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: Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully GNOME: I am in Zaragoza, Spain for the GNOME marketing hackfest. One thing that came up over dinner: People who have heard about GNOME 3 may have heard about GNOME Shell (a new UI that makes work less interrupt-y) and topic-based help. They might not have heard that the switch from gconf to dconf will significantly reduce applications' and the desktop's response time and OS login time.

Tomorrow the hackfest starts in earnest. Weird hotel mattress sleep, here I come! (It's 2:19am, regardless of NewsBruiser's attempts to make me look like I'm going to bed at a reasonable hour.)

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: GNOME Marketing Hackfest (Zaragoza, Spain), Day One: Yesterday we officially started the GNOME Marketing hackfest, centering on planning the release of GNOME 3.0 on 29 September 2010. Paul Cutler started us off by talking about goals for the week. He wants us to blog about what we're doing, and to take care to recap action items and follow up after this hackfest to execute them well.

Stormy Peters noted that we have a great, diverse set of skillsets in the room. The last hackfest did a lot of groundwork and generated a lot of ideas and action items. This time, we want to get a lot of immediately useful things *made*.

Andreas and Sumana (Then we did introductions.)

Paul recapped the November marketing hackfest, which Jason Clinton and Stormy Peters blogged at the time.

I asked for a reminder of the GNOME mission: accessible, free, localized. We offer free desktop (technology) to everyone. We say "technology" these days because of mobile, cellphones, and so on, but mobile is not really what we'll talk about this week. For instance, the GNOME Shell team isn't targeting mobile handsets as a platform.

So, in that light: GNOME 3. What's in it?

(One issue to address is GNOME panel applets. Everyone Vincent has talked with uses about three applets (out of about 20 available ones), but everyone uses a different set of three. So we need to work with the community to find a way to bridge that experience gap for GNOME 3.0.)

So here are some notes towards our marketing message for GNOME 3:

(As we talked about highlighting GNOME apps, we reminded ourselves of long-term marketing ideas, less for GNOME 3.0 than for future marketing work: a cross-platform App Store that senses your OS and shows you free GNOME apps to download. Another: tie together About boxes on apps to Friends of GNOME. Make it easier for users to realize that they can give back via cash donations. Store what app inspired them to give cash, and feed that app's About box with specific users' names, once donations pass a certain amount.)

In a sense, our list of audiences (in order of priority) is:

  1. current users of GNOME 2.x
  2. GNOME developers
  3. the accessibility community
  4. distributions (such as OpenSUSE, Fedora, Ubuntu, and Mandriva)

And a home for our GNOME 3 marketing message: gnome3.org. This will be a small, product-specific site that goes away (that is, redirects/moves to gnome.org) six months after the GNOME 3 launch (approximately). We're building the sitemap for it this week.

By the way, Paul and Vincent are going to coordinate on the improvement of the gnome.org website; evidently there's a relaunch in the works! Plone is involved somehow.

Stormy and Andreas in ZaragozaStormy then led us through deciding what we'll do this week in the hackfest. HIGHEST priority:


And we roughly scheduled it as follows:

So Tuesday morning we worked on those talking points (soon to come to the wiki) and the launch roadmap (ditto).

After lunch, we finished our rough roadmap, then spoke about some various other topics before diving into website and Ambassador work. Bharat Kapoor suggested that we think about SMS fundraising at conferences, and about corporate sponsorship/involvement with Ambassadors.

As a group, we roughed out some ideas for what GNOME Ambassadors is (materials/collateral that anyone can use to evangelize GNOME) and for the website. One question re: the website: will it be a Plone site? There are some dependencies here regarding the existing website infrastructure and a delayed reboot; Ryan and I will talk about getting a project manager to do the CMS relaunch. In any case, we're going to go forward assuming that it's a Plone site that we can localize, and that the marketing team will own the responsibility for coding it and getting it up.

Then we broke into smaller groups to get more specific on the website and Ambassadors (to get wikified when we have time -- this week, I hope!) and developed some TODOs for the work session on Wednesday.

We also met local representatives who told us about the free software scene in Zaragoza and in Spain overall. We're so grateful to them for their hospitality and support!

(And throughout the day, we captured some other TODOs that we'll do after the hackfest...)

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: GNOME Marketing Hackfest 2010, Day Two: On Wednesday morning, starting around 9:30, we broke into small groups to work intensively on video, GNOME Ambassadors, and the website. For example, Bharat, Vincent, and I started a business card template for GNOME Ambassadors, and Licio, Ryan, Stormy, and Bharat worked on the Ambassador brochures and website.

