A VERY BELATED Mozilla Festival 2013 post

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…
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This week… and beyond

  • Monday: shyly open my inbox after a week of holidays, and probably duck to avoid the rolling ball of stale mail coming my way.
  • Wednesday: maybe meet Karolina who’s in London for a conference!
  • Thursday: my talk is closing a conference O_O — when the organiser mentioned “closing” the day I thought he meant closing the first day, not the second. NO PRESSURE. Although the conf is held at Shoreditch Village Hall, which is a venue where I feel like at home, so I’ll probably be OK. There’s a meatspace meatup afterwards, and I’m glad it’s around Shoreditch too or I’ll be dropping on that.
  • Friday: MozFest facilitators meeting, and also the Science Fair during the evening (if it is still called Science Fair)
  • Saturday and Sunday: MozFest, MozFest, MozFest! Paul Rouget asked me to show WebIDE there, and then Bobby (aka SecretRobotron and your best friend) came up with this idea of a MEGABOOTH where people can go and learn something about app-making in sessions of 5-20 minutes. Of course I can’t be all week-end there or I’ll basically die of social extenuation, so I asked some friends and together we’ll be helping spread the word about Firefox OS development in its various facets: Gaia/Gonk/the operating system itself, Gaia apps, DevTools and WebIDE. Come to the MEGABOOTH and hang with Nicola, Wilson, Francisco, Potch and me! (linking to myself and wondering if the Internet will break with so much recursion, teehee)

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“All hearts beating as 1″

Over the last year and a half I’ve had the opportunity to meet tons of amazing non-white male individuals in the tech industry. It’s been an extraordinary experience to feel, sometimes, that I am not the only one of my kind in the industry, despite having been the only woman in the room for many years in many offices, meetings and other events.

I’ve learnt from their code and their approaches, laughed with their satire, empathised with their personal issues, shared experiences over local food, listened to their local customs, compared them to mine, felt uncomfortable, learnt from this discomfort and understood that not everything is as simple as we think or tacitly accept it is. They are strong, and fragile, and stout, and delicate, and complex, and different, just as I am different from them. This diversity not only has shocked me and my stupid preconceptions and biases, it has also made me grow, and I cannot stress this enough–they’ve made me a better person than I was.

I hardly see most of them in person because we live so far apart, but we still connect online, here and there. Social networks, blogs, meatspaces. I like knowing they are there, sharing the little joys that make them smile, supporting them wherever I can, them supporting me when I feel down, being part of this spontaneous network.

Thank you for being there. I heart you all.

Being a minority in tech is exhausting, consuming, destroying. Unless you’re in one of these minorities, you have no idea of the immense pressure that is applied over you, from every direction, every day. Microcuts, microaggressions, “innocent” comments loaded with double meanings which end up engendering feelings of self doubt and inadequacy. Gross comments. The trolling. I have seen the breakdowns, and they are not pretty. There’s only so much one can handle. Despite all the pressure and impossible requirements we’re supposed to fulfill, we’re just humans, after all.

There’s no week in which I don’t heard of “some episode” from my close circle of IT friends. Most of them never go public. But they are there. They happen.

This week has been incredibly shitty.

I want to keep learning from all these new found friends in the future. I want you to learn from them too. I want them to keep being who they are, and not retreat into a shadow of themselves because they are scared. I want to see this minority grow until it’s just not a minority anymore, and just plain boring normality. Help us make this possible. Watch this:

And watch it a second, and a third time. Internalise the message.

And do something about it.

Short on time? Here’s some CJ quotes:

  • “All change starts with yourself”.
  • “How you act is what your values are”.
  • “Hire someone who doesn’t look like everybody else in your team”
  • “I need you to do something that I can’t do. Stop bad behaviour when you see it.”

And my personal tip: it starts with shutting up, and listening. Really listening.

PS title taken from jen‘s tweet:

Using a Flame as my main phone, day 3

Days that take Sole to want to get rid of the stable build and want to go to Nightly so she can fix the little things here and there that annoy her: 1.

Days that she spends “distracted” with a Jewels-style game: 1.

Hence the jump from day 1 to 3.

I went and compared the stable version with the Nightly version I had flashed on the other Flame and most of the bugs were gone. So I figured that since what I actually want is to “scratch my itches” (another terrible software metaphor) what I’ll do is flash a recent Gecko and work with my custom build of Gaia where I can do whatever I want. WHATEVER. I. WANT. YES.

(Sending a patch and getting it accepted will be an entirely different matter, but maybe I’ll convince everyone that using .ANI files on the home screen is a good idea)*.

I’m kind of getting acquainted to the one-button navigation, but sometimes I sorely miss Android’s BACK button. I’m not sure if that’s because the apps don’t open new links in the right way or why it’s that, but I find that going back to where I was takes me more time than I’d like it to take. I’m not sure how will new users find this workflow–maybe I’m conditioned to find it not as cool but new people love it, so I’m not complaining much about it until I investigate on the best way to open links… but before that, I need to update Gaia!

* Hi, if you thought I was serious, you’ve just been trolled.

Using a Flame as my main phone, day 1

Today I finally got a Flame to use as my main phone (what they call dogfooding, but it sounds atrocious to me). I had been using a Flame for testing since June or so, but I kept flashing nightly builds and let me tell you… it’s risky at least.

Sadly I was busy attending other matters (namely the DevTools meetup which is happening this week at the London office) so I didn’t have much of a chance to experiment on the phone.

My main goal was basically flash it with an updated version of the operating system, since the Flame comes with 1.3 and I wanted to use 2.x. Then I took my SIM card out of my Android Nexus 5 and put it into the Flame. Bam, it works. Including data! No need to tinker with GPRS and APN settings and what not. Sweet! I already even got a spam call advising me on how to claim compensation on that accident I never had. Yay!

I also imported some of my contacts from my Google account. The importer lets you connect to GMail and then loads the contacts, and you can go through the list to choose which ones to import. Good time for some pruning of old contacts I haven’t spoken to in a while :-P
There were some weirdnesses on the rendering but I didn’t file a bug yet as I want to compare with the other phone and a freshly flashed version and see if the weirdnesses have been fixed or not.

I can also confirm that the Twitter “app” (it’s actually more like a glorified bookmark for m.twitter.com) for FxOS is as terrible as usual. I keep internally whispering to myself: OAuth, Oauth, tokens, rate limits each time I try to use the Twitter app and get frustrated by how badly it works on every single mobile browser, so as to scare myself and avoid writing my own client with support for offline and push notifications.

Now I have to find out how to configure the alarm clock. If it doesn’t work I’ll be late to the office tomorrow—it won’t be my fault! :P

Oh and before you ask: no one at Mozilla is forcing us to use this or that phone. This is just done on my own volition because other platforms keep creeping me out and I’d rather contribute to something I can trust.

PS I don’t actually have any grand plan for writing a long series of posts on my experiences on using the Flame as my main phone so don’t get too excited, teehee!