>Mozilla Development Specifics Updated, Firefox 5 and 6 Release Dates

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It will never again take more than a year to move from one major version of Firefox to the next, at least not unless Mozilla decides to change the current development specifics again. You may have already heard that you can expect new firefox releases every three months from now on. The development specifies that detail the process have been updated yesterday, and make up for an interesting read.

Mozilla plans to use four main repositories to develop the web browser (with opportunities for other projects to join that process), they are:

  • mozilla-central: Like the current repository, no changes
  • mozilla-aurora: Stabilizes mozilla-central builds for release
  • mozilla-beta: Beta phase to fix stability and other issues
  • mozilla-release: Release of Firefox binaries
Mozilla groups the repositories into development and release processes. Mozilla-central is part of the development process, the remaining three repositories are all part of the release process.

How many users and releases can you expect in each repository?

  • Nightly (mozilla-central): Nightly releases, currently 50,000 users, Mozilla estimates a rise to 100,000 users.
  • Aurora: Nightly releases, currently 0 users, Mozilla estimates 1 million users.
  • Beta: Weekly releases, currently 2.78 million users, expected rise to 10 million.
  • Release: Every 6-12 weeks. Branded as Firefox

Stability improves from the first nightly releases to the final release versions of the web browser.

Versioning has been modified as well. Take a look at the following chart.

Mozilla-central and aurora builds can be distinguished by a1 and a2 at the end of the version. Plans are to get rid of the “pre” versioning.

Gecko, the rendering engine will follow the Firefox version scheme, for Firefox 5 Gecko would be 5.0 and so on.

The general schedule of milestones hands over the development process to the next repository every six weeks. After six weeks the mozilla-central build will move to mozilla-aurora, where it will be managed the next six weeks before it is moved to beta, and after another six weeks to the release repository.

Once a build has been passed on work begins on the next build in line.

The scheme is different for Firefox 5, which sees an accelerated development.

Instead of 18 weeks in total, the Firefox 5 development process will only take 13, with a final release on June 21.

Firefox 6 development starts in 5 days on April 12 when the Firefox 5 build is moved from mozilla-central to mozilla-aurora.

Mozilla expects to release Firefox 6 on August, 16th. There you have it, two new Firefox releases in the next four months, who would have thought that a year ago?

There may be changes to that schedule, for instance if development is delayed at some point. The general release schedule stands on the other hand. Probably the most interesting new aspects are the new aurora channel which is releases as nightlies as well, but supposed to be more stable than the mozilla-central nightlies, and that beta releases will be more frequent due to a weekly release schedule.

It is likely that part of the Firefox user base will move to the beta and aurora channels to stay on top of the browser development without having to face the stability issues that the initial nightly builds might be causing.

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>NetGear NeoTV 550 HD Set-Top Box Review

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Those of you who follow me on Twitter or through other social networks may know that for the last month I’ve been testing NetGear’s new, top of the range NeoTV550 HD Media Player. This box is a small, and I really do mean small, do it all box for the connected home. It will sit under your TV streaming music and video from the web or any other media streaming-capable device you have. But what did I think of it?

Let’s start with an overview of the product itself. I said it was small an indeed it’s diminutive form-factor means that while it’s not as pretty as an Apple TV you’d barely notice its there. To compare directly to the afore-mentioned Apple TV it’s obviously not as small as its Cupertino competition but it does the same job and does it far better in many ways firstly as there’s no requirement to have the iTunes software installed on your computers, and secondly its worth noting that not all network streaming appliances your may already have in your home support Apple protocols.

On the front of the box there’s a single USB port for adding media via a pen drive or other device and an SD Card slot so you can view photos direct from your camera on your TV. On the rear of the device is a further USB/eSATA combo port for adding an external hard disk should you wish, a network port, component video and the all-important HDMI.


Then there’s the remote control which is a sight to behold. It’s extremely well laid out and one of the prettiest things I’ve seen in years. It’s piano-black high-gloss front, which sadly doesn’t extend to the NeoTV itself, is accompanied by a rubberised back that just encourages you to stroke it when it’s in your hand. It also features a large central four-way cursor and select button arrangement that makes navigating the NeoTV 550′s on-screen menus a breeze.

