Friday, March 30, 2012

Razer promises left-handed Naga MMO mouse in 2013, achieved 10K 'likes' in less than a week | The Verge

Lefties for the win!!! 

Razer promises left-handed Naga MMO mouse in 2013, achieved 10K 'likes' in less than a week

Razer naga left

Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan promised his company would make a left-handed version of its 17-button Naga MMO mouse, but only if the community approved: 10,000 gamers had to vote in favor by "liking" a Facebook post before April 21st. It didn't take nearly that long. The post currently sits at 11,074 likes, less than a week after the experiment began, and Razer has agreed to make the mouse as promised. "It'll take at least till next year, but it will be done," said the CEO on his Facebook page. While you wait for 2013, you can make do with Razer's left-handed DeathAdder, the only other southpaw gaming mouse we can think of. Here's a triumphant Min-Liang Tan, from the press release:

"That Facebook post generated more buzz than we could’ve ever imagined, which proves that there have been a number of gamers that have had their needs ignored for some time," said Tan. "We pride ourselves on being gamers ourselves, and we all know that there is no substitute for gaming with your dominant hand."

Tony Burkhart
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BlackBerry maker gives up on consumer market | Fox News

and in more news about things that died in 2007... Robert Adler - Warren Avis - Bruce Bennett

So long RiM, it's been a long, painful, slow death so far. Happy retirement!

BlackBerry maker gives up on consumer market

TORONTO –  Struggling BlackBerry maker Research in Motion said Thursday that it plans to return its focus to its corporate customers after failing to compete with flashier, consumer-oriented phones such as Apple's iPhone and models that run Google's Android software.

The shift in strategy came with a management shakeup that includes longtime executive Jim Balsillie leaving the board and severing ties with a company he helped build and later see decline.

RIM said it will focus its consumer efforts on targeted offerings that tap the company's strengths. That includes devices that employees will want to buy on their own and bring to the corporate environment. The company was exploring partnerships and other opportunities for consumer products that aren't deemed central. Those products could include software and features that are then incorporated into RIM's own offerings.

"We can't do everything ourselves, but we can do what we're good at," RIM CEO Thorsten Heins said.

RIM earnings miss Wall Street expectations

RIM has had limited success trying to enter consumer markets in recent years, particularly with high-end devices that sport touch screens popular with consumers.

Heins said a turnaround required "substantial change."

"BlackBerry cannot succeed if we tried to be everybody's darling."

- RIM CEO Thorsten Heins

"We believe that BlackBerry cannot succeed if we tried to be everybody's darling and all things to all people," Heins said. "Therefore, we plan to build on our strength."

Heins, who joined RIM four years ago and was most recently its chief operating officer, replaced co-CEOs Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis in January after the company lost tens of billions in market value. Lazaridis founded the company, and Balsillie had joined in its early years.

RIM said Thursday that Balsillie has resigned from its board after 20 years with the company. David Yach, chief technology officer for software, and Jim Rowan, chief operating officer for global operations, also are leaving.

The company said it was undergoing a comprehensive strategic review. Heins said he was open to selling the company, but "it is not the main direction we are pursuing right now."

The Canadian company has long dominated the corporate smartphone market. Its BlackBerrys are known for their security and reliability as email devices. President Barack Obama even refused to part with his BlackBerry after he took office.

RIM has sought to expand its appeal to consumers, but it has had trouble because the phones aren't perceived to be as sexy as its chief competitors. RIM has been counting on improvements with its forthcoming BlackBerry 10 system, but that has faced multiple delays. BlackBerrys also lag iPhones or Android phones when it comes to running third-party applications. Touch-screen models that lack physical keyboards have largely flopped.

For that reason, BlackBerrys are even losing ground in the business world, as employees demand iPhones or Android devices over BlackBerrys.

Apple sold 37 million iPhones in the last three months of 2011 -- more than what RIM shipped in the past three quarters combined. RIM shipped 11.1 million BlackBerrys in the latest quarter, which ended March 3.

RIM also bombed in its efforts to produce a tablet computer to compete with Apple's iPad. Among other things, the PlayBook received negative reviews because it launched without an email program and the popular messaging service BlackBerry Messenger. In December, the tablets that originally cost $500 were selling for $200, below the cost of making them.

BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis said it's a positive development that RIM is going to focus on its corporate clients and lower-end consumers.

"They are conceding the high-end consumer market with all these services that are wrapped around the platform," Gillis said. "At least there's some reality here. Are they going to compete against iTunes? No way."

Peter Misek, an analyst at Jefferies & Co. in New York, said RIM should have recognized that it is niche player and lost the battle with Apple three years ago. Misek said the company should have looked at partnering with other companies last year rather than now.

When he took the CEO job in January, Heins said a drastic change in strategy was not needed. He said Thursday that he changed his mind after conducting his "own reality check on where the entire company really is."

Posted via email from Tony Burkhart

Zanesville Ohio alpaca farm launching first tour season via

This sounds like an awesome, family friendly trip for anybody in the Central Ohio Area. Check it out!

Zanesville alpaca farm launching first tour season | Zanesville Times Recorder |

ZANESVILLE -- Becky Camma never imagined her "retirement" would consist of 38 Suri alpacas and four llamas.

But that's just what she got.

Camma and her husband, Albert, own The Alpacas of Spring Acres, a 180-acre alpaca farm on Big-B Road in Zanesville. The Cammas started the farm in 2007 when they bought seven alpacas -- "the original seven," they call them -- at an auction.

In April, the farm will open up to tours for the first time. The details aren't quite worked out, but the plan is to host tours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, said Jamie Morgan, Camma's daughter, who helps run the farm with her husband, Shane.

The tours will include a short educational talk about alpaca care and life on the farm. Guests also can visit with the animals and check out the gift shop, which features rugs, sweaters and scarves made of alpaca fleece.

The family is trying out the tours at least for one season, just to see how it goes, Morgan said.

"We're basically just saying, 'Hi, we're here; we're ready now,'" she said. "It's an educational process. That's all we're out here for."

Originally from Newark, Camma's retirement didn't start with alpacas. Five years ago, when she was 48, she and Albert bought a retirement house in Hilton Head, S.C.

But Albert, a neurosurgeon, was spending a lot of time traveling back to Zanesville to help at the hospital, Camma said, and she wanted to start a farm to give her grown children the chance for a different lifestyle "than nine to five, punching the clock."

They looked for land in South Carolina for a while, but Albert already owned the Zanesville land, so in 2008, they moved back to Ohio, Camma said.

Camma loves using the Suri fleece, rich in fiber, to make scarves and rugs. One of her goals is to help create a significant source of Suri fiber in the U.S. In order to compete with Peru, which is where most alpaca fiber comes from, there would have to be a flock of about one million Suri alpacas in the U.S., she said.

Life on the farm is great, but caring for the animals is more work than she initially thought, Camma said. The animals require a lot of medical attention, and there's also plenty of work in determining which animals to breed and when.

"It's not just put the food and water out and hope for the best," she said.

Camma has three grown children and Albert has two, but Morgan and her husband are the only ones who decided to work full-time on the farm.

Before, Morgan was working in collections for a bank, she said, while Shane was a computer consultant. Morgan also recently earned a business degree from Muskingum University, but after having her own daughter, Emma, three months ago, she's not sure what will come of that, she said.

So for now, Morgan and Shane handle most of the day-to-day work on the farm, including the feeding, monthly shots, breeding and ultrasounds for pregnant alpacas.

They also show alpacas in competitions, recently earning four first-place ribbons and two second-places at a Columbus show, Morgan said.

Neither Morgan nor Camma has a favorite alpaca -- Morgan jokes she has plenty of non-favorites -- but strolling past the different pastures, they both know each by name.

There's Brianna and Bridgette, a mother-daughter pair who are each pregnant. At night, Brianna and Bridgette find each other to sleep side-by-side, Morgan said.

Then there's Goose. Goose's real-name is Electra, but she earned her nickname for the loud, honking noise she makes.

There's also Billie Jean; Lulu, Lilu and Lily; Jemma and Jetta; Eve and Everest; and Midory, who used to be Morgan's favorite until Midory became pregnant and turned out to be a neglectful mother.

