Flagfox 5.0.2 update released

I have posted Flagfox 5.0.2 to Mozilla Add-ons. After a Mozilla editor signs off, the update will be available to all users, however you can download it before then via the all versions page.

This update contains the IPv4 & IPv6 address location database updates for April 2014. I’ve been releasing on a mid-month schedule for a while now, however it looks like Maxmind might be back to releasing their database updates earlier again so I may go back to beginning of the month updates. I generally try to keep it vaguely consistent if I can to avoid two updates in quick succession.

This version also contains a temporary link to a user survey in the Flagfox menu. (it’s not otherwise advertised) This will help me get some basic stats about how Flagfox’s more advanced users use its actions system as well as the standard questions about what browsers you use and if you use Mozilla Sync. One submission per person please, and also please avoid sharing direct links to the survey. When you load up the survey via the link Flagfox sends some very basic stats in the URL, namely the count of how many actions you have and if you have any custom actions using any advanced features. No identifying information nor the contents or names of any actions are sent. (the parameters in the URL are human-readable; the big number at the beginning is just the survey ID and is the same for everyone) This is disclosed at the top of the survey and no data should be recorded if you do not agree to proceed. The link hides after clicking as this is a one-time survey. If anyone has any issues with this survey please contact me. All submissions are anonymous.

Understanding the Mozilla CEO mess


This is a revision of a post I put up a few days ago. Events changed, so I felt the need to take the previous version down. My apologies to those who wanted to read it that hit a 404. (I didn’t know it had been linked to by someone other than myself yet) I wanted to avoid looking like I was more a part of the debate than I am, so even with the updates I added, I felt the need to redo things a bit here.

This is going to be a bit of an off-topic post to many of the few readers I have on this blog. If you aren’t already aware of the firestorm at the selection of Brenden Eich as the new Mozilla CEO, then you might not be my target audience for this post. I suggest going off to Youtube and watching some funny videos, as it might be more productive for you than reading this. This issue is a god forsaken mess, so be prepared for a little rant.
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Contributions update

The Amazon wish list is now effectively done. A couple generous donors bought me some new hardware and I purchased a new mid-range Android phone using donated funds. I’ve taken off the smaller things I can buy myself easier as well as the larger tablet (I don’t need two tablets). Their system is less then ideal, as it doesn’t even provide a way to be notified of use. I literally had to remember what I put on the list and check it to see if something was missing. No log; no email. One person bought me a two-pack of little flash drives and it just showed up in my mailbox without so much as a name. Yeah, not great, but thank you nonetheless. 🙂

Only one person sent me an Amazon gift card, possibly because people may have been confused with Amazon’s system. I’ve decided that I need to turn off their system because the UX is crap. The one person that sent me Amazon-money did so by emailing the general feedback email address, so I highly suspect that someone might’ve bought a gift card through Amazon’s system for themself instead of as a gift accidentally. It’s also possible that because Amazon is a bit grandiose in its labeling and has $100 in its thumbnail, some people might have thought you could only send large amounts. There’s a lot of issues with their site, I think.

As a replacement secondary donation route, I’ve started using Gyft. (Update: Gyft no longer used) You can send various different gift cards, including Amazon, with no fees and even a points system to get minor discounts on future card purchases. I found them when I was looking for a good way to buy some things off of Amazon with PayPal money, which Amazon refuses to accept in an anti-competitive maneuver to try and push their Amazon payments system. Gyft even accepts Bitcoin. I purchased a small cart of little things I needed with a combination of a directly gifted Amazon gift card code, an Amazon gift card purchased from Gyft with Bitcoin, and another Amazon gift card purchased from Gyft with Paypal (and some Gyft points from the Bitcoin purchase). All digital and quick. We’re living in the future. Though, it’s a convoluted overly-complicated future.

Multiple people have also requested a mailing address to send me a physical paper check. I think I may need to do this, however I’ll need to get a PO box first. Not that I explicitly distrust anyone asking, but I’m not giving my home address to strangers on the Internet. It’s effectively impossible to develop software used by a million people and not have at least one legitimately crazy user who I need to worry about.