I found the interface for the device a mixed-bag. In some ways its extraordinarily pretty as you can see from the image here, but generally speaking the plain text links it offers don’t hold up quite so well as I’d have liked against modern competition from some other devices, and it’s certainly no Windows Media Centre. In fact you may find some of the small text and buttons hard to read at a distance unless you have a large TV.

It’s not the menus that you’ll be using the device for though, it’s media and this is where the NeoTV 550 really shines with support for 1080p H.264, WMV, MPEG-1, 2 and 4, H.263, AVI, Xvid, MOV, MP4, ISO, VOB, MKV, DivX, M4A, DVR-MS… honestly there’s no end to the list of codecs this box supports. It coped brilliantly with every music and video file I threw at it, no matter how obscure I thought the codec was, and didn’t miss a beat. The icing on the cake is support for new Blu-Ray video formats, something the company is very proud of indeed because it sets the NeoTV 550 apart from the bulk of the competition.

Music and video playback is quick too. There’s no messing around with this device as it’s ready to start playing video the moment you select it. This is opposed to some other devices which can spend a few seconds buffering content before playback. You’ll get none of that with this box, just push the play button and you’re away.

Picture support for digital cameras and photo libraries is good too with JPeG, BMP, PNG and TIFF supported so you’ll always be able to view your digital photos. RAW is a notable omission but there are so many different implemtations of this that few devices will ever support it.

The icing on the cake is support for no less than nine different subtitle formats, making this set-top box perfect for people who need this support.

In addition to playing back a bewhildering array of music and video types it has full access to several Internet services too including YouTube, some Internet TV services and Internet Radio. You can listen to radio services from around the world or choose stations local to your own area. The box comes localised for your country and, though support is currently a bit thin, it works well, even knowing from my IP address where I was and helping to deliver local radio content to me.

Oddly the local and international radio services are currently accessed from two seperate options on the main menu and I would hope for this to be rectified with a future firmware update. Support for more Internet TV services will also be rolled out in firmware updates NetGear tell me, and this will make the NeoTV 550 a powerful alternative to the more commonly known media devices.

Firmware updates are painless too. You can perform the entire operation from your comfort of your armchair and it’s as simple as pressing a couple of buttons. This is very important given the people the box is likely to be used by.

I had the NeoTV 550 streaming video from a NAS box, another NetGear device I had on test, and the access was extremely quick, the streaming extremely stable and the quality superb. I have no doubt though that this box would work equally well streaming video from any other NAS device, hard disk, PC or media-enabled hi-fi.

When it comes to Hi-Fi I should point out that the NeoTV 550 has full HD 7.1 surround sound support with Dolby Digital and DTS built-in as standard. This really does shape up to be a very impressive device indeed. It did crash a few times on me, requiring me to go over and restart it, but it’s far from often and could equally have been caused by electrical interference from everything else I had laying around or the cat!

I was initially unsure about the NeoTV 550 purely judging it by its looks. It’s definitely not the prettiest device, but it’s absolutely tiny for what it is and has the best audio and video support I’ve ever seen in a device. If the most important criteria for you is that it should just cope with absolutely everything you’re ever going to throw at it, and this is always high up anybody’s priority list, then the NeoTV 550 is one of the very finest media set-top boxes you can buy.

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>WinScan2PDF, Scan Documents, Save As PDF

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I do not like scanners and printers. Why? Because it can be really difficulty to troubleshoot them. That’s a pretty selfish reason, I know, but I’m cursing more than usual on days that a family member or friend asks me to fix a printer or scanner.

Lets talk about scanning for a moment. Most people use the software that came with the scanner to scan. That software is usually bloated and not the most appropriate, but if everything is configured it should do the job.

Users who like to speed up things use third party software instead, and WinScan2PDF is such a software.

The free portable program offers one feature: It turns one or multiple sheets of paper into a pdf document. Usage is dead simple and should not pose troubles for anyone.

The program displays three buttons and two options in the main interface. Non-German speaking users should click on LNG in the lower right corner to change the language to English or one of the other supported interface languages.

You select the source first with the button on the left. Just select the scanner that is connected to your computer. Most users will find only one scanner in the list.

You can then opt to scan in multiple pages that will be all turned into the same pdf document or just one page. If you do not check the Multiple Pages checkbox only one page will be turned into a pdf document. A click on Scan to PDF initiates the scan.

The first document that you put into the scanner will be scanned and converted into a pdf document after the scan.

And that’s it. No fancy interface, options or anything. Ideal for quick scanning and the creation of pdf documents.

