June, 2008

Jun 08

The thing about life is that one day you’ll be dead, by David Shields

In my parade of writing about books I’ve finished in the last few months but not had enough time to blog about is this one by David Shields that I picked up on a lark — I suspect that the sneaky Amazon recommendation engine got me again. But in a mostly good way. I didn’t totally like the writing in this one — found it a bit stiff — but the subject is one that I’ve been thinking about a lot: how we grow up and age, how we get from being born to old age and eventually dying. I think the reason that Shields wrote this was to reflect on his relationship with his father, as his father gets older (in his late nineties as of the writing, and still apparently going strong). The book is structured as an intertwining of 2 trains of thoughts: (1) memories of his relationship with his father, and (2) mostly physiological descriptions of what happens to our bodies at various stages of our lives. A good book, and thought-provoking, but not the most engaging thing I’ve read lately.

Jun 08

on the road

On my way to Tokyo for a few Firefox 3 launch festivities — I’m looking forward to seeing everyone there, as usual. But as much as I like traveling, as SPL gets older (almost 3!) and he, Kathy & I develop more as a family, it’s getting harder and harder to say goodbye each time. Not particularly for SPL, I don’t think, as he was happy to roll my suitcase out to the car, give me a quick hug, and get on with his playtime, but for me and for Kathy. So much seems to change day to day now with all of our development, and it’s a marvel — gets to where you just don’t want to miss a single day. Traveling does make me appreciate being at home, truly.

So now to Tokyo — gotta figure out what some very interesting bloggers in Japan will be interested in hearing about from Mozilla. 🙂

Jun 08

Firefox 3’s First 24 Hours

It’s been a very busy 24 hours for Mozilla folks around the world — as our 24 hour initial period draws to a close, I wanted to put a few things into perspective. This is the first post of what will no doubt be many analysis posts, so here are a few things that have happened during the first official day of Firefox 3 life:

  • A little more than 8.3 million downloads (this isn’t our official Guinness number — that will be a little lower as we weed out over counts over the next few weeks)
  • Firefox 3 market share has grown to about 4% worldwide
  • People in around 200 different countries have downloaded, with 16 countries north of 100k copies
  • Top 10 countries so far: US, Germany, Japan, Spain, UK, France, Iran, Italy, Canada, Poland
  • 757 Parties around the world

And if you’re interested in what our network has been doing over that time period:

  • 83 terabytes served in total
  • (that works out to nearly 8 1/2 full copies of the US Library of Congress’ print collection or a million copies of the new Coldplay album)
  • At the peak, we were serving 17,000 downloads a minute (283 per second!), and saw sustained download rates in excess of 4,000/minute
  • Our peak mirror throughput during the period was 20 gigabits/sec (a huge thanks goes to everyone who helped to create our unbelievably great mirror network)

So a good day’s work by everyone involved. Like everything that’s Mozilla, this involved people far beyond Mountain View, and far beyond the borders of any one company or group. More to come…

Jun 08

Hometown paper

I think everyone involved with Mozilla is humbled by the worldwide attention and coverage we’ve gotten in the runup to and release of Firefox 3 — it’s a little overwhelming, really.

But there’s something about seeing a writeup in my hometown paper, the San Jose Mercury News — the paper I’ve grown up with here in Silicon Valley reading about most everything having to do with tech.

And they wrote today — the title of the article is “Browser’s open-source model represents valley at its best,” and it’s an article that I couldn’t be happier about. It gets the tone & feeling of what we’re doing just right. The only quibble that I have at all is that what we’re doing here isn’t really a Silicon Valley thing, but more of a worldwide thing, with participation and engagement and excitement everywhere.

Jun 08

Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy

A beautiful, hulking, brute of a book — a novel about life on the border between US & Mexico in pre-Civil War life. It’s tough to get through — brutal characters and plot, and very tough prose. But it’s a singular achievement — and it’s growing on me the further I get away from it. Not a happy or redeeming book in any way, really. But beautifully written, for sure. Not sure I’ve ever read a book quite like it. You can open to just about any page at random and be completely blown away by the writing.

One of the most thematic passages of the book, when The Kid (the main character) is talking with and old man, who says (punctuation is all McCarthy’s):

“The way of the transgressor is hard. God made this world, but he didn’t make it to suit everybody, did he?… A man’s at odds to know his mind cause his mind is aught he has to know it with. He can know his heart, but he dont want to. Rightly so. Best not to look in there. It aint the heart of a creature that is bound in the way that God has set for it. You can find meanness in the least of creatures, but when God made man the devil was at his elbow. A creature that can do anything. Make a machine. And a machine to make the machine. And evil that can run itself a thousand years, no need to tend it….”

and a particularly relevant bit from The Judge (not a nice guy) towards the end:

“As war becomes dishonored and it’s nobility called into question those honorable men who recognize the sanctity of blood will become excluded from the dance, which is the warrior’s right, and thereby will the dance become a false dance and the dancers false dancers. And yet there will be one there always who is a true dancer… There is room on the stage for one beast and one alone. All others are destined for a night that is eternal and without name. One by one they will step down into the darkness before the footlamps. Bears that dance, bears that don’t.”

A rough book on violence and war and the measure of the meanest bits of the human soul. Not for everyone, but fantastic.