Archive for August, 2004

Random Internet Vectors

Here’s a new category for links I’m compelled to share.

They’re Made Out Of Meat
Klein bottles: The first person to buy me one gets a present.
A Penny for your thoughts: Frame one of this strip rocks.
Blatant plug
Astronomy Picture of the Day: Educational and cool.

That’s all for today. You may resume your normal activities.

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Moving, Removing, Replacing, and other places in time.

Boris Zbarsky and commenters replying to him made some great points. Warning, he describes feelings as opposed to facts, so don’t freak out.

I’ve finally been able to pin down what it is that really bugs me about Firefox, by the way. It’s not having a say in the behavior of a product in which I’m investing a lot of time and effort. Feeling that you’re irrelevant (and easily replaceable) slave labor is no fun.

This is a keen insight. A commenter in that post named LarryB made a good point, which can be paraphrased that while a common-end-user focus is good, one must not then ignore or disregard the community that built and supports all things Mozilla. Deciding we’re wrong, that’s acceptable if done with respect. Deciding we’re wrong and saying, “shut up and smile” won’t cut it. Yes, I’m saying the community must be treated with respect. Companies who lose focus and ignore their clients lose, such as SCO, Netscape, 3DFX (yes, I spend far too much time in the IT world, since I can’t name any non-IT related failures off the top of my head). They all lost focus of the market and their clients, and died (SCO is near death, after actively damaging their clients by suing them for NOT buying the crappy products and going to competing products).

Now, Brendan still gets the idea of market focus, and core features.

First, let me just say that there is no way Firefox would ship without View / Source or any other UI that goes back to Netscape 1, and is therefore part of the “body plan” of browsers. Not while I’m around and involved, at any rate.

Bravo. Sure it’s a somewhat geeky feature. It’s also been around forever in Internet terms. Brendan also has a few other extremely interesting and insightful things to say, and you’ll come out ahead by spending a few minutes to read them.

Asa then made a follow-up post to his own blog, which also offers some intersting points. And while I disagree with Asa at times, this guy is an asshole. I did the math, and at worst, Asa is a papercut. But seriously folks, this guy is way out of line. Bugzilla is not for that kind of verbal vitriol. Sadly, this wasn’t this clown’s first transgression. His first was posted under the Bugzilla account where he said:

------- Additional Comment #507 From 2004-08-18 09:10 PDT ------
Changing this to "enhancement" and removing the "regression" keyword is a lie and a skewing of the past.
I unfortunately can't undo those changes myself due to a lack of privileges, but I hope someone who does will.
And to asa, a heart-felt "fuck you".

That account was suspended. He was told he needed to re-read the Bugzilla rules and ettiquette, and send a mail in saying he understood and would play by the rules. Apparently, he did because he later then poster:

------- Additional Comment #514 From 2004-08-19 13:52 PDT -------
Asa: your abuse of power to censor unpleasant opinions just shows again why I said what I said (and why I still mean it).

That’s when he created a second account as Micky Mouse and posted the hitler/cancer comment twice in seven minutes. This guy’s a goon and a twerp, and the project as a whole is better off without him.

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Viva Paris!

After four years under German occupation, Paris is now free. Last night, the French 2nd Armoured Division under General Philippe Leclerc was the first Allied force to enter the city, greeted by loud cheers from Parisians after many days of fighting between the Resistance and the German occupiers.

Sixty years ago today, General Dwight Eisenhower gave the go ahead for French General Leclerc’s Second Armored Division to lead American troops into Paris and engage the occupying forces and retake Paris. For the second time in 35 years, LaFayette, we are here!

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[03:25] * Wolf loves the part where people think aviary meetings are top secret and filled with ideas on how to take away more features. 😉
[03:26] <nosebleed> they aren’t?
[03:26] <jesus_X> they’re not?

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Removing Firefox, Re-educating Developers…

A lot of work is happening with respect to Firefox even though Ben is currently off in Kiwiland. It just seems that it’s work in removing stuff that’s happening lately. It’s been coming to light the various features that are being hidden due to not-ready-for-prime-time issues, which is valid in many cases. Not so in others. Thankfully, bug 256213 has been argued down for 1.0 (removing the menuitem for the JS console), but bug 213950 is still alive, and calls for separating the JS console for removal by Firefox 1.5, and being moved to the Developer addon where DOMI and other tools live.