WinScan2PDF is compatible with all 32-bit and 64-bit editions and versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system. You can download the program from the developer’s website over at Software OK.

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>Google Scribe Updated, More Languages Added

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Google introduced the text completion service Google Scribe in September of 2010. Back then it was only available for English texts.

The Google labs service Google Scribe analyses the text that has been written by the user to give real-time word and phrase auto-suggestions. Scribe displays suggestions as soon as you start typing the first letter of a new word or phrase. Fast typing users won’t see Scribe suggestions when they use the provided bookmarklet, which outlines that not everyone is necessarily benefiting from Google’s new service.

Slow typers on the other hand, and users who use the Scribe online editor or Chrome extension, may very well benefit from Google Scribe, as it is sometimes possible to complete words faster, provided that the right suggestions are displayed in the Scribe interface or on the page.

Scribe comes with several keyboard shortcuts to speed up the workflow. Suggestions can be selected with the space or right arrow key and the mouse. A tap on Escape hides the suggestion window, and tab displays it again. The up and down keys can be used to navigate the suggestions. Google Scribe can be enabled and disabled at anytime with the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-J.

But where do you get Google Scribe? The software is provided as a Google Chrome extension, as a bookmarklet that is compatible with several web browsers and as a online text editor on the Google Scribe website.

It is probably easiest to try the service on the official website to see if it is something that you can work with and benefit from. Scribe is for instance not of real use for me since I’m typing to fast. The suggestion window barely opens, and when it opens it is usually at the end of a sentence or if I make a spelling mistake and have to stop writing to correct it.

The bookmarklet does not display a default suggestion directly on the page, at least not when I tried the service with the Firefox 4 browser. Only the overlay box with five word and phrase suggestions was displayed during tests. The Google Scribe online editor on the other hand displays only a default suggestion and not a suggestion’s box.

The Chrome extension finally combines default suggestions with the box of additional suggestions.

Google Scribe gets bonus points for having Ghacks and related terms in the dictionary.

The new version of Google Scribe supports additional languages, namely: Arabic, Dutch, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish. (via)

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>How to Quickly Launch a New Styled Terminal Window on Mac OS X

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Do you want to quickly launch a new styled terminal window on your Mac OS X? Well, You can quickly launch a new styled Terminal window through the apps Mac OS X Dock icon. If you want to quickly launch a new styled terminal window on your Mac OS X then simply right-click on the Terminal app then go to “New Window” and choose a preconfigured style including Ocean, Homebrew, Basic, Pro, Red Sands, Novel, and Grass.



Ocean is white text on blue, Homebrew is green text on black, Basic is white text on black, Pro is black text on white. Also you can create your own color styles. You should note that if you are already inside the Terminal app then from the File menu, you can also do this. [Via]

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>Watch Every SouthPark Episode for Free on iPhone Using iSouthPark [Cydia Tweak]

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Good news for iPhone users. Now you can watch every SouthPark episode for free of cost on your iPhone by using a tweak available in Cydia. The name of this tweak is iSouthPark. After you have installed this tweak on your jailbroken iPhone you will be able to watch all 209 episodes of the popular South Park cartoon on your iPhone for free of cost. In order to watch SouthPark episode on your iPhone you have to register for a free account with the website that provides the content.



Simply press the iSouthPark icon on your iPhone to launch the mobile version of the website that hosts the media then you can select the episode you want to watch. You can download iSouthPark from Cydia for free of cost. You will need to have a jailbroken iPhone to install this tweak. If you don’t have jailbroken iPhone then you can follow the step by step instructions posted here to jailbreak your iPhone on iOS 4.2.1 with Redsn0w.

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>Apple Releases the iBoy [Unboxing Video]

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Apple has announced the release of the iBoy which is the latest iOS device of Apple. On Israeli channel 22, a show named as Eretz Nehederet has broadcasted a video report announcing the release of the iBoy. Well, After months of anticipation, and years of speculation, finally Apple released this latest iOS device which is capable of doing a lot more than iPhone 4. The iBoy can dance, sing, pout, laugh, and cry.




After iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, the iBoy is the latest iOS device of Apple. You can watch the complete unboxing video of Apple’s latest iOS device embedded below. Actually it’s just an act from an Israeli television show.

What are you thinking after watching this video? Share your views in the comment section below. [Via]

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