MAOW Berlin post-mortem
So I am back from MAOW Berlin...
First, mucho mucho mucho kudos to Paul Rouget for a great event. Paul organized two great events, one on friday in Paris France (Mozilla Labs Café) and one in Berlin Germany on saturday. He did not sleep a lot last week... And since he is the kind of guy who replies "I can't take a day off, I have a meeting at the office and there's the SolutionsLinux conf/exhibition" when you tell him "Paul, you had no week-end and worked like hell, you need two days off", I respectfully suggest Chris Blizzard to give Paul two or even three extra days off and to order him to take them immediately... He sincerely deserves it.
Berlin is a strange place, at least to me. If you consider the fact a yiddish Glazman would have been killed there 70 years ago, that the event took place in East Berlin and that a capitalist Glazman would have been an Enemy of Class thirty years ago, that I crossed safely the Brandeburg Gate without being killed for that, that Berlin is probably the only european capital hosting a foreign monument to foreign soldiers for a defeat of the local army, it gives really a strange feeling.
Anyway. After Mozilla Labs Café, Paul and I took the train to CDG airport and from there a Lufthansa plane to Berlin TXL. Arrived at the Park Inn hotel - the former Interhotel Stadt Berlin that was a showcase for the local flavor of communism - around 10pm but Paul could not even check in and had to go immediately at C-Base I told the guy at the registration desk that they should expect him around 1am. And guess what ? Paul who did not sleep the two nights before arrived at the hotel at 1am. That guy deserves a medal, really...
Took a few photos of the Fernsehturm, the emblematic 368 meters-high tour of east Berlin. Woke up at 7h30. Discovered that the hotel room has a nice but very painful design : there's only one door for both the shower and the restrooms. Close on the shower's side to take a shower, leave the shower, close on the restrooms' side for well you know, and the whole path of the door is flood with water. Lovely. And of course, all of this does not close at the top so you get all the water vapor, the noise and the odors in your bedroom. Hum
Took a quiet breakfast on the 2nd floor of the hotel in a laaaaarge room that looked like an East-Germany movie, and took my backpack to walk a bit before the meeting. I walked a lot, discovering parts of what was East Berlin that I suppose tourists usually do not see. Strange. And not very nice. Communist architecture. You can easily see if a building is recent or from before 1990.
C-Base in itself is really something. A hackers' cave. The design seem to come from the brain of hackers under influence. Wow.
After getting my MAOW t-shirt from Paul's hands (Paul is ubiquitous), I took a seat to listen to the first talk, Rey Bango's. No surprise to expect, I already heard Rey the day before in Paris. In Paris, Rey was extremely stressed, repeating his speech in front of the wall five minutes before going on stage. Rey, hear me well, you're an amazing speaker, you talk was alive, well done, and everyone loved it. Stop stressing BTW Rey, I'm elusive ? Me ?-)
Then Chris Beard gave almost the same talk I heard in Paris but he is also a great speaker and I enjoyed hearing both of them again.
After lunch, Robert Nyman, as he quote himself on twitter "a swede with a weird sense of humour", gave a really great talk about Your First Firefox extension. A wonderful introduction to my own talk Your First Xulrunner-based Application immediately after. The room was packed ! Wow ! Absolutely full. It went very well, but I was surprised to discover that most people had little knowledge of XUL and stuff. That is an important remark : it means that MAOW attracts people who want to learn about the Mozilla technologies because they want to invest on it, either personnally or professionnally. In the past, most events I attended were packed with people already having a good knowledge of Mozilla. Don't misunderstand me : there were also confirmed Mozilla hackers in the room like Michel Gutierrez of VideoDownloadHelper fame, or Hisham El-Emam (aka hish on IRC) for instance.
I also demoed the twitter-based app I am working on for Pages Jaunes.
My second talk of the day was about Monetizing Firefox Extensions. That's a major topic. Patrick Finch (can you imagine a Briton and a Frog talking swedish together ? that's Patrick and me...) just wrote about it.
I wrote it many times. We all work with Mozilla technologies because they are cool, funny, exciting, powerful and feed our brain. We would all love to live from that work, and keep everything open source. Because if we don't live from it, it means that we only work on it on our spare time and that is not enough for most of us. Furthermore, it's not a win-win strategy for the Mozilla ecosystem. After long and very productive talks with Rey and Michel Gutierrez, I am going to write a document about it. It will propose guidelines and a methodology. Give me two to three weeks please. All input highly welcome at daniel AT glazman DOT org.
The rest of the day was excellent, and I laughed a lot at Tobias Leingruber's talk, funny, well done and interesting. Had great productive chats with many people. Wow, what a day.
Oh, a free and very tasty buffet, with two free beers per person ! Oh ! A FOXYPONG GAME ! Had a long chat in swedish with Robert.
Then Pike, Rey, Tomcat, Brian King, Robert Nyman, Gandalf and I went back to the hotel to drop our laptops and we walked to a local restaurant. Rey, who should exercise a bit more, was fed up with walking after 400 meters, which is a bit of something from a european perspective We had a very good time at the restaurant, with nice food and a lot of fun. But the day left a mark on us and we left Gandalf and Pike around 11pm to walk back to the hotel, almost all exhausted.
Woke up early on sunday to meet Robert in the hotel's lobby. 8am, I had plenty of time for my breakfast but uh wait uh ah my watch says 8am but I did not touch my watch and we moved to summer daylight saving time during the night. What does my iPhone say ? Urgh argh. 9am. Ok, well, hurry up. Light french breakfast and Robert is already in the lobby. Dropping my luggage in the locker room, a bit scared to let my laptop like that but hey, life is a risk in itself.
We walked a lot on sunday. Discussed a lot, took a lot of photos, stopped at the Einstein Café where one of the waitresses was unfortunately not a polite genius, bought presents for kids and family, and finally headed back to the hotel to find Paul and share a cab to Tegel airport. A great and funny day with Robert. Waved goodbye to Robert at the airport and took the plane back to Paris. Emmanuelle Seigner (french actress, former topmodel, Roman Polanski's wife) was in the plane - she was in the CDG->TXL one too - with her children Morgane and Elvis and her Mac laptop, the one the young boy almost dropped on the ground in the bus and I catched before that. Hey, how could I leave a macbook fall like that ? Paul, who spent the whole flight sat next to the teenage girl, told me "pffff, ouhlalala" in the bus from the plane to the terminal, and french rarely say "pffff, ouhlalala" without reason, as you surely already know
Took the train again to Paris then to my place, arrived exhausted, dropped the backpack, unpacked a few things and slept very well.
MAOW Berlin 2009 was great. Well organized, well done. Probably a model for next iterations of MAOW elsewhere.
Update: I forgot a few details:
- the Park Inn hotel belongs to SAS. 18 EUR per day for a flacky LAN connectivity is a true shame, and probably the most expensive price I have ever paid for that. Absolutely ridiculous. Shame on SAS.
- Lufthansa's self-checkin kiosks are just great. Air France should copy them.
- 3 different tracks is too much for a MAOW. Two is probably better.