Suketu Mehta says Mumbai is a vada-pav eater’s city. Within a city of riotous diversity, vada-pav, typically a street food, may be an obvious unifying factor.

It’s also being cleverly co-opted as a symbol for MozCampMumbai, another amazing Mozilla community event, taking place on Sunday July 19 in Mumbai.


Speaking at MozCampDelhi was one of the highlights at the start of this year, and I’m sorry I can’t be at MozCampMumbai in person. Asa, Mary and I recorded a video for the occasion, which I suspect we’ll post on Air Mozilla before long. I spoke about font-face, HTML5 Video, and a few other things that I think are particularly relevant to folks attending MozCampMumbai.  If you’re attending MozCampMumbai and reading this after you’ve watched me prattle on in the video, happy MozHunt :)  Enjoy some vada-pav, hackery and conversations about the Web.

Facelifting the Medium

The medium is the message and all, but for a long time, my medium was the wallflower at the party. Basically, I’m saying I had an ugly looking blog. I’d frequently be too embarrassed by its sheer lack of graphical adroitness to do much writing on it. Now of course, smart designers will tell you that content is still king, and only a bad carpenter blames his tools. Who really cares about ugly fonts and the lack of pretty pictures, if I spun an engaging-enough yarn about the goings-on in my exciting web world? I was making excuses for my lack of blog updates, and Twitter was satisfying my need for public self-expression. But then, on a whim, I roped in my buddies Cindy Li and Matt Harris to fix things around the place.

Continue reading

SxSW 2009 | Four Guys Walk Into a Panel…

It’s that time of the year again, and I’m back. I’m doing the Browser Wars Panel again for the third whopping time, and this time there are a few things that are different from the last two years.

For one, I now actually work for a browser company. Sure, some folks argued that I never really left (at least spiritually, since the last time around) but there’s a difference between just contributing and picking up a paycheck. And this time, we’ve got a fourth participant — Darin Fisher, who now works on Google Chrome, will join the discussion I moderate. This will be a fun session — we’ll have to break Darin in, but he’s been around the block, too, with past history working on Mozilla. It’ll be a spirited discussion (some of us will talk smack), and audience participation makes it all worth it. But really, we want to discuss where the web is going from here. The web is 20 years old now, and was feted where it was originally invented today, at a nuclear research institute (CERN) in Switzerland. With the JavaScript performance wars, escalation on the standards front about things like fonts and graphics, and the advent of a new entrant, where do these guys think it will all go?

Some things, however, don’t change much over the course of three years. Still no Apple — their PR machinery won’t allow it, given the publicity this thing has gotten. But Darin (who worked on Firefox and Chrome) will speak for Google’s use of WebKit, Charles McCathieNevile (worked on lots of W3C specifications; is Opera’s standards officer) will speak again for Opera, Chris Wilson will represent IE (worked on every single version of the thing, and is a CSS muckety-muck), and Brendan (invented JavaScript) will represent Firefox.

If you’re in Austin, say hi. If my voice holds up, you can also see me at Fray Cafe, telling a story.

OSIM 2009

Yesterday I spoke at Open Source in Mobile USA 2009 (OSiM) . The theme of my talk was really that that web’s the platform of choice in mobile, and that it distills the riotous assembly of choices for mobile development (J2ME, Java SE. BREW, Objective C, to name a few) to web development in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Device APIs are thus really web APIs exposed to JavaScript; Geolocation is currently the prime use case. I also discussed our unique Mozilla modus operandi, which is often an exercise in structured, beautifully productive chaos.

Of course, mobile Firefox (Fennec) isn’t available on many devices, and we’ve got a lot of work left to realize the vision of the web being the platform of choice on mobile. How will that manifest itself? I got plenty of questions about WebKit vs. Firefox, and ease of use of each codebase for mobile projects. Mozilla’s platform (including XUL, extensions, and XPCOM) stands as a sometimes weighty alternative to WebKit, but people love the platform with its extensibility, and that’s where the promise lies. This theme will make a brief reappearance (amongst other themes) in my panel on March 16 at SxSW 2009, in which I’m sticking a Chrome guy, a Microsoft guy, an Opera guy, and a Mozilla guy together for a panel discussion on where the web is going.

Here’s my talk at OSiM 2009, available as a PDF file:


Feb 13, 2009

sethb and I don’t mean to tempt fate. We find ourselves whizzing through Lucknow on our way to the airport with that sinking feeling that we’re going to miss our flight. Our flight to Mumbai leaves at 7PM, and it’s already 645PM. A herd of buffalo blocks the road, and the driver’s nonchalance is both inspiring and enervating. We’re on our way to Pune (via Mumbai) for gnuNify 2009, where we’re scheduled to talk at the Mozilla Project Day.

We find that our flight is delayed, which means that though we make the flight (joy!), we eventually only get into Pune at 3.30a.m. (*sigh). Our talk is at 10a.m. w00t! We find ourselves chuckling with resignation.

Continue reading

An annotated anthology of Arun Ranganathan's Web noise.