Well, the further accumulation of dust on Opportunity's solar array and the continued opaque skies are taking their toll on the ageing rover. The latest update from the MER team doesn't look good. I'll note any updates here as they become available.
July 2007 Archives
Air Mozilla live will be happening tomorrow at 3PM, not 2PM. More info here.
I read a lot of blog posts about Firefox and difficulty that is still coming up fairly regularly goes something like this: "I know that "bloggy" isn't a word. Why can't stupid Firefox stop underlining it!"
Well, for those that don't know, you can easily add words to Firefox's dictionary (though removing them is not so easy) simply by context-clicking on the word and selecting "Add to dictionary" from the context menu. This is also where you can find Firefox's recommended alternate spellings for the word.
I know there are quite a few people out there who don't use the context-click (right-click) regularly and there's no other mechanism that I know of to activate the list of alternate spellings or the Add to dictionary function. Is this something that could be remedied by offering the full spell check window, like what's available in Thunderbird, from a button or menu item? I'm not a big fan of adding more menus or buttons, but this is turning out to be a fairly valuable feature and I'm concerned that there are a large number of people who aren't getting the most value from it because of the hidden UI.
Any UI experts want to weigh in? Or, am I wrong and there are other activation points in the UI?
In a post that can only be summed up as "classic" Fake Steve Jobs, we learn that the boy from Cupertino is still a big Firefox fan. Money quote:
"Firefox caught on, right? Why? Because it rocked."
Thanks, FSJ. You rock too.
update: Just to be clear, I don't share FSJ's attitude towards linux on the desktop. I'm still holding out hope and as more of my suggestions are implemented, I think it's going to have a shot.
Air Mozilla Live is the live "call in" show featuring influential Mozilla contributors from all over the world. This week's show will feature several guests from the Mozilla community including Bret Recard with Mozilla recruiting, JT Batson for Firefox Support, and Seth Bindernagel with the Community Empowerment program. We'll finish off the show with the broadcast of Mitchell Baker's OCSON presentation.
Please join us this Wednesday at air.mozilla.com and on IRC or IM to be a part of the fun.
Who: The Mozilla community, host Asa Dotzler, and guests Bret Recard, JT Batson, and Seth Bindernagel.
When: Wednesday, August 1, from 14:00:00 - 15:00:00 PDT (UTC -7.)
Where: View the webcast at air.mozilla.com and participate on IRC, IM, or email.
* IRC: join the discussion on irc.mozilla.org #airmozilla
* IM: instant message your questions to the AIM/YIM/GTalk screenname airmozilla.
* email: send in your questions before and during the show to airmozilla -at- mozilla -dot- com.
Air Mozilla is now streaming 24/7 with a new live show every month. If you've got ideas for shows, please email us and let us know. Even better, if you're a part of the Mozilla community and you'd like to be interviewed or to present on our live broadcast, let us know.
update: The previous live show is available as a podcast here, a videocast here, and downloadable Theora or QuickTime version here. You can also find content from the previous shows integrated into the 24/7 Air Mozilla stream at air.mozilla.com.
Photo by Flickr user Ramen Junkie and used under a Creative Commons license.
There seem to be a lot of people commenting about Thunderbird coming to an end. That's not happening. Today, Thunderbird has two full-time developers working on it. That's been the case for a while now. Thunderbird will still have two full-time developers working on it tomorrow, the day after, and into the foreseeable future.
The changes that are being discussed are not about killing Thunderbird -- actually the exact opposite. The purpose of this public discussion is to figure out how to improve on what Thunderbird has already accomplished by giving the Thunderbird developers a different organizational structure.
Additionally, if you're concerned about the future of Thunderbird, if you use it and depend on it, if you want to see it improving at a faster pace, now is the time to step up and do something.
