hip hip hooray for Firefox!

Firefox Launch Party in Brazil

Firefox’s latest release launch party took place at FISL 15 being part of its official schedule and gathered more than a thousand attendees throughout 4 days of event.

During the party snacks, candies and soda was being offered to everyone who engaged the party somehow, either participating on swag quizzes, swag draw, answering questions regarding the latest release, about Mozilla and our projects. Moreover, we were providing a stand where people could install Firefox on their devices, such as Android, PC, Mac and Linux.

Showing up at the event, Mozilla’s Fox was cheering people up, gathering the crowd for pictures with its furry tail and calling people out for our party. While busting some moves on the rhythm of “What Does The Fox Say”, the crowd watched in awe.

As a side attraction, a Photobooth was created so that people could frame their picture using the new Firefox UI, and complete the phrase “My Firefox has never been so ….” with their preferred adjective before sharing on Twitter. We have accounted more than 50 shares using @MozillaBrasil profile, tracking down #FirefoxBrasil and #Firefox hashtag.

Data Collected, in numbers:

  • More than a 1000 people passing by the party
  • More than 400 people enrolled for swag draw
  • More than 200 people joined a swag quiz including questions about Firefox, Webmaker, Mozilla, Bugzilla and several other projects.
  • Install fest during the event:
    • ~20 Firefox for Android
    • ~10 Firefox for Desktop (Most attendees already had it installed, we just checked if they were up to date and prized them with stickers).
  • Swag and Handouts
    • Dozens of Lanyards
    • Hundreds of Firefox, Firefox OS, and Foxy stickers
  • Around 30 Mozillians helped on the event set up, including arrangement, organization, greeting attendees, talking and showcasing the latest release of Firefox.
  • Photos taken at the photobooth can be found here

What Happened during the event:

  • Engagement talks about the latest Firefox, Firefox for Android, Firefox OS, Webmaker, Support Mozilla, Firefox Student Ambassadors.
  • Overall talks about our newest projects, such as Servo, Appmaker, Intellego and others.
  • Handing out of flyers about Firefox OS and Firefox Student Ambassadors.
  • Videos talking about the process of creation involved on the latest release of Firefox, Web We Want, and “What Does The Fox Say”!
  • Photobooth for people to spread their love for Firefox and share it on Twitter
  • Fox cheering up the crowd and taking pictures with attendees.
  • Soda, candies and snacks were being given for those who attended any kind of activity.

What have we learned:

  • Using FISL to host our Launch Party was a big hit. We had the perfect audience, people fascinated for open source and free software, and those who care for their privacy. They were eager to learn about the new features that the latest release bundled, but only that, they wanted to talk about other Mozilla projects as well.
  • The location allowed that even people who were not attending the event could join us, since the event was open to the community

Actions we should take after event:

  • Since we gathered around 300 emails from the people who joined our quizzes and draws, It might be a good idea to send them an email inviting them to join our community, explaining how they can be helpful and what areas we have for newcomers.
  • Make Photobooth available so that anyone who wants to share their love for Firefox can do so on their social networks.
    • It can be found in here. Code can be found at my github, please feel free to send pull requests or to use at your local Launch Party or future events. Thanks Chris Heilmann for the original code. If you want, this app can be easily localized using Gaia’s L10n.js library.
  • Publishing event pictures on our social media profiles.

Here you will find some useful links to materials we’ve created and used (or not), feel free to grab and modify as you might (As long as you follow Mozilla’s guidelines).

Card inviting people to the event:

It's party day!Cards spreading awareness

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Firefox OS, the web is the plataform!

The event

On April 10th and 11th of 2014, the V Workshop Tocantinense de Sistemas de Informação took place in Palmas, Tocantins. The event was held by Faculdade Católica do Tocantins (FACTO) in partnership with other institutions such as UNITINS. The goal of the event is to stimulate entrepreneurship inside academic environment and to encourage the production of apps for mobile platforms.

Day One

Opened to the general public, the event was divided in two days. For the opening of the first, we had Alfredo Beckert talking about “How to build a startup and endeavor inside the academic environment”, followed by my talk “Firefox OS, The web is the platform!” in regards of Mozilla’s community.

Day Two

On day two, we had several mini courses happening concurrently and talking about development for mobile platforms. Professor Silvano Malfatti offered an Introduction to Objective-C (iOS). Taking place at the same event, an Introduction to Android Programming was being offered by Luiz Carvalho.

