Presenting in different languages, places

tl;dr: Speaking in public can be daunting for most people. In this post, I will share some tips on how to give effective presentations/speeches in various languages around the world.

Anyone who has delivered a public presentation will know that it can be a nerve-wracking experience. It requires content knowledge, audience understanding, and above all, confidence to convey your message effectively. These can be gained via practice, and lots and lots of it.

I have been very lucky to have had many chances to give talks these past 10 years, so I would like to share some insights with you, as to how I do it.

Examples: (links to external sites where available)

  • Open source development (Mozilla/Firefox):
    • University (NUS) classrooms (2008-2011)
    • Open source meetups, Seoul (2012)
      • In South Korea (English with an interpreter to Korean)
    • HKOSCON (20162017), open source meetups (2013, 2014 [via here], 2017)
      • In Hong Kong (English or Cantonese)
    • JavaScript work week, Toronto (2014)
      • In Canada (English)
    • Open source meetups, Tokyo (2015)
      • In Japan (English with an interpreter to Japanese)
    • COSCUP (Unconference 2016, 2017) Taipei, open source meetups
      • In Taiwan (Mandarin)
  • Recently, Eastern/Western cultural differences at various conferences:
    • HKOSCON 2017 in Hong Kong (English)
    • COSCUP 2017 in Taipei (Mandarin)
    • SITCON 2017 in Hong Kong (Cantonese)

(You can view some of the videos below)

It is clear that I steer towards speaking in Asia, and that is precisely my motive. I use the knowledge that I have gained in the Western world (North America, with a little bit of Western Europe) and attempt to help bridge the Eastern/Western gap. Generally, I find that the Eastern world (northeast Asia, some southeast Asia) seems much more enthusiastic to know more about the Western side, rather than the other way around.

Here’s what I would like to share not just on how to deliver a talk, but also how to deliver an effective one:

