Setting the stage for CC

After the Leadership Summit at Singapore, I have always connected myself closely with Mozilla’s Campus Campaign (CC) initiative – the idea to tap students’ potential to bring about a change in behavior, to bring about change in policy at a massive scale and finally innovate through the process.

Mozilla’s brainchild comes at a crucial time – especially with respect to India, where IIT alums are becoming Ministers of State and students from JNU are evoking tremendous change in mindset of the entire nation. Considering this as testament to the power of students on college campuses, I set about my own planning sprint for Mozilla’s Campus Campaign which aims to take back the web, in ways you can only imagine!

Kochi, 18th March 2016
This took quite some planning and a consolidated effort from Kumaresan, FSA E-board and me. The idea here was to update the regional community (Mozilla Kerala)  at Kochi about what I learnt at the Leadership Summit, unveiling the curtains on the big Campus Campaign and finally formulate a plan of action! Although this seemed far-fetched when I initially kicked off, I am happy to say that I accomplished all the 3 goals I met for myself and more!

Since this was a community meetup, we (Kumaresan & I) made into an invite only event – so that people who have been a part of the community for quite some time were the only ones turning up. After setting up a form, soliciting responses and filtering – we finally came up with a shortlist of attendees. These people were then invited to join us at Cochin University’s Hacker Space – a student driven center for innovation on campus. (I’d love to have one of those on my campus). 

On 18th March the day of the meet-up, I reached the venue early just to ensure that I don’t go lost wandering around the huge campus, and as I make my entrance – I find this!

CUSAT entrance

CUSAT entrance

Yes, coincidentally the Arts Festival of Cochin University for 2016 was exactly on that very day! Talk about timing. Anyways, I had my work cut out for me at the Hacker Space. Since I reached well in advance – I was able to understand how the space worked, who is involved, etc from Shibin another amazing Mozillian from the community.

As the meet-up’s starting time neared, we had a slow trickle of community members and around 5 we had a full house of 25 people – our target! Yay. The audience was majorly FSAs (Firefox Student Ambassadors), with some participation from the Reps at Kochi. I first went on to introduce myself, tell them what I do and why I am there all the way from Bangalore – to talk about the CC in length and along with them, chalk out an amazing plan. I used my slide-deck on Mozilla inspired by Brian King to get the ball rolling, later talked about my own experience at the Leadership Summit and then moved on to pitch the CC.

IMG_20160320_174639

Campus Campaign pitch

I talked specifically about the three goals as part of the campaign, specifically with reference to the Indian context.

  • Policy change
  • Behavior change
  • Technology & innovation

Later, we split into groups to discuss more on the tasks that would click in each college and when would be the best time to conduct it. Here’s Kumaresan taking the lead in one such group activity.

We re-grouped and shared our notes and it turns out mostly our thoughts were the same. I’ve listed them all out on the etherpad here! For those of you who don’t know – Mozilla Kerala is fragmented into 3 zones, the Trivandrum community, Kochi community and the Calicut community. After a rough estimate of 5 colleges per sub-community, we’d be looking at 15 active campuses during the campaign. Taking into the consideration the exam as well as holiday schedule at Kerala, this is a tentative timeline we’ve drawn up:

  1. March end – finalize campuses
  2. April second week – finalize 2-3 contacts in each campus
  3. Through April – decide strategies & fix outcomes
  4. April end & May – contact over e-mail (exams)
  5. June second week – Campaign kick-off!

Post this, we had amazing burgers waiting for us and more importantly, 7up – that did a good job of quenching my thirst!

Personally, I think this was a very crucial meeting with the up-coming CC and some amount of restructuring is necessary and I believe I was able to drive the message across – about why taking back the web is necessary. And we will!

Resources:

 

Flash Android L stock on Sony Xperia Z3 Compact using a Linux machine

So I decided I’d like to flash Android on Sony’s Z3 Compact device and spent the whole of the past two days on figuring out how to do it without taking the help of a Windows machine.

