24 Aug 2016
Were you one of the brave pioneers who participated in the original Test Pilot
program? You deserve a hearty thanks!
Are you also someone who never bothered to uninstall the old Test Pilot add-on
which has been sitting around in your browser ever since? Or maybe you were
hoping the program would be revived and another experiment would appear? Or
maybe you forgot all about it?
If that's you, I've got news: I'm releasing an upgrade for the old Test Pilot
add-on today which will:
- Open a new tab inviting you to join the new Test Pilot program
- Uninstall itself and all related settings and data
If you're interested in joining the new program, please click through and
install the new add-on when you're prompted. If you're not interested, just
close the tab and be happy your browser has one less add-on it needs to load
every time you start it up.
The old add-on is, well, old, so it can only be uninstalled after you restart
Firefox. It's all automatic when you do, but if you're waiting for a prompt
and don't see it, that could be the culprit.
If you already have the new Test Pilot add-on installed, you can just close
the new tab. The old add-on will be uninstalled and your existing Test Pilot
add-on (and any experiments you have running) will be unaffected.
A special thanks to Philipp Kewisch and Andreas Wagner for their help
writing and reviewing the add-on.
10 May 2016
Check out Test Pilot or read the official announcement.
I joined the Test Pilot team in January and am pleased to be a part of launching
our experiment platform today on testpilot.firefox.com! Our goal is to
provide a portal where you can easily browse and play with experimental features
We're starting out with three new experiments so people can get a feel for what
the program is like and we'll be rotating new experiments in as previous ones
graduate from the program.
Behind the scenes is a pretty comprehensive pipeline to rocket an idea from the
back of a napkin to being used by users in a short period of time. If you have
an idea (bonus points if it's already an add-on) and would like to get in the
program let us know, look us up in #testpilot on irc.mozilla.org, or get in
touch with me directly.
15 Mar 2016
I work with some cool cats who are on the cutting edge of hip new technologies
like emojis. OS X shows the emojis correctly but if I'm using IRC over SSH
from Linux all I see are missing characters:
Are they ready to push the site? I always just assume so, but before that comes
back to bite me I decided to write a quick script to replace emojis with their
On the left is their view, and on the right is my client that is still stuck in
If you run weechat and would like to use the script:
- Copy emoji2alias.py to ~/.weechat/python
/python load emoji2alias.py
If you want it to load automatically:
ln -s ../emoji2alias.py .
27 Jan 2016
Effective immediately, we've renamed the Idea Town program to Test Pilot.
The original Test Pilot was an opt-in "labs" project around measuring what people
actually did with the browser in small experiments, but hasn't been used in over
a year and has no future plans. We'll be using the name and some of the assets
to accelerate our original Idea Town plans.
At first glance the two projects appear similar but have key differences. I
originally wrote a list to clarify what the new Test Pilot program was but
decided it would be most useful if everyone could see it. Below is a rough
description of the new Test Pilot.
- Test Pilot is an evolving set of stepping stones for getting an idea from a
concept stage to landing in Firefox itself in an expedient way, being measured
and verified along that path.
- Test Pilot is not a prototyping team.
- Test Pilot team members are amplifiers of people participating in the program.
When a person or group submits an idea to Test Pilot they are starting a
process in which they should expect to be involved until a conclusion is
- Test Pilot team members help participants progress through the Test Pilot
process in whichever ways are needed - from boiling an idea down to get at a
measurable core concept, documenting an idea thoroughly, iterating on designs
and prototypes, assisting with coding, communicating with appropriate teams
around Mozilla, and helping uplift a successful idea to its next stage in
life. An analogy could be made between Test Pilot team members and
- Test Pilot's intention is to facilitate providing decision-makers with quality,
focused data in a short period of time.
- Test Pilot works very closely with the Mozilla community (including paid
I'm working on our migration plan but the Test Pilot wiki page is up and
contains links to getting involved and staying up to date on further changes.
Long live Test Pilot. Again.
11 Jan 2016
This is just a quick post to highlight some logistical changes:
After nearly a decade of working on AMO I'm passing the module ownership and
engineering management to the very capable Andy McKay, who has also been
working on it for many years. With this transition, I think, it's the first
time that the AMO website and the add-ons support in the platform are all
reporting to the same manager. I expect this will mean a much more streamlined
experience and I'm happy to see the add-ons program is getting a lot of
organizational support in 2016.
At the same time, I'm also passing my engineering responsibilities on the
Firefox Marketplace to David Durst, and, let's be fair, he's been doing
them all for a long time anyway. David will continue supporting the Marketplace
for the TVs which just launched this month, as well as wherever the new
connected devices program takes Mozilla.
I'll be transitioning to the Idea Town team as the engineering manager,
working closely with the Firefox team and the community to get ideas from
concepts to landing in the browser in record time. Look for more info on what
that means soon!
Thanks for your support while we all transition.