If you know of any good online resources for current aerial photos or videos of Jefferson Parish, especially the south of I-10 and above the river, please let me know. Thanks.
August 2005 Archives
In order to make sure that the Firefox 1.5 release is of the highest quality, and to get some very widespread testing of our update system, we're inserting one additional beta into the schedule. If all goes well, we'll have wrapped up our Firefox 1.5 beta 1 by next week. After that, we'll take some time to respond to the feedback we get and ship a second beta sometime in the following three or four weeks. After that, we'll have our final release candidates and then Firefox 1.5.
If you know of any serious issues with update that should be taken care of before beta 1, please nominate those using the blocking1.8b4? flag in Bugzilla. If you know of serious bugs that don't impact our update system, consider nominating them for the second beta by setting the blocking1.8b5? flag. (I know those flags are a bit confusing -- they refer to the core Mozilla/Gecko code and not the Firefox application version. Just remember that 1.8b4 is Firefox 1.5 beta 1 and 1.8b5 is Firefox 1.5 beta 2.)
This does mean that our schedule will be pushed out a bit further but the added testing and bugfixing will help to ensure that Firefox 1.5 is of the highest possible quality and that all future updates and upgrades are easy and convenient for our tens of millions of users.
You can read more about the schedule specifics over at the developer news blog.
I just read that Opera Software is giving away free copies of the Opera 8 browser for one day - and one day only. I guess that makes Opera about 1/365th as free as Firefox which is available every day of the year at no cost.
Opera's made good strides in this area, enough that I think the major issue today is no longer the UI (though that could still use some work) but the in-chrome advertising and the steep licensing fee.
There aren't enough people willing to pay for the product (even Opera admits that the release of Opera 8 wasn't enough to stop the decline of desktop browser revenue and that licensing wasn't the best way to monetize their browser users.) And there aren't enough people willing to stare at the browser's advertising when the web pages already overwhelm them with advertising. Opera cannot continue with this model if it wants to dramatically grow its user base.
Opera has a solid rendering engine and an improving user interface. If it's going to achieve any significant market penetration, Opera Software should do what the mainstream browsers, Firefox and IE, have done, and give away an ad-free version of the application -- for free, 365 days a year, not just one.
There's a great article on limiting Internet Explorer to Windows Update over at The Tlog. Check it out.
Do any of you know of other organizations besides Mozilla that are providing end-user support for Firefox or Thunderbird? If so, please let me know. Thanks.
So where's the Google maps hack that gives us up to the minute weather satellite data around hurricane Katrina?
I'm sure at least a few of you spend your day sitting at a desk. I've been trying out a few different office chairs over the last week or two and so far none of them seem to really fit me. What chairs do you all use or recommend?
Jason just upgraded our Movable Type installation and I think it's all working well but please let me know if you spot anything out of the ordinary.
I just ran across this very slick little toolbar called the FlickrBar�. It's got a simple search field that can search tags, people, and groups plus a comments notification and a messages notification.
I have one feature request. They should add a way to drag flickr photos to the toolbar (or at least references to the photos) so that you can easily drag and drop photos from flickr into different web based applications like blogs or forums or whatnot.
update: looks like the extension was removed due to a bug. more info here.
update2: if you just gotta have a flicker extension today, try FlickrFox, a nice Flickr sidebar extension for Firefox.
According to this report over at Space.com, there's yet another gully study out that suggests, again, that liquid water still makes its way to the surface of Mars. Nice to see that this idea is holding up. Near surface water outside of the polar regions would be really nice for humans exploring Mars.
*When we were working on early versions of Internet Explorer we had no idea where the Internet would take the world, or how we would fit in.
**PSD needs to get serious about cloning Netscape. We must have a plan to clone all the features they have today, plus new ones they will add between now and our next release. We have to make this our only priority and put our top people on the job. In addition to our planned Win32/OLE work, we have to get serious about extending and owning HTML as a format, and in the process leverage our existing assets to get ahead.
*Christopher Vaughan, lead project manager for the Internet Explorer team, (in the IE blog today) reminiscing on the good old days.
**United States v. Microsoft Trial - Government Exhibit 684 PDF Format (605KB) which seems to cover "how [Microsoft] would fit in" pretty damn well.
download Google Talk and tell me what you think.
And what's the significance of "play 23 21 13 16 21 19 . 7 1 13 5" ?
Blake pointed that out to me in Google Talk's "About" dialog from the systray and it sort of looks like a lottery number - but not quite.
Ahh, if the numbers were letters then it's "play wumpus.game" so maybe this. So how do we play?