I’ve tested the process on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS as well as Fedora 23. Here, goes!

  1. Add udev rules so that the system recognizes the device
    # sudo wget -O /etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules https://raw.githubusercontent.com/NicolasBernaerts/ubuntu-scripts/master/android/51-android.rules
    # sudo chmod a+r /etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules
    
  2. Install Android tools required just to flash a ROM
    # sudo apt-get install android-tools-adb android-tools-fastboot
  3. Update to ADB 1.0.32
    #adb version
    Android Debug Bridge version 1.0.31
    # wget -O - https://skia.googlesource.com/skia/+archive/cd048d18e0b81338c1a04b9749a00444597df394/platform_tools/android/bin/linux.tar.gz | tar -zxvf - adb
    # sudo mv adb /usr/bin/adb
    # sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/adb
    # adb version
    Android Debug Bridge version 1.0.32
  4. Download the FlashTool app from here for Linux. The file is of the form .7z and so you need to install the 7zip package using this:
    # 7Zip for extracting the package
    sudo apt-get install p7zip-full
  5. Extract the downloaded file preferably in a directory which has 644 permissions set.
  6. To run the FlashTool, we’ll be needing open-jdk and so we’ll need to install it:
    # Java to run the program
    # http://openjdk.java.net/install/
    sudo apt-get install openjdk-7-jre
  7. To make sure your FlashTool is working fine, run this command where you’ve extracted the folder:
    [abhiram@localhost xperia]$ pwd
    /home/abhiram/Documents/xperia
    [abhiram@localhost xperia]$ sudo FlashTool/FlashTool
    [sudo] password for abhiram: 
    Running as root.
    Used java home : ./x10flasher_lib/linjre64
    1. And the pop-up window appearsScreenshot from 2016-03-04 23-26-58
  8. Please wait till the sync gets completed and then proceed to download the ROM image of your choice. I’ve used the custom ROM which can be downloaded here. Ensure that the downloaded file has to be of the form .ftf 
  9. Place the downloaded .ftf file in the folder /root/.flashTool/firmwares
    [abhiram@localhost rom]$ sudo su
    [root@localhost rom]# cd /root/.flashTool/firmwares/
    [root@localhost firmwares]# ls
    Downloads prepared sinExtracted
    [root@localhost firmwares]# cp /home/abhiram/Documents/xperia/rom/D5803_23.4.A.1.264_IT.ftf .
  10. If all goes well, you can connect your phone to the machine using an USB cable and the message appears in the FlashTool saying that your device has been connected. Once you’ve selected the device type as Sony Xperia Z3 Compact you’re all set to flash your device.
  11. Disconnect the device, Click on the lightning bolt in the top left of Flashtool to “Flash device”.

    FlashTool

    FlashTool

  12. Select “Flashmode” and click “OK”.

Screenshot from 2016-03-05 20-56-31

13. Select the firmware build version that you want to flash from the “Firmware” pane. If you want to retain your apps/data, untick “DATA” in the “Wipe” pane. Then click “Flash”.

14. Flashtool will then indicate that it is “preparing files for flashing”.

FlashTool

You may have to wait around 60 seconds for the pop-up below to appear. Once it does, you should now connect your Sony Xperia device. Make sure the device is powered off and then hold the ‘volume down’ button whilst connecting the USB cable. Once the pop-up disappears and flashing has started, you can let go of the ‘volume down’ button.

NOTE: Ignore the instructions displayed which says “press the back button” – these relate to the older Sony Ericsson Xperia handsets.

Flash Tool Update

Flashtool will then start flashing your Xperia device. Once you see “Flashing finished” as indicated below, your Sony Xperia has been successfully flashed.

Congratulations you have just installed Android Lollipop! Now disconnect your Xperia device and power on the handset. Don’t despair if it takes a while for the handset to boot.

