A couple of major events went almost completely unnoticed by the tech press in March, but I sure didn't miss them, and they've changed the way I view the Web and my place in the Internet ecosystem.
What were these two events that have got me using a different browser and entertaining an offer to move to Oslo?
The first, and most important to me, was the redesign of the Opera Widget interface available in the latest weekly builds. Until just about 10 days ago, it was simply too difficult to access my ROT13 encoder/decoder widget. Now, as long as Opera is running, with the convenient new "Widget Thumb" I can easily encode/decode ROT13 phrases by simply typing the phrase into the widget textarea. It's just this kind of time-saving UI improvements that demonstrate Opera's commitment to improving the lives of those "Regular People" I talk about so much.
The second earthshaking event that will have serious consequences well beyond the browser space was demonstrated in the #8265 weekly build. Starting with that build, which must have tens of millions of users already, Opera passes the Acid2 test. What does this mean for browser users, and what does it mean for the future of humankind? Well, up until Opera's #8264 weekly build, the world-renowned smiling face icon looked as if it had been shot in the head and lay drowning in a pool of blood. Finally, thanks to the hard work of the engineering team at Opera Software, ASA (I think they added that final "Asa" bit as as an enticement along with the job offer they recently extended to me) -- thanks to the hard work of the Opera engineers, hundreds of millions of web users will be able to stare at a bright yellow, and clearly not dead, smiling face icon again. But it won't stop there. That smile is so infectious that we'll no doubt see it spreading off-line and it could in fact be the first concrete steps toward world peace.
So how did the tech press miss all of this? I'm not sure. But I didn't, and I'm inspired. I can't tell you how good it feels to see that real innovation has returned to the web and to know that a browser company is finally willing to put its resources to work for the public good like this.
Opera Software, about that job, my answer to you is an emphatic "Yes!"