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Christian Heilmann: Maker Party 2014 – go and show off the web to the next makers

di, 15/07/2014 - 17:56

Today is the start of this year’s Maker Party campaign. What’s that? Check out this video.

webmaker

Maker Party is Mozilla’s annual campaign to teach the culture, mechanics and citizenship of the web through thousands of community-run events around the world from July 15-September 15, 2014.

This week, Maker Party events in places like Uganda, Taiwan, San Francisco and Mauritius mark the start of tens of thousands of educators, organizations and enthusiastic web users just like you getting together to teach and learn the web.

You can join Maker Party by finding an event in your area and learning more about how the web works in a fun, hands-on way with others. Events are open to everyone regardless of skill level, and almost all are free! Oh, and there will be kickoff events in all the Mozspaces this Thursday—join in!

No events in your area? Why not host one of your own? Maker Party Resources provides all the information you need to successfully throw an event of any size, from 50+ participants in a library or hackerspace to just you and your little sister sitting on the living room sofa.

Go teach the web, believe me, it is fun!

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Frédéric Harper: One year at Mozilla

di, 15/07/2014 - 17:19
Click to see full size

Proud to see my name on that monument (Click to see full size)

On July 15th last year, I was starting a new job at Mozilla: it was the beginning of a new journey. Today, it’s been one year that I’m a Mozillian, and I’m proud.

One year later

One year later, I’m still there. It means I like what I’m doing, my team, my manager, and the company. It has been an interesting, but amazing year. I always say that my job is to give love to developers, and it’s true. I’m fortunate enough to have a job where I can share my passion with other, and being paid to help them. During the last year, I spoke at 26 events (conferences, user groups…) sharing about technology and educating developer about open web app like Firefox OS. I’ve helped many developers to fix their bugs, create their applications, provide a better experience to their users, solve the issue they had, and even more important, be successful on the platform.

I’ve always been energized by the fact that the line between working, and having fun for me is really thin, but the volunteers I meet stoked me. The passion, the energy, the time they give to Mozilla, or should I say, to get a better Web, an open one, and help people to take ownership of that web, is astonishing. I will always remember the events I’ve done with them! There is no way you can’t be pumped up for your work, when you see those people giving their time and being dedicated 100% to the mission like that. To all Mozillians, I salute you, thanks for being part of my life!

I can’t write a post about my first year at Mozilla without talking about the travels: I’ve been on the road for 104 days in 15 cities (Toronto, Krakow, San Jose, Brussels, Guadalajara, Budapest, Athens, San Francisco, Moutain View, Barcelona, Paris, Prague, London, Bangalore, and Mumbai) from 12 countries (Canada, Poland, USA, Belgium, Mexico, Hungary, Greece, Spain, France, Czech Republic, UK, and India). For someone who like to discover new cities, cultures, foods, and more, travelling for work is an amazing bonus.

I’ve been a Technical Evangelist for three years, and a half now. I’ve not been in this role for a decade, but it’s not something new for me, I have some experience. Still, I learn a lot in the last year, and it’s perfect as I’m one of the kinds who think we should never stop learning, and improving ourselves. For now, I would not like to be in another position…

Mozilla is a strange beast

The biggest learning curve for me was about the organization, or should I say, the company. Mozilla is a particular beast, a strange one. As far as I know, no other company can be compared to Mozilla: it’s unique. No one can be against the mission of Mozilla, and all the Mozillians move forward to make the web even more open. We are working on amazing projects that changed, and will continue to change the world. We are a bunch of passionate people who believe in what we do, and for any enterprise, it’s a definite asset. We can go, and do what other are afraid to do as we are not there to make money (even if we need money to survive). It’s crazy what all Mozilla together can accomplish.

