MozFest!

You can see the original article in the New York Times at http://open.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/14/mozfest/

 

November 14, 2011, 11:53 am

MozFest!


The Mozilla Foundation supports Mozilla, the organization behind the Firefox Web browser and Thunderbird e-mail client. During the first weekend in November, with help from Intel and the Knight Foundation, the Mozilla Foundation also threw its support behind a super Open Source hacking festival — a MozFest — at Ravensbourne College, across the street from the O2 arena in London.

Developer David Erwin and newsroom technologist Aron Pilhofer crossed the Atlantic to represent The New York Times. Neither went to the first-ever 2010 Mozilla Festival in Barcelona, but that one focused on education. This year the emphasis was on journalism, specifically “Media, Freedom and the Web.”

Work centered on how technologists and newspeople can build bridges between the two professions and better collaborate. And it was work, in keeping with the meeting’s slogan, “Less yak, more hack.”

The common thread between education and journalism for Mozilla Foundation is the personal empowerment they lead to, Erwin learned from its chairman, Mitchell Baker. That empowerment, according to Mitchell, is what starts people down the path to hacking, away from simply absorbing the contents of the Web, and toward mashing it up and taking control of their own experience.

One new technology launched and then workshopped at MozFest was Popcorn.js, a library of video augmentation tools that makes it straightforward to overlay content layers per the time signatures in digital video. The Popcorn.js workshop developers took little more five minutes to produce their Web version of popup videos.

Media production was indeed the focus of many attendees’ efforts, and MozFest produced ample work that can be seen at YouTube (link) and Flickr (link).

Erwin and Pilhofer both contributed to the effort to build a complete “The Data Journalism Handbook.” The goal was to, in just two days, document everything budding data-literate news writers can, and many times should, do with whatever mass of rows and columns they have in front of them. The timeline is ambitious, and the resource that’s getting built stands to be enormously valuable.

Another Mozilla project, Open Badges, is in the same empowering spirit. With them, Web experience designers give users (in most cases, learners) something to recognize advancement and achievement, and have that recognition remain attached across social media platforms.

We’re looking forward to having Open Badges lead director Brian Brennan participate in the TimesOpen Hack Day, taking place all day and into the night on Saturday, December 3. (Complete details coming soon.)