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By Usama Jawad96
Vimeo improves page load times with support for AVIF images
by Usama Jawad
While video-hosting service Vimeo isn't quite as popular as YouTube, it still has hundreds of millions of users. Over the past few years, the company has been regularly updating its service to entice more customers.
The firm has announced that it now supports AVIF images which means an automatic improvement in page load times and bandwidth consumption too.
Image via Vimeo For those unaware, AVIF is an acronym for "AV1 Image File Format" and is essentially an AV1 format for still images. Both these specifications have been getting a lot of traction recently. AVIF is getting official support in Android 12 and has been supported in Cloudflare since October 2020 as well.
Vimeo has stated that with support for AVIF images, page load times will increase as the format preserves comparable image quality to JPEG and WebP, while maintaining a smaller file size. Although a potential downside is that encoding takes longer, the firm says that this will not be an issue because this will be a one-time operation after which AVIF images will be cached.
Moving forward, Vimeo says that its image server will deliver image formats depending upon the HTTP headers of a web request and the properties of the source image. All browsers that explicitly support the AVIF format will automatically receive images in the format, while browsers which don't will receive WebP images. JPEG and PNG will only be kept as fallback options and for compatibility with those on outdated configurations.
Vimeo has highlighted that if you use Firefox and have AVIF enabled manually, you should keep in mind that colors will not appear accurate because the browser lacks proper color space support.
Firefox 89 arrives with controversial Proton interface
by Paul Hill
Mozilla’s Firefox 89 releases to the general public today complete with the new Proton interface which simplifies the browser’s menus and alters the tabs bar beyond anything we’ve seen from previous Firefox releases or other web browsers. This update also improves macOS integration and includes further privacy enhancements.
The first thing that people will notice in this update is the Proton interface, the browser chrome and toolbar have been simplified so that redundant and less frequently used features have been removed, menus have been altered so that the most used features are prominent and visual noise has been reduced.
Firefox 89 includes redesigned menus and tabs Proton also updates prompts so they have a cleaner appearance and unnecessary alerts and messages have been removed. The attached tabs have also been supplanted by floating tabs; Mozilla says the rounded design of the active tab “signals the ability to easily move the tab as needed.” While almost everyone will support cleaner menus, the new tabs are drawing the ire of some who are not pleased with the radical departure from the traditional look and feel of tabs.
Prompts have been updated in Firefox 89 For those on macOS, Firefox 89 will be better integrated with the operating system by including support for the elastic overscroll effect that’s featured in other applications. The gentle bouncing animation serves as an indicator to users that they have reached the end of the page. Additionally, Firefox 89 supports smart zoom; to use this, double-tap with two fingers on the trackpad or with a single finger on the Magic Mouse to zoom the content below your cursor into focus.
Private Browser mode is now more private in Firefox 89 with the enablement of Total Cookie Protection which confines cookies to the site where they were created. This stops companies from tracking you from site to site. If you’ve heard of Total Cookie Protection before, that’s because Firefox 86 introduced it but it was only enabled when Enhanced Tracking Protection was toggled to Strict Mode. Firefox 89 also introduces the second version of SmartBlock which enables seamless browsing when trackers are blocked.
To download the latest version of Firefox head to the bottom of this article. If you already use Firefox, you should get the update automatically in the coming days.
by Razvan Serea
Firefox is a fast, full-featured Web browser. It offers great security, privacy, and protection against viruses, spyware, malware, and it can also easily block pop-up windows. The key features that have made Firefox so popular are the simple and effective UI, browser speed and strong security capabilities.
Firefox has complete features for browsing the Internet. It is very reliable and flexible due to its implemented security features, along with customization options. Firefox includes pop-up blocking, tab-browsing, integrated Google search, simplified privacy controls, a streamlined browser window that shows you more of the page than any other browser and a number of additional features that work with you to help you get the most out of your time online.
Beginning in 89, you’ll notice a number of changes, including:
Simplified browser chrome and toolbar: Less frequently used items removed to focus on the most important navigation items. Clear, streamlined menus: Re-organized and prioritized menu content according to usage. Updated labels and removed iconography.
Updated prompts: Infobars, panels, and modals have a cleaner design and clearer language.
Inspired tab design: Floating tabs neatly contain information and surface cues when you need them, like visual indicators for audio controls. The rounded design of the active tab supports focus and signals the ability to easily move the tab as needed.
Fewer interruptions: Reduced number of alerts and messages, so you can browse with fewer distractions.
Cohesive, calmer visuals: Lighter iconography, a refined color palette, and more consistent styling throughout.
This release also includes enhancements to our privacy offerings:
We’ve enhanced the privacy of the Firefox Browser’s Private Browsing mode with Total Cookie Protection, which confines cookies to the site where they were created, preventing companies from using cookies to track your browsing across sites. This feature was originally launched in Firefox’s ETP Strict mode. For macOS users, we're introducing the elastic overscroll effect known from many other applications. A gentle bouncing animation will indicate that you reached the end of the page.
