February, 2008

Feb 08

The Nine, by Jeffrey Toobin

I really like learning about US government and history — I’m a little obsessed about it sometimes, really. For all the problems, I have incredible admiration for the broad and varied group of people who contributed to the founding and the creation and the running of our country. I have some issues with our current executive branch, of course, and our overactive executive throughout (at least) the 20th century. But I’m interested in the Supreme Court, and how tricky it’s been through history to predict how appointing a justice for life will change how they view the world and make decisions.

But this new book by Toobin is worrying — because it really brings into relief how much we’ve moved into a world where we’re appointing justices because of what they think on specific issues, not how they make decisions, or how they show their character. That’s not a new revelation, but reading this book makes me worry more than ever.

Having said that, our government has gone through tough trials even since before the Constitution, and, notably, in times of extreme stress from outside and inside both. And we’ve managed to muddle our way through. Even now, I’m optimistic, given the signs from this primary season, that we can move back to a time of cooperation and move forward to a time of post-partisanship.

Feb 08

one more reason to like matt

There are a lot of reasons to like Matt Mullenweg, creator of WordPress (which powers this blog) and founder of Automattic. (For one, he’s an incredibly nice guy. For another, WordPress is exceptional (and open source) software.)

But from Webware’s reporting on the FOWA conference, here’s another one:

[Matt] also has a pretty nontraditional view of ad revenues, the supposed cash coffer of new-media sites. “Most of you have never, and will never, seen an ad on WordPress.com,” Mullenweg said, referring to WordPress.org’s free blog-hosting arm. “We decided to show ads only on certain pages, only to the people who were sort of random drive-by visitors…if you use Firefox, you’ll never see an ad, no matter what, mostly because I like Firefox.”

update: it’s worth reading that whole (short) piece. the point that Matt makes about how scaling is the critical thing that’s new in the world with the rise of Internet companies. they’ve got 19 employees and 2.3 million blogs and 135 million readers. by analogy, at mozilla we’ve got something like 150 employees and 150+ million users around the world.

Feb 08


192021.org is a promise from Richard Saul Wurman, founder of the outstanding TED Conference, to do a longitudinal research and sharing project focused around the rise of supercities in our world — in particular, the 19 cities that will each have more than 20 million inhabitants in the 21st century. The site right now is a neat flash presentation that I found provocative & that I’m hopeful will lead to interesting work. Worth checking out.

Feb 08


i haven’t logged in in months, so just canceled my WoW account. seems sorta sad. i already miss Frink. <sniff>

Feb 08

half a billion served.

Another amazing milestone for Mozilla, with 500,000,000 downloads of Firefox to date. Incredibly humbling to be able to participate in a project like this. More work to do. Like this, for instance. (and this. :-))

But for now, amazing. It’s a wonderful thing to be part of.