Ahh, an online version of Wumpus game. Talk to firstname.lastname@example.org :-)
It's that time of year again when about half of the online world heads back to school -- well, don't be caught carrying last year's backpack. Head over to the Mozilla Store and get yourself the slick new Firefox backpack. I've been carrying one for a week now and it kicks serious ass -- it's even got a padded sleeve for your laptop.
While you're there, grab a copy Firefox and Thunderbird Garage with all kinds of great tips and tricks from Mozilla's very own Marcia Knous. Nothing like having a few good Firefox and Thunderbird secrets to dole out to new friends. Even if you don't read much, it'll look great on your bookshelf.
Headed off to a new dorm room or apartment? Get the New York Times Firefox poster to cover those bare walls (heck, at $5, get several!)
And because no Firefox user should be without a high quality Firefox t-shirt, you might as well grab one of those too (now available in black!)
Only one more week of free domestic shipping so don't delay. Get your Firefox back to school gear and be the envy of all your peers :-)
It's one thing to take inspiration from another developer, but to steal the idea, the icons, and the documentation outright without any credit is just plain wrong.
A commenter just pointed me to this post over at John C. Dvorak's blog which gives Firefox nearly 60% of the readership in one stats snapshot. Add in Mozilla and Camino, and Gecko is at 62% -- nearly 2/3rds!! Not bad at all.
After the mainstream browsers, Firefox and IE, alternatives Safari and Opera come in third and fourth with 9% and 5% readership respectively.
I've been tracking Firefox stats around the blogs for a while now and after several surveys of the top 100 blogs, I noticed that the average of the top 100 was tracking perfectly with the stats at boingboing.net, which today puts Firefox at 38.9% (43.6% for all of Gecko,) so now I just use that measure as my measure of Firefox's share of the blog reading market.
The alternative browsers, Safari and Opera, are at 10.7% and 1.9% respectively.
The final episode of Six Feet Under was very well done.
I was slow to post so head over to that channel and see all the great tips in recent updates or just grab the feed.
Thanks, Chris! (and the rest of the Lockergnome crew) for doing this. I've wanted to do it for a long time here at this blog but it just never happened.
Deanna and I are headed up to Sebastopol, the Russin River area, and the Wine Country (Napa and Sonoma Valleys) so I'm probably going to be away from the web and blogging for most of the weekend.
So, this seems like a great time to gather another round of questions for my semi-regular feature, Ask Asa. If you've got questions and you think I might have the answer or be able to get the answer for you (without too much difficulty) please let me know with comments on this post.
For those of you new to Ask Asa, don't expect my responses right away. I like to gather questions for about a week and then take a week or so to put together the answers.
The floor is yours.
Our developers have done a huge amount of work to design and implement an entirely new update system for the 1.5 releases. The new update system is designed and built from the ground up to provide a more scalable, cross-platform, more capable, and easier to use system for updating Firefox and Thunderbird.
We've got something we're really proud of but time is getting short for 1.5 and we've still got quite a bit of testing to do to ensure that this new system works across the huge variety of operating system versions and configurations.
If you're interested in being a part of this testing and helping to contribute to one of the most critical new features in the upcoming Firefox and Thunderbird releases, head over to the Mozilla Quality blog and join the team!
I just read over at PC World that Firefox is greater than 20% of their visitors. Not bad at all :-)
The article suggests that both IE and Firefox are gaining at Opera's expense - at least among PC World readers.
Guess what I'm about to do? Yep, I'm gonna defend Microsoft.
Apparently there are people up in a huff about Microsoft going with the name "web feeds" rather than "RSS" in upcoming IE and Windows releases.
What a joke! Are you serious?! "RSS" is a horrible name and almost anything is better. You don't use an "HTML viewer" do you? No. You use a "web browser." You don't use an "IMAP/SMTP client," you use an email client. Complaining that the feature isn't going to be popularized based on the protocol or file formant name is just plain silly.
Firefox supports RSS in bookmarks but we don't call them "RSS bookmarks." We call them "Live Bookmarks." We display RSS feeds in the content area but we call them simply "feeds" in our UI. RSS is a geeky name that no regular user should ever have to know.
Oh, and see Scoble's response (which I mostly agree with.)
Not too long ago, the Firefox name was mostly unknown and "what's this Firefox thing?" was a very common question around the web. All of us in the Firefox community worked hard this last year to get the name out there and into the public eye. We've been succeeding. Thanks to all of that hard work, and a great product, today there are scores of people and organization that want to attach their products to our brand.
