Oct 30

Using FriendFeed for it all, broadcasting to Twitter for the users

Tech with tags: , No Comments »

FriendFeed is marching on. I prefer it to Twitter these days, but of course the users are still mainly on Twitter. The best of both worlds for me is to run FriendFeed as my “client” yet have Twitter users happily following and not knowing or caring that, that is the case.

We may have the pieces to actually do this right now:

Posting to Twitter

FriendFeed added support for posting activities to Twitter for you. People immediately worry about spamming Twitter with this stuff, so you should think about that and turn off a bunch of services. I currently use TwitterFeed, which I will turn off if I use this feature (as FriendFeed will handle that as I turn on my blog service).

Seeing your @replies

FriendFeed is one of the few companies who have access to the XMPP firehose. They should be able to grok the replies (e.g. @dalmaer) and merge those into the comment stream.

In the meantime, DeWitt has a great hack:

I created an imaginary friend on FriendFeed and subscribed it to http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?q=%40dewitt

I did this, registering “To Dion” as the friend. It is ugly as it doesn’t merge into your flow, you can’t easily tell who has replied, and it is one big link… but it is good enough.

Friend / Follower Syncing

The people I follow on FriendFeed and Twitter isn’t in sync, and it should be. I haven’t caught up on FriendFeed. The beauty of the imaginary friends feature is that you can add Twitter folks even if they don’t have FriendFeed accounts yet. Ideally, I could tell FriendFeed to do the syncing and followee management for me.

For now though, I could try this sync script and see if it does the trick.

Good times for FriendFeed. I also think that it shows how great their real-time Web experience it is, auto updating in front of my eyes. If they implement these features natively, I will be a total convert.

Oct 29

Microsoft say Game On; Thoughts on PDC

Microsoft, Tech 12 Comments »

Blue Monster

I have had the pleasure to be at PDC this week and Microsoft put on a great show. As they showed their vision of unification around Windows (cloud, Web, PC, mobile) through great developer tools, there was excitement.

Windows Azure looks great. The “on premise” feature looks particularly intriguing. If they can bridge the data center and the cloud, they have something quite compelling. Enterprises are struggling with the cloud in part. What do you put up there? How do you secure it? How do you tie back? Microsoft is going after that problem.

I am curious about the details. Ray talked about how you get to “leverage your skill set”, and showed mappings between the Windows platform and the Azure one (SQL Server – SQL Services). How similar are they? Surely there are limitations when you are in the cloud (App Engine has restrictions on request timeouts, file sizes, threading, and other APIs). Running unmanaged code? Virtualization is good enough that you can just do that these days huh. Impressive. Again, what are the limitations? You can imagine people deploying platforms if this is Open enough. E.g. platforms that are currently in C, or C#, Ruby (IronRuby), Python, (IronPython), …

Have they got SQL Server so it “just scales”? I noticed that the demos that ChrisAnn and Don Box did with SQL services dealt with XML tuples of data when inserting data, and LINQ to get data out. I am excited to hear more of the details.

In fact, I feel that way about a lot of the things that were released. I want to dive in more. Many of the talks stayed very high level indeed. Ray Ozzie was a good speaker, but spent a long time talking about the history of computing to put things in context. I get it, they have to do that for the press etc. They are setting a tone of “this is where we are coming from, this is where we are going.” For developers though, I wish for once someone here, or at JavaOne, or at MAX, (whatever) would stand up and say “Ok, let’s build some amazing things in front of you and show you what we have done with our tools and platforms.”

Don and Chris do that in their talks and people love it. They were on form as always this time around, although I wish that instead of showing AtomPub, they showed us Oslo, M, etc. I know that Douglas talked on that later, but I would have loved to have had that content in the Don/Chris show. I enjoyed it, but when it was done I thought “wait, did I just sit here for an hour watching manual HTTP?” Don’t get me wrong, showing the path from local development, to running on your on premise server, to the cloud is compelling, but I wanted more :)

Game On

Everything that was announced we pretty much knew was happening. From the cloud, to the Web (Silverlight 2 / IE 8), and beyond. But, even though we knew about this, I don’t know if we thought they were this far along. Microsoft is executing. This show set the stage “this is where we are going, and look how far we have come.”

The Office on the Web demo showed that. Works in all browsers, with enhanced Silverlight support. Very nice indeed. What a wake up call to the rest of the Web?

