Monthly Archives: October 2006

Firefox 2.0 Extension Fixes

Update 2009-07-24: The original author of CopyURL+ has not updated it for several years; instead, see CopyURL+ by Marbux for a more up-to-date release.

Looks like today is the official launch of the Firefox 2.0 web browser. Along with all the new features, bug fixes, and other nifty goodies, a new Firefox usually means several extensions that refuse to work.

Usually (but not always) this is simply a matter of incrementing the highest supported version setting in the extension package itself. In my case, two extensions needed to be “fixed” in this manner: Aardvark and CopyURL+. For both, I’ve updated the plugin configuration to work properly under Firefox 2.0 and hosted copies on my server:

For Aardvark, also check out my screencast demonstration. For CopyURL+, see my notes about customizing it for making blog entries easier.

I guess one other Firefox 2.0 change is that Spellbound is no longer necessary — spell checking is built-in to the browser now.

Update 2006-12-19: Extended the version maximum on each to “2.*” so they’ll continue to work with Firefox 2.0.x updates.

American Le Mans at Laguna Seca

This past Saturday I had the good fortune to attend the final American Le Mans Series race of the year down at Laguna Seca. This Le Mans format is really different with four distinct classes of race cars running all at the same time (two classes of Grand Touring cars and two of Prototype). The overall race winner was an Audi R10 TDI which was a turbo-diesel. (In addition to being screaming fast, this car was really quiet.)

We were lucky to be guests of the Portal Player hospitality suite (associated with Flying Lizard Motorsports), so we had a great view of turn 11 and the pits. (And never ran out of food or drinks, or course.)

The Le Mans series was very fan-friendly with the paddock area open to all. They also had an hour-long autograph session with the team drivers. Before the start of the race, the starting grid was open to the public as well, so you could really get close to the action.

My little HP camera isn’t so good at high-speed action shots, but I did get a few good ones from the pit/paddock areas and walking around the track:

Flickr photoset: Monterey Sports Car Championships

Corvette Garage and Pits Audi #2

IE7 and Default Search Engine

Danny Sullivan on SearchEngineWatch has a great article covering the release of Internet Explorer 7 and the battle for the default search engine:

Now that Internet Explorer 7 has been released in final format, I wanted to look at how search is being handled within the browser. There’s been lots of discussion and worries about this in the past. Speculation time is over; reality is here. In this article, how the IE7 search box works, how you can change it and how Google and Yahoo’s toolbars behave within it to try and maintain their default status, once gained.

I’ve only been on the periphery of this issue here in the office, but I know the default search engine seems to be the new battleground for search. (Just looking at the Google/Dell deal will give you an idea of the dollars at stake.)

Everyone not working at Microsoft was worried that IE7 would clobber any default home/search page settings and point everything to MSN Live Search. From Danny’s article, it seems that’s not the case. Certainly on a clean install, IE7 will point to Microsoft, but for the upgrade case it seems they’ve done a reasonable job of leaving settings alone.

Conventional thinking says that most “normal users” (i.e. people outside the internet industry) will just use whichever home page and search engine their browser points to and will never change it. I wonder if that’s really true. Even non-techies I know seem to have their own preference (most seem to like Google the best).

I’ll also be curious to see what percentage of users will search from the searchbox in the chrome as a convenience. That’s one of the best features IE7 has copied from Firefox and I’m guessing it will be very popular. (Now if they had only copied the Ctrl-K shortcut…)

Internet Explorer 7 optimized for Yahoo!
Microsoft Internet Explorer 7

Windows Mobile Device Emulator

If you want to run a simulated Windows Mobile device, installing the Windows Mobile 5.0 SDK can be a challenge. For starters, the SDK is about 175MB, then there’s the fact that it only works with Visual Studio 2005.

If you’re developing software, you’ll obviously need to go the SDK route, but if you just want to try some applications, play with the UI, or check how your site looks in a small screen browser, the Windows Mobile Device Emulator is a great alternative. It’s under 60MB and is standalone, not requiring Visual Studio at all.

The Windows Mobile Team Blog has some handy shortcut key references (and, it’s where I learned about the emulator).

Screenshots below show the Pocket PC emulator running with IE viewing my Mobile Websites page on the left and Yahoo! Go running on the right.

Windows Mobile 5.0 Device Emulator, showing Internet Explorer Windows Mobile 5.0 Device Emulator, showing Yahoo! Go

Ask Mobile Search

Ask has just launched a mobile version of their site at m.ask.com. I played with it for a bit on my Treo 600 and it seems to work pretty well. They’ve kept things simple, not trying to do too much on any page. Results are all filtered through Skweezer technology, just like Mobile Bloglines recently added.

Maps are servicable and in a pinch would probably help you find something. On my 600 at least, the map size was really small, so it was of limited usefulness. Google Maps is going to be tough to beat now.

See the SearchEngineWatch page for some more detailed tricks and the original announcement from Ask.

Ask Mobile Search Example
Ask Mobile Maps Example
Ask Mobile Weather Example

(Via Lifehacker, via SearchEngineWatch)