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Favorite Firefox Extensions

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In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Favorite Firefox Extensions
2. Today's Top Story
    - FTC Sends Message With $15 Million ChoicePoint Fine: Protect Customer Data
    - Sprint Sues Vendor, Claims Privacy Violations
3. Breaking News
    - LA Sues 'Grand Theft Auto' Maker For Hidden Porn
    - Google Wins Nevada Copyright Case
    - Google Confirms Testing Redesigned Results Page
    - Wireless Device Streams Yahoo Music To PCs, Stereos
    - Video Games Bond Parent And Child: Poll
    - Sony Exits Robot Business
    - HP Taps Vignette CEO To Head Software Business
    - Top 10 Intranets: Creative, Mobile, Multinational
    - Calif. Man Charged In AOL Phishing Expedition
    - 3Com Names Claflin's Successor
    - Spammer Ordered To Pay AOL $5.3 Million
    - Banks And Businesses Benefit As Authentication Providers Duke It Out
    - Intel And Friends To Invest $10 Billion In Itanium
4. Grab Bag
    - Blazing Wi-Fi Zips Toward Reality
    - Machines Pluck Cash From Trash
    - A Death Row Blogger's Advice For Life
5. In Depth
    - Microsoft Considering Digital Player To Rival iPod
    - Microsoft Business Solutions Turns Profitable
    - Microsoft Profits Up 5% On Xbox, Database Sales
    - Baseball Assuages Ray Ozzie's Bicoastal Life
6. Voice Of Authority
    - Can StopBadware Save The Universe From ... 'Badware'?
7. White Papers
    - Portable Analytic Applications
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying that I approved of it." -- Mark Twain


1. Editor's Note: Favorite Firefox Extensions

Other people play Minesweeper or Soduku or alphabetize their Rolodexes. When I'm looking to procrastinate, I mess around with desktop productivity software. Firefox extensions, in particular, are good for endless hours of work avoidance. Here are some of the best I've found recently:

As blogs, Web mail and online discussion boards become more popular, people are using Web forms to write long passages of text. People are, as a rule, also bad at spelling. SpellBound Development adds a spell-checker to Web forms and extensions.

BoommarksHome takes your bookmarks file and turns it into an attractive Web page, which you can then use as your browser home page.

LiveLines lets you more easily subscribe to RSS feeds from within the Firefox browser. Firefox has its own built-in RSS feed reader and a handy orange icon next to the address bar that lets you automatically subscribe to feeds. But what if you use some other feed reader, such as Bloglines, FeedDemon, or Sage? That's where LiveLines comes in; click the orange icon, and you'll be subscribed using your feed reader of choice. I find LiveLines extremely convenient.

PageBookmarks sounds terrific, although I haven't had a chance to give it a good workout. Here's how it works: If you're reading a long page of text, PageBookmarks lets you bookmark your place on the page. That's very handy if you're interrupted and need to come back to the page later; it's like dog-earing a page in a print magazine. Web browsers should have been able to do this from the very beginning; reading articles is one of the main things people do online, and some articles are long and can't be swallowed in one sitting.

Formfiller lets you save text such as your name, address, E-mail address, and phone number, and conveniently paste them into online forms, such as the forms used in online shopping. This is another one that sounds great, but I haven't had a chance to give it a good workout.

Searchbar Autosizer does one very simple little thing and does it well. If you look in the top-right corner of your Firefox browser, you'll see a text box for inputting searches to your favorite engine. Kind of small, ain't it? Not wide enough for really long searches? Searchbar Autosizer automatically expands the size of the box as you type.

EasyGestures expands the context menu, which is the menu you get when you right-click your mouse. It turns the menu from a vertical bar into a circle around your mouse pointer and lets you add and customize dozens of options to the main menu, secondary menu, menus that come up only when you're doing a specific task, and so forth. This is by far my favorite Firefox extension, even though I'm probably only using 1% of its capabilities.

Finally, RestartFirefox is handy for people, like me, who like messing around with extensions. Installing extensions requires you to shut down and restart the browser; Restart Firefox automates that process. As inventions go, RestartFirefox isn't exactly as useful as the incandescent light or the airplane, but it's convenient.

For more great Firefox extensions, see our feature: Firefox Essentials: 10 Must-Have Extensions.

Also, check out two new videos: See my humorous take on Hewlett-Packard and Google executive compensations. And my colleague Eric Chabrow describes how IT helps keep America productive.

Mitch Wagner
mwagner@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

FTC Sends Message With $15 Million ChoicePoint Fine: Protect Customer Data
But is it enough? The $10 million civil penalty portion is the highest fine in FTC history, but paltry compared with the $50 million fine McAfee was ordered to pay the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month for allegedly overstating earnings statements.