And, what about tools. The WPF version of Visual Studio 10 looked fantastic. Having a plugin model that makes it so easy to interact with the editor looked snazzy and useful indeed. I have long wanted to separate the source code from the visualization of that same code. The source code in the repository can have curly braces on separate lines, but I will see function() {. In my world, comments in the style of “<author>Dion Almaer</author>” will get converted to “Author: Dion Almaer” and made small.

Blue Pill

If you are a Microsoft developer you are probably very happy at Ray Ozzie’s coming out party. Others on the fence may be interested. For those of us who worry about handing Microsoft control of the browser, plugins to other browsers, the cloud, the server model, and more…. I won’t lie to you. I am cautiously observing. Silverlight adoption worries me.

We can’t fight Microsoft with “don’t choose them, remember what they did to you before?” Fear is lame. Instead, this is a wake up call to Adobe, Google, Yahoo!, Amazon, IBM, Sun, [insert other developer / platform players] to get kicking.

We can’t just be Open, we have to be better!

Oct 28

The Ajax Revolution: From UI responsiveness to functionality and beyond

Ajax, Tech 4 Comments »

In recent presentations, Ben and I have been taking a look back on the rise of Ajax (where Ajax == popularity of dhtml :). At its core, I think it all comes down to UI responsiveness.

When you look at the killer apps such as Google Suggest and Maps, they broke through a set of myths on the Web.

Latency is the killer issue on the Web

We are used to autocomplete in fields and forms these days. However, if you think back to when Google Suggest came out, if someone had asked you whether it was a good idea to do a background request on each key press you may think they were insane. The beauty of suggest is that it broke through and gave great performance. You could do this on the Web.

Rich interactions are not possible on the Web

Again, we are used to applications that allow us to interact with data in a better way. With Google Maps, you feel like you are moving around the map. You are interacting closely with the data. Before hand, we were used to a static view that had us clicking up/down/left/right or zooming around. Every click responds with a wait and a repaint of the entire screen.

This seems crazy. No application framework would ever do a refresh like this, and dhtml broke us out of that box.

This is all pretty obvious, especially when you take a look back at the HCI research on how anything that takes more than a second drives your users batty (and gets them out of the zone). Getting down to 0.1 seconds and your users will feel like they are at one with the app :)

The responsiveness that Ajax gave us opened up the Web for truly useful applications that users could live in without getting frustrated. This bridged us from pages to apps.

We continue to see movement here too. The reason that WorkerPool was added to Gears (Web Workers in the standard) was to give developers the ability to send “work” (run code) to a place that isn’t on the UI thread, which is a big no-no for building any kind of responsive application. As we write bigger and bigger Ajax applications, we end up running more code, which competes more with the browser. Having Web Workers in the browsers natively, and available to those that don’t via Gears, allows us to build compelling applications.

Add to this fast JavaScript (SquirrelFish Extreme, TraceMonkey, V8), and we can get to a happy place with respect to performance.

So, if the original Ajax revolution was about UI responsiveness, where do we go from here?

I think that we have a few directions that we need to go in:


We need to be more productive. We all feel a lot of pain with Web development, even as we get a lot of benefit from the reach and openness. This is pain is the reason that Ben and I are working under a developer tools umbrella at Mozilla. We want to work with the community to become more productive. It is extremely important to do so.

It shouldn’t be hard to put together the hundreds of applications that the Enterprise and beyond spend too much time and money on every day.

We shouldn’t have to fight the browsers to get things working as much as we do today.

Any ideas on what would help you? We are all ears.

Compelling applications

We have spent a lot of time in the weeds talking about the engine of the car. We jump on a point release of some framework, and argue about the minutia of framework differences.

Maybe it is time to pop our heads up a little and think about how we can build compelling, feature rich applications.

The browser is extending to the desktop more, to give you nice full experiences. The real-time Web is kicking off, and Comet will become a big part of how we develop many applications in the future. It needs to be as natural to us as the simple request/response world that we are used too.

UI latency is only one piece of user experience. There are many others. HTML 5 gives us richer components and semantics to work with. We have been working on different UI paradigms such as the Form History pattern that we have discussed before. Aza Raskin and others have been doing really good work on new paradigms too.

