May 07

The W3C, Dublin, and Incidental Beauty

Image #1 of the cabled roofBeltzner and I are sitting in the departures lounge, drinking preparatory Guinness before our flight to Dublin, for the w3c Web Security Context workgroup sessions this week.  The group is trying to put together a set of recommendations for web browsers to implement, so that we all have the same conversations with users about security.  This is preferable to the alternative which, historically, has been some combination of gross balkanization on anything new, and lowest-common-denominator (ref: padlock) on anything old.
Unsurprisingly, I’ve proposed Larry – an identity indicator in the primary UI – as a candidate recommendation, but others concern themselves with favicons, EV certificates, and “safe mode”  web browsing.  You can see the full list on the WSC wiki, here.

We’re also hoping, somewhere along the way, to visit the storehouse.

Anyhow.  Among all of this trip prep and security talk and bugmail, I looked up from my laptop in the lounge.  As you can see, we’re right at the edge of the terminal and, as such, have a unique view of the architecture holding the whole thing up.  This massive building, with its gently curved, elevated roof, is held up by these beautiful legs-on-cables.  It’s hard to describe, but luckily, beltzner had a cellphone camera.

Image #2 of the cabled roof

Call me a Make: magazine writer if you must, or chalk it up to the Guinness, but there’s beauty in that roof, and I’d like to shake the architect’s hand.

May 07

Unseen Backwards Flying Pigeon Kick

We have returned safely. Pictures are here, for your considered appraisal. On first glance, my personal favourites include this one,

Westminster Abbey

this one,

He Suspects Nothing

and this one,

Oh noes!

Apr 07

Frognal Cockfosters

sleepyWe’re nearly halfway through our trip to London, and thus far it has exceeded my expectations. Last time I was in London for less than 8 hours, and I knew I wanted to see more. Now that I’m here, the feeling is only stronger – I could live here quite happily (not that I’m planning to move in the near future.)

Things I will remember for a long time:

  • St. James Park & Trafalgar Square – Epitomes of public space
  • The tailors on Jermyn Street
  • Crivelli and Rubens at the National Gallery
  • The shocking splendour of Westminster
  • Standing on the spot where 4 centuries of kings and queens have been crowned, with Newton to my left, and Chaucer to my right.

It’s a wonderful city, and through and through extremely civilised in a way that is sort of difficult to describe. Tomorrow is a day of shopping: Oxford Street, Harrod’s, M&S, and maybe back down Jermyn street. With luck, there will be time left over for the Waterstone’s on Piccadilly, Europe’s largest bookstore. The next day we hope to give over entirely to the British museum.

In the meantime, we are absolutely bushed. We’ve walked everywhere thus far, not for cheapness (though London is an expensive city,) but for the sheer proximity of it all. Imagine half your world, half the things you’ve heard about growing up, street names, famous buildings, etc. being within a 15 minute walk.

We’ve taken plenty of pictures, and while I have (evidently) brought my laptop along for the trip you’ll notice, if you pay close attention, that I have left my camera cable at home. Hence no pictures for you, the reader, save this one up top, taken moments ago, which nicely sums things up.

Apr 07

Party Like It’s 2008

Birthday Cat!Among my alarmingly-stable, astoundingly-long-term and unsurprisingly-incestuous social circle there will be, over the next 18 months or so, a large number of birthdays. This, in itself, is not surprising, or particularly noteworthy. What is noteworthy though, is how many of those birthdays will involve ye olde tens columne rolling over from the youthful and carefree “2” to the urbane, sophisticated and terribly mature “3”. I, for one, welcome fogeydom, or will, I suspect, when the time comes.

To that end, there has been some discussion of late, at the Sousa’s most recently, but in other environs as well, about the idea of having some kind of gargantuan bash to ring in our triumphant ascension in group form. We could, of course, get together and just drink more alcohol than usual, but the impression one gets from these discussions is that more moxy is desired.

Continue reading →

Feb 07

Getting the Band Back Together

Internet UserSo it turns out that Mozilla, having been an open source project before it was a foundation, let alone a corporation, has a pretty heavy IRC presence. IRC is (reasonably) universal, (reasonably) democratic, and (usually) free, so it’s a natural fit.

