Saturday, July 15, 2006

Verizon Minutes Used Firefox Extension Version 0.84

In light of the latest discussion on Digg, I have a few things to clarify.

I have had no problem hosting the extension on the Mozilla update site, until Verizon complained about the extension. I fixed a problem they claimed to cause excessive load on their servers, talked to Verizon and they said they were ok with the newer version. However since then, all my contacts with Mozilla were lost -- they never returned my email and refused to re-host the extension. I couldn't publish any update to the TMobile extension either.

I never intended to write a program to spam Verizon/TMobile's servers. Unfortunately there is no more "efficient" way to pull the data from Verizon. Ideally if wireless providers really wanted to provide consumers with this kind of data (not just #min, which is too passive and with no alert capabilities), they could have easily provided some efficient APIs to do it.

Having said that, I do agree with some readers that the default 5 minute interval is probably too frequent under the current circumstance. Therefore I have updated the latest version 0.84 here .(save the file locally and then open it from Firefox: File->Open File...)


Anonymous spdorsey said...

Anything like that for Sprint?

7/15/2006 01:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm not sure what i am doing wrong. but the plugin for me says "loading verizon minutes used..." and when i roll my mouse over the bottom it says "verizon site is currently unable to display my balance"

7/15/2006 07:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also am having trouble with this extension, however when I rollover it it says "failed to parse the minutes used"

I have tried both the east and west options. Using XP with Firefox v.

7/16/2006 08:55:00 AM  
Anonymous sheldon said...

Great application!

Any chance that you can tweak this to monitor two/multiple accounts?


7/16/2006 12:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I try to save the 0.84 version by right clicking on the link the save as file come up as 0.83 instead of .84
Stephen Patrick

7/16/2006 01:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the current plugin shows the total minutes used (with the details available on mouseover)
I would like to see just the peak minutes and hopefully this can be configured in options

7/16/2006 03:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am having a hard time believing that Mozilla will not host your extension and that Verizon is OK with it.

I would logically seem it would be the other way around.

With this extension's notoriety, I just can't believe no one at Mozilla hasn't contacted you again just to do a simple host for an extension?

Is Mozilla being told by Verizon's lawyers not to host this extension while telling you something different? Now that I can believe.

Or maybe Mozilla's lawyers are too afraid of having Verizon sue them in the future and thus want something in writing to cover their backs and that's why they want to delay, delay, delay, delay.....

7/16/2006 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger Winston Huang said...

I was simply stating what I had experienced. Behind the scene, the scenario you hypothesized could very well be true.

7/16/2006 05:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would also like to see options for multiple minute listings, say especially for a family plan, it would be nice to see totals for multiple #'s in the fam plan + the family plan total for either peak or off-peak minutes. Kinda like how forcast fox let's you specify a format string that would display whatever variables you want from the parsed info on the minute usage page, that'd be cool!

7/17/2006 10:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great little plugin!

I'd like to request an option to display peak + off-peak + weekend down in the status bar. My plan doesn't have free nights/weekend minutes. That means the "Show usage in red" limit doesn't work for my situation either.

Thanks for this plugin Winston!

7/17/2006 12:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you tried "recently" contacting Mozilla to get it RE-hosted like it should be? That is, do you contact them by e-mail or phone?

And have you tried just re-submitting a totally new entry?

What about the newsgroups? Have they said anything or offered any suggestings on contacting Mozilla to get it rehosted?

I thought Mozilla was supposed to be open source "like", OR at the very least give you a straight answer, not the silent treatment.

And lastly can you "document" this silent treament? E-mail and phone records, etc....

7/17/2006 12:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think they just stop letting me login i cant use my account user name and password it logs me out. I think they changed the way we log in

7/17/2006 12:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you tried setting up a new account instead? and see if you can just start a new listing?

Mozilla can make simple mistakes just like everyone else and their site could be messed up. Or when mozilla delisted your extension long ago, the person doing the delisting didn't really know what they were doing as mozilla doesn't delist that often anyway. just a thought.....

7/17/2006 12:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plug in seems to have stopped working. I updated my account on the Verizon Webpage...but still no info. Says invalid number or gets stuck on checking usage.

7/17/2006 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

data usage on this would be awesome!

7/17/2006 02:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second spdorsey's request for a similar plugin for Sprint.

7/17/2006 02:17:00 PM  
Anonymous jeffrey said...

As far as security is concerned, how are the username/password sent across to verizon?

7/17/2006 03:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tried to load it in v. starts to load but gives error invalid or corrupt jarfile.

7/17/2006 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger Princess Sarah said...

wow - anyone know if something like this is available for Rogers (in Canada)?

7/17/2006 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger Winston Huang said...

login credentials are sent through https

7/17/2006 05:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I upgraded to the 0.84 version and got an error that my username/password were wrong. Then I uninstalled and reinstalled the extension, same problem. But they were right -- because a few days ago, using the 0.83 version, I was able to connect successfully and the extension showed all my info. I wonder if Verizon is blocking it still?

7/17/2006 05:46:00 PM  
Blogger Akela Talamasca said...

Any chance for a Mac version?

