It’s my web, dammit, and I’ll do what I want!

A dirth of media articles have surfaced around Greasemonkey, a Firefox extension that lets you modify websites to your liking. I’m not about to get into the myriad scripts available or call out my favorites (I haven’t even used it yet though I did find one for fixing Spread Firefox’s column overlap issues!) but I do want to call out a shifting paradigm overtaking the web gradually, mercilously and with no sign of abating.

The trend is towards user-augmented web experiences, where users are in the drivers seat determining how they want to use a website rather than leaving it up to web designers and developers. Even on user-customizable blog software like WordPress, Greasemonkey scripts are showing up to set default prefs on the edit screens!

…Something that I read the other day on a site detailing steps to disable Greasemonkey really clued me into what this trend means:

“Your DOM”? I am sorry, but once your code leaves your server, it is no longer “your DOM” but the “user’s DOM” and they can screw with it as they please.

This is a wholly new concept that flies in the face of years and years of being inundated with the shrill cry of intellectual property and copyright fascists who can’t stand to think that someone else might want to alter their creations beyond their original artistic vision. We’ve been cooped up with that mindset for some time and only now are we starting to really break free from it. Only now do we realize — “Hey wait, this is my web browser on my computer! I don’t have to just sit here and take this! I can make my web browsing experience whatever I want — and I will!”

And as the web moves towards a more fluid model (or as Technorati CEO Dave Sifry calls it, an “event stream“), we’re going to see more of this — where blogs dissolve into tributaries and web aggregators become the Ganges and Niles of the internet. Stay tuned, I think I might just be working on something that will yet make it possible to swim the web as it goes liquid… and just might keep us from drowning in the impending deluge of freeflowing content.

Dan Gillmor makes the switch to Drupal

Dan Gillmor gets DrupalProlific author and blogger extraordinaire Dan Gillmore has packed his blog and moved it to the bayosphere, a new site dedicated to citizen journalism in the SF Bay area:

I’ve moved my blog to Bayosphere, where I’ll report and comment on the Silicon Valley technology community — and a whole lot more including my observations about the burgeoning arena that’s variously called citizen journalism, personal publishing, grassroots media and a lot of other things. They all have something in common: the read-write Web.

The coverage has been interesting as usual, with posts on Drupal, Slashdot and an explanation on the Bayosphere about why they chose Drupal

…and for some reason I was given credit for getting Dan to make the switch! While I did work with him in the initial part of this project, that work didn’t make it into the current iteration. In fact, Dan even came up to me during the PDF and asked me dryly, “So what’s this about you convincing me to go with Drupal?” In any case, I’ve now been in touch with both Dan and Jay Campbell (who set up the site) and we’ll be finding time next week after I return to the Bay area to discuss this project further. But I should make it clear… I don’t feel like I deserve all that much credit for doing any convincing. I may have been one of many putting a bug in his ear, but if Drupal weren’t really the best choice, I don’t think he would have gone with it, regardless of anything I might have said.

With that, I welcome Dan to Drupal and hope he’s got a lot of gripes that I can go to town on!

*P. S.* Turns out Moby uses Drupal too. Who knew!
*P. P.S.* See? We can get along! Matt calls the Bayosphere One of the best uses of Drupal I’ve seen.

The Commons gets spread

spreadCCSo after a false start at a guerilla marketing campaign to spread the Commons, Creative Commons seems to have bitten by the Spread bug.

This is truly fantastic and something I couldn’t have hoped for sooner. In fact, I really really want to get involved, but I’m biting my tongue for the moment since there are other pressing projects at hand… and, frankly, the CC guys typically know what they’re doing and well, I’m clearly already overstretched. What else is new?

…But man, talk about a project near and dear to my hear. If they do happen to be interested in any of my experiences with SpreadFirefox, I’d be happy to share. Consider that an open invitation.

Spreading Firefox viral style

Firefox makes everything look betterA while back a project was thunk up to do a viral video marketing campaign for Firefox. The original idea was something like MoveOn’s Bush in Thirty Seconds, but that idea was scrapped when it turned out MozEurope already had something setup with guerilla marketing firm Pozz.

