Firefox 66 has PowerPoint and Word bugs (Fix available)

Firefox users who upgraded the web browser to the recently released version 66 may experience text vanishing issues when they use the online version of Microsoft PowerPoint.
A new bug report on Bugzilla suggests that users cannot add any text permanently to PowerPoint as it vanishes immediately after typing it. Mozilla decided to throttle the distribution of Firefox 66 in the meantime until the bug is resolved.
I confirmed the issue using Firefox 66 and the PowerPoint application of Office Online. While you can type text just like you could before, text that you typed would vanish into thin air immediately after hitting the Return key or switching to another element. The sheet previews of PowerPoint don’t show the text either.
A quick test of Word and Excel online showed that these two applications worked fine, and that the issue is limited to PowerPoint only (and probably the reason why it was not detected earlier).
Two related bugs seem to affect Word online, however:

After selecting text using Ctrl-A, it is not possible to add or work with text as the focus is moved out of the application window. Using Ctrl-C to copy all does not work for instance.
Double-clicking on text prevents text input. You cannot replace the text.

Some users suggest that the issue affects newer versions of Firefox as well.
Here is a short video that I recorded that demonstrates the issue:

The issue affects Firefox 66 or newer users who use PowerPoint online. Mozilla is pushing out a patch already that modifies a preference in the Firefox web browser.
Firefox users who are affected by the issue may use the following workaround if that does not work or has not been done yet:

Load about:config in the Firefox address bar.
Search for dom.keyboardevent.keypress.hack.use_legacy_keycode_and_charcode.
Set the value to powerpoint.officeapps.live.com.
If you want to fix the Word issue as well, append word-edit.officeapps.live.com to the value and separate the two host names with a “,”. The value should be powerpoint.officeapps.live.com, word-edit.officeapps.live.com afterward.

A restart of the PowerPoint application should be enough to resolve the issue but if that does not work, try restarting the web browser to resolve it for good.

You should be able to type text without the typed text vanishing after you stop doing so.
Now You: did you notice these issues or others in Firefox 66 or newer? (via Günther Born, Techdows)
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Firefox 66.0 Release Information

Firefox 66.0 will be released on March 19, 2019 to the Stable channel. The new Firefox version introduces new features such as sound autoplay blocking, a new storage format for extensions to improve performance, or support for the AV1 codec on Windows.
All versions of the web browser receive upgrades: Firefox Stable to version 66, Firefox Beta to version 67, Firefox Nightly to version 68, and Firefox ESR to 60.6.
Our release information guide offers detailed information. It covers major and minor changes, developer related changes, known issues, and security information.
Read up on the Firefox 65.0 release if you missed it.
Executive Summary

Firefox blocks autoplaying sound by default.
Support for AV1 codec on Windows and Windows Hello on Windows 10.
New extension storage format to improve performance and reduce memory usage.

Firefox 66.0 download and update

The distribution of Firefox 66 starts today. Firefox users should receive update notifications automatically when they run the web browser.
Those who don’t want to wait for the browser to pick up the update automatically, can run a manual update check or download the stable version from official sources to install it manually over the old version or anew.

Firefox Stable download
Firefox Beta download
Nightly download
Firefox ESR download
Firefox unbranded builds information

Firefox 66.0 Changes
Autoplaying audio is blocked by default

Mozilla Firefox 66 will block autoplaying (audible) sound on web pages that you visit. Mozilla plans to roll out the feature gradually starting with the release of Firefox 66.
Firefox users may whitelist sites to allow them to play autoplay media with sound.

You can enable or disable the feature, and manage exceptions in the following way:

Load about:preferences#privacy in the Firefox address bar.
Scroll down to the Permissions section.
Check or uncheck “Block websites from automatically playing sound” to enable or disable the feature.
A click on Exceptions gives you options to add sites to the list of exceptions to allow them to play sound automatically.

