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Posts Tagged ‘Computers’

The Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 version has just been released this week, following the updated 3.1 release schedule.
If you haven’t seen the previous beta version in action, check out the Firefox 3.1 Beta 1 review.

Let’s see some of the new features, which are introduced in Beta 2 version.

1. Starting page and “About” form

firefox_3_1_beta_2_review_1
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2. Private Browsing Mode

The long awaited “Private Browsing Mode” has finally been implemented. You can start a new “Private Browsing Mode” from the Tools menu. While surfing in that mode, no history will be recorded for the Web sites you visit.
Typing about:privatebrowsing on the location bar, will give you a brief explanation of how “Private Browsing” exactly works. On the same screen you can also see a mask (reminds of Venice, Italy) posing as the “Private” symbol.

firefox_3_1_beta_2_review_2
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3. Updated “Clear Private Data” form

The “Clear Private Data” form has been updated. The cool new feature is that you can now select and delete a recent subset of the history, instead of deleting by default the entire history.

firefox_3_1_beta_2_review_4

4. TraceMonkey JavaScript engine

The TraceMonkey JavaScript engine is now enabled upon installation. While navigating a few Web sites, Beta 2 gave me the impression that it is indeed faster than previous versions.

5. Tabs tearing

Dragging a tab onto the desktop, opens the tab in a new browser window. Read all about it and watch a video on a previous post.

6. CTRL-TAB visual switching removed

The new CTRL-TAB system which was introduced in 3.1 Beta 1 version, has been removed, due to user feedback.

7. Yet another Acid3 Test improvement

Acid3 Test results:

Firefox 3.0.4 – 70/100
Firefox 3.1 Beta 1 – 89/100
Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 – 93/100

firefox_3_1_beta_2_review_6

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The so-called “FAIL” images are pretty popular at the moment on the Web, so I decided to post something I came across the other day.

I have been installing the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 on a machine, and the operation suddenly stopped, telling me that I should close itself (the 3.5 SP1 setup) before continuing with the installation!

ms_dot_net_framework_3_5_sp1_setup_fail

If you ever get this strange error, just click on the “Ignore” button to continue the process.

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Last year the WEP protocol has been proved to be a totally insecure method for protecting a Wi-Fi network. As a result everyone was encouraged to switch to the WPA protocol.

A few days ago, a researcher announced that he found a way to crack the WPA protection in under 15 minutes!

Here is what you should do to keep your Wi-Fi network safe at the moment:

Log into your router settings page, and select the WPA2 protocol instead of WPA or WEP.

If you cannot find the WPA2 as a standard choice, you might need to update your router’s firmware.

On my Netgear router it looks like that:

netgear_wi-fi_settings
Use a random password, something that it would be hard to be cracked via a dictionary attack. In general the longer a password is, the more difficult it is to be cracked.

Depending on your Operating System, you may or may not be required to configure the Wi-Fi settings manually. What you should be looking for is again the WPA2 protocol, combined with the AES encryption.

You shouldn’t choose the TKIP encryption as the WPA/TKIP combination was the one which has been cracked.

Here is a quick guide for Windows XP:

If you are on Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (SP3), then WPA2 support is provided.
However Windows XP Server Pack 2 (SP2) users should install an update to enable WPA2 support.

Once ready, double-click on the Wi-Fi connection icon, and then click on “Properties” button:

windows_xp_wi-fi_1

Go to the Wireless Networks tab, select your network and click on “Properties” button:

windows_xp_wi-fi_2

Select as Network Authentication the “WPA2-PSK” option, and as Data Encryption the “AES” option.

windows_xp_wi-fi_3

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Microsoft is desperately trying to convince people that being a Windows user is a lot better than being a Mac user. Their latest ad campaign features people declaring that they are a PC. Even famous people, like Bill Gates or Eva Longoria participate on the commercials, and they are all saying “I’m a PC”.

Now, that is absolutely true, they are indeed a PC, and every human being is, let’s see why:

1. Humans: When they start working everyday, they do it in the most efficient way. However, depending on the type of work, a few hours later they are always getting tired, resulting in less productivity. Well, at the end of the day, they also need to get some sleep, in order to get to work the day after. Moreover, as humans become older, they cannot work that much.