Other breeders warn not to get attached to the animals, but Morgan tends to ignore that advice, she said.

"The first time we ever lost an animal, I think I cried for three days," she said.

Posted via email from Tony Burkhart

MasterCard, VISA Warn of Processor Breach — Krebs on Security

This is all kinds of bad... all kinds of ugly and is just the beginning, I'm guessing. I'm sure they've known of the breech for more than a while, before going public.

Not good.

Tip of the iceberg.

MasterCard, VISA Warn of Processor Breach

VISA and MasterCard are alerting banks across the country about a recent major breach at a U.S.-based credit card processor. Sources in the financial sector are calling the breach “massive,” and say it may involve more than 10 million compromised card numbers.

In separate non-public alerts sent late last week, VISA and MasterCard began warning banks about specific cards that may have been compromised. The card associations stated that the breached credit card processor was compromised between Jan. 21, 2012 and Feb. 25, 2012. The alerts also said that full Track 1 and Track 2 data was taken – meaning that the information could be used to counterfeit new cards.

Neither VISA nor MasterCard have said which U.S.-based processor was the source of the breach. But affected banks are now starting to analyze transaction data on the compromised cards, in hopes of finding a common point of purchase. Sources at two different major financial institutions said the transactions that most of the cards they analyzed seem to have in common are that they were used in parking garages in and around the New York City area.

It’s not clear how many cards were breached in the processor attack, but a sampling from one corner of the industry provides some perspective. On Wednesday, PSCU — a provider of online financial services to credit unions — said it alerted 482 credit unions that appear to have had cards impacted by the breach, and that a total of 56,455 member VISA and MasterCard accounts were compromised. PSCU said fraudulent activity had been detected on a relatively small number of those cards — 876 accounts — and that the activity was geographically dispersed.

If any readers have more information about the source, cause or true size of this breach, please contact me.

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Related posts:

  1. Visa Warns of Fraud Attack from Criminal Group
  2. I’ll Take 2 MasterCards and a Visa, Please
  3. Loopholes in Verified by Visa & SecureCode
  4. VISA Blocks ePassporte
  5. Millions of Passwords, Credit Card Numbers at Risk in Breach of Sony Playstation Network

This entry was posted on Friday, March 30th, 2012 at 1:23 am and is filed under A Little Sunshine, Latest Warnings, The Coming Storm. You can follow any comments to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a comment. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Columbus Mileposts | March 28, 1964: COSI’s science, history exhibits lured kids, adults | The Columbus Dispatch

This is all good! I remember going there as a child and what fun it was, though, they somehow snuck learning into that. Wait a second... Drats, those shifty adults foiled my fun again! :)

Columbus Mileposts | March 28, 1964: COSI’s science, history exhibits lured kids, adults

By  Gerald Tebben

FOR THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH Wednesday March 28, 2012 3:26 AM


The Center of Science and Industry, or COSI, in its original location at 280 E. Broad St.

The first COSI, known to generations of central Ohio children for its rat basketball games and the fake rat in the Time Tunnel exhibit, was dedicated on March 28, 1964.

The Center of Science and Industry was seven years in the making. After visiting Chicago’s science museum in 1957, Columbus ad executive Sanford N. Hallock II started working on creating a children’s science museum here.

Hallock, who would serve as COSI’s first director, drew in a core of leaders to secure a location and $867,000 in funding from private and public sources.

In 1962, the Franklin County commissioners offered Memorial Hall at 280 E. Broad St. to the group and allocated money to remodel the structure.

During the dedication, The Dispatch reported, applause from the crowd provided the energy necessary to set in motion the 60-foot-tall pendulum that continuously swung in the museum’s entrance hall.

The museum opened to the public the next day, on Easter. More than 5,000 people visited that first day, paying admission of 50 cents for adults and 25 cents for children.

Early highlights included a planetarium; Durell’s Street of Yesteryear; and the Time Tunnel, a repurposed exhibit from the 1964 New York World’s Fair showing the progress of mankind.

COSI moved to its current location, the old Central High School site at 333 W. Broad St., in 1999. Today, COSI Columbus’ basic admission is $14.75 for adults and $9.75 for children.