Personally, I think that new input devices are going to create a huge change for us, and the abilities of Web applications. We played with the WiiMote as an input device. We then have multi-touch, which is available on touch pad devices as well as touch screens. Finally! We are moving past the prehistoric inputs where we can point and say “Ug”.

I am incredibly excited about where we are, and where we are going. There is a ton of work to do, but people feel engaged. Let’s “get ‘er done”.

Where do you think we are going?

This presentation goes over some of these points, in more detail:

Oct 27

A new experiment cleaning up house as I move to a new Mac

Apple, Tech No Comments »

I had the same machine for a couple of machines, and with the most recent move to a newer Macbook Pro, I decided to take a leaf out of the smart movers guide. I am sure you have heard of the simple spring cleaning opportunity when you move house. The system is simple. When you get to the new house, keep non essentials in boxes. If six months or a year later you aren’t using items, then you don’t need them and you can go ahead and sell / donate away.

I have a large list of Apple software that I have kept on Tada-list for a long time.

It started as a “what I run” kind of list, and then it morphed a little. There are more than a few applications that are duplicative in functionality, so I often only have one of them installed.

With Leopard, a lot of the applications aren’t needed. Virtue Desktops? Not so much (even though I am still frustrated by Spaces from time to time!)

Anyway, with the new machine, I am not doing what I normally do; go through the list and install the apps that I have on my old machine. Instead, I am installing on a “need to use” basis. After a few weeks I have been surprised at how little I need some of the applications. We will see if that changes when I get back into more serious work :)


I ran into Joe Hewitt at a local coffee shop in Palo Alto (the beauty of living here…. I get to run into people of the caliber of Joe :) and at some point we talked about Textmate, and how it is surprising that we haven’t seen 2.0. I seem to remember thinking that it would launch pretty close to Leopard itself, so I wonder what is happening. It must have some pretty amazing Core Animations in it by now ;)

Michael Cote also just put up some Mac Tips which has some nice applications for you to install and try…. but only if you need to use them ;)

Oct 27

One-Legged Pants and One Big Slipper

British, Personal 3 Comments »

I just saw the ridiculous one legged pants:

One Legged Pants

This reminded me of The Big Slipper that Billy Connolly talked about in An Audience with Billy Connolly:

Have you seen the Big Slipper? I think these adverts are for people, who… that are in a section of the community, who don’t go anyplace. Who watch the telly all the time. You know, well, I suppose your trenchcoat, you can watch telly in your trenchcoat, if you like. It’s one big slipper, and you put your two feet in it, and you watch television. In your slipper. And each in the family can have a slipper each. I was always gonna buy two. I was gonna buy a pair, and leave them in the fireplace. When I’m going out at night, in case a burglar comes in. “my god, who lives here!” You can cheer the world up, by doing things like that.

Then Karl Pilkington showed his true intelect with talk on the same subject on the Ricky Gervais podcast:

Oct 26

How trickle down economics is bogus, and why it matters in this election

Personal, Politics 5 Comments »

I got a thoughtful response to my last post from a friend that always has some wise words (and has watched this stuff for a lot longer than myself). It was so clear, that I just have to post it:

I share the anxious, apprehensive mood. This country is dying for lack of everything Obama represents. He is hope. He is community and cooperation. He is logic and reasoning and compassion. I just hope the fix is not already in…

Some of what needs to be done is so obvious:

The current Republicans in power can’t stand a strong middle class because it leads to social demands (equalitly, human rights, consumer protection, etc.). But the economic reality is undeniable: if you own a business and somebody gives you money you are not going to use it to hire people, because there is no business case for it—what would those people do?

If, on the other hand, money in the hands of the middle class is increased, they will buy more, which drives up demand. As soon as your business has more sales than it can produce you WILL hire people, because it makes perfect business sense.

Bill Clinton knew this (because he was smart enough to listen to smart people) and he goosed the economy into vigorous growth. He also knew that low national debt leads to a strong dollar and a healthy environment for investing.

At the same time, the campaign people are folks in general are already bailing and starting to point fingers, highlighted in Palin’s ‘going rogue,’ McCain aide says.

This is happening already? Before the election? Most of it doesn’t seem to matter much though, as the election seems to have little to do with McCain and is basically a referendum on Obama.

The ballot may as well say:

Barack Obama? Yes, or No.