But there are other somewhat interesting choices the Firefox team is making as well. Removing the Profile Manager UI, which will make testing profile issues a bitch. Really, this should be accessable through a command line switch only, as opposed to being removed altogether. Remove alternate stylesheet UI, which is debatable.Yeah, it’s somewhat buggy, but as Glazou has noted, it’s a requisite for CSS2 conformance. Maybe it’s better to try to fix some of the issues in the interim before release than cut it? After all, release has been pushed back to October 11 (and we know how good release dates are kept in this industry). There’s also the hiding of the buggy offline feature set (my favorite commend, “Removing features after the PR could have negative PR impact around 1.0. We should plan on doing this ASAP.“), removal of the bookmark notification panel, etc.

Now, I’m not saying all these are bad, some are good ideas (broken non-features). But I think that with the broken items being pulled, they’re pulling too much in this common-user focus. View Source _is_ a common user feature. No it’s not used by everyone, but it _is_ used by even the average user whey trying to figure out why a page is horribly mangled, not displaying, etc, even when they have no idea what they’re looking for or looking at. I have seen it myself working with common users in various capacities. The idea has been moved off the radar for now, but I think we need to help re-educate the developers before 1.5 and these become issues again.

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Burnt Electrons Updates!

Woo! I’ve updated some things here at the electron pile. I’ve added four new link buttons for Firefox, Thunderbird, Mozilla, and MozNews (which I help run), and some text links to other parts of the site previously accessible only via magic incantations. I’ve also opened up user accounts for readers to help try and prevent comment-imposters. You can still comment anonymously, but this optional feature gives you some extra abilities. Lastly, it’s also valid HTML 4.01 and CSS, as denoted by the buttons. There is also a stylesheet change, so if things don’t look quite right, hold the SHIFT key when you click your browser’s Reload button.

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Google lowers IPO share price expectations.

For the hell of it, I got a Google IPO Auction Bidder ID. Not that I had the money to buy any, just for kicks. This morning, some interesting info came through the pipe.

Please be advised that the prospectus for the offering of Google’s Class A common stock will be amended to change the estimated offering price range and the number of shares to be sold in the offering. The offering price is now expected to be between $85 and $95 per share. Google expects to sell 14,142,135 shares of Class A common stock in the offering as originally filed. The selling shareholders are reducing the shares they expect to sell to approximately 5.5 million shares in view of this new price range. This is a reduction of approximately 6.1 million shares. In addition, the selling shareholders have granted the underwriters the right to purchase approximately 2.9 million additional shares of Class A common stock at the initial public offering price to cover over-allotments.

I guess the auction didn’t go quite as well as planned. I personally figured $135 a share was high, but I didn’t think the price would come in $40-$50 a share less than anticipated. Interesting though…

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Wanted: Firefox Wallet Decryption

Surprisngly, when I reposted my Mozilla Password Manager Tricks page, I got a huge influx of traffic. Apparently, this still useful, which is gratifying. Especially since there is a “Show Passwords” button in the Password Manager in newer versions of Mozilla.

Now, for a while (off and on) I’ve been trying to figure out how Firefox encodes passwords. While it looks like base64, it’s not (at least not totally, it’s possible that’s part of the method). It is some form of actual encryption, although I’m sure not too terribly strong. Now, since the code is freely available, it shouldn’t be too difficult to determine the method used to obscure the passwords in the signons.txt file (located in the profile directory). The question is, is this encoding unique to the user’s installation or PC somehow, making a web-based tool hard-to-inpossible, or is there a single key that’s used? If it’s a single method, we can create a tool similar to this for Firefox passwords. This would be very useful since Firefox has no such “Show Passwords” button in the Password Manager. Bookmarklets can’t help reveal passwords in HTTPAuth dialogs, or other username/password dialog boxes, and many people would be unable to use DOMI to view it’s contents.

So, anyone want to step up to the plate? If so, mail me,

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In need of a car-guy (or girl) opinion…

I have a 1996 Dodge Neon, and I think the fuel pump is dying, but I’m not a car guy. It chokes and sputters going up decent hills, and over 45 or 50 on flat roads on an average day (say, 70 degrees). I can go faster on cooler days, and maybe only 40-45 on hotter days. Like I said, I’m not a car guy, but I think it’s the fuel pump. Now, what do those things cost to replace, I’ve heard around $200, and might there be something less expensive to test first (like you change the thermostat first then your car is overheating on a full reservoir)?

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Password Tricks

I’ve been getting a number of emails lately about my old Password Manager Tricks page, which was easy to find on my old domain (which squatters now grabbed) and I keep forgetting to re-link it. Well, here it is, again.

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