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Dezember 2018

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7. Mai 2017

Representing Mozilla at Linuxwochen Wien 2017

Linuxwochen ("Linux weeks") is a yearly series of Free & Open Source Software events/conferences in Austrian cities, organized by the respective local FLOSS communities but marketed via a common name and website. They commonly take place spread out over several weekends in April and May, with the largest one, Linuxwochen Wien, in Austria's capital of Vienna, on a Thursday through Saturday in early May. In this year's edition, from May 4-6, the Mozilla community was present there once again (like two years ago) with a booth, talks and a workshop.

Image No. 23309
While in 2015, the main topic at the Mozilla booth and workshop was Firefox OS, having a large 4K TV from Panasonic to show off and get people involved, things have changed a lot after sitting out a year (which happened due to me moving to a new condo at that time and as the sole Rep in the area being the one who needs to organize events like this presence).
This year, I was focusing on A-Frame (and therefore WebVR), both with the booth and the workshop. In addition, we could provide a talk by Dragana from Mozilla's network platform team about HTTP/2 and QUIC and I reprised my FOSDEM talk on web logins, this time in German. While the whole conference probably has a few hundred to a thousand visitors (hard to estimate when entrance is free and there are several parallel tracks), I probably got to talk to between several dozen and a hundred people at the booth, my workshop and talk both had 10-15 attendees, and Dragana's talk about 20-30. The conference overall has a bit of a family feel to it, attracting a decent amount of people but it's definitely not really large either. A lot of the attendees are pretty technical and already in the FLOSS scene in one way or another, but as it's happening on a technical college, we also get some of their students who may not be involved with that larger community - and then there are some casual visitors but they're probably rare.

Image No. 23310

At our booth, next to the takeaway collection of Firefox stickers and tatoos as well as Mozilla wristbands, I put up some printouts of the new logo and related artwork as decoration, and on the glass wall behind the booth, a big poster with a German variant of "doing good is part of our code" and the Firefox log as well as printouts of website screenshots depicting the variety of what's going on at Mozilla nowadays - from, Campus Clubs, Internet Health Report, and via Rust, Servo, WebAssembly, CSS Grid, and A-Frame to Pocket and Let's Encrypt - of course all with big and visible URLs. On top of that, I had my laptop on the booth, running the Snowglobe example of A-Frame, as well as a few Cardboards and Z3C phones with the Museum example and a 360° image loaded and ready to show. On the laptop, I had the source code of the Hello WebVR on Glitch and a live view of that ready in additional tabs for explanations.

That setup ended up working very well - the always-moving snowglobe and the cardboards proved to be good eye-catchers and starting points for talking to people coming by. I had them look at the museum with the cardboard (nice because it's quite detailed and you can even "walk" around by staring at the yellow dots on the floor that you get on mobile) and told people how that was all running in the browser, and how Mozilla pioneered WebVR, which now is an open standard, and did the A-Frame library, that those demos are written in, and which makes it really easy to write VR scenes yourself, which led to showing them the Hello WebVR scene and its source code - often changing a color to show that it's really that easy. I later also added an <a-text> saying "Linuxwochen Wien" to that scene, when someone asked about text. A lot of "wow"s were heard, and many people noted down the URL (which I should have had better visible somewhere) and/or had more questions, e.g. on using objects from 3D modeling software (you can, there are components for Collada, GLTF, and other formats), use cases outside of demos and games, device support (which I often had mentioned when talking about WebVR itself) and prices, which phones work with cardboard, how to get cardboards (I could have sold a few there), and more. All in all, WebVR and A-Frame peeked a real lot of interest.

