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Firefox 3.5 is now alive and kicking! Our fastest release ever, new personal security features and support for open video. Its a release in which once again Firefox is “Upgrading the Web”.

Help us celebrate this landmark achievement in London, on Monday July 6. We’ll have a few beers together, and there will be a big screen to demo Firefox 3.5 and what’s new at Mozilla Labs.

We’d love to see your demos too – so please come along and share what you have.

Sign up on Upcoming at : http://upcoming.yahoo.com/event/3013300/

When: Monday July 6, 2009 from 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Where: Shooting Star

125-129 Middlesex Street
London, England E1 8JF

See you there! 🙂
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I blogged a few days ago about how many people talk to me these days about the web, and how it impacts their and their families’ lives. Almost all the folks over 35 want to talk about how their kids interact with the Internet, and are generally more worried than they are thrilled by kids spending more and more of their time online.

We all have to admit, that we have become like our own parents (when we were young), and do not fully understand the world of our children. Thankfully there are many tools and bits of software which help parents protect their children whilst browsing the Web. Firefox Add-ons such as Glubble allow parents to set which sites children can visit, whilst youngsters can safely play games, chat, surf and find information.

That said, a worrying development of the Web has been the rise cyber-bullying in our children’s lives. Beatbullying, is a UK based charity who works tirelessly to help Britain’s youngsters deal with and protect themselves against bullying. Earlier this year they launched their CyberMentors Program, offering help and advice from trained mentors to anyone who is being bullied online. Mozilla supported CyberMentors project straight out of the gate, whereby members of the Mozilla community volunteered to be trained as CyberMentors. Yesterday, we took our partnership a stage further for this worthwhile cause by building and launching a new custom Firefox browser for CyberMentors.

The new browser offers:
• Chatting with victims of bullying and other CyberMentors
• Reporting online bullying
• Providing tips for online safety
• Accessing the Beatbullying media centre

The Firefox browser has been customised with building-in buttons and a media-player which links easily to CyberMentors video and audio. There’s also a persona (skin for your browser) which kids will love.

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Beatbullying campaign to make ‘the web a safer environment for youngsters’. We are proud to work side by side together with a fellow public benefit organization, advancing our mission to improve the online experience for people everywhere, whilst keeping the web safe and open for everyone.
Get Firefox for CyberMentors on the PC, Mac & Linux,  and if you already use Firefox, you just need the Add-On >>

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Over the weekend I did a lot of fun things, and one not so fun thing (guess which one!):

Why am I telling you all this? Well, it never, never ceases to amaze me how many times I end up talking about Mozilla and about how much people want to listen. It doesnt matter if I’m completing a horrendously long application process for a new bank account, or introducing myself to my friend’s brother — as soon as people hear the word Firefox they want to talk.

Now, I meet a lot of tech people, so I its natural that the conversation leads to tech talk — and they are 99.9% always Firefox fans. But time and time again, meeting new people who are teachers, lawyers, writers, film makers, banking staff – whether they are Firefox users or not, they want to talk about the Web.  And they always have a glut of questions:

  • Is Facebook safe for my kids?
  • What about content? How do I stop someone pirating my film, music, tv show?
  • What do I think about Google?
  • What’s the future of the Web? Where will it end?

I’m refreshed to have these conversations, and am very happy to talk about the Web in all shapes and sizes.  I come away happy that at some point, I’ve had another chance to evangelize for a more open Web. But, what strikes me is people are hungry for information. They *want* to have conversations about the Web. They want to debate and so they can have informed opinions, and learn from anothers’ differentiation point.

People are not naive, they know about the Web, and they have concerns and fears — and excitment and loves. But they also often need to talk it through, as well as read about what’s going on. Dont be afraid to strike up a chat on a flight, over supper, in a cab — each time you do, you’ll be helping someone better understand the beauty of the Web.

I’m delighted to see the Web play such a large role in people’s lives, and am proud that the work we do at Mozilla is directly impacting them.

** picture courtesy of soylentgreen23

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Over the past few months we’ve mentioned several times about our plans to launch a technology related volunteer week, and today we are very proudly unveiling mozillaservice.org

During the week of September 14-21 we are asking people all over the world to step up and make a difference in their local communities by using the beauty of the Web.

