Windward Road win third straight Jnr High champs

first_imgDespite ending Day Two tied on points with main challengers John Mills, defending champions Windward Road Junior High turned up the heat on yesterday’s third and final day at Stadium East to win the 2016 INSPORTS Junior High School Track and Field Championship by more than 100 points.The Oral Whilby-coached team accumulated 562.50 points to finish ahead of John Mills on 457.50 points. New Dayfinished third with 190; Melrose claimed fourth spot with 183.50; and Louise Bennett Coverley came in fifth with 169.Windward Road also topped the male and female categories with 289.50 and 264 points, respectively, in front of John Mills, which was second in both sections.Surprised by large marginWhilby, however, admitted that he never expected his team to win by such a large margin and was more than elated with the outcome.”We won by over a hundred points. I was confident of the victory, but I had no idea the team would perform this well,” he said. He also warned that his team has the foundation to continue this winning streak.”We should retain this championship. A lot of our points came from the lower grades, and they will be stepping up in class. John Mills did their thing in the past, but this new era has Windward Road written all over it, so we are looking forward to next year,” he added.Meanwhile, seven athletes shared the overall champion boy prize and six shared the female honours.In the male section, the award was shared by Jaheim Gilmore, Nemoy Cockett, and Kevin Wilson of John Mills, Amontae Wray of Windward Road; Shelton Britton of Louise Bennett; Mickel Wilson of Braeton; and Lennox Barrett of Melrose, who all contributed 18 points each to their schools.For the females, Gregory Park’s Leanna Lewis and Shantonique McCalla shared the award with Kamesha Graham of New Day; Shaniece Benjamin of John Mills, Ashley Johnson of Melrose; and Janealia Brown of Windward Road, who all scored 18 points.John Mills coach Ransford Spalding says the lower classes was their downfall but says they intend to improve on this area for next year.”Where we went wrong is in the primary division. We only scored 12 points and Windward Road score 140 points, but we have to congratulate them (Windward Road) because they have a team and John Mills don’t have a structured team,” he said.last_img read more

Liberians Must Obtain UK Visas in Accra

first_imgLiberians hoping that visas for the United Kingdom (UK) would be introduced in Liberia following the opening of the British Embassy in October 2013, were let down as British Ambassador, Fergus Cochrane-Dyet, disclosed that visas for Liberians wishing to enter his country could be obtained in Accra, Ghana.During the embassy’s opening ceremony on October 14, 2013, after 22 years of closure, British Parliamentarian Mark Simmonds said they were hoping to re-introduce their visa program to Liberians, who wanted to travel to the UK.Responding to when the visa issuance would commence, Ambassador Cochrane-Dyet said, “Liberians wanting UK visas must obtain them in Accra.  I understand why people are unhappy about this.  However, the fact is that fewer and fewer British Embassies are issuing visas. Countries in Southern Africa have all their visas issued in Pretoria, while in West Africa most British Embassies do not issue visas at all: the Abidjan, Conakry, Bamako, Dakar, and Monrovia consulates are among them. I am presently trying to see what can be done to help Liberians have easier access to visas.”He added, “One improvement is a priority service where, for an additional fee, Liberians can obtain their visa in Accra within 5 working days (often only two days)”. Commenting on other issues, Ambassador Fergus Cochrane-Dyet underscored the need for Liberia to adapt self-reliance in order to maintain its sovereignty.Ambassador Cochrane-Dyet made the comment in an interview with the Daily Observer when he was asked about his impression of activities of non-governmental organizations in Liberia.Although the United Kingdom’s Ambassador admitted that NGOs were a tremendous help to Liberia’s development in the post-conflict era, he expressed worry that most of Liberia’s gross national income is derived from foreign aid.He stressed that such an economic status created heightened sensitivities about national sovereignty, and that these tensions would be dissipated as Liberia builds up its own revenue streams and general infrastructure.Ambassador Cochrane-Dyet said by doing this the country would gradually become less reliant on outside help.It can be recalled that when President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf gave her Annual Message on January 27, she emphasized the need for accountability on the part of NGOs operating in the country. President Sirleaf said government would follow NGO’s activities to ensure that money given them for work in Liberia yielded the necessary results.Addressing this concern, the Ambassador said NGOs connected to Great Britain operating in Liberia are doing well and their impact is felt.He lauded the work of Save the Children UK, Oxfam, and Mary’s Meals, as NGO’s doing vital work in Liberia. Giving examples of the U.K.’s commitment to supporting the good work of their NGO’s he said, “Mary’s Meal is feeding 113,000 schoolchildren with plans to expand their program to 150,000.  The British Embassy has a small grant scheme which we use to support local NGOs like the Liberian Girls Association and More than Me Foundation.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Northern Lights College recognize Allan Markin for his outstanding contribution