Image No. 23311
Of course, questions outside of WebVR came up: "Mozilla has been killing so many things lately, what is the project actually working on now?" (leading to talk about a lot of the websites I had stuck on the wall, as well as the whole Quantum efforts to make Firefox better, as well as of course WebVR), questions on that status and future of Thunderbird (I'm on its planning mailing list so could answer most questions there), some Rust-related ones including "can I trust that Rust will be around in a few years when Mozilla tends to kill its own projects all the time?" (I hope I could calm the worries there), the usual Firefox support questions and some one-off specialty items - as well as multiple discussions on the demise of Firefox OS and how that increased the shortage of alternatives next to the proprietary iOS and Android choices on mobile. I was surprised at how there was nobody hugely disturbed by us killing plugins or the upcoming huge changes in the add-ons ecosystem, there was more concern about how many old computers we leave in the cold by unsupporting Windows XP and pre-SSE2 CPUs - and about how we seem to have more graphics-related crashes than Chrome.
One conversation with an IoT hacker once again showed me how much potential FlyWeb could have if it was pushed forward somewhat more.

The conversations definitely showed that there is interest in both more A-Frame/WebVR workshops and also potentially in Rust meetups in Vienna, so I will probably look into that.

This leads me to the A-Frame workshop I did on Friday, which went really well - starting with the introductory Presentation Kit, handing around the cardboards with the museum and 360° image as demos, an introduction round (which I forgot at the beginning, but fit well there as well), and then going hands-on on the attendees laptops. For that, I put up some steps from the A-Frame School - though I pointed people to awesome-aframe and where they can find the school, so they can also do some things at their own pace. I encouraged people to play around with the Hello WebVR example (and most didn't want to use Glitch but instead used local files and their editor of choice) and went around in the room, engaging with the attendees individually as they tried and also struggled with and solved different things. Adding image textures and tag-based animations were the big hit, unlike in my first workshop, there was very little JS used this time. One person had a big stone ball rolling towards the viewer in a narrow street, which can get scary... ;-)
The resounding feedback was that everyone (and we had a nicely diverse group, including an older man, multiple women, from web developers to an artist, people with our without previous experience with 3D or VR stuff) could take something with them and most of them were interested to join future workshops on the topic.

Image No. 23313
Our talks also did get good feedback from the people we talked to and pretty interesting and interested questions (I tend to take the kind and amount of questions I get at talks as a major piece of feedback). I think that all in all, we could spread the word on a number of Open Web and Mozilla topics and get people interested in things we are doing in this community. I also hope that this will result in growing our community somewhat in the mid to long term, as this time I had to man the booth alone most of the time. Thanks to Dragana and Arpad from the existing community though, who each joined the booth for a few hours on different days (and Dragana of course also for her talk).

For me, this was a pretty successful event, I hope we can do even better in the future - and if you are doing similar events, maybe my experiences can help you as well (feel free to ask me for more details)!

Von KaiRo, um 23:08 | Tags: A-Frame, Linuxwochen, Mozilla, talk, WebVR, workshop | keine Kommentare | TrackBack: 0

12. Mai 2014

Hacking Day And Linuxwochen

In the last weeks, I spent some time on developer events, which I always embrace a lot because the "hallway tracks" are a constant great flow of interesting information and discussions - and of course the official talks are often quite interesting as well! :)

Image No. 23215

First up was the Mozilla Hacking Day in Berlin on Saturday, April 26. I met Arpad Borsos, fellow Mozillian from Vienna, already at Vienna airport on Friday, as we incidentally were hopping over from the Austrian to the German capital in the same plane. Later in Berlin, we met more Mozillians at the hotel and went out for dinner together.
At the actual Hacking Day, we had ~70 people streaming in for some introductory talks, and then people split up into hacking sessions and some more in-depth talks (like the one in the picture, where fellow "Desktop QA" team member Henrik talked about automated testing), which were followed by even more hands-on hacking. I spent most of the time talking to various people about different topics, showing off Firefox OS a bit (after I had reflashed my Geeksphone Peak and got it into a working stage again during the talks) and my actual "hacking" achievement: Together with Georg Fritzsche, we could find out that an issue with my Lantea Maps app freezing was a WebGL-related bug in Gecko, found a stack, reported it as a new bug and set a needinfo flag to a gfx developer. (Yesterday, I found a hacky workaround so Lantea Maps will soon work again despite that bug.)
On Sunday, I also was able to squeeze in some sightseeing and photo-taking, marching through Berlin for ~3.5h before returning to the airport.