Are you reporting bugs? Are you testing nightly builds? Are you writing patches? Are you participating in Thunderbird test days? Are you telling your friends and family about it? Are you installing it on machines in your jurisdiction? Are you blogging about it and posting reviews at software download sites? Are you part of the Thunderbird community? If not, and if you care about Thunderbird's future, then step up and get involved.
And for those worried about Thunderbird not being able to survive without the full resources of Mozilla behind it, I'd urge you to look back to those days when a little project called Phoenix, with no organizational support outside of CVS hosting, a Bugzilla product, and a couple of web pages, was able to race past the legacy Mozilla Suite, which had had 5 years of the full resources of Netscape Communications and a large volunteer community behind it, in less than a year. Thunderbird, if it finds the right organization and the right level of community support, can definitely continue to grow and I wouldn't be surprised to see it becoming significantly more than it is today.
The Mars Exploration Rovers are starting to get a break in the bad weather. It's not a lot, but enough to move Opportunity out of the critical zone. Spirit's actually getting a bit less light than earlier, but the rover's in no danger and the storm seems to be clearing slowly.
Mitchell and Scott have both posted blog entries discussing planning for Thunderbird's future. If you're a user, a contributor, or anyone else who has a stake in Thunderbird, I encourage you to read over what Mitchell and Scott have to say. Please join the conversation to help move Thunderbird forward.
Photo by Flickr user califrayray and used under a Creative Commons license.
Today, Aaron Leventhal was awarded the O'Reilly Open Source Award for Best Accessibility Architect. Aaron's been with the Mozilla project for a long time and he's been doing excellent work both in designing and implementing A11y for Mozilla applications, and in building up a strong community around A11y. Congratulations, Aaron.
Tim O'Reilly asked at today's executive briefing, "Are we moving into a world where Windows, Mac OS X and Linux are just device drivers for Firefox?"
I love it.
I have to follow with something from Mike Shaver on the same stage. Mike said that the browser is a way to access "the best software platform we've ever developed as an industry -- the web."
I couldn't agree more.
Last week, a longtime Firefox contributor, David Tenser visited us in Mountain View. David was responsible for creating the first solid end-user documentation for Firefox (then Phoenix) and Thunderbird, way back in 2002. Right before Firefox 1 shipped, most of Firefox Help moved to mozilla.org providing our initial user documentation.
But David was actually a lot more involved than just the help documentation work. He was one of the handful of people that was around in the very early days of the Phoenix project and provided all kinds of great testing and feedback. It was, in part, David's work in building an early Phoenix community that helped to convince me and others on email@example.com that there was real traction around this new browser, and that ultimately led to Mozilla's moving away from Seamonkey and making Phoenix the primary Mozilla application.
A lot of people remember the early Phoenix team, Blake Ross, Dave Hyatt, Pierre Chanial, Joe Hewitt, Jason Kersey, and me. But David Tenser was there too, making very real contributions.
After more than five years of collaboration online, I was finally able to meet David face to face and it was great. We got along just like old friends.
(From right to left) David, Scott MacGregor, Blake Kaplan, Jonas Sicking, Seth Spitzer, me, and Sam Sidler all went out for a drink and sandwich last Thursday night and, as is obvious from the photo, had a roaring good time.
Thanks for all your hard work over the years, David. It was great to finally be able to say that in person.
Based on the reporting over at Ars Technica, it looks like the KDE folks have decided to abandon KHTML and instead go with the much more advanced tine of the fork, Apple's Webkit. This is apparently not "Apple and KDE decide to merge efforts" but more like "KDE abandons KHTML and moves over to Apple's Webkit." I suppose we'll have to wait and see, but it sure sounds like they're ceding leadership that was once KDEs over to Apple.
For those who haven't followed this closely, here's a bit of history. A few years back, Apple forked KDE's KHTML code, creating a tine called Webkit. Because Apple invested heavily in their tine of the fork, Webkit has become the better codebase. So now KDE is abandoning their KHTML project and becoming a consumer (and presumably some kind of contributor to) Apple's Webkit.
