Firefox 1.5-compatible versions of the extensions I use.

Download Firefox 1.5 Beta compatible extensions

Note: All I did was tweak the latest publicly available version of these extensions so that they would install on Firefox 1.5 beta. That doesn’t mean these are guaranteed to work, so caveat geek.

Click on the extension name to install — you’ll probably need to give permission to this site to install extensions.

As the underlying code for extensions have not been changed, these should auto-update when the developer posts a new version to the Mozilla Update site.

I did not create these extensions, so do not post support requests in the comments. These are not “official” releases, so you’re on your own.

Oh, and the ever-talented “Aronnax” has updated his gorgeous Mac OS X Firefox themes to work with the beta. The original domain redirection is down, but you can download them here. Here’s a preview to whet your appetite — this is detail from the themed called GrApple (Brazil Pro):


Okay, now I really have to get back to what I was supposed to be doing. Enjoy, folks!

Things I am currently thankful for (pre-thanksgiving mix)

Six days away from the computer, email, and responsibility. Montreal bagels (specifically St-Viateur bagels). Being told that my first chapter was “great” after weeks of waiting, worrying, and nail-biting. Open wireless access points at my favourite cafés. Clomicalm. The fact that Tom Cruise is no longer in the news every goddamn day. The slight chill in the air that signifies the beginning of autumn. The return of Arrested Development. Modern air flight. The Economist. Funny-shaped post-it notes. Sufjan Stevens. Path Finder. Ocean Spray cranberry juice. That Rockstar:INXS is finished tonight, so I can finally get back to avoiding all reality TV shows. Crumpler bags. Bittorrent (the new VCR poor man’s Tivo). Permanent press button shirts. TVBGone. Simon & Patrick Luthier guitars. Cheesy acoustic guitar ballads from the 80’s. A lovely girlfriend who enjoys “Talk like a pirate day” as much as I do. Cats. Giada De Laurentiis. Dickies work pants (aka “those old man pants of yours”). pop77 mixes (and the DJ, too). The fact that people still read this web site even though I post smelly turd-like posts like this one.

G5-optimized Firefox 1.0.7 released

Looking for nightly builds or optimized Firefox 1.5 beta builds? Get ‘em here.

Hey, it’s another Firefox release! The Mozilla group squeezes out another teensy update that addresses mostly security issues. The changelog:

  • Fix for a potential buffer overflow vulnerability when loading a hostname with all soft-hyphens
  • Fix to prevent URLs passed from external programs from being parsed by the shell (Linux only)
  • Fix to prevent a crash when loading a Proxy Auto-Config (PAC) script that uses an "eval" statement
  • Fix to restore InstallTrigger.getVersion() for Extension authors
  • Other stability and security fixes

I’ll keep building these as they release them, but I’ll probably be a day or so late as I need to wait for the source to be posted to the Mozilla FTP server. So those of you who have been sending me repeat emails, please stop.

Anyway, this isn’t an official build, I’m not responsible if you suddenly gain (or lose) super powers or your computer explodes, etc., etc. I’m sure you know the drill, but it needs to be said anyway just to be clear.

Download the G5-optimized Firefox 1.0.7 release (disabled) A newer version than this is now available

There’s also a Firefox-specific news feed available in case you really could care less (understandably) about anything else on this web site:

Subscribe to the Firefox / Mozilla feed

A return to your regularly scheduled programming

I got some bad news this morning from my editor: my book has been cancelled. Kaput. Taken a long walk off of a short pier. Given up the ghost. Toasted. Et cetera.

I have to admit this news didn’t come as a massive shock to me. This is actually my second attempt at a book - my first was with a publisher that went out of business just over a month after the book was initially started. I’m keenly aware that the publishing industry can be a world of abrupt endings; the technology publishing industry is even more fragile. I’m not bitter, nor am I devastated.

But I can’t help feeling a little disappointed.

That said, I don’t begrudge the time I put into the book up to this point. My writing has vastly improved since I first started working on this project, and I have gleamed valuable experience in the book writing process. But it would have been nice to have taken things all the way.

My publisher is doing me well and making sure I get some compensation for my time, and the door isn’t closed to the possibility of future opportunities. I gotta say, though, if I get another kick at the can, I really hope the adage that “third time’s the charm” really does hold water.

.Mac Typography


Maybe it’s just me being a big pedantic fussypants, but for those of you who have .Mac accounts, have you noticed how bad the main service homepage looks?

I’m not talking about the .Mac product page, which is the page you’ll get if you’re either not a member or not logged in. I’m talking about the page you get once you’ve logged in.

For those of you who don’t have a .Mac account, this is what the current member homepage looks like, and this is the area I’m talking about.

That text looks like it’s been tossed out quickly without any thought to aesthetics. There’s something seemingly uncaring and throwaway in the gigantic font size (that screams “I’M AN H1 TAG!”) and awkward letter spacing. Considering how well Apple gets the importance of design (cf. iPod, Apple Displays, yadda), the glaring lack of detail and care that the .Mac pages seem to have received is jarring.

dotmac groupsI suppose this is partially because the member’s home page is lacking in content (the “fill-empty-space-with-large-text” syndrome) but compared to other Apple web pages, there are some shockingly amateurish problems with the type that just shouldn’t be there (like the bizarrely centre-aligned text of the new .Mac Groups section).

These are pretty nitpicky details. But we’ve come to expect good design from Apple, and it just makes the rare occasions when errors or poor design appear seem all the more glaring.

So, yo, Apple! Give that .Mac homepage some lovin’, stat!

Thunderstorm in the summer

This thunderstorm occurred in mid July, just after I had started actually writing (not organizing, not outlining, not pitching) the book. I remember I had been sitting at the desk for almost three hours with a blank Word document in front of me. The flashing cursor was like an SOS signal. I was completely empty.

This spirited thunderstorm started farting and belching outside, and I went into the sun room beside our home office to watch lightning bolts flash into the park in the distance. I shot some shaky video with my Canon Elph, and then this hippie dude and his girlfriend went splashing by on their bikes in water that was at almost two feet deep.

I’d like to say the absurdness of the whole thing sent a lightning bolt of inspiration blazing into my ear, but the truth is I went back to the computer, fired up NetNewsWire, and threw in the towel.

Writing was like that for weeks until I got into the groove. There would be long days of sitting at the computer, cursing my quaggy brain and feeling absolutely moronic, and then one or two days of nearly manic productivity, where at least half of the stuff I wrote was utter shit. But at least I was writing.

The funny thing is even though that book has been cancelled, I’m throwing myself back into the fracas and starting work on another one. I can’t decide if this could be seen as the irrepressible passion of a man who has “something to say”, or just the final bit of drool out of the mouth of an absolute con.

This video proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that my iMovie editing skills absolutely suck. In my defense, this is only the second time I’ve tried playing around with iMovie. There’s only so much room in my brain, and every time I learn something new, something old has to get tossed to make room. Sigh.

(Note: if you’re reading this in your newsreader, you’ll have to visit the site to view the video. I’m using a Javascript method to embed the Quicktime so that it doesn’t break validation.)

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