It’s been a while since I last posted and even though I’m the only one who reads this I feel the need to account for the 5+ months. It’s mainly been work with some cool travel interspersed. So here are some highlights.
March 30th was my 9yr anniversary at Mozilla. I’ve been working on all things related to search for the last 16 months. Nothing much has been released in Firefox yet but we just spent our All Hands week in Whistler planning out all the cool stuff we’re going to build the second half of this year. Also, I got to make these cool videos for the plenary. It was so much fun.
Over the spring I got to visit some pretty beautiful places. First we visited the Grand Canyon. I hiked all the way down and back up in one day with some friends. It was amazing. Then we went to Zion. It looks like some kind of fantasy Leonardo da Vinci landscape. Also amazing. Then it was another trip to Big Bend were we did the South Rim trail and then gazed at stars. Finally, we spent our anniversary and my birthday in Maui. More amazing.
Last night the clouds cleared out by about 9pm and Rebecca and I had a spectacular view of the lunar eclipse from the back deck. Our friends Pete and Carol joined us along with our neighbor Katie. It was really nice to share the event with friends and be able to step inside to warm up periodically.
Normally, I think the full moon is the least exciting moon to look at in a telescope because it looks completely flat. When there’s some shadow, you can really see the surface details. The eclipse is something totally different though. The colors are amazing and what I found particularly interesting was how it seemed to become a sphere again once it was completely in shadow. Especially in the binoculars, it looked like a little ball that you could just reach out and grab. Another nice surprise was being able to see stars near the moon. Normally they’re completely washed out. You can see one at the lower left in this photo.
I was worried that the moon was going to be too high in the sky and my telescope wouldn’t be able to track it because the eyepiece or camera would run into the mount but it turned out that I had just enough clearance to get 30+ minutes into totality. That gave us plenty of time to observe and swap the eyepiece out for the camera to get some photos. This was a 1 second exposure with a 1600 iso taken with my Lumix GX85 connected to my Celestron SE 8 and an f/6.3 focal reducer.
A couple of weeks ago we took a vacation out in the redwoods of Sonoma county, CA. I grabbed a couple of nice shots of the milky way one night. It’s amazing how many more stars you can see at night when you’re not in a light polluted downtown. Below is a 100% crop of shot from my house (left) which is a class 8 sky and one from Cazadero (right), a class 3 sky.
Life is what I always try to understand—its depths and its mystique of rise and fall. I struggle for it throughout my life. From day to day, I understand the greatness brought by this mystique as well as that love is eternal and keeps appearing and disappearing. And what is more, I am very pleased to be alive after realizing that I have overcome this everyday life and been able to reach today. Yet we keep flashing, disappearing, and again blossoming out in this Eternity. Yayoi Kusama
It was a fairly clear night so I tried to take a few more photos from with my camera attached to the top of my telescope. This is a 13 second exposure of Mars (brightest object on the lower left) and Saturn (towards the upper right). Click though to see the full sized image to see some other cool objects. The M7 star cluster can be see way over on the right edge about even with Mars. M8, the Lagoon Nebula, can be seen to the lower right of Saturn. It looks like a line of stars pointing slightly upward (left to right). What’s amazing to me is that from here you can’t see a tenth of these stars with your naked eyes.
Our local UX meetup put on a conference last week and I talked about my experience working on onboarding for Firefox. It was really strange to be talking at a conference again. Back in my videoblogging days I did it often — including speaking at SXSW — but I haven’t done that in many years. Also, I wrapped up my work on onboarding and switched to working on our search experience a few months ago. But still, it felt good to put the things I’ve learned together in a talk. Check out the slides and my notes at Notist.
And a quick note about the conference itself — I was super impressed. It was a really nice event and I enjoyed all the speakers and getting to meet people. I especially enjoyed hearing Dr. Laura Faulkner talk about her work “Beyond the Five-User Assumption.”
Also, thanks to @ProfClayton for the cool sketch notes above.
We’ve had some clear weather lately and I’ve had a chance to take a couple of photos with my telescope. First, I got an attachment that allow my camera to ride piggyback on the tube. This let’s me shoot a super wide field that still tracks the sky. So here’s a shot of Orion.
And then the other night, Jupiter’s red spot was visible so I grabbed a quick shot of it.
Hopefully I’ll get a chance to get out to a dark site this summer and take some more photos.
Rebecca and I went to the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art today. The big exhibit was new works by Ron Mueck. He creates these incredibly detailed and lifelike sculptures (mostly of people) that are either much smaller or much larger than the real thing.
I was only vaguely familiar with his work — as in it’s likely I skimmed this blog post once. Seeing it in person though was exhilarating. And the center piece, Couple under an Umbrella (2013), made me smile, and hopeful and happy. I can’t stop thinking about it.