Looking at FTP sites for Mozilla releases

Apparently there are a few websites reporting that Firefox 1.5 has been released, because it’s on the FTP server. These sites need to reel themselves back in.

To quote David Baron:

“It hasn’t shipped yet, it’s on the FTP site in preparation for being shipped. “

and Dave Miller:

“very few people (in the grand scheme of things) watch the FTP site 24 hours a day waiting for the next file to show up. Getting it on the FTP site is one of the FIRST steps of the process of actually shipping a release. It has to be on the FTP site for an hour or two (to give it time to propagate across our FTP mirror network) before any of the web pages are posted, otherwise there’ll be nothing to link to from the web pages. If the download page (http://www.mozilla.org/products/mozilla1.x/) doesn’t link to it yet, there’s no reason to expect any other web pages about it to exist yet either.”

Dave gave a link to the Mozilla Application Suite, because that’s what was being discussed. Those quotes apply to all Mozilla product releases. The people jumping the gun may end up regretting it. There is supposed to be a re-organization of Mozilla web content happening soon, making Mozilla.com the end-user site. Mozilla contributers have eluded to this happening during the release of Firefox 1.5.

Restructuring My Website

I’ve got a problem. My mailnews FAQs are getting too big for one page. When I first created my help sites, I had considered the idea of putting each item on its own page, with a table of contents linked on the page menu. This would make it easier to provide URLs for each answer, and search engine results would be more accurate.

The problem: what if I want to change the template? My Netscape 7 Help site currently has 185 FAQs. Add the pages linked in the site menu, and that’s almost 200 pages to edit. And I still have around 20 or 30 more to add! I use an external style sheet which would take care of a bit…but not enough.

With a publishing system, like a blog, I am able to change the template, and that change is applied to all pages already published. I need something like that, for my help sites. I’ll do some searching, but if anyone reading this knows of a solution to my problem, please tell me about it.

Remembering the Indian Ocean Tsunami

I remember the first week after the Sumatra earthquake and tsunami. There were many horrific images of both loss of life, and devastation. Relatives came over, because it was the holidays; and I was glued to the TV. I equate it to watching the aeroplanes fly into the World Trade Center. You could watch it a million times, and still have trouble grasping what you were watching. After all, who would want to watch those images over and over again. Yet, there I was.

Approximately 275,000 people died in that event. Lets put that into perspective. With all the coverage hurricane Katrina got, the official death toll is 1,302. The Indian Ocean tsunami caused over 211 times the death that Katrina caused. Yet, American journalists were calling it “our tsunami.”

It has been almost eleven months since the Sumatra earthquake; and I wanted to spend some time remembering the disaster. I came across an article announcing scientific data about the earthquake, that again puts me in awe of that event. We were told, not long after the quake, that it was strong enough to affect the earth’s speed of rotation. The quake vibrated the entire planet as much as a centimetre.
In May 2005, scientists published a report of gathered data:
– the typical duration of an earthquake is a few seconds. The Sumatra quake lasted around ten minutes! That set a record for the longest quake ever recorded. Given the rest of the facts (following), you can understand why it took so long.
– it also set a record for the longest fault rupture. The gash in the earth’s seabed was 800 miles (1287km). In other words, the distance from Los Angeles to Portland.
– it took ten minutes for 800 miles of earth to rise how much? An average of 16.5 feet (5 metres). Some places moved up as much 50 feet! (20 meters)

This thing was a monster, that could only measure very high in magnitude (between 9.1 and 9.3). Not a record there, but if 9.3 is correct, it would be the second highest on record.

For the past eleven months, I had been under the impression that the Indian Ocean Tsunami had been the deadliest natural disaster in history. I was quite surprised to learn that I was wrong. It’s not even close. Get this: In 1931, the Huang He river in China flooded, killing between 850,000 to 4 million people….Wow.

All of these numbers and records, make it hard to really fathom why something much smaller is still big news. I then came across this photograph. It’s hard to find words to describe how it makes me feel. I want to cry, but at the same time, I’m in awe. This picture is not for the faint-hearted:

Bookmarks in RSS

I’ve recently become fascinated with the idea of using RSS to maintain a list of items rather than a feed of news or a log. If used in that way, Mozilla Firefox‘s live bookmarks feature, all of a sudden, has a practical use. My website evolved from one links page, that has now become my ilias.ca main page. I originally created a links page to help users in two ways:
– users wouldn’t have to go through the hassle of maintaining a list of help sites for Mozilla or Netscape.
– users wouldn’t have to clog up their bookmarks with help sites. They could bookmark one site, and use that as a gateway.

It seems to me ‘maintaining a set of bookmarks for others’ is what Live Bookmarks is all about. You set up a Live Bookmark to ‘ilias.ca help sites’, and now all the sites appear in that Live Bookmark. Whenever I update a link, add a link, or remove a link, that change is reflected in your Live Bookmark.

And so, I’ve created an RSS formatted file for that purpose. Mozilla Firefox users will see the Live Bookmark icon, when visiting the ilias.ca main page, and can click on it to create the Live Bookmark.

I was thinking about the concept a little more and realized that if you store bookmarks in an RSS formatted file, you can use them on a customizable web portal, like Google’s Personalized Home. Supposedly, Internet Explorer 7 is supposed to have much greater RSS support. Maybe it would be possible to actually make Firefox and Internet Explorer use the same bookmarks RSS file. Oh the possibilities…

Auto-complete email address with default domain

Mozilla Thunderbird 1.5 users may have noticed that when you start typing an email address in the mail composition window, Thunderbird no longer automatically adds the default domain to it. You can turn this feature back on, if you’d like. Go to Tools -> Options -> Advanced -> General, and click on “Config Editor.” In the resulting window, search for the setting mail.identity.default.autocompleteToMyDomain. Double-click on it. That should change the value to true. Close the Config Editor, and click on “OK” in the Options panel, and you’re done.