Being discerning about my influences and experiences - I choose the people, experiences and beauty to influence my life. I find people aren’t always choosy about who or what they allow in their lives - they tend to revert to a default based on who they’ve known forever or do so without thought. I am more discerning now - and decide who I will give my time to, when I might read email, pay attention to my phone, and certainly who I will listen to, take advice from and experiences I want.
On Friday nights I’ve begun turning my phone off from dinner until Saturday night and sometimes Sunday morning - it gives me the opportunity to not be distracted by anyone and fully present in how I design my weekend to maximize rejuvenation and reflection.
I have found several friends that are smarter than me in key areas I love to learn about and so I soak up their thoughts, we share our challenges and learn from each other, we push each other to be even better and stronger than we know and acknowledge where we’re at or how we’re feeling without judgement.
For a complete shift in perspective and experience, I love growing our organic market-garden farm, it’s a venture that gives me solace, grounding, joy on a spiritual and physical plane that is entirely unique - to grow my own food and share this bounty with those that appreciate what it takes is beyond joyful. Particularly when I also then learn what can be done with e.g. ground cherry tomato’s and chocolate or wild leeks and miso :)
And I choose to include some element of beauty in my daily life and surroundings. That might mean picking a simple bouquet of wild flowers to infuse a team meeting room in the fresh scent of lilac’s. Or it could be appreciating fine art in painting or sculpture and the profound and thought-provoking impact the artist intends.
It’s the Mozilla Festival in London this weekend. It’s sold out, so you’ll have to beg, borrow or steal a ticket! This will will be my fourth, and third as a paid contributor (i.e. Mozilla employee).
Here’s my tips for getting the most of it.1. Attend the whole thing
There’s always the temptation with multi-day events not to go to each of the days. It’s easy to slip off into the city – especially if it’s one you haven’t been to before. However, that would a real shame as there’s so much to do and see at MozFest. Plus, you really should have booked a few days either side to chill out.2. Sample everything
Some tracks will grab you more than others. However, with nine floors and multiple sessions happening at the same time, there’s always going to be something to keep you entertained. Feel free to vote with your feet if you’re not getting maximum value from a session – and drop into something you don’t necessarily know a lot about!3. Drink lots
Not alcohol or coffee – although there’ll be plenty of that on offer! I mean fluids that will rehydrate you. At the Mozilla Summit at the end of last year we were all given rehydration powder along with a Camelbak refillable bottle. This was the perfect combination and I urge you to bring something similar. Pro tip: if you can’t find the powder (it’s harder to come by in the UK) just put a slice of lemon in the bottom of the bottle to keep it tasting fresh all day!4. Introduce yourself to people
The chances are that you don’t know all 1,600 people who have tickets for MozFest. I know I don’t! You should feel encouraged to go up and introduce yourself to people who look lost, bewildered, or at a loose end. Sample phrases that seem to work well:
- “Wow, it’s pretty crazy, eh?”
- “Hi! Which session have you just been to?”
- “Is this your first MozFest?”
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, so feel free to find a corner, put your headphones on and zone out for a while. You’ll see plenty of people doing this – on all floors! Pace yourself – it’s a marathon, not a sprint.6. Wear comfortable shoes/clothing
There are lifts at the venue but, as you can imagine, with so many people there they get full quickly. As a result there’ll be plenty of walking up and down stairs. Wear your most comfortable pair of shoes and clothing that’ll still look good when you’re a sticky mess.7. Expect tech fails
I’ve been to a lot of events and at every single one, whether because of a technical problem or human error, there’s been a tech fail. Expect it! Embrace it. The wifi is pretty good, but mobile phone coverage is poor. Plan accordingly and have a backup option.8. Ask questions
With so many people coming from so many backgrounds and disciplines, it’s difficult to know the terminology involved. If someone ‘drops a jargon bomb’ then you should call them out on it. If you don’t know what they mean, then the chances are others won’t know either. And if you’re the one doing the explaining, be aware that others may not share your context.9. Come equipped
Your mileage may vary, but I’d suggest the following:
- Mobile phone and/or tablet
- Multi-gang extension lead
- Charging cables
- Snacks (e.g. granola bars)
- Refillable water bottle
I’d suggest a backpack as something over one shoulder might eventually cause pain. You might also want to put a cloth bag inside the bag you’re carrying in case you pick up extra stuff.10. Build (and network!)