The Time Tunnel is gone, but rat basketball remains popular.

Suggestions for Mileposts that will run this bicentennial year can be sent to: Gerald Tebben, Box 82125, Columbus, OH 43202, or email

Tony Burkhart
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First 4-star female general in Air Force is an Ohioan

Go Ohio! Always good to get in the news. Oddly enough, I never knew there hadn't been a female 4 star in the AF. I know there has been an Army female 4 star... Just figured the AF would've had one by now... but I learn something new every day :)

The Columbus Dispatch Feed
WASHINGTON — The next commander of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s Air Force Materiel Command is taking an unprecedented role as the Air Force’s first female four-star general.
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Sunday, March 25, 2012

A hack of epic proportions: Building a QR code on the roof | Facebook

Facebook team = logistics win! Kick ass IRL hax0r skills. Y'all essentially graffiti tagged the FB building and got away with it, because of semantics. I love it! 

A hack of epic proportions: Building a QR code on the roof

When the last of the employees moved in to our new Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Mark Zuckerberg announced a "Space Hackathon."  His post encouraged everybody to decorate the new space to make it our own—tag the walls with spray paint, hang cool posters, and hack the building with some patented Facebook personality. But a few of us interpreted the call to action a bit too literally. We decided that we wanted our "space hack" to actually be visible from space. We wanted to hack the globe.


It started with a comment on Zuck's post. I wrote, "Hack yeah! I'd like to paint a gigantic QR code somewhere so we can RickRoll online maps, or point people to our careers site, or send them to a 'Clarissa Explains it All' GeoCities Page." By the end of the day, that comment had nearly 50 Likes. I still wasn't sure if people were seriously interested, so I started a Group. When over 100 people joined, it was game on.


We spent the next few days planning out the logistics of how to put a QR Code on the roof of Facebook's office. Building materials were debated intensely:


"Should we build it out of wood?" Too costly. Too hard to get up on the roof. It'll rot. It'll blow away.


"How about tile?" Too heavy. Too expensive. Too difficult to paint.


"Has anybody actually been up there yet? What if we just paint directly on the roof?" Problem solved.


An engineer on the team realized that the shorter the URL stored in a QR code, the less complex the QR code needs to be. We figured that meant (a) less painting, and (b) a better chance that the code could be scanned from space. We went ahead and purchased and the QR code pixels fell into place from there.


At Hackathon 29, a couple dozen engineers, designers, and members of our operations team climbed up on the roof armed with chalk, twine, paint rollers, a few drums full of black paint, and some cold beer. Some engineers in the crowd determined the optimal orientation of the grid, consulting satellite print-outs and knowledge of local flight paths. Meanwhile, a few of us got to work chalking out a 42' square with 2' pixels. After we triple-checked the layout, we started putting down paint and hoping we didn't mess anything up. I felt like a digital Tom Sawyer convincing folks to come up to the roof to paint this funny project—instead of whitewashing a fence, we were laying down a QR code. Just before midnight, we finished up the last pixel and posed for a group picture. In the dark of the night, we had no way of knowing if we had succeeded.


Watch the video of the team putting up the QR Code here.


The next day, one of our resident remote control enthusiasts strapped a Canon SD790IS camera to a tiny quadcopter and headed up to the roof at lunchtime. We were all nervous about whether the code would scan and eagerly awaited for photo evidence to be posted to our Group. We were like NASA mission control, repeatedly refreshing our browsers in nervous anticipation. Then at 2:38pm PT, we finally got the aerial view.



And so we had a QR code that was scannable from space, or at least from a plane. Not only was this Hackathon project a great success, but it was also an awesome example of why I love working here. Even with an idea as crazy as painting a 42' foot grid on the roof of a building, nobody stopped us. All my co-workers reacted the same way: "What can I do to help?" Whether it was the mobile engineer who worked on the QR code landing site, the application engineer with carpentry skills, the marketing intern who helped brainstorm our launch plan, or the facilities team who pointed us to the ladder, everyone came together for the sake of building something fun.


So the next time you zoom in on Facebook from a satellite map or find yourself flying into SFO, take a close look at our roof. In the meantime, Like the FB QR Code Page for updates. We can't promise you wont be Rick Rolled, but we can promise something cool.