Sprint Sues Vendor, Claims Privacy Violations
Sprint alleges that 1st Source Information Specialists has four online sites that use fraudulent tactics to access subscriber cell-phone records.


3. Breaking News

LA Sues 'Grand Theft Auto' Maker For Hidden Porn
Los Angeles' city attorney said the manufacturer didn't disclose the game's pornographic content when it went before the video-game industry rating board.

Google Wins Nevada Copyright Case
A judge found that serving pages of a story on a writer's Web site, from the Google cache, was protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This ruling could help Google with other legal issues it's facing in its bid to scan books and other copyrighted materials.

Google Confirms Testing Redesigned Results Page
The most visible difference between the existing search page and the reformatted page shown in a screenshot floating around the Internet is a list of search links in a column on the left-hand side.

Wireless Device Streams Yahoo Music To PCs, Stereos
Yahoo's music-subscription customers can get a $20 rebate from Yahoo for the Linksys product, which retails for around $100.

Video Games Bond Parent And Child: Poll
More than a third of the parents who responded introduced their children to gaming, and 66% believe they're creating closer family ties as a result.

Sony Exits Robot Business
In a bid to cut costs, production of the Aibo series will end later this year. Development activity had been already terminated.

HP Taps Vignette CEO To Head Software Business
Thomas Hogan takes on a unit that has struggled recently. For Hewlett-Packard's fiscal year ended Oct. 31, the software unit posted revenue of $311 million and had an operating loss of $59 million.

Top 10 Intranets: Creative, Mobile, Multinational
It's a tech version of the "best-dressed" list. This year's top sites make good use of blogs and even those annoying overlay ads.

Calif. Man Charged In AOL Phishing Expedition
Jeffrey Brett Goodin, 45, allegedly sent thousands of E-mails to AOL users claiming he was an employee from the Internet service provider's billing department.

3Com Names Claflin's Successor
R. Scott Murray, 3Com's new president and CEO, most recently served as chief executive of a supply-chain-management and hosted-services provider.

Spammer Ordered To Pay AOL $5.3 Million
Christopher William Smith, currently in jail awaiting trial on other charges, reportedly spammed users with shills for porn sites, online college degrees, and bogus Viagra.

Banks And Businesses Benefit As Authentication Providers Duke It Out
Companies are turning to authentication vendors RSA Security and Vasco Data Security to help stem online crime using authentication technology.

Intel And Friends To Invest $10 Billion In Itanium
The money will be used for R&D, new server platforms, and better applications, compilers, and tools to support Itanium.

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4. Grab Bag: News You Need From Around The Web

Blazing Wi-Fi Zips Toward Reality (Wired News)
All hail the CAT-5 killer! When 802.11n wireless hits the street, it should be stable and speedy enough to transmit full-motion HDTV throughout your home.

Machines Pluck Cash From Trash (Wired News)
High-tech sorting machines sift through mountains of rubbish, letting consumers skip the onerous task of sorting their recyclables.

A Death Row Blogger's Advice For Life (Washington Post)
As Vernon Evans sat in his cell on Maryland's death row last spring, he had more to ponder than his own execution.


5. In Depth

Microsoft Considering Digital Player To Rival iPod
Just when you thought Microsoft and Apple had called a truce, Microsoft says it is considering plans to build its own portable music player to rival Apple's iPod.

Microsoft Business Solutions Turns Profitable
Among this week's financial results: Microsoft's enterprise applications division posted an operating profit of $10 million versus a loss of $17 million for the same quarter in the previous year.

Microsoft Profits Up 5% On Xbox, Database Sales
The company set a quarterly revenue record, but fell short of its forecast, and operating income fell reflecting higher expenses associated with new product launches.

Baseball Assuages Ray Ozzie's Bicoastal Life
Ozzie has been spending a lot of time in Seattle since his Groove Networks was acquired by Microsoft last year. Although he can't quite seem to part with his longtime home near Boston, he can root for the Red Sox in two ballparks.


6. Voice Of Authority

Can StopBadware Save The Universe From ... 'Badware'?
Larry Greenemeier wonders whether the new anti-spyware, anti-adware coalition can put the brakes on software infections through force of education.


7. White Papers

Portable Analytic Applications
A new approach to packaged analytic application is to build packaged reporting elements that are independent of the physical data warehouse schema. Read how this approach, referred to as portability, is made possible through the power of platform technology and adoption of certain subtle yet important principles in the architecture of the analytics


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