A great example of this is the new HBO drama "Rome" which will roll out a major advertising campaign starting this Wednesday. As HBO's two big hits, "The Sopranos" and "Six Feet Under", wrap up this year, "Rome" is positioned to become the next big HBO hit and the pre-launch advertising campaign for the new drama is critical to its success. One component of that campaign is Firefox.
On Wednesday, the "Rome" site will include a Firefox browser theme for users to download.
And it's not just "Rome". The recent release of "Batman Begins" offered up a nice Firefox theme along with the rest of its online offerings including screen savers, desktop wallpapers, buddy icons, etc.
Firefox is becoming a standard piece of the "online marketing kit" for many organizations, and for good reason: We've got a high quality brand that brings in customers. "Rome" and "Batman Begins" are just the beginning :-)
Blake's Firefox Blog has more.
Via Gerv's blog, I've just learned that our Firefox localization story is even more impressive than I'd previously considered.
I have a large spreadsheet containing data on what percentage of the Internet population speaks which language. If I tell it which localisations we have in preparation for Firefox 1.5, it tells me we will be able to provide software in the native language of 95% of the Internet population. This compares with 92% for Firefox 1.0.Our volunteer (yes, it is all volunteer) localization community is amazing!
If I then tell it which localisations have registered projects for Firefox, it tells me that when all of them produce a language pack, we'll have covered 99.93% of the Internet population. Estonian and Icelandic are the only two languages in my list that we don't have a localisation team for.
In case anyone is interested, here are my OSCON slides in PDF format. I hope to have audio of the event soon and I'll post that here if and when I get it.
It's been nine months since the release of Firefox 1.0 and with tens of millions of users we most certainly are taking back the web. Today our Firefox web browser hit the 80,000,000 downloads mark. You can see the live counter over at SpreadFirefox.com.
I guess it makes sense to start with MRO which blasted off from Cape Canaveral yesterday morning and is now flying a seven month journey to the red planet.
The MRO, a JPL managed project, began in 2002 and the last three years have been spent in design, building, and testing at Lockheed Martin in Denver, Colorado. Lockheed Martin is the primary contractor for the project.
The craft carries six key Mars-facing science intsruments: the HiRISE color telescopic camera will map potential future landing sites at resolutions never before taken from orbit (about three times better than what you see in Google Maps satellite data,) the CTX will take wide-angle black and white images, the CRISM visible and near infrared spectormeter will deliver minerology maps of the surface, the MARCI will take color photographs of the whole planet for tracking changes in weather, the SHARAD will be looking for water up to about 1 km under the surface of Mars, and MCS will measure temperature, pressure, water vapor and dust levels in the Martian atmosphere.
In addition to the six primary instruments, MRO carries two more instruments that will study the Martian atmosphere and Martian gravity as well as two experiments, one designed to test radio communication with crafts as they're landing and one that will photograph Martian moons in an attempt to more accurately determine MRO's orbit and potentially help in future orbital insertions.
MRO also carries the largest antenna ever sent to Mars, one capable of up to 6 Mbit/s, or about what I get from my high speed broadband provider. This capability is about 10 times better than any previous Mars orbiter and will be great for delivering all of the new higher resolution data from MRO as well as acting as a powerful relay for future on-planet assets.
MRO will reach Mars in March of 2006 and will spend nearly six months performing aerobreaking maneuvers to lower the orbit from a very high and elongated one to a 255 x 320 kilometer near-polar orbit. The nominal science operations will bein in November of 2006 and continue for two Earth years (about one Martian year.)
The science that will be conducted during the MRO mission will not only further our understanding of history and distribution of water on the planet, but it will also play a key role in determining prime landing sites and communications relay for future missions including Phoenix Lander and Mars Science Laboratory.
The Phoenix Mars Lander, which received the green light from NASA in June of this year, is the next Mars mission -- to be launched in August of 2007 and arriving in May of 2008. The project will deliver to the Martian arctic a spacecraft developed by Lockheed Martin and inherrited from the cancelled 2001 Mars Surveyor Program. The stationary lander will carry with an improved version of the MERs' Pancam (Panoramic Camera developed by the University of Arizona,) a robotic arm capable of digging small trenches and depositing the slightly sub-surface Martian materials to a chemistry-microscopy instrument (a high-temperature furnace and mass spectrometer) and a very cool small chemistry lab consisting of a wet chemistry laboratory, optical and atomic force microscopes, and a thermal and electrical conductivity probe.