I guess you could call that unforking since there will be one fewer tine. Again, from Ars, "While there are still a few reservations, the consensus is to develop a Webkit KPart for embedding into Konqueror at the earliest opportunity and to take a more active role in the development of Webkit itself."
There's little doubt that Apple's Webkit is a more advanced and capable codebase with much more momentum than KDE's KHTML. The more important questions that arise now are around governance and leadership. Before Apple forked KHTML, KDE, an Open Source project with a well established reputation, was the primary producer of KHTML and controlled its direction through governance and leadership. Going forward, KDE will now be consumers of Apple's Webkit and subject to the governance and leadership of the Apple team.
It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out.
Some great news from Steve Squyres, via Space.com. As of this morning's radio communication with the Mars Rovers, we think the rovers rode out the worst of the storm.
Squyres said "They were both power positive over the weekend, meaning they were generating more power than they were consuming." This is great news and now that the storm is lessening, (though still quite bad,) hopefully the rovers can get back to their amazing investigations.
There are only a few blogs that I read regularly. Mostly, I read blogs based on the content of specific posts -- always looking for discussions on the future of the web, web browsers, the hunt for exo-planets, Mars science, etc. To accomplish this, I use a half dozen blog search services.
There are a few exceptions, though, blogs I think are worth reading regularly, and I've posted links to those in my sidebar. I encourage any of you who find what I have to say to be at all interesting to visit the sites linked on the front page of this blog. You'll find fantastic, fascinating, and just fun reading.
Cocktail Party Physics, Physics With a Twist: From a very gifted writer Jennifer Ouellette, CPP is physics for the rest of us. It's a regularly updated, always fun, completely engaging, and often inspiring blog that brings physics to a broader audience. Ivory soap, not ivory tower. Good stuff. We need more like this.
The Voltage Gate: Written by Jeremy Bruno, this ScienceBlogs site covers ecology, evolution, and conservation. I've been reading The Voltage Gate since its inception in 2006. Jeremy gets extra points for his week long series on his favorite creature (and mine,) the red panda here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Also, his fiance, Heather, is a very talented artist who did some wonderful paintings of the red panda. I can't find the originals, just a white detail pulled for her next art show flyer. A great read if you're not a science denier.
Centauri Dreams: This wonderful site, written by a fantastic writer, Paul Gilster, covers all the latest in deep space exploration. It's a must for anyone that's interested in the search for extra-solar planets, the hunt for life elsewhere in the universe, and interstellar travel. Paul's also written a great book called Centauri Dreams: Imagining and Planning Interstellar Exploration which, if you enjoy his site, you should absolutely buy.
Space Writer: C.C. Peterson, the amazing author of the Space Writer blog, is one of the people that keeps me excited about space. Carolyn is not only a great writer (buy her book, Visions of the Cosmos) and a top-notch educator, she is also a genuine enthusiast whose appreciation of the glory of our cosmos will infect all who share in her work.
Systemic: This one's a bit more specialized, but I find it fascinating because it's not just a blog, it's a global collaborative project to improve our statistical understanding of the galactic planetary census. The site and tools are designed to allow anyone, not just astronomers, around the discovery, characterizing, and cataloging of the planets in our galaxy.
APOD: This is just a classic. The Astronomy Picture of the Day, a service of ASD at NASA / GSFC & Michigan Tech. U., is possibly my favorite site on the web. There's something about photographs of near and distant space that just makes me happy. Each dat APOD posts a photo and a wonderful description with links to all kinds of other information. Some days I can spend an hour or two following the path that started with the daily APOD. JWZ provides a nice APOD rss feed for those of you who prefer to have this kind of content delivered.
Blake: Blake Ross is a good friend of mine and a collaborator going back about 8 years. He's a very talented writer and I can't wait for his first screenplay.
Do take a look at all of these sites. I'm sure you won't be disappointed. Blogging regularly is a real commitment and often doesn't get the accolades that come with other forms of publishing. So a big thank you to the authors and editors of these 7 blogs. You all have made much of my time on the web both enjoyable and educational.
