Monday, March 29, 2010

Mozilla at CSUN 2010

First of all, check out my colleague Marco's recap of CSUN 2010. I'll try add to his report, while avoiding redundancy.

Uhm. Wow. That was rough. Three days of people loving Mozilla.

Meet ups
sharing a laugh: Mike Gorse, Brad Taylor, David Bolter, Marco Zehe, Steve Faulkner
I landed at CSUN on Thursday afternoon and left on Saturday morning. In the short time I was there I took quite a few notes and looking over them now I see they comprise a long to-do list. I won't bore you with that here. I met with accessibility hackers from such places as GNOME, RIM, Adobe, Novell, Deque Systems, GW Micro, IBM, The Paciello Group, and of course my colleagues from Mozilla, Marco and Alexander.Brad Taylor with two glasses of beer Cheeky Brad Taylor used beer to lure me into an interview. The rest of the to-do list came from interactions with users and suppliers. It was amusing to see how they reacted when I asked them questions like "how can we do better"; gathering it was sort of a refreshing change of pace from the booths that are selling product.

No, this bit isn't about accessibility in the cloud. Compared to last year's CSUN, I felt a bit of a dark cloud unfortunately. Dreams of a full open source stack for accessibility have taken a hit recently, with Oracle closing Will Walker's position as GNOME Accessibility Lead, and other funding sources tightening up. Promising Caribou creator/hacker Ben Konrath has been an innocent victim of frozen grant funds within the group that contracted him. This is happening as the GNOME accessibility infrastructure is being ported to d-bus and other exciting and hairy issues loom, such as GNOME 3.0, and GNOME Shell. Novell has been doing more than its share in accessibility, but will that continue? I'd really like to see a coordinated funding strategy among the distros. I can dream can't I?

Alexander and I getting some airI am keenly aware of how lucky I am to work at Mozilla. More than ever I am resolved to make the most of it, to seize the days, and to help move the accessibility needle as much as we can.Marco smiling on the shoreline We have a tough road ahead of us with the web moving ever more to visual media, we'll see more usage of canvas, and (hopefully) SVG. We see people excited about video, and captioning. We should continue to support accessibility innovation in web video, to leverage things like javascript access to annotation tracks and sync information. Could be wicked times.

Memorable Moments
In his blog Marco mentioned speaking with a humorous gentleman through a sign language interpreter. Witnessing this, I was deeply moved for some reason.

Dinner with Joanie, the current Orca (Linux screen reader) maintainer, followed by debugging a pesky Orca+Firefox bug.

Finally meeting Charles McCathieNevile, Matt May, Flavio Percoco Premoli, Bryen Yunashko, Mike Gorse, and many others. I hope to see them all again.

Chatting with Steve Faulkner about some shared W3C pain.

Sharing a flight back to Toronto with Greg Fields (RIM accessibility) and planning a UI meetup.

OK that's enough! Sorry. Thanks for reading.