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Moz/FF

Using WebThings Gateway notifications as a warning system for your home

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Moz/FF

Ever wonder if that leaky pipe you fixed is holding up? With a trip to the hardware store and a Mozilla WebThings Gateway you can set up a cheap leak sensor to keep an eye on the situation, whether you’re home or away. Although you can look up detector status easily on the web-based dashboard, it would be better to not need to pay attention unless a leak actually occurs. In the WebThings Gateway 0.9 release, a number of different notification mechanisms can be set up, including emails, apps, and text messages.

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Announcing Rust 1.37.0

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Development
Moz/FF

The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.37.0. Rust is a programming language that is empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software.

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Mozilla's WebThings Gateway now available for Turris Omnia router

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Moz/FF

The first step for adding devices is to put them in a mode that is receptive to a new pairing, one at a time, then to tell the Gateway web application to scan for them. Once they are recognized (and renamed to something that makes more sense to the user), there are a number of different options. The device state can be queried (e.g. is a door open or a light on) or changed, for example; some devices may require an add-on in order to access them. Users can also create a floor plan of their house to place icons of the devices in the right locations.

Beyond that, there is a rules engine where automated changes can be programmed. So if the user wants a certain light to go on or off at a specific time, for example, that can be done. The interface is icon oriented, which should make it easier for less technical users. There is also an experimental Smart Assistant feature that allows voice or typed commands like "turn on the kitchen light" to be handled. The voice data is sent to Google's voice assistant API; the text commands are handled locally on the Gateway device. It is not clear why the assistant is not using Mozilla's speech-processing engine.

New for version 0.9 is a Notifier add-on that will send an email or SMS text message based on rules that the user specifies, so motion sensor activity could trigger a text message, for example. Accompanying the Gateway release is the 0.12 release of the WebThings Framework. It has made some changes to the Web Thing API to more closely align it with the recent W3C WoT Thing Description draft.

Centralizing IoT handling on a system controlled by the user is an admirable goal. The IoT world has so far proven to be an insecure morass of competing lock-in plays, or so it seems to this cynical observer. Wresting control of the devices from the manufacturers and placing it in the hands of their owners seems like an excellent step forward. Hopefully Mozilla sticks with this project for the long haul and that it gets the community support that it surely deserves—and needs.

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Mozilla: Secure Connections, Localisation and Latest on Rust

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Moz/FF
  • Mozilla revamps Firefox's HTTPS address bar information

    Mozilla plans to make changes to the information that the organization's Firefox browser displays in its address bar when it connects to sites.

    Firefox displays an i-icon and a lock symbol currently when connecting to sites. The i-icon displays information about the security of the connection, content blocking, and permissions, the lock icon indicates the security state of the connection visually. A green lock indicates a secure connection and if a site has an Extended Validation certificate, the name of the company is displayed in the address bar as well.

    Mozilla plans to make changes to the information that is displayed in the browser's address bar that all Firefox users need to be aware of.

  • Mozilla Localization (L10N): L10n Report: August Edition

    We’re quickly approaching the deadline for Firefox 69. The last day to ship your changes in this version is August 20, less than a week away.

    A lot of content targeting Firefox 70 already landed and it’s available in Pontoon for translation, with more to come in the following days. Here are a few of the areas where you should focus your testing on.

  • This Week In Rust: This Week in Rust 299

Mozilla, OSS and Development

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Development
Moz/FF
OSS
  • Mozilla VR Blog: Custom elements for the immersive web

    From the Mixed Reality team, we keep working on improving the content creator experience, building new frameworks, tools, APIs, performance tuning and so on.
    Most of these projects are based on the assumption that the users have a basic knowledge of 3D graphics and want to go deep on fully customizing their WebXR experience, (eg: using A-Frame or three.js).
    But there are still a lot of use cases where content creators just want very simple interactions and don’t have the knowledge or time to create and maintain a custom application built on top of a WebXR framework.

    With this project we aim to address the problems these content creators have by providing custom elements with simple, yet polished features. One could be just a simple 360 image or video viewer, another one could be a tour allowing the user to jump from one image to another.

