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See you at BCD6!

By on Feb 27, 2009 in Personal, Tech Takes | 0 comments

BarCamp Delhi 6 is happening tomorrow and day after tomorrow (28 February & 1 March) at Management Development Institute, Gurgaon. The official BarCamp Delhi website has all the details. A lot of work has gone into this and we’ve some exciting sessions lined up…so I do hope everyone enjoys at the event. We’ve somewhere around 250 people registered for the event as of now, and do hope most of them will come. We’ve also urged members of the #bcd6 (that’s the Twitter tag for the event) to come forward and pitch in with carpooling. Amit Verma has come up with stunning desktop wallpapers too. Enjoy…and see you there at...

Freed.in/2009

By on Feb 26, 2009 in Personal, Tech Takes | 0 comments

freed.in was held on 20-21 February 2009. You can find loads of pictures from freed.in on its Flickr group. As always, it was held at JNU. I arrived a tad late but found that the event hadn’t started. The official excuse for this year was ‘traffic’. At the registration desk, I found Abhishek – who was doing volunteer work for the event. Registered at the desk. Got a cool freed.in sticker which is of really high quality…and some ‘stickers’ printed on paper from Fedora which suck. Not even perforated, you need to cut them out with a scissor and then too you get only cheap stuff. Bought an ILUG-D T-shirt with a Universal Truth printed on it. Goldwyn Rodrigues (works in software testing for Novell’s enterprise products) brought OpenSuse 11.1 DVDs for distributing; took one of those. Maybe I’ll OpenSuse 11.1 again some day in the future and will have better luck than last time I installed the same version, this time using the GNOME environment. Met @honeytech, @rajeshlalwani, @sepiaverse there. (Yes, people were tweeting live from the event. You can go through #freedin tagged tweets here.) The event started off with welcoming the ‘chief guest’… That’s right. In the true spirit of a conference on free and open source siftware, the ‘chief guest’ at freed.in is You. Yes, you, you and you. And you too. All of you. Andrew Lynn, some professor from JNU started off talking about a project they’re spearheading called ‘Open Source Drug Discovery’ which uses idle time of computer labs in colleges across the country to analyze the stability of new molecules for drug development. (Phew, long sentence!) That was followed by a talk by Goldwyn Rodrigues on breaking into WiFi networks. Mostly about how weak WEP is as an encryption standard and how to use MAC ID spoofing + DNS forwarding to bypass authentication mechanisms on some networks. Shantanu Choudhary gave a talk on his efforts at creating an ‘offline Wikipedia‘. A lot of people kept asking him about “How will you incorporate the updates which are done on Wikipedia every minute?” I think that was completely missing the point because in places, say, like rural areas where they don’t have Internet connectivity even a static dump of Wikipedia can be a useful education resource. JNU’s WiFi network kept logging us out every few minutes. Everyone was getting exasperated and shouting “Blistering barnacles!” before Captain Haddock came along and fixed things by logging me into the network with a four-letter password. (I dunno what it was.) It was time for lunch soon…and it was surprising that 220 people turned up to eat when there were only 100 or so people attending freed.in. Or maybe not, given that it was held at JNU. A lot of freeloaders from the JNU staff, JNU students and assorted people who’d come for other seminars pounced on the buffet before freed.in participants did. As a consequence of which attendees like Jasdeep had to go without the delicious jalebis. Animesh Kumar (from Abhishek’s college) spoke about how they’ve utilized old Pentium III processors which their school was about to scrap for parallel computing. Senthil Kumaran showed how to make text-based ping-pong using Pygame. Next was Krishnakant Mane, a visually challenged guy who gave a talk on ‘RPC for modular programming’. It was touching to see this guy touching typing code all by himself and then waiting for his screen-reader software to read it out to him to check if was correct. His grit truly deserved the thunderous applause he got at the end of his talk. Gagandeep Singh Sapra (who blogs at g-spot.in) spoke of data centers and open source software used there. You can see the complete presentation, but here, I present you an interesting bit… After that there were two presentations from Fedora representatives on some tools they’re building / already using to a) automate RPM checking process b) measure software usage statistics. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend day 2 of the event since I was going for WordCamp. Some more interesting sessions were held on day 2. More about WordCamp India...

See you at Freed.in

By on Feb 18, 2009 in Personal, Tech Takes | 6 comments

Hear all! Freed.in, an conference on free and open source software will be taking place at Jawaharlal Nehru University on 20-21 February 2009. Now I know what the first question everyone wants to ask is – “Will there be free WiFi?”. From what I hear, we will have that. Can’t think of a conference on FOSS without that. Have a look at the sessions which are scheduled and register yourself as a participant. Participation is free of course. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend day 2 because I’ll be attending WordCamp.

