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Chris AtLee: MozFest 2015

do, 19/11/2015 - 14:35

I had the privilege of attending MozFest last week. Overall it was a really great experience. I met lots of really wonderful people, and learned about so many really interesting and inspiring projects.

My biggest takeaway from MozFest was how important it is to provide good APIs and data for your systems. You can't predict how somebody else will be able to make use of your data to create something new and wonderful. But if you're not making your data available in a convenient way, nobody can make use of it at all!

It was a really good reminder for me. We generate a lot of data in Release Engineering, but it's not always exposed in a way that's convenient for other people to make use of.

The rest of this post is a summary of various sessions I attended.


Friday night started with a Science Fair. Lots of really interesting stuff here. Some of the projects that stood out for me were:

  • naturebytes - a DIY wildlife camera based on the raspberry pi, with an added bonus of aiding conservation efforts.
  • histropedia - really cool visualizations of time lines, based on data in Wikipedia and Wikidata. This was the first time I'd heard of Wikidata, and the possibilities were very exciting to me! More on this later, as I attended a whole session on Wikidata.
  • Several projects related to the Internet-of-Things (IOT)

On Saturday, the festival started with some keynotes. Surman spoke about how MozFest was a bit chaotic, but this was by design. In a similar way that the web is an open platform that you can use as a platform for building your own ideas, MozFest should be an open platform so you can meet, brainstorm, and work on your ideas. This means it can seem a bit disorganized, but that's a good thing :) You get what you want out of it.

I attended several good sessions on Saturday as well:

  • Ending online tracking. We discussed various methods currently used to track users, such as cookies and fingerprinting, and what can be done to combat these. I learned, or re-learned, about a few interesting Firefox extensions as a result:

    • privacybadger. Similar to Firefox's tracking protection, except it doesn't rely on a central blacklist. Instead, it tries to automatically identify third party domains that are setting cookies, etc. across multiple websites. Once identified, these third party domains are blocked.
    • https everywhere. Makes it easier to use HTTPS by default everywhere.
  • Intro to D3JS. d3js is a JS data visualization library. It's quite powerful, but something I learned is that you're expected to do quite a bit of work up-front to make sure it's showing you the things you want. It's not great as a data exploration library, where you're not sure exactly what the data means, and want to look at it from different points of view. The nvd3 library may be more suitable for first time users.

  • 6 kitchen cases for IOT We discussed the proposed IOT design manifesto briefly, and then split up into small groups to try and design a product, using the principles outlined in the manifesto. Our group was tasked with designing some product that would help connect hospitals with amateur chefs in their local area, to provide meals for patients at the hospital. We ended up designing a "smart cutting board" with a built in display, that would show you your recipes as you prepared them, but also collect data on the frequency of your meal preparations, and what types of foods you were preparing.

    Going through the exercise of evaluating the product with each of the design principles was fun. You could be pretty evil going into this and try and collect all customer data :)

  • How to fight an internet shutdown - we role played how we would react if the internet was suddenly shut down during some political protests. What kind of communications would be effective? What kind of preparation can you have done ahead of time for such an event?

    This session was run by Deji from accessnow. It was really eye opening to see how internet shutdowns happen fairly regularly around the world.

  • Data is beaufitul Introduction to wikidata Wikidata is like Wikipedia, but for data. An open database of...stuff. Anybody can edit and query the database. One of the really interesting features of Wikidata is that localization is kind of built-in as part of the design. Each item in the database is assigned an id (prefixed by "Q"). E.g. Q42 is Douglas Adams. The description for each item is simply a table of locale -> localized description. There's no inherent bias towards English, or any other language. The beauty of this is that you can reference the same piece of data from multiple languages, only having to focus on localizing the various descriptions. You can imagine different translations of the same Wikipedia page right now being slightly inconsistent due to each one having to be updated separately. If they could instead reference the data in Wikidata, then there's only one place to update the data, and all the other places that reference that data would automatically benefit from it.

    The query language is quite powerful as well. A simple demonstration was "list all the works of art in the same room in the Louvre as the Mona Lisa."

    It really got me thinking about how powerful open data is. How can we in Release Engineering publish our data so others can build new, interesting and useful tools on top of it?

  • Local web Various options for purely local web / networks were discussed. There are some interesting mesh network options available commotion was demo'ed. These kind of distributions give you file exchange, messaging, email, etc. on a local network that's not necessarily connected to the internet.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Emma Irwin: The Journey Continues – Mozlando is Coming!

wo, 18/11/2015 - 23:54

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  The ‘Mozilla Coincidental Work Week’ brings everyone at Mozilla together in the same city, at the same time for the opportunity of collaboration – this time in Orlando Florida (Dec 7 – 11) !

‘Mozlando’ is the next stop on our Participation Cohort’s journey –  a perfect environment for goal-setting focused on building high impact participation opportunities with product teams.  Truly – a  beautiful opportunity to invest in, and with each other.


Over 100 volunteers will have the opportunity to work directly with teams helping design and strengthen goals which in many (and most)  cases includes Participation.  For those invited by the Participation Team, we will of course, be dedicating ourselves to that focus.


Photo from Photo CC By 2.0 Mozfest


We have three distinct volunteer groups attending Orlando:

  1. Those invited by the Participation Team.
  2. Those invited by another functional area, but who are also part of the Participation Cohort.
  3. Those who were invited by another functional area, but currently have no Participation connection.
    1. Subset: those in this group who may, informally, have Participation goals in their work.

We will reach out with offers for 1:1 coaching for all in groups 1 & 2.  And for the subset of the 3rd group, will reserve blocks of time for those interested in Participation.