  • Understand yourself first
    • Gain domain knowledge. Not knowing the content of your talk inside-out will usually contribute to a nervous experience and impact confidence
      • Before some of my Asian conference talks, I had also attended some in Europe and North America to have a feel on what it’s like on the “other” side
    • Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. If you are not a seasoned presentation speaker, you will inevitably stumble on some phrase that you should not have spoke about, or some topic that not all in the audience can comprehend
      • A student once commented, because most of them (students) did not have the chance to go overseas before, most of what I say would just be a “story”, they do not necessarily “feel” the impact
  • Language fluency
    • It helps a huge amount to be able to speak your audience’s native language fluently. No, I do not just mean speaking the standard form well, but to be able to spike your talk with interesting anecdotes, you must first understand their local cultural insights, which requires time to get used to.
      • i.e. tidbits between Canada & US will generally only work with North American audiences, Belgium/Netherlands generally European, Taiwanese cities (Taipei/Tainan/Kaohsiung) generally Taiwan-only
    • When one is multilingual, an average person must understand that it can be difficult (but not impossible) to attain perfect 100% fluency in each language, up to the level of local great speech talkers. Find some local examples that suit your style, i.e. I try to adopt a style that combines attributes of comedy, humour, personal experiences, etc, yet with a desire to push a message across.
    • You may find that certain (usually slang) phrases that are standard form in one part of the world can be highly offensive in another
      • I won’t list examples here, though
      • As a foreigner, you might or might not get a free pass. Make sure you ask someone trusted, why people seem to be laughing at a phrase you said that was not intended to be a joke
  • Local geography/customs
    • As an example, folks in US tend to mostly be monolingual, with the exception of folks who have friends or relatives from a foreign culture, or grew up among foreign immigrants, or people who study languages for fun, or for academic or other reasons.
      • No matter how hard you try, if someone has never tried speaking another language, they will rarely be able to understand how hard it can be. Folks for whom English is not their first language, will understand how difficult English can be
      • I’ve had some tell me they know everything about a particular language/culture just by virtue of having some parts of the family from those places, but they live across the world and have never flown across the oceans.
        • Honestly, I beg to differ. Even if I have been exposed to the culture overseas and speak the language fluently, whenever I head across the world to Hong Kong/Taiwan/Korea/Singapore, there are still many new phrases I have yet to learn, or some actions I am used to that can be awkward in those places. (e.g. giving hugs to friends of the opposite gender)
        • It is always good to learn from others
    • On the other hand, folks from US/North America/Western Europe are very much more direct than their Asian peers. If there is something going wrong, or a niggling question on their minds, they will usually never hesitate to point it out, or even just to ask a question in the middle of a lecture.
      • In Asia, people usually keep quiet when the presenter asks “Any questions?”. You often see a long queue of people asking questions after that though
        • Nobody wants to sound stupid if their question turns out to be a dumb one
        • Nobody wants to sound like a know-it-all if their question turns out to be a good one
        • Nobody wants to waste others’ time
      • The desire for conformity (groupthink) is intensely strong in Asian cultures which contrasts with individualism in Western ones
        • If things are going wrong in a company, people who are used to a Western culture are more likely to point them out sooner than those from a Eastern one. In the latter, folks do not want to be seen as “rocking the boat”, no matter whether it is sailing smoothly or about to sink
        • On the other hand, it can be difficult to make many differing opinions in a Western world agree to a compromise, whereas in the Eastern context, people agree on things usually in a hierarchical manner. Deciding on where to go to a meal together as a large group can occasionally get tricky in the former
      • People in parts of Asia are very polite (e.g. Japan), so if you inadvertently say something that is a local joke, they will just laugh behind your back, unlike Western folks generally, who might laugh right in front of you
      • Thus, Asian audiences may need more encouragement when waiting for questions. The period of time that I spend waiting after asking “Any questions?” can be arguably longer in some places than others
    • Local sensitivities
      • Don’t speak in Mandarin in Hong Kong if you know how to speak Cantonese (both with the same level of fluency and confidence)
      • Try not to unnecessarily stir up rivalries between territories unless you absolutely know what you are doing (China/Taiwan, China/Hong Kong, China/Japan, Belgium/Netherlands, US/Russia)
    • I’ve found that I cannot merely translate cultural references into another language or bring them across oceans. Examples:
      • Taipei (台北, in the north of Taiwan) folks might make fun of some of the perceptions of folks from Taichung (台中, central)/Tainan/Kaohsiung (台南/高雄 in the south), and vice versa
      • Likewise in US, in social conversations, the plural of “you” on the west coast is “you”, in Texas it’s probably “y’all”, and there are other variants in the east coast and maybe even Pittsburgh
      • Or in Canada, where the word “about” can have a different pronunciation than in the US in general
      • However, nobody in Sheung Shui (上水 in north Hong Kong/NT) will laugh at the Cantonese phrases used exclusively by people in Wong Chuk Hang (黄竹坑 in southern part of Hong Kong island) – there isn’t any difference in Cantonese because Hong Kong is smaller
        • Perhaps these folks might differ in English capabilities, but I digress
