August 9, 2013
Toxic Freakout

I like this make that Kat showed me from Webmaker

August 5, 2013
Layla’s 50mm eye

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.








Would I have noticed that this is beautiful?




His hair is the colour of the leaf

An encounter with a friendly stranger



I added the flickr set to Popcorn Maker

April 22, 2013

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 Bassel, we hope you are ok.


1:22am  |   URL:
(View comments  
Filed under: drumbeat 
April 21, 2013
Webmaker update

Our team has started a tumblr for sharing progress on the revamp of - follow us. Meanwhile, here’s a quick glimpse of what we’re up to:

April 21, 2013

I believe a startup should feel like this.


I believe a startup should feel like this.

(via lilly)

April 5, 2013
Louis C.K.: “It was a horrible process to get to this.”


Does it matter that what you’ve achieved, with your online special and your tour can’t be replicated by other performers who don’t have the visibility or fan base that you do?

Why do you think those people don’t have the same resources that I have, the same visibility or relationship? What’s different between me and them?

You have the platform. You have the level of recognition.

So why do I have the platform and the recognition?

At this point you’ve put in the time.

There you go. There’s no way around that. There’s people that say: “It’s not fair. You have all that stuff.” I wasn’t born with it. It was a horrible process to get to this. It took me my whole life. If you’re new at this — and by “new at it,” I mean 15 years in, or even 20 — you’re just starting to get traction. Young musicians believe they should be able to throw a band together and be famous, and anything that’s in their way is unfair and evil. What are you, in your 20s, you picked up a guitar? Give it a minute.

cf. Steve Albini lays it out for a failed X-Factor contestant

March 28, 2013

January 22, 2013
Webmaker 2013 Roadmap 0.1

Background: Webmaker as a community of craft

There’s been broad consensus in the Webmaker community that building a community of practice and enabling users to share their work is an important part of the Webmaker formula. So in 2013, will evolve to be a place where users are watching, remixing, and creating their own piece of the web - acquiring web literacies, including media production, HTML, and analytic skills as they go.

The Mozilla Web Literacies

Leading with making

We’ll build an information architecture and user experience that creates opportunities for our users to make something from the moment they arrive on our site. We want it to be immediately clear that this is a place to “get your hands dirty”. Part of how we’ll get there is by featuring great content made with our tools.

On Webmaker, you’ll be able to watch an artful presentation similar toNPR’s 2012 Musicians in Memorium, and then make your own. You’ll be able to string your favourite YouTube videos together in your own “Top 10 list”, and then have your friends leave media production tips on your work. You’ll be able to make audiovisual memes and mashups on your phone. And you’ll earn digital literacy badges to represent the skills you’ve picked up along the way. All of this will be presented as a consistent, unified, and seamless Webmaker experience.

To get here requires an evolution of how we think of “tools” and “projects”, as well as our product design process.

On the tools side, we will begin to merge our web apps together. We want users to have a “Webmaker” experience, rather than separate Thimble, Popcorn, and OpenBadger modalities. These code bases and projects won’t go away - will simply become a “client” of the great foundational open source projects we’ve created over the past 2 years. The recent demo of Webmaker X (see screencast below, and Doug Belshaw’s excited blog post here, as well as Lyre’s breakdown on how MarkupAPIs could be a game changer here.)

On the projects side, we need to focus all of our activities towards building a community of craft. An essential aspect of getting there is a robust way to showcase the work of these communities. Building galleries of user’s work and robust user profiles/portfolios will be a key priority in Q1. We’ll need more nuance around what we consider a “project”. As a baseline, a project is a templated piece of content that invites you to contribute, reshape and remix/hack it. A video that needs an extra shot from you, a media rich web page whose meaning is changed when you hack the source code. Iterating on the FORM of these projects is a critical next step for Webmaker.

One of the ways we’ll do this is by leaning on our excellent partnership development team. Engagements with the Born This Way Foundation, explorations into the Mars Explorer mission, comedy hack days, and Cloud Filmmaking experiments are already underway. Our partnership process will start with editorial strategy and content. Our criteria will be: “what is magnetic, and will draw people in? What would be fun or satisfying to watch, remix or make in Webmaker?” We’ll let these efforts be part of an agile development process that can have a direct influence on the development of our platform.

We’ll also build the capacity for anyone to build projects - ensuring that we aren’t a bottleneck to the infectious energy of the Webmaker community will be something we bake into our work on user galleries in Q1. The entire Webmaker effort is built from “innovation at the edges” - Hackasaurus, WebMadeMovies/Popcorn, Open Badges, MoJo/OpenNews - these are all community inspired efforts that have not only had influence on our product: they’ve built it’s foundation. The Community Learning group will make sure this happens as often in 2013 as it’s happened over the last several years.

Mozilla staff will also work to innovate projects and content-types - David Ascher is leading an initiative to reboot Mozilla Labs, and within that structure we hope to see forays into games and other types of content that will eventually feed back into Webmaker. I’m also looking forward to having staff team members who can quickly make things with our tools to test out theories, engage new audiences and keep the site fresh.

Finally, it’s clear that we also need projects that address very specific parts of our Web Literacies framework. Our information architecture shouldn’t put these into a “learning ghetto”, setting them aside from interest lead projects, but we ought to be clear to our users that there is a pathway to learning specific skills. We’ll continue to build on the good work that’s been started in this area already - many of the projects currently found on fall nicely into this category of project, and we’ll keep iterating, testing and improving how we teach these skills.

