At around 7:30AM, I rolled out of bed, cleaned myself up, and headed down to breakfast.
Breakfast that day was similar to the day before: yogurt and granola. Coffee and juice. The cakes, however, had gotten the axe, and had been replaced by scones.
Very tasty. A bunch of us ate breakfast out on the meeting room patio. Once again, it was a gorgeous morning.
After breakfast, we all went inside to talk about data. Specifically, that we aim to be data-driven. This means that if we’re making a big decision about Thunderbird, or any of the other stuff we’re working on, we should probably have some solid data to back up those decisions. It’s a good idea; the road to bad design is paved with good intentions, and lack of data.
But how exactly are we going to get this data? Are we simply going to monitor our users without their knowledge, like Big Brother, and study them like lab rats? Are we going to collect reams of data about them secretly and silently in the background, without telling our users or giving them a choice?
Instead, we will always ask the user if they’re interested in submitting data for study. In general, our data collection is opt-in – and instead of tracking individuals, we aggregate the data, so that we never have a single person as a data point. Nice.
A lot of ideas got tossed around about how we can ask the users for data, and what type of data we were interested in. Some very interesting discussions took place regarding the Thunderbird “funnel” (the action path from visiting the Mozilla Thunderbird website, to downloading TB, to installing TB, to running TB, to making TB something commonly used). Our funnel is pretty wide, but some website tweaks might make it even wider. I’m excited to hear more about it.
After that, lunch. Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, veggies…once again, very tasty. Cake for dessert. We were getting pretty spoiled.
Following lunch, a bunch of us went outside to hear Andrew Sutherland talk about Wmsy – his constraint-based widgeting framework. This was one of the talks that took place out on the patio, and the sun was blazing. Much sunscreen had to go on, and I wish I’d brought sunglasses, because the image of the giant yellow pads of paper-on-easels that Andrew was drawing on was slowly being burnt into my retinas. And then, sunscreen started getting into my eyes. And yet, despite the blazing heat, the blinding sun, and the burning chemicals in my eyes, I was able to get a lot out of the talk. Wmsy is pretty cool, and you should check it out.
After that, we went inside, and there was a bunch of GSoC talk. Mentors talked about how it was working with GSoC students, and what kind of GSoC students we’d be looking for. Then, a big brainstorm happened where we came up with potential GSoC projects.
After that, the meetings were over. I headed upstairs to talk to my parents and Emily on Skype for a bit, and then headed down to the lobby for dinner. A group of us were eating at “Chow Mein”, an Italian-Chinese fusion restaurant.
It was pretty good. Fettuccine on one side of my plate, barbecue pork fried rice on the other, and some salad…a delicious and eclectic meal. As an added bonus, while refilling our glasses, our waiter told us in excruciating detail about how he got pulled over for DUI on his birthday. On that note, we had a fantastic dessert, and then left.
The sun was down, and we walked slowly along the beach back towards the hotel. We stopped off at the beach-side patio to hang out a bit first.
I woke up after a night of fitful dreaming about long airplane rides, dip masquerading as hummus and missing socks.
I only had myself to blame for the socks. Em had awesomely helped me pack two weeks worth of clothes into a carry-on bag, and the socks had been my responsibility. Sigh. Oh well.
It was early at this point. Too early. I glanced at the bedside clock…6 AM. It’d been a long time since I’d been up this early. And yet, strangely, I felt fully rested.
Fully rested, and excited. I was in Hawaii, baby!
I was determined to make the best of the early morning, and watch the sunrise. So, I scrambled around, getting dressed – during which, I got a few shots of the sun starting to rise through my hotel room window.
Through the window of my room at the Ilikai Hotel24-Jan-2011 11:27, FUJIFILM FinePix A345, 2.8, 5.8mm, 0.5 sec, ISO 250
It was time to hit the pavement. I threw on my sandals, and stepped into the elevator. I tried not to think about my sock problem. I figured I would spend most of my trip in sandals, so the lack of socks really wouldn’t be an issue until later on in the trip.
The hotel was pretty close to the beach, but the sun was coming up fast, and I didn’t want to miss it. I started jogging, flew past the Hilton lagoon, and made it to the beach in time to take these shots:
It took me about 5 minutes to jog to the beach, and the sun had already come up quite a bit.24-Jan-2011 11:38, FUJIFILM FinePix A345, 2.8, 5.8mm, 0.5 sec, ISO 119
There was a rock barrier going out into the water. I walked down to the end of it for some shots, and took a video. The rocks were black, volcanic stuff.24-Jan-2011 11:41, FUJIFILM FinePix A345, 2.8, 5.8mm, 0.5 sec, ISO 129
I’m not a big coffee drinker, but apparently Kona Coffee is a pretty BFD. Before I left home, my Mom asked me to bring a few bags back. I didn’t have a chance on this morning though – the Kona Coffee shop was closed:
Precious Kona coffee. It's closed at this point, so I'd come back a few days later.24-Jan-2011 12:17, FUJIFILM FinePix A345, 2.85, 6.0mm, 0.172 sec, ISO 100
The hotel didn’t want you to forget that either – they were pumping episodes of Hawaii Five-O through some flat-screens near reception, 24/7.
Along with the hotel rooms, the Ilikai was also providing a meeting room for the team for the week. The meeting room was also where breakfast and lunch would be served. It was a pretty awesome arrangement.
Here are some shots of the meeting room.
This was our meeting room for the week.25-Jan-2011 14:23, FUJIFILM FinePix A345, 2.8, 5.8mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 124
When I got to the meeting room, there were already a bunch of people there, and I went around and said a lot of hello’s. Once again, a lot of names and faces flew by, and it was hard to keep them all straight in my head.
Breakfast was yogurt with granola, and what appeared to be banana bread. Delicious.
After breakfast, David Ascher gave a talk about the mission of Mozilla Messaging, and what we’d accomplished in 2010, and what we were aiming to accomplish in 2011. There was a nice and easy, accessible vibe in the room, and I don’t think it was just because everybody was wearing Hawaiian shirts – the whole crew just seemed to gel that way.
After the talk, we more or less figured out the schedule for the rest of the week. That day, we’d be doing a bunch of demos.
The demos were pretty cool. Blake did one on the account provisioning service that he’s been working on for Thunderbird:
Afterwards, there was a big talk about mail storage with David Bienvenu – one of the original developers of Thunderbird.
After that, it was lunch break. Salad and sandwiches. Very tasty. There was also some peculiar bread that had a sweet taste and was blue/purple inside. Very interesting.
After lunch, people just hacked on their laptops for a bit, and chatted. Smaller discussions about other projects broke out. People went out onto the patio for sun. Very relaxed and casual. Eventually, someone plugged in the XBox and the Kinect, and we watched David Ascher and Dan Mosedale do some extreme white-water rafting.
Dinner at Uncle Bo’s
Eventually, things wound down. Old habits die hard, and the group started to fold around 5PM. At that point, I packed up my stuff and headed back to my room. I talked to Em on Skype. I got ready for dinner – I’d be meeting the rest of the group downstairs at 6PM.
This is the view from my hotel room. That's the Hilton lagoon in the middle, and the beach and ocean just beyond.24-Jan-2011 13:02, FUJIFILM FinePix A345, 2.8, 5.8mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 64
Stuffed, we cabbed back home. Some of the team was headed to a patio on the beach, and I tagged along. As some live music played, I talked school and science fiction with Andrew Sutherland and Gozer. I also found out that Gozer is a pool shark, and we decided to find a time to hit a pool hall sometime over the week.
At some point, a wave of exhaustion hit me, and I decided to head back to the hotel.
I made my way back to my room, jotted down my daily notes, and nodded off.