time off and a new chapter…

My last day at Mozilla Corp. will be May 15th. People are going to ask why I’m leaving. Chase may have set the standard for this as far as farewell notes go. My reasons for leaving aren’t the same as his though.

(Note: I’m not leaving the mozilla.org project just taking some time off from that too. You’ll see me causing trouble again soon and my bugzilla account will still be the same it’s not tied to rebron@mozilla.com so you can still file bugs against me).

Here are my reasons:

  • I’ve been at this for 7 years! since February 1999. Netscape->Mozilla Corp I count it all as the same thing since it’s all been browser work off of NGL. The most I’ve had off in those 7 years was 2 weeks off that I took last year. Time for a break. For real.*
  • I’d like two hours of my day back. This is more or less my commute the last 7+ years. HQ is a little far. I have 23,000 miles on the car I bought just last year.
  • I set out to help establish Mozilla Corp (done), to ship phoenix/Firefox, which I wanted to do all the way back in 2002 (done), help gain market share for Firefox and restore some balance on the Web (done/mostly done). I think I did an ok job.

What am I going to do next:

  • Take some time off. Watch my wife argue in her first trial in front of her former Judge that she clerked for. She’s going after the big bad insurance companies.
  • I’m going to garden and landscape our front yard, and coordinate getting the porch fixed.
  • Hang out with family and friends. See my niece, call friends up.
  • Train for my third Ironman in August and try and raise some more money for Leukemia/Lymphoma Society.

I’m not sure what I’m doing next work wise, e.g. I’m not going to Google, or Flock/Microsoft (please don’t insult me). One thing for sure, I’ll still be participating w/ mozilla.org down the road. Too much fun, too much invested, and too important not to be where all the action is. :)

*For the old timers…I never did get my sabbatical from way back when.

Raf’s Beadwork Collection

Full collection (more photos)

Materials cost me about $2-3,000, and I would value all of this stuff to be about $10-$15,000, but priceless really. I have sold some stuff before and gave away other beadwork (bags, jewelry, beaded turtles).

Top to bottom:

  • beaded headband, via a loom
  • beaded choker, w/ Thunderbird drop, lazy stitch
  • matching beaded armbands, lazy stitch
  • beaded belt, that still fits, lazy stitch
  • beaded apron, lazy stitch, back is ribbon work stitched up by Mom (Mom was also in charge of sewing on all the fringe and backing, I did all the beadwork and design though)
  • beaded side tabs?, lazy stitch
  • in the middle is a 24″ roach that I wear on my head, it’s porcupine hair and deer hair
  • beaded knee drops, via a loom
  • angora goat leg coverings
  • fully beaded mocassins, lazy stitched, latigo soles

writing the next chapter

How we got from zero to tens of millions of users for Firefox is through having a great product and telling a great story that had lots and lots of sub-plots. We took photographs, talked to people, had everyone pass on those stories, and let people become part of the story too. We didn’t do any marketing — we just had good stories to share.

What stories do we want to tell about Firefox/Mozilla this year? How about:

  • How we will come together to build Firefox 2.0, our next generation browser
  • How we’ll bring the world even closer with making Firefox available to more countries/languages, to even more people – in China, Japan, India, Brazil, Mexico, Israel, Iraq, etc.
  • How we’ll continue to drive cool new Web 2.0 companies build next generation Web applications
  • How we collaborate on such a complex product. We’re shipping software not just talking about it. And shipping software is hard.

The Firefox versus IE 7 is a bad story, we shouldn’t be part of that story at all. Doing so will take us away from telling other stories…like the time we were wrapping up localization for Firefox 1.5 for the China release. We were scrambling to get something translated, trying to find our contact in China and he was no where to be found. At the last minute, he popped up, translated the text for us and explained that he was away because his was wife had just “borned” a baby. There’s always difficulty in coordinating with China because of the time difference nevermind that the localization effort there is volunteer-based. There was such a time crunch, we were scrambling, and as soon as we heard what was going on, well clearly what our volunteer in China was doing was more important.

Anyway, there are more stories to tell. Perhaps a story on our localization team in China, what got them started, what their motivations are, and what the Internet climate is in China or in another part of the world where we have localization teams.

Firefox gets straight A’s from Yahoo

Essentially, Yahoo! has published their browser matrix. In laymen’s terms, if you’re using Firefox 1.5 on Yahoo!, regardless of OS platform, you’re getting what they’re classifying as an A-Grade experience.

That’s great!

Since we’re talking grades…K’s nephew Gary, who we’re putting through school, has also gotten straight A’s at his school this last semester. We’re very proud of him.

Back to Yahoo! though.  In addition to releasing a browser matrix, they’ve also released a User Interface (UI) library and User Experience (UE) best practices. This is some good stuff, and about time.  I know some of the folks who worked on this stuff at Netscape and this is some good advice.

Economy of Motion

Next year’s theme for me is “economy of motion”. It’s a Wing Chun concept, and somehow work, training, and everyday life all include this concept of valuing efficiency and simplicity.

With swimming, it’s a focus on balance and form. With cycling and running, it’s high cadence — 90 rpms. With work, it’s looking to create the most efficient products for interacting with the Web. With everyday life, it’s balancing all the different things I need to do in one day, week, month. I already see several areas that will be changing, including diet, communication tools (decrease IM usage), and better use of calendars (work, workout). And with Firefox and Thunderbird, there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

Dept of Homeland Security says use a different web browser

US CERT, part of the Department of Homeland Security continues to recommend that users of Internet Explorer “use a different web browser”. The folks there can’t say it but we all know what they want to say and that’s use Firefox.

