Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Firefox Review 2017

Firefox is among the top three internet browsers when it comes to global browser usage (see chart below). At one point, it was at the top of the list, but Google Chrome has taken over since mid-2012 and has maintained that top spot ever since.

Mozilla updates Firefox approximately once every six weeks in the form of rapid releases. They have been making a lot of effort to keep the browser relevant by implementing performance boosting tweaks, enhanced security, new features and functionality, and continuous bug fixes as well as fixes to security vulnerabilities.

At the time of writing this Firefox Review, the latest rapid release version is Firefox 54 which was released June 13, 2017. And this is the fourth rapid release update in 2017.

In 2016, Mozilla focused a lot of their efforts on one of the biggest projects they have ever undertaken on browser overhauls. They dubbed it Project Electrolysis (or Project e10s) using multi-process architecture.

Essentially, it splits up the browser into multiple processes which is designed to improve responsiveness, stability as well as security of the browser. This is an on-going project and we can expect to see many positive changes in browser performance as this project evolves.

Mozilla has taken a phased approach to implementing multi-process architecture (e10s) as they roll out that changes to the Firefox user-base.

In phase one, Mozilla will split Firefox into UI process and content process. So when a resource-intensive webpage is loading, it won't lock up tabs, buttons, and menus (for example).

In phase two, Mozilla will be further splitting up content processes so that one resource-intensive webpage won't slow down another webpage while loading.

In phase three, the plan is to sandbox Firefox add-ons or extensions in order to ensure that problem add-ons don't slow down the browser or webpages when loading.

I've personally seen a significant difference in web browser performance when multi-process was enabled in my browser in Firefox 50. You can see the results of the Browsermark Benchmark Tests I ran, in the video above, comparing performance of Firefox 50 vs Firefox 51.

Project Electrolysis remains on-going, while Mozilla continues to work on other relevant projects to enhance the performance and security of Firefox. In that regard, Mozilla has undertaken another big project called Project Quantum.

It is Mozilla's ambitious plan to create a next-generation web engine that leverages from modern hardware. The first component of Project Quantum is Quantum Compositor. It made its way into the stable release in Firefox 53, though a small portion of the Firefox userbase will have it enabled on their browsers.

Quantum Compositor is designed to speed up Firefox as well as to prevent graphics crashes on Windows. Quantum Compositor will be enabled for about 70% of Firefox users. Those on Windows 7 SP1, and above; and on computers equipped with, Intel, Nvidia or AMD, graphics cards.

Based on initial tests conducted by Mozilla with Quantum Compositor enabled: 17% fewer driver related crashes; 22% fewer Direct3D related crashes; and 11% fewer Direct3D accelerated video crashes.

In Firefox 51, Mozilla added support for WebGL2. WebGL stands for Web Graphics Library. It is a JavaScript API, for rendering interactive 2D & 3D computer graphics without the need for plugins. WebGL2 comes with many new features, mostly focused towards increased performance & visual fidelity.

In Firefox 52, NPAPI support was removed, for Firefox plugins except for Adobe Flash. NPAPI or Netscape Plugins API is a plugins infrastructure, that was developed way back in 1995, for the Netscape browser, on which Mozilla built Firefox.

Due to the age of the API and security issues, as well as, the adoption of plugin-free web technologies such as HTML5 major web browser vendors, began to phase out NPAPI support, back in 2013. In September 2015, Google permanently dropped NPAPI support in Google Chrome 45.

Mozilla had announced that this change was coming via their blog in October 2015. If you still need to use NPAPI plugins, you can download the ESR (Extended Support Release) version of Firefox.

Some of the other enhancements that Mozilla introduced in 2017 include the following:

In terms of Security Enhancements, Mozilla introduced a new warning that is displayed when a login page does not have a secure connection. It will be in the form of a grey-lock icon, with a red strike-through on the address bar. And you can click on it, to get more information. This security feature was further enhanced in Firefox 52 for login pages that don't have a secure connection.

The Firefox Sync feature was also enhanced. You can now send and open tabs from one device to another. In order to use the Sync feature, you will need to have a Firefox account and be logged in.

Mozilla introduced support for FLAC playback, which is an audio format similar to MP3, but lossless, meaning that audio is compressed in FLAC, without any loss in quality. This means that you can now play, any FLAC file directly in Firefox.

