Ascend Project

Mentorship and barrier-removing accelerator program designed to explicitly invite, include, and support adult learners in making a first technical contribution to Open Source software.

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The Yenni Experience

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    The End of the Road

    16 Oct 2014 » <<<<<<< HEAD <<<<<<< HEAD ======= <<<<<<< HEAD >>>>>>> a830c61045d8c0d119009a402eeb739335999f47 ## The state of "what if" remains. This entire experience has been a tremendous blessing. There's an eerie feeling associated with knowing that in a tangible time frame, you were a completely different person. Self awareness is a silly thing that only matters to you, and makes the whole world different. It's fun to think about how hesistant I was about believing that I would understand anything the computer said, and even more fun that I know how to say something back now. It's more of a command than talking. With all that I have learned, it doesn't feel like it's enough. I still want to know the stories of the folks in the open source community and their reasons for becoming citizens. I crave to dominate my own domain, and hope to encourage the next generation of contributors. When asked, "what's next?" I don't know how to answer. When you feel like you conquered a whole new world, the internet, you know you can take on anything. Choosing a specific path, or passion, is most challenging. Looking back at my biggest passion, and through the encouragement I have received to pursue "what's possible" I hope to continue with a dream left behind. I was encouraged away from engineering school many years ago, and the reason for my enrollment was to create medical technology for trans men. I'm putting it out in the virtual world and will someday make a difference on a personal level to many. Every day is a learning experience, some days more than others. Every day at Ascend allowed me to learn about myself, my new community, and the continuous evolvement of my abilities. ======= ======= >>>>>>> b87da84563b4f2429f2678651890dae911eec226 ##The state of "what if" remains. This entire experience has been a tremendous blessing. There's an eerie feeling associated with knowing that in a tangible time frame, you were a completely different person. Self awareness is a silly thing that only matters to you, and makes the whole world different. It's fun to think about how hesistant I was about believing that I would understand anything the computer said, and even more fun that I know how to say something back now. It's more of a command than talking. With all that I have learned, it doesn't feel like it's enough. I still want to know the stories of the folks in the open source community and their reasons for becoming citizens. I crave to dominate my own domain, and hope to encourage the next generation of contributors. When asked, "what's next?" I don't know how to answer. When you feel like you conquered a whole new world, the internet, you know you can take on anything. Choosing a specific path, or passion, is most challenging. Looking back at my biggest passion, and through the encouragement I have received to pursue "what's possible" I hope to continue with a dream left behind. I was encouraged away from engineering school many years ago, and the reason for my enrollment was to create medical technology for trans men. I'm putting it out in the virtual world and will someday make a difference on a personal level to many. Every day is a learning experience, some days more than others. Every day at Ascend allowed me to learn about myself, my new community, and the continuous evolvement of my abilities. <<<<<<< HEAD >>>>>>> d2b248c765990392139b4020cd564705145baaf4 ======= <<<<<<< HEAD >>>>>>> b87da84563b4f2429f2678651890dae911eec226 ======= >>>>>>> b87da84563b4f2429f2678651890dae911eec226 >>>>>>> a830c61045d8c0d119009a402eeb739335999f47 I leave the program with a new found passion for myself and the community I was immersed in, and it makes me smile.

    Finding Scoobydiver

    10 Oct 2014 » Being a part of a community is a great feeling- having a unified sense of identity, or at least knowing you are all working towards a common goal. I suppose an analogy can be made about a drop in a bucket or an ocean to signify the magnitude of the experience, but I will leave that for the rhetoric lovers of the group. Ascend has given me a fast lane pass to joining a community that transends space and time. I see it more as a movement, and in other parts of the world it is. The Open Source and Open Web World is one of the biggest movements of human existance. Bold statement. I'll let you sit with that for a bit. It really is though. We, the Ascenders and I, were fortunate enough to have a visitor in our space last week. Michael Hoye, whom is a long time contributor for the movement and currently the Engineering Community Manager. He was kind enough to hold space for our questions about being first time contributors. Michael mentioned that Bugzilla can be considered a social network, and ultimately how the world would be changed by saving the open web. Noble goal. I have been fixated on learning the motivation behind those that are in the Open Source community. How they got exposed, how long they've been involved, and what it means to them. Unfortunately, I have found that those invloved in the Open Source community have an unspoken understanding of the importance of the movement, and seldom share their story. I waited till the questions in the room died down, since my questions were less technical and more related to passion. I asked him a question about the demographics of those contributing to the movement, something I have been fascinated with since Ascenders are made to change the face of it all- or at least make a slight impact in those regards. He gave an eloquent response that reminded me of every other rant I've heard about the lack of diversity, until it wasn't. Until he mentioned a contributor that has made a significant impact on multiple levels of Firefox. This contributor, known as ScoobyDiver, has an unknown identity. Apparently, this code magician has been known to fix bugs, contribute to documentation, and overall functionality of Mozilla products. Michael mentioned that multiple people have wanted to identify the magical contributor and unearth their origins without sucess. There have been many that attempt to follow time stamps of contributions in attempts of associating with location of waking work hours. Stories have been made of this contributor, this legend. Some speculate that it may be a group of people that work together. Whatever te case may be, Scoobydiver has made a notable impact to a massive movement and their story should be known. In my opinion, the legend, is doing a disservice to all who are in the community and all whom wish to join by remaining undesclosed. The movement is so important, that every voice needs to be heard. Every journey leading up to becoming a citizen of the community is one worth documenting and sharing. If you're out there Scoobydiver, tell us who you are and why you do it. Inspire the next legend.