I had planned on starting some group discussion and knowledge sharing when the momentum lagged in the late morning. But it never did! So our first real break happened when Jose Felix Ontanon and Juan Jesús Ojeda Croissier joined their fellow Seville technologist Lorenzo Gil Sánchez to talk with us about accessibility work in the Andalusia region of Spain.

robot mural in ZaragozaWe did make a lot of progress in the morning: a GNOME 3 website mockup, a marketing brochure template, four video scripts, Ambassador website text, preparations for the 5-minute topic presentations, and other useful discussions and writing/communications.

After a lunch with them and with local officials and community, we heard a presentation from the city regarding their Digital City initiative. Some interesting facts:

I believe another hackfest participant will be linking to that presentation pretty soon. After that, Paul & Stormy met with the Spanish a11y mavens to talk about how GNOME can help the community & municipality get the publicity & feedback they need to make their FLOSS a11y & GNOME initiative a success, and talked with Vincent and the local municipality about similar possibilities. (Whew!) Jason tackled some screen-recording issues. Andreas designed an SMS fundraising card for Bharat's proposed SMS fundraising initiative, and began designing the brochures that Bharat, Vincent, & Ryan continued writing, and Licio is writing GNOME Ambassadors material. I turned the next 2 months of GNOME 3 launch TODOs to http://live.gnome.org/ThreePointZero/MarketingRoadmap and people who want to grab ownership of or ask about a task should pipe up on IRC or the mailing list!

group dinner at BirostaSo our afternoon was pretty full. Even though the hackfest was supposed to end for the day at 7pm, people stuck around till the building closed 90 minutes later! I threw together some plans for tomorrow; we still need to have certain substantive discussions, and to make certain execution plans.

The Zaragoza and Aragon governments kindly picked up our lunch and a dinner at Birosta. The three vegetarians in the hackfest especially enjoyed a meal full of vegetables and free from anxiety.

I again want to thank all the organizations that are sponsoring this event: the Zaragoza Municipality, the Aragon Regional Government, the GNOME Foundation, the Technological Institute of Aragon, ASOLIF and CESLA. Also, the GNOME Foundation covered much of the cost of my travel here. So, thanks!

More reportage tomorrow...

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(1) : GNOME & Conference Planning & Writing: I'm back in New York City. Big priorities this week include:

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: Zaragoza GNOME Marketing Hackfest, Day 3: Sumana next to the crossed-off TODO items from Thursday, photo by Paul CutlerOn Thursday, 6 May, the last day of the hackfest, we got so much done! (See Paul's photo). The "we" here came from three continents: Daniel Baeyens, Stormy Peters, Jason D. Clinton, Vincent Untz, Andreas Nilsson, Paul Cutler, Bharat Kapoor, Licio Fonseca, Ryan Singer and I came from both Americas and Europe for the GNOME Marketing hackfest. I'll quickly recount what we worked on that third day, though I know I'm missing some people and accomplishments.

On Thursday morning, Andreas, Paul, Licio, and Vincent worked on technical ideas for making it easier for people to demonstrate GNOME in live presentations; Paul will be writing more about that. Paul, Stormy, Ryan and I made plans to help GNOME community members learn to more effectively promote GNOME in their other technical communities (a simplification, sorry), and polished the wording of some key talking points for GNOME 3 (usability, accessibility, and apps). Thanks to the #gnome-hackers and #gnome denizens for telling us about apps and components users will love in GNOME 3, like gEdit collaborative text editing! Jason was laser-focused on video-making and giving other GNOME folks the information they need to make GNOME 3 demo videos.

Bharat spoke with me about brochure tactics (for example, every brochure should have a dedicated landing page on the gnome3.org website) and some branding issues (sometimes, multiple possible names are pretty much equally suitable, and the important thing is just to choose one and stick with it). He and I also discussed integrated marketing strategy. After all, marketing is a tool to get products or organizations things that they want -- such as sales, brand awareness, adoption, feedback, etc. -- towards a goal. Because this hackfest was pre-scoped as a GNOME 3 launch planning hackfest, we didn't rehash earlier GNOME discussions about goals. Still, at some point in the future (perhaps as part of the GNOME 3 post-launch review?), it might be nice to do some limited planning exercises to deepen our understanding of our goals and resources.

After lunch, we spoke about how to give Linux distributions the information they need about the innovations in GNOME 3, and the assistance they need to talk with their users about GNOME 3. We clarified and added to the GNOME 3.0 launch marketing schedule (feel free to grab one of those tasks).

panorama shot of the hackfest room by Jason D. Clinton As we wrapped up, we talked about continuing to work with the Zaragoza municipality and free software community; for example, since the area is doing so much work with accessibility, perhaps an a11y hackfest would be great for GNOME and for the local community. And we did a quick post-hackfest review of what we'd liked and what we'd like to improve next time. For example, using Gobby, the wiki, and IRC to document our discussions and work product as we went was good, but it would have been even better to use IRC more throughout (when possible) to let the larger world of GNOME and GNOME marketing know what we were up to, and to get their ideas.

