Introducing PNGCrushrrr — Drag’n’drop brute force compression for PNG files

PNGCrushrrr icon by David LanhamWell, I’ve gone and done it… I’ve made my first ever OSX app!

(well, ok, I had a little help… thanks termie!)

I’m proud to introduce the stupidly simple
PNGCrushrrr, brute force compression for your PNG files. It literally is pretty dumb, just install the app to your Applications directory (OSX only!), drag it to your dock and drop your PNGs on it. That’s it!

The best part of the whole app is the icon, which was created by the inimitable David Lanham and comes from his awesome Somatic icon set.

Anyway, try it out and let me know how it works for you!

Oh, and I am aware that there’s some stiff competition out there, but I actually had made this script quite awhile ago, intending it to be used in Quicksilver. I’m just releasing it now because I find it so darn useful!

Making it better

WordPress Woodtype WordmarkMatt writes eloquently about the kind of user experience he seeks to create in WordPress and how it leads to a much larger goal:

“We all love software that is a joy to use and elegant to work with. As far as WordPress can become that software to more people, I think we’re doing a good job.

“It’s tough work — it hasn’t been easy and it won’t get any easier. There are proprietary and commercial companies trying to do the same thing, except with millions of dollars and dozens of full-time employees. However they don’t have the community or passion that we have, and I think we can do a better job and make the world a better place in the process. I truly believe this, otherwise I would have given up or sold out long ago.”

That Matt and I share such similar moral aesthetics contributes to how well we get along. Having similar long-term goals also helps. It’s interesting to read Matt’s characterization of the development of WordPress; in spite my dayjob, he makes it sound so epic, I almost can’t but pitch in…

…Which is perhaps the reason I’ll be turning my attention to a new and exciting (as yet unannounced) venture very soon… working directly with Matt and the WordPress community… details as they develop!

Passing the torch

SFX TeamIt’s time for me to move on from the Spread Firefox admin team. I’ve spent the better part of the last two weeks considering this decision, and the time has come. I’ve weighed my interests and where my passion lies with what I can offer the SFX community and my effort is better spent hacking at the systemic problems and challenges in organizing, leveraging and empowering grassroots and open-source communities than in simply spreading Firefox.

I intend to stay involved as a contributor since my next project will be directly beneficial to and influenced by the Mozilla community, but I am no longer interested in the day to day operations of SFX. I simply do not have the same enthusiasm for the project that I had when I volunteered over seven months ago and think that the community would be better served by someone with fresh ideas, new motivation and more time.

The community has and always will mean a great deal to me and the fact that my work has been received so well by so many people gives me a wonderful sense of pride and purpose. I’ve been a volunteer from the beginning and I have great hope that I can channel my experience towards the greater purpose of spreading open source principles and culture beyond the Firefox community and focus my efforts on building tools that empower and encourage individuals.

To be clear, this was wholly my decision motivated by the direction in which the team has been moving lately. When it became clear to me that Spread Firefox was to be 100% about spreading Firefox and less about spreading the open source ideals through lifting up the whole open source community, I knew I had to give serious thought to how to I could continue to be an effective advocate while remaining consistent and authentic with my true hopes and aspirations.

MSN gives you the right to remain silent…

MSN Terms of Use: Spy vs Spy…and anything you submit could be used against you (emphasis added):

For materials you post or otherwise provide to Microsoft related to the MSN Web Sites (a “Submission”), you grant Microsoft permission to (1) use, copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, modify, translate and reformat your Submission, each in connection with the MSN Web Sites, and (2) sublicense these rights, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law. Microsoft will not pay you for your Submission. Microsoft may remove your Submission at any time. For each Submission, you represent that you have all rights necessary for you to make the grants in this section. To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, Microsoft may monitor your e-mail, or other electronic communications and may disclose such information in the event it has a good faith reason to believe it is necessary for purposes of ensuring your compliance with this Agreement, and protecting the rights, property, and interests of the Microsoft Parties or any customer of a Microsoft Party.

Sure, this may be boilerplate legalize at this point, but to think that I very nearly clicked “I accept” without reading it to reactivate my decades-old Hotmail account. Well, I can kiss that account good bye!

Hyperbole, media misinformation and The Blake

Cover of Wired When Wired introduced me to the world as the creator of CivicSpace, I was a bit confounded. This was blatantly inaccurate and what made things worse was that they had even fact-checked that point with me and I’d explained that it was Zack Rosen and not me that had come up with idea. But apparently incorporating such a “minor” detail would have made for a less interesting read, so they stuck with their version of the facts.

Okay, fine. It’s not like I trust the media anyway.

But today in my daily news fix, an even more absurd lie is being perpetrated about the development of Firefox — and it’s more widely diffused than the story about me because Bloomberg News is spreading it through smaller papers:

It’s simply a mischaracterization of the worst kind to suggest that Blake single-handedly created Firefox. And it ignores the real story, which is that open source is a viable, alternative model for developing high quality products that meet real-world users’ needs. The story should not be about The Blake or any other single individual that helped forge Firefox (though they all deserve their 30 seconds of limelight). The story should be about an undercurrent taking shape on the internet that has been 30 years in the making: the open source development movement.

It pains me to read stories like this that simply do not reflect this new reality. I understand that it will take time, education and patience before things get better, but in the meantime, a lot of people are getting the wrong idea about what Firefox really represents, which is the work of thousands of volunteers across the globe working under the egalitarian guidance of a few super-empowered individuals, one of which just happened to be Blake Ross.

Out of the Office for the rest of my life

Out of office reply (click to enlarge)So has becoming the unwitting accomplice in a massive spam onslaught. I don’t know who’s using my domain for spoofing, but it’s really not cool. Waking up to 3,500 “delivery failures” just isn’t a good way to start my weekend.

However, I received one failure notice that I thought was particularly amusing and made up for the hour or so that I spent gutting my inbox, unsetting my catch-all email account and setting up the necessary aliases in place of my generic catch-all.

A vision for CivicSpace; or Why CivicSpace hasn’t been eating its own dogfood

CivicSpace is at a point in its adolescence where it’s beginning to question just who it really is. I will attempt to describe why we’re struggling with this issue, how it is affecting CivicSpace and ways to think about our work from this point forward.

There’s a common expression in software development that recommends “eating your own dogfood” as soon possible. The idea is get to software developers to experience firsthand their work from the users’ perspective earlier in the development cycle. The thinking suggests that this will allow for proper adjustments to be made before a product ships. It’s common sense really; you wouldn’t feed yourself crap, so don’t feed your crap to your users.
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Harrison Bergeron as the personification of the internet child

Where's your free will at?When I was in Mr. Duffy’s high school English class, he assigned a short story that altered the course of my life forever. Harrison Bergeron it was called, written in 1961 by a witty old fart, Kurt Vonnegut.

You see, at the time, I had been growing increasingly skeptical about whether any of my peers had free will. It concerned me that it seemed somehow that I was the only one in my whole high school who could manage an original thought in his head.
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