  • Mozilla Reps Community: Reps OKRs for second half of 2019

    Here is the list of the OKRs (objective and Key Results) that the Reps Council has set for the second half of 2019

  • Building a non-breaking breakpoint for Python debugging

    This is the story of how our team at Rookout built non-breaking breakpoints for Python and some of the lessons we learned along the way. I'll be presenting all about the nuts and bolts of debugging in Python at PyBay 2019 in San Francisco this month. Let's dig in.

  • Excellent Free Books to Learn X86 Assembly

    An assembly language is a low-level programming language for a computer, or other programmable device. Assembly language is used by almost all modern desktop and laptop computers. It is as close to writing machine code without writing in pure hexadecimal. It is converted into executable machine code by a utility program referred to as an assembler.

  • A comprehensive guide to agile project management

    With a focus on continuous improvements, agile project management upends the traditional linear way of developing products and services. Increasingly, organizations are adopting agile project management because it utilizes a series of shorter development cycles to deliver features and improve continually. This management style allows for rapid development, continuous integration (CI), and continuous delivery (CD).

    Agile project management allows cross-functional teams to work on chunks of projects, solving problems and moving projects forward in shorter phases. This enables them to iterate more quickly and deliver more frequent updates.

    The agile methodology provides a higher level of quality improvements on an incremental basis instead of waiting to distribute finished projects. And agile project management works. For example, PWC reports agile projects are 28% more successful than traditional project methodologies.

Mozilla: SUMO, CPU Spikes in Firefox and Data Collection (Surveillance)

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Moz/FF
  • Community Management Update

    I have a couple announcements for today. I’d like you all to welcome our two new community managers.

    First off Kiki has officially joined the SUMO team as a community manager. Kiki has been filling in with Konstantina and Ruben on our social support activities. We had an opportunity to bring her onto the SUMO team full time starting last week. She will be transitioning out of her responsibilities at the Community Development Team and will be continuing her work on the social program as well as managing SUMO days going forward.

    In addition, we have hired a new SUMO community manager to join the team. Please welcome Giulia Guizzardi to the SUMO team.

  • Mike Hoye: Ten More Simple Rules

    The Public Library of Science‘s Ten Simple Rules series can be fun reading; they’re introductory papers intended to provide novices or non-domain-experts with a set of quick, evidence-based guidelines for dealing with common problems in and around various fields, and it’s become a pretty popular, accessible format as far as scientific publication goes.

  • Henrik Skupin: Example in how to investigate CPU spikes in Firefox

    So a couple of months ago when I was looking for some new interesting and challenging sport events, which I could participate in to reach my own limits, I was made aware of the Mega Hike event. It sounded like fun and it was also good to see that one particular event is annually organized in my own city since 2018. As such I accepted it together with a friend, and we had an amazing day. But hey… that’s not what I actually want to talk about in this post!

    The thing I was actually more interested in while reading content on this web site, was the high CPU load of Firefox while the page was open in my browser. Once the tab got closed the CPU load dropped back to normal numbers, and went up again once I reopened the tab. Given that I haven’t had that much time to further investigate this behavior, I simply logged bug 1530071 to make people aware of the problem. Sadly the bug got lost in my incoming queue of daily bug mail, and I missed to respond, which itself lead in no further progress been made.

    Yesterday I stumbled over the website again, and by any change have been made aware of the problem again. Nothing seemed to have been changed, and Firefox Nightly (70.0a1) was still using around 70% of CPU even with the tab’s content not visible; means moved to a background tab. Given that this is a serious performance and power related issue I thought that investigation might be pretty helpful for developers.

    In the following sections I want to lay out the steps I did to nail down this problem.

  • My StarCon 2019 Talk: Collecting Data Responsibly and at Scale

    Back in January I was privileged to speak at StarCon 2019 at the University of Waterloo about responsible data collection. It was a bitterly-cold weekend with beautiful sun dogs ringing the morning sun. I spent it inside talking about good ways to collect data and how Mozilla serves as a concrete example. It’s 15 minutes short and aimed at a general audience. I hope you like it.

