managing photos and videos

This holiday, I finally spent time digging into how I manage photos and videos. With 2 young kids and some remote family and friends, this requires a good bit of thinking and planning. I know I’m not the only one, so I figured documenting where I landed might be useful to others. I started with Dave Liggat’s Robust Photo Workflow, and found much of it resonates with my needs. Here’s where I landed: I take photos with a DSLR and two phones. My wife takes photos with her phone. We both take videos with our phones. We use Dropbox/Carousel auto-upload, which works … Continue reading managing photos and videos

Power & Accountability

So there’s this hot new app called Secret. The app is really clever: it prompts you to share secrets, and it sends those secrets to your social circle. It doesn’t identify you directly to your friends. Instead, it tells readers that this secret was written by one of their friends without identifying which one. The popularity of the app appears to be off the charts, with significant venture-capital investment in a short period of time. There are amazing stories of people seeking out emotional support on Secret, and awful stories of bullying that have caused significant uproar. Secret has recently … Continue reading Power & Accountability

getting web sites to adopt a new identity system

My team at Mozilla works on Persona, an easy and secure web login solution. Persona delivers to web sites and apps just the right information for a meaningful login: an email address of the user’s choice. Persona is one of Mozilla’s first forays “up the stack” into web services. Typically, at Mozilla, we improve the Web by way of Firefox, our major lever with hundreds of millions of users. Take asm.js, Firefox’s new awesome JavaScript optimization technology which lets you run 60-frame-per-seconds games in your web browser. It’s such a great thing that Chrome is fast-following. Of course, Chrome also … Continue reading getting web sites to adopt a new identity system

Firefox is the unlocked browser

Anil Dash is a man after my own heart in his latest post, The Case for User Agent Extremism. Please go read this awesome post: One of my favorite aspects of the infrastructure of the web is that the way we refer to web browsers in a technical context: User Agents. Divorced from its geeky context, the simple phrase seems to be laden with social, even political, implications. The idea captured in the phrase “user agent” is a powerful one, that this software we run on our computers or our phones acts with agency on behalf of us as users, … Continue reading Firefox is the unlocked browser

the Web is the Platform, and the User is the User

Mid-2007, I wrote two blog posts — get over it, the web is the platform and the web is the platform [part 2] that turned out to be quite right on one front, and so incredibly wrong on another. Let’s start with where I was right: Apps will be written using HTML and JavaScript. […] The Web is the Platform. The Web is the Platform. It’s going to start to sink in fast. […] Imagine if there’s a way to have your web application say: “please go pick a contact from your address book, then post that contact’s information back … Continue reading the Web is the Platform, and the User is the User

connect on your terms

I want to talk about what we, the Identity Team at Mozilla, are working on. Mozilla makes Firefox, the 2nd most popular browser in the world, and the only major browser built by a non-profit. Mozilla’s mission is to build a better Web that answers to no one but you, the user. It’s hard to overstate how important this is in 2012, when the Web answers less and less to individual users, more and more to powerful data silos whose interests are not always aligned with those of users. To fulfill the Mozilla mission, the browser remains critical, but is … Continue reading connect on your terms

cookies don’t track people. people track people.

The news shows are in a tizzy: Google violated your privacy again [CBS, CNN] by circumventing Safari’s built-in tracking protection mechanism. It’s great to see a renewed public focus on privacy, but, in this case, I think this is the wrong problem to focus on and the wrong message to send. what happened exactly (Want a more detailed technical explanation? Read Jonathan Mayer’s post. He’s the guy who discovered the shenanigans in question.) Cookies are bits of data with which web sites tag users, so that when users return, the site can recognize them and provide continuity of service. This … Continue reading cookies don’t track people. people track people.

a simpler, webbier approach to Web Intents (or Activities)

A few months ago, Mike Hanson and I started meeting with James, Paul, Greg, and others on the Google Chrome team. We had a common goal: how might web developers build applications that talk to each other in a way that the user, not the site, decides which application to use? For example, how might a major news site provide a “share” button that connects to the user’s preferred sharing mechanism? Not everyone uses the same top-three social networks, yet users are constantly forced to search for their preferred service within a set of publisher-chosen buttons. That leads to undue … Continue reading a simpler, webbier approach to Web Intents (or Activities)

encryption is (mostly) not magic

A few months ago, Sony’s Playstation Network got hacked. Millions of accounts were breached, leaking physical addresses and passwords. Sony admitted that their data was “not encrypted.” Around the same time, researchers discovered that Dropbox stores user files “unencrypted.” Dozens (hundreds?) closed their accounts in protest. They’re my confidential files, they cried, why couldn’t you at least encrypt them? Many, including some quite tech-savvy folks, were quick to indicate that it would have been so easy to encrypt the data. Not encrypting the data proved Sony and Dropbox’s incompetence, they said. In my opinion, it’s not quite that simple. Encryption … Continue reading encryption is (mostly) not magic

BrowserID and me

A few weeks ago, I became Tech Lead on Identity and User Data at Mozilla. This is an awesome and challenging responsibility, and I’ve been busy. When I took on this new responsibility, BrowserID was already well under way, so we were able to launch it in my second week on the project (early July). It’s been a very fun ride. Here’s the BrowserID demo at the Mozilla All-Hands last week: Given my prior work on email-based authentication (EmID, Lightweight Email Signatures, BeamAuth), you might think BrowserID was my brainchild. In fact, it really wasn’t. And, in a testament to … Continue reading BrowserID and me