Live from Mozilla: A Brief History of (and .org)

Reporting today on location in sunny Mountain View, California and the lovely Mozilla headquarters.

A Brief History of (and .org)

I’m doing a talk in the Mozilla lounge about the history of the mozilla websites called A Brief History (and .org) today (April 12, 2011) at 12:30PM Pacific time (4:30pm Atlantic time for those back home on Prince Edward Island). The talk will be streamed live from the Air Mozilla website. Come watch.

The slides for the presentation are available in a few different formats. The video will also be archived – I’ll update this post with links when the video is available.

A Brief History (and .org)

Update: Video of the talk is now available download or watch directly (if you have Firefox 4+ or Chrome): A Brief History (and .org) – 14Mb Ogg Theora file (35 min). The lighting in the video favours the slides, so you can’t really see me. Just picture someone handsome and dynamic in the dark to the left of the slides.

You can also download the slides in Impress format, PowerPoint format, or as a PDF.


Music for Your Winter

I’ve a few musical recommendations for your December – though not Christmas music.

After hearing the single, “Be A Man” on CBC Radio2, I’ve been enjoying Justin Rutledge’s album, “The Early Widows” (available DRM-free from Zunior). Turns out it was also produced by Hawksley Workman.

More recently, I discovered that some of the remnants of the band Pure were back together on a new project. Pure’s 1994 album Generation Six-Pack is a favourite (available on cassette from Amazon for $0.98). I recall the 1994 departure of keyboardist Mark Henning explained due to the keyboards becoming irrelevant in an increasingly guitar-driven sound (and I do love those guitars).

Henning is partnered up with Pure vocalist Jordy Birch on a new keyboard-driven project called Guilty About Girls. Their album The Very Best Of… is available DRM-free from their own site and can be streamed for free.

Oh, and if you are looking for Christmas music, Acts of Volition Radio Christmas from 2004 pretty much covers the state of the art. One update would include Sarah McLauchlan’s Wintersong. It includes an excellent cover of the Joni Mitchell classic, River.


Space Pop

Fact: there is a Canadian-made Larrivee guitar on the International Space Station.


How the Venue Shapes Music

In David Byrne’s talk at the TED Conference, “How architecture helped music evolve”, he takes a walk though the history of venues and their accompanying influence on musical styles. Apparently birds adapt their music to the venue too.


Mozilla Summit 2010 Group Photo

I am proud, grateful, and generally delighted to be one of the many smiling faces in this photo:

Mozilla Summit 2010 in Whistler BC

Photo by Gen Kanai.


Map of Nuclear Explosions

This animated map of nuclear explosions from 1945 to 1998 is remarkable to watch. Note how France and England both have extensive tests, but none on their own mainland. Watch through to the end to see an overlay of all explosions. Since this animation was compiled, North Korea has conducted two nuclear explosions.

According to an article from Scientific American about the idea of using a nuclear explosion to seal the Gulf of Mexico leak, the Soviet Union regularly used nuclear explosions for domestic projects:

The Soviet program, known as Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy, was launched in 1958. The project saw 124 nuclear explosions for such tasks as digging canals and reservoirs, creating underground storage caverns for natural gas and toxic waste, exploiting oil and gas deposits and sealing gas leaks. It was finally mothballed by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1989.


That Oil Was For Us

While lamenting the state of the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, my wife pointed out that, as consumers of oil, we’re all a party to it. I seemed so obvious that I was embarrassed that it hadn’t occurred to me earlier. Most things in my life – the heat in my home and office, the gas in my car, and the plastics in so many of the good we consume – are all derived from petroleum products.

I don’t know if any of the oil I use (either directly or indirectly) comes from BP, or from the Gulf of Mexico. If anything, though, this lack of knowledge makes my role even worse.

Of course, if rules were broken (or the rules were inadequate), we should do our best to ensure that the same thing doesn’t happen again. Still, we can’t eschew our own role in creating the type of economic and regulatory environment where this type of of disaster can happen. They were drilling that oil for us.


You Don’t Explode in Space

According to NASA, a human (or animal) exposed to the vacuum of space without any protection would not explode, or implode, or boil, or turn into a super-hero. Rather, you’d eventually die from the lack of oxygen. If you get back inside quick enough, you could survive unharmed.

Good to know.


The Debaters

Fellow Zap Your PRAM’er, Patrick Ledwell, was featured on the May 8th episode of The Debaters on CBC Radio One.

When someone you know is on national radio with the intent of being funny, you can’t help but be a bit nervous for them. As my office mates can attest, being funny is hard.

After his opening line, there was no more need for nerves. In the recent parlance of our office, multiple-lolz.


GM’s $1,600/car Health Tax

A recent episode of This American Life uses the story of NUMMI, a joint-venture auto plant between GM and Toyota in 1984, to help tell the larger story of why the American auto industry produced such poor quality cars for so many years.

Though it was peripheral to the main point of the story (how GM failed to learn from Toyota, despite amble opportunity), this quote stood out to me:

“Over the years General Motors negotiated contracts with the UAW with such generous health care coverage that by 2007 it amounted to more than $1,600 for each vehicle GM produced in North America.”

Emphasis mine.