Here’s the vuln note: http://www.kb.cert.org/vuls/id/680526

Here’s the text:

Use a different web browser

There are a number of significant vulnerabilities in technologies involving the IE domain/zone security model, local file system (Local Machine Zone) trust, the Dynamic HTML (DHTML) document object model (in particular, proprietary DHTML features), the HTML Help system, MIME type determination, the graphical user interface (GUI), and ActiveX. These technologies are implemented in operating system libraries that are used by IE and many other programs to provide web browser functionality. IE is integrated into Windows to such an extent that vulnerabilities in IE frequently provide an attacker significant access to the operating system.

It is possible to reduce exposure to these vulnerabilities by using a different web browser, especially when viewing untrusted HTML documents (e.g., web sites, HTML email messages). Such a decision may, however, reduce the functionality of sites that require IE-specific features such as proprietary DHTML, VBScript, and ActiveX. Note that using a different web browser will not remove IE from a Windows system, and other programs may invoke IE, the WebBrowser ActiveX control (WebOC), or the HTML rendering engine (MSHTML).

Someone at Microsoft had said that they didn’t gain anything when Firefox has vulnerabilities, and they go into their standard line that security is an industry problem which it is. The fact is though, they do gain, they should be checking their own code when someone finds a vulnerability in ours because chances are, they may have the same problem (I know of several cases when that was the case). But I don’t know if those guys think that way.

The tricked out Firefox PC


Here’s the background for this (though the important part is that three of these things are being awarded for the Extend Firefox contest that’s out TODAY!.)

For a prize we thought, let’s get a really, really awesome computer. David Hyatt, one of the early Firefox inventors, has one of these Alienware thingies. We wanted a computer that was fast and powerful and also very unique, and so we came up with the Alienware Aurora 7500 Firefox Edition PC which is going to be customized with Firefox decals and airbrushed with real flames — in other words, we’re going to pimp your PC. How cool is that?!?

A few more details:

There’s only three of these bad boys. Three. And we can’t wait to award them to the winners of the Extend Firefox Contest. These entries better be damn good.

An old school friend of mine “Poots”, up in Oakland is taking care of the airbrushing. I’ll post pictures up on this site as we go through the design and custom paint job on these bad boys, and a shout out to the Alienware folks who are so awesome to work with.

Alienware Aurora 7500 Firefox Edition PC specs

Here are the specs:

Aurora™ 7500 (Alienware Aurora 7500 Firefox Edition PC)
Processor: AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 4800+ w/HyperTransport
OS: Microsoft® Windows® XP Pro SP 2 and/or Ubuntu Linux
Case: Alienware® Full-Tower Case – Space Black w/ custom Firefox graphics and airbrushed flames
Case Upgrades: Alienware® Acoustic Dampening

Motherboard: Alienware® nForce™4 SLI™ Chipset Motherboard PCI Express
Graphics Processor: NVIDIA® GeForce™ 7800 GTX KO ACS PCI-E 256MB DDR3
Memory: 2GB Ultra Low Latency DDR PC-3200 SDRAM at 333MHz – 4 x 512MB
System Drive: 250GB Serial ATA 7,200 RPM w/8MB Cache
Primary CD ROM/DVD ROM: 16x Dual Layer DVD±R/W Drive
Sound Card: 7.1 Surround Sound with S/PDIF and Coaxial Digital Outputs
Floppy Drive: 3.5″ 1.44 MB Floppy Disk Drive – Black
Network Connection: Integrated High Performance Gigabit Ethernet
Monitor: Alienware® 20.1″ 16ms LCD Display – Silver/Black

Warranty: 3-Year AlienCare Toll-Free 24/7 Phone Support w/Onsite Service Bundle w/ AlienAutopsy and Respawn
Power Supply: Alienware® Approved 650 Watt ATX 2.0 Power Supply with Active PFC
Keyboard: Microsoft® Multimedia Keyboard – Space Black
Mouse: Microsoft® IntelliMouse Explorer 4.0 – USB – Saucer Silver
Alienware Exclusive Offers: Gamespot Complete – Free 90-day Trial
Alienware Exclusive Offers: 10% off your next EB Games online purchase
Cable Management: Alienware® Cable Management System
Free Alienware Mousepad: Free Alienware® Mousepad
Desktop Enhancements: Exclusive AlienGUIse Theme Manager
AlienInspection: AlienInspection – Exclusive Integration and Inspection
AlienWiring: AlienWiring – Exclusive Internal Wire Management

Testing Firefox – WSJ article

For my archives:

Tapping Employees’ Tech Lust
WSJ – Michael Totty
Oct. 24, 2005

*Testing Firefox*

Fidelity Investments’ Center for Applied Technology, which develops and
tests new technologies for the Boston-based mutual-fund giant,
encourages employees to try out new innovations — within limits.

Recently the center began testing the open-source Firefox browser, an
alternative to Microsoft’s dominant Internet Explorer. Charlie Brenner,
a Fidelity senior vice president in charge of the center, says the idea
came from engineers in his department who were using it at home and
liked Firefox’s advanced features, such as the ability to open new
browser windows in tabs rather than in a whole separate browser, and its
promise of being more secure from hacker attacks than Explorer.

The center has recruited several hundred volunteers from around the
company to try Firefox on their computers, mainly to see whether the
browser’s security controls are “industrial strength,” says Mr. Brenner.
He expects Firefox ultimately will be permitted for use on its computers
in addition to Explorer.

Mr. Brenner cautions that while the center encourages employees to be
unrestrained in their ideas, they’re not permitted to try out new
technologies on their own. “Too much freedom is chaos,” he says. “We
can’t just let a hundred flowers bloom.”