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!

 

Tatoo love!

A fresh start – PESITBSC Firefox Club

When my community manager told me that we’re going ahead with a campaign to install Firefox on Windows 10 machines, I was like, “Whaat?” Being a total Linux convert myself, I’ve never even booted Windows on my machine for more than 18 months now. So, it didn’t make any sense at first. Later when I slowly read through the ideals laid down by FSF, one of the important aspects of `freedom` was to respect others’ choice of software.

So after a careful study, it came down to this philosophy,

We as torch-bearers of the open web, advocate the use of free and open source software but most of our counterparts use proprietary software and we cannot allow them to be told what to choose. Mozilla cares about our privacy, and the right to choice should always remain with the user.

Having set the above USP, I proceeded with chalking out a plan to host an event to not only make the #SwitchToFirefox, but to set a trend at it.

Take Back Control - Event poster

Take Back Control – Event poster

This was followed by discussions with TJ and Biraj to see if we can get some Mozilla goodies for the event and they obliged.  Side note: The Firefox for Windows 10 campaign goes on till November, so feel free to check it out and if you’re inspired by it like me, don’t hesitate to host an event – at your school, coffee house or popular adda. 🙂

Although the shipment sent by TJ was weeks beforehand, it was routed to Chennai by mistake instead of Bangalore and I had to make a flurry of phone calls to finally get it here. And yes, it arrived on time. It landed exactly one day before the event, and we were just glad that it reached here. Thank you USP!

Basic agenda:

  • Club introduction and goals by Abhiram
  • Net neutrality debate by Abhinav
  • Privacy talk by Bhoomika
  • Firefox for Win 10 – customization by Sharath
  • Developer tools demo by Amjad

If you missed the event you can catch a sense of it on the event report penned down by all the speakers. However, what you will not get to see in the event report where we had an impromptu discussion by Sandesh, our club founder and Abinav – a very talented web developer. Sandesh talked about how one can protect one’s privacy on the internet as well as his contribution story.

For the photo-frenzy people, take a look at our Flickr stream by Alekhya. Thanks!! 🙂 The Facebook event page has also been properly documented, do take a look at it.
I had great fun hosting the first event of the year, it’s up to these guys now to take the baton forward, and I hope they will.

Magic happens here - Firefox Club PESITBSC

Magic happens here – Firefox Club PESITBSC

 

 

FSA logo

Firefox Student Ambassadors rationale and process

This post is about my talk on Firefox Student Ambassadors (FSA) program as part of the tech-evangelism workshop in Bangalore.

The mission of the FSA program is to promote, support and educate the core values of the Mozilla mission, open-source and free software projects. It is targeted towards college students, irrespective of their streams or fields of study. At the core is the Mozilla mission which is to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web. True to its nature, the FSA program accomplishes just that – by breaking barriers for new (enthusiastic) folk to contribute to the community on a global scale.

One of the ways the FSA program accomplishes it is through the means of events and activities on campus. The reason for this is that events attract a lot of interested students, and act as a forum for positive discussions. Events are usually focused on Mozilla products and initiatives – but not necessarily limited to it. Topics for discussions include open source software, privacy, WoMoz (Women in Mozilla) and a lot more. A discussion of this sort (focused on a central theme) can be termed as a MozCofffee session. An ideal audience size for this would be around 10-15 people and not more than that. If the size of the crowd increases, then there might be chances of missing each one’s opinion. Moving on, the next kind of activity a club can host is the Sign-Up festival where a club lead takes up the responsibility of recruiting interested FSAs by talking about Mozilla mission and the opportunities that are available. Maker parties are another category of events that clubs can take up to ensure the spread of web literacy and also increase the enthusiasm level of the participants.

An important thing to note here is the processes involved in hosting an event. It’s usually recommended to follow these steps in the same order by the organizer:

  • Apply for permission with campus authorities
  • Decide resource persons for the event and make sure they are available
  • Coordinate dates and decide a feasible one
  • Allocate an accessible auditorium/seminar-hall/computer lab/ classroom as per your need
  • Invite audience from and off campus – analyze their demography and skill set beforehand
  • Set up the technical equipment (projectors, speakers, etc) and make sure they work
  • Inform participants the location of the venue without any ambiguity
  • Measure the impact created using sign-up forms or social media tools

Hope this article throws enough light on club activities and helps throwing better and structured events in the future. Comments and feedback, most welcome.