Extensions switched to a different storage type to improve performance

One of the major changes in Firefox 66 is a change in how extension’s store data in Firefox. The switch from JSON to IndexedDB should improve performance and reduce memory usage at the same time according to Mozilla.
Especially extensions that make “small changes to large structures”, e.g. content blockers, benefit from the change.
The migration happens automatically in the background, user interaction is not required.
Other changes

Support for AV1 codec is activated on Windows by default.
Windows Hello support on Windows 10.
Scroll anchoring support prevents content from jumping around while the page loads when the user scrolls during that time.
Certificate error pages have been redesigned to “be more useful” to users of the Firefox web browser.
New option to search all tabs from the tab overflow menu when too many tabs are open in Firefox to display all at once.
The number of content processes has been raised to 8 (from 4). The move should improve performance, reduce the crash rate, and increase memory.
Users may now override keyboard shortcuts that extensions support (and set) from about:addons. To do so, go to about:addons and select “Manage extension shortcuts” from the cogwheel menu on the page.
The Private Browsing window features a search field in Firefox 66.
Basic support for mac OS Touch Bar.
Pocket experiment to test different layouts and “more topical content”.
System title bar hidden by default under Gnome.

Firefox 66.0 known issues
None listed.
Developer Changes

Reduced memory usage when extensions load objects from storage into memory.
Scroll anchoring implemented.
DevTools Inspector may be used fully if the Debugger is paused.
Priority of setTimeout and setInterval lowered during page load to improve performance.

Firefox 66.0 for Android

Sound autoplay blocking functionality implemented in Firefox for Android.
Scroll anchoring support.
Files from external storage may be opened now.

Security updates / fixes
Security vulnerabilities and patches issues are revealed after the release. We will add a link once Mozilla publishes those.
Outlook
The next stable release is Firefox 67, scheduled to be released May 14, 2019.
Additional information / sources

Firefox 66 release notes
Firefox 66 Android release notes
Add-on compatibility for Firefox 66
Firefox 66 for Developers
Site compatibility for Firefox 66
Firefox Security Advisories
Firefox Release Schedule

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Block Helpdesk and Chat popups in your browser

Hello Goodbye is a new browser extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox that blocks helpdesk and chat popups on websites that you visit.
Many sites, especially those that offer services or sell products online, implement helpdesk or chat functionality on their sites to interact with customers.
While that is useful at times, for instance when you want to interact with a company, it is quite annoying all the other times that these popups are displayed in the browser window. These popups may be distracting and they may block part of the content on a site. Additionally, they add to the loading time of the site and they may even be used for tracking if they originate from third-party domains.
Hello Goodbye

Hello Goodbye is available for Chrome and Firefox, and as a filter list. Since it is available for Chrome and Firefox, it will also work in compatible browsers such as Vivaldi or Opera. The filterlist is useful for users who use content blockers like uBlock Origin as they may simply add the list as custom filters to use it that way without installing yet another extension in the browser of choice.
The filterlist approach is also useful to users who don’t run a compatible browser but can use filter lists to block content.
The extension works automatically on all sites regardless of whether you use the extension or filter list. The filter list highlights the connections that get blocked by the extension.
The developer claims that it blocks every chat or helpdesk pop up in the browser; a bold claim that is probably not true. It does block major services effectively, however and it is easy enough to add more domains to the filter list manually for use.
Users who use the extension may want to suggest new domains to block on the project’s GitHub page. The extension does not indicate whether a live chat bubble or popup was blocked on the active page; that’s a problem as this would help you in case you need to contact support.
You may disable the extension with a click on the extension icon and the selection of disable. A whitelist would probably be a good idea to allow the loading on specific domains.
Closing Words
The filter list is useful, and so are the extensions. It is easy enough to add the filters to a content blocker or create your own filters using them. Regardless of whether you use the extension or the filter list directly, it is clear that the extension does away with a huge annoyance on today’s Internet.
Not all users are exposed to chat or helpdesk bubbles and popups regularly or frequently, and the extension is probably not for them. Those who encounter these regularly however, may want to give it a try.
Now You: Which annoyances would you like to block on the Web?
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Source: ghacks.net/firefox

A look at Windows Defender Application Guard extension for Firefox and Chrome

Microsoft released the extension Windows Defender Application Guard for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox recently.
Windows Defender Application Guard is a security feature designed to load untrusted sites and services in a lightweight virtual machine. It requires Windows 10 Professional or Enterprise at the time of writing, and works in standalone and Enterprise-managed modes. It requires at least Windows 10 version 1803.
The new browser extension brings Application Guard functionality to the third-party browsers Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.
Windows Defender Application Guard extension