In addition, we added support for smart zoom. Double-tap with two fingers on your trackpad, or with a single finger on your Magic Mouse, to zoom the content below your cursor into focus.
Native context menus: Context menus on macOS are now native and support Dark Mode.
Firefox 89.0 fixes:
Colors in Firefox on macOS will no longer be saturated on wide gamut displays, untagged images are properly treated as sRGB, and colors in images tagged as sRGB will now match CSS colors. In full screen mode on macOS, moving your mouse to the top of the screen will no longer hide your tabs behind the system menu bar. Also in full screen mode on macOS, it is now possible to hide the browser toolbars for a fully immersive full screen experience. This brings macOS in line with Windows and Linux. Various stability and security fixes. Changed:
Introducing a non-native implementation of web form controls, which delivers a new modern design and some improvements to page load performance. Watch for layout bugs in web pages that make assumptions about the dimensions or styling of form controls. The screenshots feature is available in the right-click context menu. You can also add a screenshots shortcut to your toolbar. Learn more. Enterprise
Various bug fixes and new policies have been implemented in the latest version of Firefox. You can see more details in the Firefox for Enterprise 89 Release Notes. Developer
Developer Information Better keyboard navigation for editable BoxModel properties in the Inspector panel Web Platform
The Event Timing API is now supported. The CSS forced-colors media query is now supported. Download: Firefox 89.0 for Windows | Firefox 64-bit | ~50.0 MB (Freeware)
Download: Firefox 89.0 for Linux | 64-bit | ~70.0 MB
Download: Firefox 89.0 for MacOS | 126.0 MB
View: Firefox Home Page | Release Notes
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Microsoft Weekly: No more Windows 10X, joint E3 conferences, and better vertical tabs
by Florin Bodnarescu
A confirmation of Windows 10X’s demise, a better vertical tab experience in Edge, and an unsurprising announcement of a joint Xbox – Bethesda E3 event. You can find info about that, as well as much more below, in your Microsoft digest for the week of May 16 - 22.
No more Windows 10X
If you were expecting the arrival of Courier v2 (aka Surface Neo) and its companion OS, Windows 10X, sometime this century, that won’t be happening anymore.
Microsoft has officially announced that Windows 10X is for all intents and purposes dead, but that some of its features will live on in Windows 10 proper. Among those, improvements in the voice typing experience, an enhanced touch keyboard, and much more.
What did however make it to market was the May 2021 Update, now available to everyone. It adds some Windows Defender Application Guard performance improvements, as well as enhancements to Windows Hello for systems with multiple cameras that are face-recognition capable. In other words, not much to write home about.
As was the case with previous updates, some features have been deprecated or outright removed. For example, the XDDM-based remote display driver and the legacy version of Edge have been stripped out, with the Windows Management Instrumentation Command line (WMIC) tool and personalization roaming now showing up as deprecated. What this means for the latter two is that Microsoft is no longer developing them and will most likely remove these in a future update.
Staying a little longer on the subject of updates, folks on 1909 may experience problems logging into Microsoft 365 apps following the installation KB5003169. A suggested fix for now is simply to restart the system, and if that doesn’t do the trick, the firm suggests that the web-based variants or clients on other operating systems be used, as those are not affected by the bug.
Flipping over to exploits, one was released, targeting a flaw in the Windows 10 HTTP protocol - CVE-2021-31166. Luckily, this has been fixed with KB5003173 as part of the May 2021 Patch Tuesday set of updates.
Insiders got some updates too, namely build 21382.1000 which landed in the Dev channel to test the servicing pipeline, followed by build 21387, which retires the IE11 desktop app and temporarily shuts down ‘Eco mode’ in Task Manager.
For insiders across the Release Preview and Beta channels, Microsoft also released builds 19042.1023 and 19043.1023 with an impressive list of fixes. What needs to be highlighted here is that those on 2004, 20H2, and 21H1 will all receive these same exact fixes when the Redmond firm rolls out the next set of cumulative updates, seeing as they share the same bits.
And speaking of bits, a rather sought-after bit of news by ARM enthusiasts and, in particular, Surface Pro X owners, is the announcement of apps running natively on the platform. Well, one such announcement was made this week, as Photoshop can now run natively on Windows 10 on ARM, shedding the ‘Beta’ tag that’s been put on it since November of last year.
Joint E3 conferences
Surprising perhaps three people, Xbox Game Studios head honcho Matt Booty has confirmed that Xbox and Bethesda will in fact be combining their E3 presentations into one big show.
Along with news about Halo Infinite and Age of Empires IV, both launching later this year, we might also get a glimpse at BGS’ Starfield, which will benefit from the big improvements to the Creation Engine. Said improvements, as per BGS studio head Todd Howard, are some of the biggest in the engine’s history, perhaps even dwarfing the improvements made from Morrowind to Oblivion.