I was invited to demonstrate and talk more about our newly released mobile operating system, Firefox OS, to the crowd who was already familiar with mobile development. That being said, the event acted as entrance point to some of the biggest mobile platforms available, demonstrating their strength and weaknesses, pleasing either the crowd that was looking forward a more mature and stable platform or those looking for an exciting, innovative and filled with opportunities.

On our mini course about Firefox OS development, the content presented allowed an introduction on what is new on HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript, along with a demonstration of B2G capabilities, design and development best practices, tools for development and debugging, frameworks such as building blocks, l10n.js, WebAPIs and finally what to expect regarding Marketplace’s submission and review process.

Attendees were then stimulated to group up and develop a fast yet useful application, so that they could be aware of common mistakes that happen during the development phase and how to validate and submit their apps to Marketplace.

Ideas presented vary from a BMI calculator, a GPS data collector, to a tourist app that showcases the most visited beaches in Palmas.

Day Three

After the event was officially finished, Professor Silvano Malfatti invited me to go even further on Firefox OS to his post-graduate class, at Faculdade Católica do Tocantins (FACTO). The group was formed by already experienced app developers with apps published in both Apple Store and Google Play Store. Their biggest excitement about the platform is the ease of development and the facilitated process of getting it live on the Marketplace. However, some weaknesses were raised by them, such as commercializing their apps. They want to be able to sell their apps, which at the time of the talk, wasn’t possible yet. Another highly emphasized topic, is that the majority of WebAPIs they were interested in are unavailable for certified apps. (This is a vision that I personally share with them. Offering some of the most interesting APIs only to OEM and Mozilla apps, can be a shot to the feet in the future).

 

Conversa sobre dispositivos disponíveis durante aula para alunos de pós graduação.

Talking about devices that are already available for the public.

 

Local Midia Coverage

Local media coverage was extremely exciting, the event had been extensively promoted by the involved institutions, hence the large number of attendees from different cities and educational institutions. Links collected on the internet are:

 Metrics and Feedback

Because this event was supported by Mozilla through the Budget program for Reps, we had to define some metrics to be able to analyse whether or not it was a successful activity. Some of the metrics involve the amount of attendees and the return to Mozilla Brazil community. Let’s go ahead and talk further more about it so that we can measure how successful it was.

Metric 1 – 200 attendees on the opening event

Success! Event opening was a big blast, bringing more attendees than we expected. We had around 250 people at UNITINS’s auditorium, mixing people from several different backgrounds, just like Mozilla. As can be seen in the pictures, the crowd as excited and energetic, replying to questions and laughing on jokes.

Who believes that Firefox has been better in the past?

Who believes that Firefox has been better in the past?

 

After my talk has ended, we opened some time for questions from the public, and some in specific caught my attention.

Marcus, how do you make a living with FLOSS? Is it possible to live mainly from free software/open source? How can Mozilla pay its bills if it “sells” a product?

This is a very common question, and that never should be ignored due to its importance. Unfortunately, I cannot make a living only contributing to open source projects (even though that is my dream [Mozilla, I'm unemployed!]). However, it is indeed possible. It is still very hard, but in some countries where the open source crowd has higher voice and money is being put on open source solutions it does happen. There is a noticeable growth in the Brazilian scenario, being the south and southeast the main area of FLOSS projects.

Mozilla Foundation is a not for profit organization that survives through some artifices. As many of you know, 90% of our income comes from a partnership between Google and Mozilla, where both benefits. Google pays Mozilla a millionaire contract so that Mozilla keeps offering Google’s search engine as the main service on Firefox. Therefore, we can easily realize that if Firefox’s popularity increases, Google’s search engine usage will follow, making billions tracking ingenuous users, feeding them directed adds and stealing their privacy of dollars.

The rest of the money is raised through user donations, private initiative and companies that incorporate Mozilla’s products or services somehow.

Marcus, what is the share percentage that Mozilla keeps from Apps that are sold in the Marketplace?

Yet another very good question. We know that Apple and Google keeps 30% of the price you sell your app on their store. While I was giving the talk, I wasn’t 100% sure of this information, so I ended up passing along incorrect data, and I, hereby apologize for such a mistake. There is a quite complicated table available here.

The percentage that Mozilla keeps is also 30%, unlike 0% that I said before. From those 30%, only between 5 to 7.5% stays with Mozilla, the rest is passed along to pay taxes and administrative fees from our payment service provider. We utilize Bango as a payment intermediate. For more information on how to charge for an app, take a look at this post.