Why do you suppose they called it Firefox Paid Directory? They're clearly not in the browser business so perhaps this is a case where trademarks don't offer protection, but it seems to me they're using the Firefox name to increase their own page rank and then selling that to others. Are links from a site like that really worth $40?
After insisting that it would investigate and report on the number of pets that were killed by the melamine tainted food, the FDA is now washing its hands of the whole thing.
What I don't understand, and maybe I'm just naive here, is why the FDA isn't pursuing legal action against Menu foods and the other negligent pet food manufacturers. Thousands of companion animals died in a matter of weeks and today, a day in which yet another pet food recall has been issued, it's as if it never happened.
I mentioned about two weeks ago that the Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity, was "weathering a nasty dust storm that's obscuring enough of the Sun's light that the rover is only able to charge its batteries to about 1/3rd of maximum. This means no major activity for Opportunity until the storm subsides and the atmosphere clears up."
Unfortunately, the storm has continued to intensify and Opportunity is only able to get about 130 watt-hours of charge per day. That's less than the rover is consuming each day with critical systems and Opportunity's small reserve is being diminished with each day.
Opportunity's crew has cut the frequency of communications sessions and thinks that will get the power usage down to just under 130 watt-hours per day, just enough for Opportunity to avoid damage or complete failure, if the solar conditions don't worsen.
The sky did clear some over the last two days, which is great news, allowing the array energy collection to bump up a bit, but the storm is not over yet. I'll keep you all updates as soon as I hear more.
Image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech
I got blog tagged for Opera Watch's 5 things I'd like to see in Opera. Based on the title of that post, I think I'm supposed to write down 5 things that I'd like to see from Opera :-)
As many of you all know, I'm a big Opera fan and I've been contributing constructive criticism at this blog for several years. Many of my earlier suggestions are now reflected in the Opera browser, and I think that's great. In the continuing spirit of trying to improve the web experience for as many people as possible, here are 5 suggestions that I've put forward in the past but have yet to be acted upon by Opera Software.
- Automatic Software Update. As I said back in January, "there is no higher value we can offer to our users than to keep them safe on the web.... Opera Software should not ship another major release until they have a similar program in place." I'd be very curious to see what percentage of active Opera users are on the latest (and only secure) version. Firefox is able to update about 90% of its massive user base to the latest version in less than a week. Based on independent data, which our data corroborates, Firefox users are more up to date than users of any other web browser. The only way to achieve that kind of success is with an automatic software update system. Firefox does it. Safari does it. IE does it. There's really no excuse for Opera Software to continue to ship a browser without this important security feature.
- Full Disclosure of All Fixed Security Bugs. Opera Software should disclose all fixed security bugs with each release. They should inform their users with a full list of security issues, categorized and described in terms that both their users and technical experts can understand. This would give their users confidence that Opera takes security seriously and puts significant resources into finding and fixing security bugs. Not doing so, especially for public relations reasons, is completely disrespectful to users and leaves everyone wondering if Opera takes security seriously. (Is it possible that Opera heeded my earlier calls and is now doing this? The Opera 9.22 logs are the first I've seen that mention fixed security issues not crediting some third party? Does this mean they're now disclosing internally discovered and fixed flaws? If so, they are to be applauded. If anyone from Opera Software could comment as to whether all fixed flaws are now disclosed and not just the ones found by third parties who compel disclosure, that would be excellent.)
- A "like Gecko" User Agent. Opera spent much of the last decade pretending to be Internet Explorer and attempting to support broken and non-standard IE code. Chasing IE was a bad idea, especially when Opera is much closer to Safari and Firefox in its rendering capabilities. Today, Opera identifies as Opera, but many sites are only sniffing for IE or Firefox, leading many Opera users to be locked out of services or handed the IE code they are unable to process. A much better approach for Opera would be to follow Safari's lead and add a "like Gecko" to their user agent string. This would mean that when sites are making the decision to hand Opera the Firefox (standards) version of their page, or the IE (broken) version of their page, they'd go with the Firefox version. This would also eliminate a lot of the need for end users to understand and use Opera's user-agent spoofing features because Opera would get more correct code more of the time.