Stormy finished the day by telling us that we'd gotten more done than she'd hoped, and that she was happy that people had stepped up to make things happen (once in a while she got to just sit back and watch!). She especially appreciated the Spanish people, such as Daniel Baeyens, Agustín Benito Bethencourt, and Ignacio Correas, who had taken so much time to work with us and show us the city. And Stormy thanked us for taking time away from work and home to come to Zaragoza.

That night we pub-hopped, and the next day I got on the train back to Madrid and flew back to the States. You'll see some more details pop up over the next week, on blogs or over on the wiki or the mailing list. I still have to write up some details from our notes. But for now I want to thank the hackfest's sponsors:

sponsored-by-gnome-foundation ASOLIF CESLA ZaragozaAyunt GobiernoDeAragonDep

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: Je Suis La Tour Eiffel: Two jokes from the hackfest, both rather picking on Vincent:

  1. Vincent projected from his computer onto the big screen to demonstrate. GNOME windows and apps showed up, appropriately localised into French. "Oh, it's in French, I'm sorry," he said.

    Sumana: "I think that's the first time I've ever heard a Frenchman apologize for something being in French!"

    Ryan: "Yeah. Instead of 'It's French, I'm sorry,' you should have said, 'It's French, you're welcome.'"

  2. We were writing talking points. I wrinkled my nose at the word "functionality" in someone else's draft. "Do users like that word?" I asked. Paul gave it the raspberry.

    Vincent said that the word "functionality" reminds him of a French speaker making up an English word. "In French, it sounds fine! Functionalité."

    Sumana: "Yeah, isn't that your national slogan? Liberté, Egalité, Functionalité."

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(1) : Catabacklog: I am homesick. In other news, I seem to have read several books and not mentioned them here. No longer!

Dear Genius (Nordstrom) coverUrsula Nordstrom's letters (Dear Genius). Blew my mind every twenty pages as I started thinking of childhood classics (Trumpet of the Swan, for example) being made by people. And she was amazing at coaching, criticizing, and cajoling creative people from afar. Transferrable advice for my career.

Deepness (Vinge) coverA Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge. Won hella awards and rightly so. Immersive, cerebral, satisfyingly huge. I love how there's "hard sf" here (the physics of space icebergs) and "soft" stuff like multiple well-realized alien sociologies and characters.

Confessions (Berkun) coverScott Berkun's new public speaking book, Confessions of a Public Speaker. I just skimmed this since right now I think I need to concentrate on executing instead of reading inspiration or tips. Nice wackiness sidling in at odd moments -- who doesn't hate non-classy chandeliers? -- and a few ideas I needed to hear as I prep my Open Source Bridge talk (like exactly how to ask audience members to do some small-group discussion).

Red Carpet (Sankaran) coverThe Red Carpet: Bangalore Stories by Lavanya Sankaran. I picked this up in the Manhattan public library when I was looking for Dorothy Sayers. Most English-language Indian fiction isn't about Bangalore, so this is an ultra-specific YES YES SO RIGHT YES. Sankaran hooked me a few pages in by using the Kannada/English slang "one-thaara," ("a kind/type of") which I'd never seen written down before. The title story is so sweet!

The File (Garton Ash) coverThe File by Timothy Garton Ash. As a grad student, he lived in West and East Germany. After the reunification, he reads his Stasi file, compares it with his own notes and memories, and interviews the Germans who informed on him. Riveting, funny, a quick and rewarding read.

For The Win (Doctorow) coverFor the Win by Cory Doctorow. Along the same lines as Little Brother -- thriller/polemic -- and I liked it about as much, although the ending seemed abrupt. I thought I'd just read the first few pages... and then ended up reading all of For the Win when I meant to be working, although I skimmed the "here is how economics works" bits. The bits set in India sounded fine to my diasporic ear, for what it's worth. Available as a free download, of course.

cover for The Good That Men DoStar Trek: Enterprise: The Good That Men Do, by Andy Mangels & Michael A. Martin. If you know about the stupid and wrong thing that happens in the last episode of Star Trek: Enterprise then you may also know that this is one of the books that retcons it. I liked the plot and the relationships, but the writing was flabby. Funniest example:

In fact, Trip didn't recall, but he made no response, busying himself instead with the various controls that were arrayed before him. As the vessel's numerous interlocking systems continued powering up, Trip continued to study the consoles, hoping against hope that he wouldn't reveal his imposture to Ehrehin by appearing hesitant or bewildered by the flight instruments and indicators. Fortunately, Romulan instrumentation was fairly streamlined and straightforward, lacking an excess of confusing redundancy.