      • Likewise nobody in the east of Singapore (Tampines/Changi) will laugh at the Singaporean English (Singlish) used in the west (Jurong) or north (Woodlands) – there just isn’t any difference as Singapore is a small country
  • Appearance
    • If people don’t know you well, they are superficial and will judge you by your appearance or title
      • Of course, one’s hairstyle/dress style should not determine the content of the talk
      • And of course, one’s skin colour should not guarantee audience attention
      • If you’re listed as a “Doctor”, i.e. have a PhD, people are way more inclined to listen to what you have to say
        • Likewise if you are the head of a business or are a celebrity
      • Unfortunately, these might be what people in general, first look out for
    • Asian audiences may be more interested in a Western-looking/-sounding speaker
      • There is a tendency to worship anything/anybody foreign (崇洋)
        • Possible left-over remnants of colonialist influence
      • They are even more impressed when the foreigner speaks their native language fluently
        • So are Europeans (UK folks probably excluded)
        • In US and UK, very few people are often impressed when a foreigner speaks English on a level close to that of a native speaker
          • People always assume you speak English by default in those places
          • Thus, when someone does not understand English well, some folks try to speak slower and louder.
            • (A slower speed probably helps, but I’m not sure about increased loudness)
    • Westerners in Asia, on the other hand, almost always get charged “tourist prices”, automatic markups on costs of goods that the locals get
      • No matter how long they have been in that country, even decades
      • It can be difficult for them to fully assimilate
      • Likewise, it can be tough for them to learn local slang/creole language, e.g. Singlish – when Singaporeans have a foreigner in their group, they “automatically” switch to proper English. When he/she leaves, they context-switch back to Singlish.
  • Delivery method
    • Again, find a delivery style that suits you. Do you want to be stern or serious? Comical, able to solicit laughter yet still able to get your point across? Monotonous but concise?
      • Practice often, try different styles, and you will know which style you want to adopt
    • Presentation slides – to use or not to use?
      • Slides are very common. I’ve seen examples where they are concise (few words), lengthy (too wordy), full of pictures, comical. Adopt a style which suits you, but I’d say that having a wordy slide will result in audience attention being diverted to that of “reading the slide” instead of “listening to you”
      • Without slides, it is much more daunting and difficult. It is a little like giving a political speech, or stand-up comedy. The audience focuses on you. This is still something I’m trying to get used to, but it seems that:
        • Have some points written down or on a prompter/phone
          • You won’t have time reading entirely off it, your eyes should be focused on different parts of the audience alternately
            • A school teacher of mine used to advise staring at the clock “or an imaginary one” at the top of a lecture theatre if your nerves get in the way
        • Audience attention is entirely on you. They will be focused on your every word, every bit of silence. Thus, the pace of your speech should be suited to their level of listening speed
          • I find myself speaking English faster to Western (US/UK) folks than to people whose English is not their first language
  • And some other pointers…
    • Body/hand movements
      • Some of us, when we get nervous, we have little body motions that repeat, i.e. shifting weights constantly, or some of us don’t, i.e. stay completely motionless (except the mouth).
        • Know what you yourself are prone to doing under pressure (e.g. fidgeting), and try to avoid it on the spot. Again, knowing your content will immensely help your confidence which should minimise these movements.
      • There are times where suitable hand/body motions are necessary to convey your message, though these depend on whether you are stationary (i.e. at a podium) or whether you can walk around on a stage, with a microphone. Unfortunately, I don’t have much to advise on how to learn when to use what motions, yet.
    • Personal experiences
      • I’ve found personal anecdotes to be really useful. The audience treats anecdotes as something unique and authentic to you as a speaker. Ultimately, this something that AI cannot easily replicate yet, so if robots start teaching classes in the future, human teachers will likely still be around
    • Put yourself in the context of the audience
      • Praise their questions (no question is a bad question!), even if they sound too simple or dumb. Understand that it takes courage to ask questions in public for people who are not speaking up in their native language, or even just for people who are shy speaking up in general
    • The audience is a “mirror” for you, i.e. they can be an instant reflection of your engagement rating
      • If some are yawning/poking at a computer or phone, your topic might just be too boring, so move on! Or you might want to try another delivery style if you so desire
        • Or they just might be tired/running out of time/sitting in for the air-conditioning, so there’s nothing you can do about it
    • Wrap it up!
      • Think about your audience’s perspective as you wrap up your talk. Most of them will ask in their minds, “What’s in it for me as a _____?”
        • If it is a conference for students, then wrap up your talk explaining how this can help them in their school presentation, interviews, or even interaction with their foreign classmates
        • If it is a conference targeted at general software engineers, you could talk about how they can leverage your knowledge in their work or projects/hobbies, or open source
    • Feedback
      • I listen to recordings of myself speaking. Even as I cringe at the sound of my voice, when I realise I sound draggy on certain topics, I try to note when audiences laugh at certain successful topic deliveries, and use them again
      • Don’t be discouraged by people around you who tease. These people most likely have never given public talks, much less in multiple languages
        • They don’t know how daunting or uncomfortable it can be
        • They are likely to make up some reason for them not to do it. “Not for me/Not my cup of tea”