first_imgThe Honorary Degree was conferred by Board of Governors chair, Karen Simpson, and Vice President Academic and Research, Dr. Peter Nunoda during Convocation ceremonies on June 20 at the North Peace Cultural Centre. Markin becomes the 17th individual to receive an Honorary Degree from NLC. In recognition of his support of education, Markin has received honorary degrees from the Universities of Alberta, Calgary, Lethbridge and St. Francis Xavier. Markin is also a founder of St. Mary’s University.Advertisement Markin was the Chair of the Board of Directors for Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) during construction of the $12,000,000 project back in 2007, half of which came from petroleum industry partners. At the time, CNRL contributed $500,000 towards the Industry Training Centre, and Markin matched that donation with an individual contribution of $500,000. In his address to the graduates, Markin talked about the importance of developing an individual vision and mission to help guide your life. “Who’s the boss of you?” Markin asked. “You’re the boss of yourself, and it’s important to learn that early in life,” he added. “What can you do that you are not doing now that would make a big difference in your life? We’re on this earth to live, to love, to learn, and we’re on this earth to leave a legacy.”- Advertisement -Today, Markin is a major supporter of the Alberta Project Promoting Active Living and Healthy Eating in Schools program, which is now running in 63 northern Alberta schools, serving urban, rural and First Nations, Métis and Inuit students. In addition, Markin’s philanthropy has been a major benefactor in the health care industry, creating the Pure North S’Energy Foundation, an innovative health program focused on primary prevention. As of January 2014, Pure North had over 30,000 registered participants, with a special focus on seniors, the under-served, fire and flood victims, urban and Aboriginal populations, including many communities in northern Canada.Advertisementlast_img read more

