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 :)

How I surf the firehose (a meme!)

Internet, Meme, Mozilla, Work 1 Comment

Rob tagged me in an interesting — and very Mozilla-centric — meme, asking that I answer a handful of questions about how I deal with the massive amount of information generated by the Mozilla project, staying on top of it and staying sane. These are my answers (work-related reading only — non-work stuff is off-topic, I think). I tag 4 more folks at the bottom!

1. What is your reading schedule? Do you have a schedule?

When I first get up in the morning, I start reading through email while the coffee brews. Once I get a coffee, I finish email (flagging stuff for later response, not responding as I go), then move on to read Twitter scrollback (rarely all of it), then forums, then finally moving on to feeds.

Feeds are the bulk of incoming stuff, and I have them cordoned off into folders that are ordered by general relevance. High priority stuff (work-related, generally, and friends/smart people) I check in on several times a day, Mid priority stuff is once a day or once every couple of days, and Low priority is once/wk at best. Low priority stuff often gets dumped unread when I declare a “Mark All Read” day :)

I don’t have a formal schedule — I’m online more or less all day, every day (except for the gym and the pub) and I just dive in and out of various communications streams randomly.

2. What do you read daily, and how often?

  • Email: many times/day, usually flipping to that tab once or twice per hour.
  • IRC: Constantly. I realized the other day that except for vacations and whatnot, I’ve been on IRC more or less every day since sometime in 1993. And I’m OK with that. IRC is like Twitter — profoundly simple, and so much more than the sum of its parts.
  • Twitter: I am utterly fascinated by Twitter and I love it and I’m not sure why. Its immediacy and continual flow creates a sense of connectedness that strikes me as somewhat magical. I’ve been feeling these wires for a long time, and Twitter is something brand new that feels oldskool and important. The ambient awareness it enables is quite something. Very interested to see what develops there. Anyhow, I’m on Twitter all the damned time. Even out and about (but not at the gym).
  • IM: When they come in. IM is real time, and I wish people used it more. It’s basically private IRC.
  • Planet Mozilla + other Mozilla-related feeds: 4-5 times/day. I flag items for inclusion in the weekly about:mozilla newsletter throughout the week as I do this, compiling the final selection and writing it up every Monday.
  • “Friends”, “People”, “Smart”, and “Work stuff” folders: once or twice/day. “Friends” stuff I generally read then and there (and has a pretty deep overlap between ‘work’ and ‘non-work’), but other stuff I’ll flag for later reading in bulk. (“People” and “Smart” is stuff that isn’t directly work related, but that is peripherally so; “Work stuff” is non-Mozilla stuff that is relevant to my specific job.)
  • “Fun” folder: I’ll flip through my “Fun” folder if I have 5 mins to kill or need a break. It’s full of internet awesomeness like Cute Overload, I Can Has Cheeseburger, Overheard in NY, Passive-aggressive notes, etc. Pretty much guaranteed to make me laugh at least a few times/day, which is more valuable than gold.

3. What do you read more than once / week? How often?

  • Stuff I’ve flagged for later reading when skimming through feeds.
  • “Tech”, “Tech blogs”, “Web”, and “News” folders. There is way too damned much traffic in these to try to stay on top of them daily, but I usually skim through them a couple of times/wk. I skim pretty brutally, tho, and probably flag maybe 1 or 2 posts for every 50-100 that come in.

4. What blogs, feeds, and newsgroups do you read?
Blogs + feeds + newsgroups are all basically feeds for me, and I’m currently subscribed to over 200. My “Mozilla” folder contains:

Yes, I know it contains duplicates, I do that on purpose.

5. Lastly, name a guilty pleasure in your feedreader.
Confessions of a Pioneer Woman. She’s insanely awesome.

Bonus question: What do you use to read feeds?
Google reader, although I’d kill for something that would help me organize things better and deal gracefully with significantly more volume. I have to keep my feeds down to around 200, which is really a pain in the butt, since I’d like to follow hundreds (thousands?) more.

Taggees!

Seven things you probably already know about me…

Meme, Ramblings, Work 3 Comments

I got tagged by robcee, so here goes…

The Rules

  • Link to your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post. (see above)
  • Share seven facts about yourself in the post. (see below)
  • Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs. (see below)
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged. (you’ll just have to trust me)

The Seven Things

1) I figure skated for many years as a kid and was pretty good at it. I quit when I was 17.

2) I haven’t driven since sometime in 1994. Until this year I just never lived somewhere where I needed a car. My license has since expired, so right now I find myself in the interesting position of owning a vehicle (a second-hand van I got for a song) but not being able to drive it.

van

3) I used to collect comic books. I still have two decent-sized boxes, most of which are old X-Men and related mutie titles. I am an annoying person to watch the X-Men movies with.

wolverine

4) I didn’t get interested in food until around 2001 and didn’t really start cooking at all until 2002-2003. In 2001 I was living in Montreal, and it was there that I discovered that food can be f&*%ing incredible. The combination of cheap rent, high salary, and a city full of insanely awesome restaurants expanded my epicurean horizons by several orders of magnitude. Until then I’d largely lived on ramen, kraft dinner, and boiled potatoes with butter. I am not joking.

potato

5) I was addicted to the Asheron’s Call MMORPG (an early precursor of World of Warcraft), and played it with obsessive-compulsive fervour for two years. Funnily enough, the game is still going, having recently celebrated their 100th monthly update. I hope they leave it going forever, if only so I never have to completely say goodbye to Dereth. Holtburg, represent.

dereth

6) I was a total goth in highschool (more of an early precursor to goth since goth wasn’t goth then). There is no photographic evidence of this that I am aware of, and I would like it to stay that way.

goth

7) I really love camping, but never get a chance to go any more. I’ve even gone winter camping, which is crazy fun although your feet are basically wet the whole time.

camping1

camping2

Seven People

  • Shaver – Because he introduced me to Asheron’s Call.
  • Lilly – Because he’s fun.
  • Melissa – Because she’s awesome.
  • Mary – Because she’s also awesome.
  • Zab – Because he’s Zab.
  • Peter Rukvina – To get this meme over to PEI.
  • Nicholas McDowell – Because I’ve known him since something stupid like 1994 but haven’t actually met him yet. Yay internet.
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