MozillaCamp Delhi

By on Feb 17, 2009 in Personal, Tech Takes | 10 comments

MozillaCamp Delhi was held last week on 10th February 2009. Lots of blog coverage listed on the MozillaCamp Delhi wiki. Kinshul Sunil has also put up some videos from MozillaCamp Delhi on Vimeo (more to be encoded and uploaded soon). Photos have been uploaded too. And you can read a blog post from Seth Bindernagel (see wiki for more details). The event was at Indian Social Institute, Lodi Road. (No, you aren’t the first guy to say “What Where the fuck?!” on hearing this.) Without a hot-or-cold GPS navigation system I had to resort to calling people up to find where it was. The only thing that I could positively make out was that it was somewhere near India Habitat Centre, but that still does leave an effing large area to cover. Dilliwallahs habit of saying “Seedha jaake left” for the directions to any bloody place you ask for makes your blood boil rather than providing guidance. After a lot of running around in circles I did reach the venue…to find a few bored people sitting in the same room and Twittering with each other. I joined in (Twittering) with great gusto and scaring my followers that I had Twitterhea. Seth Bindernagel and Arun Ranganathan were supposed to turn up later, so the discussion fluctuated to every topic under the sun. Someone started talking about large font sizes (in images, I might add) as the defining moment of Web 2.0. That should give an idea of how lame the morning sessions were. We had some interesting free-ranging discussions on Twitter (as in about Twitter) and social media in general. I was shocked to find that the organizers hadn’t arranged for a lava pit so that we could round up a few Internet Exploder users, beat them about a bit (though not very much) and then throw them into lava to let The Cleansing begin. (Even the tagline ‘Taking the Web back one user at a time’ is astonishingly appropriate for The Cleansing.) Seriously, next time, we need to budget for the Airport Hilton. Nothing kicks an conference into high gear other than good ol’ fashion mob beatings. Anyway, the morning session was also spent in making new friends like Kumar Gautam, Sayantan Pal (of Linux For You) and Mohak Prince. We broke for lunch soon at the ISI cafeteria where I got to eat pieces of charcoal under the guise of a ‘burger’. Discussions here were about a) Macs and Why They SUCK – a Me vs Them debate; b) Shiretoko (not a variety of Japanese pr0n); c) nothing else. Also recorded video testimonials (but had to leave before I could collect my kewl T-shirt). Seth and Arun arrived around 2.30 pm for their sessions. Arun (with his fiery jacket, sorry for the pun) very much looking like one of those guys you see on AXN shows who jump over 27 dumpster trucks ‘for entertainment’ on a lazy afternoon. A Skype conference was initiated with Pascal Finette, but I got to see only a small part of it. Most of that ‘small part’ involved setting up the Skype conference. I had to leave for the Power of Ideas panel discussion for which I had been invited by Economic Times. (That’s a story for another day.) I didn’t want to leave MozillaCamp right when actual discussion were taking place – but I had to. (You’ll get to know the reason in my Power of Ideas post.) Mosey along now. No more content to write about the interesting bits of MozillaCamp. PS – Are the presentations which Arun / Seth made available online on Slideshare / Google Docs / anywhere? I’d love to see them, so would many other Firefox fans. PPS – Those awesome stickers are from Pringoo. PPPS – Whoops! Those stickers are actually from Mozilla, and not Pringoo! Only ONE sticker – the big MozillaCamp Delhi one – is from Pringoo. The ones from Mozilla, of course, are the awesome ones I was talking...

MozillaCamp Delhi

By on Feb 3, 2009 in Personal, Stop The Press, Tech Takes | 2 comments

India’s first ever unconference for Mozilla Firefox users – MozillaCamp Delhi – will be taking place on 10th February 2009. The venue has not been finalised yet, and a lot of work remains to be done with just a week to go for the event, but hey – it’s an unconference! Chip in with your contributions and join the discussion on the MozillaCamp Delhi Google Group. Check up on the stuff that needs to be done and pitch in. I cleaned up the wiki / registration page a bit. The event will be getting coverage from media outlets CNN-IBN and NDTV 24×7. (I hope they don’t send Hark! DaButt.) Big People from Mozilla like Seth Bindernagel (director of localization) and Arun Ranganathan (standards evangelist) will be attending. If we can convince the venue hosts, maybe we can haul in a few vats of lava into which we can throw the Unbelievers, as a part of post-(un)conference celebrations. Let the Cleansing...