A little Firefox nostalgia

The Firefox 3 robot
The Firefox 3 robot declares victory. Design apparently by Nobox.

I’ve started using Firefox a lot more lately. The browser feels like a new beast lately, especially Firefox Nightly which I started using because of the CSS Grid Inspector tool.

Firefox 55 was released on the stable channel yesterday and it is also pretty snappy. Chrome is starting to feel a little sluggish by comparison (although it’s possible that I’m imagining it).

I found myself thinking back to the marketing campaign for Firefox 3 back in 2008 (I think). At the time, Firefox wasn’t on its current 6-8 week release cycle so developments took a bit longer.

For some reason, Firefox 3 was a big deal back then. I don’t remember why but I do have a vivid memory of the robot imagery that Mozilla used to publicise the release. I found this image on Flickr earlier this afternoon.

Almost a decade later, there is still something about this robot imagery that I love.

Firefox making moves on Chrome

If you’re curious about this “new” Firefox that people are talking about lately, you may find this article interesting:

It’s tempting to just dismiss this browser as a “has been” and stick with Chrome. Chrome is a great browser and dominates the Web. Still, I think having a spunky challenger with a strong focus on an inclusive and open Web is important.

Just as it successfully challenged Internet Explorer back in the day, Firefox could help keep Chrome in check where it counts.

14 years ago

Me and my Dad, probably circa 1977.

My father passed away 14 years ago, on 12 July 2003. After 14 years he is in my thoughts daily.

There are times when I recognise some behaviour of mine that I probably picked up from him. These are usually the moments when I feel like I understand him a little better.

Mostly, I think about him when I spend time with my family and how much he’d love our kids. I think he would have been an amazing grandfather and his biggest challenge would probably have been working out how to spend as much time as he could with his five grandkids (at present count) in three countries.

Even though he never met Gina or our kids, I’m glad his memory and example still guides me 14 years later. To the extent I’m probably a better father, husband and human being, it’s thanks to him.

How much you are like your parents

The more I think about this, the more this realisation feels like a big part of being a parent. Like our parents before us, we’re just figuring this stuff out as we go.

That thing when you realize how much you are like your parents, and rather than cringing as a teen, you can say that in love and honor.

Source: Measuring Dad Time

A wonderful story about Steve Wozniak

I really like Dave Winer’s story about Steve Wozniak which he titled “A story about Woz“. I especially enjoyed this bit:

I thought how cool. Here’s a guy who doesn’t have to care, he’s richer than god, and look at how passionate he is about the product.#

I felt like I had really accomplished something.#

The thing is that Woz is still doing it. Travelling around the world, meeting with regular people, listening to their dreams, and helping them if he can.#

He’s like a technology elf. He believes in the power of people, not just as users of technology but also as creators of technology.#

Read the whole post, it’s worth it! The last line is probably my favourite.

6 December is my Social Anniversaries Day

A cake for anniversaries

6 December has become my Social Anniversaries Day! This morning I saw a personalized video celebrating my 10th “Faceversary” (the anniversary of me joining Facebook).

In even bigger news, today is also the 12th anniversary of this blog. I published my first post titled “In the beginning …” on 6 December 2004. At the time this blog was called “Wired Gecko” and it has been through several iterations and used various domain names since then.

In the beginning …

Excluding this post, I have published 3 910 blog posts and have 8 567 comments so far.

Blog status as of 2016-12-06
Milestones

The next major release of WordPress, version 4.7, is also due to launched today too. I’m sure Automattic wasn’t thinking about me when the release date was planned but it’s a nice synchronicity nevertheless.

I’ve been thinking about my blogging again lately. I haven’t always been particularly consistent with how much and when I write but I have been expressing myself through my writing in one medium or another for almost 25 years.

You’re miserable because you’re not writing

I write for many reasons. Sometimes, as I explained in my post titled “You’re miserable because you’re not writing”, I write “because it unblocks the dam of emotion that has built up”. Mostly, I write because I have a strong compulsion to share ideas and interesting things.

"Writing, to me, is the meaning of life"

The more I write, the more I learn and, soon enough, “that all gives way to a wonderful flow that you don’t want to stop so you keep writing to keep the pipes clear and fresh water flowing”.

I write a lot about writing because it is so much a part of how I express myself. My other big outlet is my photography and I tend to swing between writing-intensive and photography-intensive phases. Occasionally, like the last week or so, I am somewhat balanced between the two.

It’s a flow. It comes and goes. That is the nature of my writing and photography. Hopefully I will discover how to bring the two together in the year ahead. I have a feeling that achieving that will uplift both passions and create new opportunities for me.

