Saturday, February 17, 2007

SourceForge, Light PC Cleaning, More Mozilla, and Offline Web Tool Development

Friday morning was a bi-weekly trash-day pickup.

We don't generate that much waste each week, so I usually can get by setting out our two cans once a week. Sometimes I don't even have to put out a can. Just a bag will do.

This morning I set out a pair of my Justin steel-toe work-boots. Finally. They weren't well worn. On the average, I might wear them once every two months. This was a very uncharacteristic move, as I usually work hard to wear out a pair of boots. These looked quite new...and that was the problem.

When I bought them several years ago, I was doing lots of work installing heavier items, 100lb UPS batteries, installing new server racks, etc. Seemed like a good idea at the time. I'd had steel-toed boots before with great happiness, so finding a brand that looked good and felt pretty comfortable made me quite happy.

"Pretty comfortable".

That's what got me into trouble.

See, my feet are in that zone that, like jeans, makes it challenging to shop for. They don't seem to be fully "wide" but a normal width usually feels a bit tight at the end of the day, but a wide size seems way too roomy. I usually try to buy my boots and shoes at the end of a long day on my feet so they have spread enough to be representative of how my feet would really fit in them.

Anyway, turns out that these really nice boots ended up being a bit tight on the arch just before my toes. It didn't have anything to do with the steel toe-cap. That was very comfortable...but each time I put them on to wear getting ready in the morning, I would inevitably end up changing them before I left the house.

Maybe I didn't give them a chance, but it's not a good sign when I'm self conscious of how my feet feel in the morning before I leave for work.

So I decided to pull the trigger and "permanently retire" them.

It was for the best.

Nothing hurts worse than a toothache or a pair of uncomfortable work-boots.

Now I have to find a replacement pair....and the search begins anew....

Like those boots I had been holding onto, here are some links I need to set out on the curb for your enjoyment....

SourceForge Goodies

Top 25 SourceForge Projects - Daily Cup of Tech - There were a number on the list that I am familiar with and use often: 1. Inkscape (vector graphic editor), 5. Azureus (a bittorrent client), 17. 7-Zip (file archiver utility), 19. FileZilla (FTP client), and 24. Notepad++. Not bad coverage across the list.

A few on the list I hadn't been aware of but look interesting were OpenXML Translator (ODF Add-in for Word), OrangeHRM - Human Resource Management, and Open Computers and Software Inventory.

Windows File System Cleaning

Computer Zen has a tip on how to Clean up your Temp Files from the command-prompt.

Since we are on the subject of pc file cleaning. For some heavy duty "Brillo-pad" work, try CCleaner (freeware). Use with caution, because it can clean more than you may want if you aren't careful. USB-friendly "portable" version here.

XP has it's "Disk Cleanup Tool" as well, if you are less-adventurous but want to still shake out the rugs....screenshots and more info here (--via TheElderGeek).

Don't forget that Windows 2000 systems also have a very similar tool.

Ever wonder How To Defragment a Drive From The Command Prompt? Well, Daily Cup of Tech has that covered as well! I don't know if it runs any faster than the GUI method, but it does work. As an added bonus, some guidance is provided for setting up "batch-files" for custom defrag runs. I've tried several freeware defrag tools, but always end up going back to the XP/2000 system installed defrag programs.

Sweet Suite

Sysinternals has some of the best Windows utilities on the planet. And they are free. I usually use one or two daily in my job or at home. If you have a hard time picking which ones you need, just hit the "Easy" button and download them all at once! Sysinternals Suite (--via Lifehacker)

BlackBerry Patch? Yes! Don't get Poked!

At the moment, I don't have the pleasure (or pain) of being assigned a BlackBerry device at work. We do use them in our environment however, and have to install and support them for our VIP executives.

So if you are a BlackBerry user, be warned that BlackBerry has now posted a patch to help manage the Daylight Saving Time changes. Go see if you need it, unless you plan to switch it over manually. (--via downloadsquad)

Firefox Self-Patching

Michael Zalewski found a vulnerability in the Firefox code that could allow a malformed URL served by a malicious website to misdirect under a URL that appears to be legit as well as messing with your cookies under certain conditions. (See how your Firefox browser fares in a test site he created here.) This could be a serious problem, depending on your surfing habits.

There are two "workaround" techniques to disable the vulnerability.

Mozilla Links offers a solution by adding a new line in the about:config preferences:

  • Enter about:config in the location bar to access Firefox’s advanced preferences.

  • Right click on any preference and select New>String.

  • Enter capability.policy.default.Location.hostname.set for the preference name.

  • Enter noAccess for the preference value.

  • Restart Firefox.

heise Security suggests the following technique.

  • Close Firefox and browse to the profile folder for Firefox.

