Mozcamp Asia

06 Dec 2011 - mozilla

Finally, I’m getting around the write my MozCamp Asia post. This has been long pending and got delayed mostly because I’ve been writing patches for Firefox and Thunderbird instead of writing a blog post :P


The night before I was to due to travel, I fell ill and almost called the whole thing off. After taking a break for a day, I decided that I was good to go, started packing, and left for the airport. At the airport, I was sitting down and finishing the slides for my talk since I never got a chance thanks to work and other commitments. We landed in Kuala Lumpur at about 12 am local time and I got into my room at 2:30 am. I ended up waking up my roommate, Siddharth, who I’ve known for a while but never met. With all the excitement of the event, and also because it was just 12 am in India, I was wide awake (Proud member of Weird Hours) . At some point, I even thought of not sleeping, but thankfully, I caught about 3 hours of sleep, which at least saved the day to some extent.

Day 1

Day 1, right before we started

At Breakfast, I met the ‘IT crowd’ - fox2mike, zandr, phong, and bkero. Fun gang, we were hanging out later on Sunday. I then hurried to the Welcome session by Mitchell Baker. I don’t remember most of the session now, but I remember tweeting like crazy all through the morning. The update from Mozilla China was particular interesting because, as the representative from China said, ‘We don’t have Facebook or Youtube on our internet’. I also remember Mozilla Japan had an interseting video of their work and Chibi was on stage for the first time giving a talk in English. We had extra applause for her courage :-) During the coffee break, I caught up with Tim Watts, who works on the SUMO team. We realized that we were planning on talking about the same thing and decided we’d merge our talks into one (all the work I did in the airport had to be re-done. YAY!). Mary then talked about Engagement. There was a lot of learning from that session, like the fact that 2.2 million people download firefox every day, and about the huge poster in the JFK arrival area. Everyone loved the ‘Don’t work for the man, work for the mankind’ poster. Then, we had the most exciting bit ever, the community quilt. It was great to listen to all the communities talk about their efforts and also about their challenges. Again, it was great to hear people give a talk for the first time, especially in a langauge they’re not used to speaking all the time.

At lunch, I met Khairul (ejat) who I also know from the Ubuntu community and Stormy Peters who I’ve heard about from friends. After lunch I took one look at the schedule and wished I had a time machine. I wanted to attend all the sessions! After lunch I attended the session about building community websites. It was interesting to hear Laura talk about the Mozilla websites from the product owner’s point of view. After this, I went to the talk about Developer Evangelism, MDN, and Docs. We all agreed to blog about MDN and push it up in search rankings instead of ‘other’ usual sources (I’m looking at you w3schools). Next was probably one of the most interesting sessions for me, David Dahl’s ‘From Web Developer to Firefox Hacker’ session. I’ve been shying away from hacking on Firefox or Thunderbird, because I’m not exactly a C++ person. ddahl’s session kind of got me intersted in Firefox hacking and I’ve been doing a fair bit of Firefox hacking since I got back (Thanks again ddhalimage. The last session for the day was the user engagement session by Chelsea and William. It was nice to hear about “Affiliates”: and about how campaigns could use a lot of localized help to connect to the right audience.

Most of the things after this is a blur thanks to the lack of sleep from previous night. We went had dinner at a resturant which also had a cultural show, but I was too tired to watch any of it and just headed back to the hotel to crash.

Day 2

On the Day 1 open session, Mitchell announced that we’d all have wake up calls at 8 am and they actually did it) Thankfully, I’d set a 7 am wake up call, so we didn’t have the 8 am wake up call, but I did see other people comment about it on twitter. Despite all this, we did start about 15 minutes late because we waited for everyone to finish breakfast. I was much more alert thanks to a good night’s sleep. We opened the day with the ‘State of the Product’ talk. There was a lot of applause during the talk, especially for the B2G demo (philikon and qDot recently managed to get the B2G phone to dial). It was mind blowing to see the View Source. The devtools demo, especially, the Tilt demo also generated a fair bit of applause. After this, I attended Siddharth’s session about building a Thunderbird Extension. Sid0 demoed writing a simple Hello World extension to using Gloda. It was a fun session with a lot of code to digest through. The WebFWD talk was something I was looking forward to and Diane explained about what WebFWD does and how it can help potential startups with the same ideologies as Mozilla, especially openess.

The leader Q & A was interesting for its format and for the questions that were asked. Some of the answers, like the ones about Mozilla Spaces, and Thunderbird were particularly interesting. Right after lunch, was the session about contributing to Mozilla webdev led by Tim Watts and I. We talked about contributing to Mozilla’s Webdev projects, some of the blockers, and the respective solutions. Tim talked about everything except trouble with setting up the environment, while I focused on getting an environment setup with Vagrant. The audience already had people using Vagrant so it was fun to talk about it. We had most of Mozilla IT at our talk as well, so we had some good feeback from the about getting our environment as close as possible to production environment. I summarized most of these thoughts into a blog post on the Mozilla WebDev blog a few weeks back.

I then went to Dan’s session about BrowserID and apps. I had a lot of questions about BrowserID and few of us heckled Dan throughout and after the talk :P Nevertheless, it cleared up a lot of questions I had about BrowserID. The last session of the day before the closing was Community IT. Shyam, Phong, and Ben talked about the scale of IT at Mozilla and how they’re trying to open it up for the community to contribute. Memorable phrase from the session was ‘We’ll all be one big happy family and we’ll all have root’ by fox2mike :-) (and yeah, he’s probably going to kill me for that). Another issue raised was how bouncer wasn’t working and needed some debugging; as time permits over the next few months I intend to look into this and figure out how to improve it. Finally, we had the closing remarks from Mitchell. It dawned on me that Mozcamp was over and most of us would be leaving that night or the next morning, and it was indeed saddening.

Always stylish ddahl in Jalan Aloor

I joined Arky, bkero, cedricv, Dave, ddhal, fox2mike, Harinder, John, Mihca, phong, and zandr in exploring Jalan Aloor. Harinder suggested a chineese place there for dinner. It was indeed a great dinner. We did some experimentation with food - the biggest of which was Durian. When I entered the street I did smell some sort of sticky sweet smell which seemed pleasant. When we had the Durian, I matched the smell to Durian and it wasn’t so pleasant after that ;-) We also tasted some bakkwa (bacon candyimage and “Rambutan”: It was a long street filled with the most eatable things ever) We had a 10 pm drink up planned at the hotel, so we got back to hotel to be there on time, only to walk into an empty pub. Later everyone else joined us and we pretty much took over the pub. We were all chatting for the next few hours. I think it was eventually 4 am when I headed to bed.

tl;dr: I went to Mozcamp Asia, and started writing patches for Firefox :)

Durian adventure
The drinkup