The 14 best Firefox add-ons of 2017

Firefox isn’t the most popular browser in the world — that honor now goes to Google Chrome — but it still has an ardent following. And after slipping in recent years, it has been on something of a rebound this year. On top of that, Mozilla made a big deal about the release of the latest version – Firefox Quantum – which the company says is twice as fast as the browser was earlier this year. (It’s available for download if you haven’t tried it yet, and want to.)

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Why virtual assistants are the ‘killer app’ for wearables

Star Trek got it right.

In the future, we’ll interact with computers mostly by talking.

But for those computers to be available for instant interaction, they’ll have to be attached to our physical persons. I’m talking about virtual assistants on wearable devices.

Technologists are ambivalent about both virtual assistants and wearables. Some love and rely upon them. Others are indifferent.

That’s why it may seem unlikely that these two technologies, used together, are the future of computing. Still, it’s going to happen.

Stay with me here, because by the end of this column I think you’ll see clearly how inevitable this scenario is.

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What’s next for Microsoft’s .Net CLR

Microsoft’s Common Language Runtime, the virtual machine that anchors the .Net Framework, is due for a makeover, with the company announcing plans to make the CLR more efficient and scalable.

Key to this modernization will be improvements to the intermediate language underlying the CLR, called IL, which has not been upgraded in ten years, said Mads Torgersen, lead designer for C# at Microsoft. The company wants to improve the IL and make the CLR a richer target for programming languages. 

The goal of the CLR is to run .Net programs efficiently. Currently the biggest problem with .Net is the inherent limits of scalability of the runtime itself, said Ben Watson, Microsoft principal software engineer. The CLR is being pushed beyond its original intention and design. Watson explained that when multiple gigabytes of code are being loaded, algorithms built into the CLR start breaking down. 

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