My responses…

Meme, Mozilla, Open Source, Work No Comments

As promised…

The rules:
  1. Copy/paste these rules and questions into a blog post, answer the questions, then tag some other people (however many you like) and encourage them to do the same.
  2. Include a link to the original post.
  3. You don’t have to be tagged to take part — if you see this post and want to play, just dive on in. Simple!
The questions:

How (and when) did you originally get involved with an open source project? Which projects have you contributed to?

I first got involved with open source-related stuff in 1999 when I started Linuxchix (still going) and the Open Source Writers Group (long since dead). In addition to those, I’ve contributed to the PA-RISC/Linux project (about forty million years ago), and the Mozilla project, plus little fiddly-bits here and there.

Why did you choose to contribute to an open source project?

Because I could. I had been using Linux for a few years at that point and I loved it — I loved the community and the openness and everything else about it. When I realized that I had the skills and ability to make real and useful contributions, I got involved. Linux and the open source community had given me a lot, and I wanted to give back however I could.

If you were to pick one or two people who have had a major influence on your involvement with open source, who would those people be? Why?

Chris Beard: Some 10 or 11 years ago, I read about Chris and the Puffin Group (a small Linux consulting company) on Slashdot and sent Chris (a complete stranger) an email asking for a job. He hired me. This is a pretty short story for what has ended up being a decade-long friendship. I have an enormous amount of respect for Chris and the work he does — easily one of the most visionary and driven people I’ve had the privilege of working with.

Mike Shaver: Some 10 or 11 years ago, I met shaver the day before his wedding to which he immediately invited me (a complete stranger). I declined, and I regret that decision to this day because Mike has turned out to be one of my best friends. I’m going to stop now because I’ll just get teary-eyed, and it would take more than a few hours to talk about how his friendship has (actually, and for reals) changed my life.

Both Chris and Mike are why I’m part of Mozilla now, and I believe I still owe them both a beer or two for that.

How have you personally benefited from being involved with open source projects?

Getting involved with open source turned into a career for me. Mozilla, in particular, has been spectacular because this project encourages people to push beyond themselves and to reach for and learn new things all the time. I’ve learned more and done more in the past five years of being involved with Mozilla than I would have been able to do in any traditional organization, had I been able to wedge a foot in the door.

Not only has it become a career, being involved with open source has (as I foreshadowed before) lead to some of my deepest and most lasting friendships. It turns out that open source projects are a fantastic way to meet like-minded (but oh-so-entertainingly diverse) people. I know, talk to, and work with incredibly brilliant and passionate people all over the world, every day. I wouldn’t trade this for anything.

What advice and/or encouragement would you give to someone who is considering getting involved with an open source project?

Do it! Get involved. Persevere. Step up. Be brave. It can be awfully intimidating and overwhelming when you first start out, but don’t give up. Find some niche where you can make a contribution, then just get started. It could be the best thing you’ve ever done.

Tagging

Open Source Contributors blog meme!

Meme, Motivation, Mozilla, Work 2 Comments

I know these sorts of things can often be silly and annoying, but I’m really interested in hearing people’s stories about how they got involved with Open Source and what it has meant to them, both personally and professionally. I’m hoping this is fun and lightweight enough that everyone will take a few minutes and blog about their experiences. Everyone is welcome (and encouraged!) to play.

The rules:

  1. Copy/paste these rules and questions into a blog post, answer the questions, then tag some other people (however many you like) and encourage them to do the same.
  2. Include a link to the original post.
  3. You don’t have to be tagged to take part — if you see this post and want to play, just dive on in. Simple!

The questions:

  1. How (and when) did you originally get involved with an open source project? Which projects have you contributed to?
  2. Why did you choose to contribute to an open source project?
  3. If you were to pick one or two people who have had a major influence on your involvement with open source, who would those people be? Why?
  4. How have you personally benefited from being involved with open source projects?
  5. What advice and/or encouragement would you give to someone who is considering getting involved with an open source project?

