Essays, Musings, and occasional Ramblings

Time passes and thoughts appear.

On Brendan Eich’s Appointment as CEO of Mozilla

Brendan Eich joined the Netscape project in 1995, invented the JavaScript programming language, and was among the founding members of the Mozilla Foundation in 2003. From 2005 to March 24, 2014, he was Chief Technology Officer of the company. On March 24, 2014, he became CEO of Mozilla1. Within days, Mozilla came under fire because they named him for the job. In 2008, Eich donated $1000 to support Proposition 82, a law which would prohibit same-sex marriage in the state of California. This law was later deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. In 2012, a project by the Los Angeles Times brought the donations of all individuals supporting and opposing Proposition 8 into the public sphere. When Eich was named CEO in 2014, this issue was fiercely brought to life, with some people calling for him to step down. The website OKCupid added a message to all users of Mozilla Firefox on March 31st 2014, stating that “Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples. We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid,”3 and then requiring users to click-through a link to access their website. As Brendon Eich’s views are not those of Mozilla, individuals should not boycott Mozilla products because of them.

As a company, and a non-profit, Mozilla is in favor of marriage equality. The Mozilla Participation Policy states that Mozilla “welcomes and encourages participation by everyone” and welcomes “contributions from everyone … including, but not limited to people of varied … gender, gender-identity,… sexual orientation, … and religious views.” When people support views contrary to those of Mozilla, their “support for exclusionary practices must not be carried into Mozilla activities.” and their “support for exclusionary practices in non-Mozilla activities should not be expressed in Mozilla spaces.”4 If that wasn’t clear enough, Mozilla released a statement on March 29th affirming that “Mozilla supports equality for all, including marriage equality for LGBT couples.”

Furthermore, as CEO, Eich doesn’t have the power to change the policies that Mozilla currently has.  As Christie Koehler, a queer female employe of Mozilla said, “I trust the oversight Mozilla has in place in the form of our chairperson, Mitchell Baker, and our board of directors.” Furthermore, Eich is a co-founder of Mozilla, and has served as a chairperson and CTO for years, yet Mozilla’s policies of inclusiveness are among the best offered by any company. This shows that Eich is able to keep his personal views out of Mozilla, and due to the differing position of the vast majority of all the other employees at Mozilla (Eich was the only Mozilla employee to donate in favor of Prop 8 while many other employees donated to oppose prop 8), Eich would never be able to turn Mozilla into a company against equal rights and inclusiveness. The Participation Policy by which he too is bound, explicitly forbids it.

If Mozilla has committed one “crime” it is  that of not advocated equal rights sufficiently,  of not having equal rights being one of it’s guiding principles. That is because Mozilla’s mission is to promote  a free and open internet, that “Individuals must have the ability to shape the Internet and their own experiences on the Internet” and that “”Free and open source software promotes the development of the Internet as a public resource”5. Eich wrote in 2012 “I do not insist that anyone agree with me on a great many things, including political issues, and I refrain from putting my personal beliefs in others’ way in all matters Mozilla, JS, and Web.” As Mitchell Baker wrote in 2012 “”we focus Mozilla on our shared consensus regarding the Mozilla mission and manifesto.”6 “Mozilla’s mission and manifesto are explicitly apolitical. We don’t take sides on any political issues in any country, except to stand up for the open web.”7

I do not believe that Brendan Eich should have been named CEO of Mozilla. Not because I am against his appointment, I believe that he will do an excellent job, and he has demonstrated that he doesn’t let his personal views affect the views and policies of Mozilla. I think he will make an excellent Chief Executive officer. However, people falsely consider as equivalent to the views of the CEO and the views of the company, even in cases such as this were that is completely false. I believe that the Mozilla board severely mis-estimated the public backlash to Eich’s appointment, and then dealt with the media fallout very poorly.

What led me to write this essay was people deciding to boycott Firefox as a result of Eich being CEO. Mozilla is a company which is unique in many aspects, chief among which are their advocacy aspect, seeking to further ideals of which most agree are important – an Open Internet.it is also a company which heavily promote inclusiveness within itself, with it’s policies, ad culture. Boycotting Firefox leads to this company which encourages equality to be able to do less good. “You may wish to boycott Mozilla products as a matter of principle, and I can’t argue with that,”8 but “switching from Firefox to Chrome will not change Brendan or anybody else’s views on LGBT rights, and will actively harm the open web.” That is why people should not boycott Firefox because Eich is against equality.

