Author chosen to finish The Wheel of Time
– When Robert Jordan died, he left behind his work on A Memory of Light, the final volume of his epic fantasy series, The Wheel of Time. His wife & editor has chosen Brandon Sanderson to complete the book, due out in 2009. Jordan was part way through the manuscript, left voluminous notes, and in the months before his death had told the remaining story to his family. There’s also an interview which I’ll have to read when I have more time.

Epic Pooh – Michael Moorcock on the state of fantasy literature, originally written in the 1970s but updated for the 21st century. The title comes from comparing the style of Lord of the Rings to Winnie the Pooh. I have no problem reading and enjoying both his work and Tolkien’s, and it doesn’t bother me that Phillip Pullman dislikes Tolkien’s work as well. (Link via something I was reading a few days ago.)

The Happy Endings Foundation [] – “originally founded in 2000 by Adrienne Small after she read the first book in A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket to her daughter. As well as making her feel thoroughly miserable, Mrs Small noticed her daughter seemed to take a more negative approach to life.” (Yes, it’s satire.)

And on another note:

Hixie’s Natural Log: Evolution in the species “Companies” – Microsoft’s dominance of the industry has killed off or absorbed many smaller companies. Those that have survived are those with strategies resistant to Microsoft’s tactics. The article looks at Mozilla, Google, and Apple. (via Asa Dotzler)

Flock. One of the problems with the ubiquitous Get Firefox! Get Opera! etc. web buttons is that while they might encourage someone unfamiliar with the product to check it out, they’re kind of pointless to someone who already uses your preferred browser. Sure, there’s a sense of, “Hey, this author uses Opera too!” but that’s about all it can do.

To make these a little more useful, on my Flash site, I use JavaScript to switch the button if someone’s using Firefox, and instead promote the Spread Firefox site. I’ve written up a similar method for Opera, though it’s less clear where to send people.

I recently discovered that Flock has taken another approach to solving this problem. As you may recall, Flock is a browser based on Firefox, focusing on social networking. It integrates with blogging sites, photo-sharing sites, bookmark-sharing sites and so on.

The Flockstars Extension expands on this by converting the button into a mini-profile. You fill in information like an avatar, usernames at Flickr, YouTube, etc., and links to your website(s). It generates button code that acts like an ordinary Flock button, but contains all this extra information.

The extension reads this information. Visitors to your site who are using Flock and the extension will see an icon in the toolbar, which will pop up a short profile and a menu of all the facets of your online presence.

It’s a cool idea, and seems to fit perfectly with Flock’s target audience. But it only solves half the problem. The browser promo badge is still there, still taking up space. The fact that the profile data is in the button code doesn’t make a difference; it might as well be stored in a set of META tags in the page head.

Alternative Browser Alliance - New LogoI’ve been thinking about this for a while, but it’s time to refocus the Alternative Browser Alliance. Mozilla’s Asa Dotzler has referred to Firefox and Internet Explorer as the “mainstream browsers” for more than a year now, and it looks like that’s become true.

The web is no longer an IE monopoly. It’s become an IE/Firefox oligopoly. Firefox is no longer an alternative web browser. It’s sold out, its ads are everywhere, and it even allows people to build Firefox-only code.

So, starting today (April 1, 2007), the Alternative Browser Alliance will no longer promote Firefox.

So what will replace it? I thought about Opera, but most of its install base is on cell phones and PDAs, and we all know the mobile web browser is dead, right? Safari? Well, it turns out that WebKit is shutting down.

So the site will be putting its weight behind iCab. It’s as alternative as they come, and it’s guaranteed to remain that way (since it won’t run on Vista).

Update: Yes, it’s an April Fools joke.

Overly-cute fox with puppy-dog eyes, captioned: Please don’t hurt the web. Use open standardsThe Mozilla Developer Center has just posted some desktop wallpaper promoting open standards, (and the MDC itself) with the theme, “Please don’t hurt the web. Use open standards.”

Apparently the design was a big hit as a poster at SXSW.

For those who haven’t seen it, the MDC is a great developer resource for web developers, describing lots of standards along with Mozilla-specific information.

(via Rhian @ SFX, who notes that the image is available for use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license. These wallpapers are also covered by the Mozilla Trademark Policy.)