How To Use Multi-touch in Firefox

Did you know you can switch tabs in Firefox by making a twisting motion with your fingers on a multi-touch surface? I did. Turns out I’ve been doing this for months – I thought I was late to the party and was too ashamed to mention it to anybody for fear of an epic internet ribbing. But no, apparently it was top secret and highly experimental. That was in the beta; it loks like the official version has reduced it to a hack. Fortunately, mastering this multi-touch-enabling technique will allow you to tweak your gestures, resulting in everlasting glory.

  • Open a new tab in Firefox… (I’ll wait)
  • Put “about:config” in the address bar, no quotes. It’ll ask you if you’re sure. Yes, you are.
  • Ready? Okay, now type “twist” into the search box.
  • Double-click on the twist right, and put “Browser:NextTab” into the box, without quotes.
  • Theeeen, in twist left, put “Browser:PrevTab” without the quotes.
  • You’re done! Now, I found the gesture (it applies immediately, try putting one finger down and rotating another around it) to be a bit slow to respond, so I changed that other setting, the threshold one, from its default (25) to 10. You can mess around and figure out what’s best for you.

See, tweaking is easy! If you’re afraid you’ve ruined something, just right-click on any box you’ve modified and hit reset.

Curiosity piqued? Type “gesture” into the search box and try modifying a few of those settings. I don’t particularly like the twist, so I’m about to set tab switching to three-fingered swipes. Aren’t we just having so much fun?


Firefox Mobile makes its way to Symbian


Firefox Mobile, already on Windows Mobile and Linux, is coming to Symbian in April, reveals Firefox’s Christian Sejerson. Totally out of the picture are BlackBerry, iPhone and Android, unfortunately.

Firefox 3: Now With Multi-Touch

Do you own one of those fanciful new MacBooks? You know, the ones with the cool multi-touch trackpads? Do you envy Safari users that can take advantage of multi-finger scrolling, pinching and squeezing in their web browsing? If so, you might be a perfect candidate for the new Firefox 3.2b2 beta.

Since October, Mozilla has been releasing preliminary builds of Firefox that allow you to use the gestures that are common among the Safari browsers out there; however, they’ve added some special gestures that are unique to Firefox. Some of these 3-finger gestures include:

  • Swipe left/right to move backward/forward through browsing history
  • Swipe Up/Down to move to top/bottom of web page
  • Pinch in/out to make the text larger or smaller
  • Twist left/right to move between open tabs

If you want to get your hands on the newest beta of FireFox, then head over to the Firefox 3 beta download website. There’s still now word on the final release of Firefox 3.1 which touch support expected.

Firefox Minefield

I came across a cool new browser that allows the user to use the web as really fast speeds. The browser? Minefield. The author of the code? Mozilla.

Yes, that same Mozilla that makes the Firefox browser. Minefield is, in fact, a way to glimpse into the future of Firefox, as it’s pre-release/alpha version of the Firefox browser.

How fast? Some claim that it has the fastest javascript engine on the planet, which means it leaves Google’s Chrom browser in the dust. In my opinion, I’d say that this assertion is correct. Ars Technica says Minefield is 10% faster than Chrome.

You can download the latest nightly build for Mac OS X, Linux, or Windows, but be warned: it’s alpha code. While a quick scan of the Web shows few complaints as to stability, Minefield may not be for you. It doesn’t support some of my favorite Firefox extensions (like Adblock Plus), but it actually has surprisingly good support for extensions, given that it’s a fast-moving project.

Feeling brave? Or simply feeling like you browser is too slow? Give Minefield a try. It’s a separate install so it won’t affect an existing Firefox install. You have nothing to lose but your chains.

Best All-Purpose Browser

Reviews indicate that the Firefox web browser is an ideal combination of performance and security, suitable for nearly anyone from pleasure shopper to power user. Critics praise its usability, lean size, lack of ActiveX security holes and convenient features, including tabbed browsing, pop-up blocking, an RSS reader, download manager, password manager, automatic updates, customized searching and a tweakable interface (themes). A vast number of extensions — which add functions like better eBay searches and form filling — are also available. Firefox runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X platforms. The next generation Firefox browser is nearing the end of its beta testing, with a final version due out this summer.


The One Laptop per Child (OLPC) initiative has recently released it’s XO-1 laptop. For a $200 donation, it will send one to a child in a developing country who doesn’t have the means to buy one. You can also get one for yourself by donating one to a child.

Technology-wise, the XO-1 is a study in contrasts, its sub-500MHz processor, 256MB of RAM, and 1GB of flash storage are puny by today’s standards (though fine for children between the ages of 6 and 12). Other features, such as its networking capabilities, LED-backlit screen, and ruggedized exterior are things I’ve seen in $2000 laptops.

The two antennas serve as both screen latches and port covers, shielding the three USB ports as well as the headphone and microphone jacks. The XO-1 is WiFi enabled, compatible with 802.11b/g, and capable of 802.11s mesh networking, in which the laptop acts as a node in a P2P network.

The laptop’s 7.5″ screen can pivot 180 degrees into an e-book mode. The interface is built on Fedora Linux. A taskbar at the bottom displays icons for functions such as Chat, Browse, Write, Paint, and Calculate, as well as open-source, educational programs. Among the more advanced are the TamTam music-creation program, and TurtleArt and Pippy, which teach computer programming. The browser, a tweaked version of Firefox, supports Flash and AJAX-based sites.

The XO-1’s green and white frame is resistant to water, tumbles, and temperature extremes. The keyboard is very responsive. The XO-1 uses so little power that any 8 to 11 volt power system is enough to run it. I measured power usage at 18 watts while the battery was charging and 6 watts when charged.

Millions of kids around the world have never used a computer and lack the means to get one. Putting the power of technology into their hands, and those of their families, has the potential of both improving their standard of living and moving us towarda true global village. And who knows? The XO-1’s success may change the future of laptops in the world.