    Behind the File Name

    02 Oct 2014 »

    There was a week of radio silence in my blogging due to what I like to call -pain brain- it’s when my chronic pain becomes so unmanageable that my neurotransmitters decide to focus on causing me to be aware of pain instead of allowing me to think, learn, and generally be productive. Coming out of that state and back in the running of the Ascend pack has been no easy feat. There’s So.Much.Learning!

    This week we finally picked our bug. The crux of the project, and the reason for all the intense learning. My chosen bug had some big words in the description that enticed me to take it on. “Consolidate… into a single function for pluralization” Seems easy, right? Sexy even? In that community building sense, of course. I felt it call out to me and had to make it mine. Silly thing is, although the words caught my attention, I had no idea what that request meant.

    Where would I find the code? What would I do with it once I found it? What do any of those words mean arranged in that manner?

    No big deal. I would just take learning one day at a time.

    The first step would be to find the code I would be inserting myself into and forever changing. I would have to become intimate with this code, understand its’ inner workings, figure out what makes is flow freely.

    In bugzilla, where the code was reported, the code was mentioned and I had to then search for it in my development environment on my personal computer. My life mentor and creator of the Ascend project, Lukas Blakk, was so kind as to help me find the location of where the code was found- setup.js -is my golden ticket. That’s where my bug is housed and where I will make a name for myself, or at least be considered a member of the Open Source community once I submit a patch.

    Talk about windows of opportunity! When I opened setup.js in my text editor -that’s fancy way to say that I could not mess with the code instead of just oogling at it- I was amazed by how many lines of code it housed. Over 1000! There were so many functions I had never heard of, so many commands I didn’t know could make a difference, so much magic.

    I realized that a seemingly meaningless name such as setup.js could actually be the backbone of Firefox. That’s my assumption anyway, haven’t quite figured it out. Stay tuned, and you will learn as I do about all the magic behind the setup.js face.


    Ping vs. PM

    01 Oct 2014 »

    There’s this whole method of communication that I wasn’t aware of before joining Ascend. The infamous IRC- Internet Relay Chat. It’s a place where the folks that are in the internet world- contributing, building, rebuilding, reimagining- hang out. SOME of them are on it at all times.

    Now this may be hard for some of you to believe, but there are some folks that dont know anything about such methods of communication. They don’t know the rules of the Chat world, they don’t know the etiquette, they don’t even know where to find this wonder.

    This might make me lose credibility, or gain it, but I was one of those people. One of our first days in Ascend, we got the skinny on what’s expected in the IRC and we were released into it’s endless rooms of people connecting.

    The IRC is vital for the progression of Mozilla and many other online communities. Naturally, my presence would be essential in my desire to contribute to the cause.

    This week, I found a bug that I want to tackle and requested it be assigned to me. Simple one line request on the page describing the bug in Bugzilla. The mentor of the bug replied in less than 24 hours and asked if I had started work on it while also suggesting I “ping” him if I had any questions.

    This was magical for me. It was a green light in a dark place. Today, I sent this bug mentor a PM-private message. Ping is a term used in the IRC world. I’ve been learning so many terms, that in my mind it meant that I should send him a message. The error in my action was that Ping is a request for direct contact, not yet consented. Once the person on the other screen receives that request they can respond with Pong as means of agreeing to be personally contacted. I broke one of the biggest codes in the IRC world. Moral code, that is.

    In a state of panic, I began to imagine the terrible outcomes that may come from that moral slip. -I can be flagged as a creeper. -What if no one wants to work with me because they think I don’t respect boundaries? -What if they think I don’t know how to follow rules and don’t want to assign me any future bugs? My action plan to remedy the situation was to draft an email explaining the difference between Ping and PM and acknowledge where I made an error and apologize while promising to never make that error again. Since I have already contacted the mentor today, I will hold off on sending a second attempt for communication till tomorrow.

    I also have to acknowledge that this mentor can be anywhere in the world right now, and although my direct contact may be frowned upon, he may be in a time zone that sleeps while I am awake. The magic of the IRC and the movement is that it is not constrained by time and space. We are all hoping to move forward together.


    The Reality of Magic

    19 Sep 2014 »

    It’s hard conceptualize how much I’ve actually learned. Not only from the material we are being introduced to, but from my peers and mentors as well. I pinch myself daily, thinking this_isn’t_real. That somehow I fabricated this reality where people are encouraging of failure because they know it leads to learning. Where my personal life is considered as a part of my daily interactions with everyone in this journey.