Mozilla: Firefox 69, Revamping Firefox’s Reader Mode, MDN Ramble

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Moz/FF
  • Extensions in Firefox 69

    In our last post for Firefox 68, we’ve introduced a great number of new features. In contrast, Firefox 69 only has a few new additions. Still, we are proud to present this round of changes to extensions in Firefox.

  • Revamping Firefox’s Reader Mode this Summer

    For me, getting all set to read a book would mean spending hours hopping between stores to find the right lighting and mood to get started. But with Firefox’s Reader Mode it’s now much more convenient to get reading on the go. And this summer, I have been fortunate to shift roles from a user to a developer for the Reader Mode . As I write this blog, I have completed two months as a Google Summer of Code student developer with Mozilla. It has been a really enriching experience and thus I would like to share some glimpses of the project and my journey so far.

  • The Tall-Tale Clock: The myth of task estimates

    On the MDN team, we have begun over the past year to use a time unit we call the hypothetical ideal day or simply ideal day. This is a theoretical time unit in which you are able to work, uninterrupted, on a project for an entire 8-hour work day. A given task may take any appropriate number of ideal days to complete, depending on its size and complexity. Some tasks may take less than a single ideal day, or may otherwise require a fractional number of ideal days (like 0.5 ideal days, or 1.25 ideal days). We generally round to a quarter of a day.

5 open-source Firefox alternatives for Linux users

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Moz/FF
Web

Mozilla Firefox is an excellent open-source web browser, perhaps one of the best tools on the entire Linux platform. Still, the Firefox browser is adding more and more features, and these new additions aren’t for everyone. If you’re looking for an open-source alternative to Firefox on Linux, we’ve got you covered. Here are 5 open-source Firefox alternatives for Linux users.

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Mozilla: Voice, Greenwashing, WebThings, VR, Politics and Firefox 70

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Moz/FF
  • Mozilla Open Innovation Team: Mozilla Voice Challenge: Defining The Voice Technology Space

    Voice-enabled products are in rapid ascent in both consumer and enterprise markets. The expectations are that in the near future voice interaction will become a key interface for people’s internet-connected lives.

    Unfortunately, the current voice product market is heavily dominated by a few giant tech companies. This is unhealthy as it stifles the competition and prevents entry of smaller companies with new and innovative products. Mozilla wants to change that. We want to help opening up the ecosystem. So far there have been two major components in Mozilla’s open source voice tech efforts outside the Firefox browser:

    (1) To solve for the lack of available training data for machine-learning algorithms that can power new voice-enabled applications, we launched the Common Voice project. The current release already represents the largest public domain transcribed voice dataset, with more than 2,400 hours of voice data and 28 languages represented.

    (2) In addition to the data collection, Mozilla’s Machine Learning Group has applied sophisticated machine learning techniques and a variety of innovations to build an open-source speech-to-text engine that approaches human accuracy, as well as a text-to-speech engine. Together with the growing Common Voice dataset Mozilla believes this technology can and will enable a wave of innovative products and services, and that it should be available to everyone.

  • Eight ways to reduce your digital carbon footprint

    Whether it’s from doing things like burning fossil fuels through driving, cranking up the furnace or grilling a steak, we are all responsible for releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is called our carbon footprint. When we collectively produce more carbon than the planet can absorb, the extra CO2 contributes to climate change. Even less obvious daily activities add to our carbon footprint, such as using the internet.

    While the internet’s data is essentially invisible, it is processed and stored in massive data centers all over the world. Those data centers are powered 24/7, just waiting to send information — videos, podcasts, music, news, memes, messages and everything the internet offers — to our digital devices. All that data that we’ve grown accustomed to having fast at our fingertips along with our always-on mentality ends up contributing to our digital carbon footprints.

  • WebThings Gateway for Wireless Routers

    In April we announced that the Mozilla IoT team had been working on evolving WebThings Gateway into a full software distribution for consumer wireless routers.

    Today, with the 0.9 release, we’re happy to announce the availability of the first experimental builds for our first target router hardware, the Turris Omnia.