I will also note that I’ve had 3 or so people request I accept Bitcoin but only one person actually follow through with a Bitcoin donation. I get the feeling that some people just like the idea of Bitcoin, but don’t really want to use it. An address to donate to me is sitting in the sidebar on the right. I can now convert it to gift cards with Gyft to use it instead of having to deal with an exchange, which is a surprisingly efficient and user-friendly route.

I’ve taken down the Gyft page as apparently nobody wants to use it and the survey indicates that it’s not as popular as I had thought. Instead, using Amazon’s basic gift card via email system works fine. You can send it to my public email address for Flagfox or my private one if you have it.

Flagfox 5.0.1 update is live

The Flagfox 5.0.1 update is now live. Users should automatically update at some point soon. Flagfox 5.0 is now restartless, so it should happen automatically with no need to restart Firefox.

Version 5.0.1 changelog:

  • IPv4 & IPv6 address location database updates for March 2014
  • Improved styling of flag icon border to work better with dark themes
  • Optimized XPI compression slightly for better extractionless loading
  • Removed hack needed to support Australis prior to recent update
  • Added ability to unload IPDB files on memory-pressure:heap-minimize
  • Minor localization fixes

This update was available for download for the past week via the all versions page, however it took a while for a Mozilla Add-ons editor to sign off on it to get it out as an update.

A phishing story, aka why I need to write a mobile version of Flagfox

Over the past year or so, a few different people have requested I add Mobile Firefox support to Flagfox. My response was always the same: I’d like to, but I don’t own an Android device and can’t really afford get the hardware I’d need to develop for mobile. I recently decided to change that by directly asking my users if they’d like to donate towards Flagfox development, including a mobile version. The response was quite encouraging. I’ve gotten a few hundred small contributions and a few larger ones. I’m not exactly rich now, but I now own a mid-range Android phone and a small tablet. I will be starting on work towards getting Flagfox working in Mobile Firefox at some point soon. If anyone would like to be notified of when I have an alpha or a beta ready for testing, follow this blog or me on Twitter.

Today, I shall tell you a story. This is not fiction; I kid you not, this happened today. I have had my new phone for about a week now. I ended up going with one locked into Verizon because I didn’t want to pay the extra $80 needed for an unlocked phone only to probably end up going with them for coverage. I could tell you another story of how many hours of being on hold and getting the run-around it took to actually get the damn thing set up and another call to get texting working, but this story here is about phishing.

Today, I got a text message. I am a new Verizon Wireless customer, and here in my inbox was a text “from” Verizon Wireless telling me to review my account payments after a recent service disruption. It’s highly unlikely that the attacker knew that I had any recent service issue, but it is an amusing coincidence. This message contained a URL to a site on a raw IP address, in the form of “http​://​255.255.​255.255/verizon​.com/​wireless/” (with a real IP address). I looked at this and laughed. If this were my mother’s new phone, her bank account could now be empty.
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Flag selection & update policy

With the new flag set in Flagfox 5.0, many countries/territories got updates for their flags that were long overdue. Previously, there were quite a few small regions using the flag of a colonial power because neither old icon set had a flag for them. This new set is based on the flags Wikipedia uses, so it is now as complete as can be. This also makes my response to change requests a lot simpler.

My policy has always been that I will not wade into political disputes. The flag I will show for your country/territory is the one Wikipedia uses.

I am not qualified to pick a side in the dispute over what flag should be shown for an island on the opposite side of the planet that I’ve never heard of. I thus defer to more informed experts on the matter. Win over the curators of the Wikipedia article and I will go along with what they use. If they have everything properly set up I may even be able to include updates automatically.

Note that specifically I’m referring to the main English article, not any localized versions. Also note that I will not “localize” a flag to appease different locales’ view of the world, nor will I override their decision because you don’t accept a flag as “official” but they do. Additionally, just to state what should be obvious, each country/territory gets one flag, no matter how many flags are declared/accepted for it.

No matter how passionate you are that the flag you want is the “correct” one, there are also going to be other people who want another one instead. Please understand that we do not all live in the same world. Your dispute is as alien to me as a political issue local to me is to you. I’m not going to change flags just because someone sent me an angry email written in a language I don’t read, because the response to doing so will probably be an equally angry email written in a different language I don’t read. I’m not going to pick sides in issues I’ve never even heard of.