MozFest is a huge opportunity to meet and co-create stuff with exceptionally talented and enthusiastic people. So get involved! Bring your skills and lend a hand in whatever’s being built. If nothing else, you can take photos and help document the festival.
The strapline of MozFest is ‘arrive with an idea, leave with a community’. Unlike some conferences that have subtitles that, frankly, bear no relation to what actually happens, this one is dead on. You’ll want to keep in touch with people, so in addition to the stuff listed above you might want to bring business cards. Far from being a 20th century thing, I’ve found them much more useful than just writing on a scrap of paper or exchanging Twitter usernames.
This isn’t meant to be comprehensive, just my top tips. But I’d be very interested to hear your advice to newbies if you’re a MozFest veteran! Leave a comment below.
Image CC BY-SA Alan Levine
There are many wiser than me that have offered knowing yourself as a valuable pursuit that brings great rewards.
Here are a few of my favourite quotes on why to do this:
“I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is that I can’t find anybody who can tell me what they want.” – Mark Twain
“It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.” – Lucille Ball
“The searching-out and thorough investigation of truth ought to be the primary study of man.” – Cicero
This is how I invest in knowing myself - I hope it inspires you to create your own practice
- I spend time understanding my motivations, values in action or inaction, and my triggers. I leverage my coach to deconstruct situations that were particularly difficult or rewarding, where I’m overwhelmed by emotion and don’t feel I can think rationally - I check in to get crystal clear on what is going on, how am I feeling, what was the trigger(s) and how will I be at choice in action going forward.
- I challenge myself in areas I want to understand more about myself by reading, going to lectures, sharing honestly with leanred or experienced friends.
- I keep a daily journal - particularly around areas in my life I want to change or improve like being on time and creating sufficient time in my day for reflection. I’ve long run my calendar to ‘maximize time and service’ i.e. every available minute is in meetings, working on a project, etc. This is not only un-sustainable for me, it doesn’t leave me any room for the unexpected and more importantly an opportunity to reflect on what may have just happened or prepare for what or who I may be seeing next. This is not fair to me nor to the people I work with.
The leaders I coach drive themselves and their teams to great achievements, are engaged in what they do, love their work and have passion and compassion in how they work for their teams and customers. They face tough situations - impossible-seeming deadlines or goals, difficult conversations, constant re-balancing of work-life priorities, and crazy business scenarios we’ve never faced before.
Their days can be both energizing and completely draining. And each day they face those choices and predicaments at times with full grace and others with total foolishness.
Along the way I hear and offer the questions - how are you taking care of yourself? how will you rejuvenate? how will you maintain balance? so you I ask these questions of the leaders I work with so that they can keep driving their goals, over-achieving each day and showing up for the important people in your life :)
I focus on three ways to do this myself.
Knowing myself - spending time to understand and check in with my values, triggers, and motivations.
Doing a daily practice - i’ve created a daily and weekly practice that touches on my mind, body and spirit. this discipline and evolving practice keeps me learning, present and ‘in balance’
Being discerning about my influences - choose the people, experiences and beauty that influence my life and what’s important about that today, this week or month or year.
We had landed in Delhi on the 22nd of July 2014 and as Larissa defines it, Delhi was indeed a 'steam sauna'. We did spend most of that day going around and visiting a few famous places like the Red Fort, the India Gate, Parliament house etc. In the evening, we did meet the local Mozillians in Delhi. Well, it was an informal meeting of all Mozillians, talking all 'sh!t mozillians say' ;)
23rd morning began with all excitement. It was a small crowd, but a really awesome crowd in that conference room. Right from the introduction session, we could feel the high intellectual capabilities these young ladies were filled with. After a small game of spectrogram, we immediately moved to introduce Mozilla as an organization as well as all the Mozilla projects. To my surprise, most of the participants already knew about Open Source and had a fair idea about Mozilla. To my greater surprise, all of our participants had used Firefox at some point of time (even if it was not their default/regular browser). It was thus easy to introduce the different Mozilla projects and contribution pathways to them.
Serious hacking in progress... The confidence these dynamic ladies did showcase was beyond appreciation.