7/17/2006 06:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Seth said...

Cool! What a great extension. It worked without issue for me.

7/17/2006 06:28:00 PM  
Blogger Orrin said...

Doesn't want to work for me. I'm putting in the correct login information (I can even go to and I'm already logged in) but it will just say "Loading Verizon minutes used..." forever.

7/17/2006 06:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Verizon is working fine for me, 7/17/06 8 PM EST. I'm in the EAST Region, checking Family Share Plan every 720 minutes (twice a day).

7/17/2006 08:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've installed both Windows and Linux now - download the ".xpi" file from this site, and use the desktop GUI to drag the file onto the browser.

7/17/2006 08:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am getting that same issues that sas loading minutes but nothing comes up. I have the latest .84 version...why does it work for some people and not others?

7/17/2006 08:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an awesome plugin - thanks!

It quite often says it can't log in, so I've extended the http timeout - hopefully that will fix it.

Thanks again!

7/18/2006 10:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Can I choose to see just the peak minutes?
Great tool!!

7/18/2006 02:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Polling more than Once A Day is a WASTE.

Ten years ago, when I worked for BellSouth Mobility, 'Real Time Rating' was being developed. The Billing System still compiled CDRs (Call Detail Records) in a mainframe batch job at night. I suspect that is still the case today. If so, checking your balance using the web interface more frequently than once in the morning after the batch job completes would be a pointless waste of time.

Emperically, does anyone see their web minutes-balance update during the day?

Please answer with your carrier name, because different carriers may update their webservers differently.

Also, checking via the phone itself (#MIN), probably queries the phone switch directly, and definitely has more timely updates than Verizon's webserver. Just now, the web says my Balance is 277, and #MIN says 326 (as of 12:00 noon today, which was 2.5 hours before I dialed #MIN).

Pointlessly slamming the carrier's webserver may get this nice extension blocked. I think the default polling period should be Once A Day, ideally around 8 or 9 AM (in the timezone hosting the carrier's billing system).

7/18/2006 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger Winston Huang said...

the minutes usage data in my tmobile account is updated very timely, usually within 30 minutes.

7/18/2006 03:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Bryant said...

Thanks so much for this great plugin.

One feature request though is for data usage

Another is for allowing "in" calls to be included in total on the status bar.

7/18/2006 06:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This plugin is awesome. I second the motion to see data plan stats.

7/18/2006 11:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Winston,

Are you still unable to host this extension at Mozilla?

If so, have tried setting up a new account with Mozilla and try uploading the extension that way?

Maybe Mozilla has a lot of turnover as developers do move from job to job a lot. Thus, those contacts you had before have left Mozilla to a higher paying job outside of Mozilla.

7/20/2006 11:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great program Big help Thanks Winston


7/20/2006 04:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The extension works fairly well, but it is always more delayed than Verizon in showing my most recent call. Any way to fix this?

7/20/2006 04:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Works great on Bon Echo Beta 1 (Nightlies) after forcing it to be compatible. Thanks Winston!

7/22/2006 12:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Karl said...

I have a few other AMAZING ideas for you . . . where can I email you?


7/22/2006 12:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had problems login in and even though I live in the eastern US I chose west and it fixed the problem.

7/23/2006 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

First, great extension. I have one feature request. Could you make the extension such that it waits for the first time the user puts in their master password before it checks verizon. The reason is that now everytime I open firefox I have to put in my master password due to this extension which most of the time I don't want to do. I open and close firefox all day long so putting in my master password every time on startup is a deal breaker for me. Thanks

7/24/2006 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger Winston Huang said...

i am not aware of how to know if a user has input his master password. typically a user is asked for it when an application is trying to access any saved password. there is no way i know of that can tell me if any other application has requested password.

even if there were a way to do it, implementing this feature will be confusing for other users who would like to see the minute usage data right away...

7/24/2006 10:46:00 PM  
Blogger Christie said...


We haven't chatted recently because everything is running splendidly.

I wanted to comment on the poster who said the minutes are only updated once a day. Verizon does indeed update more than once a day. My minutes get updated every 5 hours, and if there have been calls between updates, my minutes totals do adjust.

Keep up the good work, and let me know if you need anything.


7/25/2006 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger Christie said...

I spoke too soon, I guess. I installed 0.84 this morning even though 0.83 was working great for me. It won't load the minutes now.

7/26/2006 09:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just curious if there is any chance in a plugin like this for Alltel.

8/02/2006 03:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have noticed this with version 0.84 so I went back to 0.83 and still got the same result. The Projection for the Month is way off. This was working until my minutes turned over the beginning of this week. Any ideas?


8/10/2006 09:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

excellent plugin! one suggestion if you could, make the 'failed login' message optional. perhaps in the popup note the last time successfully updated i run my computer and firefox for weeks on end and there are usually 2 or 3 of the failed messages to click out of when i wake up the screen. another option would be to flash the minutes when the update fails

8/16/2006 08:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am having the same issue as Anon.... The monthly projection feature is no longer working correctly. For example, so far this month I have used 50 peak minutes, but my "Projection for this month" is only 6. Any ideas?