Metric 2 – To have 5 apps published to the marketplace in the next 20 days that follows the event

Partial Success! While the mini course was being held, by some otherworldly reason (probably local network), the simulator wasn’t being able to feed JavaScript files. Despite that problem, we had 3 apps that were semi finished, but we ended up not having a submission to the Marketplace that day.

Positive Feedback

  • Great debugging tools
  • Easy development process
  • Marketplace is simpler than its competitors
  • No need to learn new languages/technologies

Negative Feedback

  • Most of the interesting WebAPIs are reserved for certified apps
  • Simulator is instable, with a few bugs and problems that bothers developers (For example, basic HTML isn’t displayed correctly in v1.2 but in v1.3 it works)
  • Lack of motivation for paid apps (Payment WebAPI documentation is hard to find for developers that aren’t mozillians or know how to search for information in our several tools).
  • Marketplace doesn’t have paid apps
  • There is no way to filter paid / free apps.

APP 1 – GPS Coordinates

  • https://marketplace.firefox.com/app/gpscoordinates
  • https://github.com/paulocanedo/ffos-gpscoordinates

APP 2 – Palmas Beaches

  • Awaiting marketplace submission
  • https://github.com/cassiorox/PalmasBeach-FirefoxOS

Metric 3 – 20 people joining community-brazil mailling list or IRC

Unfortunately, this metric was not achieved, and I’ll leave my personal insight of why not. I believe that the fact of using IRC and mailing lists as tools for mass communication isn’t as effective in places where people don’t know the power of these tools or cannot value it properly. We had only 2 participants joining #mozilla-br and are interested somehow.

It’s worth noting that most of the buzz happened around social medias such as Facebook and Twitter, were I registered 12 friendship requests and 4 followers. It has also been registered a few twits with #Mozilla and #FirefoxOS. Shamefully, social media are the most widely used communication channel for those who aren’t yet involved with free software / open source.

I would go even further and state that the lack of knowledge on what is free software or how to get involved. Moreover, they are extremely fond of the idea of commercializing their apps. All that together, is why my judgment of why we failed this metric.

 

Scores and Misses as a Mozillian

 

We know that it’s impossible to have a flawless event, and it couldn’t be different now. Budget process started on full speed, but it took some precious time that we did not have for uncertainty. (Although I deeply appreciate all the effort put onto it).

The lack of confirmation on the budget made me hurry with the presentation, giving me about 10 running days to produce everything I need for the event. Unfortunately, I do have to work to make ends meet. Thankfully, I was able to complete everything and make good use of the money from our contributors!

As a lecturer, there is always room for improvement. I believe that I could have brought more content and better knowledge on how the simulator guts works. Apparently, gnomes were on duty that night. As soon I arrived at the Hotel, everything worked perfectly.

Our swag request didn’t make in time, which was a little sad, because everyone asked for stickers.

I’ve also learned to be a little more conservative with metrics. It’s always better to be surprised and overcome then, than to fail badly. There is that feeling of failure, that you have not done everything that was possible.

The seed of open source has been spread over the North of Brazil. I hope that everyone who attended the event like our “conversation”. In the name of Mozilla I thanks everyone who made part of this event and I hope that everyone learned more about our misson. We are working for all of you, for an open web!

Special thanks to

 

  • Ricardo Panaggio e Bruno Villar, for having indicated me to this event and always being around
  • Thatiane Rosa, for all the rides, talks and shared meals!
  • André Rincon, Silvano Malfatti and all the crew that organized the event. Thanks for the structure, for the good moments and for the professional experience acquired.
  • To everyone who attented and those who made it happen directly or indirectly.
  • Konstantina Papadea, Ricardo Pontes, Ioana Chiorean, William Quiviger and everyone at Mozilla involved with this budget Request. I have no words to thanks everyone.

 

Final Considerations

 

Not everything was hard work. I’ll include some pictures for the sake of showing local culture.

This post considers free software and open source to be the same thing due to simplicity. Learn more about the difference between Free Software and Open source here.

 

 

Firefox

WebVTT landed on babelsubs.

Amara.org and Babelsubs

What is Amara?

Amara gives individuals, communities, and larger organizations the power to overcome accessibility and language barriers for online video. The tools are free and open source and make the work of subtitling and translating video simpler, more appealing, and, most of all, more collaborative.

