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Firefox 3.5 Beta 4 Available For Download

Bleeding edge browsers and web developers take note, for the latest Firefox 3.5 (previously 3.1) beta is in the wild. There doesn’t seem to be much that’s entirely whole-cloth new to this release, except perhaps the undo closed window feature. The release notes have more detail on the latest test release, and users, as always, shouldn’t expect all their extensions to work in this version. Trying it out already and liking what you see? Were you expecting more? Tell us how 3.5b4 comes across in the comments. [Firefox 3.5b4 Beta]

Battle Of The Best Beta Releases Of 2008

In 2008, power users tested a parade of new webapps and software bearing the “beta” disclaimer. Take a look at the beta releases that knocked your socks off the most this past year.

New York Times Reader Now Available for Mac

Windows and now Mac OS X only: The beta NY Times reader application which Adam gave the full screenshot walk-through treatment is now available for your Mac. The application definitely provides a better reading experience than the web site only; there are fewer ads, more ways to customise the page’s layout (headlines only, headlines with excerpts, different photo sizes), and it helpfully grays out articles you’ve already read. (Click the image to see a full-size screenshot, where the American Idol article I read is grayed out.) The NY Times beta reader is a free download, and it requires (ugh) Silverlight to run on your Mac, as well as login details to (free registration).

Times Reader Beta for the Mac Now Available [First Look Blog via steverubel]

Firefox 3 On Track To Be Speediest Browser

Now that Mozilla’s locked down Firefox 3’s final feature set with Friday’s push of release candidate 1, it’s official: while Firefox 3 boasts some great new features like a smart address bar and better bookmarks manager, the best reason to upgrade will be for the performance improvements. Firefox 3 is noticeably faster and more stable than Firefox 2 to the casual user and Mozilla engineers have numbers that show it will be the fastest browser on the market. Tech site TechWeb reports: Mozilla VP of engineering Mike Schroepfer claims that Firefox 3 is 9.3x faster than Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 and 2.7x faster than Firefox 2 in terms of JavaScript performance. In terms of Gmail message load time, he claims Firefox 3 is 6.8x faster than IE7 and 3.8x faster than Firefox 2. And he says Firefox 3 beats Apple’s Safari, which is also faster than Firefox 2.

Firefox 3 Release Candidate 1 Released

Mozilla pushed out the first release candidate of Firefox 3 early this evening, so if you’re already field testing Firefox 3, now’s the time to go to Help -> Check for Updates to download the latest and greatest build. If you’re wondering what to expect, check out the RC1 release notes. Looks like we’re getting close! Thanks Owen!

Mojo 2.0 Windows Beta Shares iTunes Over the Internet

Windows only: Adam already walked you through how to download music from your friends’ iTunes libraries over the internet using Mojo on the Mac, and now Windows users can get in on the fun. Install the Mojo 2.0 beta for Windows, set up an account, and swap Mojo usernames with your friends to populate your buddy list. From there you can browse their playlists, search their libraries, play and download any songs to your computer. The Mojo Windows beta is a free download; upgrade to Mojo Pro to get an unlimited buddy list. Thanks Matt and Jack! Mojo 2.0 Beta for Windows [Deusty News]

The Beta Beatdown

A steady stream of preview releases have kept our typing fingers especially busy covering the beta beat the last several weeks. From Mac virtualization software to Microsoft Office add-ons to iTunes sharing apps, there are lots of new features for eager testers to preview and try out. Beyond the most obvious best public preview out there right now—Firefox 3—which beta has your heart? Cast your vote, after the jump. Photo by arriba.

XBMC for OS X 0.5 Beta 2 Chock Full o' Fixes

The busy folks working on XBMC for OS X just dropped beta 2, which fixes several bugs I listed in yesterday’s feature story, XBMC Turns Your Mac into the Ultimate Media Center. Most notably, scripts and live weather forecasts now work.

Google Reader iPhone Beta Launches

Google launches a new beta version of Google Reader for the iPhone today. Navigate your folders and subscriptions in a single column, mobile-friendly view with promising load times, even over a slow connection. Visit to check it out on your handset or in your browser. [via]

Yahoo Debuts Beta "Glue Page" All-In-One Search Results

Yahoo’s testing out a new kind of search page layout: when you search for broad-reaching terms (like Einstein, and happily, Lifehacker), you may arrive on their beta “Glue Page,” which groups web page results, images, Wikipedia, news, blogs, and video clips into separate areas on the page. See it for yourself.

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