Firefox 4 Findings

Mozilla recently talked about the features that are being considered for Firefox 4. The latest version of this open source browser will focus broadly on improved speed, a simpler user interface, and HTML 5 technologies.

Specific changes include a rearrangement of the stop, reload and home buttons to make the interface simpler. A home tab will be included, though it is unknown if this will lead to more social networking features. Changes to the way tabs are presented and switching between tabs is also being considered.

Many of the proposed features are already available in Google’s Chrome. The public at large will get to find out how closely Firefox and Chrome resemble each other when Firefox 4 releases this Summer.

Source: PC World

Facebook Changes Spur Deactivations

Some of Facebook’s recent changes to their site have led to an increasing amount of interest from its users in seeing how to disconnect themselves from the social network site. Searching for how to quit Facebook” generated 16.9 million results on Google recently , while “how do I delete my Facebook account ” resulted in 15.9 million links.

Additionally, Google’s webspam chief Matt Cutts and Gizmodo founder Peter Rojas have decided to move away from Facebook. “I was spending more time managing my account than actually using my account,” said Rojas. “Having to constantly monitor the privacy settings was way too complicated. You can never be sure if you actually caught everything.”

There are currently two options offered by Facebook in deactivation and deleting. Deactivation means that users do not show up on commuinity pages, status updates are taken down, and the appropriate tags on photographs are taken down.

“We preserve the account in its entirety, said a Facebook spokesman. People often deactivate for temporary reasons and expect their content and information to be there for them when they return.

Deletion is the much more permanent option, where all but the most basic material is removed from the site. Facebook waits 14 days to delete the account to make sure users are certain

“Because deletion is irreversible, this allows people who mistakenly submitted a request to let us know so we can cancel it, said a Facebook spokesman.

Source: InformationWeek

AT&T Claims Better Wireless Service

AT&T has been railed on hard by Verizon for the past several months over its lack of 3G coverage. AT&T spokesman Mark Seigel, however, asserts that the company has improved its coverage a great deal in New York City and is working on improving coverage in San Francisco even more.

“We are working very hard in San Francisco and are not quite where we want to be yet,” said Seigel.

Citing third-party test results by Global Wireless Solutions, Seigel says voice services were 98 percent to 99 percent reliable in the New York City area in April, while data throughput has jumped from 50Kbit/sec. in 2005 to 600Kbit/sec. to 700Kbit/sec. Seigel was simultaneously critical of a ChangeWave survey that said that 4.5 percent of AT&T users reported having dropped calls in the past three months.

“That ChangeWave survey is qualitative research and seeking opinions,” Siegel said. “GWS is a quantitative study, and it actually measures the performance of the networks — not only ours but other carriers’ — in New York City over the last few years.”

While many industry experts have openly criticized AT&T’s wireless service, they continue to retain exclusive rights to the iPhone in the U.S. It is believed that a generous data plan offer for the iPad helped AT&T snag a six-month extension of their iPhone exclusivity, though Verizon might have an iPhone in early 2011.

Source: Computerworld

Flash Demo Not Ready For Prime Time

With Apple and Adobe trading blows over the use of Flash in mobile applications, evangelizing to outside partners will be key. Unfortunately for Adobe, a demonstration by Ryan Stewart during Flash Camp of the Eco Zoo website using Flash Player 10.1 on his Google Nexus One went disastrously.

“The site’s progress bar filled in and the 3D world appeared for a few seconds before the browser crashed,” wrote Jeff Croft, a Seattle developer. “Stewart tried it again and got the same result. So he said to the audience: ‘Well, this one isn’t going to work, but does anyone have a Flash site they’d like to see running ‘ Someone shouted ‘Hulu,’ but Stewart said that Hulu doesn’t work, and wrapped up his demo.”

The Android version of Flash is still in beta form, but it needs to demonstrate clearly that it’s up to snuff with H.264 breathing down its neck.


Iron Man 2 Just Missed Being 3D

3D is very in vogue for big movie releases, even to the point of conversions for films that weren’t originally intended for the display medium. Iron Man 2 was not released in 3D and still reached opening weekend heights of $133.6 million, but Marvel was considering it in the wake of the success of Avatar and Alice in Wonderland. Post-production demands of Iron Man 2, however, meant there simply wasn’t enough time to meet the May 7 release date

“We couldn’t have turned over a version of the movie 10 or 20 weeks earlier for 3-D conversion without undermining the quality,” said Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige . “We used all the time we had for mixing and editing and discovering the right tone.”

Foresight, however, might mean that upcoming Marvel films Thor, First Avenger: Captain America and The Avengers could either be converted to or filmed in 3D. “The team has been doing a lot of research into 3-D processes, and we’re looking at it on future films when we have the time,” said Feige. “We will be doing it at some point.”

Source: L.A. Times

Apple Plans British Invasion For IPad

While consumers in the U.S. are scrambling to find iPads, Apple has opened up pre-orders for the device in the U.K. Prices for the device will start at 429 British pounds and networks like O2, Orange and Vodafone have released their pricing plans for the 3G version, varying from 2 British pounds per day to 25 British pounds per month for plans ranging from 200MB of data use per day to 5GB of data use per month.

“Initial customer feedback suggests the iPad is going to be just as big a hit in the U.K. as it has been in the U.S. since it was launched,” said Ernest Doku, an analyst at mobile phone comparison site “Expect to see queues around the block on launch day, with Apple aficionados clamoring to get their hands on the first iPads to go on sale.”

Source: Telegraph