We want people to come forward and volunteer their time, to seek out opportunities to do good in their communities, and make a real difference to people’s live with technology.  We’re looking for people who want to share, give, engage, create, and collaborate by offering their time and talent to local public benefit organizations, non-profits and people who need their help —

i) you could be a coder, or do testing, localize, or you might know networks etc

ii) you know how to use the Web, and are Web savvy

Here are some ways you could help:

* Help a full time working Mum learn how to buy groceries online when her kids are sleeping
* Connect with your local community centre and offer to build a website, or a calender of events
* Reach out to a local library and offer to write a tutorial on how to use the Web
* Design a twitter background image for an NGO
* Go to your local school and volunteer to help set up wi-fi network
* Refurbish an old laptop and donate it to a senior citizens retirement home
* Call a family meeting and explain to everyone why the Web is important
* …. the lists are really endless.

Everyone should have the opportunity to know how to use the Internet, have easy access to it, and have a good experience when they’re online. As you know, Mozilla as a public benefit organization has a firm mission to make the Web better for everybody. In fact, the Mozilla community already has an incredible track record of doing amazing things. So we know, that however big all small people’s action are — they will make a serious difference.

We’ve so far launched mozillaservice.org in English, however, over the coming weeks with the help of the Mozilla community, Mozilla Service Week will be available in many languages and with additional partners.

So what should you do next?

You can learn more on how to get involved by either volunteering or listing your, or your organization’s needs. You can also already pledge how many hours of support you would like to volunteer.

Giving and creating are so much of open source life, we are very proud to bring those skills, the energy, and the caring nature of people into the lives of as many people as possible.

Please get involved with Mozilla Service Week – Everyone can help build a better internet.

Go to mozillaservice.org

Add Mozilla Service Week Twitter

Tag anything related – mozservice09

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Credits:
Mozilla Service Week so far has been made possible by scores of people – Mary Colvig, Austin King, Stephen Donner, Krupa Raj, Jeremy Orem, and Peter Deitz. There are many, many more people Austin has mentioned on his blog as well.

NB: We are building Mozilla Service Week out in the open with the help of many volunteers – there will be many more people to thank over the coming weeks.

Picture 1a few weeks ago my colleague Mary gave a short announcement about Mozilla’s plans to organize a Technology Volunteer Week. This wasn’t about volunteering for the Mozilla Project, in terms of coding or localizing  Mozilla projects – but about encouraging folks out there to do technology acts of real life public good.

The Mozilla Service Week – will bring together the Mozilla community, and many others who deeply care about technology to make a real difference in their community with the help of the Web.  This could be something as small as helping your grandma get online, (which is actually, I’m sure a very big deal for you, your grandma and your family!), to organizing a group effort to collect used hardware for your local community centre.

Every action will help, and make a difference to someone’s world.

Since we first told you about Mozilla Service Week, we’ve made great progress. 17 different Mozilla communities around the world have come forward to help us build Mozilla Service Week in their local language over the coming weeks (please let me know if you would also like to help). And, we nearly have the English site ready to go.  Just a few more tweaks, and then we’ll be ready to share this with you. The week of service itself will now take place in September, but there’s plenty to do together before then to make sure this is a brilliant volunteering week.

We’ll soon have more news for you very soon… please stay tuned!

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Key to the open door

Seth Godin (of which you know I’m a fan of from time to time) blogged yesterday about how the term “open source” is being over-used. In fact it was the buzz word of 2008, and seems to be continuing to right into 2009. Its used with regard to anything and everything, and can be confusing to say the least… and both frustrating and enlightening if you actually work in open source. 😉 Seth & Michal Migurski produced a list of the most common ‘open’ terms to try and set folks on the straight and narrow – its worth taking a look.

In some respects its delightful to see the term open source be used in so many ways… we have entered a new age where we see more companies, and organizations being more transparent, and working in the open to gain customer feedback. We have a cacophony of user shared experiences, photos, videos, all open for us to dually consume and add to. There are more opportunities to get involved with your favorite *whatever it might be*, information (or your identity) can be passed from one place to another often seamlessly.

So – its not stretch to say, we are living in the most open environment we have ever seen (unfortunately, I am only able to refer to the developed world here). We have come along way!

But… its important not to forget, whilst we make these huge advances forward in being open, there is much more work to be done, and still much more work to maintain these levels of openness. Terms are one thing, but making sure open, stays open is quite another. And its easy to take this for granted, especially when it comes to the Web.