One thing each person in the room agreed to was - "being a woman in technology is indeed tough". But these girls were ready to face the tough world and fight it out for themselves!
Post lunch, we got to some webmaking. So much hacking, so much remixing...it was tough to believe that many of these people were "not from a technical background".
Some of the awesome makes can be found listed on this spreadsheet.
Well, it goes beyond saying that these superstarts definitely deserved some awards for their awesomeness and thus, we did give them some webmaker badges.
Very few events have given me the happiness of being able to convert almost all participants into Mozillians and this was one of those rare ones.
The awesome woman Webmakers of Delhi :)
Saturday (23rd August 2014), we were at the Center of IT & Management Education (CIME) where we were asked to address a crowd of 100 participants whom we were supposed to teach webmaking. Trust me, very rarely do we get such crowd in events where we get the opportunity to be less of a teacher and more of a learner. We taught them Webmaking, true, but in return we learnt a lot from them.
Maker Party at Center of IT & Management Education (CIME)
On Sunday, things were even more fabulous at Institute of Technical Education & Research(ITER), Siksha 'O' Anusandhan University college, where we were welcomed by around 400 participants, all filled with energy, enthusiasm and the willingness to learn.
Maker Party at Institute of Technical Education & Research(ITER)
Our agenda for both days were simple....to have loads and loads of fun! We kept the tracks interactive and very open ended. On both days, we did cover the following topics:
- Introduction to Mozilla
- Mozilla Products and projects
- Ways of contributing to Mozilla
- Intro to Webmaker tools
- Hands-on session on Thimble, Popcorn and X-ray goggles and Appmaker
- Sayak Sarkar, the co-organizer for this event.
- Sumantro, Umesh and Sukanta from travelling all the way from Kolkata and helping us out with the sessions.
- Rish and Prasanna for organizing these events.
- Most importantly, the entire team of volunteers from both colleges without whom we wouldn't havebeen able to even move a desk.
Christian Heilmann: Removing private metadata (geolocation, time, date) from photos the simple way: removephotodata.com
When you take photos with your smartphone or camera it adds much more to the image than meets the eye. This EXIF data contains all kind of interesting information: type of device, flash on or off, time, date and most worrying – geographical location. Services like Flickr or Google Plus use this data to show your photos on a map, which is nice, but you may find yourself in situations where you share images without wanting to tell the recipient in detail where and when they were taken.
For example the photo of me here:
Doesn’t only tell you that I am not sure about this shirt, but also the following information:
- GPSInfoIFDPointer: 462
- Model: Nexus 5
- ExifIFDPointer: 134
- YCbCrPositioning: 1
- YResolution: 72
- ResolutionUnit: 2
- XResolution: 72
- Make: LGE
- ApertureValue: 3.07
- InteroperabilityIFDPointer: 432
- DateTimeDigitized: 2014:10:19 16:06:20
- ShutterSpeedValue: 5.321
- ColorSpace: 1
- DateTimeOriginal: 2014:10:19 16:06:20
- FlashpixVersion: 0100
- ExposureBias: 0
- PixelYDimension: 960
- ExifVersion: 0220
- PixelXDimension: 1280
- FocalLength: 1.23
- Flash: Flash did not fire
- ExposureTime: 0.025
- ISOSpeedRatings: 102
- ComponentsConfiguration: YCbCr
- FNumber: 2.9
- GPSImgDirection: 105
- GPSImgDirectionRef: M
- GPSLatitudeRef: N
- GPSLatitude: 59,19,6.7941
- GPSLongitudeRef: E
- GPSLongitude: 18,3,35.5311
- GPSAltitudeRef: 0
- GPSAltitude: 0
- GPSTimeStamp: 14,6,10
- GPSProcessingMethod: ASCIIFUSED
- GPSDateStamp: 2014:10:19
I explained that this might be an issue in the case of nude photos people put online in my TEDx talk on making social media social again and showed that there is a command line tools called EXIFtool that allows for stripping out this extra data. This article describes other tools that do the same. EXIFtool is the 800 pound gorilla of this task as it allows you to edit EXIF data.
