Archive for June, 2010

Firefox on the iPhone? Mozilla submits Firefox Home to Apple

Firefox Home for iPhone

Updated (12:30 a.m. PT, July 1, 2010): Clarified the relationship between Firefox Home and Safari.

If you’ve been one of the many clamoring to see Firefox running on an iPhone, you may get your chance–of sorts.

Back in late May, Mozilla announced that it would be creating an iPhone version of its Firefox browser–though the solution is not a browser itself. On Wednesday, Mozilla submitted its Firefox Home iPhone app to Apple for testing–and, it hopes, for approval.

The free Firefox Home is more of a window to your Firefox browsing rather than a competing browser itself, which Apple’s software development kit prohibits. Rather, the app relies on Firefox Sync, a cloud-based syncing technology that promises to securely sync your desktop bookmarks, history, and open tabs across Firefox browsers on desktops, mobile phones, and tablets. You’ll be able to view recent Web sites directly from Firefox Home via a WebKit viewer or by opening your previously visited Web pages in the default Safari browser.

On the coding end, Firefox Home’s URL viewer is based on WebKit, the same technology that powers the default Safari browser. Thanks to the app’s role as a browser-helper that merely fetches your Firefox data rather than a Safari replacement, there’s a good chance that Apple won’t reject the app as a competing browser software, as the company has (in)famously done with full HTML browser attempts in the past.

Apart from delivering Web addresses, Firefox Home will also share links via e-mail.

It could take Apple days, weeks, or months to approve–or possibly reject–the app. We’ll keep you posted with what happens next.

Originally posted at iPhone Atlas

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Ask the Readers: What Office Software are You Using on Your Computer?

If you have a computer then it is very likely that you use some kind of word processing or office software on a daily basis. What we want to know this week is what office software do you use?


Your needs have a large effect on the type of office software that you use on your computer. Do you only create the occasional word document or a multitude of different document types each day? Whether you are at home or work there will be word processing or office suite software of some kind installed. It could be something as simple as AbiWord and WordPad or be full featured like Microsoft Office and

Your budget can also have a large impact on the software that you use. Some people are willing to purchase shareware regardless in order to have all the “extra features” while others feel that open source software fits their needs and budget nicely. In the end it is a matter of personal choice.

What office software do you use? Do you use the same or different software for home and work? Let us know in the comments!

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Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Firefox’s Jetpack extensions get 2010 goal


Mozilla had to restart an effort to overhaul Firefox’s extension technology, but the Jetpack reboot is steadily coming together.

Mozilla has released five beta versions of the Jetpack Software Developer Kit, a package that puts a friendly face on Firefox’s inner workings so that extensions can do things such as open new tabs, add menu items, and modify Web pages. And the latest schedule was announced this week: its goal is to release Jetpack 1.0 by the end of 2010.

“We’ve been working on the SDK for almost a year now (and the Jetpack project as a whole for over a year), and we’ve done a bunch of great work that we should get into the hands of developers who could benefit from it,” said Mozilla Jetpack team member Myk Melez in a mailing list message.

Jetpack takes a page from the Google Chrome playbook by letting programmers write extensions that use Web technologies such as HTML and JavaScript. That’s the same direction Apple went with its new Safari 5 extensions, too.

In contrast, Firefox extensions today use the powerful but complicated XUL technology. Mozilla hopes Jetpack will bring more programmers by making it easier, increase extension compatibility from one Firefox release to the next, and help eliminate the need to restart Firefox when an extension is installed or updated.

As Jetpack matures, the Web-based extension development tool called Flightdeck is growing more important for those who prefer its approach to the Jetpack SDK software running on their computers.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that FlightDeck will be a key component in the success of the project, just as important as the SDK, and we should treat it as such, devoting the same kind of time and energy to planning and driving its development, designing its interface and capabilities, and developing its functionality,” Melez said in another mailing list message.

Jetpack isn’t timed specifically to be released with Firefox 4, which brings better performance, a new user interface, and the new HTML5 parser. However, Jetpack is designed to take advantage of some new Firefox 4 features, Mozilla said.

For a tentative look at what’s next for Jetpack, see the plans for Jetpack 0.6, 0.7, and 0.8.

One complication of Jetpack is that it integrates with Electrolysis, a Mozilla project to separate elements of Firefox into separate memory regions to help with performance and security. Jetpack extensions are designed to run in these separate partitions, but Electrolysis is a pretty deep and technical change to the browser’s development.

The first Electrolysis element, out-of-process plug-ins, arrived last week with Firefox 3.6.4, but Mozilla quickly released the 3.6.6 update because older machines would show the Flash Player plug-in to have crashed when in fact a slower computer was just bogged down in processing.

Originally posted at Deep Tech

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Cleanup & Make the Windows Context Menu’s “New” Folder Open Faster

By default when you right-click your desktop to get to the Context Menu’s New folder, there is a lot of items you probably don’t use. Here we look at how to clean up the menu for faster access in creating a new folder.