Image No. 23216 Image No. 23217 Image No. 23218

And last week, May 8-10, it was time for the yearly Linuxwochen conference in Vienna. As we do not have an organized group of Mozillians here, we didn't have a Mozilla booth, but I usually share the OpenStreetMap booth (that's why you'll spot that in the pictures), as I'm pretty active in the local community there, and just run around with Mozilla T-shirts and talk about Mozilla stuff in addition to OSM things. I also had submitted talks about Firefox OS and the Makey Makey, but as you'll see in my speaker profile, I was additionally "coerced" into a privacy and security panel discussion last-minute as well. I was put there as more or less a representative of Mozilla and more in general those doing end-user software, and of course also tried to drum home a few points of how Mozilla strongly works for respecting user privacy but also pointed out how it is an interesting field that sometimes has tradeoffs with enabling features that people out there really want, and finding a balance can be hard.
The Firefox OS talk was quite appreciated by people attending, and we had quite a few good questions asked there as well, and interest from people afterwards to actually see and try my FxOS phones - I remember how some hard a hard time believing how well the ZTE Open worked with just 256MB of RAM and an all-web UI. :)
In the "hallway track", I did get a lot of questions about Mozilla on all three days, given my T-shirts clearly pointed out my affiliation with the project. Some of those were Firefox OS, mostly about strategy and availability, where I had to explain a few times how we target features phone converts in emerging markets for now. A number of the concerns and questions were around Australis, with quite a few of the very technical folks there not liking how we messed up their customizations and preferences, including tops-on-bottom or the add-ons bar, or how esp. our tabs looked "just like Chrome" now, but I even heard one or two comments on how awesome the new design was. Some of those I could ease with explanation and pointing to the Classic Theme Restorer add-on, but some of them are just unhappy (and it's not helpful that the very helpful Tour does not run when NoScript is installed and active). And then there were questions about our finances (the "Google dependency" issue) and about the fact that new Sync clashes with Master Password (which also protects casual "friends" from reading through passwords in your password manager), among others. Overall, a lot of talk about Mozilla, and I hope I could make most of those people feel better about us than before, wherever they stood then.

Both events cost me a lot of sleep and energy right there, but feel like they were worth the investment for sure, and the meeting and talking to people also gives me energy of a different form. ;-)

Von KaiRo, um 18:42 | Tags: Lantea, Linuxwochen, MaKey MaKey, Mozilla, OSM | keine Kommentare | TrackBack: 0

20. April 2013

Firefox OS App Workshop in Wien!

Im Rahmen der Linuxwochen Wien (Infos zum Veranstaltungsort sind auf deren Seiten verfügbar) findet am 4. Mai 2013 von 10 bis 15 Uhr ein Firefox OS App Workshop statt.

Gemeinsam mit zwei Kollegen aus München werden wir dort nach einer Einführung in Firefox OS und Open Web Apps direkt in die Materie starten und an unseren/euren eigenen Apps basteln - ganz gleich, ob ihr von einer bloßen Idee oder einer schon existenten Web-Anwendung startet.

Ihr könnt euch ab jetzt anmelden! :)

Weitere Informationen und Anmeldungs-Link auf der Linuxwochen-Seite!

Von KaiRo, um 19:46 | Tags: B2G, Firefox OS, Linuxwochen, Mozilla, Web Apps, workshop | 3 Kommentare | TrackBack: 0

24. März 2013

MaKey MaKey Experiments

I think I probably became aware of the MaKey MaKey when Chris Heilmann blogged about it, but I might have heard about it even before. I surely saw it when Chris had his WebRTC photo booth running with it at MozFest 2012 in London.

