Sep 282007

This week’s Friday 5:

  1. What is your favorite (toy) stuffed animal?
    I still have the teddy bear I got for my first Christmas, although he’s tucked away on a shelf in a closet.  He’s awesome, if a little threadbare.
  2. What do you think of stuffed animals as gifts?
    Depends on the recipient.  The younger a kid is, the better a gift it makes.  And it works great for a woman you love.
  3. What do you do with a stuffed animal you don’t want?
  4. What are your thoughts on the whole Beanie Babies craze of the nineties?
  5. How many stuffed animals do you own?
    Personally?  About a dozen.  In my household?  I’m totally overrun!  I have a toddler!
 Posted by at 10:56 AM
Sep 212007

My announcement the other day that we were almost done documenting Firefox 3 had exactly the desired effect: everyone took a look and sent me panicky emails telling me about things that weren’t on the documentation plan yet.  Excellent!

This is largely my fault, as I somehow completely forgot to consider the bugs tagged with the “dev-doc-needed” keyword in Bugzilla.  Fortunately, several of them are done already or already on the list of things still remaining to write up, and others are about relatively minor changes to things that have never been documented.

The plan for the Firefox 3 documentation is to document wholly new stuff in its entirety, update existing docs where available, and so forth.  If something has been changed in an API that has never been documented, it won’t be dealt with until all the other docs are finished.

Hopefully once Firefox 3 is out the door there will be some time to work on filling in those gaps.

There are only two or three major areas that got inadvertently left off the doc plan, including web-based protocol handlers and one or two others.  Now that they’re on my radar, they’ll be taken care of.  Fortunately, none of that stuff seems big enough to throw us off the track of having complete documentation by release.

In the meantime, most of the documentation I’ve been working on lately is relatively unglamorous despite its importance.  Lots of fairly minor tweaks in semi-random places.  Nothing particularly bloggable, hence my stretches of quiet lately.

But documentation will kick back into interesting territory as I start work on the XPCOM cycle collector stuff (although as I look at it, it looks closer to done than not) and Places, starting today or Monday.

 Posted by at 1:33 PM
Sep 202007

This week’s Friday 5 is thus:

  1. When were you the coldest you’ve ever been?
    When I was in, I think, high school, my family went up to Lake Tahoe for a day, and while we were there, we rented snowmobiles.  Well, I didn’t have my driver’s license along, so I had to sit on the back of one driven by my grandfather, and kept falling off the back of it.  Wound up with my legs completely soaking wet and caked with (and stuffed with) snow.  Once we finally got going, between the coldness of the air and the wind chill, that was pretty freaking cold!
  2. When were you the hottest you’ve ever been?
    Houston in August.  Oh. My. God.  110 degrees and 105% humidity.  Freakish.
  3. When were you the tiredest you’ve ever been?
    When I was working in the computer game industry, I once spent some 140 consecutive hours working essentially non-stop.  Started on Friday morning, worked straight through until Wednesday morning, trying to meet a deadline for a game where one of our key technology programmers had skipped town unannounced with his code in a non-functioning and non-compiling state.  By the time I got home at around noon on Wednesday, I was so tired I physically couldn’t sleep.
  4. When were you the most stressed you’ve ever been?
    See #3.
  5. When were you the dirtiest you’ve ever been?
    As a matter of personal preference, I avoid dirt.  I’m sure it was sometime when I was very young though.
 Posted by at 8:28 PM
Sep 202007

Another of my tasks for the coming weeks and months is to prioritize work on various pieces of our documentation, in terms of making improvements and ensuring that we have great translations into all the languages of our many community members.

So I thought I’d get some input from the community on this.

If for some reason you could only have three pieces of the documentation on the Mozilla Developer Center, what would they be?  For the purposes of this particular exercise (there will be more), let’s consider only existing documentation.

You don’t have to like the documents, you might even think they’re bad (in which case please tell us that you think so), but the idea here is to build a list of documents that we most need to ensure are of the highest quality and visibility.