In Firefox 52, you will find a an improved experience for managing your downloads. In the Downloads area, you will have quick access to five recent downloads as opposed to three (in previous versions). You will also find larger Cancel and Restart buttons.

In Firefox 53, Mozilla introduced two new Compact Themes. One light and one dark theme that you will find in your Add-ons section, under Appearance. You can activate one of the compact themes by clicking on the Enable button corresponding to the respective theme.

As is evident, Mozilla continues to put in significant effort into enhancing the performance and security of the Firefox internet browser. With Project Electrolysis and Project Quantum well underway, we can expect 2017 to be a year in which we see many positive changes in Firefox.

CREDITS: Browser Benchmark Tests Performed Using Browsermark from Basemark: | Firefox information and logos used under Creative Commons License Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0) | Global Browser Usage from | Microsoft, Windows, and the Windows logo are trademarks, or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries | Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc., used with permission | Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Gifzign Review - Animated GIFs & Cinemagraphs

Gifzign is a collection of apps with which you can create Animated GIFs, Cinemagraphs, and Animated Mockups. Many of us who use various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and others, have seen the rise and popularity of animated GIFs.

They are a great tool for entertainment and social sharing. Most social media platforms allow uploading of animated GIFs. This has made them popular because they help express ourselves with animations.

Animated GIFs are also used in advertising today by many top companies. I'm sure you've seen these ads on websites, blogs and social media platforms.

Off late, cinemagraphs are becoming more mainstream. If you've not seen or don't know what cinemagraphs are, they are moving or living photographs. Used effectively, they provide stunning visuals that grab the viewers' attention. Further down this article, you will see an example of a cinemagraph I created.

There are many online and offline resources for creating animated GIFs. I've personally used several of these apps over the past couple of years. However, creating cinemagraphs is not very easy, especially if you don't have the right tools and know-how.

This is where Gifzign comes into the picture. As I mentioned at the start of this article, Gifzign is a desktop application that has several apps into one. Down below I will highlight some of the main features and functionality of this versatile app.


The Gifzign app is packed with several animation features as listed below:

  1. GIF Creator: convert videos to animated GIFs;
  2. GIF Editor: add text, images and effects to GIFs;
  3. Cinemagraphs: create moving photos using videos;
  4. Mockups: add a variety device mockups to your GIFs;
  5. GIF Player: embed your animated GIFs in beautiful players;
  6. Screen Recorder: record your screen and convert them into GIFs.


I've been using Gifzign since it launched in March 2017. I've had a chance to test out most of its features and functionality. I've created a variety of animated GIFs, cinemagraphs, and animated device mockups. I've created a Gifzign video review and several tutorials on my YouTube channel. You can check my brief Gifzign Video Review below:

Based on my experience using Gifzign so far, I find it very easy to use and I like the simplistic user-interface. Converting videos to animated GIFs takes literally a few minutes and the file size is relatively small. Creating cinemagraphs takes a little longer compared to creating animated GIFs, but the process is still quite simple. I cover this in more detail in the sections below.

You can even overlay text and images over animated GIFs and cinemagraphs to create funny animated memes to share on social media. An additional feature is the ability to add a variety of filters to GIFs and cinemagraphs. There are a few things that I would like to see improved in the app which I've listed further down in this article.


GIF or Graphics Interchange Format is a lossless image file format which supports both, animated and static images. Animated GIFs have become popular and you see them all over social media.

Here is an example of an animated GIF image which was created using the Gifzign app.

Animated GIF Created in Gifzign

Creating animated GIFs in Gifzign is easy: (1) you upload you video; (2) choose the GIF quality; (3) control the start and end time, including the duration, using the timeline; (4) preview the animated GIF; (5) and save the GIF.

Once saved, your GIF is available in your dashboard, where you can download it and create a mockup as well. You can learn more about animated device mockups in the section below.


Cinemagraphs are essentially still photos that have an element of constant movement in them. They are created from video clips by overlaying a still image over a video clip and then masking certain parts of the image to reveal the video underneath.

Cinemagraphs are published as animated GIFs, thereby giving an illusion of an animation. As you can see from the cinemagraph below, part of the waterfalls is frozen, and part of the waterfalls is flowing. This is a basic example of a cinemagraph, but hopefully it gives you an idea of the possibilities.