When I ran across it again on ThinkGeek, I put it on my wish list - and finally ordered one this month. Now, after I had wrapped up this week of work, I finally found some time to play with it, and an interesting and very geeky Friday night ensued. Here's a bit more about that - and about Saturday, and further plans/ideas. :)

So, for one thing, I wanted to use this device with actual Open Web stuff, and not with Flash or other proprietary software. After all, this is Open Hardware (yay!) and I'm entirely entrenched in Open Source / Free Software, from using Linux on desktop, laptop and server, via working for Mozilla/Firefox, to doing some web apps under the MPL2 license in my free time. So, given the latter, I decided it would be nice if I could navigate the OSM world with my Lantea Maps app/site (source) using the MaKey Makey. For that, I had to put some keyboard accessibility into Lantea Maps itself, which is a good idea for accessibility, among other things, anyhow. So I did that, looking at Chris' testy-testy and MDN to find out how to achieve that best. I ended up implementing methods to move the map with the arrow keys, hooked up zoom in/out to +/- keys as well as w/s (the latter are supported by MaKey MaKey out of the box), and then also created direct shortcuts to certain zoom levels with the 0-9 numeric keys (not supported by MaKey Makey, but convenient for keyboard users).

OK, then it was time to actually bring in the MaKey MaKey. I really want to do some fruit stuff at some point, but I only had a few apples around, and I thought it actually would be nice to create some kind of navigation pad that can be used with Lantea Maps at full screen when having an OpenStreetMap booth at Linuxwochen in Vienna. I figured that with some cardboard from the back of an old note pad, and some tinfoil, that should be doable. I added some plastic wrap for insulation, glue of course, and some paper clips so the crocodile clips to connect to the MaKey MaKey wouldn't scratch the tinfoil too much (as well as some temporary applied ones to hold things together while allowing the glue to dry). Here's some photos from production:

Image No. 23125 Image No. 23126 Image No. 23129 Image No. 23137 Image No. 23139

Note that the back side as well as the right rim of the pad is covered with a single sheet of tinfoil that makes the earth connection quite naturally when you hold the pad in your hands.
As of the last photo, while the glue was still drying, it was ready to use for some map navigation (and after the night, I removed the temporary paper clips and took another "promotional" picture):

Image No. 23140 Image No. 23141

Even while getting to bed that evening, the ideas for my next project were flying around in my mind already. On one hand, I saw that MaKey MaKey had connectors for mouse up/down/left/right, on the other hand, ever since trying the original BananaBread demo as someone who's usually not doing any first person shooter games, I wondered if there was a nicer or more obvious way to operate this, rather than using w/a/s/d keys for movement, space/click for jump/fire, and mouse for turning. Well, now that I had done this first custom pad for MaKey MaKey, would there be a handy solution for that as well? In any case, it would be fun. So I took a smaller piece of cardboard that would make this thing fit nicely into my hands (just like those professional game pads), and decided this time I would try something slightly different by using coins as the actual "buttons" on the pad. One-cent coins looked like the right size, and I had a 10-pin cable around from a different project, which would fit for the 10 "keys" pretty well (just that I needed one more for earthing, which I again did with a sheet of tinfoil at the back of the pad, so I added yet another single cable in the end). Also, this time I used some double-sided tape instead of glue for many cases, as that works better with the cable and coins:

Image No. 23142 Image No. 23144 Image No. 23146 Image No. 23148

And then I was ready to play some BananaBread, now with both the awesomeness of running a 3D first person shooter seamlessly in the browser AND using a special game pad for playing!

Image No. 23150 Image No. 23151

If you're interested, not only are those pictures all linked to the gallery where you can go up to "big" versions of those, there's a few more steps of building visible in this photo gallery.

Given all that and the fact that Linuxwochen Wien in the first days of May has an additional focus on Open Hardware this year, I decided to hand in a proposal for a talk on MaKey MaKey there. I intend to show off those pads as well as Chris' photo booth and any other MaKey MaKey experiments that I can fit, preferably ones that run as web pages/apps (let me know if there are any nice ones).

I'm thinking that it could be nice to have an app that shows you on screen in a web site which kind of fruit/item you touched (configurable with key <-> item entries), and I'd love a web (not Flash) piano and/or drumset (using ogg or even opus files with HTML5 audio!) app to present, maybe I can hack something up if there's nothing around.