As a lot of people asked me for a tool to do this, I wanted to make it easier for you without having to resort to an installable tool. Enter removephotodata.com
This is a simple web page that allows you to pick an image from your hard drive, see the data and save an image with all the data stripped by clicking a button. You can see it in action in this screencast
The tool does not store any image data and all the calculations and information gathering happens on your computer. Nothing gets into the cloud or onto my server.
So go and drag and drop your images there before uploading them. Be safe® out there.
Industry Leaders Magazine (subscription)
Mozilla Takes On Web Communication With All-New Firefox Hello
Headlines & Global News
Mozilla is developing a new service that brings seamless communication options without going through a series of setups. The new software, which is being called Firefox Hello, is still in beta stage and enables voice and video calls with other online ...
Mozilla Rolls Out A New Browser-Based Video Chat Service Firefox HelloIndustry Leaders Magazine (subscription)
Mozilla Firefox Hello Is Open Browser-Based Skype RivalTechWeekEurope UK
Mozilla Launches Video Chat Service Firefox HelloThe Utah People's Post
Crossmap -Empire State Tribune -eWeek
alle 27 nieuwsartikelen »Google Nieuws
Mozilla rolls out Firefox Hello
Soon, you won't need to download and run proprietary software for online and voice chats, if a project by the makers of the Firefox browser graduates from the test labs. Dubbed Firefox Hello, the new service is initially available on Firefox Beta and ...
Mozilla Introduces "Firefox Hello" a possible competitor for Viber, Skype ...JBG News
Mozilla Firefox Hello Is Open Browser-Based Skype RivalTechWeekEurope UK
Mozilla Firefox News: A New Browser-Based Video Chat Called HelloCrossmap
InternetNews.com (blog) -eWeek -CNET
alle 20 nieuwsartikelen »
I was reading yesterday another type of large scale testing for link rot on the UK Web. They share some of the challenges we meet in terms of guessing if the Web page has changed or not meaningfully. It's a very interesting read. They try at a point to determine if something is similar or dissimilar. Here what they say.
The easy case is when the content is exactly the same – we can just record that the resources are identical at the binary level. If not, we extract whatever text we can from the archived and live URLs, and compare them to see how much the text has changed. To do this, we compute a fingerprint from the text contained in each resource, and then compare those to determine how similar the resources are. This technique has been used for many years in computer forensics applications, such as helping to identify ‘bad’ software, and here we adapt the approach in order to find similar web pages.
Specifically, we generate ssdeep ‘fuzzy hash’ fingerprints, and compare them in order to determine the degree of overlap in the textual content of the items. If the algorithm is able to find any similarity at all, we record the result as ‘SIMILAR’. Otherwise, we record that the items are ‘DISSIMILAR’.
I remember in the past for a talk I had given about quality on how to use selenium to take screenshots at different stages of the development and check if the rendering was the same. One way to evaluate the differences is to create a comparison of the images by first taking a screenshotfrom selenium import webdriver browser = webdriver.Firefox() browser.get('http://www.mozilla.org/') browser.save_screenshot('moz-home.png') browser.close()
And then, if you get multiple screenshots of the same page, to compare two images. Such as the reference image and the new screenshot:def diff_ratio(screen_ref, screen_new): s = difflib.SequenceMatcher(None, s1, s2) return s.quick_ratio()
SequenceMatcher is a tool for comparing pairs of sequences of any type and quick_ratio return an upper bound on .ratio() relatively quickly, which is a measure of the sequences' similarity (float in [0,1]). Just to give an example of the type of results.import difflib a = 'Life is a long slow river.' b = 'Life is among slow rivers.' s = difflib.SequenceMatcher(None, a, b) s.quick_ratio() # returns 0.9230769230769231 s2 = difflib.SequenceMatcher(None, a, a) s2.quick_ratio() # returns 1.0
So if the images are quite similar it will return a number close to 1.And For Web Compatibility Issues?
Most of our use cases are Web sites not sending the right version of the Web site, such as desktop content instead of the mobile version. So I was wondering if we could have a very quick check which would involve less human checking during our surveys of sites for certain countries.
One possible challenge (among maybe many) is Website relying heavily on advertisements and sending different images. In this case, the site would be different even if sending the same version.
Another one is press Web sites, changing the content of the home page quite often.
