Being that Firefox 4 Beta 1 was released, we decided to see how it runs under Windows XP. Even as Microsoft has left XP in the dust, it still is a popular choice for netbooks and low budget laptops.
The major change to the user interface is the new Firefox button. Aside from the general items listed under File, the Firefox button includes a “Customize” menu which allows you to change the positioning of the tabs, and whichever toolbars you’d like to show up.
We noticed under Windows XP, the title bar takes the top most position instead of a blank space as shown in the Vista/7 screenshots. Opera 10.60 uses a similar style, but completely disables the title bar. We hope designers will change the UI so it can become similar to that of Vista/7.
We also found our first graphical glitch where the Firefox button is overlapping the forward and back buttons. Certainly this would be fixed by the time the product releases. This bug occurs when no tabs are open.
Mozilla added a new graphical touch for tab loading. Now it displays a countdown timer in the form of a clock subtle flashes informing you that the page is still loading. Another feature with tabs is the use of the awesome bar for tab switching. You can type a keyword, url, or phrase and then click to switch to an already open tab on the fly.
The next major change in the user interface is the Add-ons page. Instead of listing each add-on in a conveniently small window, the page takes up the entire window. We would prefer designers to modify the Add-ons page as a sidebar so that we can at least view webpages while changing settings.
Obviously not all plugins are supported for Firefox 4 beta 1. Yet that might change in the upcoming weeks. On our system we found the plugins; NoScript, Rainbow, Web of Trust, and FlashGOT to be fully compatible with Firefox 4. You can check to out additional Firefox 4 plugins at Firefox add-ons.
Feedback And User Studies
Originally the term “Beta” for computer software meant testing programs for hours and hours while giving feedback through bug reports. Now that term has socially devolved into just using software before it is released to the general public. Firefox is bringing back the true purpose of “Beta” by having slightly intrusive popups asking you to give feedback.
Users can optionally fill out a survey about their experiences with the program. User studies are also conducted to test out specific portions of the software. The results of that data are shown for everyone to see. You can of course disable all feedback and studies by clicking the new Feedback button > All your user studies > Settings > and uncheck everything under notification.
For the general public people will be completely oblivious to the changes dubbed “under the hood” that helps the browser run faster and safer. For impact on computer performance, task manager displayed 104,000 K memory usage when 2-3 tabs were open. We noted one crash which occurred when trying to display a CSS3 demo page.
There are still more features to be released in the upcoming months. One feature we’re excited to see is account management but details are slim. So we’ll see you next time for Firefox 4 Beta 2.
What is AOL Lifestream
AOL released a brand new update to AIM Lifestream, or should I say AOL Lifestream. It’s a service where AIM/AOL users can connect their social networking accounts, such as Twitter, Myspace, and even Facebook. If you use any of these services, AOL Lifestream allows you to publish your status updates to these networks. In essence, it streamlines the process of being on 3+ websites at once.
AOL Lifestream is also an app on iPhone and Google’s Android platform. If you are poor like me and can’t afford the two, you can join in the fun on different applications.
AOL Lifestream is available through;
The Lifestream application does not allow you to communicate to other AOL and AIM members through IMs. This application’s sole purpose is to view updates through different websites and allow you to input your thoughts by liking or commenting on them.
Using AOL Lifestream
When you enter a status update in your application, everyone who has you on their buddy list will see it. They are able to “Like” or “Comment” on it as they please. You’ll see a nifty little notification at the bottom of the AOL Lifestream application which shows you what new updates you have in social networking sites, as well as new comments from AIM members.
Clicking on the globe icon will show you a list of trending topics. These are just the most popular word in everyone’s status update. As you can see, AIM is popular amongst kids who are bored out of their mind with homework.
If you notice, there is a filter section that allows you to view only one network. If you want to see only twitter updates, type the word twitter. Or if you want to look up specific friend just type the first part of their name. In fact you can type shortcuts for the various things like twit, mysp, face, digg, photo, video, etc.
Removing AOL Lifestream
If you add random people to your buddy list, their lifestream updates will show up.
The screenshot above is a great example of someone who may not understand the functions of AOL Lifestream. If you add someone on your buddy list, you will automatically follow their lifestream updates. You can alternatively view anyone’s lifestream updates without following them by viewing their buddy info or inputting their screen name through:
If you don’t want to see a certain person’s lifestream updates, remember to remove them from your buddy list.
If you want to turn off AOL Lifestream, head to the Settings Page. Clicking the trashcan icon will remove your connections to these services. Alternatively you can also click the drop down box and select “No one -Private”. Don’t forget the drop down box for the “AIM” service which will stop any of your status updates and away messages from showing up in the Lifestream tab. If you scroll down further you can disable commenting by selecting “Only You (private)”.
Generally I love the new design AOL is taking with the AIM website. All of the ads are gone and everything is streamlined. The same design style goes on to AOL Lifestream, now if only they could apply it to the message boards. As for the Adobe AIR Application, I do like how it instantly notifies me at the bottom of the screen. I’m not sure if this application is useful per say, it’s more like a time waster. It’s practical to use this service within the AIM program, unless you are mobile and have to rely on the iphone or android app.
Aim 7.2 Beta
Today AOL released it’s newest version of AIM with version 7.2. This time it has integrated Facebook support. Wait a minute, wasn’t Facebook already integrated within Lifestream? Well the only new added feature in this version is that now you can see who is online on Facebook and chat with them.
- Chat with your Facebook friends.
- Get your updates from Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks.
- Comment, ‘like’ and update your Facebook and Twitter status.
Aim 7.2 Beta with Custom Skin
When chatting with a Facebook friend, you will see the Facebook logo at the bottom of the IM Window. Facebook Friends also show up under their own category within the buddy list, optionally you can show their pictures as buddy icons.
It looks as if your supposed to be able to click the Like button under all the Facebook status updates, however this feature wasn’t working properly at this time. It appears to only work under your own status update and not your friends. You can note that it says “Like” under the status I posted. To view your friend’s status updates, click the “Lifestream” button.
Aim 7.2 Skin Support
Congratulations! All custom AIM 7.1 skins are supported under Aim 7.2. The instructions will change based on the installation directory.
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