The Download Blog

Browser makers get past high-resolution image impasse

Browser makers get past high-resolution image impasse

It looks like browser makers have settled on a way to handle high-resolution images, which are now common with the arrival of screens like Apple's Retina displays.

Browser makers haven't offered Web developers a consistent, easy way to show the right image for a given screen's size and resolution -- an idea called responsive design. That's been a shame, because screens with high-pixel densities are increasingly common on laptops, tablets, and smartphones and can offer crisp, detailed photos and graphics.

The first breakthrough came in September when support emerged for a standard called srcset, which was … Read more

Mozilla adopts plain-vanilla password sign-in for Firefox sync

Mozilla adopts plain-vanilla password sign-in for Firefox sync

Mozilla has begun testing a simpler system for synchronizing Firefox's bookmarks, open tabs, Web site passwords, and other browser settings.

Until now, the not-for-profit organization had used a complicated mechanism in which you had to type a pairing code shown on one browser into another browser. Now it's begun a shift to a straightforward username-password approach to Firefox Sync, Mozilla said Saturday.

The old approach had the virtue of working without requiring Mozilla to maintain a database of its users, but it was complicated. Mozilla has lost that aversion and now offers Firefox accounts.

The initial version supports … Read more

Popular antivirus tools for OS X tested, again

Popular antivirus tools for OS X tested, again

Recently Mac security researcher and analyst Thomas Reed put to the test a number of popular antivirus tools for OS X, to see which perform the best for detecting known malware threats for OS X. This effort follows similar assessments done by Reed in past years, but has been repeated to characterize the fluctuating nature of not only new malware threats, but also the effectiveness of scanning engines as they receive software updates and new malware definitions from their developers.

In his testing, Reed found that the top malware scanners for OS X include the following (in no particular order) … Read more

Get ready for multicolor fonts -- maybe in motion, too

Get ready for multicolor fonts -- maybe in motion, too

For a few decades now, fonts have been monochromatic -- just the thing for putting black ink on white paper. But publishing has gone digital, and the era of the multicolored font is beginning.

The Motion Pictures Experts Group (MPEG) standards group last week began a project to standardize chromatic fonts -- those with multiple colors. Vladimir Levantovsky, a Monotype Imaging employee who serves as chairman of the group's font work, said he expects to merge technology from Mozilla, Adobe, Google, and Microsoft into a standard.

The impetus for the work was the need to support emoji, the colorful emoticons, icons, and pictures that gradually are expanding in use. But the work will expand to traditional typography, too, Levantovsky said. … Read more

Shoo, IE7: To escape aging browser, jobs site buys its clients new PCs

Shoo, IE7: To escape aging browser, jobs site buys its clients new PCs

For some folks, that elderly computer saddled with out-of-date software just turned into a ticket to a shiny new machine.

That's because NursingJobs, a site that connects nurses with employers that want to hire them, said it'll buy computers for some of its customers who are still using Microsoft's old IE7 browser.

"We are offering to buy a new computer with a modern browser for any of our customers who are stuck with IE7," said NursingJobs' Robert Gentel in a blog post the other day. "We determined that it would cost us more to … Read more

Chrome extension turns YouTube into your own personal radio station

Chrome extension turns YouTube into your own personal radio station

There is no shortage of Internet radio services. From freeware like Pandora and Rdio to premium services like Spotify and Google Music, you can listen to all the songs you want, when you want them. Streamus allows you to search for songs by tapping into the world's largest music database, YouTube.

Just download and install the extension and start listening to your favorite tune. You can search directly from the Omnibox (the address/search bar) by typing in "Streamus" and hitting Tab, or you can search within the extension and create your own playlist.

You can get … Read more

Reversing course, Google rejects Adobe Web publishing tech

Reversing course, Google rejects Adobe Web publishing tech

It can be hard to say no to an idea with some merit -- especially after already saying yes.

But that's the position Google is in with an Adobe Systems technology for bringing more sophisticated, magazine-style layouts to Web publishing through a technology called CSS Regions. Google changed its mind after deciding that it was too complex and that it would hamper one of Google's top 2014 priorities, making Chrome faster on mobile devices, according to Google Chrome programmer Eric Seidel.

Adobe had been working on CSS Regions for years, developing the idea as part of its effort … Read more

Top apps to boost your privacy

Top apps to boost your privacy

Internet privacy has become a hot issue: Governments are snooping, user data is being breached, shady apps have questionable permissions. Is it possible to be the least bit anonymous online? While no software can claim to be 100 percent PRISM-proof, the following apps significantly improve your chances of having a more private experience on the Web.

Do Not Track

Do Not Track lets you opt out of Web site tracking services, including social network services, analytics, and various ad networks. Many browsers already provide support for enabling Do Not Track within their respective native options. Supported browsers include:

Firefox for Windows/… Read more

Adobe revamps its basic Photoshop app for Android 4.4

Adobe revamps its basic Photoshop app for Android 4.4

Adobe Systems released a new version of its Photoshop Express for Android app Thursday that brings optimizations for Android 4.4 KitKat, new editing options, more direct to effects filters, and a new engine for processing photos.

"We have made every effort to fine-tune the app for Android. As an example, Android users will appreciate accessing and processing images saved on the SD card faster than before," Adobe's Manu Anand said in a blog post Thursday.

The new Android app includes a new image-rendering engine for handling photos. "This engine greatly improves performance and enables handling … Read more

Safari support completes Adblock Plus five-browser sweep

Safari support completes Adblock Plus five-browser sweep

Adblock Plus, a browser plug-in that wipes what it deems to be more intrusive advertisements off the Web, has completed its sweep of the top browsers on personal computers with the release of a version for Safari.

The Adblock Plus beta for Safari on OS X joins versions already available for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Internet Explorer. The company doesn't support Safari on iOS devices, though it does have a version for Android phones.

"Our goal is to make the Internet better for everyone by empowering people to block obnoxious ads while simultaneously encouraging websites to run user-friendly, … Read more