Rebellious fashion: Saudi women embrace sports abayas

first_img0Shares0000In Saudi Arabia, a sports-friendly version of the abaya gown is becoming the new normal and being seen less as a symbol of cultural rebellion © AFP / Amer HILABIJEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Apr 18 – Colourful and oozing defiance, a sports-friendly version of the abaya gown was once considered a symbol of cultural rebellion in conservative Saudi Arabia, but it is fast becoming the new normal.Pictures of female athletes running in the garb in the Red Sea city of Jeddah went viral last month, setting off a new debate on sartorial freedoms for women in a country where the typically all-black, body-shrouding garment is obligatory in public. Some cultural purists vented fury online, calling it a breach of tradition, but opposition has been largely muted following recent comments from powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that the abaya — any abaya — is not mandatory in Islam.Until a formal edict comes however, designers such as Eman Joharjy are cashing in on the growing popularity of the so-called sports abayas, as many women push back against traditional attitudes of equating chastity with dress code.“There is a big demand,” Joharjy told AFP at her fashion studio in Jeddah.“Having them in different colours is empowering.”Akin to a zippered jumpsuit, sports abayas envelop a woman’s body but offer greater mobility for sporting activities, in contrast to the classic baggy version where tripping on the hem of the flowing garment is a common risk.The 43-year-old’s designs come in colours like pistachio green, beige and white — more tolerable in the kingdom’s scorching heat — and she uses natural fabrics, including French poplin, that do not cling to a sweating body.One of the early pioneers of the trend, Joharjy said she was branded a social outlier and jeered by some as “batman” when she began designing — and donning — sports abayas publicly in 2007.Designers in Saudi Arabia are making the most of the growing popularity of sports abayas, which are often colourful and zippered © AFP / Amer HILABI“There was a little bit of rebellion but I designed it for myself, because it’s practical,” she said.“You zip up and are ready to go.”– ‘Soccer-themed abayas’ –Joharjy has defied a popular maxim in Saudi Arabia: “If it’s not black, it’s not an abaya.”Abayas have evolved over the years, with new patterns, fabrics and embellishments, and they are sometimes worn in the kingdom with baseball-style caps over headscarves.The latest fad is an eye-catching ensemble of “soccer-themed abayas” — in the colours of the local teams, a new way for female sporting fans to cheer for their favourite players.Such fashion trends are gaining momentum amid the kingdom’s liberalisation drive, including a historic royal decree allowing women to drive from June and enter sports stadiums for the first time.The government is also seeking to jump-start women’s sports and is moving toward compulsory physical education classes for girls, after a ban was lifted in 2014.Saudi officials recently announced that women would be able to participate next year in the Riyadh international marathon, previously a male-only event.Sports abayas still envelop the female form but offer greater movement than the classic baggy version whose flowing hemline would be a handicap © AFP / Amer HILABIWomen exercising in public were long a target for the kingdom’s austere religious police, which has largely been neutered in recent years.And the once-unthinkable idea of doing away with the abaya appears to now be gaining traction.“The laws are very clear and stipulated in the laws of Sharia: that women wear decent, respectful clothing, like men,” Prince Mohammed told CBS Television last month.“This, however, does not particularly specify a black abaya. (It) is entirely left for women to decide what type of decent and respectful attire to wear.”– ‘Modest look’ –Muslim cleric Sheikh Ahmed bin Qassim al-Ghamdi added a new wrinkle to the debate when he dismissed the long-held view that black was the only colour for abayas permissible in Islam.“The cloak is meant for maintaining a modest look and it does not have to be black,” the former chief of the religious police in the holy city of Mecca, told Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya television last month.Sports abaya trends are gaining momentum amid Saudi Arabia’s liberalisation drive, including a historic royal decree allowing women to drive from June and enter sports stadiums for the first time © AFP / Amer HILABIBut the risk of a social backlash is real in a society steeped in conservatism.“They look like cleaners!” a tweet said, in response to viral images of athletes dressed in sports abayas.“Their purpose is not sports. We have all been running in full body veil,” tweeted another.Back at Joharjy’s studio, a longtime client Marwa al-Hadi walked in wearing one of her designs with magenta sneakers.“Abaya is like the Indian saree, it is part of our identity,” Joharjy told her, as they weighed in on the future evolution of the garment.“But at the same time, if God did not want women to do sports, we would not have muscles or a body.”Hadi nodded.“It is no one’s business to stop and question what I’m wearing,” she said.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more


first_imgStudents at the Shark Camp!Secondary school students from around Inishowen are taking part in a two week ‘Shark Camp’ internship with the Irish Basking Shark Study Group.The unique camp is designed to let students experience what it’s like to walk in the shoes of a shark biologist.This Inishowen Development Partnership funded initiative not only provides hands on training in marine sciences and shark biology, it also encourages young people to think about potential careers in the marine field. The 10 lucky interns of the summer camp are gaining knowledge about their marine heritage and coastal fisheries.One of the key tasks for the Interns in the camp is to undertake training in shark and fish survey methods at sea, and amazingly their first survey trip resulted in an encounter with over 10 basking sharks North of Malin Head.Throughout the duration of the camp the group will also be tracking the movements of a Basking Shark tagged off Malin Head, via the ARGOS satellite system- the worldwide wildlife satellite tracking network.Interns will be encouraged to learn and explore more of their local marine environment and what sharks can teach us about the health of our oceans. By the end of the two weeks the interns will produce a message about what they think the future might hold for Ireland’s marine resources and small coastal communities.Education facilitator Rosemary Mc Closkey said ‘The camp is not just about sharks, it’s about getting young people who have an interest or family connection with the sea to think about ocean citizenship.“Sharks provide a great example of why we need to manage our oceans sustainably because if these apex predators are overfished and mismanaged it can upset the balance of the ocean food web.”To find out more you can log onto   STUDENTS GET THEIR TEETH INTO UNIQUE ‘SHARK CAMP’ was last modified: July 31st, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:InishowenShark Camplast_img read more