Here are some of my thoughts on this blog’s 10th anniversary. I think they remain as relevant today as they did two years ago:

This blog began its life under a different domain on 6 December 2004. It has survived in one form or another until now, thanks and no thanks to me. I started my blog after tinkering with blogging back in the primordial days of the social Web when blogging was the New Thing, after interactive fora. Keeping a blog alive for 10 years feels like an achievement. Having 3 527 blog posts under my metaphorical belt (not counting this one) feels like I have made a meaningful contribution towards documenting my life and the things that interest me. It is something worth commemorating.

Image credit: Pixabay

Thoughts about my father and fatherhood on his birthday

My father, me and my siblings in an old slide photo

Today would have been my Dad’s 66th birthday (I think). My father’s birthday is always a pensive day for me and I miss him a little more on these anniversaries.

On days like today, I often find myself trying to conjure up memories of what he was like as a father. I wonder how he would deal with all the little situations we encounter each day? I don’t have many clear memories of my childhood and yet I sometimes have a sense of how he would behave in random situations.

Being a father isn’t easy. We have our own personality quirks to muddle through at the same time we are learning about how to be better dads and parents to our children. There is always room to improve, to give our kids more attention, play more with them, be more present.

On one hand, it seems I can never live up to my expectations of myself as a father and on the other, I wonder if each step towards meeting them is all we can really do.

Even though I almost always feel like I am falling short of my expectations of what it is to be a good father, perhaps having those expectations is a testament to my father. He wasn’t perfect (none of us are) but he set the bar pretty high by his actions and by what he was able to do in the short time he was alive.

To say that I ask myself what my Dad would do often is an understatement. In many ways he guides my actions as a father even though he passed away years before I became a father. That makes the journey a little easier and his loss a little more meaningful.

Family photos are a generational thing

Beach photo memories in Google Photos

I love this video from Google Photos. It captures the generational differences when it comes to family photos perfectly!

I am definitely more on the “take-a-gazillion-photos-and-put-them-into-albums-that-some-fancy-technology-can-index-for-me-for-later” category when it comes to family photos!

Where my photos go these days

Why Flickr is better than Google Photos

My photos are typically uploaded to Flickr and Google Photos by default. I also sometimes share albums on Facebook but I don’t have complete archives there at all. I also make multiple backups of my primary photo library and RAW files because I am more than a little neurotic about losing my family photos.

At the same time, I love living in a time where we can take so many great photos and share them so easily. Having machine learning systems go through our photos and make them so accessible, despite taking 23 photos of the same sunset, is amazing.

Google Photos definitely has the edge when it comes to identifying what is in our photos. As long as I have my Flickr (and other) backups for full resolution images, I’m happy to keep sending all my photos to Google Photos too.

Smarter photo albums with Google Photos

Not sold on Apple Photos yet

I haven’t used Apple Photos much. The libraries tend to become pretty big. My current edited library is about 128GB. That is stored in Flickr in full resolution (I uploaded most of that when we arrived in Israel – a decent upload capacity and no data caps is a must) and in Amazon S3.

I don’t really see me using Apple Photos for my full library. For one thing, I don’t have the drive capacity for that on my current MacBook Air. For another, iCloud storage pricing is still relatively expensive compared to other storage options. Still, I created a small Apple Photos library to play around with the new Apple Photos app.

One of the changes that I like is that I don’t have to replicate my photos in the Apple Photos library. I can “import” photos that I have stored on different drives without actually moving or copying them. That saves a lot of space.

That said, Apple Photos still seems to take up a lot of extra space on my drive relative to the imported photos. At the same time, the library may seem to be relatively big because I activated the Photos iCloud Library and it is importing photos shared through my iPhone and iPad.

I probably need to play around with Apple Photos and use a bigger subset of my library to get a better sense of how much space it will actually use once I’ve accounted for my iCloud library.

Those old family slides

Old memories with my Dad
Old memories with my Dad

My current mission is to have about 150-200 slides from my childhood scanned and added to my digital library. The big challenge with older generations’ photos is that there either aren’t many or they are in physical formats that will only degrade over time.

The slides are mostly in pretty good shape and there are a lot of amazing memories in there. So much I have forgotten from my childhood.

My Grand Plan is actually to co-ordinate with my brother and sister to have all the slides they have from my mother digitised and shared as a collected family archive.

When I look at photos of my parents’ childhoods, I’m struck by how few I have access to and just how few there are altogether. It isn’t quite as bad as the great grandfather in the Google Photos video with just two photos in his whole life but there really aren’t many photos going back a couple generations.

If anything, our kids will have too many photos of our lives and theirs but, hopefully, machine learning will keep developing and the (likely) terabytes of family photos we leave for them when we eventually leave this life will become a rich and valued archive of memories.

Twitter: back to 2007

I came across this old post soon after I joined Twitter in early 2007. I managed to lose two of the images I used in the original post so I cleaned up the old and broken image references. Other than that, this is what I wrote after I discovered the Twitter:

Do you Twitter?

It’s easy to forget that these services have been around for a while! I’ve been on Twitter for almost 9 years. Wow.

I probably could have done more with it, in retrospect.