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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Firefox 4 Beta 7 Boasts Major Enhacements

Yesterday, Mozilla released the 7th Beta of their new 4.0 browser.  The most significant improvement is a new JavaScript engine which dramatically speeds up the browser.   The new JagerMonkey JIT compiler boosts performance by five times in the V8 Version 6 benchmark and by three times in both the SunSpider ad Kraken benchmark tests.  In addition, more supported for accelerated graphics has been added and even added 3D support.  This means that users will be able to tap into the power of their graphics card for rendering, rather than merely using the power of the CPU to render a page.  In order to take advantage of these improvements, your computer needs to be equipped with a graphics card that is advanced enough to do these tasks.  

These features have been available in the Minefield browser for several weeks.  Mozilla is expected to release the final version of their new Firefox 4.0 browser early next year.  Mozilla has informed developers that this Beta version is stable enough that developers can begin finalizing their plugins for the final version of Firefox 4.0.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Google And Mozilla In Cutting Edge Battle

Google and Firefox are offering tech addicts, like ourselves, the ability to download and use the most recent versions of their upcoming new browsers.  Google started this by offering users the ability to choose which version of their browser they want to install.  You can choose to install the "Stable" version, the "Beta" version of the "Developer" version.  The stable and beta versions are relatively secure and stable.  They have been tested and are pretty reliable.  However, the Developer version is updated every few days and is more prone to crash and not work properly on certain website.  Recently, Google gave users the option to also download the "Canary" build of their browser.  The Canary build can be installed side by side with the other version of the Chrome browser and contains daily builds of the browser.  It is updated daily and is unstable and prone to crash at any time.  But it gives users the ability to see what Google is working on and what they are experimenting with.  To download and install Canary, click here.

Not to be undone, Firefox is currently working on the next generation of their popular Firefox browser.  Firefox 4.0 is currently in Beta.  I have downloaded the most recent Beta version, Beta 6, and found it to be extremely stable and feature rich.  However, Mozilla has made daily nightly builds of Beta 7 available for download.  It's known as Minefield and users are warned to install and use at their own risk.  Various versions of Minefield are available for download, Linus, Mac and Windows 32 bit and 64 bit.  Minefield is very interesting.  It contains the brand new Javascript engine which will power Firefox 4.0.  Beta 6 does not have the new engine but Minefield does.  There is a drastic increase in speed in Minefield.  The speed increase is noticeable and feels as fast as Chrome.  I download the latest nightly build every morning to keep up to date with the most recent version.  Until a few days ago I was downloading the 64 bit version but started to experience problems with the browser crashing.  For a couple of days I was unable to run Minefield.  Yesterday I downloaded the 32 bit version and now Minefield is up and running on my computer.  Computer geeks, like me, are urged to try Minefield to see how drastic the increase in speed in the next Firefox browser will be.  To download Minefield, click here.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Hidden Windows 7 Tool Securely Wipes Free Space

We've discovered a hidden tool within Windows 7 which allows you to securely wipe the free space on your hard drive.  When you delete files on your computer, Windows shows the free space as being available but traces of the deleted files remain on your hard drive.  The traces left behind make it possible for technicians to recover the data.  However, there is a tool within Windows 7 which is supposed to go through those deleted files and securely delete the traces left behind.  Apparently this tool is also available in Windows XP Pro and Windows Vista.

To launch this tool you need to do the following:
1.  Launch the "command prompt" by going to "Accessories" and finding the program.
2.  Type in the following command:  Cipher/w:(X).  Where "X" is indicated, type in the letter of the drive, usually C.

That's all you need to do.  Be patient.  This may take several hours.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Browser Wars Really Heating Up