Donegal groups join in RTE’s Operation Transformation

first_imgA number of groups are joining in RTE’s Operation Transformation which was broadcast last night.There are many groups across the county taking small steps but in large numbers so everyone is involved.Operation Transformation – ‘One small change – maybe two!’Finn Valley Men’s Project The Finn Valley Men’s Project has linked in with RTE’s Operation Transformation for the men here in the Finn Valley area. Starting early January 2017 the Finn Valley Men’s Project’s focus will be on ‘One small change – maybe two!’ for the eight weeks of RTE’s Operation Transformation. Our operation transformation will focus on two strands:• Weight loss – with an easy target aim of losing 7lbs in 8 weeks. (If small change is adopted this could lead to a weight loss of over 3 stone in a year!)• Getting active – 30 minutes 5 days a week. (It is well documented the health benefits of walking for just 30 minutes a day. Information can be provided.).Local Finn Valley Councillors will act as leaders for the 4 central locations of our program, The BASE Stranorlar (Wenesday 7pm), Castlefinn CPI (Thursday 9.30am), Lifford Clonleigh Resource Centre (Tuesday 9.30am)& Sion Mills Parish Hall,(Monday 9pm) These locations are where the dietician/nutritionist and fitness experts will be based weekly for expert help and guidance. We invite all men from the Finn Valley area to join their nearest centre. Leaders and/or outreach worker will meet for planned walks in locations that suit them.Each man will on deciding which strand they wish to follow be given a weekly walking and/or diet plan*. You decide if you want to make one small change by getting active or lose half a stone or indeed you might try the two! For the more adventurous men support will be given to follow RTE’s Operation Transformation program through RTE’s online support with the assistance of the outreach worker. We will record various activities during the 8 weeks and hopefully we will appear on RTE’s program!This is a great chance to make a small change or two that could have a long term benefit on your health, a chance to get out and have a bit of craic. Give Mary a call – 0860414972 or Kathleen – 0877763401 for more information. You can also email us at or check us out on Facebook Valley Men’s Project is a cross border/community project funded by International Fund for Ireland supporting the development and sustainability of men’s groups/sheds in the Finn Valley area covering Lifford/ Castlefinn/ Ballybofey/ Stranorlar and Sion Mills .* Walking and diet plan will be about small changes and will be advised by a nutrition and fitness expert. Health check analysis will be carried out on the first week by Donegal Sports Partnership.Operation Reformation in Killybegs! We’re back in action with Operation Reformation 2017! Registration and health screening will take place on Thursday the 5th of January in the ballroom in the Bayview Hotel from 5-8pm.Exercise takes place from Tuesday the 10th of January with a walk and Thursday the 12th with an exercise class with John Conwell in the tech gym! This will continue for 8 weeks with weigh ins every 2 weeks. You will need to wear hi-viz for walking and an exercise mat and water for the exercise class.Charge is €5 per week and we would hope, if possible, to collect half of this at the registration night and the other half at week 4.The funds this year will be split 2 ways between CLG Na Cealla Beaga’s new Fitness Centre and the Patients Comfort Fund in Killybegs Community Hospital. We hope this will be as big a success as last year and that we smash our previous 45 stone weight loss!Looking forward to seeing you all!Donegal groups join in RTE’s Operation Transformation was last modified: January 10th, 2017 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Remembering a much-loved mother in a special way