FlashTool_17-640x358

References:

 

What it means to us, the TRAI mandate

Recently, the Indian telecom regulator TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) announced its decision on the issue of differential pricing for data services, after a month long consultation process which can be found in the PDF here. The regulation point blankly rules out differential pricing on Internet services, meaning every packet of data received by a mobile device or a computer from his/her service provider should be priced equally.

For example, if you download 10 MB file from your Goolge Drive or you download a 10 MB file using an FTP Client from your shared hosting, they need to take the same time to get downloaded onto your machine.

As a common man, what it means to you:

  • The entire internet is at your service for the amount you pay
  • You’ll no longer be deceived by dubious claims of free Facebook or free WhatsApp
  • Nobody can take advantage of your data to make money claiming free services (although there are other ways in which your data can be monetized with/without your permission)

As a budding developer, what it means to you:

  • You can still come up with the next Facebook – and if your app is kick-ass people are going to love it
  • You needn’t partner with any third party agency to setup your website or put your app in the market
  • The data you collect from your customers is your own – you needn’t give up user data for some cheesy benefits

As a start-up guy/girl, what it means to you:

  • Your apps have the same playing field as that of Facebook, Uber, etc
  • There is no bias in how users perceive your app unless you want them to
  • Principle of net neutrality is upheld, which ensures that no other app can have more preference over yours and your app may well go on to be one of the world’s best

Good times ahead, thanks for each one of you who contributed to this victory!

PS: The taste of success sure is sweet, caramel sweet! 😉

Together, we SavedTheInternet !

Together, we SavedTheInternet !

 

Breaking the ice!

My first Mozilla localization sprint

That’s right. After 2 and a half years of being in the Mozilla community, I had a chance to attend my first localization sprint. L10n has always been a distant non explored territory, maybe for the very reason that I stay in Bangalore – which is a tech hub of sorts and discussions here take you to what Python libraries you use or what’s the latest JavaScript framework over filter coffee, but not about how farmers in rural Karnataka are going to use the Firefox browser.

Fortunately, a couple of phone calls and some mails from Khaleel gave me an opportunity to check out what exactly goes into localizing great products into Indic languages. Of all the places in the world, this was about to take me to Pondicherry  (a historical French settlement town along the Bay of Bengal coast) and I immediately said YES! I was supposedly invited to give a talk on Mozilla’s flagship FSA program and conduct a recruitment drive at Dr Pauls Engineering College in the area.

The moment I set foot in Pondy, the striking French influences struck a chord with me!

After a quick shower at a friend’s home I was ready to hit the road to reach our destination – Dr Pauls Engineering College. The efforts of the college’s dean needs a noteworthy mention, he was the sole reason we could organize an event there. Session took off to a great start with Adam briefing the 40 odd participants with fundamentals of open source software and its philosophy. The session was well received and a great effort, putting up this slideshow for the event, Adam!

This followed by our presence organizer Khaleel giving a talk and demo on how to get started with Pootle. He first described the importance of localization in a very creative and catchy manner that I’m sure struck a cord with all the participants there with me included! I made my very own Pootle account too! The mentor thus became a participant himself. Khaleel then gave a demo of how to get started with translating the strings. He gave specific emphasis about what to do and what not to do!

This was followed by a delicious and homely lunch organized by the college at their premises. After lunch, I started an ice-breaker to help everyone know each other better.
This is what I did –

  • Split everyone into 6 groups of 6-7 each
  • Introduce oneself to group members
  • Gave them a time slot of 5 minutes, within which they had to jot  all the new words they learnt from the morning’s session
  • Whichever group has the highest number of buzz words, wins!

This activity helped the participants bond well with each other and it helped them activate their grey cells after a heavy lunch!

Breaking the ice!

Breaking the ice!

We then moved on to the FSA slideshow, where I explained what one can do as a part of the program! This was followed by a open source overview and then a FSA recruitment activity where 40+ participants signed up as proud ambassadors of the open web!

The evening included a blissful hitch, discussion about life and philosophy with Khaleel and Vignesh – local FOSS enthusiasts. Beach was a welcome relief, after an intense discussion and a heavy heart, I bid goodbye to the lovely city of Pondy!

