Lead (Pb) in the USA

Live in the US?  Did you know that we put Lead (Pb), a known neurotoxin, in:

  • Garden hoses (that have been shown to leak Lead into the water)
  • Power cords (including laptop cords)
  • Carseats (mostly to the base, some other toxins have been found in the seat itself)
  • Likely more, it’s apparently not uncommon to be added to plastic…

In the EU you aren’t allowed to put Lead in the above.  I think it’s time we joined them!

  • Sign the petition on the White House We the People site.
  • Donate to this Indiegogo campaign to test carseats for toxic chemicals. (They are only asking for $10,000! ~ mostly to buy the carseats)
  • Share this post / the above with friends, family, and any celebrities you happen to know on Twitter, etc.  #NoSafeAmountOfLead.
  • Bonus: Watch episode 7 of the new Cosmos which ends with Neil deGrasse Tyson saying there is no safe amount of lead.

Please let me know if you have trouble doing any of the above..

The Mozilla I want

Somewhat a response to
https://webwewant.mozilla.org/en/
https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2014/05/14/drm-and-the-challenge-of-serving-users/
https://fsf.org/news/fsf-condemns-partnership-between-mozilla-and-adobe-to-support-digital-restrictions-management

NOTE: These are more personal opinions and not necessarily those of my employer, your employer, or any of the businesses and government in my town,city, state, country.

DRM

It is *never* something people want.  Have you ever heard someone say “I really want this content I bought/”rented” to be harder to share/remix/watch and to have even greater legal ramifications if I do so?”  They do want content made by Hollywood, but those are different things.

DRM – Mozilla being played?

This reminds me of the time Chrome said it would drop H264 [1].   From what played out in public it seemed that Mozilla didn’t see the need to push for H264 sooner because they trusted Google to actually drop H264 support.

In a somewhat reverse situation, Mozilla just said they will adopt EME in Firefox before any of the possible benefits are realized by others.  Right now it’s being implemented only in Chrome and IE 11 [2], and I’ve only seen it used in Chrome OS and IE 11.   From my point of view I would have preferred if Mozilla had at least waiting to see if we will get more platform support from major vendors on this.  (aka Linux support for Netflix)

If so, maybe the increase in Linux market-share would provide some balance to the DRM’s negative affects.  Making free software overall a net win.   If so, I would (still reluctantly) support Mozilla’s decision here if they saw it as an end to get Hollywood media to more freer platforms.   But why not wait and see if this is actually true with Google Chrome/Netflix on Linux?

[1] http://blog.chromium.org/2011/01/html-video-codec-support-in-chrome.html
[2] http://html5test.com/compare/feature/video-drm.html

Reduce “Hollywood” power

I would like to see Mozilla pushing Indie/Crowdsourcing media, like:
Paid streaming site for indie videos https://indieflix.com/
Public broadcasting http://www.pbs.org/
Better publishing http://www.getmiro.com/
Basically, How can Mozilla use it’s capabilities to better change the media landscape?  (A slightly “better” form of DRM should not be the answer to this question).

Abandon the DoNoTrack header, provide actual options

It doesn’t work (and almost certainly never will) and it gives people a false sense of doing something.   You are giving advertisers another data point to track!  It literally does the opposite of what is supposed to.

Instead!

  •  Finish blocking 3rd party cookies (https://blog.mozilla.org/privacy/2013/02/25/firefox-getting-smarter-about-third-party-cookies/)
  • Promote (by adding it as a search option, etc) providers that promise to not track ANY of their users.   DuckDuckGo being the most obvious example.
    Their is so little difference between Yahoo and Bing search.. and DuckDuckGo is a damn good search engine[2].
  • Push advertisers off of Flash (generally a good idea, but also will help with privacy – no flash cookies, etc)
    Generally I’m supportive of the Click-to-play, etc initiatives Mozilla has taken thus far.  Flash is the exception to that rule.   Here’s the outline of a plan to push advertisers off of it. (the numbers are obviously made up for illustrative purposes)

    1. Start forcing Click-to-play for Flash when the site has more than 6 plugins running (pick some “high” number, and count all plugins, not just flash)
    2. Reduce the number of plugins to 5, after some number of Firefox releases or some specific Adobe Flash counting metric.  Repeat pushing to 4, etc.
    3. Once advertisers get on board and Flash ads aren’t served by the big advertisers, now we can push Flash to click-to-play at 2 instances per page.
    4. Once flash usage drops under 5% [1], we’d be able to push it to default click-to-play for all Flash.

[1] http://w3techs.com/technologies/details/cp-flash/all/all
[2] http://libretechtips.com/reviews-internet/duckduckgo-comparison-google-bing-yandex

SSL 3.0 – When will it go away?

