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Firefox 8 - A Few Thoughts

tcr! · Nov 9, 2011 at 6:11 am

Firefox 8 is faster. Menu items are snappier and it starts cold in fraction of the time as 7.

With that said, I stopped relying on Firefox for the main browsing experience after version 5 simply because of broken extensions and I was/am unsure of where they’re headed in the name of the user.

As an example:

“All your menu items are now found in a single button for easy access”

Condensing a handful of menus into one is easier to use and navigate! .. Or is it?

Working in the web field, I still use Firefox regularly and let it continue on with its rapid release cycle. However with each release, one of the extensions that I rely on breaks. Each release cripples Firefox in such a way that its importance to me fumbles down a rung. Chrome extensions have NEVER broke for me. I have my own issues with Google but that’s another story.

On the one hand the rapid release cycle makes perfect sense: get updated software to users faster. Update in the background so as not to annoy said users. Make version numbers obsolete; you’re running the latest or you’re not.

On the other foot, it annoys me to no end. I don’t want software to auto-update, it’s creepy, it breaks shit all the time - shit I need to do my work. The major version number bumps seem only to be a browser-arms race with Chrome.

It’s just a number. If you’re innovative you won’t care what others are doing. Could a few of these major releases simply been point releases? There was nothing in 6 that indicated a major step forward to me. My wife is still using it only because an extension she uses frequently won’t work beyond that release.

Maybe I’m just sentimental and miss the days when a new version meant shiny new toys to play with. These days, I cringe when Firefox wants to update. Rapidly developed software tends to introduce more bugs if only because the developers are sloppily rushing to meet the roadmap. Note: this is a general statement based on my own experience and not directed at the Firefox developers in particular.

Sure, Firefox is free and I don’t have to use it. So I don’t. I don’t “Spread Firefox” any more either.

And the big question: why do I write about Firefox if it bugs me so much? Because I care and have used it for a long time, probably longer than you.

PS. Why is removing the status bar wrong? Because I need to move my mouse to the top of the window to move the window. You’ve now taken functionality away from me. Monitors are bigger than ever yet everyone seems to think that stripping the UI is a good thing.

#firefox

5 comments

edox edox · Nov 9, 2011 at 10:16 am

I totally agree about the status bar. Minimized UI (specially when minimized and taking away a useful tool) has it's place and most of the time I agree with what was minimized or removed but with browsers there are a few things you should just leave alone.

I am in the same boat. I quit using FF as a default with exception of once in a while using it for Firebug and of course testing. I am using Chrome for my default but that has it's limitations too. (Like always causing VS2010 to error out when I go into debugging mode for example) And like you I get anxious when a new release happens cause I know something will break. I have quit installing it on my in-laws computer or trying to get others to use it.

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tcr! tcr! · Nov 9, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Yep, yep..

I completely agree with their mission but part of me feels like they're being wreckless with their flagship.

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Lucy · Nov 12, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Are your add-ons actually breaking, or are they not marked as compatible? You can install the add-on compatibility reporter which lets you run all your add-ons and report if they actually work with the new version or not. The add-ons team is making progress so that add-ons no longer have to be manually bumped up a version. It's much smoother than it used to be and it will get even better.

In terms of the status bar, there is the add-on bar but it doesn't let you grab the window with it. When the unified menu button went in there was a lot of talk of leaving some space in so that you could grab the window by the chrome somewhere. Have you tried filing a bug to request that the add-on bar also work this way? I haven't checked extensions myself, but maybe there's already one that restores the status bar the way you like it?

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tcr! tcr! · Nov 15, 2011 at 8:06 am

Re: add-ons. I'm not sure if they're broken or marked as incompatible. All I know for sure is that after Firefox upgraded, they didn't work. Installing an add-on to check if my other add-ons aren't compatible sounds like work I don't want to do.

Re: status bar. On the Mac the add-ons bar will let me move the window around which is a godsend. Removing the fixed status bar is nutty. The inline, floating status bar never shows the full link of what I'm about to click on - talk about "what's best for the users." Plus the distraction level went through the roof. On a page of search results the floating status bar is always popping in and out like some kind of crazed peek-a-boo. I've gotten to where I don't even pay attention to it anymore.

Granted Chrome's lack of status bar is just as bad. I think the underlying issue with this is that taking features away from users for no good reason is a bug in my opinion.

I don't file bugs simply because I have other things in life that are more pressing and after reading several Bugzilla reports, I suspect that Mozilla's "my way or the highway" stance would trump whatever 2 cents I had to throw in.

I appreciate your comment for sure though and am glad that you took the time to offer options for me, even more so because all I'm doing is complaining.

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Lucy · Nov 15, 2011 at 10:45 am

Well you are sincerely voicing your concerns, and they are concerns that Mozilla is thinking about.

The add-on compatibility reporter doesn't affect the addons that are still working. You test the ones that were disabled to see if they're compatible with the current version (all the ones I use still work) and then you can report that. In the past Mozilla has relied on add-on developers to test and update their add-ons for compatibility with new versions. Obviously with this rapid release process that's just not fair to anyone and it's also a lot less necessary as new versions have smaller changes. You can read more here http://t.co/0Uqc8vky

As for "my way or the highway" the problem is that a lot of discussion happens off bugzilla and so the bugs that get attention are things that had already been considered and decided on. I can promise you that it's not the overall attitude. The "awesome bar" is a great example. You have no idea how many people argued against it and wanted to switch back to the old version because they were used to it. All in all it's just a better feature. However the devs did listen to the number of people who didn't want their bookmarks, or certain bookmarks, showing up in the results, and they did implement ways to hide certain things, or only turn up certain things.

