Mozilla aims to build a new program designed to harvest end-user data for its open source projects, but especially Firefox. Firefox Test Pilot is currently nothing more than an initiative debuted under the Mozilla Labs umbrella, in order to lay out the concept behind the project, and to attract interest and identify a software engineer to lead the program. According to Aza Raskin, head of user experience at Mozilla Labs, Test Pilot will be used to gather Firefox usage information, feedback that will subsequently be used to evolve the design process of the open source browser.

“Test Pilot is a still-in-concept platform for a new user-testing program for Mozilla that aims to build a 1% representative sample of the Firefox user base for soliciting wide participation and structured feedback for interface and product experiments,” Raskin stated.

One important aspect of the new program is that Mozilla actually envisions building an entire feedback platform, which could scale beyond Firefox, to Thunderbird and Seamonkey, and subsequently to every Mozilla Labs project. Raskin indicated that the Test Pilot, served to users as an extension of Firefox, would first of all require them to answer non-personally-identifiable questions, in order to classify them in accordance with the locale, technical level etc. More »

Are you a power Gmail user? If not, these 6 little known, yet useful Gmail tips can get you on the road to being a power Gmail user today!

1. Import your contacts from Outlook, Thunderbird or Yahoo! Mail to Gmail. Don’t spend your entire weekend trying to copy your contacts over from another program or service! Just export your contacts as a .csv file and upload to Gmail. You can upload up to 3,000 contacts at a time. Here’s a detailed how-to on importing contacts using this method.

2. Use the vacation responder to automatically send messages to contacts. You do not have to be on vacation in order to use the vacation responder. If I am facing a deadline and too busy to talk, I will set up my vacation responder to let people know that I appreciate their email and I will get back to them within a certain timeframe. More »

An update is available that will help improve the performance and reliability of Windows Vista SP1.

This update includes the following improvements on a Windows Vista SP1-based computer:

1. The stability of Windows Vista SP1-based computers by addressing some crashes that may occur when you try to check e-mail by using a POP3 e-mail client such as Windows Mail or Mozilla Thunderbird.

2. The reliability of the Windows Vista SP1 based-computers by addressing some problems that occur when you delete user accounts by using the User Accounts item in Control Panel. When this problem occurs, the system may stop responding (hang). More »

Binaries tailored specifically to the open source Linux operating system can coexist on the same desktop with Windows Vista and Windows XP programs via Ulteo Virtual Desktop. Essentially, the promise of the Ulteo Virtual Desktop is to deliver Linux applications on Windows via the Ulteo panel. The virtualized environment will permit end users to run native Linux solutions right on the Windows Vista desktop, and integration complete down to the level of sharing the Windows Aero graphical user interface.

“At the moment, you will find a selection of applications that include: Firefox web browser enabled with Flash & Java, the full OpenOffice.org office suite that can deal with your MS Office documents KPdf to deal with your PDF documents, Kopete: the multi-Instant Messaging software that supports MSN and other protocols, Skype, Thunderbird + Enigmail, Gimp and Digikam to manage your pictures and Inkscape and Scribus to create great graphics and newspapers,” reads a fragment of Ulteo’s description. More »

Many applications come and go everyday from our computers and, in the end, only the best remains. Therefore, we thought it was a good idea to pick ten of the best open source applications of the year that passed. The following classification is not a “who’s the best or worst app” kind of list, it was made based on the most used and useful applications that helped us (the users) during the entire year. Without any further introduction, here are the finalists: More »