Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bay Area Video Coalition - Teaching Open Video Part 1

Last night was the first meeting of The Factory and Mozilla. The partnership if a result of work between Mozilla Drumbeat and Web Made Movies. Ben Moskowitz and Brett Gaylor invited myself and Atul Varma to what is to be the first of three sessions helping teens learn about the budding open web technologies that can be integrated with video.

About 13 kids streamed into a computer lab at 4:30pm and we began with some introductions detailing who we were and why this stuff is interesting. The group were very engaged and eager to dive right in with whatever we had for them. So we started with Atul's Web X-Ray Goggles so the students could see what exactly the web was made of. The idea was to just grab parts of whatever websites you liked and change them right on the page so you could see how easy it is to "hack" the web. Some of the teens went even further and started building their own pages with Etherpad by grabbing snippets of code from sites. About 4 kids said they had done a View Source on a page prior to this class and 30 minutes into this workshop they were all doing it like pros.

Once they had a chance to remix a web page we moved on to the next exercise which was to select 4 popular sites of their choosing (Etherpad democracy!) and those sites were printed out on paper, the teens were split into 3 teams, and each team did paper prototyping of a new site using elements from the originals. I was very impressed with how the students took the idea and ran with it. Each team worked fast (they had 7 minutes) and no one was hanging back keeping their opinions to themselves. The teams produced 3 new site mock-ups that each had a very simple look, with a video as the prominent element on the page but they also took time to add site navigation and social media integration by putting Facebook and Twitter in the sidebar or footer.

In the last 30 minutes of our time Brett and Ben demonstrated Butter also explaining how very "caveman" the technology is right now. With only a glance at the interface and a basic explanation of how it's wired up the teens jumped right in with suggestions and ideas about what they would like to be able to do:
* Hide popcorn elements when nothing is showing in them
* Be able to zoom in or out on Google maps while the video is playing
* Click on something in the video (example: coffee mug) and have it trigger an event

Ben made a really great point about how it's also important to look at something like Butter and think "How can you go beyond the interface?". How do you make your story more interesting from the beginning knowing you can use this tool throughout instead of just tacking on events and additional information to a completed video that is done in a standard format?

We'll be working with them again tonight, with chunks of a film they made last summer called "The List". More updates and more potential bugs and feature requests coming soon.

Also, if anyone is planning to teach a class like this you might want a few things in a "kit":
* Portable printer (and paper)
* Scissors
* Tape or glue
* Handout with links to the tools/sites

Just to save some time :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Volunteers needed for upcoming HTML5/Open Video tutorial

I'm hoping if you're reading this that you might be interested in volunteering this coming Saturday to help 12-16 year old girls at the upcoming Dare 2B Digital conference learn about HTML5 and open video.  There's more information and background on what's happening on this wiki page.

Two kinds of volunteers needed:

1.  Someone who is in the Bay Area and available this coming Saturday from 9-3:30pm to be on-site with us in Mountain View at the Computer History Museum and will work hands-on with the girls to demo Miro Converter, Universal Subtitles, and a little bit of Popcorn.js.

2. Anyone, anywhere, who can do translations to any language and who is available on Saturday anywhere in the 10:15am-3pm PST window to do some 'live' subtitling and show the workshop participants how amazing the universal subtitles project is.

Please get in touch if you are interested/available. Or sign up on the wiki.

Thanks in advance!  I will be posting any demos, workshop materials, and an update post-event on how it went.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Automated Try Results Posted to Bugzilla - A request for input on what the comment should contain

Lately I've been working on a a script which can check your try syntax for a bug number and a setting asking for --post-to-bugzilla.  If you've provided both, your try server results can be posted directly to the bug.  This is just part of a larger project to have patches submitted on a bug get automatically tried out, results posted, and at some point down the road they could even be pushed to trunk after a successful try run so "look Ma! No hands".

Today I have a script running in staging, polling for completed try runs and doing dry runs of posting to bugzilla in log format only so I can keep an eye out for unusual output.  Already this has shown me a couple of bugs to sort out, and I anticipate having them ironed out very soon.  However, before this lands I would like to get some feedback/ideas/suggestions on what the output to the bug should look like and there could be a couple of options even, with a setting in your try syntax.

In my early testing I posted to our landfill bugzilla and here's what a couple of results looked like:
Lots of success looked like too much info

So I took it out, and only printed the warnings and failures

Which works on small runs

From what you see here, I'm sure you can imagine what it would look like if 145 builds all had warnings/failure combos.

So - what do you want to know in the bug? Let's keep it simple, ok? We can add more later and it's important not to create a bug-spammer here that folks will clamor to turn off soon after it goes live.

Off the top of my head, and after talking with Catlee today about it, I think it should look like this:
Try run for $revision with the following comment:
$try_syntax line
S:# W:# F:# (results total) builds complete from N total requests
S:# W:# F:# (results total) tests complete from N total requests
For more information please see$revision
This gets you a quick glance at total builds/total requests so you can see that everything is accounted for, and where things might have gone wrong in builds vs. tests but doesn't list the failed/warning builder names so you have to follow the link to get them.  Maybe there would be interest in printing what your try syntax request triggered but I'm not sure that's useful in the bug reporting even though it's requested for when a developer is pushing to try. What do you think?

It would be possible to break down the results further by platform instead of or as well as build/test.  Any ideas on how to get that much information across without making a bug comment too verbose? All input appreciated and considered, I'll be trying to land this in the next couple of weeks so comment here, ping me in IRC (lsblakk), or comment in the bug.