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Coding for a Finite World

Coding for a Finite World

(This is meant to be the first entry of a series which will cover individual points more in depth. We’ll see how that goes.) We’re the tech industry. We have ideas. We have ideas all the time. And we’re used to turn our ideas into applications. So, how does it go… here’s the back-end component… here’s the front-end component. We’ll write the former in Python, or perhaps JavaScript, to optimize for prototyping. After all, we have so many ideas, we need the ability to iterate quickly. Sprinkle in a few dependencies, that will speed us up. Oh, and let’s use ChatGPT and Copilot, we’ll be even faster. Oh, and performance, yeah, performance: microservices, Kafka, Redis, Kubernetes… we’re now ready to scale up. Oh, Sentry, Prometheus and Grafana, too, where would we be without ’em? For the front-end, we’ll write a website, and for mobile, Electron. Oh, wait a second, we need to make money and to fidelize our users! Let me see… ads, tracking, and good reasons to revisit our app, perhaps a little NFT here, gamification… alright, we should be good. Three… two… one… and we have shipped v1! Also, the world is burning. Perhaps it’s time we revisited how we do things?

Moderated Federated Networks might actually be what we need - part 1

Among the many interesting moments of this ending year 2022, we have had the chance of seeing the Twitter/Musk experiment unfold. I won’t spend time rehashing the many twists of this experiment, just a moment to offer the best wishes to all who work or worked at Twitter, in particular those being offered as scapegoats for the many sins of the C-suit, both past and present. What I’m going to spend time on is moderation. If we listen to the official discourse, this entire Twitter/Musk experiment is about moderation. Also, as a direct consequence of aid experiment, the number of users on Federated Networks such as Matrix and Mastodon has never been so high. And Twitter, both past and present, has been a permanent demonstration that moderation is hard. So… what does it change to moderate a Federated Network? Spoiler alert: it’s harder, but not impossible.

The web is getting darker. It is being weaponized by trolls, bullies and bad actors and, as we’ve witnessed, this can have extremely grave consequences for individuals, groups, sometimes entire countries. So far, most of the counter-measures proposed by either governments or private actors are even scarier. The creators of the Matrix protocol have recently published the most promising plan I have seen. One that I believe stands a chance of making real headway in this fight, while respecting openness, decentralization, open-source and privacy. I have been offered the opportunity to work on this plan. For this reason, after 9 years as an employee at Mozilla, I’ll be moving to Element, where I’ll try and contribute to making the web a better place. My last day at Mozilla will be October 30th.

about:Mozilla's blockers and needinfos

On this rainy october day (well, at least it rains where I’m writing this) of the great year 2020, let’s take another few minutes to reflect on some great practices that we have at Mozilla and that would deserve to take over the world. Today, let’s talk about what you can do when your work is blocked.

about:Mozilla's #introduction channel - and how it could work for your project

Let’s continue this series on some of the great practices that we have at Mozilla and that your project may wish to adopt, too. This time, let’s talk about Mozilla’s #introduction chatroom.

about:Mozilla's Mentored Bugs - and how it could work for your project

2020 is a crappy year for pretty much everyone. As you may have seen, this includes organizations such as Mozilla. So I figured it was the best time to actually talk about good stuff! This entry should be the first of a series of short articles dedicated to some great practices we have at Mozilla and that I think many open-source projects could adopt. At its core, Mozilla is a community of open-source enthusiasts. When you’re new to an open-source community and you wish to start contributing somewhere, finding an entry point is often difficult. This is where Mentored Bugs come in.

Extracting text from images is not easy (who would have guessed?)

At its core, Lighthouse is an idea we have been discussing in Connected Devices: can we build a device that will help people with partial or total vision disabilities? From there, we started a number of experiments. I figured out it was time to braindump some of them. Our problem Consider the following example: How do we get from this beautiful picture of Mozilla’s Paris office to the text “PRIDE and PREJUDICE”, “Jane Austen”, “Great Books”, “Great Prices”, “$9.