March, 2007

Mar 07

being a dad

kathy’s got class tonight, so it was just sam & me, spending time together, listening to a little music, eating a little pineapple for dessert.

and i got this feeling that i’ve been having a lot lately, where i just enjoyed watching sam, interacting with him, sometimes explaining things to him, sometimes listening to him. and i guess i realized that “dadness” — the feeling of being a father, and feeling good about it and happy — it’s one that sort of sneaks up on you. it’s always been terrific since sam’s been here (and even longer, since kathy & i have been together, for sure), but there’s something about this feeling that’s just amazing, and it pops up during funny, often simple times.

even this morning, as sam woke up around 6 (what last week before DST was 5!) and so we came out in the dark, but spent time looking at the moon and mars and talking about the stars and sun — even bleary-eyed, pretty fantastic, and getting better each day.

happy post. 🙂

Mar 07


I was editing a spreadsheet yesterday and accidentally shifted some of the text in the grid to be in the Futura typeface, and since then, I’ve been sort of obsessed with the way the typeface looks. (Picture & link are from Wikipedia.) I’ve always really enjoyed learning about letter forms, and got to take a class with designer Chuck Bigelow when I was at Stanford. The class was awesome. We learned a lot about letter systems, of course, but also about the politics of type (there’s a lot there — more than one typographer was burned at the stake because of their typesetting).

Anyway, I’m pretty blown away by looking at type in Futura the last day or so. Hard to explain exactly, but there it is. It was created in the 20s, it’s a geometric sans serif, and just has such a sturdy feel to it.

Random post for the day.

Mar 07

daylight saving time 2007

Doing a quick search of my blog, I seem to be sort of obsessed with Daylight Saving Time. With this post, 1% of my 400+ posts are about DST. Hmm. Anyway, I like time.

Apropos of that, we’re going through a semi-bogus effort this weekend of moving clocks ahead 3 weeks earlier than normal. I like the extra daylight for sure, and spring forward weekend is traditionally one of my favorites of the year — but it feels very early this year. The theory is that it’ll save energy because when people get home from work around 6 or 7 o’clock, they’ll use less energy because it’ll still be light outside. What the theory discounts is that people use a lot of lights & such when they get up in the morning and it’s completely dark outside, also. Recent study of Australian efforts in 2000 (pdf) suggests there’s no energy savings at all.

It seems to me that it’s sort of like squeezing blood from a stone — no matter what we do, the days are just still a little shorter than we’d like them to be.

Anyway, we’ll see how Sam does next week. You’d think I’d really be psyched at the idea that he’d sleep until 7:30a now, but it’s sort of a bogus economy.

In any event, happy DST — let’s see if it feels like spring has sprung this year.

Mar 07


we’ve been grappling with data a lot lately at mozilla, trying to understand more and more about the world we’re living in and building. i look at charts & graphs about what’s happening every single day. i’m hearing that sentiment just about everywhere on the web lately.

one place i found a quote from the guy who invented the kelvin scale (figuring out where to put zero turns out to be an extremely meaningful insight) that captures it:

When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind: it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts, advanced to the state of science.

Lord Kelvin

Mar 07


well, some weeks are better than others, i’d say. this has been a long week at work for a variety of reasons — i think we’ve got a handle on things now, but it’s taken some time.

but there was an interesting, if discouraging, event earlier this week that i’ll describe here. i’ve come to view our incredible language diversity as one of the most amazing parts of the mozilla experience. firefox 2, for example, is now available in 50 or more languages, including all 11 official South African languages. the day we launched, it was available in 37 languages. compare that with microsoft’s launch of IE7, which was in…let me check…oh, right: English. now they’re available in more, but it took some time. we’ve made wide availability in many languages a primary driver for our release schedule, and the implication we’re making is clear: english-speaking users are not the most important users in the world, but are part of a much broader context.

(incidentally, i just looked at our dashboards for this week, and non-english language use continues to make huge gains — english is at 50% this week, down from about 65% of our users a year ago — within a few days from now, we’ll have no single majority locale, happily.)

anyway, as many officially supported versions as we have (the South African versions aren’t), there are many community-contributed builds in the world in a variety of different languages. one new one that’s on our radar this week is a beta version of kurdish — spoken in the region called kurdistan, including kurdish populations in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. (wikipedia link).

for reasons you can read about in the wikipedia article, this has caused a stir on our message boards and e-mail lists — there are exceptionally strong feelings both for and against.

the reason that this is discouraging to me should be obvious: education, access & understanding are major parts (maybe the only parts) of making our world a better place to live. whether or not your neighbor has these things shouldn’t be bad (or even neutral) to you — it should be an imperative. it shouldn’t be a negative to any one person that software exists (in whatever form) for someone else to use.

this has happened to us in other locales — around the world, clearly, language is a proxy for a host of other cultural (and political and military) battles.

but my view is that making software (and other) information and software available to people to use & repurpose however makes sense to them is incredibly important, and getting more so, and i’m proud to be part of an organization committed to it.

one of the folks here pointed out that this is the type of problem we want to have — in other words, the fact that it matters so intensely to people means that what mozilla is doing, and what’s happening on the Internet, is deeply important. but they’re problems nonetheless.

the world feels increasingly small to me. in the past 6 months or so, i’ve been to china, japan and france to do work for mozilla, and am blown away by all the changes afoot.

in related news, this is a neat thing. it’s a site that started by taking interesting US startup/venture blogs and translating them into Chinese — now they’re doing the same thing in reverse, to make it possible for english-speakers like me to read chinese articles about the startup world. completely amazing.

anyone remember what life was like just 10 years ago? the memory for me is fading fast.