My favourite ads are the ones where Barack just talks to us. Like this one. It is all positive, not like the negative crap that I am watching on TV right now.

And then, the Wassup folks (remember those Bud ads? did an amazing video:

A few people have contacted me talking up Reagan and how trickle down worked great for him. Yet, Howard Zinn paints the picture in “A People’s History of the United States” (a book I think every American should read):

While he built up the military (allocations of over a trillion dollars in his first four years in office), Reagan tried to pay for this with cuts in benefits for the poor. There would be $140 billion of cuts in social programs through 1984 and an increase of $181 billion for “defense” in the same period. He also proposed tax cuts of $190 billion (most of this going to the wealthy).

Despite the tax cuts and the military appropriations, Reagan insisted he would still balance the budget because the tax cuts would so stimulate the economy as to generate new revenue. Nobel Prize-winning economist Wassily Leontied remarked dryly: “This is not likely to happen. In fact, I personally guarantee that it will not happen.”

Indeed, Department of Commerce figures showed that periods of lowered corporate taxes (1973-1975, 1979-1981) did not at all show higher capital investment, but a steep drop. The sharpest rise of capital investment (1975-1979) took place when corporate taxes were slightly higher than they had been the preceding five years.

He goes on to discuss the “human consequences” of Reagan’s budget cuts, and they are “deep.” Unemployment grew in his years. People lost health insurance. Oh, and he cut 90% of renewable energy funding. Can a President step up here?

Oct 25

The end is nigh; Trying to look at all angles and always concluding that Obama needs to win

Personal, Politics 2 Comments »

I apologize for another political post. My mind is very much on the election at the moment, and tech stuff will come back to the fore in a couple of weeks.

I am a schizophrenic at the moment. I am thinking a lot about the election and can’t wait to get this campaign over. I am cautiously optimistic, but wouldn’t be at all surprised at being disappointed.

The schizo part comes from me mentally jumping between “are you frigging kidding me? How isn’t this the biggest no-brainer in the world” and “Ok, let’s try to think about how other people could see this.”

I think about how people see things in the extreme.


  • Extreme For: The golden child Harvard genius who will solve all of our problems
  • Extreme Against: Not a US citizen baby killer who will change the country to a communist state


  • Extreme For: Hero that will bring in a bright new day for the Republicans and save us from communism
  • Extreme Against: George Bush the 3rd, with all of the same henchmen

What if you look at the middle ground though? I don’t think that Obama will be able to fix the country in six mouths. I don’t think he does either! Getting in will be a massive burden, beyond belief. This could be the end of the US empire as we know it, so getting power now will be a hard time indeed. On the other hand though, what if he did change things? If Obama is able to change the direction and bring back a 21st century prosperous country we will have to get the chisels out and make room for his bust on Mount Rushmore. What an opportunity! (that goes for whoever the next POTUS is.)

If Obama gets in, he will have massive expectations. Since he won’t be able to wave a magic wand and fix the economy, get out of Iraq, and change all that is bad in a week, he will have to look to other things.

There are many low hanging fruit that would get the message across to the people. In his 2004 speech he famously said that we aren’t a red America or a blue America, but rather the United States of America. He can do a lot of work on making good on that, and uniting the country. He can reach back to 9/11 and do some of what could have been done then. Taking the bad situation that we were in, and making good out of it.

He can be a new kind of leader. Government needs to be more transparent, so what if he makes good on his thoughts there? What if we see him on a weekly basis answering questions from the press and the people (prime minister question time baybee). Bush refuses to talk to anyone. What if he used Twitter and Facebook and the like to truly enhance political exchange, and talk to people about his thoughts. Imagine a world when a new bill was on the table, and we got to see truly what it was about, what the positions were (without CSPAN), and reasons why the president signed or veto’d.

Anyway, back to the median. What if Obama isn’t a liberal pinko, but rather slightly to the left and will actually work hard to do the right thing.

What is McCain doesn’t hire all of Bushes people, but rather does fight for change himself and manages to reach over the aisle a little.

Even in these worlds, Obama seems so much more compelling. With Obama winning the election, I believe the entire world will have a sigh of relieve, if not outright jubilation. Finally, those Americans we love are back. They get it. They realized they are on the wrong track, and they will have an amazingly smart candidate sworn in. Someone for the new generation. Someone to truly change the game. And, let’s say it, a black man. That will say SO much for this country.