That’s it! I’ll post my own responses soon :)

You can send kudos, too…

Feedback, Habits, Mentoring, Motivation, Mozilla, Work 3 Comments


One of the awesomest new features in the revamped Rypple system is the ability for anyone to send kudos to anyone else. Kudos are a very simple, fun way to thank people for being amazing, doing a great job, going above and beyond the call of duty, etc.

It might sound sort of silly or contrived, but it turns out that a simple note of appreciation really can have a huge impact. Since I’ve started using Rypple to send out kudos, I’ve received a few notes from folks telling me that I’ve basically made their day. It’s a little thing, and doesn’t really take more than a couple of minutes out of your day, but it can really make a difference. We don’t often get genuine, heartfelt, positive feedback, so it’s really incredibly energizing when we do.

Everyone with a Rypple account (which is anyone, since everyone can sign up) can log in and send kudos to anyone with an email address. It’s totally wide open and anyone can do it — so if you have a few minutes sometime today, think of someone who’s done something awesome, head over to Rypple, and send them a kudos. The more you do it, the more fun it becomes.

Benoit’s looking for feedback…

Work No Comments

Benoit Girard has offered to develop some materials to help new people learn about Mozilla and how to get involved. He’s looking for feedback about the initial topics he’s outlined over on his weblog. It would be really great if people could take a quick look and help him out.

Learning Mozilla resources?

Education, Evangelism, Mozilla, Work 2 Comments


Last week, I asked for suggestions about possible screencast/video introductions we should produce to help people learn about Mozilla, our tools, our methods, and how to get involved with the project. It was pointed out (and rightfully so) that we already have quite a few resources along these lines, they’re just scattered and hard to find.

So, in addition to getting new content produced to help people, I’m going to start collecting existing materials together and figuring out how to make those easier to find and use.

I’ve created a new page on wiki.mo called Learning Mozilla, listing on it some of the useful things I already know about. Now I need your help: if you know of other resources that would be useful for someone who wants to learn more about Mozilla, please take a few moments to add it to the page or leave a note (with a URL) in the comments here.

Anything and everything is great — I’ll dig for more content as I can, and I’ll take it upon myself keep the page cleaned up and organized, so don’t worry too much about where to list things or how to format stuff. Just add the links and we’ll sort out the rest as we go.

Make someone’s day

Habits, Motivation, Mozilla, Productivity, Work 2 Comments

Feedback is an interesting thing. Critical feedback, while incredibly valuable and vital to improving and learning, can also sort of gut you. And working out in the open — in this crazy transparent fishbowl that is the Mozilla project — critical feedback can often come fast and furious. It’s great, of course, and absolutely fundamental to how we do things, but it does require a thick skin, and it can be profoundly exhausting at times.

On the other hand, positive feedback is absolutely energizing. Those moments where someone goes out of their way to say “thanks” or “awesome job” or “you rock” really does make it all worthwhile. Feeling appreciated — knowing that someone genuinely cares about and values the work you do — can often make the difference between something being a burden or a joy. For me, receiving positive feedback is the most powerful motivator out there — more so than money, fame, or anything else.

Rypple (which we use at Mozilla) recently built a new feedback mechanism into their service called “kudos” that you can use to send someone a quick “thanks”, “you’re awesome”, or “you rock” sort of message. The message you send is visible to everyone in the organization, so serves as a public note of appreciation. Other people can comment on the kudos as well, so there’s a way to quickly add a “+1″ or otherwise pile on the love. You can read more about the Rypple kudos feature (and an ongoing contest they’ve launched to promote it) over at WorkplaceHero.com.

The Rypple kudos system really is fantastic. We don’t often go out of our way to publicly acknowledge the awesome things our coworkers do, but Rypple has given us a fun, fast, simple, lightweight, and unintimidating way to do so. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should — take a minute to send a kudos and make someone’s day :)

Ideas for screencasts & video introductions?

