Book roundup: Bitterblue, Simoqin, Three Felonies a Day

Quick notes on some books I’ve read recently. I have laryngitis (still!!!) and it seems to be worsening rather than getting better. So I will write rather than talk.

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore, which I picked up from a tip in SF writer Claire Light’s blog. Third in an excellent fantasy trilogy (Graceling, Fire), this is the heaviest and most awesome of the lot. Bitterblue dove into murky waters as its young queen realizes all the ways she (and the kingdom as a whole) are being gaslighted as they try to heal from the former and very abusive, tyrannical king. She becomes obsessed with history, stories, and truth.

I am thinking of this book in conjunction with others that address how we as a society (and individually) face history. How much of the past do we want or need to know? What is worth teaching? What culture are we constructing? I think of epics like Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun and Dune in opposition to Bitterblue and many other feminist sf/f works. In Wolfe and Herbert, individual enlightenment is attainable by Knowing Everything, by becoming/eating/consuming the past. Once you have it, you become ruler and god. There can be only one. I saw Lois McMaster Bujold take a fairly complicated stance on this in Hallowed Hunt and there are tons of other examples of the rejection of “know everything, truth absolute, be god” model of culture. The Marq’ssan Trilogy addresses this beautifully of course. Bitterblue fits right into that feminist sf political picture for me. I also found it resonated well with my ethical and political framework of acknowledging atrocities and calling out abuses of power in personal life.

Cashore really packed a punch and I admired how her earlier works in the trilogy hinted at this, reaching for it while coming off as much more light or escapist fantasy reading. She matured as a writer and thinker maybe but also lured readers in. A big old “Trigger Warning” on this book if you are an abuse survivor. I would also say that a pre-teen or younger teenager might be okay with the first book, maybe less so with the 2nd, and boy howdy the 3rd may not be for the younger ones. Depending of course.

I will be reading all of Cashore’s books forever more!

The Gameworld Trilogy – The Simoqin Prophecies, The Manticore’s Secret, The Unwaba Revelations by Samit Basu. These are just great. I am not sure I can do them justice but they’re a fantasy trilogy set in a world that is India-centric in its mythological background, its geographical perspective, and in its rambly structure that explores hero-tales and philosophy, life and death, free will and religion.

As a huge fan of the Mahabharata and Ramayana I especially loved this series and all its hilarious jokes and references. But I don’t think you need background knowledge culturally or from reading to love these books. In any case you will likely at least get the Tolkien and Harry Potter jokes. I love the city of Kol and its vroomsticks, its spellcaster university, the fabulous bar, the Chief Civilian, Spikes, the unwaba, and the underground tunnels… The Dark Lord, the very silly magic movie industry, and the angsty, loose-woven romantic drama of the huge cast of primary characters. While I do not really like Terry Pratchett (I *know*… just move along … there is no convincing me… I am allergic… I am not judging you) I think that people who do like Pratchett would probably adore The Gameworld books.

I am going to mark down all of Basu’s books for future reading – there is a new one out called Turbulence that I have my eye on. WTF that I have never read these before! And that the U.S. Amazon.com entries don’t have any reviews yet. When U.S. fantasy readers get wise to Basu he will be a huge hit.

Basu reminds me a bit of Minister Faust, the depth of exploring tropes with charming wit & detail – basically this is for fantasy what From the Notebooks of Doctor Brain is for superhero comics. Okay, not exactly, but the playful humor was similar.

samit-basu-simoqin

I read Harvesting Color: How to Find Plants and Make Natural Dyes by Rebecca Burgess, on the recommendation of my friend Rose White who is a textile and yarn and spinning expert. We were talking about Burgess’s Fibershed project and I expressed the desire to learn to spin. Burgess’s book reminds me of one of my favorite nature-lover books, Margit Roos-Collins The Flavors of Home. I want to run out and harvest wild plants and make giant pots of steaming dye and feel like an earth mama eco- mad scientist. I would bond with the land! Yay! This will not happen, because I don’t really have the time or energy, and my hands hurt too much to screw around with giant pots and wet things. But it was nice to think about and maybe I will recognize some new weeds or pick a pocketful of toyon berries and half-assed-ly try to dye something someday.