Cinemagraph Created in Gifzign

Creating cinemagraphs in Gifzign is fairly simple: (1) you upload a video; (2) choose a frame and take a still image; (3) use the masking and brush tools to mask portions of the still image; (4) preview your cinemagraph; (5) and convert it into an animated GIF.

You can then download the cinemagraph and post it on your blog or website, and share it on social media. You can even use cinemagraphs to create professional-looking animated ad banners.

For step-by-step instructions, you can check my video tutorial on How To Create Stunning Cinemagraphs.


Once you create animated GIFs and cinemagraphs in Gifzign, you can embed them in device mockups. When you buy the Gifzign app, it comes with a bunch of device mockup templates. You can use these templates to showcase your animated GIFs.

Creating Mockups is simple. Once you've created your animated GIF, you go to your dashboard and click on the Mockups button, choose a mockup template and download it as an animated GIF. Below you will find examples of animated mockups I created in Gifzign:

Animated GIF Mockups Created in Gifzign


Having highlighted many of the key features and functionality of Gifzign, you can see that this is a very useful app, especially if you are an internet marketer, graphic designer, or even a small business owner.

Having said so, I would like to see a few improvements and new features added to this useful app: (1) I would prefer to have the default for Quality set to “HD” instead of “Vintage”; (2) an option to be able to move text elements around the canvas and remove/change outline color; (3) labels for icons and buttons displaying their function; (4) ability to edit GIFs that are already created and saved on the dashboard; (5) and finally, the option to change the dimensions for resolution and size of GIFs and cinemagraphs.

I've already made them aware of the above suggestions and feedback, and they've acknowledged saying that they will look at the possibility of implementing the changes in the coming updates.

Having previous experience using another app called Youzign, a graphic design application, I'm positive that the creators of Gifzign will focus on improving and making this app even better.


Recently, I've seen a couple of apps that were launched that specifically focus on cinemagraph creation. They launched at a discounted price of $67 and then increased in price, post launch.

Gifzign launched in March 2017 at a discounted price of $27 and will soon increase to $47 at the end of the launch period. This is a one-time, lifetime price. But post launch, the price will likely increase to a monthly and/or yearly subscription. So if you find this useful, take advantage of the discount.


Like I mentioned earlier, I've had a chance to play around and test most of the Gifzign features and functionality. I've created a brief review video as well as several tutorials to help you see Gifzign in action and start using it to create cool animated GIFs and stunning cinemagraphs. These video tutorials are on my YouTube channel and you can access them by clicking the banner below:

Hope you found this Gifzign review useful. Based on my experience using it so far, I would definitely recommend this Animated GIF and Cinemagraph Maker. It can be used in your business or if you have clients, you can offer this as a service and create animated GIFs and cinemagraphs. Should you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

If you use the link(s) above to purchase the product. I may earn a commission as a JVZoo affiliate. This recommendation and review is based on my firsthand experience using this product myself.

Gifzign logo and screenshots are copyright protected and used with permission | Images, graphics, icons, video footage used with permission or licensed for commercial purposes | Microsoft, Windows, and the Windows logo are trademarks, or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries | Other company names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Fotojet Review 2017

In this Fotojet Review, I will share many of the useful features and functionality available in this free online graphic design platform.

I've been using Fotojet since September 2015 when it was just a Collage Maker. Since then, Fotojet has evolved a lot. Today, Fotojet is a robust and feature-packed graphic design software, collage maker, and photo editor.

I personally use it often for my graphic design needs, for creating social media banners and posts, for editing photos or just creating greeting cards. Fotojet is free to use, but it does have a premium features as part of their Fotojet Plus membership.

I've used both, the free and premium versions. So in this honest review, I will try and cover as much as I can, in terms of my firsthand experience using this online graphic design software. Apart from this written review, I've also created a Fotojet Video Review, which you will find further down below. In the video review, you will be able to see the Fotojet user-interface in action.

Fotojet: Graphic Design

In today's world of social media platforms, it's key to be able to stand out with your unique designs. Fotojet makes it possible to create unique and original social media covers and images for social media posts. If you're creative, you can create your own unique designs, from scratch, by starting on a blank canvas and using the many built-in tools that Fotojet offers.

On the other hand, if you're not too creative, you can use the many professionally-designed pre-made templates. Though these are pre-made templates, they can be fully customized so as to give them your own personal touch. They can be personalized with your own images and text very easily.

