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Mozilla: VoxelJS, AiC and Mozilla B-Team

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Moz/FF
  • Mozilla VR Blog: VoxelJS: Chunking Magic

    A couple of weeks ago I relaunched VoxelJS with modern ThreeJS and modules support. Today I'm going to talk a little bit about how VoxelJS works internally, specifically how voxels are represented and drawn. This is the key magic part of a voxel engine and I owe a tremendous debt to Max Ogden, James Halliday and Mikola Lysenko

    Voxels are represented by numbers in a large three dimensional array. Each number says what type of block goes in that block slot, with 0 representing empty. The challenge is how to represent a potentially infinite set of voxels without slowing the computer to a crawl. The only way to do this is to load just a portion of the world at a time.

  • AiC: Collaborative summary documents

    One of my goals was that we could, at least for a moment, disconnect people from their particular position and turn their attention towards the goal of achieving a shared and complete summary. I didn’t feel that we were very succesful in this goal.

    For one thing, most participants simply left comments on parts they disagreed with; they didn’t themselves suggest alternate wording. That meant that I personally had to take their complaint and try to find some “middle ground” that accommodated the concern but preserved the original point. This was stressful for me and a lot of work. More importantly, it meant that most people continued to interact with the document as advocates for their point-of-view, rather than trying to step back and advocate for the completeness of the summary.

    In other words: when you see a sentence you disagree with, it is easy to say that you disagree with it. It is much harder to rephrase it in a way that you do agree with – but which still preserves (what you believe to be) the original intent. Doing so requires you to think about what the other person likely meant, and how you can preserve that.

    However, one possible reason that people may have been reluctant to offer suggestions is that, often, it was hard to make “small edits” that addressed people’s concerns. Especially early on, I found that, in order to address some comment, I would have to make larger restructurings. For example, taking a small sentence and expanding it to a bullet point of its own.

    Finally, some people who were active on the thread didn’t participate in the doc. Or, if they did, they did so by leaving comments on the original GitHub thread. This is not surprising: I was asking people to do something new and unfamiliar. Also, this whole process played out relatively quickly, and I suspect some people just didn’t even see the document before it was done.

    If I were to do this again, I would want to start it earlier in the process. I would also want to consider synchronous meetings, where we could go try to process edits as a group (but I think it would take some thought to figure out how to run such a meeting).

    In terms of functioning asynchronously, I would probably change to use a Google Doc instead of a Dropbox Paper. Google Docs have a better workflow for suggesting edits, I believe, as well, as a richer permissions model.

    Finally, I would try to draw a harder line in trying to get people to “own” the document and suggest edits of their own. I think the challenge of trying to neutrally represent someone else’s point of view is pretty powerful.

  • Mozilla B-Team: happy bmo push day!

    Bugfixes + enabling the new security feature for API keys.

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Leftovers: Kate, Krita, UCLA Library and RcppExamples

  • Kate - Document Preview Plugin - Maintainer Wanted!

    At the moment the Document Preview plugin that e.g. allows to preview Markdown or other documents layout-ed via embedding a matching KPart is no longer maintained. If you want to step up and keep that plugin alive and kicking, now is your chance!

  • The Sprint

    Hi -)) haven’t posted for some time, because I was busy travelling and coding for the first half of the month. From Aug 5 to Aug 9, I went to the Krita Sprint in Deventer, Netherlands. According to Boud, I was the first person to arrive. My flight took a transit via Hong Kong where some flights were affected due to natural and social factors, but fortunately mine was not one of them. Upon arrival in Amsterdam I got a ticket for the Intercity to Deventer. Railway constructions made me take a transfer via Utrecht Centraal, but that was not a problem at all: the station has escalators going both up to the hall, and down to the platforms (in China you can only go to the hall by stairs or elevator (which is often crowded after you get off)). When I got out of Deventer Station, Boud immediately recognized me (how?!). It was early in the morning, and the street’s quietness was broken by the sound of me dragging my suitcase. Boud led me through Deventer’s crooked streets and alleys to his house. For the next two days people gradually arrived. I met my main mentor Dmitry (magician!) and his tiger, Sagoskatt, which I (and many others) have mistaken for a giraffe. He was even the voice actor for Sago. He had got quite a lot of insights into the code base (according to Boud, “80%”) and solved a number of bugs in Krita (but he said he introduced a lot of bugs, ha!). Also I met David Revoy (my favourite painter!), the author of Pepper and Carrot. And Tiar, our developer who started to work full-time on Krita this year; she had always been volunteering to support other Krita users and always on the IRC and Reddit. And two of other three GSoC students for the year: Blackbeard (just as his face) and Hellozee. Sh_zam could not come and lost communications due to political issues, which was really unfortunate (eh at least now he can be connected). It is feels so good to be able to see so many people in the community – they are so nice! And it is such an experience to hack in a basement church.

  • How UCLA Library preserves rare objects with open source

    The University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) Library houses a collection of millions of rare and unique objects, including materials dating from 3000 BCE, that could be damaged, destroyed, or otherwise threatened if they were displayed. To make these special collections widely available while keeping them secure, the UCLA Library has been modernizing its digital repository, which was established 15 years ago on now-outdated software. [...] Watch Jen's Lightning Talk to learn more about the UCLA Library's rare collections digitization project.

  • RcppExamples 0.1.9

    The RcppExamples package provides a handful of short examples detailing by concrete working examples how to set up basic R data structures in C++. It also provides a simple example for packaging with Rcpp.

Games: Smith and Winston, 7 Billion Humans Sale