The Phoenix Mars Mission was built to study the history of water on Mars in all of its phases (gas, liquid, and solid) and to search for habitable zones and assess the biologic potential of the Martian ice-soil boundary by looking for complex organic molecules that might be evidence of life. This mission should go a long way in furthering the four goals of NASA's Mars Exploration Program - to determine whether life ever arose on Mars, to characterize the climate of Mars, to characterize the Geology of Mars, and to prepair for human exploration of Mars.
I'd intended to talk a bit about the Mars Science Laboratory but this post is getting long so I'll save that for next time. If you've got questions or corrections, I'd love to hear them in the comments here or via trackbacks.
IBM continues its support of the Firefox browser with Firefox support in Domino 7. Go IBM!!
The Mozilla Store is back and a million times better. Expect great Mozilla gear, great prices, same day shipping, and friendly and free customer support.
I drove up to San Francisco for an afternoon of Linux World Expo. We had a small booth and held a BOF in the evening and those were cool. Overall, I'm not terribly excited about LWE. I guess I'm spoiled on conferences like OSCON where you get to meet interesting people rather than sales droids.
I've been running the Ask Asa series for more than a year and a half and from what I can tell it's been useful to many of the readers here. Today I'm going to turn the tables a bit and ask you all to tell me a thing or two.
If you think you've got some good tips or tricks for Firefox that I might not know, please post them here :) I've got a Firefox polo shirt for the person with the most interesting item that's new to me.
My OSCON keynote went OK I think. It was really hard to judge because the audience (I was told it was 2,000 people) was very dark and there were bright lights shining in my eyes. All I really had to go on was noises they made which all seemed pretty positive and light-hearted.
Nat gave me a great introduction (thanks, Nat!) and I didn't get pelted with rotten fruit and there was friendly applause during my taking and leaving the stage. Much better than I anticipated.
The best thing about this was that I got to meet a bunch of amazing people and will be working on some new relationships that I hope will be good for Linux, good for me, and good for the Mozilla applications.
I've been at OSCON all week and it's been great. Nat and Tim both praised Firefox in their keynote remarks and lots of people here are wearing Firefox shirts :-)
I've attended a couple of tuturials and a handful of regular sessions covering everything from AJAX to Zen (and several Mozilla talks.)
My talk on the Mozilla Communities went pretty well yesterday (special thanks to Rafael for helping out with the slides) and tonight I'm putting the finishing touches on my keynote tomorrow: Linux in Search of the Desktop.
Connections at the Oregon Convention Center are pretty flakey given the thousands of us with wireless and my hotel charges for wireless so I've gotten a bit behind on the blog and email and other stuff. Tomorrow is the final day of OSCON so after that things should get better for connectivity and I'll get caught up again with email and blogging.
I'm sure many of you have or will soon read about the recent organizational changes with Mozilla. From where I'm sitting, not much is changing. I'm still working with all the same people and towards all the same goals. We've got a new structure that should make it somewhat easier for us to do what we've been doing - taking Firefox (and Thunderbird) to the masses.
If you've got any questions, let me know. I'll be up for a bit longer and then checking back in first thing in the morning before I dive back into prepairing my two O'Reilly presentations and trying to help get Firefox closer to 1.5.
Just to pre-empt a question I expect a few people will ask, no, there's no IPO in our future :) The Mozilla Foundation maintains ownership of all of the intellectual property (the code, the trademarks, etc.) and the new subsidiary is owned by the Mozilla Foundation - with a board of directors appointed by the Mozilla Foundation so not much is really changing there.
update: you can find some more info over at the reorg page.
I'm pretty sure that a few more people hate me now than did before I started this series so I'm gonna see if I can get back to par with a short article on what I like about Linux.
Rather than taking the easy way out and talking about the ideals behind linux -- saying that I think linux is good because it offers users a choice and promotes software freedom -- I'm actually going to talk about specific features of the software that appeal to me. It's not a long list, but I think it's an important list.
The first think I like about Linux is that it's a programmer's friend. When I joined the Mozilla project I was using Windows and Mac and getting set up to build Mozilla on Windows or Mac was a total pain in the ass. It took me the better part of an afternoon every time I set up a new development environment on Windows. On Linux it takes me about 45 seconds. Linux will and should continue to be a developer's platform.
The second thing I like about Linux is that it's pretty stable and I can't think of a time when I though "I'll reboot and see if that fixes it." With Windows (and yes, Mac too) I find myself rebooting a lot more frequently.
Finally, I like the user/security model that can help keep Regular People from screwing up their system too bad.