If this has caught your interest, it's easy to get your own MaKey MaKey, and if you're in or around Vienna in the first days of May, I'd be happy to meet you at my talk (there will be a Firefox OS App workshop as well, probably!) - oh, and if you have any nice, open web apps/pages that show off this device, let me know! :)

Von KaiRo, um 20:25 | Tags: BananaBread, Lantea, Lantea Maps, Linuxwochen, MaKey MaKey, Open Hardware, OSM | keine Kommentare | TrackBack: 1

19. April 2009

Linuxwochen, Mandelbrot-Demo, MozCamp Wien

Yesterday, I held a talk on Linuxwochen Wien, a local Linux and Open Source conference. My talk was right before Brian King took the stage (who talked mostly about the add-on ecosystem), so it fitted well that my topic was "The Open Internet and Mozilla". My slides (in German) are online at

I included a number of the HTML5 demos from Paul Rouget to show what open web technologies can do, but for showing the power of JIT, I showed a demo I quickly did myself:
Ripped out of the code for my Mandelbrot XULRunner app, I put up a <canvas> and some JS code up on a website, with a small HTML form for selecting coordinates, etc. - and the Mandelbrot-Web demo was done! :)

It's not too beautiful, just a fast hack, but running the default image calculation in both Firefox 3.0 and a current 1.9.1-based nightly, I could show how the time needed for calculation (and display in the canvas) dropped from 7.3 to 1.6 seconds on my laptop due to the TraceMonkey JIT engine.
A number of people seemed impressed with both that and the stunning video+canvas demos from Paul. ;-)

Finally, I could even announce a whole one-day event on the Open Internet right here in Vienna! As both Mozilla and the local quintessenz association (who also organized Linuxwochen) have agreed to work together in organizing this, I could point people to the MozCamp Wien taking place on October 27, 2009.
We are in the very early stages of planning, not knowing much more than the date, the topic and the format (MozCamp in the way it has been done in Utrecht in March), but stay tuned here for updates on details as we get them figured out!

Von KaiRo, um 20:39 | Tags: Linuxwochen, Mandelbrot, MozCamp, Mozilla, OpenWebCamp, SeaMonkey | 4 Kommentare | TrackBack: 0

15. Dezember 2008

Mozilla, SeaMonkey 2, Visions, And Beyond?

Yes, I'm watching NASA TV often enough by video stream that the mission of going "to the moon, Mars, and beyond" is hammered deeply enough into my head that anything with a "beyond" outlook reminds me of it.

As an IRC talk mentioned looking for speakers for a possible Mozilla event in Berlin, I was reminded of my previous post on 2009 talks and figured I shouldn't only contact the travel agency for booking a flight and hotel for FOSDEM (which is early in February this time!), but also make my talk plans more concrete.

I just just signed up on the FOSDEM 2009 session proposal with a talk title of "SeaMonkey 2 and the vision beyond", and I'm planning on not only presenting what SeaMonkey 2.0 has to offer, but also where the project is headed in the longer term, I hope to have a public version of the SeaMonkey vision by then.

For Linuxwochen in Vienna (April 2009), I'm planning to go more general and talk about something like "The Open Internet and Mozilla" or so (anyone having a better idea for the title?), presenting mainly on what we understand as the open Internet, why it is important, what our goals are, what we are doing ourselves to move all this forward, and what others can do for the open Internet. This includes the Mozilla Manifesto and probably the 2010 goals in some way, as well as some small peeks on our products and some way of challenges for the audience to be part of the movement. Maybe some ideas of the great Clay Shirky talk from the Web 2.0 Expo in April 2008 could help there as well.

This second talk is quite different from all I've ever done before, as it's not just about the work I've been in all the time, but I think I know all the topics quite well and it's what we really need to get out to the public, to those who are not yet in our community.

Any suggestions, tips, comments?

Von KaiRo, um 16:25 | Tags: FOSDEM, Linuxwochen, Mozilla, presentation, SeaMonkey, talks, travel | keine Kommentare | TrackBack: 0

20. November 2008

What Should I Talk About in 2009?