On the contrary, if McCain wins, you will get “see, they still don’t get it.”

I was just forwarded something that focused on “What if there was no racism?” The race card can not be overlooked, and I wonder if it would be a landslide if a candidate as great as Obama was white. This is what it said (NOTE: obviously biased):

What if the Obamas had paraded five children across the stage, including a three month old infant and an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter?

What if John McCain was a former president of the Harvard Law Review?

What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if McCain had only married once, and Obama was a divorcee?

What if Obama was the candidate who left his first wife after a severe disfiguring car accident?

What if Obama had met his second wife in a bar and had a long affair while he was still married?

What if Michelle Obama was the wife who not only became addicted to painkillers but also acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?

What if Cindy McCain had graduated from Harvard?

What if Obama had been a member of the Keating Five? (The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Saving and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s.)

What if McCain was a more charismatic, eloquent speaker than Obama?

What if Obama was the one who had military experience that included discipline problems and a record of crashing seven planes?

What if Obama was the one who was known to display publicly, on many occasions, a serious anger management problem?

What if Michelle Obama’s family had made their fortune from beer distribution?

What if the Obamas had adopted a white child?

You could easily add to this list. If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?

This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.

Even disregarding the colour issue. It flips me back too… how is this even close! McCain has been dealt an incredibly back deck of cards. 8 of the worst years in the history of the US (where he matched the president 90%+ of the time), and the guy is ancient.

And then the education:

Barack Obama:

  • Columbia University – B.A. Political Science with a Specialization in International Relations.
  • Harvard – Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

Joseph Biden:

  • University of Delaware – B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science.
  • Syracuse University College of Law – Juris Doctor (J.D.)


John McCain: United States Naval Academy – Class rank: 894 of 899

Sarah Palin:

  • Hawaii Pacific University – 1 semester
  • North Idaho College – 2 semesters – general study
  • University of Idaho – 2 semesters – journalism
  • Matanuska-Susitna College – 1 semester
  • University of Idaho – 3 semesters – B.A. in Journalism

I mean, come on. We have just gone threw the pain of having a commander in chief who had a silver spoon that got him threw life with poor grades and the rest of it. How can people fall for that again? Intelligence does not equal “elitism”

If Obama pulls this off, I will be partying on the 5th, and then looking forward to seeing a very different America. One where we all get stuck in and stop arguing about silly things in a campaign, but we are elbow deep solving the problems and making the World a better place.

Oct 16

Education: Vouchers is throwing money? Early childhood education

Personal, Politics with tags: 3 Comments »

The last question in the debate yesterday was the one that I was very interested to hear about. My wife is a teacher by trade, and has a masters in education, so I get to hear a lot about it :)

What I heard from the candidates was this:


He talked about the importance of education, and how this pays it forward for everything, from economy to national security. He discussed early childhood education and how important it is. Emily say a lot of data on this and was jumping up and down :)


McCain on the other hand talked about vouchers (which is exactly throwing money at the problem even though he said that isn’t the solution!) which I am totally against.

And then he focused on gimics. Teach for America? Troops to Teach? The kicker here is that he talked how troops should NOT have to take any “exams” and should be able to start teaching when they come back. Are you freaking kidding me? “Oh, you were in the forces? You must be a fantastic teacher! Come and teach our kids!”

Of course, there will be some fantastic teachers that come through T4A and the armed forces, but with nothing in place to support them we are destined for a lot of failure. The idea that you can take someone “smart” and throw them into a class room after a few months of “training” is nuts. Educating is tough, and is a science. We need to go the other way and really support teachers and incent them in a variety of ways.

There is so much that can be done here. I know that the economy if on the forefront of the brain, but this is huge if you want to bet long on the US. The world is changing.

Oct 15

The next big language; Theory, practice, and the killer app

Tech 20 Comments »

Ruby, and Rails was so 2005, at least for some :)

People are on the look out for the next big thing, and the alphadevs are all sniffing around the Functional. Scala, Haskell, OCaml, Erlang, ML, F#, Fortree, Lisp, Clojure, it keeps on going.

Is one of this crowd going to make a break for it?

Stuart Halloway has the knack of being ahead of the curve. He has been getting into Clojure, so much so that he is writing / porting a lot of work to it.