Update: Brendan Eich has now stepped down as CEO of Mozilla. He stepped down, he wasn’t fired, as Mark Surman, Executive Director of Mozilla said “He struggled to connect and empathize with people who both respect him and felt hurt. He also got beat up… Ultimately, I think Brendan found it impossible to lead under these circumstances. It was his choice to step down. And, frankly, I don’t blame him. I would have done the same.”9 This essay is still relevant because it was about the broader issue, about whether the personal views of a CEO should affect the public views of the company when the two weren’t aligned on issues which aren’t the focus of the company.

1: https://blog.mozilla.org/press/bios/brendan-eich/
2: http://projects.latimes.com/prop8/
3: https://www.okcupid.com/?mozilla_message=1
4: http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/about/governance/policies/participation/ , which was last updated January 7th, 2013 – well before Eich was named CEO.
5: http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/about/manifesto/
6: http://groups.google.com/group/mozilla.governance/msg/952101e4dd0bd0c7
7: http://valianttry.us/caught-between-two-movements/ , Andrew Wood
8: https://staktrace.com/spout/entry.php?id=823
9: http://commonspace.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/mozilla-is-human/

A New Focus

Hi all!

I haven’t posted in a while, and in my endless pouring through the internet, sifting through content, junking lots of it, I stumbled on College Info Geek‘s post about Reasons to Start A Blog

And it made me think, and I decided this blog will change focus, and maybe branding too (Name, etc.)

The decision isn’t only because of the post, however that post is what drove me to jump the hoop.

Also, because of this focus, I will probably post less often, maybe 1-2 times per month. However, I will post in a more regular schedule.

The New Focus

I am going to focus much more on content. But not only that. The content will now be focused on stuff I am currently learning (Outside of school.) So that would be:

A) Copyright, Creative Commons, GPL, DMCA, and everything that comes along with that. This also led me to the next part. I find the area of law in general quite interesting, fascinating even. So, I believe that this copyright research is just a phase, but that my interest in Law won’t fade. Posts in this section will be in the category called “Law

B) Essays I read. I currently have a huge amount of stuff from Freesouls, Eric S. Raymond’s site, and Paul Graham’s essays, are currently on my To Read folder. (Yes, I downloaded the whole sites. This will be captured in the category Essays.

C) Coding. I  just started learning Python (I am also looking at maybe buying the Python book published by O’Reilly), and have already learned HTML and CSS, which I plan on continuing. along with expanding into PHP and JavaScript. (Someone just offered to host the site! Huzzah! I will finally be able to use PHP, and thus make a much cleaner design!) I will use the category Code for this.

D) Languages. I have started learning Russian. (I have gotten the pronunciation of the alphabet down, and have started on the vocab!)  Once I master that (Which I don’t think I will for a minimum of 6 more years) I plan on moving on to an Arabic language (Arabic, or Turk, or something.) That will leave me with English, French (Already fluent in those two), German (Learning in school), Russian, and Arabic. I might move on to Chinese after, but that seems more complicated to learn on my own. I will use the category Languages for this.

E) After publishing, I realized I had forgotten another part: Activism. Anything related to activism I am involved with (At the moment, it would notably be  UNiTE (raising awareness to violence towards women) Mozilla (Open source software, freedom of information), copyright reform and promoting digital literacy.

F) Finally, my DIY projects. Yes, the blog is sorta kinda named after that, no? I will document DIY projects I do, with instructions, and any knowledge that I found in doing it.

Now comes the question: Should I clean up previous posts?

I have a gut repulsion to that; the same way I cringed when deleting the thesis of the last essay in English, in order to rewrite.

I think I might leave it… I might clean it up, I don’t know.

What do you think? Do you agree with this change of direction, thinking it will make the blog better?  Do you think I should clean up previous posts?

Tell me! Comment! Please! I love comments! (I’ll give  you a virtual candy bar!)

 

Edit: I just went through my past posts, cleaning up the categories, and decided I will allow myself to blog about 2 other stuff (Or at least leave those categories in existence): Photography, and fiction. Photography because I really enjoy it, and will most certainly be continuing it. And fiction because I don’t want to close a mental door on the possibility.

Copyright, Copyleft, Copy up, Copy down

I’ve been thinking of writing a piece about copyright for my school newspaper, and so have been doing a fair bit of research…

copyright

copyright (Photo credit: A. Diez Herrero)

Let’s start with the basics: Do you know how long copyright currently lasts for?

Lifetime + 75 years. In other words,  the first movies of Walt Disney are still under copyright, and all Charlie Chaplin movies made after 1918 are under copyright.