- Be a Team Player. Opera Software should commit publicly to not targeting Firefox users and instead spend their marketing and advertising resources going after IE users. It is in the best interests of the web that standards compliant browsers (and WHATWG participating organizations) work together to move the world away from IE 6 and the fractured web development landscape that IE 6 perpetuates. Both Opera and Safari have, in the not too distant past, made it clear that they were targeting Firefox users. Targeting Firefox users with paid advertising and other methods does not forward our shared goals and makes cooperation between us, "the good guys," more difficult than it has to be.
- Interface Tweaks and Feature Additions for New Users. There are a few obvious and very easy to accomplish things that Opera could do to improve the new user experience. First, Opera should move the tab strip below the address bar like all of the other browsers. In this case, consistency and comfort for the new user is more important than whether or not one considers that the "best" location. Second, most users of the mainstream browsers, IE and Firefox, are accustomed to having a status bar visible by default. In order to make new users feel comfortable, Opera should follow IE and Firefox's lead on this too. These configuration changes are no-brainers, and Opera has done quite a bit already (which I've praised them for) to make the Opera browsing experience a lot more like Firefox. Let's hope they continue. A bit more difficult, but very important, is automatic profile migration. Opera, on first run, should import all settings from the users default browser. This means bringing in favorites/bookmarks, cookies, form data, credentials, history -- everything. Users moving to Opera will experience massive frustration and return to their previous browser the first time they cannot remember some address, login or password. It's a non-trivial engineering task, but one I'm sure Opera developers could manage.
So those are 5 things I'd like to see from Opera. I think how this game of tag is supposed to work is that I pass this question to five other people. I don't know five Opera users, or even five people that would be interested (and who haven't already chimed in,) so I'll just leave it up to any of my readers who are interested to pick up the baton and run with it. If you do, please trackback this entry or leave a URL in the comments.
Congratulations Blake and Joe.
Photo by Flickr user jurvetson and used under a Creative Commons license.
From the very beginning of the Mozilla and Firefox projects, one of the questions we've always asked ourselves is "what's painful about the web" and then we went about finding ways to take away that pain. Tabbed browsing, integrated web search, pop-up blocking, session restore, software update, all of these features, and many more, were designed to make painful, difficult, or just plain sucky things a little bit less painful, difficult or sucky.
But one of the wonderful things about the Mozilla project and its open system is that we've got a huge community of people doing this every day for every possible pain point on the web.
Today another example of this just hit my radar. "You know what really sucks," this guy must have asked himself. "What really sucks is when someone gives away the ending to Harry Potter before I've had a chance to read it."
Well, thanks to Firefox's extensibility and the GreaseMonkey user script add-on, he was able to create a Harry Potter spoiler remover script that removes spoilers from web pages. Now users can surf the web and not have to worry about accidentally reading spoilers.
Isn't that cool? I think it's just fabulous.
Photo by Flickr user marinegirl and used under a Creative Commons license.
There's been some back and forth on this URI protocol handler issue over the last week. It's been interesting to watch and I think it says a lot about how different organizations approach security.
Today, just as we've updated Firefox to help mitigate IE's URL handling flaw, Markellos Diorinos, a Product Manager for IE, says essentially "it's too hard for us to fix this."
The limitless variety of applications and their unique capabilities make it very difficult to have any meaningful automated parameter validation by the hosting (caller) application.
It's just too hard to get this 100% fixed so we're not even going to try. Is that the attitude you want from the people making your software?
At Mozilla, we were able to address the biggest part of this problem in Firefox ages ago by simply escaping quotes in URLs before handing them off.