On the other side, Mozilla is cannibalizing itself. We are getting bigger, and bigger, but we are not always well organized. Because of the nature of Mozilla, everybody has, and wants to give their opinion, and some people tend to forget that it’s their job. The industry has higher expectations for us. We are pro open source, and open web, but we are not always pragmatic. We need volunteers to be successful, but we tend to accept everybody, when we should aim for quality instead of quantity. At the same time, we have so many projects we are working on: it’s not just about Firefox or Firefox OS my friends. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining as I love Mozilla. I guess that it’s part of my reflexion on the last year of my professional life. We are getting better at organizing ourselves, and I hope it will continue that way as I want Mozilla to be the protector of the web for many more years to come!

Today is the first day of my next year at Mozilla, and I’m looking forward to many more!

 


--
One year at Mozilla is a post on Out of Comfort Zone from Frédéric Harper

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Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Andreas Gal: Improving JPEG image encoding

di, 15/07/2014 - 16:59

Images are a big proportion of the data that browsers load when displaying a website, so better image compression goes a long way towards displaying content faster. Over the last few years there has been debate on whether a new image format is needed over the ubiquitous JPEG to provide better image data compression.

We published a study last year which compares JPEG with a number of more recent image formats, including WebP. Since then, we have expanded and updated that study. We did not find that WebP or any other royalty-free format we tested offers sufficient improvements over JPEG to justify the high maintenance cost of adding a new image format to the Web.

As an alternative we recently started an effort to improve the state of the art of JPEG encoders. Our research team released version 2.0 of this enhanced JPEG encoder, mozjpeg today. mozjpeg reduces the size of both baseline and progressive JPEGs by 5% on average, with many images showing significantly larger reductions.

Facebook announced today that they are testing mozjpeg 2.0 to improve the compression of images on facebook.com. It has also donated $60,000 to contribute to the ongoing development of the technology, including the next iteration, mozjpeg 3.0.

“Facebook supports the work Mozilla has done in building a JPEG encoder that can create smaller JPEGs without compromising the visual quality of photos,” said Stacy Kerkela, software engineering manager at Facebook. “We look forward to seeing the potential benefits mozjpeg 2.0 might bring in optimizing images and creating an improved experience for people to share and connect on Facebook.”

mozjpeg improves image encoding while maintaining full backwards compatibility with existing JPEG decoders. This is very significant because any browser can immediately benefit from these improvements without having to adopt new image formats, such as WebP.

The JPEG format continues to evolve along with the Web, and mozjpeg 2.0 will make it easier than ever for users to enjoy those images. Check out the Mozilla Research blog post for all the details.


Filed under: Mozilla
Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Mozilla Open Policy & Advocacy Blog: Mozilla Submits Comments on FCC Net Neutrality Proposal

di, 15/07/2014 - 16:32

Today, Mozilla is filing comments in response to the first of two major deadlines set out by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for its latest net neutrality proposal. The FCC describes these rules as a means of “protecting and promoting the open Internet,” and we are encouraging the FCC to stay true to that ideal.

The FCC’s initial proposal offers weak rules, based on fragile “Title I” authority. The proposal represents a significant departure from current law and precedent in this space by expanding on a new area of authority without establishing clear limits. This approach makes it likely that it will be overturned on appeal.

Our comments, like our earlier Petition, urge the FCC to change course from its proposed path, and instead use its “Title II” authority as a basis for real net neutrality protections. We recommended that the FCC modernize the agency’s approach to how Internet Service Providers (ISPs) provide Internet access service. Specifically, we asked the agency to define ISPs’ offerings to edge providers – companies like Dropbox and Netflix that offer valuable services to Internet users – as a separate service. We explained why such a service would need to fall under “Title II” authority, and how in using that basis, the FCC can adopt effective and enforceable rules prohibiting blocking, discrimination, and paid prioritization online, to protect all users, both wired and wireless.

In addition to reiterating support for Title II remote delivery classification, today’s comments address some questions that arose about our initial proposal over the past two months, such as:

• How the Mozilla petition addresses interconnection,
• How forbearance would work,
• How the services we describe can be “services” without direct payment, and
• How the FCC can prohibit paid prioritization under Title II.