You can create Social Media Cover Photos, Headers, and Posts for popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Tumblr as well as Email Headers. See some example below.

You can also create posters, flyers, invitations, greeting cards, banner ads and so much more with Fotojet. You can even create your own custom sized design if you wish.

Fotojet Facebook Covers

Fotojet: Collage Maker

With the Fotojet Collage Maker, you can create cool-looking collages from scratch or use pre-made templates. You can even create collage greeting cards for any occasion like birthdays, anniversaries, and special holidays.

With the collage maker, you can not only make cool-looking 2D collages, but stunning 3D collages. They have several amazing-looking 3D collage templates that will help transform your pictures into a work of art. You can take a look at some of the examples of 3D collages that I made on this web page.

Apart from creating amazing 2D and 3D collages, you can also make Magazine Covers. Using the Fotojet Magazine Cover templates, you can put yourself on popular magazine covers like Time, Bazaar, Newsweek, Bride, Vanity Fair, Elle, Forbes, and many others.

With the Fotojet Collage Maker, you can also have a lot of fun. For example, you can create your own Mona Lisa photo, make yourself Superman, create a Wanted poster, and so much more.

Fotojet Photo 3D Collages

Fotojet: Photo Editor

One of the Fotojet tools that I use often is the Fotojet Photo Editor. Apart from the basic photo editing features like resizing, cropping, rotating and flipping, you can also apply premium effects and filters to enhance your images.

For example, look at this before and after image of the sunset picture that I took. I only applied the Shadow effect (under Selective Filters) to this picture and it made the original picture much more vibrant. You can also use the Auto-Enhance feature which is basically a one-click button that fixes your image.

There are several Advanced photo editing features that are part of the premium Fotojet Plus membership. You can apply sharpen, de-haze apply noise or a vignette effects to your pictures. But my favourite features in the Fotojet Photo Editor are the Focus, Color Splash and Selective Filters.

Fotojet Selective Filters (Before and After)

With the Focus feature, you can apply a radial blur or a tilt-shift to an image so as to to focus on a particular area of the image and blur the rest.

With the Color Splash feature, you can turn a color photo into black and white, and then apply a color splash only to a particular portion of the image giving it a really unique look.

With the Selective Filter feature, you can apply a variety of radial and gradient effects to your images like Exposure, Highlights, Shadows, Temperature, Tint, and others.

You can also apply a variety of other effects like Black & White, Sepia, Vintage, Chromatic, and others. Additionally, you can apply overlays to your photos to give it a cool-effect like bokeh, light trails, hearts, light burst, paper, fabric, paint, grunge, and others.

All these photo editing features are easy to use and more importantly can help turn your images into a work of art. I'm still in the process of fully tapping into the features and functionality this graphic design software has to offer.

Fotojet Premium (Fotojet Plus)

Fotojet Magazine Cover
Fotojet is available for free, but they also have a Premium offering that includes access to premium templates, features and additional functionality. Fotojet Plus is their premium service which is available for US$2.91 per month (billed annually) or US$4.99 per month (billed monthly). You can upgrade to Fotojet Plus at anytime or cancel it anytime as well.

In the premium version of Fotojet, you will get access to an ever-growing and over 600 premium templates, over 300 premium clipart images, frames, overlays, photo effects, and so much more. Also, the Fotojet premium is ad-free and you will receive priority customer service.

You can check the Comparison Chart for Fotojet Free vs Fotojet Plus.

Fotojet: The Company

One thing I like about the developers, PearlMountain Limited, is that they are constantly listening to customer feedback and improving their platform. I've personally provided my own feedback and seen it implemented. Having said so, there are still things that can be improved, for example, I would like to have the ability to save my projects in order to edit them later, if and when needed. But I would definitely recommend Fotojet as a regular user myself.

Another good thing about the Fotojet, the company, is their customer servive. I've personally dealt with a few of their staff and have always received timely responses and have had pleasant dealings with them. Hope you found this Fotojet Review useful. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. And if you've used Fotojet, please feel free to share your feedback.

CREDITS: Fotojet logo and screenshots are copyright protected and used with permission. PearlMountain Technology Co. Ltd. | Images used in this article belong to the author or have been used with permission | Microsoft, Windows, and the Windows logo are trademarks, or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. | Other names and logos used in this video may be trademarks of their respective owners.