20 must-have Firefox extensions

These plug-ins give you souped-up functionality, better look and feel, and streamlined development tasks. And some are just plain cool.

A freshly installed copy of Firefox is a great software package, but what makes this open-source browser so special is the ability to customize it via extensions and themes to really make it yours. The problem is, there are so many available add-ins, it’s tough to know what’s worth installing and what’s just going to junk up your system.

That’s where we come in. We’ve ferreted out 20 of the best extensions and add-ins used and recommended by hardcore Web surfers, developers and IT pros. Whether you’re looking for more streamlined surfing, improved look and feel, cool design tools or serious Web development help, there’s something (and more than likely several things) here for you.

and now take me to the 20 must-have Firefox extensions

The 20 (Mostly Free) Downloads You Can’t Do Without

Cure a sluggish PC, improve your defenses, and have more computing fun with these great programs. Most are freebies, and you can try those that aren’t before you put down any cash.

You likely have plenty of software on your PC. But do you have the right software?

Any well-equipped system needs a basic software suite, a collection of tools that can keep your machine in working order and help it take care of everyday tasks–as well as some not-so-ordinary tasks. Since such software doesn’t ship with your PC, for the most part, you’ll have to accumulate it over time.

Which programs should you get? We’ve put together a suite of 20 must-have applications–the tools that will allow you to get the most out of your PC. We’ve included a wide variety of software, from security utilities to system cleaners to graphics tools. We’ve mixed some all-time favorites with some apps that you’ve probably never heard of. They all have one thing in common: You need them. Now. So read on and start downloading.

20 Fantastic Open Source Downloads

They’re free, but that doesn’t mean these apps aren’t powerful. Created by folks who welcome help and improvements to their work, many of these programs are superior to packaged software.

The very earliest days of the PC revolution were soaked in idealism. People shared their knowledge with one another freely; the very idea of charging for software was an anathema. The early days of the Internet had a similar rosy view of the world.

Today, of course, all that has changed. But there are still plenty of idealists out there, sharing their work with the world freely, and asking others to work cooperatively with them. That’s the underlying idea behind the Open Source movement. People create software, and allow others to download and use it freely, and let them modify it as well.

This idealism can create great software. That’s where Firefox got its start, for example. But there’s plenty of great, free Open Source software beyond Firefox. I’ve rounded up 20 of my top Open Source favorites. Their sophistication and power will surprise you; you’ll find everything from a universal instant messaging program to powerful multimedia and graphics tools, security software, and beyond. The programs show that Open Source adherents aren’t wild-eyed zealots–they produce plenty of great software.

Start Downloading

iTunes Cover Flow in Flash

Hey Everyone,

Love Apple? Love iTunes? Love looking at all your albums in your iTunes in a sense of accomplishment. Now you can do it in flash. Great way to show off those piece of work or just have a photo album. I hope someday someone takes this and hooks it up with an API to some music service. That would be amazing. Anyways here is the example and then the code below.


Have fun and make it better.


Full Source

The 15 Best Web Apps You’ve Never Heard Of

If popularity were a reliable indicator of a product’s greatness, the Big Mac would be the world’s best burger, Coca-Cola would be nutritious, and Microsoft wouldn’t have to spend billions to convince you to buy its software. Savvy computer users know that sometimes the best program is the one you haven’t yet used. So when we set out to find the ultimate online apps, we skipped the big sites that everyone already knows.

Sure, you can track your schedule with Google Calendar, watch videos on YouTube, and share pictures with friends on Flickr, but while these popular web apps certainly serve up great features, none of them is perfect. Meanwhile, the Internet is brimming with underdogs that are dreaming up some kick-ass new concepts—and putting them into action right now.

The rise of easier-to-use web development tools like Python and Ruby on Rails has caused an explosion of cool new web services that do everything from organizing your thoughts to tracking airfares across multiple travel sites to replacing your entire Office suite—and almost everything is free. Even as you read this, the world of web apps is expanding with cool new sites that take the features of your favorite old standbys and give them new, innovative twists. Some are terrible, but many are just plain brilliant, and we’ve narrowed down the field to 15 apps that will fundamentally change the way you use the web.