Our comments also articulate our views on net neutrality rules:

• A clean rule prohibiting blocking is the most workable and sustainable approach, rather than complex level of service standards;
• Prohibiting unreasonable discrimination is more effective than weaker alternatives such as “commercially unreasonable practices”;
• Paid prioritization inherently degrades the open Internet; and
• Mobile access services should have the same protections as fixed.

Mozilla will continue engaging closely with policymakers and stakeholders on this issue, and we encourage you to make your voice heard as well, before the next deadline for reply comments on September 10th. Here are some easy ways to contact the FCC and members of Congress and tell them to take the necessary steps to protect net neutrality and all Internet users and developers.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Rizky Ariestiyansyah: Webmaker Party Starts today! Hai Indonesia

di, 15/07/2014 - 15:45
Maker Party starts today! FYI, Maker Party is Mozilla’s global campaign to teach the web. Through thousands of community-run events around the world, Maker Party unites educators, organizations and enthusiastic web users with hands-on...
Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Byron Jones: happy bmo push day!

di, 15/07/2014 - 08:40

the following changes have been pushed to bugzilla.mozilla.org:

  • [1029500] bug.attachments shouldn’t include attachment data by default
  • [1032323] canonicalise_query() should omit parameters with empty values so generated URLs are shorter
  • [1027114] When sending error to Sentry for webservice failures, we need to first scrub the username/login/password from the query string
  • [1026586] Using Fira as default font in Bugzilla
  • [1027182] merge-users.pl – SQL to remove bug_user_last_visit not correct
  • [1036268] REST webservice should return http/404 for invalid methods
  • [1027025] comment.creator has no real_name
  • [1036795] comment.raw_text is returned by the bzapi compatibility extension
  • [1036225] Return a link to the REST documentation in “method not found” errors
  • [1036301] change the description of the “bug id” field on bugmail filtering preferences tab to “new bug”
  • [1028269] Firefox OS Pre-load App Info Request Form
  • [1036303] add a list of tracking/project/etc tracking flags to the bugmail filtering prefs page

discuss these changes on mozilla.tools.bmo.


Filed under: bmo, mozilla
Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Nicholas Nethercote: Poor battery life on the Flame device?

di, 15/07/2014 - 01:28

The new Firefox OS reference phone is called the Flame. I have one that I’m using as my day-to-day phone, and as soon as I got it I found that the battery life was terrible — I use my phone very lightly, but the battery was draining in only 24 hours or so.

It turns out this was because a kernel daemon called ksmd (kernel samepage merging daemon) was constantly running and using about 3–7% of CPU. I detected this by running the following command which prints CPU usage stats for all running processes every five seconds.

adb shell top -m 5

ksmd doesn’t seem very useful for a device such as the Flame, and Alexandre Lissy kindly built me a new kernel with it disabled, which improved my battery life by at least 3x. Details are in the relevant bug.

It seems that plenty of other Flame users are not having problems with ksmd, but if your Flame’s battery life is poor it would be worth checking if this is the cause.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Amy Tsay: The AMO Reviewer Community Turns 10

ma, 14/07/2014 - 20:07

A decade ago, Firefox introduced the world to a customizable web browser. For the first time, you could use add-ons to personalize your entire browsing experience—from the look and feel of buttons, to tab behaviors, to content filtering. Anyone with coding skills could create an add-on and submit it to addons.mozilla.org (AMO) for others to use. The idea that you could experience the web on your own terms was a powerful one, and today, add-ons have been downloaded close to 4 billion times.

Each add-on listed on AMO is thoroughly reviewed to ensure its privacy and safety, and volunteer reviewers have shouldered much of this effort. To properly inspect an add-on, a reviewer has to dig into the code—a taxing and often thankless chore. Nobody notices when an add-on works as expected, but everybody notices when an add-on with a security flaw gets through. These reviewers are truly unsung heroes.

From the beginning, volunteers recognized the importance of reviewing add-ons, and self-organized on wiki pages. As add-ons grew in popularity, it became necessary to hire a few people out of this community to keep it organized and nurtured. Ten years later, volunteers are still responsible for about half of all add-on reviews (about 150 per week). Our top volunteer reviewer is approaching 9,000 reviews.