Creating a New Folder on the Desktop

To create a new folder on the desktop Right-Click an empty area New \ Folder. The problem with this is there is a bunch of items in the list that you probably don’t even use and it takes longer to get to the Folder.


It really depends on where you are on the screen though. Sometimes you can right-click and Folder is right there for easy access.


Then other times it might be over the the left up high on the list.



Rather than having to deal with worrying about proper Desktop placement, we’re going to use a slick utility called ShellNewHandler to clean up the unnecessary items on the list. It is a small executable that requires no installation and is portable. Simply launch ShellNewHandler.exe then uncheck the items from the Context Menu that you don’t use and click Ok.

In our example we are using Windows7 x64 Ultimate edition and ended up disabling everything…


Now when we go to create a new folder on your Desktop, it’s right there!  Although, there’s still the Briefcase…yep the Briefcase still exists!


Remove the Briefcase

We can go a step further and remove the Briefcase from the context menu as well with a simple Registry hack. Open the Registry by typing regedit into the Search box in the Start Menu.


Now Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Briefcase (If you don’t want to scroll all the way down to it. Go to Edit \ Find and type in Briefcase). Expand the Briefcase folder and delete the ShellNew sub-key and all of it’s values.


Select Yes to the confirmation dialog box and close out of the Registry editor.


That’s it! Now it’s a clean Context Menu with only New Folder…Awesome!


If you’ve found it to be very annoying to create a new folder on your desktop, using ShellNewHandler will allow you to clean up the Context Menu for faster access. If all you want is the new folder option, with a quick Registry hack, you can get rid of that too.

Download ShellNewHandlerVista and Windows 7

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Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

How To Restore the Wubi Ubuntu Bootloader

Has Ubuntu disappeared from your Windows Boot Manager list after installing it with Wubi?  Here’s how you can quickly restore it and use your Ubuntu as before.

Wubi makes it easy to install Ubuntu from your Windows computer and keeps you from messing up your Windows Boot Loader.  It simply adds an Ubuntu entry to your Windows boot loader, and you can manage it directly from Windows.


However, several different things can mess up this boot screen.  If you ever install a different boot loader, restore your Windows Setup from a boot disk, or reinstall Windows, your Ubuntu link will disappear.  What’s worse, there’s no apparent way to add it back to Windows.  Even though the Ubuntu files are still on your hard drive, you won’t be able to restore them to the boot list from Windows Startup and Recovery tool or from the Wubi Installer.

But, with the EasyBCD tool and a little Command Prompt tweaking, you can get your Wubi Ubuntu restored and ready to use again.  Here’s how to do it in Windows 7 or Vista.

Add Wubi to the Windows Boot Loader with EasyBCD

If you don’t already have EasyBCD installed, download and install it as normal (link below).


Once it’s installed, run EasyBCD, and select Add/Remove Entries from the toolbox on the left.


Select the Linux tab in the Add an Entry section on the bottom.  Click the drop-down menu beside Type, and select Wubi from the available options.


You can name your Ubuntu entry whatever you’d like, and then click the Add Entry button.


You should now have two entries: Windows and Ubuntu.  Now, at the top of the EasyBCD window, click Save, and then exit the program.

Edit the Boot Information in Command Prompt

If you try to reboot and launch Ubuntu right now, you’ll receive an error in the Boot loader because Windows doesn’t know where you Wubi Ubuntu is stored.  So, as soon as you have added the entry in EasyBCD, launch Command Prompt in administrative mode.  To do this, right-click its icon in the start menu and select Run as Administrator.


In Command Prompt, enter the following to see the boot entries that are setup on your Windows boot loader:



Now we can change the entry to let Windows know where our Ubuntu is saved.  Note that the Real-mode Boot Sector section contains the information we need to edit.  On our computer, we had installed Ubuntu on our E: partition, so we need first to add this to the entry.  If your Ubuntu is installed on your main C: drive, you can skip this step and proceed to the following.

To change the drive or partition, enter the following, substituting {device_id} for the identifier of your drive from the identifier listed under Real-Mode Boot Sector, and X: for your Drive letter designator.  Note that you can quickly insert the drive identifier by copying and pasting the information printed out already in Command Prompt.

bcdedit /set {device_id} partition=X:


Finally, we need to add the path to our Ubuntu install.  The path should be \ubuntu\winboot\wuildr.mbr, though this may be different, depending on your setup.  Browse to your Ubuntu folder to check if you’re not sure, and then enter the following in the Command Prompt, substituting \your_ubuntu_path for the correct path to the Ubuntu files in your computer:

bcedit /set {device_id} path \your_ubuntu_path\winboot\wubildr.mbr


Close Command Prompt, and reboot your computer.  Now you will be able to boot into Ubuntu as before!


Wubi makes it easy to use Ubuntu on your Windows computer, and with this trick, you can keep it running even if something messes up your boot loader.  You can even use this trick to copy your Ubuntu install to another computer; copy the Ubuntu files, and then follow these steps to add the entry to the boot loader. 

If you don’t already have Ubuntu installed with Wubi and would like to try it out, here’s some articles to help you get started:


Download EasyBCD

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Wednesday, June 30th, 2010