When you're surfing the web in Firefox and a website wants to send an address to some other application like AIM or Skype or Acrobat Reader, Firefox packages up that address before handing it off to another application. We think it's Firefox's job to ensure that users are protected from malicious websites when they're surfing the web in Firefox. Apparently Microsoft doesn't think the same for IE.
update: Apparently there are cases where we don't escape quotes in URLs. We're working on it.
Saying it's too hard is not a justification for failing to take even the bare minimum steps to protect users. Microsoft needs to reconsider here and do what's right for the millions of IE users at risk instead of trying to shift the responsibility to "limitless variety of applications" that users have installed.
Making good software is hard. Making good software secure can be even harder. At Mozilla, we vigorously take up that challenge. We don't use it as an excuse for inaction.
Firefox 22.214.171.124 is now available and there is a fix for the URL protocol handling issue described here. We warned that other Windows applications may be vulnerable to this Internet Explorer issue, and on Sunday Nate Mcfeters, Billy Rios, and Raghav Dube posted a proof of concept that demonstrates the same attack through Internet Explorer to execute code in Trillian. Additionally, Thor Larholm says "I can still automatically launch a wide range of external applications from Internet Explorer and provide them with arbitrary command line arguments. AcroRd32.exe (Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader), aim.exe (AOL Instant Messenger), Outlook.exe, msimn.exe (Outlook Express), netmeeting.exe, HelpCtr.exe (Windows Help Center), mirc.exe, Skype.exe, wab.exe (Windows Address Book) and wmplayer.exe (Windows Media Player) - just to name a few."
This patch for Firefox prevents Firefox from accepting bad data from Internet Explorer. It does not fix the critical vulnerability in Internet Explorer. Microsoft needs to patch Internet Explorer, but at last check, they were not planning to. Mark Griesi is quoted in Infoworld saying "We don't feel that there's an issue in IE, and therefore, there's nothing to be fixed."
Mozilla recommends using Firefox to browse the web to prevent attackers from taking advantage of this vulnerability in Internet Explorer.
I think it's worth repeating that if you're an IE user, you are still not safe. IE can still be used to exploit your machine through other programs. It's also worth noting that if you are a Firefox user, you were never at risk from this URL protocol issue in the first place because Firefox has always cleaned up URLs before handing them off to other programs -- a protection for users that Microsoft is apparently unwilling to consider.
I just read that a plane crashed at Sao Paulo's Congonhas airport, a TAM domestic flight. We flew in and out of that airport on TAM, twice, when we were in Brazil late last month.
Apparently the plane, while attempting to land, crashed through a wall, slid across a busy street during rush hour, and crashed into a gas station where it exploded in a ball of fire.
There's no word yet on casualties that I can find online.
update: video and news here.
update 2: Bad news. It sounds like there were no survivors on the plane and possibly more dead who weren't even on the flight.
Photo by Flickr user ze maciel and used under a Creative Commons license.
Miro, formerly the Democracy Player, has just launched their new name, a new site, and a new version of their open video software.
It's good stuff from good people. Check it out.
Matt, over at the Peer Pressure, the AllPeers Blog is suggesting we actually hold a contest and award a prize for the first country to pass 50% Firefox usage in Europe. I was only half serious when I posted about taking bets, but I think Matt's actually hit on something that could be great fun. This could be a wonderful opportunity to get some excitement building around the Firefox 3 launch in Europe.
We'd have to make it clear that we're not the ones doing the measuring, XiTI (assuming that's the best metric we have) would be making the call. Then we'd have to figure out how to award a prize to an entire country. I like Matt's suggestion of a virtual prize. We could also do a second prize for the country that makes the biggest gain between now and when the first country crosses the 50% Firefox usage level. That way the Dutch might still have a chance ;-)
What do you all think? Should we do this? Would you take meaningful action to help your favorite country win? I'm game. Are you?
