Migrate ALL Firefox stuff between PCs

I tend to keep a fairly static setup for a couple of years when it comes to my PCs/Laptops. So I don't migrate personal settings between PCs very often. But next week is my birthday, and my present was a new desktop PC (I built it from scratch). Anyway, one of the pain points for my migrations in the past was always Firefox. It's easy to get the bookmarks, but I typically just started over for everything else (saved passwords, extensions, etc.) Well, I wanted this to be a lot easier this time, so I did some googling and found MozBackup. This little utility is AWESOME! With it I was able to backup ALL of my important Firefox stuff, including Firefox settings I had changed, extensions, saved passwords, saved form data, bookmarks, browser history...the whole freight train. And then restore all of this to my new PC's Firefox. I LOVE it! However, I won't go into details on the pain and suffering I endured just trying to get the %#[email protected]! backup file moved from my old XP laptop to my new Vista PC (the Jury's still out on whether or not I will keep Vista on here or not)...

Off topic, but I know many people like to see what another guy's rig is made up of, so here's my specs:

  • Mother Board: ASUS M3A78-CM
  • CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000 Brisbane 2.6GHz Dual-Core
  • RAM: 4 Gigs, Dual Channel DDR2 800
  • Hard Drive: 250 Gb Seagate Barracuda, SATA 7200RPM
  • Video Card: On-board ATI (I'm not very happy with this so far...will probably buy a PCI Express card later)
  • Case: Mid tower ATX, black Alien look, sweet mama :)
  • Monitor: 19" LCD

Making the RSS icon show in the browser

In Firefox (and other browsers, I assume) when you are on a site with an RSS feed, Firefox shows an orange RSS icon in the address bar like this:

Firefox RSS icon

I was trying to figure out how to get Firefox to show that icon for a site I'm working on at work. I am putting RSS into a page, and the RSS is working fine (I'm using ColdFusion's cffeed tag), but the Orange icon was not showing up in Firefox. In the past I had just assumed that Firefox discovered that the site was using RSS (using keyword searches in the page, or something) and displayed the icon accordingly. But it turns out the site developer has to put a link tag in their page header, like this:

rel="alternate"
type="application/rss+xml"
title="RSS"
href="rss.cfm" />

Learn something new everyday! By the way, IE 7 doesn't display an RSS icon like Firefox does (does IE 8?).

Mozilla's answer to Adobe AIR

Adobe brings web apps to the desktop with AIR, Microsoft is doing similar things with Silverlight, and now Mozilla announces Prism. The biggest difference between Prism and it's competitors is that you don't have to do anything extra to create a Prism app from a web app.

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Adobe AIR is coroding the Internet?

Asa, one of the most public figures behind the Mozilla foundation (and thus behind Firefox), recently posted about Mozilla's goals with Firefox, and why it doesn't make sense to turn Firefox over to a for profit corporation. One of their main goals with Firefox is "to protect [the Internet] and to help it grow in ways that are beneficial to everyone rather than just a few." Their main way of accomplishing such a noble goal is to zealously protect open standards, and advance such standards through Firefox and related Mozilla technologies.

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Firefox 2 vs IE 7 security smack down

I thought it would be fun to check out the security records of Firefox 2 and IE 7, since they've been out for a couple of months and they were both released around the same time. I went to Secunia, which is a good site to look at these things because they organize their advisories by vendor and/or product, which makes it easy to compare two products. Anyway here are the results:

IE 7
4 security advisories
3 remain unpatched
Most severe unpatched hole is rated Moderately Critical (3 out of 5)
Most severe patched hole was rated Extremely Critical (5 out of 5)

Firefox 2
2 security advisories
1 remains unpatched
Most severe unpatched hole is rated Less Critical (2 out of 5)
Most severe patched hole was rated Highly Critical (4 out of 5)

So there you have it. So far, Firefox is more secure.

