At the just-completed Mozilla Summit, Webmaker folks demo’d a nice upcoming feature - using TogetherJS from Mozilla Labs in Thimble to allow collaborative learning.
The past summer was huge for Webmaker: our newly redesigned site began to operate as a central hub for all our tools; the integrity of our site was tested at 1600 separate events around the world; 30,000 users signed up and we quickly learned where our weak spots lay. And then John Cusack told a million people to break the web with us
Priceless: Young Terry Gilliam teaches you how to make his unique cut-out stop-motion animations in this 1974 TV segment. Complement with Hans Ulrich Obrist’s fantastic compendium of famous artists’ instructionals.
On August 12th, the webmaker.org product team joined folks from the communications and mentor teams of the Mozilla foundation for 4 solid days of building. The framing of the week was a follow through on our current development sprint - David Humphrey outlined our goals in his “Nine Weeks” blog…
I like this make that Kat showed me from Webmaker
This weekend my family and I went for a walk and my daughter Layla asked to take our DSLR camera. It’s a Canon with a 3/4” CCD, so the 50mm lens we had on it actually shoots more like a 70mm lens. For the non-photographers out there, this means that everything is a bit more zoomed in than normal, and the focus is very selective. She wanted to take pictures, and I was skeptical whether she’d be able to work with a long lens - it meant that you couldn’t be too close, and normally with portraiture lenses you have to put some thought into composing images. Layla is 4 1/2.
I love the photos she took. The shallow depth of field and focal length make it immediately obvious what caught her attention - the lines of a twig, the colour of a leaf, the light catching on a fern.
I added the flickr set to Popcorn Maker
My daughter turned 4 a few months ago. We were musing over how to ask family not to give too much: we’re uncomfortable when she receives a lot of gifts. We don’t want to be ungrateful, so we experimented with asking people to give her $4. We’d then talk with her about saving a 1/3 of the money, spending 1/3, and donating a 1/3 to a charity.
Tonight we discussed what she’d like to do with the 1/3 she’d give to charity. We’d discussed inequality before - and she said she’d like to give the money to kids who needed it. We talked about places in the world at war, and how the kids in those countries suffered. We talked about Syria. And I thought of Bassel.
Bassel Khartabil is a contributor to open source projects. He is a developer. He’s a tinkerer. He’s help build two projects that have had a profound impact on my life: Creative Commons and Mozilla. And for over a year, he has been detained in a Syrian prison - arrested by the government in a mass roundup in Damascus.
Bassel had arranged a screening of my documentary, Rip, in a Damascus hackerspace. We’d exchanged a few emails. I had a chance to meet him in 2011 in Seoul at a Creative Commons gathering, and was very impressed by him. Humble, generous, intelligent. We discussed a potential collaboration - we chatted and explored Seoul. I snapped this picture of him. I had forgotten about this picture and found it on my computer in a backup of cell phone pics.
Bassel’s curiosity is the same as mine and my colleagues at Mozilla. He has a family. I am grateful to him, and upset that he remains in prison for being a hacker and an independent thinker. I feel for his friends and family, and hope that the web he helped build can help in its way to dismantle regimes such as Assad’s.
Layla donated a third of her birthday money to children in Syria with savethechildren.com. Bassel, we hope you are ok.
Our team has started a tumblr for sharing progress on the revamp of webmaker.org - follow us. Meanwhile, here’s a quick glimpse of what we’re up to:
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