Installation is slightly more complicated than installing another browser extension. The main reason for that is that you need to make sure that Application Guard is turned on as a feature on the device, and that you have installed the Microsoft Store companion app as well.
In other words: you may need to install three different applications before you can make use of it.
The following steps are required:

Enable Windows Defender Application Guard on the device if it is not turned on already. Make sure the system meets the hardware and software requirements.
Install the Windows Defender Application Guard companion application from the Microsoft Store.
Install the Google Chrome extension or the Mozilla Firefox add-on.
Enterprise-only: Define network isolation settings to define a list of trusted sites that you may access using Chrome or Firefox.
Restart the device.

Using the extension

The extension highlights if all requirements are met after installation. You should see three green lights indicating that the device is compatible, that the companion app is installed, and that Application Guard is turned on.
How the extension is used depends largely on the edition of Windows 10.
Note: You may want to turn off diagnostic data collecting that is enabled by default. Just click on the extension icon and toggle “Allow Microsoft to collect diagnostic data” to do so.
Standalone mode
Windows 10 Pro users and Enterprise users who choose standalone mode get very little out of the extension as it does not work automatically in that mode.
All you can do, really, is to click on the extension icon and there on the “New application guard window” button to start a new Application Guard instance of Microsoft Edge.
More comfortable than having to launch Application Guard instances from Microsoft Edge manually, but not by much and probably not worth the hassle of installing the extension and Microsoft Store application.
Enterprise-managed mode
Enterprise administrators have additional configuration options that automate the experience. All that is required for that is to set up network isolation settings; these define trusted sites, e.g. an IP address range, that users may access using the third-party browsers the extension is installed in.
Any site not on the trust list is automatically redirected to the Microsoft Edge Application Guard instance.
When users navigate to a site, the extension checks the URL against a list of trusted sites defined by enterprise administrators. If the site is determined to be untrusted, the user is redirected to an isolated Microsoft Edge session. In the isolated Microsoft Edge session, the user can freely navigate to any site that has not been explicitly defined as trusted by their organization without any risk to the rest of system.
Microsoft plans to extend the functionality by loading trusted sites opened in the Application Guard instance in the third-party browser.
With our upcoming dynamic switching capability, if the user tries to go to a trusted site while in an isolated Microsoft Edge session, the user is taken back to the default browser.
Closing Words
The Windows Defender Application Guard extension is a useful browser extension for Enterprise environments in which supported third-party browsers are permitted.  It seems less likely that it will see a lot of traction on Pro devices though due to the limitations.
Now You: Do you use Application Guard or other browsing virtualization services?
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Source: ghacks.net/firefox

Making Ctrl, Shift, and Cmd clicks on Link work all the time

Link Fixer is a browser extension for the Firefox and Chrome web browsers designed to fix sites that override the default link activation behavior in the browsers.
Firefox and Chrome users have plenty of options when it comes to opening links: left-clicking, right-clicking and using the context menu, middle-clicking, or holding down modifier keys such as Ctrl-key or Shift-key before activating links.
For those who need a refresher: Ctrl-clicking or Cmd-clicking (Mac) links opens the link targets in a New Tab in the same browser window, Shift-clicking opens link targets in a new browser window instead.
These options work well most of the time; some sites, however, use scripts to change the default link activation functionality of the browser. You may notice that modifier keys may not work properly when you activate these links.
The issue is not new; there is a support request from 2013 on the official Mozilla Firefox website and a support request on SuperUser by users who could not get modifier clicks to work on specific sites.
Link Fixer to the rescue