Open means different things to different people, and Seth’s list surely demonstrates this in today’s world (also see a bunch of dictionary terms below**). But one thing is certain, what ever open means to you – you will want to preserve it!


**The dictionary entry for the term ‘open’ (taken from the

1 allowing access, passage, or a view through an empty space; not closed or blocked up

2 [ attrib. ] exposed to the air or to view; not covered

3 [ predic. ] (of a store, place of entertainment, etc.) officially admitting customers or visitors; available for business

4 (of a person) frank and communicative; not given to deception or concealment

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For several months now – I’ve been meaning to add a post regarding a few books I’ve recently read.

Crowdsourcing: How the Power of the Crowd is Driving the Future of Business by Jeff Howe

picture-31 Jeff Howe coined the term ‘crowd sourcing’ in a Wired article in 2006 – he then went on to expand his theory into this book.  Crowdsourcing sets out the method by which the ‘power of the many can be harnessed together on the internet to build and to innovate’. Howe does a good job of explaining how all this has been made possible by technological advancement, mixed with social and economic change. Throughout many examples he illustrates how crowdsourcing is becoming and will become ever more present in our daily lives, whether we realize it or not.

It’s a good easy read, and if you are a Mozillian – much of this will seem like second nature too you, but its still worth a read (and the examples outside of software are interesting).

Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies by Charlene Li & Josh Bernoff

picture-6This was more of a typical business book, but gave more than I expected. The style of the book was written to the business manager trying to make sense of our brave new world e.g. think of a corporate company trying to get with the 21st century — Facebook, Web 2.0, Flickr, sharing content etc. It was amusing to read at times and the authors from Forrester Research had certainly done their homework. At times, I have to admit, it was a little cringe worthy; but on the whole I was delighted to see a book written to help businesses get to grips and think carefully about the new path of the social web. Having more people understand the freedom of sharing content and the power of collaboration – can only be a good thing. Its something open source has known all about for a very long time. There’s not a lot of point reading this to glean more about how to work in this environment if you are already working in open source, however, if you want to get a taste how the business world views what we live and breathe every day, then it has some pretty interesting tidbits.

The Lego Group example on “how to energize an existing community”, Pages 145-147) made great reading.

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Hi all:  Please join us for todays’s community marketing call at 10am PDT / 18:00 UTC on April 8th

How to join the call:

  • Dial-in Info: +1.650.903.0800, followed by 92# and then 7391#
  • Or you can use our toll-free number: +1.800.707.2533, followed by 369# and then 7391#. If you’re outside the US, use Skype to call in with our toll-free number.
  • You can also watch the meeting live in Open Video at air mozilla
  • For those that can’t make the call or want to participate online, join us in #marketing on IRC (irc.mozilla.org).

Agenda:

  • Spread Firefox
    • Launch
    • Community Spotlight
  • Community Marketing Team Update:
    • Launch activities
    • Overall program going forward
    • Name suggestions?
  • Mozilla.org update
  • Roundtable updates:
    • Irina
    • Tobi
    • Tomcat
  • Events:
    • Europe Update
    • Portland BarCamp
    • OSBridge
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Join us for our open Community Marketing call today – March 25 at 10am PST / 5pm UTC.

• Dial-in: +1.650.903.0800, followed by 92# and then 7391#
• Toll-free: +1.800.707.2533, followed by 369# and then 7391#

(The toll-free number works with Skype and some other VOIP services from outside the US.)

For those that can’t make the call or want to participate online, join us in #marketing on IRC (for an easy way to login, visit the CMT IRC page).

Here’s the agenda:

Look forward to see you there!

Join us for our open Community Marketing call today – March 11 at 10am PST / 5pm UTC.
Call information:
Dial in  +1.650.903.0800, followed by 92# and then 7391#.

Or you can use our toll-free number: +1.800.707.2533, followed by 369# and then 7391#.

For those that can’t make the call or want to participate online, join us in #marketing on IRC (for an easy way to login, visit the CMT IRC page).

Here’s the agenda:

1) Announcements

2) Mozilla Labs:
– Overview
– How to get involved

3) Firefox 3.1 ->  Firefox 3.5:
– Update on timing
– Launch team

4) Marketing idea incubator
– Public Displays of Firefox
– Holi update
– Easter promotion

5) Affiliate Buttons:
– How to create one

6) Community Marketing Guide
– MozCamps Explained

7) Quick events update

Look forward to see you there!