Mark Pike is an associate on the User Operations, Intellectual Property team.

Tony Burkhart
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Square to launch revamped payments app, Android support

I have found Square to be the easiest, most use friendly payment system for a small business owner. Once you have the reader dongle the rest is unbelievably easy. If you are, or know any small business owners, you should have them check this out today!

GigaOM — Tech News, Analysis and Trends

Square is mostly known for its distinctive credit card reading dongle, which has become a hit with small business owners. But the company has also been pushing a cloud-based consumer mobile wallet app called Card Case that allows people to pay participating merchants without pulling out their credit card.

While Square is now processing $4 billion in transactions, largely through the card reader, the future will likely turn on its payment app for consumers. The company is relaunching that app, formerly known as Card Case, as Pay with Square on Monday. The biggest news is that Pay with Square is expanding from the iPhone to support Android consumers and will include new features aimed at helping consumers discover and with merchants.

“We do believe Pay with Square is the most seamless way to pay and drives the most value for customers and merchants,” Square’s Director of Products Megan Quinn.

That’s not to say that the credit card reader will take a back seat anytime soon. Quinn is not sure when or if Pay with Square payments will eclipse payments through Square’s card reader. But she’s right in that the Pay with Square experience is more engaging and fun for consumers and more powerful for merchants than the reader. That’s what Square is ultimately shooting for. The company isn’t just looking to provide a cheaper or simpler way for merchants to accept payments.

The Pay with Square app currently allows users to register credit and debit cards inside the app. When a user enters a business they can open a tab on their app, which notifies the merchant of their presence and shows the merchant a picture of the user. The customer can just order at the counter and the merchant can process the transaction by confirming their face against the notification on the merchant’s end. Square added an opt-in hands-free element in November that allows users to notify the business of their presence through location-based geofencing.

The updated Pay with Square app brings the service to Android users for the first time. It features a redesign that emphasizes discovering merchants and includes an updated carousel of popular stores in the area that accept payments through Pay with Square. There’s also a search bar and a new map view of nearby merchants instead of just a list. And users are now able to share information about merchants via e-mail, Twitter and SMS though not through Facebook.

These are the kinds of things that make payments more than just a transaction. They bring consumers in closer contact with merchants and help foster a relationship. That’s something that’s harder to do with the card swipe experience. Receiving a payment via a dongle is nice for a merchant but if they can be inside a consumer’s pocket through an app, they can push out offers, update them with new information and create more of an intimate relationship when a user is in the store.

Only about 75,000 merchants are using Pay with Square, but Square is working on increasing that number by encouraging its existing Square merchants to adopt Pay with Square. The proposition is getting more attractive for merchants. Earlier this month, Square launched a Square Register iPad app that allows them to take credit card payments, handle former Card Case transactions, manage inventory and also run other aspects of their store. That includes updating their Pay with Square directory listing in real time to reflect menu changes and other business information.

The move comes less than two weeks after PayPal announced plans for its small business product PayPal Here that will pit it directly against Square. While a lot of people focused on the PayPal Here dongle, I think PayPal is just as interested on getting that system to work with updated PayPal mobile apps. That connection is actually quite powerful because there are more than 100 million PayPal users and PayPal’s mobile apps have been downloaded about 17 million times. While the current battle is about giving merchants tools to accept traditional payments via cards, cash and checks, the real challenge and opportunity will be in enabling next generation mobile payments that work through apps.

PayPal is going to try to rely on its scale and the growing pieces of its arsenal like WHERE, BillMeLater and its X.commerce platform to help merchants push out offers, provide new payment flexibility and get more back-end support for building up a business. Quinn told me that Square is also interested in enabling better offers and loyalty programs through Pay with Square. These are areas that it will definitely need to improve upon if it wants to build a leading mobile payment offering.

But where Square will look to shine is in making payments more about the relationship than the transaction. That could be an edge over PayPal, which is a widely-accepted payment system online but doesn’t always engender great love from merchants or consumers.

“We’re crafting products that create experiences for merchants and customers. Our competitive advantage is building an amazing experience; it’s facilitating the interaction not just the transaction,” Quinn said.