Bruce Tate likes it too, saying:

Functional programming that’s optimized for concurrency like Erlang, fast and type safe like ML, allows persistent data structures like OO, but with immutability.

For more, Stu shared some talks given by the Clojure creator Rich Hickey.

Stu has also been thinking about the next thing in the abstract too, as has Mr Polyglot Ola Bini.

Ola does a good job at splitting up some ideas:

  • Better implementation techniques. V8 is an example of this, and so is Hotspot. V8 employs new techniques to drive innovation further, while Hotspot’s engineers continuously adds both old and new techniques to their tool box.
  • DSLs. The focus by some people on domain specific languages seem to be part of the larger focus on languages as an important tool.
  • Functional semantics. Erik Meijers keynote was the largest push in this direction, although many languages keep adding features that make it easier to work in a functional style. Clojure is one of the new languages that come from this point, and so is Scala. The focus on concurrency generally lead people to the conclusion that a more functional style is necessary. From the concurrency aspect we get the recent focus on Erlang. Fortress also seems to be mostly in this category.
  • Static typing. Scala and Haskell are probably the most representative of this approach, in trying to stretch static typing as far as possible to improve both the programmer experience, semantics and performance.

It feels like we are very much living in the land of theory these days. It is easy for us to play though. Many of the languages are on the JVM, so if you are a Java chap who doesn’t fancy the language quite so much these days, you can still play relatively nice.

The theorists wax about how we need to get back to proofs as the only way to scale in two ways: maintainability of a large code base, and for scalable performance (make life easy for MapReduce).

In my gut, I get it. Part of me wants to spend a bunch of time playing with all of these languages.

However, the other side of the brain is cautious. I used to use a little Perl Web framework that I wrote back in the day. I would tweak it for my needs, and knew every line of code. As other developers joined the company, they would extend it for our general desires too. If I had never jumped over to Java (and the many frameworks) and then even Rails, would I REALLY not be more productive?

There has to be a real reason to jump onto something else. I then take Ajax into consideration, and the fact that I spend more and more time thinking about my JavaScript architecture for an application. The balance between server side code and client side ebbs and flows, and feels like an art to get right. Too heavy on the client, and then the server is just a dumb store that doesn’t even do secure validation. If you go the other way, and the server is doing way more than it needs too.

JavaScript is here to stay (at least for a good while). It has closures. With 3.1 and then really Harmony, it is going to get even nicer. But, even today, I actually quite like it, mainly thanks to the libraries that have made working with the DOM and browsers bearable.

Maybe server-side JavaScript is the answer, so you can stay in one world back to front (well, and of course HTML, and SQL, and …). Jaxer is doing a good job there. I am very closely watching to see if the community goes for it.

Web scale could cause a few changes, and Comet / messaging (one reason why Erlang is doing quite well), but even there you can get a LONG way with current technology, especially as they get their act together (e.g. Servlet spec update to codify the great work in Jetty).

Is there going to be a killer app out there in the near term for one of these languages? Will a Rails show up for Clojure? Regardless, I am going to enjoy watching Stu write and talk about it, as I always learn something from him :)

Oct 13

Joining Mozilla to create new developer tools for the Web; Hoping to create a new chapter in the book of Mozilla

Google, Mozila, Tech 35 Comments »

I just announced that Ben and I are joining Mozilla. Alongside Ben, I will be leading a brand spanking new developer tools group.

To say that I am excited is a huge understatement. Ben and I have been talking about developer tools from the first day that we met on the No Fluff tour. For a very brief period I consulted together with him, and got to start on a vision for a productive Java stack. When consulting, I always saw huge productivity problems, and wanted to think of ways to solve them. Tools are one way to go, and the developer tools group at Mozilla is going to be different. We aren’t narrowly going to look at a way to build Eclipse plugins for example. Rather, we want to take a step back and see how we can help Web developers build compelling software with great user experiences in a productive way. We don’t want to think “we need VB on the Web.” We want something more.

I said a lot of this in the announcement post:

Mozilla is placing a big bet, not only on us, but in the developer tools space.

Why are we doing this? Ben and I are passionate about a couple of things: compelling software and developers. In various roles in the past, we have built tools that attempt to make developers productive. We are huge advocates for the Open Web, yet we feel that tools are lacking on our collective platform. We want to help make a difference.

