Minefield: I came, I saw, I couldn’t use it

November 1st, 2008 by Sjan Evardsson

I decided I would be brave and download Minefield (the latest “trunk build” from Firefox) and try it out. I have been reading several reviews about how fast it is, and wanted to see for myself.

I was not, however, able to use it at all. First, my current setup. I am running OS X 10.5 on a 17″ MBP with 4GB RAM. (I have the older mobo however, and the system only actually uses 3GB.) I also have Parallels 3.0 installed with a Windows XP VM (this is important) and two Linux VMs (a Gentoo server and an Ubuntu desktop).

When attempting to start Minefield on OS X (Parallels not running), as Minefield starts Parallels attempts to start an installer on Win XP. The VM cannot be shut down until Minefield is shut down and the only way to do that is via Force Quit. Otherwise the installer continues to attempt to run on Win XP in Parallels. I did not download the Windows installer, nor did I wish to, however, there is something that is triggering a “Firefox Installer” on Win XP whenever Minefield attempts to open on OS X.

Needless to say, while Minefield will not start until it has finished “installing” on XP, and since it is trying (I guess) to install the OS X version on XP, I end up with a hung Minefield and an endless loop of Windows error messages (“The application Firefox Installer has performed and illegal operation etc etc”) followed by the “Firefox Installer” on Windows dying and respawning. Maybe I’ll try again in a week or two, since these are trunk builds and fixes and updates are coming in pretty regularly at this point.

Bookmarklet and Google Gadget for etymonline.com

December 19th, 2006 by Sjan Evardsson

I ran across the Online Etymology Dictionary the other day and was blown away by the well-designed and incredibly useful service they offer. Of course, it’s much nicer to have access to that functionality at a click, so of course I created a Firefox/Mozilla bookmarklet. But I wanted to have the same thing available on my Google homepage, right next to the Dictionary search box and the Wikipedia search box, so I created a “Google Gadget” for it as well.

To use the bookmarklet, drag the link below into your Firefox/Mozilla bookmarks bar.

Find Etymology

To use the “Google Gadget” go to your Google homepage, click on the “Add Stuff” link, click on “Add by URL” and enter http://www.evardsson.com/files/gg_etymonline.xml

Enjoy!

Security fixes for Firefox

September 14th, 2006 by Sjan Evardsson

Firefox 1.5.0.7 was released this morning which fixes the following security issues:

MFSA 2006-64 Crashes with evidence of memory corruption (rv:1.8.0.7)
MFSA 2006-62 Popup-blocker cross-site scripting (XSS)
MFSA 2006-61 Frame spoofing using document.open()
MFSA 2006-60 RSA Signature Forgery
MFSA 2006-59 Concurrency-related vulnerability
MFSA 2006-58 Auto-Update compromise through DNS and SSL spoofing
MFSA 2006-57 JavaScript Regular Expression Heap Corruption

Google Calendar Notifier 2.1 released

May 15th, 2006 by Sjan Evardsson

Google Calendar Notifier 2.1 , by Nicholas Pike was released yesterday. If you use Google Calendar to keep track of your time this makes a handy way to interact with it via Firefox, which is my browser of choice.

This is a nifty little extension – get it now!

Similicio.us bookmarklet version 2

March 14th, 2006 by Sjan Evardsson

Nothing all that exciting, just made a version of the bookmarklet that opens the result in a new window.

Here they both are:
Search similicio.us
Search similicio.us in a new window

Mozilla / Firefox bookmarklet for similicio.us

March 8th, 2006 by Sjan Evardsson

If you haven’t yet heard, there is a nifty new site, , that helps you find sites similar to what you are currently looking at. As the site author puts it:

This is a mashup of del.icio.us and easyutil.com. It’s an experiment on my part to see whether I can quickly find relevant web sites based on people’s tags/bookmarks on del.icio.us, using the engine from easyutil.com. It answers the question “people who tagged this site also tagged what other sites”. I am using it mostly to find blogs that are similar to the ones I read, and to find new popular web sites that are in my area.

To make things easier I have created a Mozilla / Firefox bookmarklet. To add this just click and drag the link below to your bookmark bar.

Search similicio.us

Another Firefox vs IE test

February 10th, 2006 by Sjan Evardsson

Earlier today I had a very strange request come across my inbox. An employee of another organization asked me to explain to her IT department why they were wrong in their assesment of Firefox . It seems that since they can push out Internet Explorer patches via WSUS , but not Firefox patches, they made the assumption that Firefox was less secure than IE.

We’ve all heard the arguments to the contrary over and over – including this article today. But there are still organizations where the thinking is “If the patch can’t be pushed out via WSUS, it isn’t secure.”

I realized, that perhaps there are departments (like the one to which I sent the directions below) that are either unaware of how to automate Firefox patching or are too afraid to install it in the first place to have the chance to figure it out.

No, Firefox patching doesn’t happen through WSUS (at least to my knowledge), but it can be fully automated by:

  1. Go to “Tools” -> “Options” -> “Advanced”
  2. Click on the “Update” tab
  3. Check the boxes labled “Firefox”, “Installed Extensions and Themes”, “Search Engines”, “Automatically download ….” and “Warn me if …”

Click “OK” and you’re done. Automatic updating in Firefox. Who knows, once the market share grows enough, you may be able to push Firefox patches through WSUS. Until then, however, the builtin function works great.