14 April, 2013

MozFest 2012


Claimed to be the largest Mozilla hosted event, Mozilla Festival is the place for creative-developers to share & show-off. With that being said, I've had the pleasure to attain MozFest 2012 at London, last November - allow me to share the joy!

Looking back, the entire event has so many tales to tell - but, as most of them are best told over a coffee - I won't take you through all the trivial details here - rather, let's just get down with the facts:


Arrival

  • We were four Mozillians travelling from India to attend MozFest
  • Gauthamraj couldn't join us for Visa problems
  • Me and Sayak travelled & back together, and so did Vineel & Galaxy
  • Upon arrival, we headed straight the Mozilla Office, instead of going to the hotel & taking rest
  • There's a story about getting in the office-building - remind me later!

MozSpace

  • Mozilla London office is the first MozSpace I've visited. Sure it was a great experience - better than expected
  • It looked more like a cool startup's workplace - very casual, very welcoming
  • Liked the XboX 360 & the giant screen so very much - just sucked at Halo with the analogue controller (PC Gamer blues!)
  • Met Pierros, Kensie, FuzzyFox, Ioana, Emma & many other Mozillians for the first time - felt overwhelmed!

Inauguration

  • Reps reached at the venue (Ravensbourne College) early, for prep
  • Reflection of well-planning was everywhere - little things that make the experience incredible
  • Volunteers & overseers knew what they're doing - almost never seen them disoriented, never seen them stressed
  • Met Leo McArdle - a bright developer Rep of Mozilla UK, partner in MCS project
  • Met Michelle briefly in the morning - she was running around all the 7 floors
  • Got to know there's a guy called Gunner - his superpowers included perplexing you with a mic in his hand, and scheming to take over the world when his mouth is shut... mind. was. blown.
  • Reps, and booth hosts were briefed about the event, schedule, do-s & don't-s, evacuation strategy in case of alien invasion etc.
  • After the lunch, we wandered around the place, took pictures - as the big event for the day - the Science Fair, doesn't start until 6:00pm.
  • The air-drone by Mozilla IT was super-cool; the WiFi hotspots - not so much, though
  • The Science Fair itself was such a joy!
    • People showing off all sorts of crazy prototypes!
    • Mozilla Japan's JS-Cocktail got so much attention
    • I particularly liked The Knight Foundation's (particularly, Mark Boas) works on editing/indexing/remixing audio-video by their transcripts - some early prototypes, some with live demo.
    • There were so much going on, that 2-3hrs really weren't adequate

Engagements

  • On 10th Morning, the main Festival started - after Gunner, Mark Surman took the stage & set off the event's main course with a very earnest request: Fuck it, Ship it!
  • At our Contributor Garage booth, we Reps were busy being awesome & shizz.
  • I was enjoying speaking about Firefox OS, for people were quite tangentially interested about it; also, it was the first time I laid my hands on a real device running B2G
  • Seen #FlashFredy in action - he'd probably flash his pocket-watch with Firefox OS, if it had a USB port...
  • Had Mozilla QA's One & Done workshop - it certainly was productive, and sure was worth giving more time to. Here I met Zac and KaiRo
  • Firefox OS app-hacking was going on upstairs, BadgeBingo, Codery etc. other fun-booths were also drawing visitors, and Regnard was trying to have his session beside the Contributor Garage - crashed 'em a few times as well... :P
  • Accumulated enough adrenaline, walked upto Christian Heilmann's photobooth (where he was demo'ing his Makey Makey operated interaction cam) - and said "hi" (and some more stuffs)
    • A few mins later, when I was at the contributor garage - he walked up, said "don't know whether it fits you, I don't have any other size", and handed over to me what was a HTML5-pirate t-shirt!
    • I wasn't even decided about my list of technological visionaries, or
    • Let's just say you're 4 and your nursery sweetheart just kissed you - what do you do? You scream? You run? You kiss 'er back? Go cry to your momma? Oh, you wish!
    • So there was I, perplexed for a couple of second - wasn't ever cute & cuddly, but at least should've smiled & waved!
  • We missed a boat-ride on the Thames (cause we were in hurry(!)) to attend the party at London Film Museum... stone throwing distance apart from London Eye and Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, where we stayed
  • The next day was almost the same - except, I had a better plan to accumulate the user/developers' feedback on Firefox OS, with a shortlinked Google Form - which they could even fill from the device itself - got some pretty amazing responses!

Sightseeing

  • Me & Sayak had flight later the day on 12th Nov. So we planned to have a wandering-around the city, as much as we can cover.
  • Went first to 221/B, Baker Street. Walked passed Madame Tussaud's, till British Museum from there.
  • Took a mental note to have a full day and pre-performed researches for the Museum itself, the next time I visit - and left for the London Bridge.
  • Leaving the tube at London Bridge station, we discovered, the closest bridge wasn't the Tower Bridge we were looking for - had to walk a bit.
  • We got till the bridge, basically because of Sayak's continuous pestering - I'd have given up - took a lot of pictures on the way.
  • Couldn't hit Tate's Modern - were running out of time; so grabbed the luggages from Hotel & run for the Airport.
  • Oh did I mention? It was raining all day long (the reason I mentioned walking so many times). Awfully thanks for your best weather, London!

Takeaways

  • Properly understanding the phrase well planned execution
  • Meeting a large set of European Mozillians for the first time
  • The Less Yak, More Hack mantra with massive reuse value
  • The Firefox OS user feedbacks (special thanks, Caitria O'Neill)
  • Popcorn release & close-up of Webmaker (digital-literacy) project
  • Knight Foundations' works on using technology in Data-Journalism
  • Realizing the lack, & the urge to host more developer events in India
Matt Thompson shared how to host mini-MozFests if you wanted to - Webmakers, you should be through it; and, if you're more interested about the event insights, then Michelle's take on that is a must.

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