You can find out more about Amara in #amara at freenode.

What is Babelsubs?

Babelsubs is a library used by Amara that helps you to convert from one subtitle format to another. The great news on this post is that Babelsubs just merged a pull request into their library to add support for WebVTT (.vtt file extension).

Next steps

Creating a parser and a generator for .vtt files is just the beginning of this contribution. This was the tip of the good iceberg. What needs to be done now is to implement this support into Amara.org itself, providing the user the ability to export their subtitles to a .vtt file and also releasing a API capable of dealing with this new feature.

If you want to follow what is going on with this, feel free to follow and contribute with the unfold of this bug here.

Getting Involved

If you are interested and wanting to get involved I would really encourage you to come out and become a contributor. There really is a ton of work left to do — for the implementation of the track spec as well as for libwebvtt (the C parser). You can get in touch with the current contributors via a number of ways — Mozilla’s dev media mailing list, the #media IRC channel on irc.mozilla.org, or on the mozilla/webvtt GitHub page. Check out the WebVTT wiki page for more information on how to get involved.

See you all soon!

 

images

Easy Peasy Raspberry Pi™ Lego™ Case!

Are you a DIY freak? Hate buying pre-made solutions? Then you’re at the right place.

In this post I’ll show how easily you can create a Raspberry Pi™ Lego™ case to securely protect your RPI and show some style. As you might now, the board itself comes with no casing, allowing you to create your own case with whatever materials you want. The most common solution shown around the web is stacking Lego™ bricks to achieve a nice case, but there are plenty of other solutions such as 3D printers, acrylic presets, wood an others.

As I see, the only difference is how much you want to customize your own case and how much time you do have to put into it. I myself love fooling around with these DIY projects, so I’ll always find time during the weekends to play with it.

With no more delay, let’s get to what we need :

What you will need

What you will need. Just a little correction, It’s 9x of the black pieces (2×1).

As you can see, I’ve listed the pieces and the quantity needed. You can easily find these pieces at any Lego™ store. When you go to the store to purchase, all you need to pick fits inside the small sized pot they have at the counter (see picture below).

Lego Small Pot

Lego Small Pot

With pieces in hand, let’s get the party started.

Step 1 – Get the white pieces (6×2) and stack them in a four columns per two rows shape. You will need some super glue so that you can glue the one piece to the other. Our goal is to create a solid and perfectly aligned base.

Step 2 – With the base glued together, you’re going to get 3 pieces of the green piece (4×1), and glue them to the side of the base. The end result is something like this (I used six 2×1 transparent pieces instead).

IMG_20130623_180525

Step 3 - Repeat the same process, after all, we need a cover to the case right? :).

Cover and Base

Cover and Base

Step 4 – On this upper picture, you can see the base and the cover assembled. On the base, you might want to put the little white “grill” thingy, so that the board “sits” on it. As you might now, the RPI has some soldering points and sharp metallic pins that you don’t want to damage. I also placed some red squares around the base corner to protect the under part of the USB and LAN ports. Make sure you place them exactly as this, because otherwise the board may not fit or one of the ports may not be accessible.

Board Cushioning and usb/lan ports protection

Board Cushioning and usb/lan ports protection

Step 5 – Sit the board into the base. Make sure it’s laying on the cushions and also that you have one empty column in all the sides except the one where the red things are placed.

Make sure you have the empty columns around.

Make sure you have the empty columns around.

Step 6 – After the board is positioned, go ahead an stack the 2×1 pieces one on top of the other until you have three of them stacked.Do the same for the 4×1 pieces and stack three of them together. These pieces do not need to be glued, only if you want. The side that has the SD Card port, you’re going to place the three 4×1 pieces next to the LAN port. On the other corner, you’re going to place the three 2×1 pieces. Do the same on the other side, but in the opposite order. You will have something like this

Base, Board and Columns

Base, Board and Columns

Step 7 - If you followed everything correctly, you created a sturdy case for your Raspberry Pi™. You probably realized that this offers a very tight fit (That’s what she said.), with no room for the board to move. The last step is to place the cover on top. Just simply assemble it together and there we go.

End Result

End Result

Hope this DIY post got you as excited as it got me! The final price of this case is CAD 12.50 with taxes. If you bring the small pot to the Lego™ store on your next purchase, you get a 50 cents discount (-.-). If you need any help or liked the post, please leave a message.

See you soon!