MozCamp India Beta 2014 was my first ever MozCamp and it was indeed a phenomenal one ! I learned a lot and made lots of new friends in those 3 days at MozCamp. From the Appmaker Session at the start to the Wrap Up at the end – all the session were truly captivating, inspiring and informative !
This MozCamp was primarily a “Train the Trainer” Event, it was a hypothesis put to test and I believe, was very much successful in its objective. The event format of MozCamp is evolving and so feedback from the attendees was stressed on, to make it even better the next time. The main focus of this MozCamp was to train and prepare the core contributors, to be able to effectively spread Mozilla’s mission for the forthcoming Firefox OS Launch in India.
Me with Prof. Kailas, tinkering with the Appmaker [Pic. Courtesy: Vineel]
The Appmaker Session was presented by Amira and Bobby. The session started with a fun stretching exercise guided by Amira, followed by a quick intro of everyone along with mention of their favorite app. It was followed by a game of Spectrogram with questions related to usage of apps.
The session was primarily aimed at introducing the Appmaker and highlighting its impact on the Firefox OS Apps Ecosystem. We were given time to tinker with the Appmaker, its Bricks and were encouraged to ask lots of questions. Brainstorming about the Appmaker was fun and had the corner wall covered entirely with Post Its’. I and Prof. Kailas designed an Action Plan for a Appmaker event targeted primarily for students of engineering colleges. At the end of the session, I found myself very much comfortable with using Appmaker and raring to have an Appmaker Event.
Me at the Registration Desk [Pic. Courtesy: Ratnadeep Debnath]
In the evening, I had taken up the task of helping at the Registration Desk before dinner. Attendees who had their flights later in the day came to register and collect the awesome MozCamp Swag. After the Registrations, we all had the awesomely delicious dinner and retired to our rooms calling it a day !
Morning Walk at Cubbon Park [Pic. Courtesy: Holly Habstritt Gaal]
I was among the few 7-8 early riser Mozillians, who turned up for the morning walk, while others preferred their beds. We strolled through the Cubbon Park across the street, taking in the greenery, enjoying the occasional fresh morning breeze. It was a great start to the day to be walking through the lush green park, clicking pics and chatting amongst ourselves.
The second day officially started with the Mozilla Story Telling session by Mary Ellen Muckerman. Effectively conveying your Mozilla Story was the prime focus. It was followed by a talk by Gen Kanai and Jane Hsu on Firefox OS on Phones. The forthcoming launch of Firefox OS on Intex and Spice Phones in India was the crux of the talk. This talk also made me aware about the Firefox OS Tarako that powers a 128MB RAM low-end phone, enabling it to run heavy apps like Facebook and Youtube smoothly without any glitches.
Then there was the Community Building session. This session was pure infotainment – information perfectly muxed with entertainment ! The Learn and Teach Exercise was my favourite. I taught Tanay the steps for getting started with Bug Fixing for Firefox and learned about SQL Injection and its Prevention from him in return. Then there was Pankaj who taught me about the Automated Testing Frameworks and their need in Development and in return I taught him 2 sentences(to say his name and ask others their name) in Telugu.(He had mentioned that he had been in Hyderabad for sometime, but didn’t know Telugu). That was fun. The session also included short talks on MozCafe, MDN, MakerParty, FirefoxOS App Days and Geolocation.
MozCamp India Group Photo
Then there was the Group Photo by the poolside, which was fun too. We all had to jump with our hands in the air for 3-4 times to get the perfect click, which left us all a bit tired, but then there was the lunch break to regain our energies. The User Engagement Session happened post lunch. Brian King talked about the forthcoming Firefox OS launch in India and the various techniques to support the launch.
At dinner, we had a fruitful discussion on ways to promote open-source in the student community in India. The discussion left me having a clearer perception of open-source and made me feel proud of myself, for having been associated to Mozilla.
Me and Srikar explaining the MozSquare app [Pic. Courtesy: Ankit Gadgil]
The third day started with Open Sessions, there were Lightning Talks by attendees, which were both inspiring and engaging. I then attended the User Centered Design session by Holly Habstritt Gaal. I always wanted to know the design process that went behind the development of an app, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity to experience it first hand. The UCD session walked us through the process of designing an app right from the user research to the actual designing part.
MozSquare App Design Sketch [Pic. Courtesy: Ankit Gadgil]
I and Srikar designed the “MozSquare”(Didn’t really put much thinking into the name) app. The basic idea behind the app is to connect a new aspiring Mozillian to an experienced Mozillian(depending on the functional area/community/locality). The app would support a Mentor-Mentee model to guide the new aspiring Mozillians in a efficient manner. The app could help one search for a Mozillian based on Functional Area, Community, Locality or based on his/her current location using GPS. Each Mozillian would have his/her own profile on the app with contact details and the list of mentees, he/she would be mentoring.
When I returned from the UCD session to the Grand Ball Room, there was a small group of Mozillians playing a modified version of Kho Kho called Duck Duck Goose. It was fun watching them and so I decided to join in. After having run 2-3 rounds in it, I was tired, and seeing more people join in (meaning a much bigger circle, in turn meaning more running), I quietly slipped in the audience ! :P It was fun and I enjoyed every bit of it !
Then there was the Wrap Up, in which we had a quick recap of MozCamp India Beta 2014’s goals by Mary Ellen Muckerman followed by the Vote of Thanks by Gen Kanai. We were then divided in groups and were individually asked to speak on how we felt about the MozCamp and its impact on our future Mozilla activities. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay back for the Debrief Session, as I had the flight to catch, that would take me back home to Mumbai.
MozCamp India Beta 2014 was a great learning experience for me. I now have a clearer perception of Mozilla’s mission to keep the web in the hands of the people and I believe, I now am better equipped to spread it effectively. Thank You Mozilla for this great learning opportunity, and I must say, I indeed, am very proud to be a Mozillian ! Lets keep rocking the Open Web ! :D