The Firefox add-on and Chrome extension Link Fixer has been designed to restore the default behavior of Ctrl, Shift, and Cmd clicks on links in the browser
The default behaviour of ctrl+click, shift+click and cmd+click when clicking on links is to open the link in a new tab or new window. This behaviour is sometimes broken by careless developers. This add-on restores the default behaviour, ensuring the modifier keys are always respected.
All you need to do is install the extension to do so. The extension does not add an icon to the Firefox or Chrome toolbars nor does it come with any options. There is no need for that since it works well without any of that.
The extension is designed for users who visit websites regularly that block modifier keys from working correctly (either on purpose or by accident). Users who encounter the issue only sporadically or not at all may have no use for the extension though.
The extension is open source. You find its source code and bug tracker on GitHub. There you also find direct links to the extension repositories to install the extension in the browser of choice. Firefox or Chrome compatible browsers should install the extension fine as well.
Now You: How do you open links in your browser of choice?
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Source: ghacks.net/firefox

Firefox Send file sharing service launches officially

Firefox Send, a file sharing service by Mozilla, maker of Firefox, is now available officially. Mozilla launched Firefox Send as a Test Pilot project in 2017; the first experiment that launched as a web service with accompanying browser extension.
Firefox Send allowed users to upload files to the service so that they could be shared with others. Files would be encrypted automatically by Firefox Send to protect the data from unauthorized access.
Mozilla retired Test Pilot in early 2019 but many of the projects lived on either as browser extensions or as standalone web services.
Firefox Send

Firefox Send is a free file sharing service that anyone may use; a copy of Firefox is not required to use it. Just point any modern web browser to https://send.firefox.com/ to get started.
You may add files with a total size of up to 1 Gigabyte as an unregistered user for sharing. The file size limit increases to 2.5 Gigabytes for registered users. Firefox account owners may sign in using the account, and anyone else may sign up for a Firefox Account to share up to 2.5 Gigabytes and may also manage uploaded files from other devices and change expiration limits. Creation of an account is free; there is no paid version.
You may drag and drop files that you want to share with others on the Firefox Send site or use the upload button to use the file browser to pick files instead.

All selected files are displayed with their name and file size after selection. Firefox Send displays the total file size and options to add more files to the queue.
Uploaded files expire automatically after a set period or a set number of downloads. The default expires them after one download or after the first 24 hours. You may raise the limits to up to 100 downloads or 7 days. Downloads may expire as early as 5 minutes after a successful upload.
Password protection is the only other option provided. Firefox Send uses end-to-end encryption to protect files; adding a password improves the protection further.
Note that some configuration options require a Firefox Account. You need an account if you want to increase the allowed number of downloads or change the time the uploaded files are available. Password protection works without account, though.
Firefox Send displays a link after the upload that you may copy. Firefox Send users without account may terminate the link at any time if they use the same device and don’t leave the page that lets them do so.

You still need to share the link somehow if you want others to download the files.
Closing Words
Firefox Send is a useful service to share files. You may use it to share files with others, or upload files for personal use instead. The use of end-to-end encryption and password protection makes the service very useful for that, and the size limit should be fine for most file sharing purposes.
The service is ad-free and free to use for anyone at the time. Preventing unlimited downloads and downloads that don’t expire makes the service unattractive for large scale file sharing purposes.
Sören Hentzschel notes that the first beta version of the Firefox Send Android app may be released as early as next week.
Now You: Do you use online services to share files?
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Mozilla's upcoming mobile browser Firefox Fenix changes tabbed-browsing fundamentally

Mozilla is working on a new mobile web browser for Android called Firefox Fenix currently; that is the main reason why development for Firefox for Android slowed down in recent months.
Fenix is based on Android Components and GeckoView, and in active development at the time of writing. While it is likely that Firefox Fenix will replace Firefox for Android eventually, nothing appears to have been set in stone yet.
Note: The following information is based on mockups and development versions of Firefox Fenix. Functionality may change during development.
Firefox Fenix’s tabbed browsing functionality
A core difference between Firefox Fenix and other mobile browsers such as Google Chrome or Firefox for Android, is that Fenix changes tabbed-browsing significantly.
All major mobile browsers supported tabbed-browsing. The functionality is more or less identical to how desktop browsers handle tabs. Users may open multiple tabs and open tabs are retained across browsing sessions.
Sessions
Fenix supports browser tabs just like any other browser but changes tab management across sessions significantly.
Firefox Fenix stores open tabs in individual sessions; this happens automatically when the user exits the browser and does not reopen it shortly after exiting the application.
Means: the browser starts without open tabs from the last browsing session when the user opens the mobile browser at a later point in time.  Firefox Fenix users may save sessions manually at any time next to that.

