Day 106 - Purée of Carrot Soup

Another delicious creation from Tara's cuisine: Purée of Carrot Soup, after a recipe published in the 1960s by M.F.K. Fisher. Yummy!

The recipe still called for a food mill, but, in the 21st century an immersion blender works just as well :)

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Day 105 - Honest Abe

A somewhat rare specimen of US currency: The presidential dollar coin (this one featuring Abraham Lincoln). Now, rare isn't quite right: Dollar coins are all over the place, just nobody seems to like them. Quite the pity, considering how nice these coins look! Admittedly though, they are so much heavier and bulkier than dollar bills. -- So whenever you see someone paying with "Honest Abe" or any of the other presidents, they have most likely been using some sort of vending machine recently, which are most of the time incapable of returning bills as change.

Fun fact: The presidential dollar coin program is backed by a law that among other things codifies a long-standing rule: That a presidential coin is not going to be made featuring a president who is still alive. Perhaps it would be a little too Roman Emperor otherwise.

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This is a cross-post of a blog entry I wrote for the Mozilla Webdev blog.

A few months ago we founded an experimental new "rapid web development" team at Mozilla. Its purpose was to take care of a growing number of short- to medium-term web projects at Mozilla. We nicknamed it the "Flux" team (for its ability to maintain a higher throughput of projects while reducing the overhead of individual projects).

The team focused on two areas in particular:

  • software lifecycle management: establishing project management guidelines and driving web software projects from idea to completion (including their eventual retirement). The team also served as stewards for externally developed projects.
  • streamlined web development: reducing the amount of nonfunctional overhead when developing Mozilla web apps, while ensuring consistently high quality standards across projects.

The experiment proved successful: Together with a number of internal and external groups, Flux successfully released more than a dozen projects of varying size around the release of Firefox 4 and Firefox 4 mobile.

But along the way it became apparent that the two focus areas mentioned above are different and challenging enough to stand on their owns, so we rearranged the group accordingly, spawning the Web Productions team (led by Ryan Snyder) and the (new) Flux Development Team (led by me, Fred Wenzel).

The web productions team will continue to run Mozilla-internal web projects, but has also branched out into fostering community-sourced projects and similar endeavors.

In the Flux Development group, I am working with a team of (so far) three excellent engineers (Dave Dash, James Long, and Anthony Ricaud) on web development for various parts of the Mozilla community.

The Flux team will be working on:

  • Evolving our development platform: compiling and maintaining reusable code (libraries) as well as engineering best practices for web projects. (One tangible artifact of this work is the playdoh application template.)
  • Software architecture and development for existing and new projects, among them:, Firefox Input.
  • Tools and services to be shared by various projects, e.g., ElasticSearch, Grouperfish text clustering, Mozilla Product Details.
  • Assisting as technical stewards with Web Productions projects.

Say hi to the new Flux and Web Producers teams!

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Day 104 - Google Bikes

These are two bikes I saw in Mountain View today: First, a bike with a Chrome logo wheel. Luckily for onlookers, they used the old Chrome logo, not the one that made the Internets shudder in horror a few months ago. Next to it, its little sibling, the Google bike. These small, colorful bikes help Googlers get across their ever-growing campus in no time. (Historical tidbit: Before Mozilla moved to Castro Street, we had bikes as well, to move between the two buildings we occupied. In the meantime, we just have to take a quick trip up or down the stairs to get to other parts of the office).

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Day 103 - Public Transport

While it is common for people in urban areas of Europe to completely do away with their car, public transport in the US is infamously bad -- partly undeservedly so, when you look at cities like New York that run a successful mass transport system that's basically up to par with other cities of considerable size.

But of course, in the Bay Area, millions of people meet massive suburban sprawl, which is an absolutely toxic mixture for fast and efficient public transport. Still, the commuters are being offered several options depending on where they live. The one closest to where I live is the VTA lightrail system pictured here. It's sufficiently modern (and clean, and safe, at the very least during commute hours) to be a good commute option. Sadly, it is comparatively (and sometimes inexplicably) slow. At best, it's a wash between VTA and driving (when commuting alone), or easily takes 1.5-2 times as long as a commute by car (when commuting with >= 2 people, who can access the "commuter lanes" on the freeway). For cost, the picture is similar.

That commuting by public transport is not the downright best solution on all fronts makes me sad.

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Day 102 - "Native" HTML5

On the Interwebs, a blog post on behalf of Internet Explorer 10 made the rounds today, trying to coin the term "native HTML5" for web applications that look like Windows applications, grotesquely turning the cross-platform nature of the Web into a flaw that can only be remedied by ignoring both other platforms and even different versions of the platform in question.

In the community, this curious opinion has been received with humor, which is exactly the kind of reaction this marketing blabber should receive. (This is also in the interest of the engineers at Microsoft who work hard to implement more and more web standards in Internet Explorer, which -- remember! -- greatly benefits all web users who can't or choose not to pick a different browser. They are the people who are unnecessarily and ironically ridiculed by the "native HTML5" blog article).

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Day 101 - Another Coffee Roaster

After I've shown you a small, old (and presumably out of order) coffee roaster on day 67, here's another small roaster, but this time a modern one in best working order.

I saw it running at Whole Foods in Los Altos, CA, and thought it was kind of cool how you could see the beans on the inside.

If you care, here's a video of the thing running:

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Day 100 - Volkswagen Beetle

Look at this Volkswagen Beetle I saw at the Great Mall today (don't ask me what year, or model number, or any such things ;)). There are quite a few of them driving around the Bay Area, I noticed. I wonder if all of those are Beetle enthusiasts, or if some of them are owned by people who originally bought it a few decades ago and never saw the need to replace their beetle with a newer car? Either way, the old Beetle seems comparatively much more frequent here in the US than back home in Germany. Who would've thought.

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Day 99 - Kowloon

Named after the peninsula of Kowloon in Hong Kong, China, this cocktail combines coffee and orange flavors to a quite delectable concoction:

1 measure Kahlua 1 measure Grand Marnier 3 measures orange juice

Shake with ice, and serve in a wine glass half full of crushed ice. Decorate with a slice of orange.

Now, in the photo you might notice that I shamelessly replaced Grand Marnier with Cointreau. Also, I had no orange for decoration. It was delicious nonetheless. So sue me ;)

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Day 98 - Lightning Talks

Final day of the Mozilla All-Hands week! Tons of lightning talks about interesting topics today. Here, Lars shows off his Python development environment.

After I get some sleep this weekend, I'll have plenty of software and tips and tricks to try out that I collected over the week. Exciting!

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