  • MrEd, an Experiment in Mixed Reality Editing

    For the past several months Blair, Anselm and I have been working on a visual editor for WebXR called the Mixed Reality Editor, or MrEd. We started with this simple premise: non-programmers should be able to create interactive stories and experiences in Mixed Reality without having to embrace the complexity of game engines and other general purpose tools. We are not the first people to tackle this challenge; from visual programming tools to simplified authoring environments, researchers and hobbyists have grappled with this problem for decades.

    Looking beyond Mixed Reality, there have been notable successes in other media. In the late 1980s Apple created a ground breaking tool for the Macintosh called Hypercard. It let people visually build applications at a time when programming the Mac required Pascal or assembly. It did this by using the concrete metaphor of a stack of cards. Anything could be turned into a button that would jump the user to another card. Within this simple framework people were able to create eBooks, simple games, art, and other interactive applications. Hypercard’s reliance on declaring possibly large numbers of “visual moments” (cards) and using simple “programming” to move between them is one of the inspirations for MrEd.

    We also took inspiration from Twine, a web-based tool for building interactive hypertext novels. In Twine, each moment in the story (seen on the screen) is defined as a passage in the editor as a mix of HTML content and very simple programming expressions executed when a passage is displayed, or when the reader follows a link. Like Hypercard, the author directly builds what the user sees, annotating it with small bits of code to manage the state of the story.

    No matter what the medium — text, pictures, film, or MR — people want to tell stories. Mixed Reality needs tools to let people easily tell stories by focusing on the story, not by writing a simulation. It needs content focused tools for authors, not programmers. This is what MrEd tries to be.

  • Firefox Reality for Oculus Quest

    Following our releases for other 6DoF headsets including the HTC Vive Focus Plus and Lenovo Mirage, we are delighted to bring the Firefox Reality VR web browsing experience to Oculus' newest headset.

    Whether you’re watching immersive video or meeting up with friends in Mozilla Hubs, Firefox Reality takes advantage of the Oculus Quest’s boost in performance and capabilities to deliver the best VR web browsing experience. Try the new featured content on the FxR home page or build your own to see what you can do in the next generation of standalone virtual reality headsets.

  • IRL (podcast): Democracy and the Internet

    Part of celebrating democracy is questioning what influences it. In this episode of IRL, we look at how the internet influences us, our votes, and our systems of government. Is democracy in trouble? Are democratic elections and the internet incompatible?

    Politico's Mark Scott takes us into Facebook's European Union election war room. Karina Gould, Canada's Minister for Democratic Institutions, explains why they passed a law governing online political ads. The ACLU's Ben Wizner says our online electoral integrity problem goes well beyond a few bad ads. The team at Stop Fake describes a massive problem that Ukraine faces in telling political news fact from fiction, as well as how they're tackling it. And NYU professor Eric Klinenberg explains how a little bit of offline conversation goes a long way to inoculate an electorate against election interference.

  • IRL (podcast): The Internet's Carbon Footprint

    Manoush Zomorodi explores the surprising environmental impact of the internet in this episode of IRL. Because while it’s easy to think of the internet as living only on your screen, energy demand for the internet is indeed powered by massive server farms, running around the clock, all over the world. What exactly is the internet’s carbon footprint? And, what can we do about it?

    Music professor Kyle Devine considers the environmental costs of streaming music. Geophysicist and pop scientist Miles Traer takes his best shot at calculating the carbon footprint of the IRL podcast. Climate journalist Tatiana Schlossberg explores the environmental influence we don’t know we have and what the web’s got to do with it. Greenpeace’s Gary Cook explains which tech companies are committed to renewable energy — and which are not. Kris De Decker tries powering his website with a homebrew solar power system. And, Ecosia's Chief Tree Planting Officer Pieter Van Midwoud discusses how his company uses online search to plant trees.

  • Upcoming deprecations in Firefox 70

    Several planned code deprecations for Firefox 70, currently available on the Nightly pre-release channel, may impact extension and theme developers. Firefox 70 will be released on October 22, 2019.

