The COROT space telescope is on its way up :-)
December 2006 Archives
I've been using the simple web-based editor for this Movable Type installation with occasional trials of blogging extensions for Mozilla and Firefox. This weekend, I'm going to try to use Ecto and see how that works out. It seems like a nice way to blog.
Do any of you all blog from an appliction other than web-based?
The latest from the great Spitzer telescope is giving us a view ever closer to the beginning. We're now seeing a piece of the universe as it was just over 13 billion years ago. While we can't quite tell whether these giant energetic objects from 13 bya were massive stars or black holes, when the James Webb Space Telescope comes online, we'll likely have a good answer.
Only months behind Firefox 2 and Internet Explorer 7, Opera has just released a new version of its browser with an anti-phishing feature called "advanced fraud protection".
Over at EWeek, Peter Coffee lists his "25 Killer Apps of All Time" and Firefox makes the list. Up there with greats like Lotus 123, the original Netscape, and Mac Paint, Firefox definitely sites in my top 25 killer apps of all time.
We actually made a real effort with our Firefox Summit and Firefox Pary tees to get this right (or at least better.)
"Have you been over hearing people talk about microformats and thought to yourself 'what are those?'"
Alex Faaborg had a great series of blog posts this last week, starting with an Introduction to Microformats, followed by Structured Data Chaos, then The Fundamental Types and concluding with the announcement of Mozilla Lab's latest release, Operator, a microformat detection extension for Firefox.
I've been using PhotoShop since version 2. Returning to Mac this year, with wizzy fast intel hardware, I found myself in a bit of a spot. I'd just purchased CS2 for Windows and spending another $1,200 to get CS2 for PPC Mac didn't really appeal. So, for the past few months, I've been limping along with CS2 under Parallels. Needless to say, when Adobe released this PS beta for Intel Macs, I was downloading it at 3 in the morning.
So, what do I think after a couple of days use? Well, so far I can't find anything major that's worse than CS2 and there are a handful of super nice improvements. The first improvement I noticed was the new Quick Selection tool and Refine Selection features. Wow. This makes things so much faster. It literally cuts maybe 90% of the time for most of my photograp selection tasks. The second thing that blew me away was the new non-destructive Filters. You have to experience it to believe it, but this is definitely the killer new feature in PS CS3. You no longer have to "apply" a filter to an image. You can simply add it like a layer, or even stack multiple filter effects. It's just brilliant.
I'm sure I'll have more to report when I've had longer to play with it, but so far I'm sold. I'll definitely be making this purchase as soon as CS3 ships.
Some very interesting results are emerging from the study of the Stardust sample.
About a year ago, at a party with a couple dozen Open Source and "community" people, I suggested to someone from Google that a music search where you could simply hum a few bars of a tune to find the song would be a very cool new feature. We chatted for about 10 minutes about the complexity of the problem -- which went way above my head.
Today, I read that someone's done it. Have you tried Nayio yet? I can't get it to work with Firefox (or maybe it's Firefox on Mac, not sure.) If you do get a chance to try it out, please let me kno if it works for you.
update: Ahh. It requires an ActiveX control. Well, I went over to Parallels and fired up IE, installed the ActiveX control, recorded myself humming a few bars of the theme from Sesame Street, pressed the Search button and IE crashed.
These are the first four Firefox Flicks that we're airing on television. These YouTube versions show the ads as they'll air with the names of the Firefox Fan Sponsors woven in at the end. If you'd like to see higher resolution versions, head over to www.firefoxflicks.com and click on the video stills.
update: It seems like this playlist fails to load much of the time. If it's not showing videos, please refresh the page. If that doesn't work, hold down the shift key and hit reload again.
What many of you may not know, even those of you who have been using Firebug, is that Joe's invested most of the last year building this amazing resource, at the expense of time put into Parakey's main product. He was considered releasing Firebug as shareware to raise money and hire a full-time Firebug developer to keep it going while he returned focus to the core Parakey product. Despite the major investment of time and money, Joe's decided to release Firebug 1.0 as free and open source software. While that's a big win for open source, without a full-time developer, Firebug isn't likely to move forward the way it could. If Firebug development is going to continue, companies and individuals who appreciate Firebug need to step forward and donate so that Joe can hire at least one full-time engineer to keep it going strong.
