27 February, 2014

Actualizing Probability, Seizing Night, Feeling Alive

12:30AM last night, gotten done with the meetings & calls - almost worn off - I was about to get my dinner & call it a day (for such long of a day it was).

But what do you know!

Got summoned by my Ingress faction for a call of duty - awkwardly eccentric, insanely probabilistic, extremely difficult, and yet immensely confidential task that needs to get done exactly at 4:30 in the morning, at a place 3hrs by road.

Hence, I grabbed my gears & rushed for the pick up (with a couple of bread-slices in my pocket; because, Dinner) - and there's no looking back.

In simple words - it was a covert operation of ~16 Ingress Agents, to transport an artifact (#2) from the origin portal in Bangalore to the destination portal at Mahabaleshwar (then undisclosable) - lots on XMs were spilled in the process & to defy the Resistance's effort to... well, resist - the process... & keeping it under Enlightened-control, strategically (12hrs) & effectively (4hrs).


Not going into the internal communications, but even on the public channels - the buzz was huge. Check out the official announcement by +Ingress to recognize the successful operation & screenshots of some of the COMM messages! ;)

The grab-n-go, the rushed long-drive to not miss the small time-window, the phonecall-hangout-maps combo to figure the lost roads we've never been before, the trembling portals hacks with shivering fingers in the cold, the first chai upon opening of the chai-shop at 4, the excited nail-bitting announcements-cum-note-to-self - 9 mins to go, 8mins to go... 1mins to go... 30 secs to go, GO GO GO!!! The fanatical deployment of the resonators by all agents within less than 5 seconds of the GO, the crazy-first-sight of the transported artifact gliding on top of the extended astral-projection of the destination, screaming the fuck out of the brain to see the job done against all odds, the after-planning & strategy updates from the control-HQ, boxing & setting up cross-links to secure the mission, watching a rising sun (on the car-mirror), keep talking to the almost dodged-off driver to keep him up... it was nothing but surfing a Tsunami, man!

My life is pretty darn awesome in general, but times like these just sets the bar higher!

10 February, 2014

About: "Co-founder of Mozilla India"

I woke up quite late today, and as usual found myself in the flood of device-notifications.

Swimming through, I couldn't help but notice that there's one recurrent theme against many of those conversations - actively, or passively; which is, me being termed as the "Co-founder of Mozilla India" in my FOSDEM talk's introduction.

Some congratulations, some giving justifications, some asking for justifications, some efforts to clarify the situations, some smug comments & inquiries etc. And I realized, the issue is not as innocent as it first appeared, and something is needed to be done to fix it.

For what it's worth, I am not the one who scripted the introduction. I've had very little to do with it. Clarista is such a nice person, it seemed rude to stop her on stage. I made a little hand gesture, "Please, let it go... I'm not that guy." but anyway, that message didn't pass through.

I've been anonymously volunteering for Mozilla since Q2, 2005. With the handle Debloper since Q2, 2009. Gave that identity a face in Q3, 2010, and by Q3, 2011, I've had to make myself public in the process of joining the Reps' program. In most of the given timeline, I've been more of a lone-wolf, than a community person, may be until this day.

There are many people from India who have been contributing to Mozilla since before me, and there probably will be people still contributing if I ever discontinue. Mozilla India isn't a formal or legal entity, and to find a distinct point of time when it actually formed - more than difficult - it's impossible.

Titles, badges, awards are not something I'm actively rooting for.

I've been in Mozilla Reps' Council, possibly one of the highest volunteer position one can earn in Mozilla, and personally never used that title except for the communications where I needed to send out messages as a Council Member.

My name is not even on the about:credits of Mozilla. One can actually ask questions against even me being just a Mozilla contributor itself, for that - let go off being anything else - and that's okay. It requires me to send an email, requesting recognition, which I can never bring myself to do. I've never even thought of drafting such email.

Sorry Clarista, but I am not the person to whom the title "Co-founder of Mozilla India" is useful. There are people who can make use of that title much better.

I am not that guy.

FOSDEM Fourteen FTW!


For last 2 years, I've been trying to attend FOSDEM, and yet each time found myself to be too late in the process to do anything about it. Missed the last year's Firefox OS awesomeness badly, and thus had my reminder set to wake me up when September October ends.

Facts & Figures

The Campus Map of ULB, along with the Dev-Rooms
FOSDEM (Free and Open source Software Developers' European Meeting) is a developer-centric event, hosted at ULB (loosely translated, Open/Free University of Brussels) that brings together 5000+ geeks from all over the world.

There were quite a few keynotes, main-tracks, and along with that 33 Dev-Rooms - that is project specific focus groups, each diving deep into their topics in separate auditoriums. The entry is walk-in, until/unless the room is full. The event in itself is free of any registration, or other charges.

Mozilla had the Dev-Room UD2.218A on Saturday, and there were 16 awesome talks in total.
You can get more details about FOSDEM from the official source.

FOSS Factions

Rats, I've never missed my red-fedora so damn much... should definitely have brought it. The place is literally swarming with Red Hatters - with the literal meaning of the word literally.

Along side of that, from Mozilla, Wikimedia, Python, Perl, KDE, Gnome, ElasticSearch... to even the Tor project - who wasn't there?!? For the open source enthusiasts, it's THE place to be.

Clarista introducing me making me hide under the podium.
One of these days, I'll start trying to live upto that introduction.

Fuming Fiery Feat

I had a talk on "JavaScript for the Skeptics" in the Mozilla Dev-Room. It's not a Knowledge Transfer, magic show, or a crash course on anything. In front of the FOSDEM audience, I wouldn't dare to pitch myself to be capable of doing that... no.

So my idea was, to give a retrospective & a fresh new perspective on applied JS; also to ring the doorbell of "Worse is Better vs The Right Thing" and run away.

In this year's FOSDEM, JavaScript talks were overly crowded in general, and so was my talk. There had to be a "Room is Full" board put in front of the room even before I got on the stage. I didn't quite notice that I've been speaking in front of 500 who's-who, until the Q&A started - when I suddenly got a quite noticeable cold-feet.

As a speaker, I've tried best to work on the problems I had. Many fixed, some still there. If you're a budding speaker as well - here's the recording, watch this - it may help you:

Fun Factors

  • I dashed around & collected goodies like there's no tomorrow.
  • I often got into conversations, and talked to so many folks from different projects
  • Often those chats took way more than 2 minutes, without me having urge to run away.
  • I said to myself "WHOA!" quite a couple of times, for various reasons.
  • I traveled in bus of Brussels, but the FOSDEM-route felt no different than that in Kolkata.
  • I, along with Sayak, often gotten into Ingress dog-fights with local Resistance agents.
  • I've had beers at the signature spots in Brussels - including, but not limited to - The Delirium Cafe, À la Mort Subite, Le Grand Café et al.

And of course I've taken a hell lot of pictures... check them out from my FOSDEM'14 Flickr set, or maybe just play this slideshow:


Thanks a lot to Brian, Clarista, Benoit and all who actively helped make Mozillians' participation in FOSDEM such a memorable event - I give up on listing all the reasons why. Special thanks to Ziggy & Francisco, for the great job behind the camera, all day long! Thanks to all the Mozillians managing the Mozilla booth, and thanks FOSDEM.