Related research and analysis from GigaOM Pro:
Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.

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Coming Soon to Firefox...

Trouble viewing? Read this in your browser.
Firefox & You
From Mozilla, a non-profit organization and developer of Firefox

Make Firefox Better
With Beta

Firefox Beta
Before the Firefox you know and love gets to you, it goes through a number of stages — let's call this process "awesomization." We try out features, see what's working and what isn't and make sure you're getting the best experience possible. If you'd like to test features before they're ready for prime time, you can download Firefox Beta and be part of the process to help make Firefox better for everyone.

This month we're also showing you how Firefox works for all the ways you get to the Web. You'll also get some tools and tips to help you manage your finances; let you know how you can get into a snazzy Firefox T-shirt and tell you about a great contest for fans of Firefox and film.

Jane & Winston

In this issue...
Make Firefox Better
With Beta
Firefox on All Your Devices
Financial Tools for Firefox
Get the Official Firefox T-shirt
The Search for the Ultimate Firefox Video Has Begun
Featured Desktop Add-ons

Firefox on All Your Devices

There are so many ways we all get to the Web: You probably have a computer at home. Maybe two. You might have a laptop. Or a desktop. Or one of each. Then there's your work computer. And your smartphone. And that tablet you keep eyeing — or already own. (You get the idea.) The point is, each one of those devices handles the Web a little differently. Lucky for you, Firefox handles them all with ease. Now you can learn about our optimized interface for tablets, how add-ons work on both desktop and mobile, how you can take your browsing data with you using Sync and more all in one place! Check it out.

Share this story with friends.

  Firefox Devices

Financial Tools for Firefox

It's almost tax time again, that time of year when your mind is on your money and your money is on your mind. That's why we put together an add-on collection to help you with your financial goals. It has everything from a stock ticker (to invest that refund and get your money working for you) to a currency converter (if you use your refund to fly to an exotic locale). Learn more.

Share this story with friends.

  Finance Graph

Get the Official Firefox T-shirt

You and thousands of other Mozillians have worked together to create, shape and protect the Web we all know and love — the Internet is thriving today because of you. We're focused on making the Web a force for good in the world, a place where anyone can dream, discover and create, but we can't do it without your support. That's why we want to sweeten the deal — when you become an official supporter by making a donation today, we'll send you this rocking T-shirt! Can we count on your support?

Share this story with friends.

  Firefox T-shirt

The Search for the Ultimate Firefox Video Has Begun

As a non-profit, Firefox is the only browser that puts you first. Now we've put you in the director's chair to help spread our message. We asked our users to create a short video telling our story for a chance at some amazing prizes. The top entries will be seen by a panel of Hollywood judges and the winners will be featured in a global campaign. Check out the entries today and vote for your favorites. Or submit your own flick before the contest closes on May 1, 2012.

Firefox Flicks

Get inspired for your video with our take on one of the classic love stories of all time. And check back next month for another video starring the Firefox!

Share this story with friends.


Featured Desktop Add-ons

Put an end to window chaos! Open various windows as sidebar panels and quickly switch between them.
Add to Firefox »
Change online text and image sizes, as well as color settings, to make websites easier to read.
Add to Firefox »
  Saved Password Editor
Saved Password Editor
Enter data directly into the password manager database or make changes to existing entries.
Add to Firefox »

Firefox Health Check

Keep Your Firefox Happy
Be sure you have the latest, greatest and most secure version of Firefox.

Crash protection is currently available for Windows and Linux.

Firefox - Free Download
Firefox Health Check
Are Your Plugins Up to Date?
Old plugins can interrupt browsing, waste time and increase risk of attack from malware and viruses. Follow these easy steps to stay up to date.
Today's Tip
How to use themes with Firefox
Learn how.
Tips       Need Help?
Did you know we have a volunteer support community who wants to help you? Search our support pages for answers and advice about using Firefox. Or help other users here.
Firefox Support

Are You on Team Firefox?

Tell your friends and show your support.

Facebook   Follow us on Facebook   Twitter   Join the Twitter Party
About Us:
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Thanks for Reading!

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