With today's release of Internet Explorer 9 Beta, the browser wars have reached a new level.  For years, Internet Explorer was the king of the hill.  Several years ago, The Mozilla Foundation released an open source browser that has steadily been chipping away at Microsoft's market share.  About 2 years ago Google jumped into the fray with its Chrome browser.  Chrome really changed everything.  The minimalist screen was different than anything out there and the speed of the browser immediately began changing the browser landscape.  Suddenly, all of the browsers starting fighting over the title of "fastest browser."  Microsoft had fallen seriously behind all of the competitors and is generally seen as slow and out of date.  When Microsoft started working on its most recent version of Internet Explorer, IE9, they started looking for a way to catch up in the speed wars.  They have come up with a way of using the computers processor and video card to help do some of the work to make the browser work faster.  Suddenly, Internet Explorer becomes the trail blazer and all the competitors find themselves trying to come up with a similar feature.  Mozilla is working on the next generation of it's browser, Firefox 4.0.  In the 4th Beta of their 4.0 browser, they added this feature but in order to make it work, users had to manually turn it on.  About a week ago Mozilla released it's 5th Beta and turned on the hardware acceleration by default.  My experience with Beta 5 is that the graphics are greatly improved but not quite up to par with Internet Explorer 9.  Chrome recently added hardware acceleration to the Developer Version of their browser a couple of weeks ago also.  But most people do not know that they can download even more updated versions of Chrome and Firefox.  Here's how to download up to the minute versions of the browsers.

Chrome gives you the option to download Chrome Canary Build.  This version of the Chrome browser is updated almost daily.  It carries the greatest risk because it is truly experimental but users who want to see what Google is cooking up can download it here.  It works side by side with any other version of Chrome.  The icon for the Canary build is yellow.

Firefox has introduced a brand new engine in its nightly builds.  This engine drastically speeds up Firefox.  This version is updated daily and can be downloaded here.  Some security software may recognize this is a virus and not allow you to download it.  I use Norton and when I update daily, Norton considers it a virus and deletes it.  I therefore have to reinstall it every day if I want to use it.  When you install it you will see that it is entitled "Minefield."

In the meantime you can download Internet Explorer 9 right here.  Windows XP users will not be able to use IE9.  And when you download IE9, it will replace IE8 on your computer.

Let us know what you think of this state of the art browsers.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Firefox 4.0 Beta 4 Released

Not quite s promised, Mozilla released it's fourth Beta of it's new Firefox 4.0 browser.  The Beta was supposed to be released yesterday but had to be delayed after a couple of bugs were discovered.  To download the new beta click here.  The new version offers several upgrades.  Most notable is a new hardware acceleration rendering feature which claims to harness the power of your video card to more quickly display graphics and text.  At this point, Mozilla is trying to play catch up to Google's Chrome which has established a reputation as the fastest browser on the market.  This new feature is turned off by default.  Reason being that Mozilla is afraid that this feature may not be ready for prime time.  But to turn on this feature is relatively easy and painless.  Here's what you need to do to turn on this feature:

1.  Type "about:config" in the address bar.
2.  In the search bar type in "mozilla.widget.render-mode."  Set the value to 6.
3.  Next, go back to the search bar and type in "gfx.font_rendering.directwrite.enabled."  Set the value to True.

That's it.  To see what changes you made you can always type "about:support" in the address bar.

Let us know what you think of this new feature. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mozilla To Release Firefox 4.0 Beta 4 on Monday

The Mozilla Foundation has announced that they intend to release the 4th Beta of the Firefox 4.0 browser on Monday.  They indicate that the code for this beta is "mostly frozen" and on the way to being shipped out on schedule on Monday.  The beta is planning to introduce hardware-accelerated graphics for Windows users and tab sets, which is commonly known as "Tab Candy."  "Tab Candy" is a feature that is pretty similar to something that Apple's iOS4 offers.  You can drag and drop to re-arrange all your tabs into groups, create new groups by simply dragging a web page outside an existing group and dragging another item on top of it, and rename each group based on what task is assigned to it.  The hardware-accelerated graphics feature will increase the display of text and increase graphics as well.  However, this graphics feature will not be turned on by default.  Users will be required to go into the about:config page and adjust some of the settings to turn on this feature.  Mozilla's developers are concerned that this feature is not ready for prime time and want to see it rolled out slowly.  Mozilla is indicated that they expect many betas to be released prior to the final release of the new browser.

Mozilla is hoping that the newest version of their browser will help them get back on track.  For several years, Firefox was gaining ground on Microsoft's Internet Explorer.  In the past several months, Firefox has been losing ground to Internet Explorer and to Google's Chrome Browser.  Next month, Microsoft has announced that they will be releasing a public beta of their new Internet Explorer 9.  The browser wars seem to be hearing up, with each contestant trying to one-up the other.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Microsoft To Release Emergency Patch Monday

In a somewhat rare move, Microsoft has announced that they will be releasing an "out-of-band" update on Monday.  This is the term that Microsoft uses to describe an update that is outside of the normal monthly schedule of updates.  A couple of weeks Microsoft announced that they had discovered a vulnerability in the way that Windows parses the shortcut files for icons on the desktop and system tray.  Since then, Microsoft has noticed a large increase in the number of attacks based on this exploit.  About a week ago Microsoft issued a work around patch that allowed Windows users to manually apply the fix.  I tried this but found that it eliminated the icons on my desktop and taskbar.  