Otherwise, did you know that Happy birthday (You know Happy birthday to you… Happy birthday to you… Happy birthday dear Peter, Happy birthday to you) is copywritten, and will be until 2030? It will have be under copy right for 130 years. And it is expensive to use it, with the price varying on how much you can pay: A radio show had to pay 700$ for it, a movie once paid 10k f

or it. That’s why you almost never see people sing happy birthday in movies.

Studies have shown that the ideal length of time for copyright is 15 years, to foster innovation. That is a lot less than the current 75+lifetime. Personally, I think it should be somewhere between 15 and

50 years. But not longer. And studies agree.

Now, to all  you content creators out there, I am calling on you:

Do you really need your blog posts to be copywritten?Or that picture you posted on it? Do you not want some media outlet to use it? Or an influential blog to? Cause when so

Image representing Creative Commons as depicte...

Image via CrunchBase

mething is copywritten, everything has to be requested, which can be a pain and thus detrimental.

That is why I licence almost everything I do under a Creative Commons, BY SA (Sometimes not SA) .

That means you are free to use my work, modify it, and create derivatives, even for a profit, as long as you credit me, and, when it is SA, as long as you licence your work under the same licence.

That’s just my two cents, and a teaser for  the article which I will… eventually… write.

On the subject of gun control

The following was written as a retort in an argument about gun control on facebook with someone called Louis. I think I make some good points, and talk extensively enough for it to warrant a blog posting. (Yes… I made a 700+ word facebook comment.)

Here it is:

Well then Louis…

First of all, you used the example of drugs: Criminals can still get them. (First I would argue that not everyone who uses drugs, specially softer drugs are criminals, but that is besides the point)

Illegalising them makes it harder to access for all, and more expensive, thus making it harder to access even for those who know how to get them.

Second of all, part of the reforms (ie what Cuomo got voted in NYS) is to close loopholes. In other words, even someone who is a violent criminal, or mentally unstable could go to a gun show and get a gun – because there weren’t any checks.

If you looks at the gun reforms, what states are actually implementing, there is pretty much nothing that restricts people’s access to guns more. All it does is make the current law apply everywhere.

I admit, it does restrict magazines bigger than 7-10 (I forget the exact number) large.

Why would you need a larger magazine, unless it is to shoot multiple targets (And the amount of people assaulted by more than 2 people is very small… and the chance of the gun being effective is also small.)

Otherwise, to get back to your first argument: Why would a law abiding citizen seek to hurt someone?

Well, they won’t. However, most also aren’t extremely careful with their guns. For example in the Newton Shooting in Connecticut, he got the gun from his mother – who had it legally. And should have it legally since nothing was wrong with her. But she left it in such a way that allowed him to get it.

If she didn’t collect guns, and have them in an insecure manner, he wouldn’t have been able to get it.

Pyre of smuggled weapons in Uhuru Gardens, Nai...

Pyre of smuggled weapons in Uhuru Gardens, Nairobi, Kenya. Original caption states, “A cache of more than 5,000 smuggled guns ready to be set ablaze at Uhuru gardens (peace grounds) during the peace support effort between the warring countries surrunding kenya and the communities leaving on the porous boarders of Kenya. This was in an effort to bring peace and end killings in the Northern part of Kenya.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finally, your main argument (At least the main one you stated) Guns will make the ordinary cit safer if he/she has them.

Studies have shows (Mostly done for police departments) that unless a person has regular (4 times a year) training of 25 hours, he tends to freeze. And experiments have shown the same.

After the Newton shootings, a police department offered a course on guns for people at a college (For usage in emergency situations (ie: a gunner shooting)

It was about 6 hours of training (More than the ordinary citizen would accept to do)

And, later, they had more classes, and, unknown to the students (who were armed) they had a “shooter” come into the classroom (He was actually armed with a paint ball gun, but designed to look like a real one) and start shooting people.

All 6 of the students who received the 6 hours of training on what to do in that situation either

a) Froze or

b) fumbled for their gun for a long time (And all got shot before they could shoot at the shooter (Their bullets had been replaced with blanks while they had changed after the first lessons)

That shows that the majority of people will not be effective when a shooter appears.

And you say that you’re really an idiot if your kid gets a hold of your gun?

Well, most people don’t secure their guns in a way that their kids could get to them.

Especially for the people who fight most fervently for their gun rights (Southern country people, often with no more than a high school degree) often keep their guns in easy to reach places for t hem:

By the door, under the bed, in the drawer by the bed, etc.

Which also mean it’s not too hard for anyone else who knows were the guns are to get them.

In short, while I’ll admit that letting citizens have guns won’t increase violence by those people (Though that’s not true, as many legal guns are used for acts such as suicide, or accidental deaths, or injuries)

But assuming that letting law-abiding citizens acquire guns won’t increase the violent use of these by them, it will allow others greater access, and will make it easier if someone does go insane (Which does happen, see the college shooting were a professor shot her co-workers after being denied tenure.)