I also plowed through Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent by Harvey silverglate. This was an impulse buy based on some random internet person’s recommendation (Like much of my reading) in a discussion of Aaron’s federal prosecution. The title sounded promising. But I don’t recommend this book at all unless you feel that hedge fund managers and the heads of Enron are inherently very innocent people who suffer unfair persecution. Things started out kind of okay and then I realized I was reading a book by a crazed-ass libertarian. Then I had the equivalent of political anaphylactic shock somewhere in the middle of the Enron chapter. There were interesting bits and I especially liked the stories of Governor White’s case and how federal prosecutors try to “ladder up”.

There was a particular sentence that crystallized the whole book’s loathsomeness for me. While I like to think that even filthy rich criminals deserve a fair trial Silverglate went a million miles over the line in the bit where he was bemoaning how some dude’s bazillion dollars of assets got seized because someone made a federal case of whatever it was he allegedly did. And so…. and so…. that was super bad because… “he couldn’t get a fair trial”. Sums up right wing libertarians doesn’t it? A fair trial is one that you can use all of your gajillionty dollars to buy. without all those millions a fair trial is just impossssssible. (But we don’t bother to mention all the people who dno’t have the millions in the first place; it’s just normal I guess that we expect them not to get a fair trial? Or maybe “fair” means something different to Silverglate.)

I would like to read a book that lives up to the “Three Felonies a Day” title, or the premise that we are all committing crimes that we could be federally prosecuted for, daily. This is not that book. It was very annoying.

Reality Sandwiches by Allen Ginsberg. Every so often I take out the books that are on the tiny shelf in the bathroom and put in a new batch of very small books that fit there and seem suitable for reading on the can or while in the bath. I remembered that I don’t love the poems in this book except for most of The Green Automobile.

Old Man’s War by John Scalzi. Never read it before. I have not read much Scalzi other than his blog when he says something that jibes with my politics that I get linked to a bunch by my friends. I was initially annoyed that he could write about things that the rest of us regularly write about and be hailed as a motherfucking genius for summing up oppression like racism or sexism or whatever in the context of science fiction books or gaming in a way that is palatable to the vaguely liberal nerdy white dude masses. Then he did it again. Then so many times that I began to appreciate and like him as an excellent ally. Then I read some book of his that starred a teenage girl in a space colony and I gave him kudos for writing a teenage girl character that didn’t make me want to slap him. I know, my bar is set low. Anyway, Old Man’s War. It was okay space opera and I got what it was doing and referencing but it didn’t light me up in flames. I wanted to know what happened. I will probably read more of his books especially if someone recs me a good one. Thumbs up Scalzi!

The First Shift and The Second Shift by Hugh Howey. Holy shit! Now these books floated my boat much more. Awesome density and moving things along. Sabroso! I loved Wool very much and have been telling everyone to read it! In fact I also went heads down and read every other thing by Howey I could find. I recommend them all. This short blog post has gotten long so maybe I will talk about Howey, Wool, the Silo books, zombies and 9/11, Hurricane and coming of age books, and so on, later…

Read Wool! And the Silo books too!

Must also go into Jan Morris’ Hav books, Mieville, Alfred Kubin’s The Other Side (amazing! read it if you like Au Rebors and things Gothick) Sherwood Smith “A Posse of Princesses” and various other poetry books.

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My job, told with Up-Goer Five text editor

Today I had fun reading xkcd’s Up Goer Five cartoon and then playing with the Up Goer Five text editor.

peoplebox.png

I tried describing my new job:

Many people at my job work together to make free things that go on computers to make it so everyone can see the words and pictures on other computers in the world. Everyone can see the words that make these free things. The biggest thing we make is named after an an animal and fire. Fire Animal Computer thing can go on a a computer, or a phone. It can even start a phone and make it go. That is new!