As many of you probably know FOSDEM is up once again in February 2009, once again with a Mozilla developer room. I'm planning on being there and probably also to give a talk, but I don't have a good topic for it yet, and I wonder what the audience would most be interested in. What SeaMonkey 2 brings functionality-wise? What our concepts for the future of SeaMonkey are? How the SeaMonkey project is working together with other parts of the community? Statistics on SeaMonkey popularity and usage?

Additionally, I have received a first call for papers (CfP) for the "Linuxwochen 2009" event here in Vienna, which will be in April. There's even more time for planning something there, the deadline for that CfP is in February, but I'm thinking hard about possibly giving a talk there this time, which would be my first time doing this at an event around here. The talk could be 45, 20, or 10 minutes, and I'm also wondering what the more general audience there would be most interested in. SeaMonkey 2 functionality? What the SeaMonkey project is? Organizing and coordinating a volunteer open source project? The Mozilla vision? The wonderful choice of different products from Mozilla? Mozilla-based software development?
What I'm pretty sure I won't be doing is Firefox tricks or such, I'll leave that to people using that browser in their daily lives - though it would be really nice to have someone from Mozilla at this event, as we've never been present at an Austrian event before.

Any ideas for those talks from you, dear blog/planet reader, would be highly appreciated!

Von KaiRo, um 15:17 | Tags: FOSDEM, Linuxwochen, Mozilla, presentation, SeaMonkey, talks | 1 Kommentar | TrackBack: 1

19. Mai 2008

Linuxwochen Wien: Local Community and OSM

This Friday and Saturday, I spent a lot of time at a local free and open source event called "Linuxwochen Wien". Both days I had intended to only visit there for two talks or so, but on both days I didn't come home before 2 in the morning, spending the rest of the evenings and nights with people from the local FLOSS community and talking about all kinds of interesting things.

My first contact with that community (yes, I know, I probably should have done that earlier) was a lot of fun, and I surely intend to repeat the experience. And I even could reply that SeaMonkey 2 and Firefox 3 will improve exactly some of the areas where people complained about Mozilla - though one guy was surprised that we still aren't a GTK application on Linux, because we feel so much like one nowadays that he couldn't tell the difference. :)

I had lots of interesting conversation with people from CAcert,, the FSFE local interest groups, etc. At the official event, I attended a discussion about "Linux vs. FLOSS" (mostly about which name should be part of a mass-targeted event like this), a talk about customizing Firefox (mostly actually listing and demoing "Add-Ons you must have") - and an inspiring talk about the OpenStreetMap ("OSM") project, which works towards free map data, created by a global community.

After 2 days of not getting much "real work" done, I would have thought to dig deep into SeaMonkey stuff today, but instead, I could not get OSM out of my mind. I looked at the currently available maps from my home town of Steyr, which are/were only rudimentary there, and decided to "just improve a few bits" like names of the streets they had in, maybe some missing connections, just for trying how this works. Well, that's what I thought, at least. After I guess about ten hours of naming streets, drawing new areas and streets according to satellite imagery and correcting already existing data, you might be able to grasp the amount of changes I made by a look at the images below - the first is the nicely rendered view of what OSM had before, the second is the current data in the edit view (nice "Mapnik" view will only be rendered mid-week):
Image No. 18840 Image No. 18841
Yes, this really is the same sector of a map, click on the images and view larger version if you don't believe it.

OSM is not just a nice project, I fear I could get hooked on it - not sure if that's a good or bad outlook. ;-)
Additionally, I have just added a few items to the list of why I may want to buy a N810, as there's software for it to work with the free map data from OSM and it should also be able to create GPX tracks that I can use with OSM to improve map data. Not sure how long I can hold myself back now before throwing my euros over the counter just to get this device...

Running a Gecko browser on it might even get me back to Mozilla-related work. :)

Von KaiRo, um 05:02 | Tags: Firefox, Linuxwochen, Mozilla, OSM, SeaMonkey | 3 Kommentare | TrackBack: 1

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