Retiring From Web Career

Today I celebrate the formal decision to retire from my career in Web development, education, outreach, advocacy and any other role related to the Web in a public capacity.

Next up: Living with and for humans rather than with and for human ideals.

I will continue to use the World Wide Web as a tool for outreach, but as of today, I am not just tired, but finally, finally accepting that it’s time to retire from a career that was truly mind-blowing. As in, it blew MY mind!

Upcoming projects include:

  • “FOR THE GRACE” – A documentary series of conversations with diverse sections of human society to break down barriers of misunderstanding and demystify truths about how people end up on a given path.
  • “THROUGH THE CRACKS” – A first-focus in the proposed FOR THE GRACE documentary focusing on the homeless in the USA.

My current role is to take care of my medical health, to support my family here in Nevada. I will be helping to caregive along with my stepfather my beloved Mother as well as two personal friends who are going through very difficult times and we are healing each other in real-time rather than the amorphous Web.

As I work through the inevitable horrific stacks of paperwork and documents that come along with disability, economic failure, loss of a spouse along with mortal illness in myself and close family and friends, there is an opportunity for me to take advantage of the V.A. programs if they continue to exist by the time the paperwork is in to return to school, where I intend to finish my Ph.D. in Media and its impact on Society, which is where I left off in my studies. This time, however, the focus puts society rather than media first, which was not the way I approached it in earlier academic work.

What I will or won’t accomplish is not the relevant point, what is relevant is that it is clear that my time as the Web’s “Fairy Godmother” is over, and I am very happy to step out of that environment and into one where human beings interact in a much fuller way with one another.

May you all find your way to live long and prosper. I am grateful to the hearts and minds who have allowed me to live, despite its difficulty, an absolutely and utterly extraordinary career experience.

With all my love and forever gratitude, Molly

Who Is My Family?

picture of molly in black and white

If the Web is really what I worked very hard in hopes of it becoming – a platform for social as well as a technological peer-to-peer have/need approach to the world – then this post should stand as one of the most important things I have ever done whether you understand that or not.

In the past year we’ve all had devastation of some sort, none of us gets out of this life without extreme pain. That the entire world is chaotic and in what I perceive to be the darkest of times in my 50+ years here appears to be the general sentiment of the vast majority of humanity speaking up.

My work ethic isn’t a healthy one. I’m insanely over-productive because of a damaged, hard-wired belief that my entire being is worth nothing, and that I have no right to life. This was what my father told me both in action and in literal word for word communication. That I amounted to anything at all is down to my strong mother and ME.

And in the near past, the one man that ever loved me for who I am as I am, my husband Ray, who is in hospice and will die within the week. A noble and great soul, a US American Hero, a social justice warrior, a rural physician who took care of this nation’s poor and disenfranchised, street people – for nothing more than a thank you or some eggs and chickens or just because. That’s the man I married – a person far greater than I. And that is who I am losing, a piece of myself that is also far greater than I.

I could have sat out this entire life and career on disability as I received that 100% at the age of 24 (so 30 years, longer than the Web). But I couldn’t. So what I did accomplish in this world and for our industry while dealing with the unfolding of what was a 30 year brutal and rare disease because doctors thought I was “just depressed” or “malingering” is impressive to me. It mitigates, at least slightly, the overwhelming sense of self-hatred and failure that’s been my main demon since I was a very small, and once very joyous, little girl.

I remember the first day I went to work at Opera Software, I climbed up a hill through feet of snow and was exhilarated. I was also hemorrhaging, and did it anyway, my blood on the white fjords of Norway an image imprinted on my brain not as sorrow, but as pure resolve and courage to live life no matter what.

A person doesn’t do what I did for money. I did it for idealism. For reasons to improve the world using the digital medium – the Internet, and yes, I was here before the Web doing this – and then the WWW for the entirety of its lifespan, albeit not my own.

I have social and financial needs as my family and friends are all far away or engaged in terrible losses or issues of their own, or really just faux friends, moronic ex-lovers and others who I foolishly thought love would heal. I have a cowardly and unethical blood sibling who considers himself a social advocate but shows me absolutely no empathy and who has not seen me in more than two years despite living mere miles (I’m told) from me.

Weakness is the man who thinks himself more important than the rest of the world.

Where are my friends with “Net Worth” – so many of them have it and they aren’t around. Where are the wealthy employers who don’t recognize it’s against Federal Law (as we still know it as of this second) to terminate a disabled woman in good standing and on medical leave much less at such a time? My advocates, attorneys and ombudspersons are the only ones now standing up with me, at my side. I have to burn others to be okay? How is that possibly conducive to peace, kindness and everyone’s dignity? It isn’t. And yet, it was so easy to burn down mine, so at what point do we continue to turn the other proverbial “cheek” as it were?

