October 14th, 2012
The Ada Initiative works to create a “A world in which women are equal and welcome participants in open source software, open data, and open culture.” This is critical not just for the women involved, but for all of us. We need diversity in people creating our infrastructures and technology if we want them to represent all points of view.
To do this The Ada Initiative gathers active women together, such as AdaCamp in DC, with over 100 women active in wide range of open source /free culture projects. I’ve seen the impact such gatherings have, and have seen the Mozilla attendees come away super-charged. The Ada Initiative is also working to reduce harassment, which sadly still occurs more regularly than should be the case.
I was a seed donor, and I’ve just contributed to the current fund-raising campaign. Please consider joining me by donating to The Ada Initiative.
If you are in the San Francisco area this coming Tuesday (Oct 16), you can also join The Ada Foundation, Wikimedia Foundation and Mozilla to celebrate this year’s Ada Lovelace Day at the Wikimedia Foundation’s office in San Francisco.
September 21st, 2012
Have you ever sat down with someone else’s computer and wondered why a particular piece of software seems to perform so much better (or worse)? Ever wonder what people do to tune the performance of their software? Ever wish you had more information to understand your specific experience — why something stopped working, why something got slower, what you did to make a piece of software feel new and fast again?
Firefox Health Report will be a new feature of Firefox that enables much better answers to these sorts of questions. Firefox Health Report will allow each one of us to understand our own experiences. It will also allow Mozilla to understand these experiences in the aggregate for our users.
Firefox Health Report will use data to do this. It will use data in a privacy-centric way. This is really important. We’re living in the middle of a data explosion. The Internet world must figure out new ways to benefit from the richness of the data explosion without treating people like objects to be manipulated.
We’ve designed Firefox Health Report to treat people well and to start the process of putting us back in control of the data that shapes our online experience. We’ve designed it to provide useful information to you about your experience. For example: is a particular add-on causing performance to degrade? Will starting a new Firefox profile help improve performance?
Second, we’ve designed the Firefox Health Report to not gather personal information. This will allow Mozilla to develop aggregate data in a privacy-sensitive way. You can see all the details about how we’ve done this here.
Third, we will also make it easy for people to disable this feature. This may be an excess of caution for many users. However, we know that there are some people who prefer a world of no data, even if it means less understanding of personal circumstances. We want this group to be comfortable as well, and so we will make the process for disabling this feature clear and conspicuous.
Mozilla has an intense focus on building products that use data in privacy-centric way. We’re organized as a non-profit organization precisely so we can focus on the principle of User Sovereignty rather than business models. Indeed, the Mozilla Manifesto drives us to help people live well in a data-centric world.
September 19th, 2012
In January 2011 Mozilla proposed a new browser feature to help people control who tracks and logs our online activities. This feature is known as “Do Not Track.” It’s a simple way for a person to tell the advertising networks that he or she does not want to be tracked.
Since Mozilla introduced DNT to the market last year, other major browser vendors and web properties have announced their support for DNT on the desktop– Apple and Opera in 2011; and Microsoft not long ago. This week the Google Chrome implementation of DNT is starting to appear in the market. With Chrome joining, we’ve now reached the point where all major desktop browsers support DNT. This is an important step forward for Do Not Track, and for Mozilla’s goal of bring user control and choice to everyone.
When we first proposed Do Not Track we knew it would take a lot of work as well as some luck to be successful. But we knew that many people feel online tracking is creepy and a bit like being stalked. And of course Mozilla’s mission pushes us to do the things our commercial competitors aren’t likely to do. We felt the time was right and we should take the risk and try to improve the state of the industry in this area.
The time was right. Desktop browsers, plus Firefox on Android, now allow us to identify ourselves as not wanting to be tracked. A number of advertising organizations, including Google, have announced they will support the Do Not Track request. Adoption of DNT has been about 11% on Firefox desktop and about 16% on Firefox for Android (currently the only mobile browser to support DNT).
Mozilla’s work on Do Not Track is one facet of our work to bring User Sovereignty to all aspects of online life. Today we’re working on a richer user experience for Do Not Track, a related tool for understanding the flow of information between sites, a way of allowing people to control more of our online identity, and more.
Expect more from Mozilla on these topics!
September 11th, 2012
A very odd sensation today. My husband and I had gone to try to find decent quality office furniture (ergonomic desks, stand-up desk, that sort of thing). The store was closed, even though it was long before noon. For some reason I was drawn to the store next door, which looked a bit like a garden / home store. It had all sorts of stuff in the doorway so I wandered in while my husband sat outside, longing for lunch. As I stepped inside I heard the radio. After a minute the sounds became understandable to me — the radio was a talk show in Mandarin. I looked around, and sure enough, the proprietor was Chinese. The setting felt instantly familiar.
It’s funny, it’s been a very, very long time since I lived in Beijing. But it was such a formative experience that it has stuck with me. I understood the store completely — the odd combination of stuff, the kinds of things one was likely to find, the useful and oddball stuff. And while I’ve forgotten most of the Chinese I once knew, my ability to converse in Chinese is still light-years ahead of Spanish. Often, when I’m trying to say something in Spanish I’ll hear words coming out of my mouth and realize I’ve dropped some Chinese words in the middle of the sentence ….
September 6th, 2012
MozCamp Europe 2012 is this weekend in Warsaw. It should be a packed weekend as the energy of so many people intent on building great things flows together. I’m also excited to see Warsaw as our venue, it reflects the very long and deep contributions the Polish community have made to Mozilla over the last 15 years. Sadly I need to leave early on Sunday because we’ve got 2 kids starting a new school in a new country and I want to be back for that. I suspect that means a *very* late night on Saturday
I’ve got a busy Saturday planned. Together with Tristan I’ll start things off with a big picture view of Mozilla. I’ll hold a session called “Evolution of the Mozilla Manifesto.” This will be partly about the Manifesto, and partly about “living the Manifesto.” The Manifesto is written down as words, but its true manifestation is how we act and what we build, and that’s what I plan to focus on. This is also way I love the Mozilla Community Quilt Presentations part of MozCamp so much — it shows the many local communities that come together to make Mozilla real.
There are also a couple of hours with space set aside for “Office Hours.” I’m hoping anyone, or groups, or local communities who have topics to discuss with wander by and we can work together. That way I’ll also get to meet a lot more people individually.
We’ll take the things that work best and bring them to upcoming MozCamps and other Mozilla events as well.