Sessions work differently from browsing sessions of desktop browsers. Fenix handles these sessions individually and gives users access to these tab sessions so that they may reopen sites they visited in the past.
The browser’s homepage lists the current session and recent sessions opened in the browser. Fenix users may access these at any time from there to reopen sites that were open previously.
Fenix users may delete sessions, e.g. when they don’t require access to them anymore. Sessions may also be archived for safekeeping.

Mozilla plans to integrate session share functionality in Fenix next to that; this open may be used to send information about the current session using Android’s Share functionality or linked devices or Firefox Sync.

Closing Words
Mozilla’s idea to change tab management in Firefox Fenix is certainly an interesting one. One benefit that comes out of it is that the browser won’t use as much RAM as other browsers on mobile devices since tabs are only kept open during sessions but not across sessions.
Will there be an option to restore the classic behavior? We don’t know the answer to that. It is certainly possible that some users will dislike the new method. Those who prefer to keep tabs open in the browser may find the new approach less useful as they’d have to reopen tabs frequently.  One way around this would be to allow users to lock tabs so that they remain open across sessions.
Now you: What is your take on this approach to tabbed browsing on mobile devices? (via Sören)
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Source: ghacks.net/firefox

Blacken Posts on Reddit, Facebook or Twitter based on word matches in Firefox

Redactor is a new browser extension for Mozilla Firefox that blackens posts on social media sites so that you are not exposed to the content.
Spoilers are a good example of why Redactor may be useful. If you don’t watch Game of Thrones while it airs but plan to watch it later on when the full season is released, you may be exposed to lots of spoilers on social media sites.
From images to small video clips, and a lot of text. The same may be true for other things you are looking forward to, e.g. movies, games, books, you name it.
Redactor is also handy if you don’t want to be exposed to something, maybe because you dislike it, it is annoying, or problematic in other ways.
Blacken posts on social media with Redactor

Redactor requires access permissions to the three sites it supports but to no other site; good. The extension does not add an icon to the toolbar and there is no context menu option either to manage it.
You need to open the add-ons manager using about:addons in the address bar, and activate the options button next to the installed extension.

Adding conditions is straightforward. You specify a term that you want the extension to blacken when you visit the supported sites, and may add OR or AND conditions.

OR: the extension checks each term individually and blackens the entire post if any one of them is found (or more).
AND: the extension checks for all terms and blackens a post only if all are found.

The words that you enter are case sensitive; an option to make them case insensitive is not available, unfortunately.
All matching posts are blackened the next time you visit the page (anew or on reload). The blackening of text works considerably well most of the time. Redactor blackens the entire post but ignores user names and media.
Some formatting options by post authors may reveal text, however. If the author uses a different font color, it may show even though the text should be blackened entirely.
You may hover over blackened text to display it.
What I would like to see
Redactor is a basic add-on at this point in time. I’d like to see the following improvements to make it more usable:

Option to make entered text ignore case.
Option to blacken/hide media posted if posts match rules.
Support for regular expressions.
Improving the conditions configuration menu, e.g. by adding support for rule titles and making it more comfortable to enter text.
Making sure that all text is blackened even if different colors are used.
Option to disable the hover to reveal feature, or add a modifier key to it to avoid moving the mouse over blackened text accidentally.

Closing Words
Redactor is a useful extensions with room for improvements for Firefox. I like that it blackens text instead of hiding posts entirely as it gives you opportunity to reveal posts if you want to.
Chrome users can check out shush! for Twitter. If you want to block YouTube content, check out Video Blocker for Chrome. Firefox users can check out BlockTube instead.
Now You: What is your take on extensions that hide posts? Do you use them?
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Source: ghacks.net/firefox