There are other computer things too, like Rain Noise Flying Animal and Water Tree Animal. They have new parts all the time. When the Fire Animal Computer Thing or the other computer things have a problem, people tell us about the problem. That problem goes in a very big computer box place together with all the other problems. That very big computer box place is named Big Pretend Long Ago Problem Animal.

My new job is to watch all the almost hundred hundred hundred problems in Big Pretend Long Ago Problem Animal. I will remind everyone in the world to work together on a big big team to fix the problems. I have to know many things to help them do it. On this team we will all tell the people to talk to each other. I look at the words and put other words on the computer to tell about the problems. I work with many other people that help put more words on the problems to help fix them.

Some day I will know many more things and many more people who fix the problems, especially with Fire Animal Computer Thing. I will help make ways to make the work easier. There will be more computer things that work almost by themselves to do the work. Then, all the Big Pretend Problem Animal work people like me will tell the computer thing making people some more things to help them fix the problems. We do it in a way that everyone can see!

We will work together so all the people in the world can talk with each other and see pictures with no problems, free, on a computer and on a phone. They can make many more things. We think everyone can help the world this way. Some day, everyone can know all the things. That will be very good.

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A few words on Aaron’s death, and sadness

I am very sad about Aaron Swartz’s death. We spent last weekend just devastated and in shock, then went to his funeral in Chicago. The shared sadness united us all. I feel for his family and his partner Taren. Aaron’s father spoke at his funeral, and his defense lawyer, one of his brothers, and many friends and colleagues. Larry Lessig’s words about feeling protective especially brought me to tears. I wish I could remember everything he said as it resonated with many things I felt but didn’t have coherently expressed even to myself.

I did not know Aaron well on the level of having the intense intellectual conversations that many people had with him, though I enjoyed reading his blog and supported his projects. I mostly knew him as my partner Danny’s daughter Ada’s kind and loving friend, as he was close to her mom for years and they lived with him or stayed with him often. She talked about him often and their games and how he would take her swimming. He was the grownup who would play with her the most instead of doing grownup things like making you do your homework. I would see Aaron at family events like Ada’s nursery school graduation, holidays and birthdays, or, ubiquitously on Skype while Ada talked with her mom and Aaron would pop up clowning around to make her laugh with all their running jokes. They made movies together and had a great relationship. Of course, I love anyone who loves Ada so dearly, appreciates and cares for her. As Aaron did.

And I felt towards him how I feel as a 43 year old intellectual feels toward brilliant creative people in their 20s or younger. Fond and and a little protective from a distance, admiring of their daring, their bright energetic path, and looking forward so much to what they will do and will become. Respectful of their maturity while waiting to see how it deepens. I don’t mean to make too much of generational differences, but as I hit middle age I am aware of those differences in a complex way.

I did not plan to do anything at his grave but then was gripped with the feeling that if I participated in putting earth on the grave I would be acknowledging everything and that it would be right. His death wasn’t right. Despite being there I can’t grasp that it really happened and he is not going to be around.

So many vivid moments from the funeral and afterwards. I will never forget Seth at lunch as we ate grilled cheese sandwiches, kindly turning to me in his deliberate and quiet way saying, as if remembering each word from a foreign language or trying to eliminate all the letter E from a sentence, “I always try to remember, when I cry a lot, it’s important to drink water.” I obediently drank my glass of water. A funny little detail. I would wish for no one to cry so much as we did. But when we do, it’s good that we take care of ourselves and others. Thank you Seth.

We are all reeling from Aaron’s loss. There will be a memorial for him at the Internet Archive next week and I believe also a hackathon in his memory at some point. While I feel the sadness many people do, supporting Danny’s daughter is one of my top priorities right now just keeping things going in a normal way and food on the table, appreciating her funny dances and fantastic stories, writing in runes, just listening to her, bringing over her friends to play. It is beautiful, and heartening, to have children livening things up like an overflowing fountain, and we all watch them and press each others’ hands in desperate appreciation of their beauty. Life goes on, and we are happy. In the middle of the happiness we are crying a lot and will be for quite some time.

