This year in October 2013, I was very honoured to be able to have the chance to be in several Asian cities, where I met up with the local communities and was a part of locally-organised events to give talks on latest Mozilla developments, e.g. Firefox OS. I was primarily headed to Hack In The Box (HITB) Kuala Lumpur, 2013, and the stopovers were at various Asian cities (or close by), so I figured to drop by.
First up: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Oct 2013)
At the HITB conference in Malaysia, I met the Malaysian community (Thank you for all your help! Terima kasih!), and helped out at HackWEEKDAY.
It was an event focusing on Firefox OS apps and the then-new App Manager was a large piece of the puzzle. Many thanks to my colleagues Mark Goodwin and Freddy Braun for helping me out. Mark and Freddy fronted the presentation we made to the participants, and they did a very good job at that.
As a sidenote, I also remember vividly the MozCafe event (great teh tarik!) and kudos to the community for bringing us to durians!
And so I had the idea that I could give a demonstration of App Manager to the communities I’ll be visiting on the way back across the Pacific – based on Mark’s presentation and Jason Weathersby / Paul Rouget’s blogpost. The catch? Even though they all have the same content, they will all be in different languages, at least for the Q&A sessions. (Challenge yourself, why stop at one?)
Believe me, I think this is easier than it sounds – many of us spend time practising for Q&As in one primary language, so all you have to do is to think about the same reply content, but give the reply in multiple languages (aka forking). We may not end up speaking really fluently, but it should be sufficient enough to be understood.
On the way back, cities on my agenda were Singapore (thanks HackerspaceSG for hosting), Taipei (thanks to the Taiwan community for organising the event 謝謝大家！), and finally Hong Kong (thanks Sammy Fung for helping with the venue 多謝曬！).
This is likely the largest gathering of Mozillians in Singapore so far. I started off with the demonstration of Unreal Engine 3 engine using asm.js, and people thought that this was just a movie until I actually started controlling the movement of the player, all in the browser. Again, this would be my response to whoever thinks that the web will never be able to rival native apps.
On to the demonstration itself using a Keon 1.2, I recall there was a question about whether the demo will work on a phone. Soon, soon. Not now, not yet, but eventually…
Singapore being a multicultural cosmopolitan society with many people from all races and countries, everyone had no problems understanding and asking questions in English.
And on to: Taipei, Taiwan (臺北，臺灣)
My next destination was Taipei. The Mozilla Taipei office is close to the Taipei 101 – that’s how I took this picture on the way there.
The MozTW community did all the logistics here, they did an excellent job. I gave my talk together with Yuren Ju (朱昱任) from the Mozilla Taipei office, who gave a fantastic presentation on Gaia development.
Since people in Taiwan prefer to listen to (and ask questions in) Mandarin, I presented in Mandarin for the first time in my life to a public audience. Since Mandarin would arguably be my 3rd/4th language, I sure hope I didn’t do too badly here!
Ultimately, what most impressed me was that the second floor of the coffee shop we were in, was packed throughout. And I really mean packed – arguably about 40+ people in that space no larger than … probably 500-1,000 square feet? People squeezed into spaces, some stood because there was a lack of space. This level of presence by the community, is still unrivalled by most of the other Asian cities I have been to. Most excellent!
And finally: Hong Kong (香港)
Finally, on to Hong Kong. This event was held in City University, where we had 20-30 people come in. Although most people speak Cantonese in Hong Kong, most can understand English fairly well, and there were some foreigners present, so I did the presentation in English. In the Q&A, everyone was free to ask questions in any language they felt most comfortable in (that I could understand), and so there were discussions in both Cantonese and English. I interpreted on-the-fly in English to those who didn’t understand, for the first time in a public audience too!
What most impressed me here, was the duration of the event. It lasted beyond 2 hours, almost 3 if I recall correctly, and while the talk itself was on par with the other countries (<45 mins), the Q&A stretched for some time (~1-1.5 hours?). The discussions here were really intense and this would reflect the immense level of interest in Firefox OS, and they would center more around app development (since most people have experience with the other app platforms).
Whew! What a long blogpost. I hope you are now sufficiently enlightened to visit any of these countries, and contact local Mozillians in the process. I’ll bet that you will have a really good time. :)