Of course, let’s not forget that id Software, MachineGames, Arkane, and others are also now under XGS, so it wouldn’t be too unexpected for Microsoft to showcase some unannounced projects from those studios.
Until then, we have some things that are a tad more official. For example, there’s a Halo: MCC Insider test which brings visual improvements to Halo: Combat Evolved, the usual array of Deals with Gold, and the reveal that the next-gen variant of GTA V will be making its debut on Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 on November 11, 2021.
For fans of Paradox’s grand-strategy games, the publisher has announced Victoria 3. While still early in development, the game has been confirmed to hit Steam and Xbox Game Pass for PC on launch day, mimicking the launch of Crusader Kings 3.
And speaking of Game Pass, the service is soon set to welcome in its ranks Peggle 2, Conan Exiles, MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, SpellForce 3: Soul Harvest, Slime Rancher, and many more throughout the month of May, covering cloud, console, and PC availability.
We’ll end the section with a rather interesting original Xbox Easter egg. Though Xbox’s 20th anniversary is upon us (more specifically on November 15), certain aspects about the original console are still shrouded in mystery.
Among them is this rather quirky Easter egg, which for some reason involves an audio CD and the typing of the name Timmy, followed by the letter ‘y’ 24 more times, and an exclamation mark. It’s just about as weird as it sounds, if not more so, and you can read more about it here.
Better vertical tabs
At the rate Microsoft is adding things to its Chromium Edge browser, we’re bound to cover its development to some extent. This week in particular highlights some good news for fans of the vertical tabs feature.
As per Leopeva64-2 on Reddit, Edge was set to soon support the hiding of its title bar when using vertical tabs, something which perhaps should’ve been there from the start. This was first seen in Canary v92.0.891.0, and not long after its initial discovery, made its way to the Dev channel.
The Redmond firm also took a moment to update its password monitor and health dashboard, though the feature is expected to roll out to users starting this month, so some folks may not have it just yet.
If you’re in one of the Insider channels however, you will have access to Math Solver. The experimental feature does pretty much what it says on the tin, allowing students to take a picture of a math problem, import it into Edge, and use Microsoft’s AI capabilities to find out an answer and instructions on how to solve said problem.
Personal features in Teams are now generally available. A preview of Dynamics 365 Intelligent Order Management is out now. LaLiga and Microsoft have expanded their partnership to transform the digital sports experience. O2 has partnered with Microsoft to trial Mobile Edge Computing. The Redmond giant has explained how it’s making gaming more accessible. Teams on mobile will soon get support for large gallery view. Dark mode is rolling out for the unified Office app on Android. According to Microsoft, this is how meeting rooms will look like in the future. Logging off
We round off this week’s column with a look at the EOL of Internet Explorer. Version 11 to be more precise.
With the focus on its Chromium-based Edge browser as of late, as well as the inclusion of IE mode in its latest browser, the Redmond software giant has decided to put a firm date on the end of IE11: June 15, 2022.
While the deprecation of the feature will affect Windows 10 client and IoT versions 20H2 and later. For now, the IE platform (MSHTML/Trident), IE11 on Windows 8,.1, 7 ESU, 10 Server, 10 IoT LTSC, Server LTSC, and client LTSC are spared.
Should the time come for IE mode in Edge to be retired, the company says it will give at least a one-year notice for organizations to prepare. Beyond the all-important EOL date, Microsoft has provided additional details in regards to how businesses can get ready for the browser’s end of support.
Missed any of the previous columns? Be sure to have a look right here.
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Mozilla working on several macOS improvements for Firefox
by Paul Hill
It is weekly Firefox Nightly news, Mozilla has said that it’s working on a number of items in the macOS version of Firefox to improve how native it feels. The changes outlined include scrollbars squishing during rubber-banding (hitting the bottom and top of web pages), the arrival of native fullscreen, and improvements to enhanced dark mode handling. The latter two items can be toggled on in Firefox Nightly for testing.
The current version of Firefox on the Nightly channel is version 90, the release after the big interface overhaul due on June 1. Firefox 90 is expected to launch on July 13, 2021, according to FX Trains which tracks Firefox releases.
According to Mozilla, the new squishy scrollbars are enabled in Firefox Nightly but native fullscreen and the dark mode enhancements need to be enabled. To enable native fullscreen, head to about:config and turn on full-screen-api.macos-native-full-screen. To turn on enhanced dark mode support, go into about:config again and enable widget.macos.respect-system-appearance.
The work on native fullscreen and support for enhanced dark mode is still underway so you should be aware that you may experience problems after enabling these features in Firefox Nightly. As long as Mozilla doesn’t run into any major issues, we could see all of these improvements arrive with the stable release of Firefox 90.