Aaron’s loss is a loss to the entire world. I feel the surge of determination and fierceness surge through my friends who are geeks and activists. This helps me deal with the sadness on an abstract level, but not on the personal level. Of course Danny and I have read pretty much everything everyone wrote about Aaron and his work and his death over the last week. I don’t feel like I have to say something clever or do a giant link round up of it. I think we are all trying to transmute grief into hope, belief, and action. Where that will lead, I don’t know.

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Bugzilla quicksearch, or else!

Here is a fabulous tip if you are messing around in bugzilla.mozilla.org and are searching for bugs. As, by now, as a reader of my blog, you should be.

You can search Bugzilla right from the location bar. I cannot quite bring myself to say “Awesome bar” as people do at Mozilla because I’ve said “location bar” for many years, and it feels silly.

First you will need to be logged in to a Bugzilla account!

Right(command)-click in the Search box. Choose “Add a keyword for this Search”.

Pick something short that you will remember, like “b” or “bug”. I added both since they both seem intuitive enough to me that I’ll probably forget choosing one or the other.

Command-L is the keystroke on a Mac to move to the location bar.

So, type Command-L, type bug 831552 and you will be whooshed directly to that bug.

Command-L, bug retina will result in a fairly quick list of around 18 bugs (as of right now.)

Here are a bunch of quicksearch tips for bugzilla.mozilla.org!

Take a look at the tips and see what quicksearch looks at by default. There is lots of useful info there and it is worth going through and trying some of the options and noting which field names might be specially useful.

The Advanced Shortcuts are the best thing about quicksearch for me so far. For example, Command-L, bug UNCO retina returns all the unconfirmed bugs with the keyword “retina”. (About 4, currently). Though keywords aren’t case-sensitive, the Advanced shortcut “Status” search terms are. So you have to type bug UNCO retina, not bug unco retina.

At the moment, quicksearch look in comments and various other bug metadata. After January 24th that will change — comments will be excluded by default from quicksearch. That should make it actually quicksearch instead of kinda_slow_search. Or at least quickersearch. Until then, you can type bug --comments retina and your search about retina-related bugs will be a bit faster.

Here is the “or else” part from the title of this post: If you have been calling yourself “The Bugmaster for Mozilla” for several weeks, and you slowly mouse over to a search box to type something, and you do this in front of some kick ass developer, instead of using quicksearch in the location bar, you will be embarrassed. So take it from me and don’t do that.

cats in hats

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Thrills, chills, filters, and bugmail

Any bugmail at all is probably way too much bugmail. That means you will need to set up some structures to filter it!

This explanation may be useful for anyone interested in contributing to Mozilla — especially bugmasters, triagers, and developers. Even if you don’t use the same email setup, there’s some good tips.

Byron (aka glob) explained how I could set up my Bugzilla email, or bugmail. Within Bugzilla, in the Email preferences tab, there are a complicated set of checkboxes to control what conditions in Bugzilla trigger your bugmail. Right now, my email notifications are set to fire off email to me whenever anything happens to a bug I may be interested in.

Bugzilla email prefs

I then set up some users to watch, at the bottom of the Email preferences screen. Whenever Matti, Tyler, or Benjamin do anything with a bug, Bugzilla emails me about it. I can also see that Josh is watching my Bugzilla activity. People often refer to this as “stalking” in Bugzilla, without any creepy connotation intended. It is basically TMI about someone else’s bugs (or what bugs they poke at.)

Bugzilla user watching

“If you watch a user, it is as if you are standing in their shoes for the purposes of getting email. Email is sent or not according to your preferences for their relationship to the bug (e.g. Assignee).” The meaning of that takes a while to work out, much like Bilbo Baggins’ famous statement at his eleventy-first birthday party… “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

I have picked two components to watch. Bugs in BMO (bugzilla.mozilla.org) are organized first by Product, such as Firefox, Firefox for Android, Thunderbird, and so on; then by Component, which seems to be a division by who is working on a particular area or project. You can’t pick a Component, or even see it, till you figure out what Product your bug belongs to. Here is a helpful guide from the Mozilla Developer Network with a list of Mozilla Products and their Components, handily all on one page, so it is easily searchable. I have also been using the list of Modules and their owners from the Mozilla.org wiki.