So… which are your three?

 Posted by at 3:59 PM
Sep 202007

One of my goals for the upcoming fourth quarter is to attend a conference.  As a writer/documentation lead for Mozilla, the options are pretty broad.  Yet somehow I have no idea what conferences are out there that might be appropriate.  OK, I do know of two or three — however, I’d like to consider more options, since those already have pretty good coverage of Mozilla folks attending.

It would also be kind of cool to find something that I might take more away from as a writer and information organizer.

Anyone have any suggestions for a conference taking place in the October-December timeframe that’s web tech or documentation related that it might make sense for me to show up for?

 Posted by at 3:50 PM
Sep 192007

An idle recollection that popped into mind and I thought I’d share: the history of the nickname “Sheppy.”

Set your way-back machine to 1991, the year I bought a modem for my Apple IIgs and it came with  a copy of AppleLink Personal Edition on 3.5″ diskette.

So I was signing up for an AOL account (it had already been renamed by then; it was an old disk) and it wanted a username for me.  I expected to try out AOL, use my free hours for signing up, then cancel, so I decided to choose a username that I knew I wouldn’t want to keep long term, so that if I ever decided to join again in the future my real username would still be available.

So I picked “Sheppy” because it was a nickname that people used occasionally and I hated it.

It didn’t take long until I found I rather liked it on AOL (this was back in the days when they had 50,000 members, all Apple II users), so I wound up sticking around, but people called me Eric.  Then there was another Eric in one of the chat rooms I hung out in, so I became Sheppy in casual conversation.

Eventually I got used to it.

I still have that AOL account today, 16 years later.  I keep it because I use it for iChat, and I don’t want to lose that nickname!

 Posted by at 11:10 AM
Sep 182007

The vast majority of the items on the Firefox 3 documentation plan have now been written up to my satisfaction, with only a couple of major items remaining incomplete.  We’re on a fabulous track to have complete Firefox 3 developer documentation done by the time we ship Firefox 3 beta 1.  That’s an even better position than we were in for Firefox 2, where we got the documentation completed by final release.

Now, having said that, it will hopefully incite the developers working on the project to finally mosey on over to the documentation plan and check to be sure that the stuff they’ve been sweating over for the past year or more is actually listed and slated to be documented.

To be specific: if the API or other stuff you’re working on is not listed on the documentation plan, it will not be documented!   Everything that I know of that needs documentation is on the list, which means if it’s not on the list, I don’t know about it.  And if I don’t know about it, it won’t be written about.

So this is pretty much your last call — if you’re working on something that needs documentation, and you actually want to see people know what you’ve been doing, now is the time!  Double check the documentation plan today!

 Posted by at 4:17 PM
Sep 142007

Time for this week’s Friday 5, which is all about things taken from or of me:

  1. Who was the photographer the last time a picture of you was taken?
    My wife.
  2. When were you last taken by surprise?
    Every time my daughter says a new word that I didn’t think she’d ever heard.
  3. When were you last taken for a ride (interpret literally or figuratively!)?
    Last week my wife drove us to dinner a couple of times.
  4. Where were you the last time you wished to be “taken away from all this?”
    About 20 seconds ago.  Been a long week!
 Posted by at 10:24 AM
Sep 062007

This week’s Friday 5 is all about office supplies.

  1. What’s your favorite small office supply (like something that can fit in your top desk drawer)?
    Scotch tape.
  2. What’s your favorite medium office supply (like something that can fit on your desktop)?
    My Macintosh(es)!
  3. What’s your favorite large office supply (like a furnishing or a large tool)?
    A really sweet high-speed printer (mine is the Xerox Phaser 8650).
  4. To which specific office supply do you have a particular personal attachment?
    Um… that’s really none of your concern…
  5. Which office supply do you consider yourself something of an expert on?
    Scotch tape.  Did you know it was invented in the ’30s to be used to seal cellophane plastic together?
 Posted by at 8:43 PM