The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has been weathering a nasty dust storm that's obscuring enough of the Sun's light that the rover is only able to charge its batteries to about 1/3rd of maximum. This means no major activity for Opportunity until the storm subsides and the atmosphere clears up.
The rover is down to a minimal set of activities each day in order to conserve battery power. The basic life support systems keep the rover's critical mechanical parts warmed, the rover does a morning and an evening communication cycle, and it takes daily measurements of the atmospheric dust and opacity levels using the panoramic camera. Other than that, it's mostly just sitting there, riding the storm out.
Hopefully it won't get worse, but so far so good. If it does get worse, they'll start cutting out some of the daily communication sessions in order to further preserve the minimal battery power. If things get really bad, it could mean the end for Opportunity's amazing run.
Stay tuned for regular updates during this critical time for MER-B.
update: From images and data gathered by the amazing Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, here's a glimpse of where Opportunity sits, on the edge of Victoria Crater, awaiting an opportunity to descend.
A couple of days ago I linked to the latest XiTi Monitor web browser market share results that showed a few European countries very close to the 50% mark in Firefox usage. Who will be first to hit 50%? JLP thinks it will be his home, Slovenia. They're in the lead today, but Finland is right there -- and what about that amazing move up the ranks in Ireland? Could we see an upset in the making? Is there somewhere we can make bets :-)
"Don't drop empty rectangles on the floor" - David Baron.
Photo by Flickr user jackace and used under a Creative Commons license.
It's only a matter of time before we find extra-solar, Earth-sized, rocky planets that harbor life. I'm actually pretty confident that we'll find life elsewhere in our own solar system in my lifetime and probably before the end of the century we'll have strong evidence of life on an extra-solar planet.
We know that for life, liquid water is the key. We already know that liquid water is quite common in our own solar system, just look at earlier Mars and present day Europa. This week, a team from the European Space Agency and University College London, working with the Spitzer Space Telescope were able confirm earlier Hubble Space Telescope predictions that a "hot Jupiter" orbiting the star HD 189733b does indeed have water vapor in its atmosphere.
In little more than a decade, planet hunters have discovered over 200 extra-solar planets. Most, because of today's most common detection techniques, are hot Jupiters, but we already know of several rocky planets that are less than an order of magnitude larger than Earth. As our tools and techniques evolve, and CNES's COROT is already proving more powerful than expected, we're sure to start honing on in Earth-sized rocky planets. Next year we'll see first light from NASA's Kepler telescope and I expect that before the decade is out, we'll have a catalog of Earth-sized planets to start digging into.
It's not at all an outside possibility that we'll have at least one wet Earth-like planet in our sights before the start of the next decade.
According to XiTi, Firefox is at 27.8% usage in Europe which is up 3.7 points since their last measure 4 months ago. Slovenia is still leading the pack and has gained nearly three and a half points bringing it up to about 48% for Firefox. Following Slovenia, as has been the case for a while now, is Finland. Finland has passed the 45% mark and my prediction of Slovenia being first to 50% may fall if Finland keeps making those kinds of gains. (we should have some kind of prize for the community in the first country that passes 50%.)
Globally, again according to XiTi, Firefox continues to make significant gains. Topping the list are Oceania and South America, both making big leaps forward (any coincidence that I visited both continents this year ;-)
XiTi is also reporting that Firefox 2 has overtaken IE7 usage in Europe. Their previous results had IE7 passing Firefox 2.
update Mozilla Links had this before me, I now see, and they've got some pretty graphs.
One of the things that makes Joe Hewitt really stand out as a designer and a developer is that he doesn't let things get in the way of making it "just work." You can get a taste of this approach to software over at his blog where he's just posted iUI, a sweet little JS and CSS package that makes it super easy for developers to deliver iPhone web apps with an iPhone native feel.
Joe is one of the reasons that Firefox is kicking such ass today. His contributions early in the project helped to give Firefox a "just works" spirit that carries on to this day.