The 15 Best Web Apps You’ve Never Heard Of

Mozilla introduces new Weave online service

Mozilla Labs launched a new online service called Weave yesterday. The idea behind Weave is that all your personal information such as bookmarks, passwords and are synced to your Mozilla account via Firefox.

Mozilla Weave logo

As Mozilla Labs GM Chris Beard describes in this post, the goals of Weave are to:

  • provide a basic set of optional Mozilla-hosted online services
  • ensure that it is easy for people to set up their own services with freely available open standards-based tools
  • provide users with the ability to fully control and customize their online experience, including whether and how their data should be shared with their family, their friends, and third-parties
  • respect individual privacy (e.g. client-side encryption by default with the ability to delegate access rights)
  • leverage existing open standards and propose new ones as needed
  • build a extensible architecture like Firefox

While it’s interesting to see Mozilla moving into services, I am not sure if this matters yet.

Apple and Google, telecom’s new stars

It was Apple and Google–not the traditional phone companies AT&T and Verizon Communications–that took center stage in the telephony market in 2007.

In January, Apple announced the iPhone and named AT&T its exclusive carrier in the U.S. For almost six months, anticipation and hype surrounding the iPhone grew into a frenzy until the June 30 launch.

With an innovative touch screen that allows people to shrink and magnify Web pages with the pinch of their fingers, the iPhone has set the bar for future mobile devices in terms of usability, functionality, and design.

But the iPhone wasn’t without problems. Some users initially had trouble signing up for service. And then there was the $200 price cut a few months after the product debuted that left many early adopters seething. By far the biggest complaint has been about the 2.5G data network the iPhone uses. Many iPhone users say it is painfully slow when it comes to accessing e-mail or surfing the Web.

In addition to Apple, Google also made headlines in the mobile market. Early in the year, Google joined the debate over rules for the Federal Communication Commission’s upcoming 700MHz spectrum auction. The auction, which is set to begin January 24, reallocates wireless spectrum licenses that have been used to deliver analog TV. This spectrum is viewed as the industry’s best hope to usher in a new era of wireless broadband service.

Google was instrumental in getting the FCC to adopt auction rules that would ultimately give consumers more choice in the devices they use on these new networks. And in November, Google CEO Eric Schmidt committed the company to bidding in the auction, promising to spend at least $4.6 billion on licenses.

Exactly what Google plans to do with the spectrum if it wins licenses is still unknown. But its participation raises the stakes, especially for traditional telephony players.

Getting into the spectrum auction wasn’t the only wireless initiative Google was cooking up in 2007. Soon after the iPhone launch, rumors of a Google phone surfaced. And in October, Google revealed not a phone, but a new mobile operating system that could be used by handset makers and mobile-phone operators.

This new software, coupled with its own wireless network, would not only give Google the ability to put its brand on millions of mobile devices, it would allow the company to control the Internet experience on these devices. In a nutshell, Google could determine the next-generation wireless network.

This is a huge change not only for Google, but the entire wireless industry. From the beginning, carriers have controlled every aspect of the wireless experience. In the U.S. market, carriers determine which phones can be used on their networks and even which features will be enabled. And they decide which software or applications can be accessed. Depending on what happens with the spectrum auction and how Google’s software initiative fares, the company could become a major player in telecommunications in the next several years.

To be fair, moves by Apple and Google in 2007 haven’t revolutionized the wireless phone market just yet. AT&T and Verizon Wireless are still the dominant carriers. And Nokia is still the No. 1 mobile-phone maker. But change is on the horizon, and small steps are already being taken. Only a few weeks ago, Verizon said it would open up restrictions on devices that could access its network.

In the final analysis, 2007 was just the beginning, which only heightens anticipation for what’s to come in 2008 and beyond.

Microsoft to Release IE 8 Beta 1 in First Half of 2008

The first beta of the next version of the Internet Explorer browser will be released in the first half of 2008, Microsoft says.
Microsoft plans to release the first beta of the next version of Internet Explorer in the first half of 2008, and said that IE 8 has passed a key Web standards test that ensures the browser won’t "break" the Web.

IE8 has passed the "Acid2 Browser Test" from the Web Standards Project, which shows whether a browser renders a Web site in a certain way. If the browser renders the site correctly, it means the browser supports certain accepted Web standards.

Microsoft posted a video about the browser passing the test on its Channel 9 Web site.
Read full article at PC World