Maybe it's worth testing. Maybe we would get an acceptable ratio.Addendum
I suppose we could explore stuff like hashing all the CSS code included in a page and compare hashes to find different styling. Although my next project is going to be using Compatipede 2, finding all the elements in a DOM that are styled with -webkit- properties or values, then generate XPath identifiers or JS to locate the same element and see if it has equivalent styles when the page loads in a different rendering engine.
Firefox OS phones are now on sale in Australia! You can buy a ZTE Open C with Firefox OS 1.3 installed for $99 (AUD) at JB Hi-Fi. (For non-Australian readers: JB Hi-Fi is probably the biggest electronics and home entertainment retailer in Australia.)
Australia’s not the ideal market for the current versions of Firefox OS, being a country where a large fraction of people already use high-end phones. But it’s nice that they’re easily available
We are happy to announce that four new members of the Council have been elected.
Welcome San James, Ankit, Luis and Bob! They bring with them skills they have picked up as Reps mentors, and as community builders both inside Mozilla and in other fields. A HUGE thank you to the outgoing council members – Guillermo Movia, Sayak Sarkar, Nikos Roussos and Majda Nafissa. We are hoping you continue to use your talents and experience to continue in a leadership role in Reps and Mozilla.
The Mozilla Reps Council is the governing body of the Mozilla Reps Program. It provides the general vision of the program and oversees day-to-day operations globally. Currently, 7 volunteers and 2 paid staff sit on the council. Find out more on the ReMo wiki.
Congratulate new Council members on this Discourse topic!
James 'snorp' Willcox has landed support for hardware decoding via the public MediaCodec Java class in Nightly for Android for devices running Android 4.1+ (Jellybean). This is replacing OMXCodec & the Stagefright library which was introduced as a replacement for OpenCore for media decoding. This relatively new public Java class is used for decoding H.264/AAC in MP4 for playback in the browser with the benefit of allowing for direct access to the media codecs on the device through a "raw" interface.
This should correct a number of playback issues which have been reported to us regarding problems on Android 4.1+ devices.
This week was a real grab bag of stuff starting and stopping and interruption that kept me all over the place.
I’m particularly happy to see the python learning group starting the week of 2014010-20 and I feel like the work for my local Mozillians and KitHerder is getting closer to done. I spent all day Fri working out install issues with KitHerder with the developer (thanks WiredCrow for all the help).
- local Mozillians working
- Announced Python learning group
- Working on more details and bits for next weeks launch
- SecChamps Report
- vendor review
- SeaSponge video feedback
- EME research
- EME PTR setup
- KitHerder wrangling / install
- Weekly meeting
- Cloud Security Team Meeting
- MWoS team meeting
- Web Bug Triage
- Sec Open Mic
- Community Building Team
I occasionally accept invitations to speak at conferences and events. Here’s the video from my recent talk at The Graphical Web in Winchester, England. I discuss how and why I now work on Web Platform Rendering, and how disruptive innovations are enabled by seemingly mundane key technologies that bridge gaps for developers and audiences.
Mozilla's Matchstick Dongle Nearly Quadruples Funding Goal, New Features in ...
It only took 24 hours for Mozilla's Matchstick HDMI dongle to reach its targeted $100,000 funding goal on Kickstarter, and since then, the project has skyrocketed to more than $390,000 with 9 days still to go. However, this is where things interesting ...
Mozilla Firefox Hello Is Open Browser-Based Skype Rival
Mozilla is working with Telefonica on Firefox Hello, which uses the Spanish operator's OpenTok communications platform. The partnership extends the two organisations' existing relationship, which has centred around the open source Firefox OS mobile ...
Mozilla Firefox News: A New Browser-Based Video Chat Called HelloCrossmap
Firefox Hello Not Working and Mozilla Claims the Bug is InvalidInternetNews.com (blog)
Mozilla Introduces "Firefox Hello" a possible competitor for Viber, Skype ...JBG News
eWeek -CNET -TechnoBuffalo
alle 15 nieuwsartikelen »Google Nieuws
Mozilla, Telefonica team up to add video chat to Firefox
Mozilla has announced an update to Firefox 34 beta featuring a new calling service powered by Telefonica. The service, dubbed Firefox Hello, is based on the Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) video and audio chat technology that sets up a p2p ...
Note: I started writing this past year after the festival finished, and then I went heads down into an spiral of web audio hacking and conferencing and what not, so I didn’t finish it.