Microsoft has announced that the patch will be released by 12 noon central time on Monday.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hands One With The Nexus One Car Dock

When I heard the news that Google was going to shut down their online Nexus One store, I decided to get the Nexus One Car Dock before the store shut down.  I was thinking that it may not be possible to buy the car dock once the online store shut down, plus, I always wanted to get it.  Ordering was very easy.  I went online and ordered it.  I chose regular Federal Express shipping which is free of charge.  I ordered it on Saturday, July 17 and I received it today, July 22.  It actually should have been delivered yesterday but nobody was home to sign for it.  The total cost was $58.44.  

My initial impression of the car dock is that it is very well made and a high quality product.  You have the ability to mount the car dock on your dashboard or your windshield.  I chose to mount it on the windshield.  To mount it on the windshield you hold it against the windshield and then twist it to the right until you hear a "click."  My impression is that it is attached very firmly to my windshield.  You attach a standard charger from your cigarette lighter to the base of the unit on the windshield and you are ready to go.  Putting your Nexus One into the car dock gets a little getting used to but is fairly simple.  Simple enough to put it in the car dock every time you get into the vehicle.  Within a few seconds you are shown a screen giving you the option of routing all your voice calls and music through the speaker on the car dock.  You are then given the option to make the choice the default choice.  I have not decided whether to make it my default choice.  After you make your selection you are taken to the "Car Home" screen.  On the screen you are given icons to navigate, view your contacts, listen to music and make calls.  You can listen to music through the speaker on the car dock.  I tried this and while it's not great, it's not bad either.  I was especially impressed with the navigate function.  What was particularly impressive was the ability to verbally speak the address of the destination.   I tried a couple of addresses and the Nexus One got it right.  Very impressive.  I think I will use the navigation function quite a bit.  Making a call was also easy.  The car dock connects your voice to the phone through a bluetooth connection.  My impression was that I was on a speakerphone.  I spoke to more than a few people and all of them indicated that the call quality was good.  They could hear me well and had no idea that I was talking through this bluetooth speakerphone.

Overall, I am very impressed with the car dock.  It was very well engineered and makes my Nexus One much more useful.  I highly recommend that Nexus One owners get one for themselves.

Google Voice Update Eliminates Loophole

Google Voice has posted an update to their app which speeds up the call process by assigning a unique phone number to each call made.  By assigning a unique phone number to each person called, it eliminates the need to have to route all calls through Google's servers.  This new process speeds up the service and makes the service more like a traditional telephone service provider.  However, with every advancement there's caveats.  It's no secret that T-Mobile customers were able to set up a loophole which drastically reduced their telephone bill.  This is how the trick worked:  You place one of your "My Faves" numbers as the number from which all outgoing calls would go and the other "My Faves" number would be the phone number from which all incoming calls come from Google Voice.  You could thus have unlimited incoming and outgoing calls from Google Voice for the fee associated with the "My Faves" plan.  

So if you have been using this loophole, do not update your Google Voice app.  You have been warned.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Nexus One No Longer Available On Google

Just a few days ago we reported that Google had received its final shipment of Nexus One phones and after the final batch was sold, they would shut down their online store.  Today comes news that Google has sold off the final inventory and is shutting down their online store.  When they initially made the announcement that they had received their final shipment, they had estimated that the inventory would last until the end of the month.  The fact that they sold out their final inventory so quickly is an indication of how truly popular this phone has become.

For the actual Google Nexus One webpage, click here.

Long live the Nexus One!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Google Announces Final Shipment Of Nexus One Phones

Today, Google announced that it has received its final shipment of Nexus One phones.  Once the final shipment is sold, their online store will shut down.  In May, Google announced that they will no longer sell the phone on its online store but instead shift to traditional brick and mortar stores for distribution.  As this historic Android phone nears the end of its life, Google will use distributors to make the phone available to developers and give carriers the option to start to carry the phone through their normal distribution channels.  It doesn't appear that any U.S. carriers have signed on to carry the phone but Vodaphone in Europe, and KT in South Korea, will distribute the phone.