I'm sure there are a lot of other smaller issues that I appreciate too, but these are the big ones and I think they make it a very compelling platform for lots of people. Right now, I don't think that includes "Regular People" but I also don't think that making it work for Regular People would be an enormous task. As a matter of fact, I think it could be done by addressing four basic issues :-)
My advice here is simple: Boycott Internet Explorer. It is a cancer on the Web, and must be stopped. IE is insecure and is not standards-compliant, which makes it unworkable for both end users and Web content creators. However, because of user base, Web developers are hamstrung into writing to it at the expense of established standards which work equally well in all other browsers. You can turn the tide by demanding better from Microsoft and using a better alternative Web browser. I recommend and use Mozilla Firefox, but Apple Safari (Mac only) and Opera 8 are both worth considering as well.
One of the common responses to my articles about Linux and the desktop has been that I'm wrong to want "Regular People" to move to Linux. The sentiment that Linux shouldn't become a desktop for Regular People really surprised me so I thought I'd devote a few sentences to reply to that view.
First, Regular People really want an alternative. They're sick of fighting with Windows and many problem Windows applications. If the Linux world can present them with an alternative that's not too painful, many of them will move over and stay. Windows is not the ideal OS for hundreds of millions of people using it today. It just happens to be the one they know. Neither is Linux the ideal for all of them, but it's not terribly far from being a really capable alternative and one that millions of Regular People could benefit from.
When Firefox was in its early stages, we thought long and hard about the problems that Regular People faced when thinking about an alternative to IE. We knew we had a better feature set, one that would alleviate much of the pain that IE users suffered on a daily basis. We worked hard on migration, stability, simplicity and comfort for those IE users and it was enough that in short order tens of millions of IE users could make it over that hurdle of changing browsers. Once they settled in Firefox, and discovered more of its great feature set, they got hooked and wouldn't think about going back to IE.
Linux can and should do the same, lowering the barriers to entry for the hundreds of millions of Windows users that would love to have an alternative.
Second, and though some of the buzz around this has worn off in the last few months, the Windows monoculture is bad for the entire industry and Linux can and should help. Linux has a window of opportunity right now -- before Mac moves over to Intel and can reduce its pricing, before Windows Vista is released, and before those two operating systems and their primary hardware vendors start building the next level of draconian DRM into the platform -- Linux has a window of opportunity to build on it's early successes in the enterprise and the back office, and make it onto the desktops of tens or even hundreds of millions of users. This diversity, especially with the serious participation of a free and open platform, will go a long way to preserving choice, improving safety and security, and lowering the financial barriers that prevent millions of people from participating in one of the most important technological revolutions in human history.
In conclusion, to those people who want to keep Linux to themselves: stop being so selfish :-)
If you're at OSCON and would like to chat or just to meet, I'm around today. I'm working on my two presentations either out in the hallways or in the speakers' registration and lounge area. I'm wearing a Firefox 1.0 shirt and bluejeans. (I've seen several other Firefox shirts around, but I think I'm the only one in a 1.0 shirt.)
Opera is making a good move with the recently announced change to its user agent string. For years, Opera has included bits of IE's identifier, trying to trick sites into serving it IE content, and then putting itself in the horrible position of having to chase IE's terribly incomplete, buggy, and non-standard DOM (and more.)
I don't buy the suggestion that this was a move to make sure that the big players in the web statistics trade, who publish semi-regular market share figures, correctly identify Opera. While Opera does attempt to spoof the IE user agent string, it also contains the string "Opera" which means that any self-respecting measuring organization or tool can (and does) easily identify which hits were from Opera and which hits were from a genuine IE browser. The suggestion by many in the Opera community that the major stats packages identify Opera as IE because of the user agent spoofing is simply bogus. David Naylor killed that myth early this year.
So why does this change matter -- certainly not for the major stats collectors. It does matter for regular web pages who often sniff browsers to determine which content to deliver. Many of those sniffing scripts are hand-rolled and can (and do) see Opera as IE, handing it IE content (usually proprietary IE DOM stuff) which Opera has been forced to try to keep up with for the last few years. Hopefully this move means that Opera is now going to try to get the "not-IE" content which, thanks to Firefox (and Gecko,) is becoming much more common and in some cases, a much better user experience.
More browsers requesting standards based content on the web is a good thing for all browsers that focus on strong support for the standards, and it's a good thing for the future of the web. Firefox, Safari (which identifies as "like Gecko",) Opera, and KHTML should all be saying loudly (and proudly) that they support the standards and they want standards based content.
Good move, Opera!