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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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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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Earlier this week Ken blogged about more regions topping the 50% Firefox market share.

Two of those countries were in Europe – our first locales to win more than half of the browser market share. They were Slovenia and Macedonia, with Poland almost there:

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These are huge milestones for everyone.

But what does 50% market share mean? Is this a tipping point for even wider adoption? Or has the mission been accomplished?

On the former, we shall have to wait and see. And on the latter, we certainly have a lot more to do. I hope you have been following and contributing where possible to the Mozilla 2010 goal discussions which Mark Surman, Mitchell and Tristan have started amongst others. As you’ll read, Mozilla’s work is far from done. I am for one excited to see what the coming months will bring forth.

Back in the UK now and catching up…. and trying to get over the jet lag.. again..

I posted last week on the official Mozilla blog about the GWR certificate:

http://blog.mozilla.com/blog/2008/07/10/mozillas-guinness-world-record-certificate/

Just wanted to shout out here before its too late to Ian, Davina, Charlie, and Peter at Glaxstar who organized and sponsored the event – we couldn’t have done this without you! Thank you too for eBay who also bought drinks!

Big thanks to Tristan who came over from Paris to accept the award and to Gerv Markham who attended on behalf on the Mozilla Foundation. Seth was carrying the all important cargo back from Europe this weekend to share the certificate with Mozillians in the US.

Unfortantely I missed it. but from what I can see here – a great time was had by all! 🙂

Today, millions of people are celebrating Independence Day in America. Originally, begun to celebrate the Declaration of independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1776, millions are simply celebrating family, togetherness and freedom. Being a Brit with many American friends – some in the US, some in the UK trying to reclaim their dependence, I’ve celebrated many an Independence Day and always enjoyed partaking in the celebration of freedom (the Brits were all too happy to take that away from so many over the centuries).

Since joining Mozilla last year, I’ve spent alot of time thinking about what Freedom means particularly on the Web, and for the Web. Be that Freedom from the often evils of propriety technology, freedom to choose and online privacy, to accessibility and security. Its clear to me that here at Mozilla we have been doing an amazing job with our products and work, but there is a long way to go before the Web is closer to the vision we set out in the original Mozilla Manifesto guiding principles. Every day though we do get a little closer, and the Mozilla community grows a little stronger.

Launching Firefox 3 on June 17th recently, and seeing the amazing 8M+ number of downloads clock up in 24-hours – I was thrilled to see so many people freely making a choice on which Web browser they use. In fact, since those 24 hours, another 22M of you have also made that choice (Firefox 3 was now downloaded more than 30 million times in the last 18 days). To take a trip back down memory lane — some years ago, selecting your Web browser of choice was virtually impossible, there was really only one choice for most people. I’m glad to say we’ve come a long way since those days. Mozilla as an open source project and movement has been pivotal in driving back innovation and bringing forward choice to this most important window on the Web. But the work is by far not done, and we are only at the foot of the mountain.

So today on July 4th, I would urge you to also help promote freedom and choice on the Web.

Tell someone they do have a options,

show them how they can participate,

help them understand they too can help make the Web a better place for everyone.

Happy July 4th!

Every 2 weeks on Wednesdays a group of us get together on the phone to discuss events going on in and around the Mozilla World. The call is hosted by Mary Colvig who heads up Events at Mozilla. Its first and foremost a sharing, plus logistical organization, and also a time where you can join and to tell us about events for consideration.

Please do join us, and if you can’t make it this week – please do in 2 weeks (Jul 9th), or next 2 weeks after that (Jul 16) – and so on!  It happens bi-weekly on Wednesdays at 10am PDT (that’s 6pm GMT, and 7pm CET for those folks in Europe). You can also check the events area on SpreadFirefox for more info: http://www.spreadfirefox.com/mozilla-events

Simply dial in to the telephone meeting with the following details:

Dial-in number is:

+1 650-903-0800, then Ext 91, then please add the ID 248#

Agenda this week –

* OSCON:
o Booth
o QA BoF
o Community Party
* Black Hat:
o Milk & Cookies Party
o T-Shirt
* Jornadas Regionales de Software Libre
o Need to determine preferred speaking day for Chris Hofmann
o Any other needs from Mozilla Argentina for the event?
* Congresso Estadual de Software Livre – Ceará (CESoL-CE) – August 19 – 23, 2008
o Need to determine preferred speaking day for Chris Hofmann

Talk to you later!

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Last Thursday I had the great pleasure of meeting Steve Lee (more on Steve in the next posts) – one of Web accessibility’s most passionate advocates I have met, and a great fan of Mozilla to boot! Steve was in London attending Accessibility 2.0, which was organized by Ability Net. The conference had been designed to get more people involved in thinking about Web 2.0 accessibility, and saw the likes of Christian Heilmann from Yahoo and Ian Forrester from the BBC amongst other important folks from the accessibility field. You can read Steve’s write up of the event on his blog: http://eduspaces.net/stevelee/weblog/329891.html

Talking to Steve about accessibility over lunch was a real learning experience for me. It was humbling to learn about the great efforts of so many people, who are helping others with disabilities have an easier and enjoyable experience of using the Web. You might want to consider how a blind person views the Internet? Or how a person unable to use a mouse or keyboard is able to write an email. Or even how an old aged pensioner copes. All things we take for granted.

I’m pleased to say there are a number of solutions out there, but often they are expensive. That’s where Open Source Accessibility comes in. I’m proud to say a number of Mozilla people have been working for some time on accessibility issues within the realm of the Open Web.

Previously championed by Aaron Leventhal (now living in Germany) and with full strategic support from Frank Hecker at the Mozilla Foundation, the growing accessibility community is now led by Marco Zehe (Germany) and includes people in Europe such as Alexander Surkov (Russia), Gijs Kruitbosch (Netherlands) and  Steve Lee (UK). Together with all of the Mozilla Accessibility Community they have all worked together tirelessly with the to ensure Firefox includes accessibility features.

These people are a real driving force. They have been working and advocating together to make the open Web a better place for all people, including those with disabilities.  Work includes, Firefox accessibility features such as display themes and keyboard access, add-ons and work with manufacturers of specialist Assistive Technology devices like Screen readers to ensure a good user experience of the web. There are also many Firefox add-on tools to help web site developers ensure their sites are accessible. Steve tells me, “…perhaps most important is Firefox’s implementation of the W3C’s WAI-ARIA specification that allows complex dynamic web pages to be accessible (as highlighted by Accessibility 2.0)”.

For the new version of Firefox 3 (currently out in Beta – version 5), we have been purposeful to include details to make browsing accessibility even easier e.g. Full page Zoom – whereby you can view any important detail by zooming in or out of the Web entire page, scaling the text, layout and all images. Firefox will also remember your zooming state the next time you visit the page. There are also some big features such as making Firefox 3 an accessible graphical browser on Linux and others mentioned at AccessFirefox.org.

My outlook has been widened by my discussion with Steve, and I’ll certainly be planning to let you know about more Mozilla Accessibility work in the coming months. In the meantime if you would like to find out more about Mozilla’s accessibility outlook please take a look at these blog posts from Frank:
http://hecker.org/mozilla/accessibility-for-all
http://hecker.org/mozilla/accessibility-vision-and-strategy

Finally the Mozilla Access logo… 🙂

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