Web browsers always look to strike a balance between speed and functionality, but not enough focus on the former can easily spoil a user’s experience. Mozilla has put a great deal of time and effort working speed improvements into the latest version of its Firefox browser but sometimes all that hard work is for naught due to slow add-ons from third-party developers. In an effort to raise awareness and to push developers to optimize their plugins, perhaps, Mozilla has published a list of the add-ons that slow down Firefox the most. Among the worst offenders are FoxLingo, AniWeather, FoxyTunes and Xmarks Sync. In a bit of irony, an add-on called “FastestFox” that is supposed to speed up browsing by simplifying repetitive tasks is No.8 on Mozilla’s list. If you’ve been experiencing some slowness in Firefox and are wondering which add-ons might be the culprit, hit the read link for Mozilla’s complete list. More →
The Gmail team has apparently been working some solid overtime lately – perhaps Google freed up some cash recently. Just in the past week, the Gmail team has added a nice task manager to Labs, SMS messaging to the integrated chat functionality and now enhanced PDF attachment handling. Gmail users will be happy to learn that Google has completely revamped the way that PDF attachments are viewed. Opening PDF files in a browser is traditionally not a fun thing to do. Many still avoid doing so due to the bad memories of bogging and crashes associated with the Acrobat Reader browser plug-in. For Gmail users, the pain is gone. Gmail now gives PDFs a view option that thankfully forgoes Acrobat and opens them with an OS X Preview-like view. Simple and quick, as it should be. The new implementation should already be rolled out so get ready to start painlessly viewing PDF attachments and wishing that all browser-based PDF viewing could be so easy.
Apparently, people have a lot to do these days. If we had a dollar for every web-based task manager out there, well, our next giveaway would probably be a diamond-encrusted Vertu. For web developers, it makes perfect sense; if you can manage to get people reliant on a web-based task manager you’re looking at a pretty fair number of pageviews each day from each user. Those developing all of these task managers may want to take notice however, as Google is treading on your turf. The king of all things web has just announced the addition of a simple task manager to the Gmail web UI by way of Gmail Labs. It’s no mistake, by the way, that the new Tasks item sites atop the Labs list. For the time being it offers pretty basic though useful functionality but you should expect some big and interesting things to come of Tasks – Google Calendar integration, mobile implementations and so on. For the time being, Tasks sits atop the Gmail UI as a new frame that is always visible unless you minimize it or choose to pop it out into a new window of its own. You can add new tasks quickly and easily, and even instantly link an email to a new task by checking the box on its row and pressing shift + T or choosing “Add to Tasks” from the More Actions box. Despite being pretty basic for now, Tasks already contains more than enough functionality to become a very useful tool to assist users in managing everything that takes place within Gmail and slightly beyond. As the Tasks team flushes the product out however, look for it to jump outside of Gmail and put some serious dents in the SaaS task management game.