Announcing Cheevos for Firefox

23 December, 2011 § 9 Comments

Today is the release of version 1.0 of the Cheevos for Firefox add-on!

Cheevos for Firefox is an addon for Firefox that makes learning about different parts of the browser fun, as well as giving you the opportunity to brag to your friends about your pro-level web surfing.

With Cheevos for Firefox, you will gain achievements for using Firefox. Whether it’s finding hidden Easter eggs within the product, or taking advantage of the power of the world’s fastest, most extensible, most personalizable, and most friendly web browser, Cheevos for Firefox will surprise and make using the web browser more fun than ever.

Varying levels of points are awarded based on the difficulty of acquiring an achievement. See how many points you can collect!

Thanks go out to all the people who have helped test, add features, and recommend ideas for new achievements:

Download Cheevos for Firefox today and let everyone know what you think of it!

Nuking parts of Firefox’s main-thead IO

17 December, 2011 § 6 Comments

Felix Fung once said something along the lines that main-thread IO should only be dealt with by tossing it in to a woodchipper, making mushroom fricassee with it, microwaving it, and then butchering it up some more.

Today marked the completion of Felix’s internship at Mozilla. While sad to see him go, I’m happy to say that Felix did an amazing job at removing some of the main-thread IO found in Firefox, thus making Firefox even faster.

For example, in Firefox Aurora (soon to be Firefox 10), downloads in the browser now use considerably less CPU usage (sometimes reduced by ~50%).

Another great fix came in for about:permissions. Users who had many thousands of sites listed in about:permissions would encounter sluggish behavior from the browser when loading about:permissions. This sluggish-ness is now a thing of the past that should be long forgotten and never missed.

In Firefox Nightly (soon to be Firefox 11), we now have a complete internal asynchronous API for favicons. Work had started on this in earlier releases, but it has now reached completion. The landing of this feature will allow consumers of favicons (think of: tabs, history, bookmarks, downloads, Windows 7 jump lists, I-don’t-know-what-else-but-there-are-probably-tons-more, etc) to render, react, and update much quicker.

Felix (wearing the plum dress shirt) wasn’t the only intern in Mountain View during the Fall. See the picture to the right for a group of smart, funny, and hard-working interns who have been working to make the internet better for all.

Hooking up a second machine to your Comcast internet connection

7 September, 2011 § 5 Comments

I signed up for Comcast internet a few months ago and was quite disturbed to learn that connecting to the internet required installing their Comcast Internet software.

Visually, their software doesn’t do anything except for change your Firefox homepage (and if you are on a Mac, then it will make it so you can’t change it back) and add a bunch of shortcuts to your desktop.

I brought my work computer home today and tried to connect to my wired Ethernet connection. While my desktop computer had a good connection, my laptop didn’t. No matter what, I wasn’t going to install the Comcast crapware on another machine. After much digging through preferences, I couldn’t find anything that Comcast actually changed related to networking. My other idea was that their software simply registers your MAC addresss with their server.

After copying my desktop machine’s MAC address to my laptop, the connection succeeded.

TLDR; if you are trying to connect another machine to your Comcast connection (or a router for that matter), just clone the MAC address.

Seven Things You May (or May Not) Have Wanted to Know About Me

21 July, 2011 § 5 Comments

Browsing some of the Mozilla blogs, I came across JOEDREW! \o/’s blog post covering the seven things that people may or may not have known about Joe. Normally with these posts, you write one when you get tagged. I didn’t work at Mozilla when these were going around, so I’m gonna cheat at this 🙂

I’m Jared Wein, also known as JAWS. I currently work on the Firefox front-end user interface team, out of Mozilla’s Mountain View office, implementing many of the great designs that the Mozilla community comes up with.

Here are the rules for this particular meme

  •     Link to your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post.
  •     Share seven facts about yourself in the post.
  •     Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  •     Let them know they’ve been tagged.

