Friday, September 12, 2014

Public Personal Data and the Balance We Walk




Writing: The Desert From My Fingertips

Reposted from my post on Medium...
I did not love the words I put on the page the last time I sat down to write. 
I’m trying to process this feeling and I think that appropriately I’ll do so through writing even more. Maybe I’ll love these words, or maybe they’ll hurt like a toe stubbed on the sofa. Is this really coming out of my head? I can spend days or weeks “meaning to write” but never finding the time (what a lie) and when I finally sit down and get a measly few hundred words down, this is what I get? It doesn’t seem fair. It doesn’t seem right that anything so useless would be all my reward for getting my shit together and spending a whole half an hour in front of the keyboard.
Obviously, I need a reality check. 
There are going to be so many more bad writing sessions. I’m going to writeso many crappy paragraphs, useless pages, and awful chapters that just have to be thrown away. I’m going to have to, if I want to get to the good ones. I’m going to pull a desert out from my finger tips and hope with every tug an oasis is found. I’ll drink the little haven dry immediately, and I’ll be surrounded by gritty unpleasant sand again to trudge through. I’ll be diligent. I’ll march on. I’ll find the next oasis. 
I’ll never know when it will come.

Using the Firefox dev tools across both devices and browsers

Pretty cool work coming out of Mozilla will allow use of the the Firefox debug tools on desktop to debug Chrome for Android and Safari for iOS, unifying your debugging experience while you fine tune those platform quirks. Really exciting work!
This add-on allows you to use your desktop environment to work on several small screen devices without using up precious screen space. You simply use the device and find out what is going wrong on your computer – regardless of platform and browser engine on the device.



Get the full scoop at the Mozilla Hacks blog!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mozilla, DRM, and Fighting Smart

News came out of Mozilla that was of zero surprise to me, and many others, but did upset and surprise a great number of people. Mozilla, long time champion of a free and open web, is backing down on their stance to never incorporate the new DRM mechanisms in HTML5 into Firefox. Firefox will officially support blackbox DRM’ed content played back exclusively through closed source components.

The new DRM support in HTML5 has been inevitable for some time. It is not inevitable because DRM is a good thing (it is not) or because the media companies are too powerful to fight (they are not). The inevitability of this beachhead was all due to two names on the draft authorship list: a developer from Google (the company that brings you the Chrome browser) and a developer from Microsoft (of Internet Explorer). When this DRM spec was first proposed it was obviously inevitable because it did not come from outside, but from within, and with a foothold in two of the most popular browsers in the world. It was obvious that from Day One both would support these new capabilities, that Netflix (also a co-author) and many other media sites would utilize it, and that users would be left with either a severely limited web experience or the option to leave Firefox behind.

Mozilla tried to make a stand and it was entirely admirable.

It was not, however, practical even for a second.

DRM can be beaten. DRM can be made irrelevant. DRM can even be made detrimental to the very media corporation profits that drove it into existence in the first place! This is not the day when these statements can be made in the present tense. The fight we have before us is a long-haul fight.

Had Firefox been kept out of this game entirely, it could not participate in that fight at all. We could all see the writing on the wall when Mozilla so valiantly tried to make their stand. Had they continued, we would have seen them launch (I’m sure of this) some campaign to push DRM free video portals as alternatives, to showcase that now all video content requires these measures. They would have been laughably limited and done little more than to showcase the (current) need to give users access to the content they actually do care about.

That is why, for the time being, this was the right move.

Firefox will continue to allow users to access Netflix and Hulu and Youtube content that requires silly measures to make content owners comfortable. Staying in the fight today will allow Mozilla to contribute to the fight for a long time coming, and I do think this will be a long time fight.

I just don’t know what that fight will entail.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Link: Promise Anti-Patterns

Over on Tao of Code, there is a great little write up on Promise anti-patterns. Having been using promises heavily for the past year in my Javascript, I can say I've hit at least half of these and probably the other half without realizing it. I recommend you check it out if you are or soon will be using Promises!
Promises are very simple once you get your head around them, but there are a few gotchas that can leave you with your head scratching. Here are a few that got me.
Get the full scoop: http://taoofcode.net/promise-anti-patterns/
I write here about programming, how to program better, things I think are neat and are related to programming. I might write other things at my personal website.

I am happily employed by the excellent Caktus Group, located in beautiful and friendly Carrboro, NC, where I work with Python, Django, and Javascript.

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