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Firefox Friday Five: on security, the World Cup and WebM

Another week has slid past, and again both 3.6.4 and 3.5.10 have failed to emerge! I can only assume that Mozilla is feverishly working away on a critical bug or feature -- and really, unless they get 3.6.4 out of the door this week, I don't think we'll see Firefox 4.0 Beta 1 this month. Here's hoping!

In unrelated news, Thunderbird 3.1RC2 came out this week. You know, I've never met anyone that uses Thunderbird -- does anyone use Thunderbird? In fact, I'm going to attach a poll at the end of this article; let us know what email client you use!

Still, despite the Firefox team stuck in crunch mode, Mozilla Labs has been busy pumping out a veritable smorgasbord of neat things. So let's, er, cut the cheese and tuck in!

1. Support your national team in the Firefox Cup!

The World Cup is here! Close to a billion souls will watch on as a bunch of sweaty men in short shorts kick an inflated sheep's bladder around a field. Fun!

Fortunately, for the computer chair patriot or the football fans who care enough to actually hang an oversized flag out their windows, there's the Firefox Cup. By equipping one of the 32 national personas, you add a point to your team on the Firefox Cup website. There are five 'rounds', with a winner at the end of each -- but considering Argentina and Brazil are already over 1,300, with the US and UK below 200, we've probably already lost. (North Korea has just 3 votes, ha HA!)

Maybe though... just maybe... you can change the tide! Tell your friends! We can't let those commie pigs win!

2. Follow the World Cup with a neat add-on: FootieFox

I was actually concerned that I might lose the interest of the Americans if I talked too much about (real) football. But then I realised... if the USA is in the World Cup, that means they're all being hyper-patriotic at the moment. I can see John and Steve now, standing in line at the all-you-can-eat buffet, discussing gratuitously and with excited flatulence how they're going to 'get all revolutionary, like' when they play England. Ah, America...

So, with that out of the way, check out FootieFox. It's by far the best add-on out there for keeping track of up-to-date football scores.

3. Microsoft stealthily inseminates Firefox with its Bing toolbar add-on

Chalk this one up as 'a bit weird', gentlemen. This week, on Patch Tuesday, Microsoft pushed out a patch that ostensibly 'improves homepage category functionality' for its toolbars (Bing, MSN and Windows Live). The thing is, as you can see from the screenshot above, it also installed an extension in Firefox! Without asking!

According to the Ars story, if you installed this patch, and then later installed Firefox, the Bing toolbar extension is present! Imagine getting a new Windows 7 computer, patching up, and then installing Firefox only to find the Bing bar already present -- pretty damn insidious, eh?

The worst bit is that this patch wasn't even flagged as 'optional' -- rather, because Microsoft classified it as 'important', millions of computers will have automatically received the patch and had the extension installed behind their back.

Mozilla says there's nothing to worry about -- "there are no security implications to this add-on's background installation" says a Mozilla spokesperson -- but personally, I'm more than a little bit concerned that functionality exists to install Firefox add-ons without me knowing...

4. WebM now supported in nightly builds of Firefox 3.7/4.0

Rather than being exiled to a bunch of experimental builds, WebM has finally landed in the nightly builds of Firefox 3.7.

There's not much else to say, other than you can now join the YouTube HTML5 beta and watch videos in the WebM format. I'm not actually sure why you'd want to try out WebM, but... the option is now there!

It can be quite hard to find WebM-encoded videos on YouTube, so use this link:

[Incidentally, Firefox 3.7a6 was released earlier today! Again, visit the nightly trunk to grab a copy.]

5. KeepTube, though lumbered with one of the worst names ever invented, lets you download the video sources from almost every video website

You'll never guess what KeepTube does. Oh, OK, stop guessing! It lets you keep YouTube videos! On your hard drive!

I know there are a lot of great add-ons that let you download videos from YouTube and other streaming sites, but KeepTube seems to have a list of supported sites -- and formats -- far greater than any other tool. It supports an extensive list of porn sites, too. (And when combined with Flash 10.1's private browsing support... OMG! Imagine the pornographic possibilities!)

Basically, all the add-on does is place 'download' links next to videos, thumbnails and search results. Click the link and you're whooshed off to another page where you can choose which format and resolution you'd like to download. Job done!

What program or service do you use to read your email? (on your desktop!)
Gmail241 (47.4%)
Outlook43 (8.5%)
Thunderbird137 (27.0%)
Hotmail38 (7.5%)
Other Web-based service23 (4.5%)
Other offline/installed program26 (5.1%)

Tags: add-on, extension, features, firefox, firefox cup, firefox friday five, FirefoxCup, FirefoxFridayFive, football, footiefox, keeptube, microsoft, mozilla labs, MozillaLabs, porn, security, video, webm, world cup, WorldCup