Monthly Archives: June 2009

Nothing to see here, please move along

I regard myself as geeky enough that I should be able to solve computer problems myself, or at least with the help of some self-service online searching. However, there are times when I simply can’t figure it out. I don’t know if I’m slowly getting dumber as I’m getting older, or if I’m just getting used to the ever-improving user experience in modern software (after all, I spend about 80% of my time in front of the computer using Firefox). Or maybe certain software is just particularly unhelpful?

Whatever the reason, I obviously care a lot about user support, and use all the opportunities I can get to explore how other products/projects handle support. Also, I’m genuinely interested in user experience design, so I thought I should share this combined support/UX problem, not just as a self-centered way to ask for support, but because the subject genuinely interests me.

My morning greeting from Colloquy the last 12 months or so.

The problem I have is with the IRC client for Mac called Colloquy. Every time I start the program, it pops up a notification saying “You have 1 new memo.” Clicking on this notification does nothing (other than closing the notification itself) and I have searched through all menu items trying to find a place where I can actually read this memo. So far I have failed, and today I thought I should do some searching to find the answer online.

I started by searching in the Help menu and selected Colloquy Help, which took me to their Wiki documentation site. A search for “memo” there mostly resulted in articles about memory leaks, so I performed both generic and specific searches on Google instead.

A search for “reading memos colloquy mac” finally revealed the solution: the notification about 1 new memo is actually coming from the message server of irc.mozilla.org, not from Colloquy itself! After some experiments, I finally figured our how to read it.

To read my memo, I had to type, in irc.mozilla.org:

    /msg memoserv read 1

And to remove it, I had to type:

    /msg memoserv del 1

The conclusion? IRC is not for mainstream users.

Sorry for wasting your time by stating the obvious like this!

5th International Conference on Open Source Systems

Last week, Patrick, William and I drove down to Skövde for the Open Source Systems 2009 conference and OSCOMM 2009 (the “First International Workshop on Building Sustainable Open Source Communities”). From Eskilstuna, Skövde is a three-hour drive best accompanied with the deep base acoustics of a Citroën playing James Brown, The Beatles, random hip hop, and any other classics you can find in Patrick’s freestyle music collection.

OSS 2009 in SkövdeOSS 2009 was a very interesting conference with two engaging keynotes by Stormy Peters and Brian Behlendorf. Aside from these keynotes, the focus of the conference was on analyzing community dynamics and applying models to explain observations. I sometimes felt that there was too much focus on academics (e.g. making a presentation look smarter by using complicated terms, graphs, and models) and too little emphasis on actually presenting a concrete insight or conclusion. As a result, I definitely enjoyed the ten minutes of open questions at the end of each presentation more than the presentations themselves.

The OSCOMM 2009 workshop last Saturday was a lot more hands-on, where we had very interesting discussions about building and sustaining communities. Patrick wrote a more in-depth summary of the event.

Pictures from OSS/OSCOMM 2009 are tagged with oss2009.

Recipe for keynote success

  1. Gain the trust of your audience by keeping one hand in your pocket while presenting.
  2. Inspire the audience by making sure your slides are mostly text-only.
  3. Avoid spell checking your slides to make sure embarrassing typos like “probietary” are kept in the slides. But don’t stop there; throw in a few totally incomprehensible typos as well, such as “probierory procuct”.
  4. Insert a picture of random smiling business corporate looking ladies. Everyone knows how powerful this is in presentations — even more so than ClipArt.
  5. Put the picture in front of the text to ensure that some of the text ends up behind the picture.
  6. Have a slide bravely titled “The Essence of Open Source” listing nothing but a few random notes about what some people think, and a reference to the company you’re a CEO of. See also #3 above.
  7. Make a bold scientific claim with no evidence whatsoever, and end it with “Can this be really true – effect.”
  8. Prove the validity of your theories by claiming that you “realized this a few days ago… or maybe a couple of weeks ago when I was discussing with a venture capitalist.”

That’s it! Just follow these simple steps and you will blow your audience away.

Mozilla Sweden Meetup — det BLEV kul!

After arriving safely in Skövde for The 5th International Conference on Open Source Systems (more on that later), I finally had some time to reflect on the Swedish Mozilla Meetup event in Stockholm last Tuesday, which was a fantastic opportunity to meet with enthusiastic Swedish Mozilla community members and others that were still just curious about our project and what we do to help promote the open web.

Tomcat's QA presentation There were four presentations during the event, where I was one of the presenters. I talked about community-powered support and SUMO, including the unique challenges Mozilla has with user support of a very popular open source product, and the importance of localization.

The artist currently known as Tomcat gave a presentation about Mozilla QA and the many opportunities that exist for people to participate. One of our Swedish community members — incidentally also a Bruce Willis cloneRobert Nyman walked us through the process of creating an extension for Firefox that replaced all headings on web pages with the titles of the popular Die Hard movies. Finally, Mozilla’s European community marketing star William increased everyone’s excitement of the imminent launch of Firefox 3.5 by demonstrating various ways we can all help with community marketing to further promote Firefox, open standards, Mozilla, and our mission. Interestingly, some people in the audience didn’t even know that Mozilla had a marketing team in the first place!

The slides of all presentations can be found on the meetup wiki page. I rarely put a lot of text on my slides anymore and instead use images and illustrations as a compliment to the actual “verbal delivery” of the presentation, so my deck may or may not be very useful in itself.

A big, big thanks goes to our favorite Liverpool native and Eskilstuna resident Patrick Finch for organizing this first Mozilla Sweden meetup event. Although I offered to work with him on it from the very beginning, being the hard-working, independent, and professional person that he is, he just took the project and ran with it — and as usual, it turned out incredibly well.

Photos from the event can be found on Flickr under the stomozcom tag.

Bli en del av Mozilla Sverige!

Är du intresserad av Mozilla och planerar att bli (eller kanske redan är!) mer involverad i Mozillas community? Kom till Stockholm imorgon kväll, tisdagen den 2 juni kl 18:00 och träffa några av oss för att lära dig mer! Eventet är fritt för alla, men vi har dock en gräns på 50 personer som kan komma.

Vi hoppas att vi kan lära oss mer av hur den svenska Mozilla-communityn ser ut idag och vad vi kan göra för att få den att växa. Jag kommer att hålla en kort presentation om projektet jag ansvarar för — SUMO, eller support.mozilla.com, eller Firefox Support om du så vill. Det finns massor av sätt att bli involverad i SUMO-projektet så om du är intresserad av det ska du definitivt komma!

Från min kära vän och väldigt lokala Eskilstunakollega Patricks blog:

I am very excited to announce that we will hold a Mozilla get-together on the evening of June 2nd, starting at 6pm at the delightful offices of bwin games in Stockholm.  You can register here.

We will be at the offices of bwin games, Klarabergsviadukten 82, Stockholm.