PCs: When they boot up, every application seems to be super-fast. Later on, as RAM consumption increases, performance is not that good. The very same applications do not load that fast. Processing and displaying times are usually decreased, at a point where the PC has to be restarted in order to satisfy its user. As time goes by and applications are being installed/uninstalled, the performance deteriorates.

2. Humans: When they do a simple task, they should do it well. Starting doing more tasks at the same time, increases the probability of something to go wrong. For example, if a human being is driving his car, and at the same time he is on his cell phone, he might get distracted and crash somewhere.

PCs: When they do a task, they do it well, however multi-tasking could cause some problems. For example, imagine Firefox, Windows Live Messenger, Antivirus, Firewall, and Word all opened for quite some time, and then Photoshop or other “heavy” application loading up. Chances are that something might crash!

3. Humans: They get sick, they need medicine and a doctor! They also have to protect themselves, wearing the appropriate clothes during each season.

PCs: They get viruses, they need an antivirus/antispyware application. PC users have to be cautious, for example they shouldn’t run “suspicious” exe files.

4. Humans: They have to put their belongings in some order, otherwise it would take them more time to find what they need.

PCs: Their filesystem has to be defragmented, otherwise the whole system cannot perform very well.

5. Humans: There is always someone else a human being would like to look alike. For example, someone with a nicer car, or more handsome, or with a better job, or famous etc. A human with limited resources might not be able to have or do everything he wished for.

PCs: Sooner or later a better PC would exist for every current PC, having more RAM, better CPU, graphics card etc. Newer applications, like games, might not be able to even load up.

In conclusion, as a human being, I would simply like to say “I wish I were a Mac“.

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Ubuntu 8.04 – Final

Here is the final Ubuntu 8.04 version:

Download
Features

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Mozilla Prism is a new concept from the Mozilla Foundation.
Actually is not that new, as it is derived from an older project called Webrunner.

The aim of Prism is to bridge the vast gap between Web applications and Desktop applications.
What does this mean?
Well, let’s take for example a famous Web application, Google Mail.

The first step is to download Prism.
Here is the current Windows beta build.
Linux and Mac builds are not available yet.

Next, a full installation of Prism is required.

Now the first Prism application can be configured.
For Google Mail the following settings should be entered:

mozilla_prism_setup.jpg

After pressing “OK”, a newly created Google Mail icon will appear on the Desktop.
Clicking on the icon, and signing in Google Mail would result in:

mozilla_prism_google_mail_thumbnail.jpg

Thus, Google Mail, which is a Web application can now be started and behave as a Desktop application:

mozilla_prism_desktop.jpg mozilla_prism_taskbar.jpg

Prism is like a Web browser without toolbars, navigation buttons, tabs etc.

So here comes the question, is that hot or not?

Currently I would say “not”.

This simple Prism function does not impress me at all.
I mean, I can have a separate browser window just for Google Mail, if I wish so.
Also as a power-user, I would like to follow links in new tabs, have my browser’s right-click functions, even make use of Firefox add-ons.

Moreover, having to maintain (download, update etc) two different applications (Firefox and Prism) requires more resources.
However Prism developers could change this behavior in the future:

We’re also thinking about how to better integrate Prism with Firefox, enabling one-click “make this a desktop app” functionality that preserves a user’s preferences, saved passwords, cookies, add-ons, and customizations. Ideally you shouldn’t even have to download Prism, it should just be built into your browser.

Also they are trying to make Prism working in offline mode.

And while Prism focuses on how web apps can integrate into the desktop experience, we’re also working to increase the capabilities of those apps by adding functionality to the Web itself, such as providing support for offline data storage and access to 3D graphics hardware.

Definitely that would be a cool feature, possibly combined with Google Gears.
Although Firefox 3 is supposed to offer a sophisticated offline mode…

In conclusion, Prism is a great concept, but at its current early stage does not impress much.

Reference: Prism – Mozilla Labs Blogs

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Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon)

Here is the final Ubuntu 7.10 version:

Download

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