As a community manager working with volunteer reviewers, I’m sometimes asked what the secret is behind this enduring and resilient community. The secret is there isn’t just one thing. Anyone who’s ever tried giving away free food and booze as their primary community-building strategy has learned how quickly the law of diminishing returns kicks in.

What’s In It For Me?

To understand why people get involved with reviewing add-ons, and why they stay involved, you only have to understand human nature. Altruism tells just part of the story. People are often surprised when I tell them that many reviewers began volunteering for selfish reasons. They are add-on developers themselves, and wanted their add-ons to be reviewed faster.

Some of these developers authored add-ons that are used by tens of thousands, sometimes millions of people, so it’s important to be able to push out updates quickly. Since reviewers are not allowed to review their own add-ons, the only way to speed things up is to help burn down the queue. (Reviewers can also request expedited reviews of their add-ons.) Also, they can learn how other people make add-ons, which in turn helps them improve their own.

Intrinsic Motivation

People who create add-ons are people who write code, so the code itself can be interesting and intrinsically motivating. In Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink writes that self-motivated work tends to be creative, challenging, and non-routine, and add-on reviewing has it all: every piece of code is different (creative), security flaws can be cleverly concealed (challenging), and reviewers contribute at their own pace (non-routine).

Not Just Carrots and Sticks

A few years ago, we began awarding points for add-on reviews and introduced a leaderboard that lets reviewers see their progress against other reviewers. The points could also be redeemed for swag as part of an incentive program.

While this is admittedly a carrot-and-stick approach to engaging contributors, it serves a larger purpose. By devoting time and resources to sending handwritten notes and small tokens, we are also sending the message that reviewers are important and appreciated. When you open your mailbox and there’s a Fedex package containing a special-edition t-shirt in your size, you know your efforts haven’t gone unnoticed.

Community and Responsibility

AMO reviewers know that they play an important role in keeping Firefox extensible, and that their work directly impacts the experience people have installing add-ons. Since about half of the hundreds of millions of Firefox users have add-ons installed, that is no small feat. I’ve heard from reviewers that they stick around because they like being part of a community of awesome people who are responsible for keeping add-ons safe to use in Firefox.

The Magic Formula

Online communities are complex, their fabric woven from a mesh of intrinsic and extrinsic, selfish and altruistic motivations. A healthy, lasting community benefits from a combination of these factors, in varying proportions, some of them driven by the community and some by the attentive community-builders tasked with nurturing it. There isn’t a silver bullet; rather, it’s about finding your own magic formula and knowing that often, the secret ingredient is whatever it is that makes us human.

Happy 10th birthday, AMO reviewers.


Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Mark Côté: BMO mid-2014 update

ma, 14/07/2014 - 19:42

Here’s your mid-year report from the offices, basements, and caverns of BMO!

Performance

This year we’re spending a lot of time on performance. As nearly everyone knows, Bugzilla’s an old Perl app from the early days of the Web, written way before all the technologies, processes, and standards of today were even dreamt of. Furthermore, Bugzilla (including BMO) has a very flexible extension framework, which makes broad optimizations difficult, since extensions can modify data at many points during the loading and transforming of data. Finally, Bugzilla has evolved a very fine-grained security system, crucial to an open organization like Mozilla that still has to have a few secrets, at least temporarily (for security and legal reasons, largely). This means lots of security checks when loading or modifying a bug—and, tangentially, it makes the business logic behind the UI pretty complex under the hood.

That said, we’ve made some really good progress, starting with retrofitting Bugzilla to use memcached, and then instrumenting the database and templating code to give of reams of data to analyze. Glob has lots of details in his post on BMO perf work; read it if you’re interested in the challenges of optimizing a legacy web app. The tl;dr is that BMO is faster than last year; our best progress has been on the server side of show_bug (the standard Bug view), which, for authenticated users, is about 15% faster on average than last year, with far fewer spikes.