You’ve removed the (easy) option to disable it.  When will it go away for good?  Why does Chrome let the user see what protocol version (TLS 1.2 vs 1.0, etc) their users are using, but Firefox doesn’t?

Mobile – Firefox OS

Well I work at a direct competitor in mobile… but not actually working with our phone product..

  • Launching just with Facebook contact sync well, isn’t very open and totally goes against promoting those that respect your same values.
  • I get that you can’t magically make the devices more open, but at least can we get public commitments for how long a device will be supported for?  And how often it will get Firefox OS updates?
  • I wish you had used Thunderbird as Firefox OS’s email client… I think that would let it scale really really well and give you a new reason to push features there.. Maybe you are under the hood?

If you’re reading this and don’t know, you can try out Firefox OS (“Boot2Gecko”) on your desktop too! (https://nightly.mozilla.org/)

End on a positive note..

I love the new Firefox interface.  It’s awesome and makes customizing the browser much better.   I’m a nightly user and teach courses on Firefox.  I’m not going anywhere (fast) over the DRM decision.  Going to keep doing what I do and see how it pans out…

Help people move to L/Ubuntu from Windows XP!

In preparation for the Cherry Hill Library’s XP to Linux Installfest I made a website, presentation and worksheet.

AmISupported.com
Basic site designed to tell users if they are still getting security updates (right now just for Windows) and what their next actions should be.

InstallFestPresentation
Introduces Ubuntu and Lubuntu for non-technical users and also how today’s installfest will work.

InstallFestWorksheet
A place for the user to write down what they use their computer for.   And a place for the installfest helpers to write down what works/doesn’t in the LiveCD test.

Items mentioned in the worksheet: The liability release is specific to this Installfest.   As for the survey mentioned, I’m very curious just how many non-pae machines or 32 x86 machines there are still in the wild.

Let me know what you think and feel free to modify/use/whatever.  (If you need a license consider the docs under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License).

On the Mozilla CEO…

It[1] has already been demotivating and distracting from Mozilla’s mission.   How he responds to this is going to determine how really qualified he is to be CEO.  I think it could end up affecting Mozilla’s image permanently if not managed well, which is one of their biggest assets (Most trusted internet company for privacy)!

Two thought experiments I did personally ( I’m an atheist who feels marginalized by the pledge of allegiance including “Under God”) :

From CEO perspective

I donate $1000 to a political action committee pushing to remove “Under God” from the pledge.   Time passes.  I got a job opportunity to lead an amazing organization.   Members of the community start boycotting the amazing organization due to my donation.

From end user/employee/advocate perspective

I’m working at an amazing organization.   A new CEO is appointed that’s donated $1000 to make sure that we keep “Under God” in the pledge.   He promises to not change atheists position in the company and continue to treat them like any other employee.

 

I was originally going to suggest that the CEO just donate $1000 to the other side.. but I don’t think I would do that in his place.   From the employee perspective, I wouldn’t immediately resign or anything, but I would likely keep a wider eye towards new opportunities…  What would you do in your equivalent thought experiment?

Multiprocess Firefox – An afternoon testing on Ubuntu 12.04

What is multiprocess Firefox?They do a much better description here: https://billmccloskey.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/multiprocess-firefox/
But basically it’s the start of having each tab in Firefox isolated from each other and the Firefox drawn UI (referred to as chrome).  Right now it only isolates the “chrome” from the webpages with one process each.

This is my experience using it for one afternoon on Ubuntu 12.04.   I disabled all add-ons because I don’t think it’s ready for my add-on collection…

What doesn’t work

  • AppTabs don’t come back on a restart (expected)
  • Password management doesn’t autofill (you can still access passwords though and copy/paste them). (expected)
  • Flash doesn’t work (click to play doesn’t seem to work either…) (expected)
  • Accepting no third-party cookies doesn’t work (seems to just disable all cookies)
  • Scrolling is a bit jumpy at times
  • Embedded content issues
    • Salesforce widget fails with “Content Encoding Error” because it doesn’t define a mime type?
    • My TinyTinyRSS installation doesn’t work only when loading slashdot pages (they embed ads)
  • Opening a new tab from the new tab page using middle click. (It does work if you do it via right click open new tab, with middle click it loads in the same window)
  • Zoom works on some pages but not others…
  • Trying to print crashes the page process (expected)
  • It’s one process for all tabs right now, so when one crashes, they all do
  • WebGL isn’t detected at all (expected)
  • Downloads seem to freeze (was downloading a Zentyal 700 MB image..)
  • Can’t attach files.. (this is what ended my testing :/)

What does work

(that seems surprising, most sites just worked as usual)

  • Saving a page
  • HTML5 Vidoe works (youtube), but fullscreening is two steps (one in the window and then hit F11)

One nice item is when you give up and disable it.. your previous session is restored from before you started..

I’m going to keep trying it ever month or so to see how it progresses (I’m already a nightly user)..