How about you? Do you have anything you would like to share?

Note: A big thank you to those who have supported the open source community and my interactions with them, especially Mozilla.

Note 2: Unfortunately, I don’t have much experience in South Asia (India)/Central Asia/Eastern Europe/Russia/Middle East/Africa/South America/Oceania/Antarctica, so I can’t speak for those places. It’ll be great to visit, though!

Note 3: This which started as an inside joke, I am actually thinking about whether I will eventually have enough content here to give a talk on a 3rd topic: “How to deliver an effective public speech, across languages and cultures”.

Note 4: While I’m always striving to improve, I also know that I may be not the best speaker of these topics. Please be understanding and let me know if there are parts that are just generally not good enough. English is not my first language, after all.

Note 5: You might have realised that I was trained in British English (hence the widespread use of “-ise” and “queue” vs “line”), but my speech/tone/choice of spoken words have started to shift to that of the American form. Ditto being trained in Simplified Chinese vs Traditional Chinese, which I can read.

Note 6: If you have read this far, you may have noticed that I have striven to be careful to avoid mentioning *all* people of a certain territory having a certain behaviour, but rather using words like “generally”, “might”, “probably”. Please feel free to mention if there are some pointers above that might be inaccurate.

Note 7: Don’t use it.

And on to the videos themselves:

HKOSCON 2017 – Eastern/Western cultural differences (English) Hong Kong

HKOSCON 2017 – JavaScript fuzzing in Mozilla, 2017 (English) Hong Kong

COSCUP 2017 – JavaScript Fuzzing in Mozilla, 2017 (Mandarin) Taipei, Taiwan

SITCON 2017 – Discussion on cultural differences between Easterners & Westerners (Cantonese) Hong Kong

HKOSCON 2016 – Fuzzing and Mozilla: 2015 (English) Hong Kong

 

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MozCamp Asia 2012 (Singapore) – My experience in 5 languages: English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Singlish, Korean

MozCamp Asia just finished a few hours ago. ~200 of us gathered in this small rainy and humid city-state, at the Scape (at Somerset) and the Hub just across, and raining consistently every afternoon at approximately 3-4pm was probably an interesting experience to some folks unaccustomed to it. Welcome to a tropical climate!

Anyway, I just thought to blog my experience in the 5 parts, each containing 1 part of a spoken language that I actually spoke. I apologize in advance if parts of the upcoming multilingual paragraphs are incorrectly expressed, but plowing through 5 spoken languages at MozCamp to different communities was an incredibly extraordinary experience that I wanted to share with everyone. The regions in parentheses were regions where people I personally spoke to, actually came from.

Here goes:

  1. English (for Westerners/Others): When I first arrived at MozCamp, it had a homely feeling. I studied in Singapore for over 20 years, and after moving to the States for work, coming back was a surreal experience. Was I a local? Was I a foreigner? I just had to adapt.
  2. Mandarin (for Chinese/Taipei friends): 很快的,我又遇见了好多旧朋友,也很幸运能够遇到很多新朋友。能够说普通话/国语/中文的朋友不只来自中国大陆或台北市,我也碰到法国和澳洲朋友,能够相当流利地说中文。好神奇的世界啊。
  3. Cantonese (for Hong Kongers): 有d活動都幾得意。我特別鐘意我美國寫字樓o既一位同事o既一個活動,session名叫做 “Help the UX Team Understand Security and Privacy Concerns in Asia“. 佢個名係 “Larissa Co”. 依個活動都係幾有趣,好好玩。之後我好幸福能夠認識Sammy Fung,佢係我來自香港o既第一位Mozilla朋友。幸會,幸會!
  4. Singlish (for Singaporeans/Southeast Asian friends): And then after that I was vely vely lucky to meet people from Southeast Asia, some again and again these few years. They all very very friendly, make me sometimes miss the times when I was around here. I super enjoyed my time leh, got good local food, got many friend, all vely vely happy.
  5. Korean (for Koreans): 저는 한국친구하고 저녁식사를 먹었어요. 한국친구가 싱가포르 동네식사하고 싸다하고 좋다음식을 좋아해요. 저도 좋아해요. Night Safari 에 택시로 갔어요. Night Safari 가 재밌어요.

