Tag Archives: Firefox

Bit by Bitly!

A bizarre bug in a Firefox plugin pretty much 86ed this blog for anyone using IE in the last month or so. I installed the Bitly Preview Firefox plug-in, which expands shortened urls in web pages so you can see where they’ll take you. Seemed useful, since I’m active on Twitter and they show up there all the time.

Anyway, this plugin apparently had a bug. If you had the 1.1 version installed, and you edited anything in a rich text editor (like, um, the one I’m writing this post in), it would toss a little javascript code in after your text. The code wasn’t malicious – it was pretty ineffectual – but Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, versions 6 and 7, were completely dumbfounded by it (MS admits that this is a bug and say that they’ve fixed it in IE8). Anyone visiting the blog in those browsers recently has been hit with a pop-up error complaining that the page can’t be displayed. This blog is not the biggest destination site on the web, and I’m pretty sure that most of you are reading this in the comfort of your own RSS reader (you should be – look for my upcoming Idealware article explaining how and why, if you aren’t).

Anyway, the fix was to remove or upgrade the bitly plugin; load up PHPMyAdmin on my server and run the query:

select * from wp_posts where post_content like ‘%bitly%’;

then, since I only had a handful of matches (my last five posts), select them all and remove the line at the bottom of each post, which was a script containing the text:


Definitely one of the odder glitches I’ve experienced!

Ubiquitious Blogging

Mozilla.org just released one of the most exciting Firefox add-ons to come down the pike – Ubiquity. This is very alpha – the user interface will definitely mature, so what’s there now is best suited for geeks like me who have always liked command shells and already do things like use the Mac’s Spotlight as their calculator (if you type 2 + 2 in Spotlight, it will tell you it equals 4).

Ubiquity is best described as a macro language for the web, or a personal mashup engine. You assign a hotkey (such as Alt-space or Option-space) and a box comes up, which you can enter ubiquity commands in. I’m not going to tell you all about them – just watch the video:

Ubiquity for Firefox from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

At this point, Ubiquity’s functionality pretty much requires a Google account – the email, calendar, maps and contacts integration is all with Google’s offerings. I expect that to change rapidly, as developing custom commands for Ubiquity is at a very basic programming level.

The case uses that are immediately apparent include adding maps and multimedia content to emails and blog entries (I use Scribefire – this assumption assumes that you compose your blog in your browser); having a lot of info available without having to tab away from the web page you’re on; and making some complex web tasks far more efficient. Mozilla is ambitious, though – they see Ubiquity as the ultimate personal web assistant, that will someday let you issue a command to book a trip; issue another to set up a multi-party meeting, and, who knows? Vacuum the house and feed the fish. Aza discusses that vision here.

Try Ubiquity out. Install it from here. Let me know what you think, and what case uses you envision for it.