Six Good Reasons to Download Firefox 13

Between its use of SPDY by default and speed gains through Mozilla's “Project Snappy,” Firefox 13 has been generating excitement for some time already. Now, the final version of the software is here at last.

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Mozilla on Tuesday launched this latest version of its popular free and open source browser, which comes packed with numerous significant new features that promise to make life better for users in myriad ways.

If you already use Firefox, this new update will likely be on its way to you automatically through Mozilla's now nearly silent update process, which debuted in the Windows version of Firefox 12.

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Intuit Launches MoneyDue App to Turn Calendar Appointments into Payments

Today, Intuit announced a new iPhone app called MoneyDue that turns calendar appointments into billable services, with payment reminders and the option to send E-bills through the Intuit PaymentNetwork.

One of the biggest problems facing small businesses -- contractors, freelancers, and tutors -- is that they don't get paid fast enough," said Yumi Clark, a director for the Intuit PaymentNetwork. "MoneyDue allows users to turn time into money by reminding customers to pay when services are due. The app helps busy small business owners professionally manage money flow from their smartphone."

MoneyDue, for iPhone and iPod Touch, is available for free in the iTunes app store. The app syncs with your calendar to turn appointments into money owed. You simply add a dollar amount to the title of the event on the calendar and import it into MoneyDue. The app will ask you to pair it with a contact and then add it to their account as an amount due.

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Learn DIY Web Skills Through Mozilla's New 'Webmaker' Effort

Mozilla on Tuesday announced a new effort aimed at helping everyday users of the Web become more proficient at developing and helping to create it.

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Called Mozilla Webmaker, the new program offers tools, projects, and events designed to help users of all kinds create, learn, and connect online.

“The goal: help millions of people move from using the Web to making the Web,” Mozilla explained in the official announcement. “With new tools to use, projects to create, and events to join, we want to help the world increase their understanding of the Web and take greater control of their online lives.”

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How to Raise Venture Capital Through Crowdfunding

The Crowdfunding Bible, by Scott Steinberg, with Rusel DeMaria
You’ve come up with a brilliant idea--it could be the next Facebook social network, the next Tesla automobile, the next Half-Life videogame--but you need seed capital to get the project off the ground, and venture capitalists won’t give you the time of day. What’s an aspiring entrepreneur to do? You could give crowdfunding a shot.

What the heck is crowdfunding, you ask? It’s a means of raising capital, usually over the Internet, from people who believe in what you’re trying to accomplish. Technology consultant Scott Steinberg co-wrote the The Crowdfunding Bible to guide could-be tycoons through the process, and we interviewed Steinberg to help PCWorld Business Center readers emulate the success of such ventures as the Wasteland 2 videogame project, which has raised nearly $3 million through crowdfunding; or the PebbleE-Ink watch project, which has raised more than $10 million.

PCWorld Business Center: What are the key lessons entrepreneurs interested in crowdfunding should take away from this book?

PCWBC: If the project is successful, how do you recommend handling communication with backers?

Steinberg: It's important to realize that your product home page on the crowdfunding site you choose will become a dead link. Create a community and migrate them to a sustainable headquarters, such as a website or a blog. Stay in constant contact through social media channels, e-newsletters, whatever you can do.

You need to keep backers up to speed and appraised of where a project sits. They're not just backers, they're your supporters and brand evangelists. These people are emotionally invested in your success. They will help you create buzz and spread awareness, not just for your current project, but for future projects as long as this one is successful. Have a plan before you launch for how you're going to take care of communicating with your backers, whether it's hiring a PR agency or making sure you answer every email yourself.

The publisher has provided us with this excerpt from the book:

Who Should Consider Crowdfunding?

There are several factors to consider if you are thinking about using a crowdfunding model to finance a business, product, project, service or event.

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Android 5.0 Will Launch This Fall With Five Nexus Devices: Report

When Android 5.0 “Jelly Bean” launches this fall, it will appear first on several new mobile devices sold by Google itself as part of the “Nexus” line.

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That's according to a Tuesday story in the Wall Street Journal, which reports that Google is shifting its Android strategy so that it will not only give select mobile-device makers early access to new releases, but will also sell the resulting devices unlocked directly to consumers.

As many as five manufacturers may get privileged access to new releases of the mobile operating system, in fact, with an eye toward creating a “portfolio” of Nexus lead devices including both smartphones and tablets, the WSJ reported, citing “a person familiar with the matter.”

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Netgear Adds to Its 802.11ac Lineup

Netgear R6300 802.11ac router
Netgear R6300 802.11ac router
Netgear's first 802.11ac router, the R6300, will go on sale next week for $200, the company announced at a news conference yesterday. Touting the benefits of the next-gen Wi-Fi standard, the company also announced two more 802.11ac products: a lower-end router and a USB adapter for notebooks, both due this summer.

Netgear officials continue to maintain that the company is the first to bring 802.11ac products to market, even though Buffalo Technology's first 802.11ac router and an 802.11ac media bridge are already on sale on Frys.com and Newegg.com. A Netgear official at yesterday's press event said he had ordered a Buffalo unit from Newgg in order to verify actual availability, but that he had not yet received it.

While the 802.11ac standard uses the same unlicensed frequency spectrum as routers based on the older 802.11g (2.4GHz), 802.11a (5GHz), and 802.11n (2.4- and 5GHz) standards, 802.11ac routers are capable of packing three times more data into each spatial stream. Where an 802.11n router can stream data at speeds of up to 150 megabits per second (Mb/s) on each antenna, an 802.11ac router can deliver data at speeds of up to 450 Mb/s on each antenna.

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Firefox 13 Gets a Triple Shot of Speed Through Mozilla's 'Project Snappy'

When Mozilla launched the beta version of Firefox 13 late last month, it was already clear that faster speeds were on the way, thanks to the fact that the SPDY protocol had been enabled by default.

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Now it looks as though even more speed is in the works for the popular browser, thanks to an effort called “Project Snappy,” which Mozilla kicked off late last year.

“Back in the fall of 2011, we took a targeted look at Firefox responsiveness issues,” wrote Firefox Engineering Program Manager Lawrence Mandel in a blog post on Friday. “We identified a number of short term projects that together could achieve significant responsiveness improvements in day-to-day Firefox usage.”

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