    I remember a time when the internet was magic. When I typed what I wanted into the awesome bar and it retreived what it thought I wanted to see. In my mind, it was an intelligent creature. I understand the makings behind the magic on a different level now. This program is allowing me to lift the curtain and see the magic behind the presented. Before Ascend, I wasn’t aware that websites were hosted elsewhere. I was under the assumption that each website was an independent entity. Really, it’s like a house that belongs to a town. That’s what i tell myself to try and understand the complexities of it. My understanding is still fairly basic, and I’m excited to look back at this post as a milestone.

    The mentors/ instructors need a shout out, though. That’s the real magic in this program. I’m star struck every day. They have created one of the best environments I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing- learning focused or otherwise. In my previous paths exhausted, I facilitated youth groups, and dreamed of creating a space as this.

    As far as learning goes- there’s so much! The day before I started Ascend, I didn’t know what the terminal was. Now, I’m at a dangerous point with it. Knowing how to make a big change/ movement of files, and even deleting all of my work. In the spirit of learning, it’s easier the second time around.

    A major milestone in the learning experience was testing software, and being able to identify bugs. Not the creepy crawlers of the night, but the glitches in software that make for a less than favorable experience. Not only did I identify a bug, I submitted a bug report and brought it to the attention of the developers.

    Automation has always been an intimidating word for me, something too futuristic about it. With Ascend, the future is now. The Ascend team learned all about making the computer run test for us using Mozmill, that’s power. Here are my results!

    It’s been a great second week of learning, and I can’t wait to look back and realize how much I will take from this lovely experience.


    How to MozTrap

    19 Sep 2014 »

    MozTrap sounds intimidating, doesn’t it? Something about that name, maybe the Trap part, that makes me not trust it. It really is a great thing, and you may not believe it… YET! What is a MozTrap? How do you eat that? Where do you put it?

    It’s actually a way to test Firefox -the web browser- for bugs.

    I know what you’re thinking, “this ninja thinks I know what a bug is” Let me tell you what a bug is, and a bit of a history lesson if you will. Her-story, actually. Grace Hopper- an inspiration to computer scientist everywhere is creditted with making the term debugging popular when she was trying to fix a computer glitch and was able to remove a physical bug, a moth, from her computer. In the computer and internet world ‘bugs’ are means for establishing that something isn’t working as it should.

    Alright, so now that we are up to speed in knowing what a bug is, let’s chat MozTrap. It is a web application that allows the open source community, and those hoping to become members, to test different Mozilla products. It provides steps to follow based on what browser or system you are able to test.

    How do you get into MozTrap and start testing AND possibly contributing? Excellent question! The answers will follow in a wonderful series of screen shots that are meant to help in signing up and signing onto MozTrap.

    First Step

    Get a Persona Account! It will help you get into other Mozilla community web boards and get you started on your journey to contributing.

    Log In

    Now it’s time to venture over to MozTrap, and sign in.

    MozTrap Sign in after Persona

    Explore your new reality.

    Tests galore

    Once in, you’re a part of a whole new world. Find the tab that says Test Runs

    Test Runs and systems

    You’ll need to know more about the version of Firefox you have loaded.

    About Firefox

    The dialog box that appears tells you all about what version you’re running and links to other cool Mozilla facts.

    Version Information

    Knowing what software your personal computer is running is crucial. Go ahead and enter that at the bottom of the screen.

    System Information

    When all of your system information is loaded and you have chosen the Firefox version to test, it will take you to a magical place that offers step by step process into the testing realm.

    Tests to Explore

    The instructions are fairly easy to follow and will have you feeling like a community member in no time.

    Welcome and happy bugging!


    A week in wonder

    12 Sep 2014 »

    A week in wonder.

    The night before the first day of the program was reminiscent of the joys I had prior to visiting Disneyland as a kid. I couldn’t sleep in anticipation. I did not know what to expect, I did know that I was about to embark on a journey. My peers in the project would become my new community, my family.

    We are here to make a difference in the face of technology. We are here to change the future in the present. To become part of something larger than ourselves.

    As the week progressed, I had a slew of negative affirmations- self delivered. Thoughts that reflected past experiences when attempting to break the glass ceiling and into a realm of possibilities. Fortunately, the facilitators/ mentors/ prophets of the program have been nothing short of a blessing. They have provided me with a wonderful learning environment that is conducive to the learning of all participants.

    Amazed, blessed, grateful, are not sufficient in explaining the overwhelming positivity I feel towards this experience.

    https://jcazares7.makes.org/popcorn/29y2


    First Day

    08 Sep 2014 »

    Best day of the rest of my life.

    It’s difficult to trust what you don’t understand. To embark on a journey with folks you just met, and believe that whatever happens will be better than all previous paths exhausted. How do you prepare for a new life chapter, a hard re-direct?

    By showing up and doing the work! Knowing that the road is paved, despite not being able to see more than one step ahead. Trusting that you were chosen for your aptitude, and that your mentors/teachers/guides have your best interest in mind.

    Believing that you are a part of something bigger than yourself. A movement of modern needs for equality.

    This is my chance to make a difference, a contribution on a scale I cannot currently comprehend. As I move forward, I will remember this opportunity as a major turning point and smile.