Saturday, March 28, 2009

NNL Update: Version 0.6.20090322

Now available: NASA Night Launch version 0.6.20090322. This is a maintenance release to handle several changes in the ScribeFire add-on, mostly in the ScribeFire editor toolbar. Here's a before-and-after screenshot of ScribeFire.

If you already have NNL installed, this update will be available through the usual automatic Firefox theme update method, or you can install it manually from AMO.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

NNL maxversion now includes Firefox 3.5 beta 4 "pre"

NNL's maxversion is now bumped up to include Firefox 3.5 b4pre (that is, nightly versions which will eventually become Firefox 3.5 beta 4, whenever that is released). This means you can install NNL with a nightly Firefox build -- although I'm only officially supporting official Firefox releases.

In case you missed it: Firefox 3.1 has been renumbered to Firefox 3.5. There will be no Firefox 3.1 -- it will be called Firefox 3.5 instead. Numbering on the betas will jump from 3.1 beta 3 directly to 3.5 beta 4. This will be followed by further betas of 3.5 (if there are any) and then 3.5 itself.


STS-119 left the launch pad right on time this past Sunday for a beautiful twilight launch. Discovery is now in orbit and docked with the space station.

After the launch, NASA announced the presence of a stowaway bat, riding the outside of the external tank, visible in pictures here. From the article:

Launch controllers spotted the bat after it had clawed onto the foam of the external tank as Discovery stood at Launch Pad 39A. The temperature never dropped below 60 degrees at that part of the tank, and infrared cameras showed that the bat was 70 degrees through launch.

... after which its temperature quickly rose above 3000 degrees F. Godspeed, little Launchbat.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Firefox 3.1 Beta 3 Released

Firefox 3.1 Beta 3 is now out -- users who want to help test this not-yet-complete application can download it here.

I've bumped up the maxversion for NNL on AMO so that the adventurous can choose to install it with Beta 3. Keep in mind that, when used with a Firefox beta, NNL is a beta too. There's still lots to do to finish NNL support for Firefox 3.1 (and 3.5, which is what Firefox 3.1 will be called when it's released).

Try again?

NASA is again attempting an evening launch for STS-119, with a ten-minute launch window scheduled for 7:43 PM this (Sunday) evening. Catch it on NASA TV.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Supporting Firefox 3.1 Beta 3

Here's a quick announcement for users of the Firefox 3.1 betas. Beta 3 is due out "real soon now" -- probably this week. Accordingly, the web page for NNL on AMO has been updated to allow installing with Firefox 3.1 Beta 3.

Keep in mind that, as always, whenever used with a Firefox beta, NNL is a beta too.

In other news, this Wednesday's shuttle launch is still a go. Here's a viewing guide for people on the American east coast, thanks to the Hayden Planetarium and

Friday, March 6, 2009

NASA Night Launch Two-Fer

(That's real night launches from the real NASA.)

First, NASA's planet-hunting Kepler mission successfully lifted off in a blaze of night-launch glory this (Friday) evening from Cape Canaveral in Florida.  Once in position, the Kepler instrument will spend the next three-plus years staring intently at a very small patch of sky (containing tens of thousands of suns) looking for Earth-sized planets.  We've already found some 300 larger, gas-giant-sized planets using Hubble and ground-based telescopes.  Kepler increases the resolution of the search.

Second, space shuttle mission STS-119 was just cleared for a night launch next Wednesday, March 11, with a 9:20 PM EDT launch target.  STS-119 will deliver new solar panels and infrastructure to the International Space Station so it can support its full complement of six crewmembers. Be sure to watch an unrecognizable ten-second clip on your evening news, or catch the whole jaw-dropping thing live in HD on NASA TV.