But several of the people who read this blog, and you know who you are, will recall that even before Mozilla existed, there was an IRC presence of a different sort in #42. I acknowledge that I wasn’t there from the very beginning, but I was there when people like Lemmyn and AuntieMae were still around, I was there before we left QNet, and without meaning to upset anyone, I will remind you all that this stuff was happening > 10 years ago. Heck, this page is 7 years old, and that was very late in the game.

But I digress. The point is this: I am, by virtue of my newfound employment, and indeed have been for some time, a perpetual resident of irc.mozilla.org. And wouldn’t you know it, my mIRC install still wants to auto-connect to #42 wherever I go. I’m the only one there at the moment, of course. But that could change.

I remember when Heather and Linds tried several years ago to get things up and running again, and I think it mostly fizzled out because people had forgotten how to have a conversation that way, and besides which, you couldn’t really count on anyone actually being there. Well I may be idle, or I may be otherwise occupied, and I may be uninteresting even when I am present, but I can offer some reasonable level of assurance that for a high percentage of the next several years, I will be lurking in #42.

You could come join me, if you wanted to.

And of course, if you happened to have some code, writing, bugs, or ideas to contribute to Mozilla’s various projects while you were there – well everything would just be that much more convenient, wouldn’t it?

Feb 07


Butterfly in CocoonAs intimated earlier, things have been afoot. Just one thing, really, but that thing sets into motion such a panoply of downstream consequence that I feel truly justified in my flagrant use of the plural form. To wit, then, and without terribly much further ado:

I am leaving IBM.
I am joining Mozilla.

This is momentous, so I will give you a minute to recover.

Continue reading →

Feb 07

What’s orange and blue and downloaded all over?

I have been delinquent in my posting habits but this time, this time, it is not attributable to one of my regular outbursts of silence. This time there is something happening. Something that is keeping me a) occupied, and b) quiet about it. Some of you know what it is. For the rest, I will only say:

Watch this space.

(OMG w00t.)

Jan 07

Once You Go Black…

Black CoffeeAmy has an uncle named Fred. Fred’s an interesting guy for lots of reasons, but of interest at the moment is that when he drinks wine, he cuts it 50/50 with ginger ale. I used to think he did this only with a particular batch of home-brew wine that was, to normal wine, what the bags of concentrated coca-cola syrup are to fountain drinks; dilution with that stuff is wholly appropriate.

But no. He does this with all wine. I think that’s fantastic. If that allows him to have a pleasant wine experience (champagne every day!) then more power to him, and what’s even better is that he can continue to enjoy even very cheap wine because the dilution softens some of the harsher effects of buying economy brands. Fine by me.

But I don’t do it myself, because I enjoy what’s involved in developing a palette for wine. I enjoy the vast spectrum of flavours you can come to appreciate, and I feel like cutting it with ginger ale would impair my ability to enjoy that: different strokes for different folks, that’s all.

I’m the same with chocolate: give me high-percentage, uncut, dark chocolate and I am a happy guy. I’m not stupid about it – I don’t turn up my nose at Hershey the way a good aficionado ought. But given my druthers, I trend towards quality and I trend towards unadulterated.

And so I confronted myself recently with the fact that I don’t drink my coffee black. Milk and Sugar, sometimes even a double-double. This, I realized, flies in the face of my whole aforementioned way of doing things. So as of about a week ago, it’s been straight black coffee.  Yes, purely in the name of aesthetic synchrony.

It wasn’t easy at first. Turns out those adulterants do a pretty good job of making bad coffee more drinkable, and bad coffee abounds. But I’m here to tell you that it takes less than a week for your tongue to form the appropriate calluses, and now I’m starting to really feel it. I expect that, like wine, my brain will start to assign more neurons to coffee tasting in the coming months, and that the experience will grow on me. As it happens, I got a half pound of Kona for Christmas (thanks Barb!) and while it’s not Jamaican Blue or (I can only imagine) Kopi Luwak, I’m looking forward to tasting it without blinders.

Yes, I realise how ridiculous this all sounds.