Most satisfying individual sentence in which the authors get in a few digs at the plausibility of the canon story:

Trip felt as though they were being almost too arch with these exchanges, but hoped that upon a close investigation of Enterprise's security logs, no one else would notice just how dunderheaded this entire piracy scenario really was.

Leonard saw the framing device, in which Jake and Nog from Deep Space Nine investigate implausible goings-on in canon, and decided there should be an entire series of such stories: Jake & Nog: CanonCops! Jake & Nog chould investigate "Similitude" from Enterprise and figure out why Phlox really decided to kill that sentient species. Maybe he's Section 31. And the warp 10/salamanders incident from Voyager, the de-evolving from "Genesis" (The Next Generation), and the Genesis Device (films) make no sense separately, but CanonCops! could retcon them into coherence.

While talking about The Good That Men Do, I mentioned to Julia that I should recommend a few Star Trek branded novels. Diane Duane is always a good bet: Doctor's Orders, The Final Reflection, and Spock's World are strong, and Doctor's Orders and Spock's World help me understand McCoy and Spock better. The Kobayashi Maru by Julia Ecklar tells how Kirk, Chekov, Scotty, and Sulu faced impossible tests when they were Starfleet cadets. None quite as memorable as "Lunch and Other Obscenities", but good. A Stitch in Time by Andrew J. Robinson is a deep, deep dive into Garak and Cardassia, written by the actor who portrayed Garak. It hints at Garak's queerness, if I recall correctly. And the anthology Tales of the Dominion War has a few stories I liked, about the fall of Betazed, a Romulan spy on Deep Space Nine, and a neutral race of engineers helping fugitives McCoy and Scotty.

When I was about fourteen, I used to really love Peter David's novels. Imzadi is a classic (and taught me completely legitimate therapeutic technique), Q-in-Law and Q-Squared are gripping and fun and make the canon universe make more sense, and Vendetta has a very creepy last page. But then I grew up and disliked his Arthurian novel and his She-Hulk and Babylon 5: Crusade work -- forced, glib, smarmy. So I can't say whether I recommend the stuff I read as a teen, and am a bit afraid the suck fairy has visited it. Same with Spartacus.

Of other interest: Dark Passions, one of those mirror universe novels that's just an excuse to turn all the Trek women into Hot Bi Babes. Ghost Ship, memorable to me chiefly because Picard decides to spend several hours in a sensory deprivation tank to help him make an important decision. Ultra-strange scene. And I have not yet read Planet X, the Star Trek/X-Men crossover novel, but realistically it's only a matter of time.

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: "Earl Grey" Rhymes With "Morgaine le Fay": I made up a doo-wop song to celebrate Leonard's breakfast generosity. I like to make up songs, but the rhyming dictionary in my head gives me pretty strange rhymes on short notice. Excerpt:

I'll pour your orange juice
Into a goblet
I'll get you orange juice
Into your yob it
(doo-wah, doo-wah, do-do-doo-wah)

Also, yesterday, Leonard was looking for a rhyme for "stop her" and my first suggestion was "Karl Popper."

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(1) : Snort, Chuckle: So I was watching a bunch of DJ Earworm mashups and saw this on my screen:

screenshot of YouTube page

What do you notice there? Perhaps this ad?

We love freedom of choice.  Why we dont support restrictions on creativity and innovation.  www.Adobe.com/Choice/

We love freedom of choice
Why we don't support restrictions on creativity and innovation.
Amusingly, if you actually go to www.Adobe.com/Choice/, you get a Page Not Found. "Choice" is case-sensitive, you see.

As I knew before I clicked, this is a Flash-related Adobe vs. Apple salvo. Sorry, Adobe, I remember Dmitry Sklyarov.

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: *clap clap*: Leonard was pretending to be angry beyond reason. I said, "Wow, looks like you're a savage beast!" and hummed.

"What are you singing?"

"The 90210 theme song."


"Because 'music hath charms to soothe the savage beast.'"

"Not the 90210 theme song."

"...It doesn't say which music."