But with the festival starting this Friday, it’s NOW OR NEVER!
Ahead with the PUBLISH button!
(AKA #MozFest everywhere else)
MozFest finished a week almost a year ago already, but I’m still feeling its effects on my brain: tons of new ideas, and a pervasive feeling of not having enough time to develop them all. I guess it’s good (if I manage it properly).
I came to the Festival without knowing what it would be about. The Mozilla London office had been pretty much taken over by the Mozilla Foundation people from all over the world who were doing their last preparations in there. Meeting rooms were a scarce resource, and one of them was even renamed as “MF WAR ROOM”, until someone came next day and re-renamed it as “MW PEACE ROOM”. So, it was all “a madhouse”, in Potch’s words, but amicable, friendly chaos after all. Hard to gather what the festival would consist of, though. So I just waited until Friday…
Well, saying that I waited wouldn’t be true. I wasn’t sitting, arms crossed. I was furiously stealing sleep hours to finish a hack that Dethe Elza (from Mozilla Vancouver, and curator for the Make the web physical track) had asked me to bring and present at the Science Fair on Friday.
My hack, HUMACCHINA, briefly consisted on using my QuNeo to control an instrument running on the browser, with Web Audio. I will talk about more technicalities in a future post, but what interests me here is the experience of presenting my creation to people on a fair. It was quite enlightening to observe how people react to the unknown and how they interpret what is in front of them according to their existing knowledge. Granted, my experiment was a little bit cryptic, specially if you were not a musician already (which would give you some hints), and it was hard to even listen to the music because of the noise in the environment, but still most people seemed to have fun and spent a while playing with the pads, others were puzzled by it (“but… why did you do this?”) and finally others were able to take the QuNeo out of its current preset and into another (wrong) one by just pressing all the buttons randomly at the right times (!!!). I’m glad I noticed, and I’m even gladder than I had programmed a test pattern to ensure everything was properly setup, so I could reset it and ensure all was OK before the next person came to the booth.
The sad part of this is that… I couldn’t get to see any other of the booths, so I missed a great lot. You can’t have it all, I guess.
At some point I was super tired, first because it was the end of a long day (and week!) and second because explaining the same thing over and over again to different people is not something I do every day, so I was exhausted. I decided to call it a day and we went for dinner to a nearby place… where we happened to find a sizeable amount of Mozillians having dinner there too. So we all gathered together for a final drink and then quickly rushed before the last tube left.Saturday
I couldn’t be on time for the opening, but as soon as I arrived to Ravensbourne College I dashed through to the “Pass the App” session that Bobby Richter was running and had asked me to join. I, again, had not much of a clue of how it would develop. He paired me with a startup who’s trying to crowdsource custom built prosthetic parts for children in need, and we set up to prototype ideas for an app that could help them get to their goal. I think I should have drank a couple litres of coffee before joining this session, but although I wasn’t in my best shape, I think we did good enough. We came up with a mockup for an app that would use a futuristic hypothetical AppMaker to start with some sort of template app that parents could customise to describe their children’s needs, and then generate an app that they could then upload to a Marketplace and use that Marketplace payment features to fund the goal. It was fun to draw the mockup at giant scale and just discuss ideas without going technical for a change!
Some people stayed to try to build a demo for Sunday, but I was honest with myself and declined building any hack during the event. I know that after a few hours of hacking while many other activities were happening, I would be hating myself, at the end of the week-end I would hate everyone else, and on Monday I would hate the whole universe. Or worse.
I ended up chatting with Kumar, who’s actually worked on the payments system in the Firefox Marketplace, and then Piotr (of JSFiddle fame) showed up. He had brought his daughter–she had been translating WebMaker into Polish first, and now she was happily designing a voxel based pig using Voxel painter under the careful supervision of Max Ogden. Behind us, a whole group of tables were covered with the most varied stuff: plasticine, a water-colour machine, lots of Arduinos, sensors and wires, Makey makey pseudo joysticks, and whatnot.