Those are just my 17 cents.

If I forgot any of your arguments, please tell me and I will rebute them appropriately.

What do  you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Think I shouldn’t make comments that long on facebook? Tell me!

Tell me! Comment!

Statistics… slightly demystified – and more.

I read today’s Daily Post, suggesting  to keep  a regular posting schedule (Something I will now try to apply, thanks to the ability to choose when a post is published with WordPress) which led me to the comments, and clicking through to blogs, and I saw http://cherispeak.wordpress.com .

Her blog is awesome, and informative, and interesting. And there’s a fair bit of information about wordpress stats.

In case you haven’t realised, I love statistics. Cold. Hard. Numbers.

I basically stalk my stats page.

Anyway, the posts that most influenced this post are her post about wordpress statistics her post about why to use images, why to pinterest items, and the daily daily post.

I do love statistics, though sometimes they aren’t too obvious.

 

Anyway, the takeaways I have from those links are:

Insert images in the posts, pinterest them. That should bring me links… I believe.

Get a blog design such as Cheri’s. This isn’t cause she said it (She did suggest it though) but from personal observation: Whenever I go to a blog with multi block design (Rather than traditional scroll down design) I will ctrl click a ton of links. Wereas otherwise I will just scroll.

Post regularly. Not more often, but less in bursts.

Keep on stalking those stats. I still love them.

 

What are your thoughts on statistics? You love em? Hate em?

Otherwise, what are your visitor getting tips (Other than awesome content, which I try to do :))

 

 

A Decision Tiebreaking Tip

I was watching a video about Emoti-Con (Before deciding to join it’s A-Team – helping organize it) and among it they had a quote by one of the speaker : « Choose the path that leaves you the most possibilities. »

That struck me more than other stuff in the video. It struck me because I agree with it, and because, well, it’s true. It is also useful for helping to make a decision. He illustrates it with college. You could try to get a job somewhere: Waiter or something, or go to college. You should choose college, says he (Or she, I forget. I am using he because there is no gender neutral personal pronoun (They is incorrect, it is generally used for non-human stuff.)(I believe there should be a gender neutral pronoun)) Were was I… O yeah, you should choose college because that will open up more doors, leave you more possibilities. You could still become a waiter, or whatever it was you wanted before. But you won’t be restricted to that.

At least, that’s what I took away from it.

 

In any case, it is something I agree with, and I believe it can, and should be used to help one makes one’s decisions.

If you are faced with a choice, and both options seem equivalent, choose the one which will leave the most possibilities in the future. However, only use this method once you have thought out the decision, and are at a stalemate.

This should not be the determining factor, only a tiebreaker.

Do you agree? Do you think I am completely wrong? Do you have thoughts about choosing the options which will leave you with the most options? Do you like pink bananas? Tell me! Comment.

 

 

 

One Billion Rising! A mouvement against violence towards women

1billionrising logo

Come! Join us all!

A few weeks ago I heard about UNiTE LFNY at my school, and joined it. It is a group (even an approved NGO by the UN) focused on raising awareness, and hopefully calling people to action because of that, to violence committed towards women around the world.

Today, I was at the Global Kids place for the Hive Youth Council, and the person who was talking and from there (There was also Anjum for Popsquad, us, we who use the Mozilla webapp Popcorn (I was in London with her) But it wasn’t  her who was used to the place. It was the other person who presented it… I cant seem to remember her name.) and she mentioned at the end that they were participating with 1billionrising – a vday (Valentines day) event which was happening worldwide to raise awareness towards violence against women.

Anyway, I am going to be there, yeah!

You should check if there is an event happening near you! http://vspot.vday.org/vday/events has an interactive map for you!

Go there, and tell all your friends! Draw noise on twitter and tumblr and facebook and everything! #1billionrising #vday are the hashtags to have! Now go!

Tactile Learning

I am a tactile thinker. I have been realizing it more and more, and confirmed it recently. I was talking to someone about my third grade teacher, and said she didn’t remember me any more. When asked what she looked like, I couldn’t say. I had seen her the day before, my third grade teacher, but I couldn’t visualize her. And I never can. I can, as I said “Feel what she looks like.” It’s true. I always recognize her. I am good at recognizing people. I think the most notable was recognizing someone I had last seen 6 years before, when I was 7 years old at the time (That I had seem them last.) I could never describe them. I can’t visualize him. I can feel what he looks like. It’s hard to describe.

