Ben’s Story of Firefox OS

Like my good old colleague Ben Francis, I too have a lot to say about Firefox OS.

It’s been little over a year since my team and I moved away from Firefox OS and the ill-fated Connected Devices group. Over the course of last year, each time I think about the Firefox OS experience, I arrived at different conclusions and complicated, sometimes emotional, belives. I didn’t feel I am ready to take a snapshot of these thoughts and publish it permanently, so I didn’t write about it here. Frankly, I don’t even think I am ready now.

In his post, Ben has pointed out many of the turning points of the project. I agree with many of his portrayals, most importantly, lost of direction between being a product (which must ship fast and deliver whatever partners/consumers wanted and used to) and a research project (which involves engineering endeavors that answer questions asked in the original announcement). I, however, have not figured out what can be done instead (which Ben proposed in his post nicely).

Lastly, a final point: to you, this might as well be another story in the volatile tech industry, but to me, I felt the cost of people enormously whenever a change was announced during the “slow death” of Firefox OS.

People moves on and recovers, including me (which fortunately wasn’t nearly being hit the hardest). I can only extend my best wishes to those who had fought the good fight with.


Time Well Spent 是一個宣導科技產品設計應該以人的價值為出發點的網站。他批評目前的科技產品以延長使用者的使用時間為目標,介面與互動總是設計成讓人會無法抗拒的繼續使用下去,或是竭盡所能地想要得到使用者的注意力,打斷現在正在專心做的事情。

這兩天和影片的作者聯絡,請他把 YouTube 的字幕翻譯功能打開,把中文字幕翻譯好。如果您在設計您的下一個網站或是 App,這是一個值得考慮的目標。

(人到了 30 歲對時間就會有不同的看法…)

The slow death of RSS feed

One of the sad things about a decentralized system is that they will never go away — they simply enjoy a slow death with critical infrastructures being turned off one at a time.

I was recently told that Google Feed API had been shut down, years after Google closes the Reader. It, unfortunately, breaks many of my “serverless” single-page web apps (the HTML5 Word Cloud being one prominent example).

Twitter closed the RSS feed for user timelines a few years ago. Facebook once had RSS feed for the profiles, but they realized they could put everyone in their walled garden.

Granted, for the users’ sake these centralized systems are better regarding the user experiences. There just wasn’t a viable evolution path for the RSS ecosystem (or, “blogging,” in layman’s term) to outgrow the walled garden today.

For the “better” user experiences, we traded in the portability of data, the ability to remix the data (like the Word Cloud case), and with the present democracy-endangering challenges like fake news, we ended up being inevitably helpless, and look at these mighty companies to tweak their algorithms. It’s just not their responsibilities to enable their users to read across the aisle.

The next thing should turn this around.