Thursday, December 01, 2005

News: Firefox 1.5, evil 'Mosquito' device

Firefox 1.5
Yes, everybody's favourite browser (except mine) has been released in version 1.5. Given that I posted a rant about Firefox users just the other day, you might wonder why I am talking about the 1.5 release.

Well, rather than answer that question, I'll give you some download links for the browser first.
The main Mozilla page which is redesigned (looks nice, I might add) and features a direct link to a download, which I assume automatically does load-balancing and gives you the fastest/closest mirror to you.
Firefox 1.5 RC3 on the iiNet FTP. This is a high-speed link, I suggest you use this instead but...

Well, "1.5 Final" is exactly the same as 1.5 RC3. That stands for release candidate 3, which means that it's the third iteration of the browser that was "ready for release" but submitted for peer review. When I say exactly, I mean exactly; even if you are the type who updates just to get rid of the RC3 notice (ie. me), I assume that there was no such notice in the first place, since the checksums of the files are exactly the same. Bleh. (Oh, and it hasn't yet been localized to en-GB - Commonwealth English - for those of you who like that version. But I personally prefer en-US since GB changes the Google search to, and I'm in Australia.)

Anyway, there are some fairly extensive release notes that come with this version, I'll summarize them here because a lot of it wouldn't matter to most people (ie. accessibility options for disabled people like Braille displays).

  • Automated update to streamline product upgrades. Finally! First, there are automatic updates that work properly (the automatic ones in 1.x were crappy), and they are actually incremental, which means that updating Firefox no longer means "downloading the entire 5MB installer and reinstalling it". This is one feature I'm sad to say Opera still doesn't have yet.
  • Browser navigation improvements. This marks the introduction of two new features ripped from Opera: one; 'instant' back and forward, which is almost as good as Opera's version, and definitely a cool feature. Also you can now drag and drop tabs into different orders, which is IMO another feature I like to have in Opera, but effectively useless. As far as tabbed browsing goes, I just want to see a browser that allows (not forces) you to have two rows of tabs. When you have lots of tabs open, it becomes difficult when they are too small to display window titles, and I really don't think this introduces any clutter issues since many browsers (and extensions) include toolbars below the tabs already.
  • Improvements to product usability. This is where they bundle a bunch onf minor updates, interesting ones are descriptive error pages (like Opera, it means that errors don't pop up in front of you and annoy you - screenshot) and a redesigned options menu (doesn't seem all that special, just like they moved the icons that are equivalent to tabs in most options dialogs to the top, where they used to be on the left).
  • Report a broken Web site wizard. Sounds pretty cool, although I don't know if the web designers will really give a shit.

Also, the new version is accompanied by a new domain: Seems a bit weird to me but I guess some people weren't responding to the .org. Oh well.

Evil 'Mosquito' device
Some guy has decided to create a device that "he hopes will provide a solution to the eternal problem of obstreperous teenagers who hang around outside stores and cause trouble".

The device, called the Mosquito ("It's small and annoying," Stapleton said), emits a high-frequency pulsing sound that, he said, can be heard by most people younger than 20 and almost no one older than 30. The sound is designed to so irritate young people that after several minutes, they cannot stand it and go away.

Right. This seems really stupid to me.


Anonymous said...

" This seems really stupid to me."

That's because you are one of those obnoxious teens ( or more likely, pre-teen in your case) that it's designed to target.

Scott B said...

Yeah, there is a direct correlation between people that periodically update a tech blog and illiterate people that spend their time outside a convenient store, harassing customers. Seriously, what the fuck?

This Mosquito thing is a stupid idea because it will have a negative impact on the business - pissing off 0-20 year old customers and excluding them from shopping at that store without that annoying sound is going to be detrimental to profit. How do you contain the sound? Noise pollution - if you owned a toy shop next to one of these convenience stores you would be pretty cut.

Natasha said...

No money - no funny :)