first_imgOn Sunday week, April 8th, hundreds of women will take part in the Run Donegal Women’s 5k in Stranorlar. The proceeds of this year’s event will go to the Donegal Hospice and will be held in memory of the late Lisa McGranaghan from Castlefinn. As race day draws closer, Lisa’s widower, Kevin McGranaghan, spoke about the tremendous level of care and compassion Lisa, himself and their two children Joshua (11) and Robyn (8) received from the Donegal Hospice before her passing two years ago. The late Lisa McGranaghanRemembering Lisa – kind, compassionate and strongThe eyes are drawn instantly to the striking picture of Lisa located on the back wall of the toy room, just off the kitchen in the family home at Alt Upper, Castlefinn. Her head is covered with her trademark hat. Her face is happy and full of life.Lisa, originally from Swansea in Wales, spent much of her spare time in the 30-foot tunnel in the back garden where she grew vegetables.It was at the end of January when Patsy McGonagle from Finn Valley AC, called Kevin and asked how he’d feel about this year’s Run Donegal Women’s 5k being run in Lisa’s memory.“He told me that because of the close connection with the family and the club that they wanted to do it in memory of Lisa. And I said ‘absolutely’. That’s because the cause is the Donegal Hospice, and what they did for us you just couldn’t forget,” Kevin said.“We never thought we’d need it – nobody does.”Kevin McGranaghan with his daughter, Robyn and son, Joshua.For ten years, Lisa battled with cancer. The mother of two was just 43 when she passed away at the Donegal Hospice on Saturday, March 5th, 2016.“Things had been bad before and you never actually believed it was going to come to it, because we had gotten away with it for so long and different treatments started to work. Whenever one would fail, another new one would start. Then she went into a lot of pain and that’s where the Donegal Hospice came in.”Kevin was full of praise for Letterkenny University Hospital and its oncology ward. Towards the end of 2015, the hospice doctors treated Lisa in the oncology ward. She went home for a couple of weeks before Christmas and was back in on December 26th. She was seen by the hospice doctors on a regular basis in January and February, helping her to deal with the pain.“Because of the pain, they couldn’t give her treatment. They wanted her out of the hospital and getting better so they could treat her again. This, again, is where the Donegal Hospice came in and they came out to the house. The hospice nurse came out to check all the equipment and the local nurse also made sure everything was okay in terms of medication.”Lisa only made it home for three days before she had to return to hospital at the end of February. She was placed on heavy medication for the pain. She was then transferred to the Donegal Hospice.“We knew she was fairly close. She wasn’t going to last much longer. She went in on a Monday and passed away on the Saturday. The staff there were great. Everyone says it about them, I know. But they’re a different breed. They didn’t just look after her, they looked after everybody that went in.”While the children knew their mum was sick, what could happen wasn’t discussed.“There wasn’t any point because all along she had been battling it and getting on well. So there was no point in having them worried to that extent. One of the nurses, Mary, asked me if I’d spoken to them and I hadn’t. I told her I didn’t know how. So she sat down, talked to me and advised me about the best way to do it. So the Donegal Hospice were able to help with that, too. It was unreal what they were doing. And Mary was right in the advice she gave me and came back to me after to check how I got on,” Kevin added.Lisa had to get treatment almost immediately after Joshua was born. Yet, she stayed strong throughout that decade of sickness, suffering and treatment.“Lisa was the kind of person that you were glad you knew. She was just so kind and understanding to people and was more concerned about other people than what she was going through personally.She was always baking, knitting or growing stuff for people. I tried to keep her headstone simple because she didn’t like fussy things. So to explain her I used ‘kindness’, ‘compassion’ and ‘strength’,” he commented.And as a mother, Kevin said Lisa was just a natural.“When people say there are no instructions when it comes to parenting, I think she already had them hard-wired. A lot of what I learned since Lisa passed away I learned from her, and remembering the way she did things and treated people. A few months before she died the oncologist asked her what did she expect from any further treatment. Lisa wasn’t expecting a cure, or an easier treatment regime or less pain. She just said ‘more time for Joshua and Robyn to be a bit older before anything happened’.”Two years on from Lisa’s passing, Kevin is adopting the one day at a time approach to life. Birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas can be extremely testing times.“It could be the day before or the week after when it might get to you most,” he explained.Kevin met Lisa while the pair were working in Morocco in 2001 and married in Wales in 2004. They relocated to Donegal in 2005.Kevin will walk next month’s Run Donegal with Joshua and Robyn. While he’s readying himself for a day of many emotions, he said pride will override all else.At 11 am on Sunday week in Swansea, 20 of Lisa’s family and friends will also hold their on 5k in memory of Lisa.“Whenever there is something being done, it’s never so bad. The Run Donegal 5k is a positive thing – it’s always positive when you’re raising money for the Donegal Hospice. It has been on my mind in recent days and it does bring memories back. It’s hard in a way because the launch of the race coincided with Lisa’s second anniversary. But we are definitely looking forward to it.“There will be hundreds out running in her memory. That will be nice.”For information and updates on RunDonegal, visit a much-loved mother in a special way was last modified: March 27th, 2018 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:kevin mcgranaghanlisa mcgranaghanrundonegalWomen’s 5klast_img read more

