Jorge Villalobos
Ideas, technology and the occasional rant

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 closes the deal

This is old news for most, and I wanted to post this sooner: on April 22nd, killed all free radio outside of the US, UK and Germany.
This sucks for, because we lose a lot of the motivation we had to work on it. One of the great things about is the fact that it worked everywhere. Now you need a subscription, which is not expensive, but it's still money. Most people I know won't pay for it. Too bad.
We'll continue working on it, but now it's just not as exciting. An update is necessary because there's still plenty to fix. I'm meaning to spend some time on it. Soon. However, I think we won't go far from what we currently have. will probably stay pretty much the same for its remaining lifetime.
You suck, record labels. Your time is coming, you bet it is.

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Moving on

Some 3 weeks ago, I stopped working full time for Glaxstar. I decided to move on and try to be on my own for a while; see where my imagination takes me. I'll continue doing some work for Glaxstar every now and then, but I'm mostly focusing on my own projects now.
I'm so picky when it comes to actually starting something on my own. I don't like doing what everyone else is doing, so that makes things difficult. All my ideas so far involve some sort of open source project that is very likely to produce next to nothing monetarily. And I kinda like it like that...
Perhaps the Add-ons Contributions update will save me. We'll see. For now, I'll focus on silly projects and Mario Galaxy. I love that game.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008 wins Best Music Add-on on Extend Firefox

We won!
Only a few hours ago, Mozilla announced that won in the Best Music Add-on category of the Extend Firefox 3 contest. We were aiming for Best New Add-on as well, but hey, you can't have everything, can you?
There's also coverage of the contest results at Life Hacker. Be sure to vote in the poll for Fir... er, your favorite winner. Ahem.
I'm very pleased that we won, because it took a lot of time and effort to get 1.0 out the door. Now we can lay back and... oh wait, we can't. We're up to version 1.1.1 already, and there's still plenty of work to do. Some bugs to fix and some features to add, all giving users the best musical experience they can get from an extension.
Congratulations to all the other winners, there are some really good Add-ons there and I'll surely to try some of them.
For now, that is all. If you don't have, try it now.

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Saturday, July 05, 2008 1.0

Last Thursday, July 3rd 2008, marked the release of 1.0, an extension built from scratch by a team of two, myself included. This extension allows you to listen to most of the radio stations available at, and it integrates with Firefox smoothly, bringing your browsing experience and music discovery together. Get it now.

And now to the history lesson.
I've always been interested in the Extend Firefox contest. I've always to participate and see if I could win something, even if only experience. But in its last installments, even though I was seriously interested in it, I decided not to participate, shielding myself in excuses such as not having a good idea for an extension, or not having enough time for it. Partly true, but nevertheless they were just excuses. I think I was just afraid of taking the dive.
This year it was different, though. I saw something I hadn't seen in previous years, which kind of clicked on my head. It was the fact that there was a new category in the contest: Best Music Extension, sponsored by I saw this as a great opportunity to make something that was really useful for me and others, and also an opportunity to convince a great XUL developer to join my team. Jose Enrique is also a music buff, so it all fell in place.
Soon enough we began our plans. Honestly I didn't know much about before the contest announcement, but I became a fan in no time. I used to use a site called Pandora, but then it was restricted to the United States alone. seems to work worldwide, and their music database is nothing short of impressive. Their wiki-like approach to all of their content makes the site pretty much build itself, and their social capabilities are very well crafted. Making an extension to interact with seemed like the best idea for our project. I think we were right.
The project at Sourceforge was registered on the 2nd of May, a little over 2 months ago. Our first code commit followed shortly. About 60 days and almost 300 code changes later, version 1.0 was released. At the moment of this writing it is still in an "Experimental" state at AMO, but we hope to get editor approval some time soon. Still, we already have over 500 registered downloads, and only about 4 of those are mine :P . We also submitted the extension to the contest page on the same day it was released as 1.0, one day before the deadline. It'll take about a month before hearing from the judges.
I think we have a chance of winning. We spent a great deal of time polishing every feature, finding out how to bring the best possible user experience, and - luckily - getting rid of bugs, big and small.
This leads to a funny anecdote. We released version 0.5 about a month ago, thinking that it would require a little polish and a bit of new features for it to be done. We told everyone we could to download it and give it a spin... Long story short, we released 0.6 the day after, and 0.7 the day after that. Version 0.8 followed a few days after that, and we finally felt the cool breeze of stability. We had plenty of time to polish the extension for 1.0, fixing a few more bugs, mostly minor things. There are still a few bugs to fix after 1.0, but the support requests we're getting are minimal. I think we've done a good job :).
Thanks to the help of the people at Babelzilla, we were able to release in French, Japanese, Polish and Russian. That on top of the English and Spanish versions, which we provided.
As for the features, we made a big point of making this extension an actual extension. It is very common to see extensions that turn Firefox into Firefox + a media player, or Firefox + some game, or some instance of Firefox + X. These are still nice exercises, and I guess people find them useful, but they aren't really what I would extensions. I think an extension must blend into the browser, and provide to the user an enhanced browsing experience. does this by allowing users to launch stations from hyperlinks, searching stations through the location bar, context menu options to launch stations, and several links between currently played music and their information pages. If you have installed, go to our About page and click on any of the links. You'll see what I mean about integration. The URL pattern is very predictable, so you can easily set up similar links on your own sites.
I'm very excited about We really hope it succeeds. I'm eager to see if the people at Mozilla like it, which is what matters the most to me. We tried to make a real good extension, worthy or Firefox, and I think we did.
Let's just see what happens.
And again, if you don't have it yet, please give it a try.