It was also time for lunch, so we grabbed some sandwiches carefully arranged in a nearby table. They also were yummy! But I was totally yearning for a coffee, and a social break, so I popped out of the building and into the O2 for some sugary coffee based ice cream. Back into the College, I got a tweet suggesting me I visit the Makers Academy booth, which I did. It was interesting to know about their existence, because I get many questions about where to learn programming in a practical way, and I never know what to answer. Now I think I’d recommend Makers Academy as their approach seems quite sensible!
Then I decided that since I was on the ground floor, I could just as well try to visit all booths starting from that floor and work my way upwards. So I went to the Mozilla Japan booth, where I had quite a lot of fun playing with their Parapara animation tool. Basically you draw some frame-based animation in a tablet, which gets saved into an SVG image. This is then played in several devices, moving along a certain path, and it seemed as if the character I drawn was travelling around the world. Here it went crossing Tower Bridge, then on the next device he would be crossing Westminster Bridge… all the way until it reached Mount Fuji. (Here’s a better explanation of how Parapara works, with pictures)
I was also really honoured to spend some time speaking with Satoko Takita, better known as “Chibi”. She worked for Netscape before, of all places! She’s a survivor! But today, she humbly insisted, “she’s mostly retired”. She was also super kind and helped me de-Mac-ify my laptop with a couple of vinyl stickers in vivid orange. Now when the lid is open, an orange dinosaur glows inside the apple. Gecko inside!
After saying “arigato” many times (the only word I can say in Japanese… but probably a very useful one), I tried to continue my building tour. I tried to enter the first huge room which resembled a coffee place but it was so thriving with activity that it was impossible to get past the first meters. Also, I found Kate Hudson too, which I hadn’t had time to speak to during the Science Fair. She had to buy a SIM card, so we ventured out to the O2 shop. Something funny happened there. She was wearing a “Firefox” hoodie, and the guy in the shop asked her if she worked for Firefox. I was looking at the whole scene, partly amused because of my anonymous condition (I wasn’t wearing any branded apparel), and partly intrigued as to how the thing would end.
She started explaining that she actually worked for Mozilla… but then the guy interrupted her, and said that Internet Explorer was the best browser. He was a real-life troll! But Kate wouldn’t shut up–oh no! Actually it was good that she was the one wearing the hoodie, because she was taller and way more imposing than the troll (and than me! ha!). So she entered Evangelist Mode™ and calmly explained the facts while the other guy lost steam and… he finally left.
After the incident, we went back to the college, and up to the Plenary area, where the keynotes would be held. But it was still early, so I used that time to make a few commits (I have a goal of making at least one small fix every day), since I hadn’t made anything productive yet.
The keynote speakers were sort of walking/rocking back and fro behind the stage, rehearsing their lines, which was a curious insight since that is not something you get to see normally. It was also quite humanising–made them approachable. In the meantime, we logged into chat.meatspac.es and said “hi” to my team mate and former MozToronto office resident, Jen Fong (she’s now in Portland!).
Finally the keynotes started, live broadcasted by Air Mozilla. Mitchell Baker’s keynote was quite similar to her summit’s keynote. Camille’s speech had a few memorable quotes, including the “some people have never done homework without the web”, and “people often say that democracies are like plumbing, because you only care about plumbing when there are really bad smells… We are the plumbers of the Information Society”.
After her, Dethe himself got up on stage to show Lightbeam, a project that displays in a graphical way the huge amount of information that is “leaked” when you visit any given website. There was a most unsettling moment, when somebody sitting behind me said “Oh wow I never realised this was happening while I browsed!”. That was a moment of tension, and of revelation–people really need to understand how the web works; hopefully Lightbeam and similar tools will help them.
The co-founder from Technologywillsaveus gave us a tour about their products, and what they had learnt while building and marketing them, and although it seemed interesting, my brain was just refusing to accept any more information :-(
After that–MozParty! We went to a pub in (guess where…) the O2, where the party would happen. Somebody was livecoding visuals and music with livecodelab, but I couldn’t see who or where he was. At some point we went for dinner, and although the initial intention was to go back, we ended up retreating home as the first day had been quite exhausting!Sunday
I think my brain was still fried when I woke up. Also, I was super hungry, almost to the point of being “hangry” (an invented word I had learnt about on Saturday), so –unsurprisingly– my feet brought me to the usual breakfast place. After a flat white and an unfinished “French Savoury Toast” (because it was massive) I was so high on sugar that I could say I was even levitating some centimeters over the floor. I took the tube in Victoria–gross error. The platform was crowded with people dressed as comic characters and tourists dressed as English souvenirs (basically: Union Jack-themed apparel), and I mildly cursed myself for taking the tube in Victoria instead of walking to any of the other nearby stations. Only mildly, because I was under the effects of a sugar kick, and couldn’t really get angry. At least, not for a few more hours.