Lancaster home prices break barrier; Palmdale up sharply

first_imgPALMDALE – Lancaster and Palmdale home prices hit records again in September, as Lancaster’s median price for the first time topped $300,000. Lancaster’s median price for both new and resale homes hit $301,235, up from $297,000 in August and a gain over the past 12 months of 28.1 percent, according to statistics released by the California Association of Realtors. Palmdale’s median price climbed to $344,250, up from $330,000 in August and 25.2 percent ahead of a year earlier. The Antelope Valley price gains contrasted with home prices’ statewide performance, which saw the state median price dip 4.4 percent between August and September. In Santa Clarita, the median price was $542,500, up from $539,000 in August but still below the $559,000 record set in July. Los Angeles County’s median price was $497,000, up 22.9 percent since September 2004. September’s price gains means Lancaster home prices have quadrupled and Palmdale prices nearly so since bottoming out in 1999 at the end of the deep 1990s home-buying slump. In December 1999, the median price was $75,000 in Lancaster and $84,000 in Palmdale. Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the highest median home prices in California during September 2005 were: Palos Verdes Estates, $1,600,000; Manhattan Beach, $1,578,000; Burlingame, $1,419,000; Los Altos, $1,410,500; Newport Beach, $1,399,000; Coronado, $1,350,000; Saratoga, $1,314,000; Calabasas, $1,218,000; Carmel, $1,200,000; Hermosa Beach, $1,200,000. Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the greatest median home price increases in September 2005 compared with the same period a year ago were: Reedley, 89 percent; Twentynine Palms, 81 percent; Sanger, 79 percent; Laguna Hills, 60 percent; Barstow, 57 percent; Upland, 53 percent; Adelanto, 52 percent; Ripon, 52 percent; Merced, 50 percent; Taft, 48 percent.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “The September median home price compared with August has fallen every year since 1993, and in 20 of the last 26 years,” said CAR President Jim Hamilton. “This year is no exception and is part of the seasonal shift to an off-peak period in the real estate market as we approach year’s end.” Despite the slowdown for California market as a whole, the median price in the High Desert, Riverside/San Bernardino, Santa Barbara South Coast and San Luis Obispo regions hit record highs last month, Hamilton said. The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in California during September 2005 was $543,980, down from $568,730 in August but up 17.3 percent over the year. Rosamond’s median price returned to $270,000, up from $260,000 in August and the same as the record it set in July. Over the last 12 months, Rosamond prices are up 30 percent. Prices were up 28.3 percent over the year in Tehachapi to $281,000. Tehachapi’s August median was $280,000. last_img read more

Where do Raiders still need the most help?

first_imgExactly one month stands between Monday and the 2019 NFL Draft, in which the Raiders hold four of the first 35 picks and a league-high three on opening night.They were among the most active teams in the first two weeks of free agency, with the signings of Antonio Brown and Trent Brown highlighting a bevy of moves on both sides of the ball, yet plenty of work remains for Oakland to return to relevance in a division topped by two of the best teams in the NFL.Assuming the Raiders don’t send more …last_img read more

Firefox OS: The Future of Microsoft’s Mobile Ambition?

