Thursday, March 22, 2007

Verizon Minutes Used Firefox Extension Version 0.97

Finally, I fixed the problem that caused the extension to fail in firefox 2.0.

You can download the new version here . (the 0.971 version now has the auto-update feature.)

This one took me quite a while to figure out. Apparently Verizon started to check the http header "Referer" when serving login request to make sure the request comes from a user visiting their web site, not from a robot like this extension. I then naturally set the referer header value in my XMLHttpRequest. But it turned out that it's not supported by firefox 2.0, for security reason I think. (But if that were the case, it's really lame. )

Anyway, I finally figured out some other way to add the referer value to the header before the request was sent out to Verzion.

I am sure they will make more changes later...

79 Comments:

Blogger Christie said...

Winston, thank you so much for this fantastic extension and for your time in constantly updating it when Verizon borks it.

Kudos!!!!!

3/22/2007 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger Falco98 said...

hooray!
now let's count the days before they switch shit around again making the extension break even more :-P

BTW: do you have a contact at verizon we can e-mail and pester to give you some public API that won't break as much? that would be cool.

3/22/2007 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger Winston Huang said...

I don't have a contact at Verizon. If they want to contact me, they can always leave a comment on this blog.

however, creating an open API is not that trivial either. there are many issues to consider. I doubt they would ever do that.

3/22/2007 05:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Winston, Thanks!!!! I know this took a lot of work, and we appreciate it!
I know Verizon will pull another fast one, hope not.. but they make big bucks when we (and the teenagers at home) go over the alloted minutes, so I suspect they will :(

Thanks!

3/22/2007 06:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Winston. Your hard work has saved the day again.

3/22/2007 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger - The Captain said...

You rock!

3/22/2007 07:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil F said...

Winston, I just wanted to add my note of appreciation for all of your efforts in keeping the wonderful extension going. I had really missed it these last few weeks, and am quite happy that you were able to salvage it. Thanks so much!

3/22/2007 08:49:00 PM  
Blogger Awfulshot said...

thanks dood!

3/22/2007 09:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Verizon should realize that, by trying to frustrate this extension, they are setting themselves up for ridicule in the world of blogs, forums, DIGG, etc. We can make them look foolish to a community that should be important to them. Back off big V!

3/22/2007 09:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Paul said...

Wow, thank you for all your hard work.

3/22/2007 09:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your time and effort. This plug-in is a life saver. Keep up the great work!

3/22/2007 09:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Mark said...

Winston, thank you for the work you put into this extension. This is definitely one of my favorites.

3/22/2007 10:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for fixing this. I sure missed it while verizon was jerking us around. u rock

3/22/2007 11:14:00 PM  
Blogger Tom G. said...

Winston,

I want you to know how much we all appreciate all of the time & effort you put in to keeping this extension alive.

3/22/2007 11:28:00 PM  
Anonymous J.Shore said...

Winston, thank you for all your time and work in keeping this extension up! It is definitely a must-have extension for me!

3/22/2007 11:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep up the great work!!

3/22/2007 11:49:00 PM  
Blogger CampMaster Tom said...

Wow, thanks!!! Winston, you came through again!

If anyone finds this extension useful, consider donating some $$ to Winston for his time and effort on this awesome project.

~CMT

3/23/2007 04:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Sanjiv said...

Winston,
Thank you -- been hoping you would come out with a fix .. and you have. wonderful :-)

3/23/2007 11:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Winston, along with the others, thank you so much for your efforts.

3/23/2007 01:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Alex said...

Thank you Winston.

3/23/2007 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger frauline said...

Thanks for all your work!!

3/23/2007 02:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Wow, glad I stumbled upon this! So much easier and more concise than VZW's site.

Best wishes to you and other developers like you who offer truly useful software. Thank you.

Keep up the good work!

3/23/2007 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger Ernie said...

Fantastic...thanks

3/23/2007 03:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You da man!

3/23/2007 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Mike D said...

Yay! I love this extension.. I hope people are donating because they are obviously loving it.

3/23/2007 06:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Winston,

Sent you a donation via Pay Pal. Thank you for your efforts. Would hate to be without this extension.

3/23/2007 06:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

$10 donation left. Token of much money saving appreciation!

Mark

3/23/2007 11:45:00 PM  
Anonymous djxspike said...

Thanks Winston! Works great, once again!

3/24/2007 02:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, once again, Winston. This extension saves my butt!

3/25/2007 07:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update!

3/26/2007 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger Chris M said...

I'll just mirror everyone else's comments and say, thanks for the hard work in keeping this one going. I really do rely on it.

3/26/2007 04:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gave a small donation because this plugin kicks much ass. Thanks and keep it working!