Before that, the thing that most reminded me that I was a tactile learner was when I remembered a pair of pants, and that it was mine. I didn’t remember seeing it, or hearing about it. I remembered manipulating the label and looking at the materials.

I think the fact that I am very active, limit ADD (apparently, I was in a study about ADD, part of the control group, but they have you undergo a psychological examination first, and she said I was limit ADD, or ADHD… I don’t remember.) and very active. Jumping around, I always run places, sprint up stairs, jump down stairs, rolls, hand springs… I have recently developed a liking for doing headstands from the floor, off-stage, onto the top of the stage, at the edge of it. Or jumping on an area about as wide as my foot, while on one foot repeatedly cause I was bored. But I also enjoy computers, and can stay at it all day without doing anything else. Coding, reading, learning, whatever.

Anyway, I think this just shows the different ways people learn or think quite well.

An trainbound observation.

A train, in the middle of the tracks, right before queens plaza, on the E train. We are moving, we slow down, we stop. No noise comes from the train; it has stopped. No noise comes from the mouths; they have stopped. This allows me to observe all the people on the train, with the faint sound of Adele leaking from the white Apple headphones of the guy besides me. Lets start with him. He is of Hispanic descent. His large black coat covers his figure before going over black pants, themselves covering black sneakers, themselves with green stripes on them. His hair is short, razed leaving only a small thick line along the top of his head. His breathing is calm, his head moving slightly with the music. Horrible taste is what he has.

Standing in front of me, slightly to the left is a women. She has green eyes, and is perturbed by this unexpected disruption. I check what my left leg, and see her dark blue bag, the two black straps held together with a used, nicked, airport sticker. She arrived in Laguardia New York airport on January first on a Delta flight, and lives in California. She is with her boyfriend, and, when asked, they said they are leaving from JFK. They are in their late twenties, maybe they are doing a honeymoon trip around the world… A gold watch adorns her left wrist, and a red leather bag is on her left shoulder, covering her small black coat. “This train will be making all local stops to Jamaica Center” says the disjointed voice from above. It’s supposed to be express… They start discussing whether to get off at Roosevelt avenue to take a proper E there. “We should have taken a cab” she says. “65th street” the disjointed voice tells us. The doors open and close 3-4 times. She moves her hand to the top of the pole, her gray t-shirt smoothing along her stomach. “Due to a Brooklyn bound at Jackson heights, this E train will be making all local stops.” That’s what I heard, at least. The conductors should be given oration lessons. She looks around once, readjusting her blue bag, and I turn my attention to her mate, the other half of the couple.

He is in maybe his early 30s, probably younger. A yellowish beard goes down his face, connecting with the mustache, a similar fashion – very much there, but trimmed White apple headphones are in his ears. Not the free ones, the ones with the mic on them. He has a red bag. A gray sweater covering his button up, blue and white checkered shirt, I figure he is also probably a liberal arts graduate. But he has an expensive watch. I guess a programmer would fit his profile too. He has an i-Phone, so he probably has a mac. I noticed many programmers at Mozilla using macs, he could be a programmer. “Are you excited to get your ear pierced though?: she asks him “Yeah.” he answers, not too enthusiastic “This is, wood-haven boulevard we are informed by the clearly pronunciating, yet completely inhuman voice. I am distracted by a man with a beret, and no french or European accent (But not a new york accent either) say “Bon voyage” as he leaves. “Bon voyage” repeats the woman in front of me with a chuckle. “What time’s our flight at?” “5:34” “Fuck, I thought it was at like 6” It is 4:25 right now. That doesn’t leave them much time, though they can still make it. He doesn’t think they will. “Do you think we should get a cab?” she asks “yeah, we should” he answers. They don’t get off at the next stop. I can sense that the lady next to me is watching what I am doing. The font is tiny, she probably couldn’t read it, but I reduce it to four.. “Maybe we could make it be “ she says… “How does it work?” the lady next to me asks, and I answer, before being distracted by the woman in front of me “I figured if we left at 3:30 we would be ok”she said. And the train arrived noisily in my station, and I left the train, and it squealed away in a cacophony of sound.

 

This post was interesting, in response to the challenge to write in detail a scene. I wrote about the people of the subway.

I am on twitter!

I have been following the daily post (You should too, especially if you have a  blog!) and usually just read their posts passivly, and rarely act on the advice. (Though I do sometimes.)

This is one of the rare times that I follow all of the advice in it: The post is about twitter, and why you should join.

You should read it, and heed it! I am now at twitter with the handle (That’s what it’s called, right? Handle?)  @Teenmaker (It wasn’t used! Yay!)

Follow me!

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