Well, it’s finally landed and I have to say, it’s pretty damn clever. How do you spread a browser? Certainly not by showing it! Let people’s reactions do the convincing. I mean, when was the last time you ate a cell phone by accident?

Egggzzactly.

P.S. And it appears to be getting quite a bit of press in Europe and around the web. Sweet.

P.P.S. SpreadFirefox also apparently hit 100,000 users but you wouldn’t know it because of the weird changes they’ve been making to th design and content of the site. I think Robert Wiblin’s got it right (third comment): “Now if only spreadfirefox.com actually did more things and kept itself updated it would be a really useful resource!” Patience… yes… patience.

Google acquires my life

Google and Dodgeball joins forces!A short while ago my roommate Andy turned me on to a service called Dodgeball. It’s basically a social networking app that sends you SMS’s from your peeps when they’re bored looking to hang out and in your general vicinity. Or as Corante says, it helps “coordinate social interactions”. Like ad hoc blind dating, but with people you know.

So it turns out that they’re being aquired by Google. Wait what?

Oh that’s right… when you hook up Google Maps, Google Reviews and a mobile-social component like Dodgeball, you basically own my life. Toss in a ridefinder, another SMS answer service and cell-phone accessible price lookups and geez, why would I ever go home again?

From now on, I can putt along knowing exactly where I am, how much things cost, what the best movies and restaurants are, have transportation and be able to ping my friends with where and when I’ll be someplace.

All on Google’s …free… services.

Ah huh.

Ok, so just get me a new Apple iPhone and my life is yours, baby!

It’s been one hulluva week

One of those weeksWhat can I say other than it’s just been one of those weeks? I can’t even characterize it so much as sense the depth of the changes happening in and around me. Nor can I chalk it up to any singular thing, there’s just a lot goin’ on!

So first off, lemme give props to Matty Mullenweg, for topping 200K downloads of WordPress, the software the powers this very blog. 200K. That’s just friggin’ sweet.

Moments before and in no way diminishing Matty’s accomplishment, Firefox hit the big 50 mil. Even if the quality of design at Spread Firefox seems to tanking since I left, I’m really proud to have been part of the effort to get the word out about the Fox. And having a hand in the launch of the rather successful syndicated download counter thing feels pretty tasty too (to use an Ericism.) Oh, and it seems SFX just hit the 99,000 member mark. Day-mn…

Ok, so other schtuff.

Well, I’m deep into rewriting my CivicSpace themes from the ground up, gutting all my previous code and aiming at a consistent codebase. I still don’t know how big a project this is and I’m having some trouble keeping focus on it. The good news is, this overhaul will have very positive results, both for CivicSpace, Drupal and, I hope, themers in general. We shall see.

In other news, my nascent work on SpreadOpenOffice seems to have suffered a bit of a blow, with one of the originators of the project being blown off by the OOo proper folks. I mean, it never makes me happy to see people fight, and it makes me even less so when having seemingly silly disputes over apparent falsehoods. I mean, Charles Schulz’s line “It is a very smart attempt to fork the community.” just seems preposterous. In an all the discussions about this effort I’ve been privy to, it’s never seemed like an effort to fork anything… The way I see it, if the OOo community doesn’t develop a way to harness the efforts of its grassroots supporters, there’ll eventually be more forks than a UN dinner party anyway…

So while I have a few other related projects going on, none warrant much discussion… except the nascent SpreadCC discussion and SpreadButter

…which is, mind you, yet another CivicSpace site. Speaking of… this week was probably one of the most tumultuous for us so far. But I’m not too worried; from adversity and conflict usually springs innovation and clarity, which is precisely what we’re in need of. I’m willing to give it some time and see what happens, but between balancing theming, module improvement, Drupal development, relationship building, promotional efforts, and business model planning, it’s been a helluva week.

Oh, and in the meantime, the Web 2.0 arrived. Backpack, Rojo, and hmm… something else… all launched… Firefox got SVG, Tiger finally dropped and… oh yeah, I moved (which has nothing to do with anything).

I forget what I was going to write next. But oh yeah, it’s really been one helluva week.

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!