Google,, Mozilla

Implementing Mozilla Persona on

When I first launched as a Google Chrome extension translation platform four years ago, I used Google OpenID to authenticate users, because:

a) I didn’t want people to have to create a new username and password.


b) It made sense that Chrome extension authors and translators would already have Google accounts.

Years passed, and Google announced that they’re shutting down their OpenID support. I spent three hours following their instructions for upgrading the replacement system (“Google+ Enterprise Connect+” or something like that), and not surprisingly, it was time wasted. The instructions didn’t match up with the UIs of the pages they were referencing, so it was an exercise in futility. I’ve noticed this to be typical of Google’s developer-facing offerings.

I made the decision to drop Google and switch to Mozilla’s Persona authentication system. Persona is like those “Sign in with Twitter/Facebook/Google” buttons, except instead of being tied to a social network, it’s tied to an email address — something everyone has. My site never has access to your password, and you don’t have to remember yet another username.

In stark contrast to my experience with Google’s new auth system, Persona took less than an hour to implement. Forty-five minutes passed from when I read the first line of documentation to the first time I successfully logged in to via Persona.


If you originally signed in to with your GMail address, you won’t notice much of a difference, since Persona automatically uses Google’s newest authentication system anyway.

Mozilla does so many things to enhance the Open Web, and Persona is no exception. Developers: use it. Users: enjoy it.

Funny, Google, Life

Offline Mode

Last year, I went on a Caribbean cruise with my wife and her family. I had a great time, but the downside to seven days aboard a floating resort in sparkling blue water is that the Internet access is prohibitively expensive: during that week, I was completely offline for the first time since my family first signed up with AOL in 1997, and this made me realize that I rely on search engines to answer the questions that life raises far more than I suspected. I’m sure that, to my wife, “Offline Chris” seems much less knowledgable than “Online Chris.”

Presented below without comment is a list of searches I would have performed if I could have; I don’t think it will be turned into one of those Google commercials any time soon, but it’s a pretty concise summary of our trip. See if you can infer anything about our trip; post your guesses in the comments.

  • define:Kirschwasser
  • How many people on Carnival Valor
  • define:vichyssoise
  • How many people have tattoos?
  • Capital of Belize
  • Denver channel 4 anchor
  • How to get cork out of bottle
  • Anteater bite
  • Tetracycline
  • Treat infection
  • Capuchin monkey
  • 10 knots in mi/hr
  • BWI cayman
  • Honduras ca
  • iTunes hey baby
  • Satellite Internet speeds
  • Office webisodes
  • Jack Welch
  • iTunes Brand New Day
  • Convert KW to HP
Google, Google Documents

Google redefines the folder

Google Documents logoInside the official announcement of some upgrades to Google Documents is this section about the new “folders” feature:

“Almost from the day we launched people have been clamoring for folders. They’re here! […] documents can live in more than one folder at a time.”

I don’t know about you, but where I come from, that’s not a folder; it’s a tag. A folder is meant to be a real-world representation of a manila file folder, and I don’t know of many real-world documents that can bend the fabric of space to be in two different file folders at once.

In order to avoid watering down the definitions of both tags and folders, Google should call a spade a spade and a tag a tag.


Dear Google…

Why do people only write formal letters to corporations when they have a problem? It’s like the college-aged child who only writes home when he needs money. I’d like to see more of this:

Dear Google,

How are things with you? I’m doing well, if you were wondering. Congratulations on your DoubleClick acquisition; it sounds like you really burned Microsoft’s biscuits on that one! LOL What else are you up to these days? Just thought I’d drop you a line.

Have a good one,


P.S. What are you doing on Friday – want to grab some beers? I’ll send you an invite on Facebook.

Come on, let’s show our favorite mega-companies how much they mean to us with some no-strings-attached correspondence.

Browser Add-ons, Google, GoogleTabs, Programming

Decommissioning GoogleTabs

I’ve decided to retire GoogleTabs, one of the very first extensions I ever wrote. GoogleTabs adds a context-menu option to open all of the Google search results on the current page in tabs.

I made this decision for several reasons:

  • I don’t have time to keep up with Google. Every time they change the HTML for any of their search result pages, I have to update the extension and release a new version.
  • I don’t use the extension. All of my other extensions came about to fill one of my browsing needs, and in a few cases, other people found the extension useful as well. Since I never really used GoogleTabs, I don’t feel the same need to keep it current.
  • There are better solutions. There are other extensions like Snap Links and Linky that do the same thing, but on a wider scale. It doesn’t make sense to have a Google-specific version when you can have one extension that mass-opens links on all webpages.

According to Mozilla Addons, GoogleTabs was downloaded a total of 95,322 times (plus the downloads directly from my site), so it had a pretty good run. Rest in peace, GoogleTabs.