The Nexus One was introduced in early January by Google and sold exclusively through its online store.  The phone ushered in a new era for the Android operating system by directly competing against the venerable Apple IPhone.  Many reviewers believed that the Nexus One was superior to the IPhone with its AMOLED display and 1ghz Snapdragon processor.  In the months following the Nexus One's release, some truly spectacular phones have been released which have taken Android into a new arena.  Phones like the Droid X, Incredible, HTC EVO and HTC Slide were based off of the standards set by the Nexus One.

To get your N1 you should act quickly.  Once the final shipment is gone, Google will shut down its online store and the Nexus One will ride off into the sunset.

Firefox App Available on Apple Marketplace

Today comes news that Apple has allowed its first Firefox app on its marketplace.  The app is called "Firefox Home" and is available right now on the apple app store for free.  Since its not a full fledged browser it is really a spin off of the Firefox Sync add-on.  The app requires that you have the Firefox Sync add-on installed and enabled on your Firefox browser. Once you install the app you need to sign on using the user name and password that you use with the Firefox Sync add-on.  Once you sign on you will have access to the browser's bookmarks and history, and the open tabs from your most recent Firefox session.  It only offers one-way sync, from the browser on the computer to your phone, but not the reverse.  Since Apple bars any competing browsers on the IPhone, Firefox Home uses the native Safari browser to access the web pages.  Opera is allowed to submit its browser on the apple app store but it sidestepped Apple's ban by actually retrieving the web pages from its servers.

The Firefox Home app is available right now for free for immediate download from the apple app store for the IPhone, ITouch and IPad.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Firefox 4 Beta Available For Download

The Mozilla Foundation has made their next generation Firefox browser, Firefox 4, available for download.  The browser has a totally new look that clearly is following the lead of the Chrome browser.  The main change that I noticed was speed.  The new browser is noticeably faster than the previous version of Firefox.  You will also notice the change in the interface.  The tabs are on top and more screen space is reserved for the web page that you are viewing.  At the very top you can click on the button and access menus to view options and customize the toolbar.  If you want, you can add the traditional menu buttons and restore some of the traditional look to the browser.  There is also a "feedback" button on the top right which gives you the ability to report your experiences with the browser with Mozilla.

To download the browser, click here.

Give it a try and tell us what you think.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Possible Way To Force OTA Update On Nexus One

While surfing the internet I ran across some information which may be of interest to Nexus One owners who are patiently waiting for an OTA update to Android 2.2 on their Nexus One.  In surfing the internet I was surprised at the number of Nexus One users who have not received any OTA updates from Google.  I am not sure if it works but it may be worth a try.  I was unable to test this on my Nexus One because I have manually updated my Nexus One to the most current build.

Give this a try:

Go to your dialer and type in the following characters:  *#*#2432546#*#*.
On the notification bar at the top of the phone you will see a notification that 'checkin succeeded.'
Turn off the phone and turn it back on.
Go to settings - About Phone - System Updates.
You should get a notification that updates are waiting for you.

Let us know if this method works.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Another Android 2.2 Update Available - FRF91

Google has just released another update to Android 2.2.  It's build FRF91.  Google is intending to send OTA updates to all Nexus One users this weekend.  If you are inpatient, like me, you can manually update your Nexus One.

You can download the file by clicking here.

Then apply the update according to the normal steps outlined in our previous posts.
Engadget is reporting that this is a security update so don't expect any changes to your phone that you will notice.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

UPDATE: It's Official - Android 2.2 Is Done And Being Deployed

The wait is over.  Google officially announced that Android 2.2 is complete and has begun the OTA deployment to Nexus One owners.  

For the official Google announcement, click here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Another 2.2 Build Released - FRF85B

Google has released another build that is available for download.  First there was FRF50, then FRF72, then FRF83 and now FRF85B.  Different websites and publishers were speculating that FRF83 was the final build but yesterday we published a blog in which we pointed out that there was speculation that FRF83 was not the final build in spite of reports that select Nexus One owners had reported receiving OTA updates.  What was particularly interesting was that Google had made no official announcement that they had finished with Android 2.2.  With this new build, there should be no doubt that Google is still working on a final build of Android 2.2.  Notice how each build is getting closer and closer in time.  A sure sign that Google is getting closer and closer to the final release.  We should not expect any major changes to Android 2.2.  It appears as if Google is in the tweaking stage.

