Monthly Archives: December 2008

The day I met Ken Kovash

Today I’d like to share a very personal story that I hold dearly to my heart. It’s one of those mind-blowing moments that in an instant changes everything for the better and makes you wonder if there isn’t a great purpose of life after all. Indeed, I’m talking about the day I first met Ken Kovash.

I remember it as if it were yesterday; I was at this party and had already had the first beer of the evening. While contemplating ordering another beer, I thought to myself: “great success!” But little did I know that I was about to experience something that would forever change my definition of Great Success. The evening had hardly even started.

As I was happily walking back to my table with a second beer in my hand after ending a brief conversation with an acquaintance at the bar, it suddenly just happened. There he was, Ken Kovash, standing by himself in a corner, looking at people around him almost as if he was monitoring them. It was surreal; I was there at the same party as Ken Kovash! Few people there seemed to realize that they were being mentally herded like cattle by this mysterious man; they were merely chatting about the elementary things in life,  as if they were completely unaware of their ongoing Near-Ken-Kovash experience. Were they just programmed to be ignorant? Was this all just a dream?

The seconds that followed are somewhat blurry to me, but I will never forget the feeling that struck me when he suddenly looked my way. Yes, Ken Kovash was looking straight at me! My legs were shaking. I felt just like, I imagine, a confused hare standing on a railroad track in the middle of a dark, cold night — paralyzed, powerless, frightened — blindly staring into the headlights of the rapidly approaching freight train that in this grand metaphor was Ken Kovash. The way he looked at me, it was as if he was silently calculating and estimating every measurable property — my age, my salary, perhaps even the time I had left to live. But just like you could imagine, he did it in a good way, as if he was looking after me. He gave me a brief (0.70 x 10-9 seconds long, the transition time between the two lowest states of the hydrogen atom) smile as I walked up to him, and the rest is history.

Ken and me. Notice how happy and thankful I am over this incredible opportunity; I knew I wasn’t worthy.

Everything in my life changed after this. I shared some of my love for Ken in a blog post last year that became the start of the Ken Kovash Day. I feel so much stronger, happier, and prouder than ever before. It is truly one of those magical moments that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Today is Ken Kovash Day 2008. Join the movement, go to KenKovash.com and share your excitement!

The many faces of John Slater

What would Mozilla be without John Slater? Well, suffice to say it would be a much less exciting place. Let’s face it: John Slater is a creative genius. I know, I’ve said it before, but looking back at 2008, it sure seems worth repeating. I’m talking about the man that brought us invaluable things like the shiny robot, the immaculate mozilla.com redesign, and numerous October 2008 projects.

But wait — there’s more. The following photos show that his personality is as multifaceted as the creative work he spits out for the good of the open web:

John Slater is the only survivor, and he washes up on a tiny island with nothing but some flotsam and jetsam from the aircraft’s cargo. Can he survive in this tropical wasteland? Will he ever return to the woman he loves?

Karma is a funny thing. Just ask John Slater, who’s learning the hard way that when you do something bad, it has a way of coming back and biting you in the ass.

John Slater with one of his many custom-made Gibson Explorer-style guitars.

John Slater, navigating through exciting new worlds with new enemies, power-ups, and attack skills, as he collects the Stars needed to save Princess Peach!

Just think for a few minutes about what John Slater could have in store for us in 2009  — it does make you humble, doesn’t it? Really, only the imagination is the limit… and we all know what that means in John Slater’s case!

For other uses of John Slater, see John Slater (disambiguation).

Thunderbird 3 – Bringing sexy back!

For various reasons (the main reason being pretty bad experiences with the Thunderbird development builds in the past), it’s been almost a year since I tried the nightly builds of Thunderbird. Today, however, is a new day, and I was pleasantly surprised when I decided to give what will eventually become Thunderbird 3 another go.

I like what I see so far! The most obvious change is the addition of a tab bar, which on first thought might seem like a pointless concept in a mail application. However, when thinking more about how e-mail works (and just about any other form of communication for that matter), you realize that it’s very much and constant exchange of information back and forth. Incidentally, tabs are about exactly that.

I often find myself switching between reading an old e-mail and composing a response, and having those as two tabs would be much more convenient than switching windows (which is always a hassle on the Mac if both windows belong to the same app). Right now it doesn’t look like it’s possible to get the compose window in a tab, but let’s hope that will come in the future.

I’m also hoping that a double click on an e-mail would open in a new tab rather than a window. Or how about dragging an e-mail to the tab strip!

There is some UI redundancy that I’m guessing is still being thought out. For example, when you select an e-mail you see two Reply buttons; one in the main toolbar with an easily recognizable icon, and another text-only button in the preview pane. The latter feels more contextual, but it makes the traditional icon feel redundant.

Shredder –- using the retro looking icon made by Jason Kersey.

The development builds of Thunderbird 3 go under the not exactly reassuring name “Shredder” and can be downloaded from mozilla.org — obviously at your own risk; be sure to back up your mail first. Overall, I’m really excited to see that things are moving forward with Thunderbird Shredder and I’ll definitely stay on the trunk from now on (or at least until it actually lives up to its temporary name).

Visualizing your thoughts as art

Jane sent an e-mail about a word cloud generator that can take something like a web page or a block of text as input and automatically generate a beautiful word cloud. I’m currently working with Laura on the SUMO development roadmap for 2009, based on the Vision for SUMO blog series I posted back in September. Here’s an artistic view of the work in progress:

Expect to read more about our plans for 2009 shortly on the SUMO Blog.

We shalln't see the days so short any more

FireSweden is a very dark place in December, even here in Eskilstuna (although this is nothing compared to how it is in Kiruna right now). You can really feel it when you go up in the mornings; even at 10 am, there light is dim and you need to turn on the lights inside and drink an extra cup of warm coffee in order to wake up.

Today, December 2, is exactly 18 days before the winter solstice occurs; a day I’m always looking forward to during this time of the year. Because on December 20, I can finally, once again, say: “Nu går vi mot ljusare tider!”

Or as Patrick Finch‘s great grandmother used to say:

We shalln’t see the days so short any more.