My seven things:

1. I haven’t owned my own car for over 7 years. I got my first (and only) car when I was in high school. It had over 200,000 miles when I bought it (for $1,200) and I sold it for the same price two years later with over 230,000 miles on it. Since then I’ve gotten around using mopeds, bicycles, buses, trains, and occasionally borrowing a car from a family member.

2. I started working at my first job when I was 13 years old. I officially joined the payroll when I turned 14 years old, and worked about 20 hours a week all throughout high school. I continued to work through college, allowing me to pay more than half of my tuition out-of-pocket. In total, I’ve worked at an ice cream store, senior citizen center, real-estate company, university computer center, and a couple software companies.

3. I’m related to one of the worlds best bass-guitarists and lead singers, Geddy Lee of Rush. Geddy and I are 1st cousins once removed. Once a year or so, our family gets the opportunity to attend one of Rush’s concerts and hang out back stage.

4. When I was in elementary school, I attended a summer camp on the other side of the city. After camp let out, instead of waiting for my Mom to arrive to pick up me and my friend, Matt Bonefeld, we decided to walk home. My Mom didn’t really appreciate the fact that her 7 year old son was walking 4 miles home, but we made it home safe 🙂

5. Throughout middle school and high school, I worked tirelessly on a campaign to get a local skate park built. I started going door to door with my friend Evan Goodman and my brother Matt Wein to raise money. After we had raised $200, we attended one of the Lansing Area Skate Bike & Recreation Foundation meetings. The board members were surprised to see us walk in with the unexpected donations. Matt, Evan, and I eventually became a board members, playing a large role in raising over $200,000 for the skate park.

The skate park got built and opened in 2002 to much fan fare. The park was constructed by Team Pain, the group that also builds the skate parks for the X-Games.

6. My favorite TV series is Tha Ali G Show. I really like tongue-in-cheek comedy, and I think Sacha Baron Cohen does a great job at putting people in awkward situations. I have seen every episode of Tha Ali G Show, as well as a couple of his movies from the U.K. and the U.S.

7. I used to have an afro when I was in high school. At it’s longest point, I could pull hair down to reach my bottom lip. Since my junior year in high school I’ve been keeping my hair cut pretty short.

And now the people to tag:

  1. Randall Brown, because he’s a great story teller.
  2. Felipe Gomes, one of the happiest people I know.
  3. Frank Yan, a CSS ninja who finds great uses of ::before.
  4. Betsy Weber, one of the best Evangelists in the software industry.
  5. Davin Granroth, my web development mentor when I was at MSU,
  6. Justin Dolske, World’s Best Manager & Bacon Connoisseur
  7. Cameron Flint, open-source enthusiast and great developer.

My first Firefox work week

18 July, 2011 § 5 Comments

This past week was my first Firefox work week. We flew team members in from all over the world to Mountain View, California.

On Monday we met up early at the office to board a bus to Monterey, CA for a couple days of meeting, demos, and team building. We saw demos from the Fennec (Firefox mobile) team, developer tools, user experience, engineering, and more.

Justin Dolske gave a great presentation on the Telemetry framework within Firefox. He demonstrated how we can collect anonymous statistics related to the performance and usage of features within the browser.

After spending a couple days in Monterey (and making sure to visit the hotel pool and the Monterey Bay Aquarium), we headed back to Mountain View for a few more days in the office.

The theme for Wednesday seemed to be “recover and start working”, although I didn’t get much of an opportunity to write code on Wednesday. Most of my day was spent reading up on the progress of our new Download Manager. Paolo Amadini has been doing an excellent job on a new Download Manager user interface for the browser. I’m going to be working with Paolo, Sinchan Banerjee, Marko Bonardo, and Stephen Horlander to try to get these feature shipped and into users hands.

Thursday and Friday were spent doing mostly team building excercises. We took a short excursion to San Francisco for a course on “mixology”, and on Friday we applied our newly learned skills by making drinks for our coworkers back at the office 🙂

So in the end, I don’t think I got as much of so-called work done during the work week as I had expected, but I think I took away more than I had expected. I got to meet and hang out with many of the people I have only spoken to over IRC, and I feel that it is weeks like these that make a team stronger (distributed or otherwise).

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