Bugs updated since last visit

Part of an effort to improve developer productivity, in June we rolled out a feature to give a new way for users to track changes to bugs. BMO now notes when you visit a bug you’re involved in (when you load it in the main Bugzilla UI or otherwise perform actions on it), and any changes to that bug which occur since you last visited it will show up in a table in My Dashboard. Read more.

Bugmail filtering

Another improvement to developer productivity centred around notifications is the new bugmail filtering feature. Bugzilla sends out quite a lot of mail, and the controls for deciding when you want to receive a notification of a change to a bug have been pretty coarse-grained. This new feature is extremely customizable, so you can get only the notifications you really care about.

BzAPI compatibility

There have been several broad posts about this recently, but it’s worth repeating. The original Bugzilla REST API, known as BzAPI, is deprecated in favor of the new native REST API (on BMO at least; it isn’t yet available in any released version of the Bugzilla product). If possible, sites currently using BzAPI should be modified to use the new API (they are largely, but not entirely, compatible), but at a minimum they should be updated to use the new BzAPI compatibility layer, which is hosted directly on BMO and sits atop the new REST API. The compatibility layer should act almost exactly the same as BzAPI (the exceptions being that a few extra fields are returned in a small number of calls). At some point in the not-too-distant future, we’ll be (transparently) redirecting all requests to BzAPI to this layer and shutting down the BzAPI server, so it’s better to try to migrate now while the original BzAPI is still around, in case there are any lingering bugs in the compatibility layer.

More stuff

As usual, you can see our current goals and high-priority items for the quarter on the BMO wiki page.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Doug Belshaw: Web Literacy 'maker' badges

ma, 14/07/2014 - 18:34

{cross-posted from the Webmaker blog)

 Navigation

Introduction

To help with Maker Party (launching tomorrow!) we’ve been working on a series of Web Literacy ‘maker’ badges. These will be issued to those who can make digital artefacts related to one or more competencies on the Web Literacy Map.

The structure of each of the Webmaker resources page for each competency (e.g. Navigation) is:

  • Discover
  • Make
  • Teach

We’re not currently badging the ‘Discover’ level, and the ‘Teach’ level is currently covered by the Webmaker Mentor badge. These new ‘Make’ badges are our first badges specifically for web literacy.

How you can help

We’re planning to launch these badges at the end of July. Before we do so, we want to make sure the process works smoothly for everyone, for each badge. We’re also very much interested in your feedback on the whole process.

Here’s what to do. Go to the link below and follow the instructions. You’ll need to either make something related to one of the Web Literacy Map competencies, or link to something you’ve made before.

https://teach.etherpad.mozilla.org/weblit-make-badges-QA

Questions? Comments? I’m @dajbelshaw or you can email me at doug@mozillafoundation.org

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Mark Surman: The Instagram Effect: can we make app making easy?

ma, 14/07/2014 - 18:04

Do you remember how hard digital photography used to be? I do. When my first son was born, I was still shooting film, scanning things in and manually creating web pages to show off a few choice pictures. By the time my second son was walking I had my first good digital camera. Things were better, but I still had to drag pictures onto a hard drive, bring them into Photoshop, painstakingly process them and then upload to Flickr. And then, seemingly overnight, we took a leap. Phones got good cameras. Photo processing right on the camera got dead simple. And Instagram happened. We rarely think about it, but: digital photography went from hard and expensive to cheap and ubiquitous in a very short period of time.

Mozilla on-device app making concept from MWC 2013 (Frog Design)

Mozilla on-device app making concept from MWC 2013 (Frog Design)

I want to make the same thing happen with mobile apps. Today: making a mobile app — or a complex interactive web page — is slow, hard and only for the brave and talented few. I want to make making a mobile app as easy as posting to Instagram.

At Mozilla, we’ve been talking about this for while now. At Mobile World Congress 2013 we floated the idea of making easy to make apps. And we’ve been prototyping a tool for making mobile apps in a desktop browser since last fall. We’ve built some momentum, but we have yet to solve two key problems: crafting a vision of app making that’s valuable to everyday people and making app making easy on a phone.

