5 Years

Despite this year actually knowing it was coming, it still sounds strange that I’ve had this site up and running for 5 years now. That’s a half decade. In all honesty when I started I didn’t expect it to last too long. I’ve had the domain for nearly 10 years.

From Then To Now

This started out as a few static pages over 5 years ago, and eventually turned into a blog in March 2003 as a college Freshman. Generally I’ve kept the format pretty much the same, the most notable change was switching from more “random” posts to mostly tech related posts in recent years. This wasn’t intentional, it’s just how it worked out. The reception to that change has been overwhelmingly positive. Though I’ve been asked from time to time, to bring some humor back.

Just since graduating college in 2006, I’ve been mentioned on numerous blogs, made the Digg homepage, quoted on Ars Technica (more than once), linked on Gruber’s Darling Fireball. Most of that is pretty recent too. Daily traffic has been increasing pretty steadily during this period.

Now 1,323 posts and 3,481 comments later, I’ve been contemplating what I want to do next…

Where it’s going

I’ve given a fair amount of though as to what I want to do here at the 5 year mark. I’ve decided to make the following changes slowly over upcoming months as I think it’s a better approach:

  • New Design – The current design has been live since about 2005, with only minor tweaks. It’s to narrow for many images I’ve wanted to use, and there’s a lot of wasted space. The new design, already in the works is optimized for 1024×768. Also pushing content up further by removing that stale image from the header. I initially though I’d change that more often, but it’s not happening. I had hoped to have this done for today, but that didn’t happen. Instead “it’s done when it’s done”.
  • Features vs. Regular Posts – The biggest change from a content perspective is I want to make is to distinguish what will be more notable posts from the daily posts. These posts tend to be a dozen a year. Both in terms of development, giving them more time and thought, to how I present them. I’ve yet to decide exactly how to accomplish this.
  • Post Regularly – I’ve always posted in bursts, it’s become a dirty habit. I’m going to give it yet another try to be more consistent. I think being regular makes things flow better and results in a better thought process. Will my mind work like this? I don’t know. But if it can, that would be awesome.
  • Going Off Topic – This is clearly a more technical blog (where else do you find holiday SQL and other code jokes), but it’s time to bring some off topic stuff back. Not sure when this will start, but it’s a goal of mine.
  • More On Topic – I spend a fair amount of time lately on current news. I’m thinking of slowly downplay this a little more and focus on real development stuff.

There are other changes planned, some large, some small, but there are the ones that I think are worth mentioning right now.

The focus on technology, in particular web development, and business will remain, I have no intent on changing that. I just want to improve how I do it, and what surrounds it.

Before someone asks, I’ll still cover all Firefox and Thunderbird related news both big and small as I always have. Nearly half the posts on this blog fall into that category. They are among the most popular ones, and some of my personal favorites.

Like anything else in the world a website falls into three categories: it grows and matures, it dies, or it sits like a rock. I like the idea of growing and maturing.

So here’s to the next 5 years.

Google Goes Back

Google Earth Hour
To raise awareness for Earth Hour, Google took the bold step of making the page black. I can’t remember the last time they made a change this bold. They did the same thing for the Google Israel site the other day (who participated a day early to prevent conflicts with the Sabbath). According to Google:

Google users in the United States will notice today that we “turned the lights out” on the Google.com homepage as a gesture to raise awareness of a worldwide energy conservation effort called Earth Hour. As to why we don’t do this permanently – it saves no energy; modern displays use the same amount of power regardless of what they display. However, you can do something to reduce the energy consumption of your home PC by joining the Climate Savers Computing Initiative.

On Saturday, March 29, 2008, Earth Hour invites people around the world to turn off their lights for one hour – from 8:00pm to 9:00pm in their local time zone. On this day, cities around the world, including Copenhagen, Chicago, Melbourne, Dubai, and Tel Aviv, will hold events to acknowledge their commitment to energy conservation.

Given our company’s commitment to environmental awareness and energy efficiency, we strongly support the Earth Hour campaign, and have darkened our homepage today to help spread awareness of what we hope will be a highly successful global event.

Cross Site XMLHttpRequest (XHR) Removed From Firefox 3

As a heads up to developers, Cross Site XMLHttpRequest (XHR) has been removed from Firefox 3, despite being in earlier betas. To quote a draft relnote from Mike Beltzner:

Due to late changes in the Cross Site XMLHttpRequest specification which made our implementation incomplete, it was decided to remove support for this technology rather than include only partial support.

Hopefully things will be more stable by the next release and it can be re-included.