Firefox 67 with anti-fingerprinting technique letterboxing

Mozilla Firefox 67 will feature a new anti-fingerprinting technique that protects against certain window-size related fingerprinting methods.
Mozilla plans to integrate the new feature in Firefox 67 but delays may postpone the release. Firefox 67 will be released on May 14, 2019 according to the official release schedule.
The technique comes from experiments that the developers of the Tor browser conducted and is part of the Tor Uplift project that introduces improvements in the Tor browser to Firefox (Tor browser is based on Firefox code).
Window dimensions, especially in maximized state and when windows are resized, may be used for fingerprinting.
Fingerprinting refers to using data provided by the browser, e.g. automatically or by running certain scripts, to profile users. One of the appeals that fingerprinting has is that it does not require access to local storage and that some techniques work across browsers.
Tip: A study analyzed the effectiveness of fingerprinting countermeasures recently.
Maximized or fullscreen windows provide screen width and height information. Fullscreen reveals the actual screen with and height, a maximized window the width and height minus toolbars.
Resized windows on the other hand reveal exact dimensions of the browser window, e.g. 1003×744.
Letterboxing protects better against window size related fingerprinting techniques. It is a method that rounds the content view dynamically using 128×100 pixel steps.
Letterboxing adds margins around the content view of the window and calculates the margin dynamically to ensure that it is applied to resize scenarios as well (and not only when a new window is created).
Setting this up in Firefox

The Firefox preference privacy.resistFingerprinting determines whether anti-fingerprinting is enabled in Firefox. Note that it may render some sites and services unusable or less functional.

Make sure you run at least Firefox 67 (check about:support for the version. Note that this does not appear to have landed in Firefox Nightly atm)
Load about:config in the Firefox address bar.
Confirm that you will be careful.
Search for privacy.resistFingerprinting.

True: Fingerprinting protection is enabled including Letterboxing (as of Firefox 67).
False: Fingerprinting protection is disabled.

You can verify that the protection is in place by visiting Browserleaks or any other site that returns the screen resolution and viewport. Just change the window size a couple of times and reload the page to find out if it rounds the resolution and viewport (it should return a multiple of 128×100 pixels).
You may also notice the margins that Firefox uses when the feature is enabled.
Now You: Have you enabled anti-fingerprinting in your browser?
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Source: ghacks.net/firefox

fx_cast brings Chromecast streaming to Firefox (early look)

If you use Chromecast, a Google’s device to stream content to displays, e.g. to stream a video from your PC to your television, you may have noticed that Firefox is not officially supported.
Google added native Chromecast support to the company’s Google Chrome browser to cast content, e.g. a browser tab to a connected display. It was necessary to install a Chromecast extension in Chrome previously to do so, but that is no longer the case.
Firefox users who own Chromecast devices could not integrate the device in the browser up until now; this changes with the initial release of fx_cast, an open source browser extension for Firefox that implements the Chrome Sender API in Firefox.
The author of the extension released an initial version of fx_cast on GitHub. Note that it requires installation of the extension and installation of a bridge app on the operating system. The initial release brings support for Mac OS X and Linux only, a Windows binary is not provided.
Firefox Chromecast support

Installation is straightforward. The very first thing you may want to do is install the Firefox extension. You find it under releases on the official project website.
Note: the release is listed as beta and the developer states explicitly that you should expect bugs and that site compatibility is limited at this point in time.
Just click on the “xpi” file and follow the installation dialog to install the extension in Firefox. Mac OS X and Linux users find the Bridge app listed under releases as well. Windows users have the option to compile the binary from source or wait until the developer releases a Windows binary to the public.
Use the new cast button in Firefox’s interface once everything is set up, and the Chromecast installed properly as well.  Another option that you have is to use the cast option in the context menu or the cast button that some services display natively.
The interface displays the connected Chromecast devices and the cast menu to select what to cast to a device that is connected.
The Firefox extension may spoof the user agent as most sites check for Chrome to determine whether to enable cast support for the connecting user. It does so for Netflix only currently, but you may add sites to the whitelist to have the user agent spoofed as well for connections to these sites. The variable <all_urls> adds all sites to the whitelist.

The settings displays a good range of options already. You may change the HTTP server port, enable screen mirroring, or change receiver options in regards to media casting.
Closing Words
The extension is in its early stages of development but it works surprisingly well on some sites. Most users may want to wait until the developer releases a stable build (and Windows binary) before they give it a try though.
Now You: Do you use devices to cast streams or content?
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Source: ghacks.net/firefox