We came one step closer to solving these problems last week win London. In partnership with the GSMA, we organized a design workshop that asked: What if anyone could make a mobile app? What would this unlock for people? And, more interestingly, what kind of opportunity and imagination would is create in places where large numbers (billions) of people are coming online for the first time using affordable smartphones? These are the right questions to be asking if we want to create an Instagram Effect for apps.

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 6.08.08 PMScreen Shot 2014-07-14 at 6.09.00 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 6.08.47 PM

The London design workshop created some interesting case studies of why and how people would create and remix their own apps on their phones. A DJ in Rio who wanted to gain fans and distribute her music. A dabbawalla in Mumbai who wants to grow and manage the list of customers he delivers food to. A teacher in Durban who wants to use her Google doc full on student records to recruit parents to combat truancy. All of these case studies pointed to problems that non-technical people could more easily solve for themselves if they could easily make their own mobile apps.

Over the next few months, Mozilla will start building on-device authoring for mobile phones and interactive web pages. The case studies we developed in London — and others we’ll be pulling together over the coming weeks — will go a long way towards helping us figure out what features and app templates to build first. As we get to some first prototypes, we’re going get the Mozilla community around the world to test out our thinking via Maker Parties and other events.

At the same time, we’re going to be working on a broader piece of research on the role of locally generated content in creating opportunity for people in places whee smartphones are just starting to take at off. At the London workshop, we dug into this question with people from organizations like Equity Bank, Telefonica, USAID, EcoNet Wireless, Caribou Digital, Orange, Dalberg, Vodaphone. Working with GSMA, we plan to research this local content question and field test easy app making with partners like these over next six months. I’ll post more soon about this partnership.


Filed under: education, mozilla, webmakers
Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

David Burns: WebDriver F2F - London 2014

ma, 14/07/2014 - 16:15

Last week saw the latest face to face of the WebDriver Working Group held at Facebook. This meeting was important as this is hopefully the last face to face before we go to Last call allowing us to concentrate on issues that come up during last call.

This meeting was really useful as we were a number of discussions around the prose of the spec when it comes to conformance and usability of the spec, especially when given to implementors who have never worked on WebDriver.

The Agenda from the meeting can be found here

The notable items that were discussed are:

  • Merge getLocation and getSize to single call called getElementRect. This has been implemented in FirefoxDriver already
  • Describe restrictions around localhost in security section
  • How the conformance test will look (Microsoft have a huge raft tests they are cleaning up and getting ready to upstream!)
  • Actions has been tweaked from the original straw man delivered by Mozilla, hopefully see the new version in the next few weeks.

To read what was discussed you can see the notes for Monday and Tuesday.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Mozilla Reps Community: Rep Of The Month : June 2014 – Shreyas Narayanan Kutty

ma, 14/07/2014 - 12:39

Shreyas Narayanan KuttyShreyas Narayanan Kutty came to Reps as an already inspirational leader and role model in the Firefox Student Ambassadors program. In addition to organizing a number of successful MozCafes, Shreyas has led a charge to empower kids on the web through the Webmaker initiative ‘Kidzilla’ and a longer-term call to action in schools to start Webmaker Clubs.

Shreyas has inspired others in his community and across the world with blog posts and photos and a teaching kit which have been featured in Mozilla publications.

In addition to his FSA and Reps contribution, Shreyas has been a key participant in Hive India and most recently, Mozcamp Beta, where his Popcorn video ‘I am Mozillian’, featuring 19 different states of India stole the show.

See past featured Reps..

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

David Burns: Bugsy 0.3.0 - Comments!

ma, 14/07/2014 - 12:07

I have just released the latest version of Bugsy. This allows you to get comments from Bugzilla and add new comments too. This API is still experimental so please send back some feedback since I may change it to real world usage.

I have updated the documentation to get you started.

>>> comments = bug.get_comments() >>> comment[0].text "I <3 Cheese" >>> bug.add_comment("And I love bacon")

You can see the Changelog for more details.

Please raise issues on GitHub

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

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