first_imgApple’s stock is taking a beating as analysts and investors are waking up to the very real likelihood that market share matters, and Google’s Android is dominating mobile market share with its one-two punch of zero license fees and open source flexibility.  Meanwhile, Microsoft has been attempting to insert itself into the mobile conversation with a slick, Apple-esque Windows Phone 8 strategy, which seems unlikely to work, given that Apple has already claimed the high end and Google has taken the mass-market, commodity middle ground.  What’s left for Microsoft?How about Mozilla’s Firefox OS?No, I’m not insane.  Yes, I know there’s a fair amount of history and bad blood between the two organizations.  But Mozilla is building a mobile OS that could prove disruptive enough to carve out a serious chance for Microsoft. Firefox OS: (Much) More Than Just A BrowserFirst things first.  It’s a given that for Microsoft, or anyone else, to work with Mozilla, they’re going to have to give up any fetish for control.  Mozilla’s great gift to the industry, as I’ve written before, has been to insist on open source and open standards, with no single organization, including Mozilla, dominating the browser market.But as Samsung has shown with Android, one needn’t own an OS to profit from it.  Samsung’s operating profit in its fourth quarter rose 89% to hit $8.3 billion.  That’s real money that even Apple can’t sniff at.Firefox OS: Sample Screen (Credit: Mozilla)What, exactly, is Mozilla building? Firefox OS is an attempt to make the web a first-class citizen on mobile devices.  In some ways, it’s similar to Canonical’s aims for Ubuntu Mobile, but it’s arguably much more ambitious.  Mozilla wants to eradicate the walled-garden, native app approach popularized by Apple and Google, replacing it with a completely open mobile OS that frees carriers, developers, and users from locked-down app stores.  To turn this ambition into reality, Mozilla is heavily investing in advancing the state of the art for HTML5 and device APIs. Mozilla isn’t blind to the performance hit that web apps have historically faced on mobile.  But as Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich told me in a phone interview, the organization feels confident that it can change this, delivering “60Hz, artifact-free rendering under touch control.”Historically, HTML5 has fizzled when serious graphics or low-bandwidth were involved.  And for those devices without hardware acceleration?  Forget about it.Which is why Mozilla’s approach is so intriguing.  The company isn’t going after high-end smartphones, but rather after low-end, emerging market phones.  To accomplish this, Mozilla can’t wait around for hardware to get better.  Instead, it needs to make the web stack better – now – such that it can work on even barebones phones, including in areas of limited or no bandwidth.  Mozilla has therefore developed its web apps to be offline from the start, and to use equal-or-less bandwidth than native apps.  This is groundbreaking stuff, and it appears to be working.Importantly, it’s working not just for Mozilla, but for everyone.  I asked Eich whether Firefox OS development will benefit anyone beyond Mozilla.  His response?  Mozilla is trying to rid the industry of its “end-to-end” mentality, so everything it’s building is highly modular.  In particular, its standards work with the W3C requires multiple implementations, and Samsung and others have been picking up Mozilla-developed APIs like its battery status bite-sized API.  Mozilla knows it can’t win alone: Mozilla’s idea of winning is a highly competitive industry where mobile users and developers are in control.Mozilla + MicrosoftWhich brings us back to Microsoft, and its need to disrupt an industry that has already been disrupted by Google’s Android.  It’s not going to be enough to ape Apple.  Microsoft needs to do something different.Microsoft has actually been a big proponent of HTML5, perhaps sensing that it needed to embrace the web in order to compete with Apple.  But I think it needs more than just great support for HTML5.  It needs a clear HTML5 strategy, and that has to be more than ensuring WP8 is a great platform for HTML5 development.  Why not throw its weight behind Mozilla?  Mozilla has taken on a huge task, one that Microsoft’s engineering and financial resources can help to accelerate.  And while Mozilla is unlikely to give any special favors to Microsoft in terms of distribution, the very fact of embracing and distributing Firefox OS would give Microsoft influence in the Firefox OS community.  That’s how open source works: being the source of code matters as much or more than owning source code.  None of which is to suggest that Microsoft attempt to “own” Firefox OS.  Mozilla wouldn’t allow that.  Rather, it’s a suggestion that Microsoft could both help Firefox OS development and be helped by having a disruptive mobile OS strategy, one that still allows Microsoft plenty of room for profit through mobile advertising, applications, etc.  It’s not as if Microsoft has a future of licensing Windows for mobile: no one makes money that way in the mobile OS world. An Open Mobile FutureThe economics of the web favor its chances in mobile, just as they have on the desktop.  Mozilla is the web’s laboratory for the next generation of mobile, and Microsoft and others looking to compete with Android or iOS need to think seriously about working with Mozilla.  Unlike any other player in the industry, its interests are not selfish.  Microsoft and Mozilla may historically have been at odds as Microsoft fought off Mozilla’s attempts, ultimately successful, to open up the browser market, but the two organizations are perfectly aligned in wanting and needing the web stack to free up the mobile market.  They should work together. 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