Day 222 - Piazza Anfiteatro

Not a picture I took today, but I didn't stitch it together until now, so I think it counts: This is a panorama shot of Piazza Anfiteatro, a market square in the city of Lucca in Tuscany, Italy. It was built in the 19th century on the ruins of an ancient Roman amphitheater.

If you like it, do look at the full-size version.

The picture is a panorama I stitched together from 16 different photos. When you look more closely, you can see that a man in the bottom left corner is missing a hand because he was present on one picture but not the other. I promise, however, that no Italians were harmed in the making of this picture.

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Day 221 - Donot Box

Not to be confused with a donut box (although that'd be so much tastier), this "donot box" nicely describes what not to do to the Firefox logo -- namely printing it on a strongly colored background. Presumably, the box once contained these exact stickers, but now we're all out. Sadface.

Now, if it eases your pain, and while we're at it, treat yourself to some music from the Donots, one of my favorite German punk rock bands (singing in English, for what it's worth). You're welcome.

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I am a fan of Words with Friends, a Scrabble clone made by Zynga (of FarmVille fame). The app's competitive edge is the availability across platforms (iOS and Android). In the same, cross-platform, spirit, they recently started offering a Facebook app, so people can waste their time not only when they are out and about, but also wherever they have access to a full-blown computer. Unfortunately, clicking on the Words With Friends Facebook app leads to this screen:

My Facebook session is SSL-encrypted by default, but Words with Friends requires me to disable this encryption. This is wrong on many levels. Most notably, if I disable "secure browsing" on Facebook altogether, even only for this session, my session cookie will be sent in plain text over the wire (or worse, on Wifi, over the air). If I do this at a coffee shop or airport, this is a great invitation for every evildoer in the general vicinity to hijack my Facebook account.

While I appreciate Facebook's transparency in the matter, I find it upsetting that companies like Zynga wouldn't account for Facebook users on SSL. By encouraging people to access Facebook over an unencrypted connection, they are foolishly endangering user data and are demonstrating an utter disregard for user privacy.

I wish Facebook enabled SSL encryption by default, and furthermore required third party apps to be served over SSL. You can't have it both ways: Either you don't handle user data, then you don't need to care about encryption. Or you do handle user data (and yes, a session cookie counts!), then you need to properly secure it. I am tired of software makers weaseling themselves out of their self-imposed responsibility.

Update: As pointed out in the comments, moving to HTTPS for apps is on Facebook's developer roadmap. I appreciate it!

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Day 220 - Dog Portrait

On the lookout for trouble? Perhaps!

I find pet portraits in low-light situations really, really hard. Obviously the subject won't hold still even for a second. So we get to crank up the ISO (hello, graininess) and pick a large aperture at the expense of depth-of-field and sharpness. That's why my success rate on such portraits is probably 20% at best, but luckily project 365 is a photo a day, not ten!

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Day 219 - Fiat 500

Say hello to our new Fiat 500. It's pretty much the awesomest car I've ever driven, and it pulls the red off like no other.

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Day 218 - Barista at Work

Tara got me some nice new, organic, espresso, so the barista duty is on. The cups, by the way, are some Bialetti-themed ones I brought from Italy.

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Day 217 - Weekend

Revisiting the recent topic of West Coast microbrews: Kicked off the weekend with a fabulous IPA from Sierra Nevada, a Californian microbrewery, after a long day of meetings and interviews. Prost!

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Day 216 - Freight Train

Scenes like this serve as a constant reminder that the IT industry is not the only relevant industry in or around the Silicon Valley.

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Day 215 - JägerMonkey

JägerMonkey is the code name of Firefox 4's (and later) JavaScript engine (glad I know how to type umlauts). The name is a reference to a well-known beverage (who would have thought). JägerMonkey also has this awesome sticker (and t-shirt) design, though the science-savvy are fast to point out that this is not a monkey but an ape in the picture. Pssshhh, don't mention it to anyone.

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Day 214 - Massive Firefox

I've seen a few of these across the office lately: Little plush Firefoxes with a fondness for too many cookies. Time to get to the gym, I say!

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