Evangelism, Mozilla, Work 8 Comments

video camera icon
Johnathan Nightingale and Rob Campbell recently put together fantastically useful screencast introductions to Bugzilla (Johnath) and Firebug (Rob). The response to these has been phenomenal, so I’ve been gathering suggestions for other screencasts we could put together to help people learn about our tools, code, culture, community, and so on.

So far, people have suggested the following:

  • Lifecycle of a Bug – introduction to the stages involved in fixing a bug from start to end
  • Building Firefox – introduction to getting the Firefox source code and compiling it, while going over the basics of hg
  • Test Frameworks – introduction to the different test frameworks we use, and how to write a basic test in each of them
  • Drinking from the Firehose – how to stay on top of the news, difference between “stream of development and ideas” and “announcments”, how to understand things like what the next milestone is
  • Bugzilla for Developers: Getting your patch into the product – how to nom for review; how to determine if you need to nom for approval, blocking, etc.; writing tests; checkin wrangling; watching the tree.
  • Gaining Traction – how to publish that wicked cool idea you have; how to rally people around it to see if there’s interest; moving from idea to implementation
  • How to navigate the code using MXR/DXR
  • How to use and contribute to MDC
  • Writing your first automated test
  • How to do your own screencasts/videos
  • Mozilla Developer Tools & Workflow
  • How to optimize edit/compile/test loops
  • Presentation tips & tricks

What other screencasts or video introductions do you think would be useful for learning Mozilla and getting involved with the project and community?

Video Camera icon from IconArchive

Lemony vinaigrette & fennel/celery salad

Cooking, Food, Meatless, Recipes Comments Off

Whipped this up last night for a fennel & celery salad (pretty much my favourite salad).

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced or grated (a microplane grater is a wonder here)
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest (see above re: microplane grater)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp honey (or brown sugar, mirin, etc…something sweet)
  • Dash salt

Directions are simple: put everything into a bowl, bottle, or jar and whisk or shake to combine.

The fennel & celery salad is insanely simple:

  • 2 bulbs of fresh fennel (aka: anise), sliced as thinly as you can manage
  • Roughly the same amount of thinly sliced celery
  • An ounce or so of parmagiana cheese strips (make these by using a vegetable peeler on a hunk of the cheese — long, thin strips)

Toss these with the vinaigrette. Ta dah.

Ricotta polenta

Cooking, Food, Meatless, Recipes No Comments

Straightforward polenta with a bit of added cheese. This is not a low fat recipe, by any stretch of the imagination.

Ingredients

  • 4 c chicken stock or water
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1 c polenta (corn meal)
  • 1/2 c ricotta cheese
  • 2 oz shredded parmagiana cheese
  • 3 tbsp butter

Directions

  1. Bring chicken stock to a low boil in a medium sauce pan.
  2. When boiling, whisk in the polenta, pouring it into the stock a little at a time and whisking well — do this slowly to avoid lumps. Note: it will thicken quickly…do not be alarmed.
  3. Once the polenta is all stirred into the chicken stock, turn down to low (pretty much as low as your burner will go), and cover. Whisk vigorously every 10 mins.
  4. After 20 mins, whisk in the milk. Continue to cook on low, stirring every 10 mins for another 20 mins.
  5. At this point, grab a spoon and taste the polenta. Depending on how coarsely ground your cornmeal is, it could be done now, or you might need to keep cooking it. If it’s grainy, keep cooking. It should be soft and creamy.
  6. Stir in the ricotta cheese, then, once that’s well blended, stir in the parmagiana cheese. After that’s all incorporated, stir in the butter.
  7. That’s it. Fantastic as a bed for braised meat, sliced steak, mushroom ragu, etc etc etc. Keeps well, and solidifies (like jello!) when cool so it can be sliced and fried or grilled. Yum!

Insanely yummy short rib recipe

Cooking, Food, Recipes No Comments

It’s not mine, I just made it exactly according to the recipe which lives over here on Robert Love’s website: Okinawan-style braised beef short ribs. Seriously, I wouldn’t change a thing. Eat them.

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