Just coming back from a career fair at CMU's University Center, where I went to say hi to the people who manned the Mozilla booth. As I hadn't come to engage in recruiting discussions, I neither carried a resume binder under my arm, nor was I dressed in a black suit like every other person who went there.

Quite amusingly, while the students dressed up in order to show off their seriousness, all of the recruiters were dressed casually in t-shirts or polo shirts and jeans in order to show how relaxed they were. Funny sight.

Lucky as I am, I also got a USB stick from the Cisco booth (thanks Rob for giving me yours, since you got the last one!)... It has 1GB, that'll make for a great new root drive for my Slug (which currently runs on 512M). By the way, why can OS X's Disk Util.app format an ext2 partition, but OS X can't mount or read it? Very odd.

Oh, and just in case anyone was wondering how high the percentage of international students at CMU is:

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As I signed up for twitter during a period of "high maintenance" (that's polite for almost-constant brokenness), I encountered the fail whale quite often---and learned to like it, in its own way, because it had become a tradition of sorts, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

Twitter's Charming "mascot", the Fail Whale

And funnily, every time I visit the page in my Firefox instance, the Awesomebar keeps reminding me of the times when the whale was ubiquitous:

How nice: Nostalgia 2.0.

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I promise, my blog is not going to turn into a "desktop wallpaper collection", but this one is too cool not to show it to you:

"Ceci n'est pas le fond d'écran officiel de Firefox / This Is Not The Official Firefox Background Picture"

By the way, the photographer Denis-Carl Robidoux publishes a picture per day, all of which in different sizes to fit your screen, and for free, too.

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The server migration I announced earlier should be complete now.

The DNS entries may still be a little wonky (if you had trouble reaching my web page or even sending me an email for a little while, that's probably why), but apart from that all should be peachy. The new box is quite snappy, so that's good!

Oh, of course the new server has a new name, too: Rest in peace, Aurora, and welcome to the family, Luna!

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Later tonight, the webserver this blog (and a bunch of other sites) runs on will be migrated to a new, bigger server.

The main reason is that the old box ran out of RAM quite frequently lately (it is a virtual machine that has a flexible RAM limit). The cause of this was mainly the ever-increasing amount of spam, and in spite of the most recent counter-measures, the little VM wasn't able to cope with it any longer. The new server has a bigger CPU, twice as much RAM guaranteed, and other improved features that make me confident that the change is the right step.

For you, dear readers, this means you may experience a few problems loading our websites while we are performing the migration (sorry) but we'll try to keep it to a minimum. You'll be rewarded with an even faster, nicer, and obviously awesomer fredericiana.com later. Thanks for your patience!

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Second Bugzilla-related user script today: Bugzilla 3.2 introduced a keyword chooser that always pops up when you click on the keywords field. Sadly, it keeps you from entering the keywords by hand, even if you know exactly what you want to type. Choosing it from the list and clicking the arrow, then okay takes much longer.

So here's another very simple Greasemonkey user script that just reverts to the original behavior of a simple text field: bugzilla-fix-keywords.user.js (click to install)

I really think instead of the current chooser, a simple keyword suggestion feature should be used that works somehow like the del.icio.us tag find-as-you-type feature:

That could be another user script (or rather an extension to this simple script here). Anyone feel like making it?

Update: This user script of mine has also been deprecated by the fix introduced with bug 452734 -- we now have a convenient auto-complete feature, similar to the one I suggested above. Great! Here's a screenshot:

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Last night, Mozilla's Bugzilla bug tracker was updated to Bugzilla 3.2 with a lot of UI changes, some of which are improvements, others are not.

One of the things that struck me as weird is how all flags, resolutions, etc. moved to the top of the page, while the "commit" button remained at the bottom, by the comment field. That means to resolve a bug, you need to (including the additional click that is now needed to pick something from the resolutions dropdown list):

  • Click on the "status" dropdown list
  • Click on RESOLVED
  • Scroll all the way down the page
  • Click on Commit

So I decided to throw a quick Greasemonkey user script together to put an additional commit button to the top of the page (just so we can drop the scrolling part), like this:

And here's the script for your enjoyment: bugzilla-commit.user.js (click to install)

(Please note, it remotely imports jquery from jquery's google code repository; that's probably something that should change in version 0.2 ;) ).

Update: It seems, this patch has been upstreamed and deployed at least on the Mozilla bugzilla instance. That makes this user script obsolete. In a good way :)

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Today was the last day at Mozilla for Alex Polvi, web ninja and one of my favorite colleagues at the OSU Open Source Lab and later at Mozilla.

But it wouldn't be our Alex if he didn't leave with a bang, so he made a "Hampster Dance" style website named "Foxkeh Dance", featuring the cute Japanese Firefox mascot "Foxkeh" and celebrating 10 years of Mozilla along with 10 years of Hampster Dance:

I just warn you, if you're like me, you'll have trouble getting that catchy tune out of your head for the rest of the day -- much like the first time when you looked at Hampster dance back in the 90s.

Take care, Alex, and I hope our paths will cross again sooner rather than later!

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Uhm, no, thanks.

(Update: A few people have wondered if I did not install Silverlight merely because it is produced by Microsoft. This is not the case, as you can read in more detail in the discussions in the comments to this article. Thanks.)

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I was just checking out a website with JavaScript disabled, then surfed over to facebook (accidentally) without switching JS back on, where I was welcomed with the following page (click on it to see it in its full beauty):

I love how gracefully they degrade to... an empty page...

Relying on JavaScript completely and just not returning a page at all if you don't have it is a no-go in web development. At the very least, you should display a page stating why your services can't be used without a particular technology, and provide hints on how to fix that.

Probably, the empty page only occurs because I logged in with JS enabled, then returned to the page with it disabled, but still it's not a great user experience either way.

Depending on the software architecture, it is even relatively easy to provide a working page for "no script" users while keeping fancy JavaScript elements.

At AMO, we make an effort to keep all public parts of the website accessible to non-JS users as well so that the site can be used by the widest audience possible, and the development effort is far smaller than I imagined, due to language constructs like <noscript> that allow displaying buttons etc. that wouldn't be needed in the "AJAXy" version of the page.

When I look at this, I hope facebook was not infected by its evil German stepchild "StudiVz", as far as code quality is concerned. That apparent facebook clone, when it was first introduced, was infamous for its numerous, severe shortcomings in such minor regards as security, privacy, user experience, and probably a number of other important buzzwords as well (also stated by Facebook themselves in the context of their intellectual property lawsuit against StudiVZ: "As with any counterfeit product, Studivz's uncontrolled quality standards for service, features and privacy negatively impact the genuine article.", but I am digressing...)

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