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Costa Rica FTW

Last night Costa Rica was the first country in Central America to join the 1000 club.
No, it's not a religious thing. Costa Rica was the first country in the region to accumulate over 1K pledges on the Firefox World record site, taking the lead over the Dominican Republic, which was leading the race before last weekend. So I assume there's some real momentum building up around here, and soon we'll be leading by a good margin. Or maybe not, a good competition is always good.
At the time of this writing, only Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic have earned the "1K blue" highlight, with Guatemala being the most likely to follow. You should check it out, if you can find those countries :P.
It makes me very proud for us to take the lead in something like this. A small country that so many people think is just a tourist attraction, but in reality is one of the most developed countries in Latin America. Now we're proving it by kicking ass, at least locally.
An even bigger success story is Poland, which is second to the USA only. It's quite impressive how they've managed to stay ahead the likes of Russia and Brazil, that are WAY more populous. And WTF is up with India? Silicon Valley #2? Hello??
That's all I got right now. I find it very entertaining to see who the coloring on the map progresses. I also love how there's not a single country in the world without pledges, even the countries I didn't know existed (yes I see the irony in this, shut up).

Download Day - Spanish

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Set a Guinness World Record on Firefox Download Day

OK, reader(s), I'm back from the dead for a quick post on Firefox. The final release of Firefox 3 is approaching, and it is damn good, damn good I tell you. I'm rarely this excited about a bunch of bits, but Firefox 3 is really something that I feel brings a whole new feel to web browsing.
Anyway, I'm only posting today because I wanted to announce Download Day, intended to set a Guinness World Record on most software downloaded in one day. All you have to do is go to this site:, and add your email address. They will then notify you when the release and download dates are properly defined (they're not at the time of this writing).
Hope you go and sign up, and most importantly, hope you give Firefox 3 a try. You're gonna love it.

Download Day

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The trifecta

(no words)

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Update: 4 reasons it's good to be me

Well, other than the obvious ones, of course :P.
Things are great for me these days, so I thought it was time for an update. If I sound unbearably smug and arrogant then this post has accomplished its mission. It's just a really good time to be me.
Firstly, I participated for the second time in a TopCoder competition. This time it was just a local competition, with Syracuse competitors only. Oddly enough, despite a massive email announcement and multiple fliers posted around the CS buildings, it was a very small turnout. I expected more people I guess, although I can understand multiple reasons not to show up (no time, too geeky, WTF?, I'm not gonna win, etc...). In the end it was only 18 of us competing for 3 prizes, so the odds were excellent. Long story short, I won first place! The competition results were pretty lame in the end. Nobody was able to do more than the first problem, so my win was mostly due to a relatively fast submission and a successful challenge of another competitor's solution of the first problem. A lot of us submitted solutions for the second, but they turned out to be incorrect. It took me a while to realize what went wrong. As usual, a stupid little thing.
Moving on... I won an 2Gb iPod Nano. To be honest, I would never have bought an iPod. I don't need to listen to music while I walk or travel, with the exception of very long trips. In such cases I've always managed with my laptop. I was also kind of annoyed by the fact that everyone and their mothers have a freakin' iPod. But it's still a pretty cool piece of gear, and I've grown to love it. I don't think I would replace it if I lost it, but I would certainly miss it. Nothing like having 2Gb of heavy metal in your pocket just waiting for the right moment. Kreator is my current obsession.
Secondly, my new MacBook Pro is close to be in my hands, and I can't be more excited about it. I'm getting this amazing piece of hardware from my amazing company and I can't wait to have it. Amazing. Some of my friends have MacBooks and they are just too damn cool (the laptops, not my friends). I'm using Parallels to run Windows and Linux VMs on top of my pretty Mac OSX. I'm moving away from multi-boot because it's such a waste of time and disk space. I just need other OSs for occasional testing anyway. So yes, I'm turning into a total Mac fanboi. I should get turtle-necks and a beret, hehe. That guy from Mythbusters can pull it off, maybe I can too :P. But I'll never abandon Firefox, my bread and butter and favorite browser ever. Sorry, Safari. You're cool, though.
This leads to the third reason I'm the best person in the world, at least in my opinion. As of Firefox version 2, my name is featured in the main credits! This is due to all my work with the SFX+ group, and maybe for my other contributions as well. I'm so damn happy about this. My name is now listed along with dev stars such as Blake Ross, Benjamin Smedberg, Brendan Eich, Stephen Colbert... wait, what? OK, along with dev stars and All American Heroes. That's just how good I am.
And finally, I recently discovered Pandora, a very nice and very free Internet radio service that's helping me expand my musical horizons. If you don't see how that makes me a better person than you, then you completely missed the point and shouldn't be reading this.
There you have it. This is how my life has been these days. I'm happier than ever (well, almost) and things are just beginning. I will do a lot more to earn that Firefox credit. I kinda feel bad for all the people that have done so much more than me. I guess I took a shortcut, but I have to prove my name belongs here. One very cool contribution is about to see the light of day, so stay put. Maybe this blog will come back to life. Then again, maybe not.
I'm cool. Thanks.

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