Good luck, and I seriously seriously suggest you test out the compatibility reporter. You can always uninstall it.

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TCR Inbox: 08/Nov/2011

tcr! · Nov 8, 2011 at 6:48 pm

#email #spam

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You’re a Product, Not a Customer

tcr! · Nov 7, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Whatever made you think it was your data anyway?

This is an important corollary to the law “If you’re not paying for something, you’re not a customer; you’re the product being sold”. Everyone ought to understand that any data you store on a “free” internet service isn’t yours as ownership has hitherto been understood; it’s what you’re giving to the company as disguised payment for the service it’s offering. If the company lets you access that data from one day to the next, that’s awfully nice of them; if they stop doing so, what the hell did you expect? It was “free”. Whatever made you think it was your data anyway?

Good reminder about the tradeoffs when using free services.

I’m sleeping better now that I don’t use free services for any data I care about.

#nutsandbolts

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Oil Is Not the Answer

tcr! · Nov 6, 2011 at 10:44 pm

Thousands protest at White House over pipeline

The project pits environmentalists against Republicans and many top labor groups — with both sides suggesting that the president will pay politically if he doesn’t side with them. Backers of the project say the pipeline will create thousands of jobs and help reduce U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

The U.S. could easily create hundreds of thousands of jobs by building solar/wind farms and high-speed rails across the country. Both would serve the Earth and the American people much better.


In other news:

Federal Budget for 2012

#politics

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tcrbang.com overhaul

tcr! · Nov 6, 2011 at 9:04 am

Finally. Much more functional and a bit nicer to look at, too!

Now I should plant some grass seed before winter sets in.

#webdev #tcr

4 comments

tcr! tcr! · Nov 6, 2011 at 9:05 am

I'll post some screenshots of the design process soon.

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tism tism · Nov 6, 2011 at 10:01 am

nifty!

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edox edox · Nov 6, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Looking good!

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tcr! tcr! · Nov 16, 2011 at 8:13 am

Thankies!

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tcrbang.com redesign update and shit work

tcr! · Nov 5, 2011 at 7:55 am

It’s taking much longer than I thought but the results will be well worth it. In the meantime, enjoy:

Don’t Give Your Users Shit Work

Some people still like shit work. They can spend an hour moving Twitter accounts to special Lists, and then at the end of it look back and say “Boy, I spent an hour doing this. I really accomplished a lot today!” You didn’t. You did shit work.

Simplification is zen.

#tcr

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Zombie Learning at Columbia

tcr! · Oct 29, 2011 at 7:08 am

Need an extra class for next term at Columbia College Chicago? Zombies in Popular Media will do ya just fine.

This course explores the history, significance, and representation of the zombie as a figure in horror and fantasy texts. Instruction follows an intense schedule, using critical theory and source media (literature, comics, and films) to spur discussion and exploration of the figure’s many incarnations.

More from the instructor - worth exploring this holiday season.

Also, if you have a need for a new RSS feed with gems, have a look at his blog:

I will be participating in the Canadian Broadcast Channel (CBC)’s nationally syndicated programme, The Current, on Monday morning to talk about, what else, zombies.

You can never go wrong with zombies. Speaking of, Zombieland 2 has a script.

#education #zombies

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We’re Supposed to be Flying More by 2000

tcr! · Oct 27, 2011 at 6:34 am

Flying Police

World in 2000 as Predicted in 1910

Illustrations by French artist Villemard in 1910 of how he imagined the future to be in the year 2000.

11 years past due, and I still don’t have my own set of wings.

Also, take care when using your motorized roller skates.

#science

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Television Preoccupation and a Curious Phrase

tcr! · Oct 25, 2011 at 8:01 pm

My sleep and after-hours work schedule has been throw off thanks to Boardwalk Empire and this might explain the lack of updates. We have the latest Walking Dead to get out of the way and then things should get back to normal.

In unrelated medical news… Today I was updating a surgery website for the day-job and ran across something weirdly bizarre. Most days my “subconscious ignore filter” kicks in for any gory photos, I’ve just kinda gotten numb to them.

For this particular assignment I needed to resize an image with embedded text so I actually needed to pay attention.

Brace yourself – the caption for the photo was “Rectal Stump.” I’ve never seen those two words side by side.

What the hell does this phrase mean? I’ve held off searching since I really don’t wanna know but I have brought it up 3 or 4 times since. It’s a great ice breaker and/or conversation piece.

For the curious, it looked like a peeled tomato constricted midway by an umbilical cord of some sort. I won’t write anymore except that the period goes inside of the quotation marks. Logic does not enter that equation.

#worknews

1 comment

edox edox · Oct 25, 2011 at 9:10 pm

*Shudder*

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World Misses October 21 Apocalypse

tcr! · Oct 23, 2011 at 9:47 am

Harold Camping Prediction: World Survives Doomsday (Again)

The world refused to end yet again on Friday, despite another prediction from Family Radio network owner Harold Camping that it would.

[…]

That day too passed without incident and now the Daily Mail is having a tough time getting Camping or anyone else from Family Radio to explain why the Earth is still turning.

I completely forgot that the world was to end this past Friday! Guess I was wrapped up in work, living life, doing all the things people do when they’re not brainwashed by nut jobs who’ve gotten dates wrong since the late 1970s.

Still not sure how Camping’s radio show keeps listeners.


Elsewhere:

#religion

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