  • On my XP system it is located in the following location...yours may differ slightly
    C:\ Documents and Settings \ cvalaca \ Application Data \ Mozilla \ Firefox \ Profiles \ 91t462tw.default \

  • Look in that last folder location for the prefs.js file and open it with notepad.

  • At the very bottom, on a new line add the following text:

  • user_pref("capability.policy.default.Location.hostname.set", "noAccess");

  • Save the file.

  • Restart Firefox.

Either one will accomplish the same thing. Pick which seems easiest for you.

When you are done and have restarted Firefox, go back and check the test page again to see if it is now safe.

It isn't clear if Firefox builds are impacted...and no word if this will be fixed in the Firefox release coming soon. So do this now.

Mozilla Add-on Page Redesign

If you aren't a big Firefox fan, you may not have noticed that Mozilla is redesigning their Add-on site.

Firefox Extension Guru has been working hard, covering the changes quite extensively in a number of ongoing blog-post installments: [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 3.5].

To summarize: Mozilla has been removing a large number of "marginal" and no-longer-maintained Add-ons, as well as those only offered for older Mozilla application versions. Additionally, Add-on's are going to be placed in a "discussion and review" sandbox before being added to the site. Trusted Add-ons will go directly to the public once updated, while new ones and "untrusted" add ons will need to be reviewed and discussed before made public on the "official" Mozilla Add-on site. Take a look at the excellent flow-chart diagram at that link.

Developers can always continue to offer their Add-on's to Firefox and Thunderbird from their own personal websites. Mozilla isn't restricting that at all. They are just trying to deal with an "extension-bloat" issue that has made it difficult of late to sort out the "wheat from the chaff" on the "official" Add-on site of late.

I think it is a smart decision, as many new Firefox users will turn to Mozilla's Add-on site as their primary source for Add-on's. If they get burned by a bad or less-than-useful extension obtained here, that might leave a bitter taste in their mouth for the Firefox/Mozilla experience. Think of it as Quality Control.

Mozilla Build Goodies coming soon?

Firefox Extension Guru also tips us to cryptic Mozilla Firefox 3 status meeting notes indicating that at least Bookmarks on Places seems to be targeted for inclusion in Firefox Alpha 3.

Places is to be a new design by Mozilla for storing bookmarks, history and other related page information. It was much anticipated to be included in Firefox 2.0, but missed the cut. Tentatively it now looks to appear in Firefox 3.0.

Also seen in those notes, is discussion to nominate some current popular extensions for inclusion in Firefox. That is a bigger deal than it appears, as Firefox has always been touted (among other things) as being small, fast, and light. The whole "extensibility" of Firefox makes it a popular alternative to Internet Explorer--add what you need and leave out what you don't.

Extensions currently being nominated for evaluation/inclusion are: URLFixer (auto-corrects URL typos), LocationBar² (improves URL address bar readability), Firebug (page code inspection tool), Console² (replaces JavaScript Console), Site Specific Prefs (force pages to display the way you want them to), maybe a revised download manager, Print Hint (alerts for printer-friendly webpages), and TableTools (custom-sort, filter, or copy any HTML table).

All of these look quite nice and useful, some would be helpful for "regular" users, while others would be powerful tools for "power" users.

A New World? -- Functional Offline Web Apps!

Finally, in a curiosity-feeding Read Write Web report, Mozilla developer Robert O'Callahan commented that Firefox 3 will deliver support for off-line applications. And he uses Gmail, Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Google Calendar as examples. (See his additional comment for more details.)

Would you find Firefox support for off-line usage of web-apps a helpful feature? I bet a lot of folks would.... (--via Google Blogoscoped)

I did some comment reviewing and then came across this related application:

The Dojo Offline Toolkit

What is the Dojo Offline Toolkit? .

"The Dojo Offline Toolkit will be a small, cross-platform, generic download that enables web applications to work offline."

To get an idea of what it will look like in action check out the post: Offline Gmail and Blogger Using the Dojo Offline Toolkit. It provides a look on how it could work with Gmail, Blogger, and a corporate portal site.

They even now have a demo-page "Moxie" up to illustrate and test their progress. (Related blog post: New Dojo Offline Release: Offline Files + Automatic Network Status) Moxie demos an online/offline web based word processor. Still very early in development, but the concept is fascinating.

Bonus points for their nicely crafted Lab page!

I'm adding the sitepen blog to my RSS feed list to keep an eye on!

I think the field of offline web applications is area that has the potential to grow into a very strong and healthy supportive branch of the overall web-browsing experience and it may just help redefine what the "Web" is down the road.

Until then, it will be fun to watch what happens!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

“O&O Defrag 2000 Freeware Edition (only seems to be hosted on Major Geeks)”