Want to break a digital and social divide and help me as I watch my husband leave this world and our beautiful time together, as I struggle to regain my own health, as I move to another state where I can get the resources and protections afforded to me that Arizona simply does not have the resources nor social stability or market to provide? Want to fill in the gaps of humiliation, abandonment and the disposal of what I recognize as my often chaotic, manic and hyper-intense but ultimately loving and decent human BE-ing?

If you’re reading this far, then you care or feel guilty and you can put that to use by doing one or more of the following:

  1. Donate money. Yes, I’m done feeling like a beggar. I was paid 1 dollar to every man’s 10,000 for my keynote talks. I received 4% of gross earnings on a book that made the author a lot of money and me around 565.00 USD. I did not know I was giving so much away for free, and back then I was young with life ahead and could have used that money to not end up homeless and penniless and buried in medical debt now for both me AND my husband’s care that was not covered by insurance – more than a quarter of a million dollars. So yes, sure, go ahead if so inspired and donate via my GoFundMe medical fundraiser please: ThanksMols!
  2. Offer accessibility rights advocacy and orgs money and time. My preferred organization is of course Knowbility and they need you. Go and do something good so others have opportunity. They are a loving and caring group and will move the universe if it is within their means. Give them some means – sweat, commitment, kindness, work, money.
  3. Stop perpetuating a Web and Web apps that are inaccessible and harmful. For me, this has especially harmed me with the lack of user controls in motion graphics, flickering animations, too many moving animations on a page – um, these are well-known legally binding issues. Learn WCAG, use the rules, adhere to them, advocate for them and if you don’t know how – get in touch with someone who does. Better yet, HIRE someone or a full team to advise you of your legal obligations to your site and app users, engineers, employees and the world. THE WEB MUST REMAIN AN ON-RAMP FOR HUMANITY.
  4. If you have other resources that can help at this time – I have a household filled with furniture, clothes and items that have value but am too exhausted and overwhelmed to sit here and try to organize a sale. Do you know of a fair liquidator for household furnishings, art, appliances and so on?
  5. Do something kind for another person. Not spontaneous acts of kind. Intentional acts of kind. Every single day.

Thank you.

Web Browsers No Longer At Fault

“Web browsers still don’t do what developers want them to. This is the fault of the browser developers.” – Mathieu Gosbee

I might argue this comment and be among some of the world’s most qualified people to take anyone to task for why that is most decidedly no longer the case.

I might provide one exception – the long-term damage done by delays in implementation do in fact haunt us in the very real present.

I might have made this argument at another time, when I didn’t work for Vivaldi Web Browser – a noble and innovative Web Browser Company who loves and cares for its family – which includes you. All of you – “a browser for our friends.”

I most certainly would be lauding the incredibly hard work my colleagues in developer relations at Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Internet Explorer (since version 7.0), Google Chrome, Opera, Mozilla Firefox, Brave Browser and all cooperative peers, the thousands (tens of thousands) software engineers and developers, their management, the entirety of their infrastructure from the Chief Executive Officers to the basement server maintenance folks for their years of dedication to solving measurable problems.

I might also add with passion aforethought the significant role W3C Working Groups (specifically #CSS #a11y #ARIA #wcag #HTML #XML #SVG) have played in taking an entire industry and making change. The WHATWG and its controversy must be acknowledged for pushing forward design principles that do – at least prosaically – demand we pay attention to backward compatibility, accessibility and other core Open Web ideals.

And I could not even consider forgetting to loudly applaud the most important players in the game – every single one of us including the individual who is quoted at the top of this post – who have contributed workarounds, hacks, issues, effective advocacy groups such as The Web Standards Project (WaSP), real solutions (see SASS, etc.), real-world labor and incalculable human hours in a span of slightly more than two decades to, in very literal terms, change the world.

Would I answer the question: Do we have problems with implementations still? Yes, and I’d also tell you to guess what, we always will. This is the physical reality – the literal condition of evolution with its pauses and leaps, diversions and failures, successes and innovations.

Might I suggest this is the reality of our jobs as the architects of the Web, as the developers of its every quirk, flaw, non-linear magnificent possibility? Progress, Regress, Progress. Solution, Evolution, Revolution, ReSolution – the patterns are known and crystal clear. It is not the technology that is impatient, rather it is we who must set the pace and course correct when we come together and acknowledge that course correction is required.

I might argue that the perpetuation of the idea that browsers have stopped innovating is as ridiculous as insisting that the earth is flat.

I might argue. I’d rather just say.