Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

Summer Sprint FAQ

The Mozilla Science Lab's first-ever two-day sprint is less than three weeks away, so here's a short FAQ to tell you who can take part and how.

When is the sprint taking place?
July 22 and 23, 2014. Each site will be open during normal business hours (roughly 9:00 am to 5:00 pm local time—we'll post exact times a week before the sprint starts). We do not want people to work round the clock: work done at 3:00 am usually needs to be undone at 10:00 am.
Who can take part?
Everyone: you don't have to have any prior involvement with the Mozilla Science Lab, Software Carpentry, or any other particular project.
Do I need to be a programmer?
Nope: we're also looking for people who can review lessons (particularly from a novice's point of view), create illustrations, and many other things.
Do I need to register somewhere?
No, but we'd be grateful if you could add yourself to this Etherpad to give us some idea of what project you'd like to work on ("Project Ideas"), and where you'd like to work ("Sites").
Do I have to be at one of the listed sites?
Not at all—many people will be available to help out and answer questions online. But if you can get to one of the listed sites, it would be a chance to make some new friends.
Where are those sites, exactly?
We will post addresses, maps, and links next week (i.e., a week before the start of the sprint), along with site-specific information about parking, getting into the building, and so on.
Where will work take place online?
Each project will use the version control repository, mailing lists, and so on that it usually uses.
How can I make contact with a project I'm interested in?
The names of the project coordinators are listed below; we will post more information next week (i.e., a week before the sprint).
Can I add a new project to the list?
Sure, so long as it's related to open science in some way, you (or someone else) is willing to coordinate work on it, and there's already something in place for people to extend. (Experience has taught us that if a project starts with a blank page, it will probably end with one as well.) Please add it to the Etherpad and mail us so that we can help advertise it.
What should I do to prepare?
  1. Add yourself to the Etherpad.
  2. Decide which project you'd like to work on. (We recommend that people focus on just one—two days goes by very quickly.)
  3. Have a look at the project's open issues and pull requests to find something to start working on.
What should I do on the day?
  1. Show up around 9:00 am local time (again, the exact times for each site will be posted next week).
  2. Introduce yourself to the site host and/or the person coordinating the project you're working on.
  3. Check your chosen project's issue list and/or chat with the coordinator to see what needs to be reviewed. (Reviewing is often a gentler way to ease into work than writing or coding.)
  4. Once you've done a review or two, pick some writing, drawing, or coding that needs to be done, check to make sure no-one else is already doing it, and dive in.
  5. Repeat until it's time to wrap up for the day, then get a good night's sleep and come back in the next day to do it again.
Do I need to bring my own computer?
Yes please.
What should I do to prepare my project if I'm coordinating work?
  1. Make sure it's on the Etherpad.
  2. Create or tag issues and pull requests for people to start with.
Do I have to be there on both days?
No, but we do ask that people commit to at least one full day (or two half-days) so that projects don't spend all of their time getting newcomers on board.
What about coffee, lunch, and dinner?
We have asked sites to provide coffee (and snacks if they can), but will not provide meals. That said, we strongly encourage the people working at each site to get lunch together, and to go out together at the end of the first day: this sprint is meant to help build community, and sharing a meal with someone is a great way to get to know them.
How will sites be connected?
We will set up a single open-air video conference to connect all of the active sites, primarily to give people a sense of who's awake where. Individual projects can use IRC, HipChat, or whatever else they normally use for communication.
What sites are currently included?
We will post full addresses and other information a week before the sprint.
Auckland (NZ): Tim McNamara Wellington (NZ): Alison Stringer Melbourne (AU): Damien Irving
Kraków (PL): Klemens Noga Ljubljana (SI): Jure Triglav Paris (FR): Tarek Ziadé
London (UK): Sarah Allen Edinburgh (UK): Neil Chue Hong Charlottesville VI (US): Andrew Sallans
Albany NY (US): Brian Northan New York City, NY (US): Kaitlin Thaney Toronto (CA): Greg Wilson
East Lansing MI (US): C. Titus Brown Austin TX (US): April Wright Norman OK (US): Amanda Harlin
Vancouver (CA): Angelina Fabbro San Francisco CA (US): Dino Anderson
What projects are currently included?
We'll post updates as this list grows in the next two weeks, but right now, the projects are:

We'll be talking about the sprint at this week's Mozilla Science Lab community call—we hope to see you there.

Dialogue & Discussion

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