Bugzilla component watching

We don’t even have any bugmail yet, and see how much we have learned about the structure of a giant complicated FLOSS ecosystem! Hurray!!!! *waves pom poms*

Cheerleader cat

At this point, I made some folders in Zimbra inside a general Bugmail folder. While I’m still not sure how I’ll settle on bugmail organization, right now I have separate folders for my watched components and people. Then, in Zimbra preferences,there is a sidebar option for “Filters”.

Bugzilla filters

Create a new filter, then for users you’re watching, filter on header, and set the header name to X-Bugzilla-Watch-Reason. (For other filters, check the full headers and see what X-Bugzilla header info will work best.)

Bugzilla x headers

Since the X-Bugzilla-Watch-Reason filter contains the person’s email, if they change their own bugzilla email address, my filter will break.

Bugzilla user watching

Onward to Thunderbird, which I have set up with IMAP to check my Zimbra account.

Right-click (or command-click for a mac) on your account name in the Thunderbird sidebar, and choose “Subscribe”. This shows you the folders on your IMAP-connected account. Expand the folders and check the tickybox next to the new folders you just created in Zimbra (or whatever else you use). This will create a copy of that folder in Thunderbird.

Bugzilla thunderbird subscribe

One more step. In the Thunderbird sidebar, right-click one of the new folders that was just copied over from your IMAP account. Choose “Properties”. Then check the tickybox labelled “When getting new messages for this account, always check this folder.”

Now your bugmail will nicely filter itself — in both email clients.

That was non-obvious enough that I really wanted to document all the steps. Maybe some other new hire at Mozilla will be helped!

If anyone has bugmail tips for me, I would appreciate that!

Bonus points to anyone reading this who notices my PretendOffice filter and has a good laugh.

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Twiddling my email, calendar, irc, and phone notification settings

Calendar and email notifications may sound very boring but they has engrossed me for at least an hour.

For the first time in life I have a work laptop and a personal laptop. For the last 10+ years I’ve come into a job with an existing laptop which I use seamlessly for work and personal stuff. So far, I like having less “personal” things on my work laptop. It is especially nice not to have the distraction of personal email and non-work related mailing lists. It also feels amazingly luxurious to set aside the work laptop at the end of the day.

I have Zimbra for work email, but prefer to read my email in Thunderbird on my work laptop. Zimbra calendar has my work meetings and Google Calendar has the general schedule for my life. This morning I realized Zimbra was nagging me about missing a meeting. I need to know beforehand in some way that isn’t inside a browser tab!

Instead, I’d like my phone to make a special alert noise for meetings 10 minutes beforehand so I know to open up Skype or Vidyo (what Mozilla generally uses for meetings).

BEEP cover

The last bit of information in this scenario: I didn’t want to install some special Zimbra app on my phone.

Here’s what I did:

1. Set up Zimbra to SMS me at (my 10-digit phone number@tmomail.net) before meetings.

In Zimbra, go to Settings, calendar, set up phone number for notifications.
In each meeting there is a checkbox for email notification. This works for recurring meetings as well.

2. Set up my phone so that gmail notifications only make a noise for priority inbox mail. (I realized that my phone makes a noise every time it syncs email. I normally ignore that noise. )

Open Gmail on the phone, Menu>More>Settings>click the email account>Labels to Notify>Inbox ***>Ringtones (set to silent)

*** Tweak the settings for the Priority Inbox too.

4. Go to gmail.com and set up whatever should go into “priority inbox” i.e. filtered to “important”

google calendar already has its own notifications on android phone if you have its app installed. If not you can set up a forwarding address and make the calendar email to SMS you.

5. make sure incoming SMS messages have a different noise than priority emails
Go to messages, menu, then settings, Select ringtone.

It took a little thought to figure out what to use to get the simple result I wanted. And while most of it happens in web services and phone settings, some of it was in my training myself in a different behavior (paying attention to a particular noise on my phone.)

A final note: Long ago I set up voicemail from my phone to Google Voice. I hate listening to voicemail. It takes a long time. Text is so much nicer, and it helps that I read very quickly. All voicemail interfaces suck. The last time I used one, it had a default menu message that took about 15 years to go through that played after every single voicemail. This resulted in my *never* listening to my messages. (Fortunately I have not had a work phone for years; just email.)

People sometimes leave long messages, but the gist of them is just “call me back”. Google Voice is lovely for this as it sends me an email transcript of the voicemail. The transcripts are often hilarious garbled but it’s enough to get the idea of who’s calling, what their number is, and what they want. If I want to hear them, I can press “play”. Their messages are also nicely archived for me in Gmail. Hurrah!

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Furminate her!

Had tea with yarnivore and friends yesterday during a weekend of rain, cold, and sick kids. I told her about the awesome, awesome book Home Life in Colonial Days and she talked about spinning. I can’t knit, as it hurts my hands too much, but am something of a knitting/textile/ravelry fangirl.

I suddenly remembered that I’d gotten the book Crafting with Cat Hair for Christmas and so demonstrated cat-combing using this tool called The Furminator, which sounds like something stupid I would invent but which works incredibly well, producing a huge amount of fluffy, sheddy, cat undercoat. It is best to furminate your cat while saying FURMINATE HER like Darth Vader, or FUR-MIN-ATE like a Dalek. Yarnivore astonished us by spinning several feet of cat hair yarn and then demonstrating how to ply it.

cat hair

Milo and I both tried hand spinning without a spindle. You pull your hands gently apart while spinning the fiber in one direction, which pulls the fibers from the undifferentiated wad of woolly stuff into a triangle called the draft, which leads into the twisted bit that is about to become thread or yarn. Fascinating! We talked about dyeing fiber with local plants like fennel and pokeberry. The thing that fixes the dye is called the mordant; alum sounds like an easy and cheap mordant. I spent some time poking around on Wikipedia to see what it has to say about hand spinning and yarn terminology. I love all the special terminology for textile stuff. Heddle, spindle, roving, batting, loft, worsted, woolen; all very beautiful middle-englishy words.

Yarnivore also told me about FiberShed which is a sort of consortium of Northern California fiber people who are trying to encourage local production of textiles from start to finish. Apparently they are trying to start a maker space and are hoping people in other areas will do the same. I thought again of Kevin Carson’s book The Homebrew Industrial Revolution and may take a look at it in the next few days.

So, I’m hoping to learn to spin with a drop spindle! Wool, though, not cat hair. Though I wonder if cat hair yarn would be as nice and warm as New Zealand possum yarn?

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In which I explain Yggdrazilla, the World-Tree, and see some fireboats

Yesterday I headed into the Mozilla San Francisco office with my son Milo in tow. It was sunny and beautiful! We had lunch at the High Dive, a little diner right on the waterfront. He tried out my TV-B-Gone delux and we laughed very hard at the feeling of being super-spies with our spy gadget. Or, he might have just been laughing at me. It’s hard to tell!

On the walk back from the diner I pointed out the old SFFD building and that there was a fireboat on the other side of it. We went round to watch the boat pull out of its berth, apparently giving some non-firemen a tour in the sparkly winter sunshine. On its side it was labeled Guardian, boat #2. There was a sign in front of the building explaining the history of San Francisco fireboats. We both avidly read this sort of thing. The more famous of SF’s fireboats is the Phoenix from 1955, which saved the Marina district after the 1989 Loma Prieta quake. “I guess it’s still useful, even though it’s old-fashioned” he commented. The fireboat is also extremely cute; stubby and with a little striped tower, like a tugboat.

guardian fireboat

At the office I picked up a B2G test drivers phone so I can help test FirefoxOS. Sights of the office for my son were: my cube (unexciting), the shelves of free snack food (from which, abstemiously, he snagged a banana and two starburst candies), and the roof with its view of the Bay Bridge. The night before, I had read him the first few chapters of Flatland. He had picked it up to read on the bus and while I worked, since it’s lighter to carry than the Draconomicon. He kept interrupting my concentration on email and Bugzilla to read me bits from Flatland.

