Almost every employee and a good amount of volunteers flew into Portland past week for a sort of “coincidental work week” which also included a few common events, the “All hands”. Since it was held in Portland, home to “Portlandia“, someone started calling this week “Mozlandia” and the name stuck.
I knew it was going to be chaotic and busy and so I not only didn’t make any effort to meet with non-Mozilla-related Portlanders, but actively avoided that. When the day has been all about socialising from breakfast to afternoon, the last thing you want is to speak to more people. Also, I am not sure how to put this, but the fact that I visit some acquaintance’s town doesn’t mean that I am under any obligation to meet them. Sometimes people get angry that I didn’t tell them I was visiting and that’s not cool
Speaking about not-coolness: my trip started with two “incidents”. First, I got mansplained at the Heathrow Airport by an Air Canada employee that decided to take over my self-check in machine, trying to press buttons on the screen and answering security questions for me instead of just, maybe, allowing me to operate it as I was doing until he came and interrupted me, out of the blue. There was no one else in the area and I have no idea why he did that, but he got me angry.
Then the rest of the trip went pretty much as usual, with no incident. It was fun to spend layover time at the Vancouver Airport with Guillaume and Zac from the London office, and then share the experience of the Desolate Pod of Gates that is home to the mighty Propeller Planes.
I was really tired by the time I made it to my hotel–it was well past 6 AM in London time and I had been up for almost 24 hours with no sleep except for the short nap in the Vancouver-Portland flight, so the only thing I wanted was to make it to my room and sleeeeep. I got into one of the hotel lifts, and just as the doors were almost closed, someone waved their arm in and the doors opened again. Three massively tall and bulky men entered the lift and pressed some buttons for their floor, while I kept looking down and wondering how would the room look like and whether the pillows would be soft. And then I noticed something… something being repeated several times. I started paying attention and turns out that one of the men was talking to me. He was asking me:
How are you? How are you?
But I hadn’t replied because I was on my own world. So he repeated it again:
How are you?
So here’s the thing. When you’re that tired you have zero room for any sort of bullshit, and I was really, really tired. But those men were also really, really huge, compared to me. So I looked at him and I was really willing to give him a piece of my mind, but the only thing I said was
Maybe that is none of your business.
And luckily the doors for my floor opened and I didn’t have to stand their looks of “disappointment because I hadn’t been nice to them” any longer.
I suddenly felt very unsafe because I hadn’t been nice to them.
Were them following me? Should I request my room to be changed to a different floor? Was there anything I was wearing that would be distinctive and would they be able to identify me the following days?
It took me a while to get asleep because I kept thinking about this, but eventually I got some sound slumber, hoping for an incident-free Sunday.
And it was a great, sunny and very COLD Sunday in Portland. Temperatures were about 0 degrees, which compared to London’s 12 degrees felt even colder. I kept going to warm closed places (cafes! shops! malls!) and then back to the glacial streets, so by Monday morning my body had decided it hated me and was going to demonstrate how much with a number of demonstrations. First came the throat pain, then tummy ache, sneezing, the full list of winter horrors.
This made me not really enjoy the whole “Mozlandia” week. I was in an state of confusion most of the time, either by virtue of my sinuses pressuring my brain, or just because of the medicine I took. It was hard to both follow conversations and articulate thoughts. I hope I didn’t disappoint anyone that wanted to meet me this week for SERIOUS BSNSS, but I was generally a shambles. Sorry about that!
And yet despite of that, I still had some interesting discussions with various people at Mozilla, both intentionally and accidentally, so that was cool. Some topics included:
- how can we work better with the Platform team (the ones implementing browser APIs, for those not in the Moz-know) so we know for certain which features are planned/implemented and with which degree of completion, and so we can give better advice to interested devs, and how can we improve the way we provide the feedback we get from developers at events, blog posts, etc. By the way: there’s a huge amount of cool new APIs coming up! this is neat
- future plans for the Web Audio API and the Web Audio Editor in Firefox DevTools, and also a general discussion on the API architecture and how it often takes developers by surprise, and whether we can do anything about that from a tooling point of view or not. Also, games, performance, and mixing other APIs together such as MediaRecorder.
- the Web Animations API and support for visualising that in the devtools-with keyframes and time lines and all that good, exciting stuff! It got me thinking about whether it would be possible to make another build of tween.js or some sort of util/wrapper that uses the Animations API internally. Food for thought!
- future Air Mozilla plans, including making it easier to upload content both from a moz-space and from an offline recording, and support for subtitles in various languages. I liked that they stress the fact that content does not need to be in English–after all, the Mozilla community speaks many languages!
- Rachel Nabors told us about her animation/authoring process to create interactive experiences/comics using just HTML+JS+CSS. This was really enlightening and while I don’t have all the answers to the issues yet, it got me thinking about how can we make this easier and more enjoyable for non-super-tech-savvy audiences. There were cries for a Firefox Designer Edition too–we joked that it would come with some extra colorpickers because why not?
I had to skip a couple of evenings because my immune system was just too excited to be on call, and so I stayed at my room. I didn’t want to go to sleep too early or the jetlag would be horrible, so I stayed awake by building a little silly thing: spoems, or spam poems (sources). I want to use it as a playground to try CSS stuff since it’s mostly text, but so far it’s super basic and that’s OK.
It was funny that this… morning? yesterday afternoon…? other mozillians that were flying back to London in the same plane than me were telling about the best of the closing party and internally I was like “well, I just drank some coffee and listened to Boards of Canada and then had ramen and watched random things on the Internet, and that was exactly what I needed”.
And that was my “Mozlandia”. What about yours?
What a wonderful all hands we had this past week. The entire week was full of meetings and planning and I must say I was exhausted by Thursday having been up each day working by 6:00am and going to bed by midnight.
I’m very happy to report that I made a lot of progress on meeting with more people to discuss the future of Firefox Extended Support Release and how to make it a much better offering to organizations.
I also spent some time talking to folks about Firefox in Ubuntu and rebranding Iceweasel to Firefox in Debian (fingers crossed something will happen here in 2015). Also it was great to participate in discussions around making all of the Firefox channels offer more stability and quality to our users.
It was great to hear that we will be doing some work to bring Firefox to iOS which I think will fill a gap that has existed for our users of OSX who have an iPhone. Anyways, what I can say about this all hands is that there were lots of opportunities for discussions on quality and the future is looking very bright.
Also a big thanks to Lukas Blakk who put together an early morning excursion to Sherwood Ice Arena where Mozillians played some matches of hockey which I took photos of here.
In closing, I have to say it was a great treat for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis to come and perform for us in a private show and help us celebrate Mozilla.