Firefox 3.0 Skinning Update

Back in January I posted some pics of the new skin in Firefox for those who haven’t tried it themselves. Figured I’d update with the latest.

For the navigation toolbar the most obvious change is the new keyhole design. My only complaint is that the menu that appears when you click and hold isn’t as intuitive since the arrow isn’t there.

Navigation Toolbar (Windows XP)
Firefox 3.0 Toolbar on Windows XP

Navigation Toolbar (Mac OS X 10.4)
Firefox 3.0 Toolbar on Mac OS X Leopard

My only objection about the prefs is that the Windows privacy option is a great example of an icon that’s seemingly impossible to interpret what it’s supposed to represent. The light switch for “Main” is also a little odd, but I can manage with that much better than the privacy icon. Other than that, I think they look pretty good.

Options (Mac OS X 10.4)
Firefox 3.0 Prefs on Mac OS X Leopard

Options (Windows XP)
Firefox 3.0 Prefs on Windows XP

That’s all for now folks. If warranted, I’ll post again with updates.

RSS Feed Count

I decided to count how many RSS feeds I subscribe to. Scoble better watch out.

RSS Feed Count

To be fair, I monitor a fair number just to see that they update, or to search. I don’t actually “read” them, or even look at them regularly. Others I quickly skim. Then the last group I actually look at pretty closely.

Webmasters: Make Your Favicon Transparent

There are still quite a few websites that use a Favicon on a white background. While this looked OK in older browsers, these day with browsers like Firefox 3.0, they don’t look so great. It’s about time to make them transparent. Here are a few examples:

Here’s a tab with a nice transparency:
Bugzilla Tab
buzilla.mozilla.org

Here’s one that isn’t transparent:
WordPress Tab
wordpress.com

Here’s a url bar over http:
Yahoo HTTP URL Bar
yahoo.com

Here’s a url bar over https:
SafePasswd HTTPS URL Bar
safepasswd.com

Here’s a url bar over https with an EV SSL cert:
PayPal EV SSL URL Bar
ebay.com

Here’s a url bar over https that doesn’t have a transparent favicon:
Chase HTTPS URL Bar
chase.com

If your a photoshop user and use an ICO favicon, you can use this plugin to generate them on Mac/Win with pretty much any remotely modern version. It’s available under GPL. I recall you can easily do so using GIMP as well, though I’m no GIMP pro, so I’ll leave it to someone else to document the best way to do so. PNG also supports transparency through pretty much any program that can save PNG‘s.

So spread the word. Designers, it’s time to start fixing up those few pixels of whitespace. It would make things look so much better.

Firefox Sighting: Martha Stewart’s MacBook Air

Martha Stewart’s MacBook Air Running Firefox

The other day, Martha Stewart blogged about her MacBook Air, which seems to have been picked up by a lot of tech blogs. It’s not really news that she’s a Mac user. She’s been seen among many Macs before. She’s got an iPhone too. She does use a HP laptop as well including an HP touch screen in the stable, very appropriate I would say. As she explains:

I also use an HP laptop on a regular basis because I like to be well versed on both platforms and be able to multi-task.

What I did find interesting is that if you look at one of the pictures (you can find a larger one on her blog post), she’s running Firefox. Safari is also running but no windows are visible.

Update [3/22/2007 @ 1:45 AM EST]: Seems Martha updated her blog since I posted this as I didn’t see this before, and added:

Yes, I do love Firefox, great browser! Oh, and I also like the program Picasa to store and organize my photos. The computer I use for that is a Sony VAIO laptop with a 250GB hard drive and a 17″ screen. It also has a built in HDTV tuner and I will try to snap a picture of it soon! Perhaps I will have one of my cats near it.

Could it be she watching her analytics that closely?

Image via The Martha Blog

How To Hack A RFID Card

Boing Boing TV has a great video on how to hack a RFID credit card for a mere $8. I’ve said it more than once that I don’t trust it yet. This is why. You just removed the best security feature on the card (the ability to keep it and it’s information out of view).

As a commenter noted, the Nokia 6131 NFC includes the following from their tech specs:

  • Explore mobile weather and news by touching your phone to radio frequency identification (RFID) tags

That’s right, a built in RFID reader. Just needs software for this particular task. I’m sure that won’t take too long.

The Sound… Of Silence

I’m semi-quiet lately. A cold last week kicked my butt for pretty much the entire week. That’s always fun.

I’m also working on some changes to this blog. It’s been a long time since that’s happened. Hopefully I’ll have it out of dev and running by the end of the month.

As a result I won’t be posting to much during this time.