The Download Blog

Opera widgets for the math and science whiz

I really like Opera (Windows | Mac) widgets. They all offer something unique. But I especially like the browser's science and math widgets.

If you're someone who just can't get enough of planets, you love building mathematical graphs, or you enjoy science, these widgets are for you.

Science widgets

Astronomy Picture of the Day Each day, when you load Astronomy Picture of the Day, it displays a picture it gets from NASA. When you click on that image, it gives you an in-depth description of what's being depicted and why it's important. I found it to be extremely informative. Practically anyone who likes astronomy should be pleased with Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Chinese Abacus If you want to get some addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division work done, look no further than than the Chinese Abacus widget. Much like the real thing, you can move the blocks up and down to keep count. The abacus will show a tally at the bottom to help you.

Before you start using it, beware that the Chinese Abacus widget requires some knowledge of the abacus to get it to work. Once you get the hang of it, you'll find that it makes performing basic math functions quite simple.

Functions 3D Functions 3D isn't for the novice mathematician. The widget lets you create a 3D structure based on a mathematical equation that you devise.

Once you set the X, Y, and Z boundaries, you'll create an equation to develop the figure you want to depict. You can create simple archways or complex statues by changing the equation to fit your needs. Functions 3D is one of the more powerful Opera widgets I've ever used. It's also one of the most difficult to understand.… Read more

Postbox gets extensions

Considering that it's based on Mozilla Thunderbird, it was a bit of a surprise that add-ons weren't available for Postbox when it debuted. That's now been remedied in Postbox beta 13 for Windows and Mac. Given Postbox's emphasis on social-networking technology and Mozilla's own success with add-ons, this move puts the e-mail client in an excellent position to attract more users.

A Webware 100 winner, the list of supported extensions isn't long at the moment, and notably it doesn't include Thunderbird's calendaring tool Lightning. Since Postbox doesn't have its own supported … Read more

Firefox 3.5: Excellent for fans, but competition getting tougher

Firefox 3.5 brings the world's second-most popular browser up to speed with current browsing technology and trends, and perhaps nudges it just a bit ahead of the competition. However, it is by no means the leap ahead that its predecessor Firefox 3 was, and it's clear that the competition isn't going away anytime soon.

Available for Windows, Windows Portable, Mac, or Linux, Firefox 3.5 nevertheless represents the best Firefox we've yet seen from Mozilla. This comes as no surprise, and with a testing process that involved four beta builds, three release candidates, and a … Read more

Firefox add-ons: Which work in 3.5?

Editors' note: Updated June 30, 2009, at 5:55 p.m. with more extensions details. Updated at 12:42 p.m. with more add-on details and a statement about Google Gears.

Like you, we've been hotly anticipating the launch of Firefox 3.5 for Windows and Mac. Yet every time a browser receives a major update, it ghosts out a good chunk of those favorite, ingenious, and time-saving extensions we've come to rely on. That is, until the lagging publishers update their add-ons to make them compatible once again.

Google is one high-profile example with Gears. "We'… Read more

Mozilla finally pushes Firefox 3.5 (video)

Four betas, three release candidates, and one version number change later, Mozilla finally gave Firefox 3.5 the kick out the door that the general public has been waiting for. If you're not convinced that it's worth upgrading, watch what's new in this First Look video, and download it for your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer.

Die-hard fans probably already know this, but this is the fastest version of Firefox yet. Even though some of its competitors can load JavaScript faster, version 3.5 offers plenty of toys for developers and casual users alike.

Mozilla releases Firefox 3.5

Firefox 3.5, the embodiment of Mozilla's attempt to "upgrade the Web," is now available for Windows and Mac.

Firefox 3.5 has a range of new features, including a new JavaScript engine for faster Web applications such as Google Docs; the ability to show video built into Web pages without plug-ins; a private browsing mode; fancy downloadable fonts; and geolocation technology that can let Web sites know where you are.

"So much is happening on the Web right now, it's a great time for browsers," said John Lilly, CEO of Firefox backer Mozilla, … Read more

With 3.5 launch, Firefox faces new challengers

A funny thing to happened to Firefox on the way to vanquishing Internet Explorer: the Mozilla browser's success opened the door for a host of its other competitors.

Even as Internet Explorer's market share has slipped--down a dramatic 8 percentage points to 65.5 percent in about the last year--Firefox programmers face a surprising question: should they be more worried about the programmers in Redmond, Wash., or about those working on Apple's Safari, Google's Chrome, and Opera?

Firefox has gained about 3 percentage points to 22.5 percent in market share, according to Net Applications' statistics … Read more

The best Firefox extension: AutoCopy

Oh yes, I did just go there. Hands-down, without a skerrick of doubt, AutoCopy is the best Firefox extension. It may also be the best Firefox extension you've never heard of. Here's what it does, and then I'll tell you what makes it so great.

Developed at Mozilla, AutoCopy is a lightweight, single-feature add-on that copies any text you highlight to your clipboard. No more hitting CTRL+C, or using the context menu. That in and of itself is not so revolutionary. The feature has been around for a while in other programs. What makes it the … Read more

Two fun games go on sale: iPhone apps of the week

Everybody loves a bargain. With the iTunes App Store, it's getting to the point that apps go on sale almost every week. Of course, app sale prices can be either good or bad, depending on your perspective. If you bought that fancy game for $9.99 a few weeks ago only to find out it went on sale later for $1.99, you can't help but feel a bit cheated. But it also gives you the opportunity to swoop in and grab apps you wouldn't ordinarily buy.

This week's apps are both games and are both … Read more