When I arrived, the opening keynote was finishing. Way to start the day! I had decided to “go analogic” and left my computer home, so I wanted to attend sessions where computers were not required.
I finally attended the “Games on the urban space” session by Sebastian Quack, which was quite funny (and definitely didn’t require us using computers!). This got me thinking about the urban environment and the activities that can take place in it–can everything be converted into a game? when’s the best moment to play a game, or to involve passing pedestrians in your “gamified” activity? and do you tell them, or do you involve them without letting them know they are part of a game?
I had lunch with a few participants of that session –it was funny that Myrian Schwitzner from Apps4Good was there too. We had met already at a ladieswhocode meetup in February, but I couldn’t quite pinpoint it. We were like: “your face… looks familiar!” And this was something that happened frequently during the week-end: there was plenty of acquaintances to say hi to! It certainly slowed down the movement from one place to another, because you couldn’t be rude and ignore people.
Downstairs on the first floor, some people from the Webmaker team were hacking on something-something-audio for Appmaker. Meanwhile, Kumar was learning how to program his QuNeo. Turns out the star (*) “trick” I found out of pure chance can be extended to more uses, so we tried finding the limits of the trick, sending different combinations to the device and seeing what would happen. I also explained how the LED control for the sliders worked (you control the brightness of each LED in the slider separately).
After we ran out of ideas to send to the QuNeo, I browsed nearby tables. There was a woman with a bunch of planets modelled with plasticine (quite convincingly, I must say). She invited me to build something but I was fearing I would miss another session I was interested in–the “debate” with some journalists that had unveiled the NSA scandal. Still, I asked if I could smell the plasticine. If you ever used plasticine in the 80s/90s know what it smelled like, right? Well, it doesn’t smell like that anymore. I wouldn’t get hooked to it nowadays…
A quick escape for some coffee and back from the stormy, inclement weather outside, I was all set for the session. It ended up feeling a bit too long, and at times quite hard to follow because they weren’t using any microphone and relied entirely on their lungs to get the message across. I’m glad we all were super quiet, but the noise around the area and the speaker announcements coming from the Plenary were quite disruptive. Staying so focused for so long left me quite tired and I’m afraid to confess–I don’t remember anything about the closing keynote. I know it happened, but that’s it.
After it, the “Demo Fest” was set up, and similarly to the Science Fest people set up booths and tables to show what they had been working on during the week-end. For once, I didn’t have anything to show… which meant I could wander around looking at other people’s work!
I stayed for a little more, then we asked some people whether they’d like to join us in a quest to find a French steak restaurant in Marylebone, but they wouldn’t, so we went there anyway. It was pouring with rain and that was the day in which I decided to wear canvas shoes. My feet stayed wet until 1 AM. Awful.
We then went back to the official Moz-Hotel, where the Mozilla people were staying. There was no sign of after party first, then some people showed up with bags from the offlicense (too telling), and the hotel people weren’t happy about that, so they asked them to consume whatever was in the bags in their rooms. I decided to discreetly head back home before St. Jude’s storm got stronger. It was certainly an “atmospheric walk”, with rain and wind blasting either way, which made quite difficult to hold the umbrella still. I ended up running as much as I could, to shorten the misery. My recent running exercises proved its worth!
A few minutes after arriving home, Rehan told me that everyone had gone downstairs again and they were partying. But I had already changed into dry clothes and wasn’t venturing out into the wild again, so that was it for me.
In short: quite a good event. It was refreshing to do something not purely technical for a change, although I have this cunning feeling that I missed many sessions because there were so many of them. It was also good that kids were not only allowed but indeed encouraged into the festival, as they got to be involved in “grown up” activities such as translating, or for example designing things. I like how they question things and assumptions we take for granted—makes for refreshing points of view!
And written in October 2014: MozFest 2014 is coming! Here are some details of what I’ll be doing there. See you!