Webmaker roadmap 0.1

Attached are public links to the Webmaker roadmap. As you’ll see, we want to phase these improvements in over time in an agile fashion. We want to make sure we’re still seeing gradual improvement to our existing platform, while setting a goal of transitioning to these proposed changes at the end of Q2 2013.

View as slideshow

This slideshow explore:
  • Our current challenges, and the solutions to these challenges
  • Some proposed designs to address these challenges
  • A detailed look at 5 releases of the Webmaker platform in the first 2 quarters of 2013

View the roadmap as spreadsheet

10:31am  |   URL:
(View comments  
Filed under: drumbeat 
January 14, 2013
New Webmaker Prototypes

For our first week back to work, a small group of MoFos met for a few days of offsite. Knowing that 2013 is going to be a year of enabling creativity, we thought it would be suitable to meet at the Art Bar of the Gladstone hotel. Our goal was to create several prototypes of new functionality in Webmaker that would help users create new types of content. Here are the demos. note: hit the full screen button if you need to look at text.

WebmakerX (Bobby, Atul)

Live branch:

what is it?

  • Combines Thimble and Popcorn Maker interfaces

what it means for us technically:

  • Implements Popcorn.js as Data attributes within HTML elements
  • exposing popcorn functionality through markup (instappopin) and providing a GUI layer
  • Markup API is declarative so its very “human readable”
  • X- tags (mark up api) are a vision for allowing javascript hackers to create widgets or functionality that people who are not experts can leverage.
  • Popcorn projects are published in thimble, its an elegant combination of our code bases

what it means for the user:

  • You can see popcorn code while you author
  • We can merge the experience of creating the layout and HTML with authoring the timeline
  • You can control your entire media production process from start to finish, using either code or a GUI
  • If you’re a JavaScript developer and want to write your own Markup API (like Twitter Bootstrap), we can import this as a “widget” - its a new vector for community contribution, eg you can drop the timeline or the color picker into other tools
  • You can learn to code while making cool, time based media
For some background reading on this prototype, check out Atul’s post "Building Bridges between GUIs and code with Markup Apis", as well as Lyre Calliope’s "Web Components and Mozilla Webmaker"

Chapter Markers for Slide Shows (Pomax)

live branch:
Slideshow that was produced: (note: navigate using the arrows on the side of the embed)

what is it?:

  • Popcorn plugins that let users set time markers (think “chapters”) and then navigate to the previous/next mark or an arbitrary mark based on its name

what it means for the user:

  • ability to create cool slide shows
  • website- type “pages” or sections
  • educational/instructional videos with “skip to …” functionality
  • scrubbing “markers”
  • create media that isn’t just “play through”, but rather interactive narratives, ie choose your own adventure, hackable comics, visual novel„ non-linear story telling etc.
  • in the future you might be able to do key framing, and create tweens between marks

what it means for us technically:

  • it points the way to Popcorn Maker being a method of accepting code snippets of functionality as “triggers”, rather than just “time events”
  • In the “WebmakerX” universe, we could imagine many of these types of functionality extensions that we create, and that are also created by a community
  • Even the timeline is now a maleable asset, rather than a fixed constant, allowing for customised (non-sequential) playback timelines by triggering a currentTime change

Popcorn Maker video editing (Scott Downe)

live branch

what is it?:

  • Ability to slice together youtube, html5 and soundcloud media into one seamless playback (audio, video, visuals, text and code snippets)
  • Ability to set the time of a sequence, rather than have a “media conductor”

what it means for the user:

  • you can edit together bits of video from around the web, and combine them with all of the other popcorn goodies
  • You can make awesome videos on the web without having to download/compress/re-upload etc - we MASSIVELY speed up the web video production process
  • greater level of remixability
  • ability to create “mash ups”
  • videos as samples (Kutiman )
  • ability to create simple “narrated” experiences - ie take a video and put a voiceover on top
  • editing becomes as easy as cut and paste
  • potential for a user to pull in all of the attribution data with the content
what it means for us technically:
  • when we land this, we move away from Popcorn Maker being controlled by a central video, and instead have a user-defined timeline

In-tool youtube upload (Jbuck)

live branch

what is it?:

  • Directly upload video from your camera to youtube

what it means for the user:

  • user can make video record from their webcam to use as content for Webmaking
  • frictionless - rather than recording locally and uploading, or recording at youtube and copy/pasting URL, you can do it all from within Popcorn Maker

what it means for us technically:

  • We’ll want to start thinking of the “media” tab on Popcorn Maker as a place for multipe sources of media - this is where our “save for later” media should begin to appear
  • capability to add content directly to the “media tab” / “gallery” / “save for later”

Save for Later (Jess, Blake, Ian)

what is it?:

  • A clipping add-on that allows you to take image, text, video or html content from around the web, pull that into a gallery and then use it as remixable content for your Webmaker projects

what it means for the user:

  • as you browse the web, you can bookmark/pin/clip media and images that you like in order to remix them later
  • you can essentially use their “bookmarks” from within the browser as remixing content
  • you can pull in content from other services like “gimme bar” or potentially pinterest or git gists directly into your webmaker “gallery” or asset library
  • think about if built into Firefox, this could be a seemless experience directly associated with your Persona identity

what it means for us technically:

  • It shows how we could incorporate Firefox and Webmaker

5:24pm  |   URL:
(View comments  
Filed under: drumbeat 
January 2, 2013


Walter Murch: The ‘Rule of Six’ in Film Editing.

(Source: cinephilearchive, via mirmilla)

Liked posts on Tumblr: More liked posts »