To download FRF85B click here to download the file and then follow these step-step-directions.  It's very easy.  I've done it at least 4 times without any problems.

1.  Rename the file "update" and save it on your SD card on the Nexus One.
2.  Turn off the phone and turn it back on by holding down the trackball and power button.
3.  Select "Boatloader" and then "Recovery."
4.  When you see the android guy with the log, press the volume up button and the power buttons.
5.  Choose "" and wait until it installs the update.  Reboot the phone and that's it.

Let us know if you have noticed anything in FRF85B.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Is FRF83 The Final FroYo Build?

The other day Google released FRF83, the latest FroYo build.  We published a post giving our readers a step to step guide to manually downloading the update to your Nexus One.  Reports also started circulating that Google had begun the OTA (over the air) update of the build.  However, now we can report that there are conflicting reports about whether this latest build is the actual final version of Android 2.2.  The AndroidGuys blog is reporting that this is not the final release of Android 2.2.  In a blog published today, they report that Google is working on a build with a higher number than 83 and that they have actually issued an OTA update to a select number of testers.  What is interesting to them is that Google has not issued any public announcement that they have released Android 2.2.  They cite an inside source who tells them that Google is still working on Android 2.2 but acknowledge the possibility that FRF83 may be the final release for the Nexus One for T-Mobile because the source is using the Nexus One with AT&T.

Computerworld is reporting that FRF83 is the final build and that it has been released to the public.  In a blog published today, they claim that they have proof that Android 2.2 has been finished and the version released a few days ago, FRF83 is the final release version.  They claim that the reason the OTA update has been stopped is because Google was experiencing problems with its servers and is performing maintenance on them.  They suggest that this release was a test release and once they are finished with the maintenance on their servers, within the next few weeks, they will begin a mass OTA update to everyone and make the announcement.

At this point all we can do is wait to see which story is true.  Time will tell.  In case you haven't updated your Nexus One to the latest version of Android 2.2, you can do so by clicking here.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Possible N1 Battery Saving

I ran into this possible battery saving tip while surfing on some Nexus One forum.  I never knew you could do this but I did it and was able to change the setting as recommended.  I have not noticed any problems with my phone after I did this.  I am on T-Mobile.  So do this at your own risk.

On the dial pad dial the following set of characters and numbers:


After you dial the final character you will see a menu of settings for the phone.  Go to "Phone Information" go down to "preferred network type" and select GSM auto (PRL).  Supposedly this will keep the phone from roaming and stay on your carriers network.  This is supposed to help the battery.

Let me know if you noticed any battery savings.

How To Manually Install FroYo FRF83 Over FRF72

Late last night I started seeing stories on the internet that Google had released a new version of FroYo.  Android users have been patiently waiting for Google to release FroYo for several weeks.  About a month ago, Google released a very early build, FRF50.  Many people, including this author, manually downloaded this build.  A little over a week ago, Google released another build, FRF72.  Yesterday came news that Google released the "source code" for FroYo to developers, a sure sign that Android 2.2 was about to be released to the public.  When news came out last night that a new build, FRF83 had been released, the initial information was that you had to go back to FRF50 if you wanted FRF83.  Websites and forums started publishing detailed instructions on how to uninstall and reinstall the builds and even go back to Android 2.1.  This morning I discovered a way of manually installing the new FRF83 build from FRF72 without doing anything to the phone.  Here's a step by step method of manually upgrading your phone to Android 2.2 FRF83.  This will only work for the Nexus One users.

1.  Download the update file.  Here is a link to the download:
2.  Rename the file "update" and save it on your SD card on the Nexus One.
3.  Turn off the phone and turn it back on by holding down the trackball and power button.
4.  Select "Boatloader" and then "Recovery."
5.  When you see the android guy with the log, press the volume up button and the power buttons.
6.  Choose "" and wait until it installs the update.  Reboot the phone and that's it.

It is unknown for sure whether this is the final release of Android 2.2 but it appears as if it is.

Let us know if you had success updating your Nexus One to Android 2.2.