  • QMO: Firefox Nightly 70 Testday Results

    As you may already know, last Friday – July 19th – we held a new Testday event, for Firefox Nightly 70.

    Thank you all for helping us make Mozilla a better place: gaby2300, maria plachkova and Fernando noelonassis.

Mozilla debuts implementation of WebThings Gateway open source router firmware

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Moz/FF
OSS

For the better part of two years, the folks at Mozilla have been diligently chipping away at Mozilla WebThings, an open implementation of the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web of Things standard for monitoring and controlling connected devices. In April, it gained a number of powerful logging, alarm, and networking features, and today, a revamped component of WebThings — WebThings Gateway, a privacy- and security-focused software distribution for smart home gateways — formally debuted.

Experimental builds of WebThings Gateway 0.9 are available on GitHub for the Turris Omnia router, with expanded support for routers and developer boards to come down the line. (Separately, there’s a new build compatible with the recently announced Raspberry Pi 4.) Mozilla notes that it currently only offers “extremely basic” router configuration and cautions against replacing existing firmware, but the company says that it’s a noteworthy milestone in its path to creating a full software distribution for wireless routers.

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More in Tux Machines

Games: Steam Play/Proton, GNU/Linux on Xbox, and UnderMine

  • CodeWeavers Reflects On The Wild Year Since Valve Introduced Steam Play / Proton

    This week marks one year since Valve rolled out their Proton beta for Steam Play to allow Windows games to gracefully run on Linux via this Wine downstream catered for Steam Linux gaming. It's been crazy since then with all of Valve's continued work on open-source graphics drivers, adding the likes of FAudio and D9VK to Proton, continuing to fund DXVK development for faster Direct3D-over-Vulkan, and many other infrastructure improvements and more to allow more Windows games to run on Linux and to do so well and speedy.

  • Turn your Xbox console into a home PC with this guide

    If you’ve ever wondered if you can turn your Xbox into a PC, you came to the right place. Because the Xbox console has the same hardware specifications as some older computer desktops, you will be able to convert it to a fully functioning PC. Unfortunately, you will not be able to install Windows on your console, but you can use the Linux operating system. In this article you will find out what items you’re going to need in order to make this happen, and also the steps you need to follow to accomplish this.

  • Action-adventure roguelike UnderMine now available in Early Access

    UnderMine from developer Thorium is an action-adventure roguelike with a bit of RPG tossed in, it's now in Early Access with Linux support. [...] Featuring some gameplay elements found in the likes of The Binding of Isaac, you proceed further down the UnderMine, going room to room digging for treasure and taking down enemies. There's also some RPG style rogue-lite progression involved too, as you're able to find powerful items and upgrades as you explore to prepare you for further runs.

GNU Scientific Library 2.6 released

Version 2.6 of the GNU Scientific Library (GSL) is now available. GSL provides a large collection of routines for numerical computing in C. This release introduces major performance improvements to common linear algebra matrix factorizations, as well as numerous new features and bug fixes. The full NEWS file entry is appended below. The file details for this release are: ftp://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/gsl/gsl-2.6.tar.gz ftp://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/gsl/gsl-2.6.tar.gz.sig The GSL project homepage is http://www.gnu.org/software/gsl/ GSL is free software distributed under the GNU General Public License. Thanks to everyone who reported bugs and contributed improvements. Patrick Alken Read more

Announcing Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU12

Today we are releasing the SRU 12 for Oracle Solaris 11.4. It is available via 'pkg update' from the support repository or by downloading the SRU from My Oracle Support Doc ID 2433412.1. Read more Also: Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU12 Released - Adds GCC 9.1 Compiler & Python 3.7

Redcore Linux 1908 Released, Which Fixes Many of the Pending Bugs

Redcore Linux developer has released the new version of Redcore Linux 1908 and code name is Mira. This release fixes most of the outstanding bugs and some more polishing. Also, added new features as well. Bunch of packages (1000+) got updated because this release is based on Gentoo’s testing branch, unlike previous releases which were based on a mix of Gentoo’s stable and testing branches. Starting from Redcore Linux 1908, the packages shold be up-to-date since it’s using Gentoo’s testing branch. Read more