As we ramp up this new group, we will be looking at the problem and seeing where it makes sense to step in. We are going to be experimenting, and thinking about how to make developers lives better in different ways, so we aren’t expecting to see traditional tools come out of this group. Also, we don’t want to do this alone. We want to involve the entire community which is one reason that we are so excited to kick off this work at Mozilla. We believe that we have a unique opportunity to put developers first. We can build these tools in the open, with total transparency; the Mozilla way.

We respect the work being done by other vendors, and very much want to work together. We can’t wait to reach out early-on in the process, involving companies that believe in the Open Web like we do. Together we can drastically improve productivity, allowing developers to build compelling user experiences.

We are just getting started. As soon as we come up with some ideas, we will be sharing then with you and asking for community participation in various forms. You, the Ajaxian community, have been phenomenal over the years, and we can’t wait to do more together.

We also included a personal message:

There are a lot of personal issues here too. I strongly feel that my best work has been done when working with Ben. He has been an inspiration, as well as a great friend, and we have long wanted to work together. It is nuts that our paths haven’t brought us together in a full time capacity in the past. I can’t wait to get started with him now. I learnt from my Dad that you should have fun at work. Part of that is being around people you truly like, working on something you feel is important, and being able to excel. I think that I will get an abundance of that.

I am also very proud to be join Mozilla, the non-profit Foundation stands for what I believe in. Being someone who thrives on Open and transparent, how great and freeing will it be to develop all of this in the Open, being directly part of the community. At any company there are things that you strategically can and can’t talk about. At Mozilla on the other hand, everything is out there for all to see. That fits me to a tee! I have also long admired the talent that lives at the company and I look forward to working together.

What about Google though? Some people will think I am crazy for leaving the fastest growing company in history! :)

I have been running an Open Web advocacy group, and Google is definitely on the right track. You could argue that it is easy for it to be, since it is dependent on an Open Web. Also, it doesn’t need to come up with a business model. That is all true, but it is still pretty amazing to see exactly how much engineering is given away, or I should say shared with the community, through Open Source and APIs.

Being on the inside you get to really see what the company is all about. People have their views on Google, and any large company. Some talk of Big Brother and the like. Of course, the reality is that a company isn’t one being. It is a large group of people with varied ideas. These employees really hold the company to a high standard, as I have talked about before. I will continue to hold Google to those standards from the outside. How many companies would make a stand on Proposition 8? Google is special.

In the time that I have worked there, it sure has changed as it has grown too. How can you grow that fast and not have big changes? I have moved offices 9 times for example :) There are some things that have irritated me, and that I have wanted to change. The hiring process is one of them! However, recently, I found peace with a lot of the issues. I realized that without them, Google wouldn’t be Google. The last thing it needs to become is “just another company.” I hope it continues being as different as it can as it scales and brings in more and more outside forces.

I have to laugh when people talk about its future. We just saw the 10 year old birthday of the place, and it has only just begun. You can talk about advertising being a one trick pony, but the scope of advertising is also very young indeed. Just watch Minority Report again, but then think about how it could be done in a useful way.

Then think about the server side processing power that the company has. A handful of companies have that much processing ability which will enable solutions to problems that only they can do a good job coming up with. It is tough for a startup to come along and tackle some of these issues.

As I experienced my last week at Google, and had the tough job of saying good bye to the amazing group of people, I had a thought. It felt like I was leaving one premier league football team for another, and I knew that I would get to play with a bunch of the old team mates when the national games happened.

This is a new world. Google is of the Open Web, just as Mozilla is (and many others of course). This means that I really WILL get to work with old friends there. When in history has that been the case? If you went from factory X to factory Y, that was it. “See ya at the pub lads” was as far as you got.

The notion of company has drastically changed. The people who pay the bills may not be the people you work with all the time. I bet that Ian Hickson works with folks from Apple, Mozilla, and Opera just as much as Google counterparts! The goals that Mozilla and Google have are so aligned, that I think we will naturally continue to work together.

Finally, I am looking forward to a little sabbatical. Whenever I take a new job I am so excited that I jump right in. Then you look back and think “why didn’t I take a bit of time off then?”

This time I hope to help Obama a little on the final stretch, get some personal issues cleaned up, and in general take some time to change my lifestyle.

If you have pain points in development that you wish someone helped you with, please let us know!