Microsoft is not on Acid

I decided to take another look at how the latest browsers are rendering the Acid 2 test (I'll explain this test later). The last time I looked, none of them rendered it properly. Microsoft's IE still does the worst job (I tested IE 7 beta 3), but it's better than it was in IE 6 (screenshots: IE 6 & IE 7). Firefox is looking pretty close (screenshot), so they must be working on it. Opera's browser renders it perfectly (screenshot), except when you shrink the window really small, which causes part of the smiley face to mysteriously jump up above the rest of the face. I'm actually pretty excited about this, even though IE 7 still does a horrible job. I can see that all three major vendors are making progress towards standards compliance, which makes me happy. :D

If you are wondering what the heck I'm talking about, the Acid 2 test is a reference page that will only show the pretty smiley face if the browser follows all the latest CSS , XHTML and other Internet standards correctly. The test page was created by Opera, but was intended as a challenge for all the major browser vendors. The test was originally announced in early 2005, but Opera is the first of the big 3 to 'finish the race' with version 9 of their browser. Apparently Safari (officially the 1st), Konqueror all support Acid2, as well as the latest development builds of Firefox 2. Yipee! :)

There was an original Acid test back in the late 90's, and that page eventually rendered correctly in all the major browsers of the time. But since then Microsoft gained a monopoly in the web browser space, and web standards have largely been ignored by most web developers (because Microsoft stopped developing IE, and thus stopped trying to follow the standards). Note: I no longer believe that IE has a monopoly, as most of the stat's I've seen show them at around 85% market share. There were times when IE had over 95%, and that is what I'd call a monopoly.

I converted someone to Firefox!

Ok, I've actually been the instigator of a lot of Firefox conversions. But I just noticed today that someone clicked my 'Get Firefox with Google toolbar' button a few days ago, and actually downloaded and installed Firefox! :) That means Google pays me $1, and there's one more person browsing happily. I've had that button in the top left of my blog since Novemeber 7th, 2005. 10 people have clicked it, but only one person actually installed Firefox. 1 out of 10 ain't bad though.

The Moon's orbit, how did it get there?

I ran across this site today that shows a very cool use of SVG in the new Firefox 1.5 (the site only works in Firefox 1.5, as none of the other browsers have implemented SVG yet). It's a tool that let's you play with various scenarios of how the Earth's moon got into orbit. You can start the moon in space, from the Earth's surface, or finally on the moon's current orbit location. Then you choose a launch angle and launch force, and see what happens. If you read the instructions, it gives a nice run down of the various scientific theories surrounding the moon, and it gives you some pointers on trying to get the moon into the perfect orbit. But it doesn't give you the answer! :)

I also liked this paragraph, "There are some people who think that the moon was actually placed into orbit. It neither came from the Earth or outer space. It began its journey in a circle on the circle. But they are just unscientific aren't they?" Of course, we're talking about the Supreme Being vs. Pure Science debate. The interesting thing about that paragraph is that earlier in the directions the site's author says this, "If you want to get the moon to follow the red orbital path then you have to start it somewhere on the red orbital path." Did he rig the test? Assuming he is using correct mathematical principals in this tool, is it true that you can't place an object in orbit unless it starts on the desired orbit path? Or is there a better scientific answer for this problem?

Firefox usage share up again

OneStat just released web browser usage stats again. This time the numbers are pretty impressive for Firefox. From their site:

The most popular browsers on the web are:

1.Microsoft IE85.45 %
2.Mozilla Firefox11.51 %
3.Apple Safari1.75 %
4.Netscape0.26 %
5.Opera0.77 %

The most popular browsers in the USA are:

1.Microsoft IE80.73%
2.Mozilla Firefox14.07 %
3.Apple Safari3.55 %
4.Netscape0.76 %
5.Opera0.77 %

I find it intersting that Firefox has a better usage share in the US than in the rest of the web. Most of the numbers I've seen show the US as using IE more.

I have to say that I don't find these company's stats to be completely reliable. Looking at stats gathered from one company's statics software is kind of a skew. However, since most of these studies show similar numbers, they must be fairly accurate.

FireFox download counter in ColdFusion

FireFox has a realtime download counter on their Spread Firefox site. They syndicate the counter as RSS, and there are lots of code snippets available to put it on your site. I found one that was in CF, but it didn't work. So I wrote my own and added it to this site in the top right. Here's the code:

"http://feeds.spreadfirefox.com/downloads/firefox">
"errorsFound" default="0">

   "#feedURL#" method="get" timeout="3" throwonerror="true"/>
"any">
   


0>
   
   
   
"font-size:8pt; font-weight:bold; font-family: arial; text-align:center;">
   #NumberFormat(numDownloads,",")#
   downloads and
   counting!


   
"font-size:8pt; font-weight:bold; font-family: arial; text-align:center;">
    
 
 
 

   

I had a bug in it that I fixed today. Well, not really a bug. If the rss feed doesn't respond, the page will just spin until it hits the default timeout in the CF server. Today I added the code that sets a timeout, and if it doesn't get a response in 3 seconds, the code just displays a blank section. I put the blank section in so it looks good on my site, but you can modify it as best fits your site.

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