8/17/2006 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger Winston Huang said...

if you see your projection being lower than your current usage, most likely your last billing date is more than 1 month old. if it's the case, the MONTHLY projection will be lower than you r current usage.

8/17/2006 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger B. Josh Becker said...

Is it at all possible to be able to show text messages used?

8/17/2006 09:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Re. Projected monthly usaae

Hi Winston,

No, this is not the case here. The pop-up shows the last statement date as 08/02/06, current peak usage of 50, and projection for month of 6. I noticed another user with the same problem several comments back. This issue has only occurred since the last statement date. Any other thoughts?

8/17/2006 08:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this extension is WAY helpful! Thanks!

8/18/2006 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger Winston Huang said...


thanks for the feedback. i cannot figure out what's going wrong. i don't have a verizon account to test it. i looked at the code closely and cannot see how it would go wrong. the snippet to calculate the projection is below. could you also post the exact output from the tooltip? or have a screenshot of it?

result = this.parse(responseText, "last\\ statement\\ date,\\s*(\\d+)/(\\d+)/(\\d+)");
if (result != null) {
var now = new Date();
var year = parseInt(result[3])+2000;
var month = parseInt(result[1]);
var day = parseInt(result[2]);
var last = new Date(year, month-1, day);
var diff = now - last;
projectedTotal = Math.round(summary*30/diff);
lastStatementDate = result[1] + "/" + result[2] + "/" + result[3];

8/19/2006 09:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Wireless Number: XXX-XXX-XXXX
Last Statement Date: 08/02/06
Normal Calls:
Peak: 63 Off-Peak: 113
Projection for this month: 7
Weekend: 100
'IN' CAlls:
'IN' Peak: 0 'In" Off-Peak: 0
Most recent Call: 08/19/06 1:23 PM

8/19/2006 01:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Hi Winston,

Just wanted to let you know that I tried uninstalling and reinstalling the extension. This made no difference - the results were identical.

8/19/2006 06:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This ext. works great, thanks! My Verizon account happens to give me a single pool of anytime minutes, which includes peak, off-peak, and weekend, so the status bar display options of "peak" or "peak+off-peak" are not useful to me and I have to continually mouse over to see the weekend minutes. Can you add another display option for "peak+off-peak+weekend"?

8/19/2006 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger Winston Huang said...


could you go to your verizon account (double click the verizon extension icon) and search for "last statement date...". what's the value for that? i suspect that the date format for you is set to dd/mm/yy. i was expecting mm/dd/yy.

8/19/2006 11:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Looks like their format changed a bit. The past statement dates now show up in a drop down menu, the first of which is the most recent. The format is as follows:

August 2, 2006

I would be happy to e-mail you a screen shot if it would help. I have an old verizon@... e-mail address for you, from prior communications back in January. Let me know if you want the screen shot and if the e-mail address is still valid.


8/20/2006 06:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Just looked again....
Actually the past statement date does show up in part of the text:

Under the heading:

Current Usage Since Last Statement

† Last Call 08/20/06, 5:07 PM. This is an estimate of the minutes used since your last statement date, 08/02/06. This estimate was updated within the last 24 hours. This estimate does not include roaming airtime.

8/20/2006 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger Winston Huang said...


that verizon email of mine still works. shoot me an email with the html source code of your account page.

8/20/2006 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

I have solved the problem with the projected minutes calculating incorrectly.
E-mail me and I'll send you details.
-Jeremy (

8/21/2006 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger Irie said...

Hi, I am new to this think and I am having the same problem with the monthly projection being off.. Other than that this is an awesome plugin.. Thank you.

8/21/2006 04:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It doesn't work with Firefox 2.0b2.

9/05/2006 05:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you have a tentative date for updates to work with Firefox 2.0?

10/24/2006 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger J. Shore said...

An update to the Firefox 2.0 version would be awesome!

11/02/2006 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger sunsonfire said...


It doesn't work for FF 2.0. Is that something you are working ?
Thanks a lot,

11/02/2006 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger sunsonfire said...


It doesn't work for FF 2.0. Is that something you are working on?
Thanks a lot,

(sorry about the repost)

11/02/2006 03:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When do you think you will get it to work with Firefox 2.0?

11/05/2006 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Winston Huang said...

version 0.91 for firefox 2.0 has been out for a while now. please check the home page at

11/05/2006 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger J. Shore said...

Latest version works well in Firefox 2.0. Great extension!

11/05/2006 08:49:00 PM  
Blogger The King Lives said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12/06/2006 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger The King Lives said...

I'm so loving this! Thanks, Winston. I'd also like to see data plan minutes since I have a 10 MB account (not unlimited). Is that even available from Verizon's servers though? I can't find this in my online statement.

12/06/2006 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger The King Lives said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12/06/2006 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger Winston Huang said...

if it's not found in your online account page, then the extension cannot display it.

12/06/2006 04:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So did we ever get one for sprint?

12/10/2006 03:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

crap i updated firefox to 2.0 and now this doesn't work! :(

2/24/2007 04:34:00 PM  

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