Note: All of the phrases, including the translations, are off the top of my head, with virtually zero references from anywhere else. I make no guarantee to their grammar correctness / colloquial updated-ness at all. Once again, I apologize if I had inadvertently made any errors.

Note 2: Cantonese and Singlish are largely spoken languages, and as such may make absolutely no sense when written down. Also, Singlish is not exactly a new language of its own, but it’s unique enough to be understandable by folks from Southeast Asia and relatively not to someone from anywhere else / the Western world, so I’ve included it in.

===

English version/translation (may not be 100% accurate):

  1. ENGLISH: When I first arrived at MozCamp, it had a homely feeling. I studied in Singapore for over 20 years, and after moving to the States for work, coming back was a surreal experience. Was I a local? Was I a foreigner? I just had to adapt.
  2. MANDARIN: Very quickly, I met up with a lot of old friends again, and was very fortunate to be able to meet a lot of new ones. Our Mandarin-speaking friends not only came from mainland China or Taipei, I also met folks from France and Australia who were able to speak somewhat decent Mandarin. What a interesting/mysterious world.
  3. CANTONESE: There were interesting and unique activities. I especially enjoyed the session titled “Help the UX Team Understand Security and Privacy Concerns in Asia“, by my co-worker also from our American office. She is Larissa Co. This activity was very interesting and fun. After the activity, I was deeply honoured to be able to meet Sammy Fung, one of our community members from Hong Kong, and the first I’ve met in person. Pleased to meet you!
  4. SINGLISH: After that, I was very lucky to be able to meet people hailing from Southeast Asia. For some, it was a case of meeting up again these few years. Everyone was very friendly, indirectly causing me to miss those days when I was in Singapore. I definitely enjoyed these few days, with lots of local foods and many happy friends.
  5. KOREAN: I went to dinner with Korean friends. Korean friends like local, cheap and good Singapore food. I like it too. Went to Night Safari in a taxi. Night Safari was interesting.

Addendum: There were times when I would get confused and mix languages up. e.g. Speaking Singlish to a community not accustomed to it, or Chinese to others. Rectification usually took a few seconds/minutes.

What Mozilla is about..

Recently, I was in a group of friends where I was the new guy, and there were the usual questions about where you’re from, and what you do, etc. Having said that I worked in Mozilla, including Firefox, the folks perked up asking about update fatigue and comparisons with competing browsers.

However, once I mentioned that Mozilla always puts the needs and wants of the end-user first on its priority list and not to maximise profit for itself nor its shareholders, (or something along those lines because I was not speaking in English), the whole room simply went, “Whoa……” with a smile on most faces.

Couldn’t have wished for a better response.

Rust Made Easy – Part 1

Edited on 2013-04-03: This page is outdated.

Rust is a prospective language which just had its version 0.1 released, and coming from a background that does not hail from C or C++, learning it seemed quite daunting. Starting off writing Java in college and digesting Python in my free time helped, but just a little. Since I previously had some time on a plane and not really sleeping, I’ve been looking at ways to simplify learning Rust, and hopefully by guiding you, as a reader, along the way will help us share our experiences and enhance learning opportunities for all.