3/26/2007 11:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Winston, Thanks!!!!
I went over by $25 when the extension was down!!

Appreciate the effort you put in to constantly update the extension when Verizon screws it up.

3/27/2007 11:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Winston,
This extension in superb and a money-saver! Thank you for all the time you're investing in maintaining and improving it.

You probably know that when you release a new version of "Verizon Minutes Used", Firefox does not automatically recognize the update. (Tools > Add-ons > right-click on extension > Find Update). I assume this is because the extension isn't hosted on Mozilla, which I understand entirely.

Is there some other way that Firefox's manual/automatic updates could be enabled for this extension? As many have written, this has become an essential tool! When Verizon changes things - and you update the extension - it would be very helpful if Firefox could find the updates.

Great extension!

3/28/2007 10:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great work, thanks

3/28/2007 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger Winston Huang said...

i am all for supporting auto-update. i couldn't find any documenation on how to implement the service. can someone help out (e.g. point me to the right doc)?

3/29/2007 04:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been using your extension for a few versions now and I simply love it. Keep up the good work.

3/30/2007 01:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Winston, you rock man. How hard would it be to create a automated script that saved data to a log file each time the call data changed? Thankx for the extension.

3/31/2007 10:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's 2007/03/31. Peak=752. Projection=728. The projection really needs work!!

3/31/2007 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger Winston Huang said...

regarding the projected usage, read previous posts and you will understand why. basically it's caused by verizon's site not updating the billing date in time.

3/31/2007 05:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Jonathan said...

Winston,
Thank you for the willingness to support auto-update. I had left the suggestion anonymously about this on Wednesday. The following link may be a start - I'd be glad to dig for further information if it would be helpful:
Link
Thank you in advance!

4/01/2007 12:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much! You've done a great job with this extension.

4/02/2007 02:06:00 AM  
Blogger Winston Huang said...

Jonathan,

I have seen the link before. but some details are missing. anyone has more info on this or a tutorial/sample on how to set it up?

4/10/2007 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

I'll join the chorus of "Thank you"s for such a simple-looking, powerful tool. I'm being a good citizen and having it update every 720 minutes (that is, twice a day) so as not to unfairly burden Verizon's servers.

Minor complaint: Family-plan reporting seems to be broken.

4/11/2007 07:35:00 AM  
Anonymous teddy p said...

hello winston,

i'm not sure if this is where you'd like us to post troubleshooting comments.

i just changed my verizon cell # and the extension no longer works for.... just says "loading verizon minutes"

i uninstalled and reinstalled the extension and entered in my new account info.... nothing.

any ideas?

4/11/2007 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger wongle said...

awesome plugin!
i have a suggestion...
what about adding the ability to check the number of international text messages too?

thanks! :)

4/11/2007 05:49:00 PM  
Anonymous teddy p said...

i guess i am the only one that is having problems!

i'm sure the only reason why this extension is now not working is b/c i recently changed my cell phone # and had to change my login info...

bummer!

4/12/2007 06:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

I'm with Daniel: My Family Plan account does not seem to update properly. The minutes used remains unchanged until I manually log into my Verizon account. I love this extension but for now, it's not working for me. Are we the only ones? Thanks again!

4/16/2007 10:02:00 AM  
Anonymous robert said...

Ok, I spoke too soon. Things seem to be working again (if they were ever off...maybe it was a Verizon issue? Or operator error?). Thanks for a really great extension!

4/17/2007 09:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Jonathan said...

Winston,

This is the best tutorial I've been able to dig up so far -
Tutorial

Let me know if that's useful or if I should keep digging!

4/19/2007 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger Winston Huang said...

jonathan,

thanks for the link. will look into that.

4/19/2007 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I have a family plan with Verizon (4 phones) and even though I have it set to scrape for family plan, it doesn't display total minutes for the entire family. It only does it for one phone.

Just wanted to let you know.

Thanks,
Dan

4/22/2007 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Disregard my last comment. It does appear to be working fine. It's just that it continues to list one of the minor phone numbers in the hover info box even though I have family plan selected. Kind of confusing.

Thanks,
Dan

4/22/2007 02:07:00 PM  
Anonymous teddy p said...

is there somewhere i can find support for this extension?

it no longer works for me and was the best extension in my arsenal!

the extension always says "loading verizon minutes used..."

i just got a new phone # and had to change my username and password. i moved to the middlewest and have toggled the east/west region to no avail. not much else to do. i have uninstalled and disabled and erased the extension from my user profile and still nothing.

i guess it is time to say goodbye... someone please help!

4/24/2007 09:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is... awesome.

4/24/2007 10:36:00 AM  
Anonymous L K said...

This is a great plugin Winston. I'm actually running into the same referer problem with my own code.