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(1) : Bricks: Astoria, NY current conditions for 8:23 am, May 26 2010: Temperature: 72.3°F | Humidity: 72% | Pressure: 30.32in ( Falling) | Conditions: Clear | Wind Direction: West | Wind Speed: 0.0mph

Leonard and I are moving to a new apartment here in Astoria. It's larger and cheaper than our current place. With the help of Pat, Mirabai, Lucian, and Hal, we've given away a bit of furniture and moved most of our fragiles and personal items to the new place. Today we finish that, and tomorrow the movers move about 80 boxes and the few pieces of furniture that can't be disassembled, folded, or otherwise made wieldy enough to push on a Magna Cart and lift up the stairs. Hal got us the boxes so it looks like we have far more comics than we actually do.

I'm fairly exhausted, even though Leonard has been doing most of the physical work. As he puts it, I make the phone calls and he lifts heavy objects. I've tried to help with the latter. It's easiest before 8am: cool, low-traffic. And I've already been waking up at 5 or 6 despite myself. This does not bode well. I'd hoped to be well-rested before going to WisCon and Open Source Bridge. Perhaps I will conk out on the plane.

I only got one chance to play Once Upon a Time with friends; I'd hoped to get my game up before the panel. Somehow I predict my stories will involve packing tape.

A few links: OKCupid questions are problematic, femininity and consumer culture in style blogs and style role models, and artefacts of paid work as the substrate of open source.

Last night was the last time we'll have slept here. The mattresses lay on the floor; Pat and Leonard had taken the bedframe over already. That's some real wood right there. Leonard's grandma had that bed, and he doesn't know how old it is. Decor was long gone. We'd given away one nightstand and moved the other, so my red desklamp sat on the floor next to my head. I've had it for ... fifteen years?

This was our first apartment in New York.
It was the second place we ever lived together, and the apartment we came home to after we got married. We've had some important arguments here, and some great love-filled days.
It's where he wrote part of Ruby Cookbook and all of RESTful Web Services and "Let Us Now Praise Awesome Dinosaurs," and where we created Thoughtcrime Experiments. It's where he finished "Mallory" and has written most of his novel, and it's where I wrote most of my newspaper columns.
I lived in this apartment through three jobs and a master's degree.
This apartment is where we watched Babylon 5 and Battlestar Galactica and University of Laughs and The Lives of Others. It's where we had Backup Thanksgiving parties with Powerpoint Karaoke. It's where Leonard met Jake Berendes for the first time.

It's the place I've lived longest in my adult life and it's hard to say goodbye.

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: Arrived at WisCon: As is now traditional, I met a few other congoers during my layover in Detroit, then more while waiting for baggage and the hotel shuttle van, then when going out to dinner. Today is Thrifty Thursday at Community Pharmacy (State Street & Gorham), so everything's 15% off. Tea and cashews for the room it is!

I'm in the room clicking around various info resources to see what's up, before I go to the Room Of One's Own Guests of Honor reading and then probably that geek karaoke thing after that.

(3) : "Wis-KHAAAAAAAN!": Am enjoying WisCon, although I'm trying to take more naps, push myself less, and generally not give in to Fear Of Missing Out. Yes, I'm posting this at 4am; my roommates just got back from the six-hour vids party.

The Dealer's Room has copies of Thoughtcrime Experiments that people can buy for $3.50, and indeed some people have bought them, so it's unlikely I'll have to lug great quantities of them to Portland.

Title quote from a game-show-style panel earlier today, "Revenge of Not Another F*cking Race Panel," where I held and spun a giant wheel of fate. Well, of category selection. You may see photos of me mostly occluded by a colorful numbered wheel. Do not be alarmed.

(1) : From WisCon to Open Source Bridge: A few geeky feminists and I are laptopping in Brendan & Kara's apartment in Portland. The dryer's running. Every once in a while someone speaks to share a funny from the internet. I've now dented a link to the United Nations International Year of Natural Fibres song I sang on a panel, so that should suffice as a con report, right?

Prepping, doing, and recovering from four WisCon panels meant I couldn't attend much more programming. I went to a bit of Mary Anne Mohanraj's first reading, the Gathering, the how-to-moderate panel, a People of Color dinner, "Activism: When to Speak Up, When to Let It Go," the Not Another Race Panel, some parties, and the Dessert Salon and Guest of Honor speeches, and spent about 20 minutes cumulative in other panels that I left early. I also took 45 minutes getting interviewed. The hallway track is where I spent most of my days, maxin', relaxin', and chillin' all hyper/exhausted. Good thing I brought a metric zillion business cards. I feel bad that I won't be able to consolidate the new friendships till I return home next week and have time for correspondence.

My Open Source Bridge talk tomorrow at 3:45pm is "The Second Step: HOWTO encourage open source work at for-profits". I'm looking forward to it and to learning from the audience.

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