The coaching this time around even more important recognizing that connecting volunteers with the project goals is a critical step to bringing sustained strategic advantage to Mozilla . We are asking our cohort to research and consider the following:

  1. What are my participation goals for 2016?
  2. What are the goals in 2016 of the product team I will be working with?
  3. How do these align with my own goals for 2016?  What adjustments do I need to make?  What questions do I need to ask?
  4. How can I share what I learn, and bring others in who want to contribute to the same area of the project?

CC by-nc-sa 2.0 by Christos Bacharakis

At the heart of everything of course is people, why we’re here, why we care,  where we envision we can go individually, and with each other.  I’m looking forward to all of it!

For those who think of Orlando as ‘Disney’ and for those who think of Orlando as ‘Space ‘ I give you an image for everyone. ‘Mickey Mouse on Mercury’ CC by 2.0 Nasa Goddard Space Flight Center

Feature Image Credit:  Nasa on The Commons


Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Chris Cooper: Welcome back, Mihai!

wo, 18/11/2015 - 23:44
Mr. KotterThis is *not* Mihai.

I’ve been remiss in (re)introducing our latest hire in release engineering here at Mozilla.

Mihai Tabara is a two-time former intern who joins us again, now in a full-time capacity, after a stint as a release engineer at Hortonworks. He’s in Toronto this week with some other members of our team to sprint on various aspects of release promotion.

After a long hiring drought for releng, it’s great to be able to welcome someone new to the team, and even better to be able to welcome someone back. Welcome, Mihai!

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Air Mozilla: The Joy of Coding - Episode 35

wo, 18/11/2015 - 19:00

The Joy of Coding - Episode 35 mconley livehacks on real Firefox bugs while thinking aloud.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Daniel Pocock: Improving DruCall and JSCommunicator user interface

wo, 18/11/2015 - 18:45

DruCall is one of the easiest ways to get up and running with WebRTC voice and video calling on your own web site or blog. It is based on 100% open source and 100% open standards - no binary browser plugins and no lock-in to a specific service provider or vendor.

On Debian or Ubuntu, just running a command such as

# apt-get install -t jessie-backports drupal7-mod-drucall

will install Drupal, Apache, MySQL, JSCommunicator, JsSIP and all the other JavaScript library packages and module dependencies for DruCall itself.

The user interface

Most of my experience is in server-side development, including things like the powerful SIP over WebSocket implementation in the reSIProcate SIP proxy repro.

In creating DruCall, I have simply concentrated on those areas related to configuring and bringing up the WebSocket connection and creating the authentication tokens for the call.

Those things provide a firm foundation for the module, but it would be nice to improve the way it is presented and optimize the integration with other Drupal features. This is where the projects (both DruCall and JSCommunicator) would really benefit from feedback and contributions from people who know Drupal and web design in much more detail.

Benefits for collaboration

If anybody wants to collaborate on either or both of these projects, I'd be happy to offer access to a pre-configured SIP WebSocket server in my lab for more convenient testing. The DruCall source code is a hosted project and the JSCommunicator source code is on Github.

When you get to the stage where you want to run your own SIP WebSocket server as well then free community support can also be provided through the repro-user mailing list. The free, online RTC Quick Start Guide gives a very comprehensive overview of everything you need to do to run your own WebRTC SIP infrastructure.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

David Lawrence: Happy BMO Push Day!

wo, 18/11/2015 - 05:04

the following changes have been pushed to

  • [1221998] Make sure localconfig is generated deterministically
  • [1219767] Explicitly load extensions at Bugzilla->login
  • [1221423] unable to impersonate users when 2fa is enabled
  • [1181637] Update Req Opening Process (Cost Center list on 2015-07-08)
  • [1223495] String handling bug in form.creative on BMO
  • [1223669] don’t scroll to the top of the page when clicking on the resolution buttons
  • [1209625] MozReview API Keys should use a more specific error message
  • [1223590] Unable to login to bugzilla via login to github (fresh bugzilla account)
  • [1224620] Update VP list in Recruiting Product
  • [1187429] Remove the WebOps Request Form
  • [1225249] module subtitles should be the same size as other text on the page (13px)

discuss these changes on

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Chris H-C: Single-API Firefox Telemetry Plots: telemetry-wrapper.js

wo, 18/11/2015 - 01:14

Say you’ve read my earlier post on Firefox Telemetry and want to make your own plots like does. Well, like almost everything Mozilla does, that website is open source, so we can just copy what it does… except it’s a little convoluted. It needs to support a range of requirements and configurations, after all.

But your needs are just yours, so wouldn’t it be nice if there were something a little more direct?

Enter telemetry-wrapper.js. Simply include it and its dependencies in your HTML and then call it like so:

TelemetryWrapper.go(params, element);

Then ‘element’ will suddenly (after a few seconds to collate and render the data) contain one or more plots corresponding to ‘params’.

Want to see GC_MS compared by e10sEnabled setting on Nightly 44?

TelemetryWrapper.go({   channel: "nightly",   version: "44",   metric: "GC_MS",   compare: "e10sEnabled", }, document.body);

(e10s is looking like a win on this metric, though part of the sample population self-selected so we can’t be sure. Await blog posts from other quarters on A/B tests we’re conducting.)

How about the top three plugins activated in Firefox 42?

TelemetryWrapper.go({ channel: "release", version: "42", metric: "PLUGIN_ACTIVATION_COUNT", keyLimit: 3, }, document.body);

(no one is surprised that the top one is Flash and that most people only use it the once. But googletalk has an odd shape to it, being activated exactly twice by clients more often than any other frequency…)

The technical details are in the README. Use and reuse it to ask and answer questions about Firefox Telemetry data!


Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet