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 The cakes, however, had gotten the axe, and had been replaced by scones.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?
Of course not, because that’d be evil. And creepy. Don’t track me, bro.
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.
As a former GSoC student, I have to say, it’s a really worthwhile program. I had an awesome summer doing GSoC. Highly recommended. Thumbs up, Google.
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.
We raced Mai Tai umbrellas, and trash-talked hipsters. It was probably the most hipster thing I did in Hawaii.
And speaking of hipsters (mildly NSFW):
Eventually, I made it back to my hotel room, and fell asleep.
Regarding data collection, you’re going to talk to Prof. Mike Terry at Waterloo, right? http://hci.uwaterloo.ca/faculty/mterry/