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.

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.

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.

The full dish on the “Always Use Protection” poster

Always Use Protection PosterIt’s fascinating how much of a treasure trove of interesting historical tidbits the silverorange intranet is. After all, that’s where the birth of the “Always Use Protection” poster occurred. And since there has been a lot of mystery surrounding the project, I thought I’d set some facts straight.
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