If you wouldn't mind sharing, how did you end up setting the referer? You can e-mail me at lkartaltepe@hotmail.com

4/24/2007 11:33:00 PM  
Anonymous mkrsinger said...

Winston,

This is a terrific and extension. Thanks for your efforts in keeping up with Verizon on this.

One small request though. Is it possible for you to add the capture of the data plan usage? For example:
Data ‡ KB Usage 850.38 KB

Also, what about adding the TXTs counts and Data Usage to the Status Bar as well?

4/25/2007 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger Hemmige V. said...

Great extension, Winston.

One request: can you add a field which shows the time when the extension last downloaded information from the VZW site?

This would be really useful.

Thanks,

Sri

4/26/2007 08:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am using Firefox version 2.0.0.3 and I am getting an error message that reads "Loading Verizon minutes used" on the bottom bar of my Firefox browser.

How can this be fixed?

Thanks:)!

5/05/2007 01:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Just noticed that version .971 was available with automatic updating, so I installed it. Tried to "Find Update", and received this message: "An error occurred while trying to find updates for Verizon Minutes Used." Is this auto update feature not fully operational yet, or do I need to configure something to allow the update site to install add ons? Thanks.

5/07/2007 10:35:00 PM  
Blogger Winston Huang said...

since there is no update yet, that's why you saw that message. when the next version comes out, you should see something different (or better yet, firefox will tell you automatically that there is a new version).

5/07/2007 10:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Thanks Winston...
FYI, all my other extensions simply show: "No updates were found." when there are no new updates. Also. wanted to say, once again, how great this extension is, and how much we all appreciate your time & effort with it!

5/07/2007 10:51:00 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

Dude im not kidding msn, u r the mack shizzle. this thing is gonna save me 50-100 dollars each year. thank u so much!!!!!

Rich
Delaware

5/07/2007 10:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the plugin.. but can anyone tell me what i should look at if i want to see how many minutes i used AND i have free nights/weekends? i dont understand all this PKin stuff. thank you

5/11/2007 04:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Jonathan said...

Winston -
It is great that you've implemented auto-update. We'll watch eagerly to see how it works next time you release an update. I might add that I agree with Phil - in that it should emulate other extensions which say "No updates were found." when there are no new updates.
Thank you again!

5/18/2007 01:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Hi Winston, there appears to be an issue this morning. The actual, minutes never come up, only "Loading Verizon minutes used...". When I place the curser over this, I get a notation saying "failed to parse the minutes used". Double clicking on it takes me right to the Verizon billing website, where I am already logged in, and can view my minutes. Wondering is everyone is experiencing the same thing.

5/24/2007 06:37:00 AM  
Blogger CampMaster Tom said...

I have been seeing the same thing, since last night.

I know we appreciate your work on this Winston, THANKS!

5/24/2007 10:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it looks as though they have once again made a change. I think they do it specifically to screw with poor Winston.

5/24/2007 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger ben said...

yeah same thing here with the "auto login" i think they did that specifically for the plugin which is rather gay i think. I want to be able to see my minutes w/ out loggin in every time. I mean for goodness sake thats a feature that should be on the freaking phone by now with how advanced they are. Perhaps VZW needs another class action for preventing people from seeing their minutes in a convenient way.

5/24/2007 11:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

VZW definitely does it to screw with a great extension

5/24/2007 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger jeff said...

It looks like verizon may have messed with things again. "failed to parse minutes"

5/24/2007 03:40:00 PM  
Anonymous MikeTheCat said...

Yea, I'm getting the same message...

5/24/2007 07:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

agreed, Great Extension, great design... too bad verizon keeps doing their best to mess with it. Seems im having the same issue as the others with the Failed to Parse the minutes used.

5/25/2007 08:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Adam said...

I've got the same error message. I love this extension. Why does Verizon have to go and muck up all our fun?

5/25/2007 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

Same problem. Bastards!

5/25/2007 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Ursula said...

Ditto to the 5/24 and 5/25 comments. I too get the perpetual "Loading Verizon minutes used" message. I'm sure it's those motherless-children at Verizon who can't stand this way cool add-on that Winston created!

Winston, I totally LOOOOOOOVE your add-on, and it has honestly saved me from going over my minutes on more than one occasion. I'm hooked on your plug-in! It, and you, are DA BOMB! :-)

5/26/2007 10:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mine quit working... any clue??

5/26/2007 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger Winston Huang said...

i will look at it soon. currently out of town. will keep you posted.

5/26/2007 10:11:00 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

Yeah mine stopped working a few days ago. "failed to parse minutes used." thank you winston, you are providing a much needed service.

5/26/2007 11:58:00 PM  

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