If you haven't used Firebug and you do any web development work, you should get Firebug today! If you're already using it then you know how amazing it is and you have no doubt already saved yourself hours and hours of pain so help keep it going.
NASA reports that the launch looked good. They'll be investigating the craft once safely connected to ISS.
Ugh! Mars Odyssey has dropped into safe mode. Not good. Not necessarily bad, but on the heels of the loss of MGS, this isn't making me happy.
Chris Beard, Gen Kanai, and John Lilly will be in Beijing on the 14th, 15th & 16th of January and then in Shanghai on the 18th & 19th.
If you're a contributor in the area and want to get together for dinner, drinks, or whatever, let us know.
They're still working out the details of the schedule and I'll have an update with more precise information soon, but wanted to get this out as early as possible.
The European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter is going to follow up on this recent MGS water story.
Having several very capable orbiters and a pair of rovers on the surface is really working out quite well. Just imagine what we could learn if we spend that silly Moon base's budget on a few hundred more robots circling and landing on Mars and other solar system bodies.
It's all but certain that we've lost the amazing Mars Global Surveyor craft and with it, Mike Malin's wonderful Mars Orbiter Camera, but not without an inspiring going away present.
Recent analysis of images taken by the MOC last year show what appears to be recent and radical changes in gully formation that appear to have been caused by the flow of large amounts of water on the surface of Mars.
A few people have asked me what I think about this Moon base plan coming out of NASA.
Well, I think it's lame. It sounds like something that would have been interesting in 1975. (I guess this really is Apollo 'plus'.) There's not much we can test there that we couldn't test here in some desert somewhere or in Antarctica . There's no money to do it, or if the NASA's current budget is the real budget then there's no money to do anything interesting with it. It doesn't help us get to Mars. We can't even find good uses for the ISS and you've got the science and engineering advantage of zero G there. It was a top down mandate from the US President, political appointees and other idiots at the top. It's scheduled to take more than twice as long as our first big push to the Moon 40 years ago so it won't inspire students, much less a generation.
It's just uninspiring. And expensive.
I sure hope that we abandon this foolishness in the next couple of years.
"We plan to drive growth and profitability by leveraging our deep audience insights to create a full-fledged advertising network.
I'm not a Yahoo! stockholder (actually, I'm not any kind of stockholder) but I find it difficult to believe that statements as lame as these inspires confidence in shareholders or business pundits.
"We're putting the right people in the right places to execute our focused growth strategy."
Jeeze. Do people really read this and not laugh?
"We have a great, great opportunity to capture a lot of future growth"
It just keeps getting worse. Why not throw in a "leveraging synergies" while you're at it.
Why can't these people just say what they mean? "We know we've got to improve our advertising program. We're canning the people that couldn't do that. We're going to use our massive user base to build a program that can compete with Google's."
Now doesn't that sound better than "leveraging deep insight... to capture future growth"?
The latest beta of Parallels Desktop for Mac introduces, among other features, something called Coherence. Coherence is a mode where the user doesn't have to worry about switching desktops between Mac and Windows. Apps from both co-exist on the same desktop. The user has easy access to both the Dock and the Windows Start menu and Taskbar. There are still some minor issues to be worked out, but combined with the fairly solid drag and drop support between Mac and WIndows, this is very nearly my perfect desktop experience.
One year ago, we launched the Firefox Flicks video program and hundreds of Firefox fans responded with some amazing Firefox 30-second ads. Millions of other fans viewed and shared the ads online. Now we're taking it to the next level and airing them on television!
You can help us get the word out to even more people. Mozilla's marketing and advertising budget is nowhere near our competitors but you all can help us stand out by sponsoring an ad and telling the world that you're passionate about our cause and public benefit mission — to make the Web a better place for everyone. We're still working out the economics, but doing lots of small ad buys like this can be quite inexpensive. Individually it might not seem like much, but just imagine if we are able to do hundreds of thousands of these?
So here's your chance to be a part of history by joining in on the first test run. Our first TV test will work like this: With help from you all, we selected 4 ads to send to television. The first 72 sponsors to partner with Mozilla by adding $10 dollars to our Flicks ad fund will have their names appear on the air as part of actual ads.
We're using this test to figure out how to make this all work and we're already looking into other geographies, so if you've got suggestions or other feedback, we'd love to hear from you at this post. For more details, head over to the FAQ -- but read quickly, because we've only got room for 72 people (18 for each ad) in this first test!
update: All full :-)