 

Until next time, Pondy! Ciao. <3

Customary group pic, MozFace ON

MozFace ON – Customary group pic

PS: @khaleeljageer and @AdamSwartz , you guys are doing amazing work in the region, please continue to do so! Pure respect. நன்றி தலைவா!

Cover photo

Mozilla at inGenius 2015

It all started with a casual conversation over a cup of chai about how amazing it would be if Mozilla could sponsor a hackathon in college. After 2 months of bug follow up and expert opinion thanks to Kaustav, we got Mozilla’s dev-rel team to agree to be an official sponsor for inGenius 2015. Simultaneously, I was in conversation with TJ and Biraj about the possibility to get all the RALs (Regional Ambassador Leads) of FSA (Firefox Student Ambassadors) program in India under one roof to catch up on what each community is doing and possibly transfer the learning to their counterparts. And yes, that was agreed to as well! So yes, it was all set and we had our amazing RALs Akshay and Karthic coming down from Hyderabad and Chennai respectively for the event.

At times, I do like the whole buzz of calling up people, matching their schedules, booking ttickets.  The rush it gives me! xD

The day started off with us trying to get a table for ourselves and by the strike of 10, we were given our space, WiFi (most important) and a few chairs. Kudos inGenius! The Mozilla party consisted of FSAs from MVIT Mozillians led by their club lead Srushtika, another budding Firefox Club in the region apart from Kaustav, Akshay, Karthic and myself.

Mozilla contingent

Mozilla contingent

In order to engage participants visiting the stall, we had set up a “Who’s there at inGenius” pin up board where participants could pin their Twitter handles! This was an interesting experiment and we had fun deciphering the various handwriting styles and analyzing different color of sticky notes. Kaustav even managed to group all the similar colored notes into clusters. 😛

Pin up board

Mozilla Pin up board

The organizers had also provided us a slot to talk about the Firefox Developer edition and FSA program. Kaustav introduced the crowd to the Firefox Developer edition while I highlighted the various aspects of FSA program and the impact it has on each ambassador – right from picking up essential skills to interacting with a good set of people all over the world.

Kaustav talking about Developer Edition

Kaustav talking about Developer Edition

Abhiram talking about FSA

Abhiram talking about FSA

We had a chance to interact with over 200 participants out of which 75+ registered as FSAs, which is indeed an important takeaway as participants really want to be a part of this program and it feels good that we (Mozilla contingent) are trying to make that happen.

Getting busy at the Moz stall

Getting busy at the Moz stall

FAQs

  1. I’ve heard a lot about Mozilla, but don’t know how to contribute! Can you help me?
    Sure, head to whatcanidoformozilla.org where you can choose your interests and select a project you’d like to work on.
  2. Where can I register for the FSA program? What happens after I register?
    Head to fsa.mozilla.org and fill out your details. This will be followed by a welcome mail which will have all the instructions you need to follow. These tasks will be about attending Mozilla events and how you share it with your peers.
  3. How do I get recognized in the FSA program?
    There’s a three-tier recognition process we follow, check them here.
  4. I heard there’s a “Mozilla Phone”. What’s it all about?
    There’s a mobile operating system called Firefox OS which is supported and developed by Mozillians all around the world. You can buy them in your own country, check this. The operating system is built using latest web technologies.
  5. Can I pick up a Mozilla sticker?
    Sure, go for it. 😀

The stall lasted till late into the evening and we were able to reach out to some of the organizers and professors present there as well. At the close, the RALs were glad to take a picture – first event where multiple RALs took part and shared their experiences.

Where magic gets planned - RALs

Where magic gets planned – RALs

Personally this event was a great learning experience for me – to coordinate within various groups in the Mozilla community, reach out to interested people, plan schedules and pull off an event of this scale! I hope the contingent had a worthwhile time at inGenius.

Where magic happens!

Where magic happens!

Do share your feedback in the comment section, I’d appreciate it. Signing off!