I figured I would return the favor. “So, would you like to know what I am actually working on?” Yes he would. Whatever I do for my job On The Computer is something of a mystery. Even to me . . .

We read the principles in the Mozilla Manifesto. (“Nice, Mom. That sounds like you. But, no offense, but, well, I’m already reading a book where people explain boring things about politics.”) Okay, moving on. I explained that there is a non-profit Mozilla Foundation as well as Mozilla Corporation, then that there is a greater Mozilla community (Mozillians!), who all work on making various tools better: Firefox in various flavors, which he is familiar with, but also Thunderbird, Bugzilla, and other stuff.

He got that Bugzilla is a product anyone can download, install, and use to track problems, but that Mozilla has its own implementation of Bugzilla, which we call BMO (for bugzilla.mozilla.org). Someone puts a bug into BMO; then a lot of people might look at it and do something with or to it.

My job as the newly-fledged Bugmaster is to help manage the huge volume of bugs in BMO. I pointed out that in a search for bugs filed in the last 24 hours the ID numbers for the bugs are up to 82600. So 800,000 bugs have been reported since Mozilla has been around, over 10 years ago.

(ETA: You need to have a bugzilla.mozilla.org login in order to use the above link. Hmmm.)

I’m taking a look at triaging new bugs, or in this case, adding information to bugs with UNCONFIRMED status and moving them to some new status. Generally, a bug that is UNCONFIRMED has not been triaged. My big question right now is, though there is no natural “end” to triaging a bug, how can we demarcate untriaged and partly triaged, bugs from ones that are… let’s say… good enough for now for a developer to look at? I could encourage people who do something with a bug to move it out of UNCONFIRMED. I could invent a system of whiteboard tags or flags to mark up bugs for the bugmastering throngs who live in #bugmasters.

Anyway, I didn’t go into that for Milo. I gave a very quick, hand-wavy explanation of how FOSS projects tend to have a “trunk” which is basically the code that’s been tested and released, trying to give an impression for him that a lot of people touch that code as it gets committed to branches, tested, and merged in to the trunk, watched over by Sheriffs. I showed him the tinderbox push log page which displays commits and a battery of automated tests that they pass or fail. Milo (who is not into programming at all) commented that there is Mozilla, and Bugzilla, and everythingzilla, so there should be Yggdrazilla, like the world-tree from Norse myth, to describe this cool giant tree of code.

I love the name Yggdrazilla! Though I’m not sure what exactly it would describe!

This morning as I fired up to work from home, Milo came in to show me an amazing coincidence! One of his giant phone book sized DC comics compilations from Christmas has a comic book about Center City and its new fireboat, the Phoenix!

phoenix-fireboat.jpg

We stopped on the way home at a TMobile store to get a SIM card for the B2G test phone, and then excitedly fought over it to play Little Alchemy on the bus and after dinner. I’m going to set aside time to poke at FirefoxOS (aka B2G or Boot2Gecko) every day but am not sure I’m going to use it for my primary phone. I informally reported one UI issue with it, and today would like to double check on that and will probably put it into Bugzilla. It immediately wanted to import all my contacts from Facebook, and all the contact info for my Facebook friends. Wow. Scary but interesting. FirefoxOS is going to released soon and will make smart phones a lot cheaper and therefore more accessible for people. As soon as I can buy one for Milo, I will — it will be his first smart phone. It’s really tempting to try to write an app for it.

milo-liz-roof-mozilla.jpg

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