Join us next Wednesday afternoon for the return of Air Mozilla -- the live "call in" show featuring influential Mozilla contributors from all over the world.
This second inaugural broadcast will feature Michell Baker, Chief Lizard Wrangler and CEO at Mozilla.
Mitchell will be talking about the state of the Mozilla project, and she will be taking questions from our audience via email, IM, and IRC.
Who: The Mozilla Community, host Asa Dotzler, and special guest Mitchell Baker.
When: Wednesday, July 11, from 14:00:00 - 15:00:00 PDT (UTC -7.)
Where: View the webcast at air.mozilla.com and participate on IRC, IM, or email.
* IRC: join the discussion on irc.mozilla.org #airmozilla
* IM: instant message your questions to the AIM/YIM/GTalk screenname airmozilla.
* email: send in your questions before and during the show to firstname.lastname@example.org
We're hoping to make Air Mozilla a regular feature and to broaden the format to included not just interviews, but screencasts with tips and tricks, news segments, and other community generated content.
Join us for the relaunch next Wednesday and help us shape the future of Air Mozilla.
update: The broadcast will require the latest Flash player. Downloadable files will be made available sometime shortly after the broadcast and will be available in multiple formats.
A couple of days ago, Tim O'Reilly posted that Firefox had surpassed IE in usage at the O'Reilly Network. One curiosity in that update was that the "Other" category, which had been in a slow decline for about a year, had just recently started to climb back up and had recovered most of the losses of the last year. Today, Tim posted a breakdown of the Other stats making it clear that the Other category which had been dominated by Opera in the past was now the domain of Safari. Opera seems to have tanked pretty severely since the release of Opera 9 and Mozilla (SeaMonkey) has climbed pretty dramatically in the last few months to claim as much usage as the now diminished Opera.
Something I'd be very interested in seeing from the O'Reilly Network is the breakdown of browser versions and the platform breakdown. O'Reilly is likely to be visited by the kind of people who make active choices in the technology they use, so more data here could be useful in better understanding those kinds of users.
What are you seeing at your website or blog? What trends have you seen since the launch of IE 7? Is Safari making gains in your logs? What about the different Firefox versions?
The Mars Exploration Rovers are in trouble. There's a big storm brewing on Mars that will dramatically limit the rovers' ability to recharge their batteries. If they can't keep enough charge to ensure the rovers don't freeze, the mission could end. Let's hope the storm breaks and the little rovers that could will continue to fascinate, elucidate, and educate.
Wow. What an amazing trip that was. I've never learned so much in so short a period of time. I will write more as I catch up on my work backlog. Thank you so much to all of the people who helped make this happen.
In Brazil, a huge thanks to Marcio Galli, who almost single-handedly put together the whole itinerary.
In Argentina, Javier, Augusto, Maria, Mariano, Daniel, Felipe, and Marcello, you all are simply amazing! I am still recovering from the shock of how much you all were able to accomplish for my short trip. Wow!
I'm headed to Argentina today to begin a lightning round of presentation and press interviews. I'll also be meeting with some of the major internet companies in Argentina. Here's the schedule for the public events on Monday and Tuesday. It's pretty full but I'm hoping there will be some room for people to stand or overflow into other rooms.
14:00-16:30 Presentation at Master in Journalism of UDESA. Salón Auditorio Clarín - Piedras 1789. Specilized Press allowed. (capacity
90 120. 77 registered.)
17:00-18:30 Press Conference at UADE. (capacity 50.)
19:00-22:00 Presentation at UADE. Salón Auditorio - Lima 717. (capacity 180. 235 registered.)
11:30-14:00 Presentation at Teatro La Comedia - Rodriguez Peña 1062 - Capital Federal (capacity
450 600. 472 registered). Normal and Specialized Press allowed.
So, if you're in Buenos Aires and want to learn more about Mozilla and how you can get involved, please head over to CaFeLUG and register.
update: There are more seats. I've updated the capacity numbers.