Tag Archives: firefox

Firefox Drops to 3rd Place

I remember driving to the mall with my dad, to buy a copy of Netscape Navigator 1.2 on floppy disks. Since that time I’ve had a soft spot for Netscape and its successors, including Firebird and the increasingly irrelevant Firefox.


This month comes the news that Firefox has fallen to 3rd place, with more users on both Google Chrome and Internet Explorer.

Life’s too short to waste time on a third place browser.  I am writing this on Google Chrome, and regularly use Internet Explorer.  But I’ve uninstalled Firefox.

Join the Core, Support Firefox!

My friend Aaron hasn’t only been my best friend since middle school, didn’t only host an early version of this blog for years, and wasn’t just my main source for circumventing the Great Firewall of China.. he also found this awesome map that compared support for Firefox with the Tom Barnett’s Core/Gap model:

In a deeper analysis, it’s further concluded:

I admit that when I wrote the post on Monday about the correlation between the pentagon’s new map and the firefox pledge download map I thought that once the per capita data was analyzed it would sharply change the outcome. The reality is, it doesn’t. Core countries are far and away dominant on the list. In the bottom half of the list (84 of the 167 countries with populations over 500,000) only 4 countries are in the core: India, China, Mongolia and South Africa. (of course as a % of Function Core, or even the worlds’ population, this is a lot of people!).

Eastern Europe is clearly an emerging open source powerhouse. Of the top 20 countries as a percentage pf population who pledged the top 3 are Eastern Europe and a total of 8 make the list. Only 4 of the countries are “non-integrated gap” countries all of which are transitioning (or arguably have transitioned, into “New Core” countries. Indeed, there is an argument that open source software allows new core countries to integrate into the core more rapidly by not only making some of the key tools that facilitate this transition more readily and cheaply, available but also by enabling the population to participate in their development thus building world class skills without the requisite FDI or multinational corporate investment.

The more grim news is at the bottom of the list. Perhaps unsurprisingly, but still another sad reminder, virtually every country on the bottom 20 is African (Bangladesh and Myanmar are the exceptions). In short, the countries most in need of this software, software that is freely available, still are least likely to have the capacity and infrastructure to download it.

Other notable placements were Venezuela (62) and Iran (77), much lower down the list than I initially suspected they would be.

Also interesting, and perhaps a possible challenge for Barnett (and the world) is that the 3 Core countries with fewest number of pledges were (in order from fewest to most) China (123), India (116) and South Africa (89)

Firefox 3 is out. It’s the fastest and most usable yet. Download Firefox 3 Now.

HOWTO: Batch Download a Book in PDF Pages from NetLibrary

NetLibrary is an online book resources that universities or other individuals pay to supply them with virtual copies of books. These books are available online, and can be searched, downloaded, and saved. The catch is that NetLibrary’s interface limits you to viewing (in horribly slow Acrobat reader) one page at a time. Given how unresponsive Acrobat makes many computers, this can make printing out a long book take hours.

Therefore, I took the effort to figure out how to batch download a book from NetLibrary, saving me valuable time.

My solution uses a combination of Firefox and Perl, but other solutions are of course available.

After I loaded up the first true page of the book in the NetLibrary interface, I gave the frame with the PDF its own Window used Firefox’s Tools | Page Info | Media properties dialog box to determine the URL of the embedded PDF file. It turns out it’s a call to a program named nlReader.dll, but it takes a book identification number and page number as arguments:


Obviously, the library.unl.edu part requires my university proxy. For normal pages, the filename was in the format of Page_1.pdf, Page_2.pdf, etc. So I wrote a perlscript to create hyperlinks to pages 1 to 499, saved the output to HTML, used the DownloadThemAll! Firefox extention to get them, and…

Then Acrobat crashed trying to print out those hundreds of PDFs. Boo! Fortunately, Perl came to my rescue… I used ppm to install the module Perl::Reuse, then wrote a script to append all those pdfs into one. The final product is about 500 pages ans 70 megs, but quite easy to store, print out, etc.

Thanks, NetLibrary!


I’ve been using Blackboard’s discussion board feature as part of my reasearch assistantship these past few days. Anyone who has used the software knows just what a joy that is.

There’s a silent eror when using firefox browser. “Sort by date” under discussion collections myseriously scrambles the dates. This problem does not appear under Internet Explorer.


As I’m on all three, I think I can say this safely:

Facebook: For when you’re too smart for MySpace, but too dumb for LinkedIn.


More seriously, I’ve only ever used (as opposed to played with) only two of the web 2.0 properties: LinkedIn and del.icio.us. Of the two, delicious is far more useful. It’s tagging and search capabilities, especially in the del.icio.us for Firefox extension, would be worth it even if there was no “social” aspect at all. I find “popular tags” to be particularly useful, because it saves me those mental clicks in deciding how to categorize a useful page.

I want a ScribeFire that’s as easy to use as Delicious

I sometimes use ScribeFire to blog from Firefox. It’s a nifty tool, but I often find it’s as easy to open wordpad off to the browswer’s side than to have ScribeFire’s dialog box take up the bottom half of the screen.

Delicious, by contrast, is almost a perfect blog editor for me. It’s plain text, it’s fast, and it can be moved around. del.icio.us’s main drawback, however, is that the “description” has to be short… as can be seen below, I can’t even fully describe my own blog in it’s description field:

What I want is a Firefox extension that allows me to blog like ScribeFire, but is as lightweight as del.icio.us. I don’t care about fancy editing, wysiwyg, or other capabilities. If I can add a title, descriptoin, and tags, and have it post the hyperlinked title and my description, I’d be as happy as a clam.

Any suggestions?

PS: I checked my delicious network today, and saw that BobbyZero of Biro Sketchbook sent it Tom’s Ancient professions always suffer when globalization embraces a natio. Thanks BobbyZero! You’re now part of del.icio.us net!