But seriously, what is Rust? You can find a short write-up here, along with things like not allowing null pointers (Yay! no more null crashes). Various other technical bits are way above me now. Nonetheless, follow the instructions to obtain your Rust compiler. In the following examples, save the code snippets in a test.rs file, renaming “test” to whatever you like as long as it still ends with .rs, compile it with the Rust compiler “rustc test.rs” and then execute the compiled file “./test”.

Alright, so let’s dive into Rust. To print a statement, let us understand that we first have to import a standard library or a module, known as std.

use std;

It’s like including iostream.h in C++.

Once we’ve done that, we can now print a statement:

use std;
fn main() {
    std::io::println("Hello World!");
}

to get:

Hello World!

(In Python, it is the equivalent of “print ‘Hello World!”)

In Rust, it is necessary to have a main function. The double colons “::” mean that it is calling println within module io within the std module. It’s similar to System.out.println in Java. Note that semicolons “;” at the end of the lines seem to be necessary most of the time — there are special circumstances where “;” is not needed at the end, but let’s leave that for later.

How about a number? I would like to create a local variable, which is a number, and print it. In this case, we use `let`:

use std;
fn main() {
    let x: int = 8;
    std::io::println("Our number is: " + int::str(x));
}

Two new things here. One is “let x: int = 8;”, which means create a local variable x of the type int, and set its value to 8. Again, there will be situations in the future where you leave out specifying the type, and in those cases the type will be inferred (the compiler will “guess” the type).

Second, note that we cast x to a string before printing it. In Rust, we cannot print a number without first changing its type to a string. This is done by calling str from the int module and passing in x, so we have “int::str(x)”.

You should get the output:

Our number is: 8

You may have noticed that Rust uses shortened keywords, such as “fn” for a function. It also uses “ret” for returning values. We will see more of this as we go along.

Next up, let’s construct a separate function instead of cramming everything up in main, and have it print our favourite number again:

use std;
fn fav_number(n: int) {
    std::io::println("Our number is: " + int::str(n));
}
fn main() {
    let x: int = 8;
    fav_number(x);
}

You may notice that the fav_number function accepts an integer variable n, and this is reflected by “n: int”.

What if we want to pass in our favourite number as a command-line argument? This is done by:

use std;
fn fav_number(n: str) {
    std::io::println("Our number is: " + n);
}
fn main(args: [str]) {
    fav_number(args[1]);
}

Run this with “./test 8” and you should get the same output as above:

Our number is: 8

Remember to run it with a number as an argument – if you leave out the number, you will get an error:

rust: upcall fail ‘bounds check’, test.rs:6
rust: domain main @0x22a1a50 root task failed

Examine this example more closely and you will realize that there is no casting involved. This is because we are taking in the argument (number) as a string, and merely printing it out again.

How one learns from his students in his very own class..

The third semester of teaching CS3108 (Mozilla) is coming to an end. For those of you new to the course, it is one that I guide students at my school, National University of Singapore, where I am currently finishing my third year of undergraduate studies. (Kudos to Professor Lee Wee Sun for supporting me over the many months, as well as others I haven’t mentioned)

Over the past semesters, I have welcomed student feedback on how I can make the course better and more exciting, at the same time remaining its flexibility in allowing students to fulfill their dreams at working on a large open source project.

Some of the feedback have been interesting. The first two batches came back with the opinions that each lesson have an overview of what the lesson should be about (I’m getting better at this, doesn’t seem to be a problem this semester), while there have consistently been queries asking about the CAP (GPA in other countries) required to take the course (which there isn’t).

As for the latter, my professors have been noting the trend that half the students in the first lesson of the course seem to disappear after hearing about the expectations. I am of the opinion that only the independent survive, because I am a student myself, I do not possess the opinion that the students be spoonfed material. I merely guide them along, in return for some wonderful projects that have happened over the past courses. To be honest, by the second half of the course, the students are usually much more well-versed than I am in their own area of interest.

Of course, I could always do better. This semester, there has been thought about how to obtain a student-project more easily, and this in fact has recently been mitigated with the introduction of the `student-project` keyword a while back. Interestingly, the students are also suggesting to give homework, not in the form of overly tough laboratory work, but rather short little quests. Such quests could involve writing a simple mozmill test to open a new tab, or even to use the DOM Inspector and find out the id of the Go button in Firefox, for example.

I thoroughly enjoy my classes at school. It is a great opportunity for the students to learn about the open source world, as well as a place where I can also learn from the students themselves, especially since some of their technical coding skills may be better than my very own. It brings forth the message of humility, where no one is above anyone else. I always encourage them to refer to the classes as “sharing sessions”, and to call me by name rather than “Professor”, “Lecturer”, or “Sir”, especially since I am none of the former.

I will continue to teach the course for another two semesters, till I graduate. Hopefully by then someone will take over, but till then I will continue to teach the class even though it does occasionally get tiring on top of my own university work. I thank my professors (Professor Dave Humphrey included), past and present students and members of the Mozilla community who patiently help out the students as they swim their way out of the deep end. The course has helped both the community (they get fixes) and the students (they get the experience – one past student did enough to get his name in official credits, another made use of the experience to set up his company, and a third finally may have found enough confidence to apply for a Google Summer of Code project).

CS3108 (Mozilla) will count as one of the biggest achievements that I am proud of, during my university days. I sincerely hope both the students and myself will benefit from this experience as we begin to look for jobs after graduation and step out into the real world.

NUS in Mozilla map of students around the world

Mark Surman has an interesting post over at his blog, where he maps the list of students working on Mozilla around the world. It’s amazing how Mozilla just started off in the education area not too long ago – and already encompasses ~14 schools worldwide now, from the North America to Europe, from Asia to Oceania. Kudos especially to humph for his great work linking up folks around the world.

National University of Singapore (NUS) has just finished CS3108 (Mozilla) a few weeks ago (the 4 folks being Yuen Hoe, Yaoquan, Hendrik and Tony), it will be taking a break over the next semester as I head overseas for an exchange program. I look forward to more students stepping into Mozilla development in the future.

Before I end here, I would especially like to mention that it really reaps returns and satisfaction of the highest quality, when students transform from someone totally lost to someone capable in their own right in the world of open source, within mere weeks, guided by folks around the world, with different timezones, different cultures.

Talk on Open Source development for college students, by a college student

I gave a 1 hour talk on open source development at my school, National University of Singapore, on Friday evening 6.30pm, thanks to an invitation from one of my professors, Prof Damith. There were about 15-20 students in the audience, most new to OSS, while there were a handful who already worked on OSS projects, such as Linux and Bazaar. Bits of my Mozilla open source experience went in as well.

I accepted the invitation to give a talk because I love to teach anyone who is willing to learn. It perks me up when I see fellow students learning from me, eventually becoming better than me in their own areas of OSS development. It is one of the best feelings anyone can experience. (yeah, maybe on par with, but probably not surpassing the feeling of being in love)

The slides have been uploaded. I hope the slides would prove useful to anyone looking to work on OSS, please let me know if I can help students in any way, my summer isn’t fully booked yet, and I can head anywhere around the world for discussions / talks. 🙂

(WordPress.com prevents embedding of Google Presentation slides, so I did a link instead.)

student-project keyword is live on Mozilla bugzilla – start tagging now!

Dave Humphrey has written an excellent blog post where he describes the introduction of the “student-project” keyword in Mozilla bugzilla – he also covers how to classify bugs as student-projects.

I have also gotten some queries up and running over at Mozilla Wiki where you can keep track of these projects via queries, feeds and all. These queries are Mozilla-wide, they encompass all products from Firefox to Thunderbird, SeaMonkey to Sunbird etc.

Please start tagging, then tracking “student-project” now, if you are interested!

And do join us on #education on IRC, as well as the weekly meeting phone calls. We are having great momentum here, let us continue to maintain it and push forward. 🙂