Monday Oct 12, 2009

My first Barcamp...Barcamp Mumbai 6

Cross posted from my personal blog

Wow. What an experience!

Attended BarCamp Mumbai 6 today at SP Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR). This was my very first BarCamp and so I was unsure what to expect. I reached the venue at 6 in the morning as I had reached Mumbai early and had nowhere else to go. I had prepared half of my presentation on the bus to Mumbai and wanted to finish the rest provided I get a place to charge my laptop. On finding the gates of SPJIMR closed, I headed off to the Andheri Railway station hoping to find a plug point. Once again I was failed by Mumbai. By now hungry and tired I reached a KFC outlet which had opened at around 7:30, which again could not provide me with a plug point but I did find the next best thing, breakfast and that too, chicken. So I had some breakfast. But I still wanted coffee and a helpful guy at KFC told me that one Barista outlet nearby would be open. So I headed off to Barista for my morning cuppa. However, to my dismay, the outlet was to open only at 9 and I decided to sit outside. By now, having had a nice breakfast, mother nature was giving its call and I had no place where I could go and answer it in solitude. I was however relieved that the Barista outlet opened at half past 8 and I hopped in, dropped my bags (one containing my laptop and the other containing lots of Netbeans and OpenSolaris Cds) and answered mother nature’s call just in the nick of time. Once done and much relieved, I had the best start of my day with two cups of double espresso and proceeded to finish the rest of my presentation. Then I headed to the venue at 10 AM.

I got my session registered and selected a time suitable to me. Then I lay down Cds of Netbeans and OpenSolaris 2009.06 on the floor of one of the auditorium and on a desk at the other so that interested people may collect them. I also kept a bunch of OSUM Laptop stickers for whoever was interested. Soon a horde of people started picking them up and there were some queries coming my way. In all I had kept a hundred Cds in all and by the end of the BarCamp all were taken and many had stuck the OSUM stickers on their laptops. Someone had also brought Ubuntu 5.10 Cds to distribute.

Next was the introduction ceremony where everyone introduced themselves in 30 seconds followed by another chance given to attendees who wanted to take sessions to give a very brief intro about what they are gonna talk about. Then the people who wanted to talk were asked to choose a timing for their talk and mark that time on a board placed outside with a post-it not, in many ways like a physical wiki. The sessions were divided across two halls. The first session I attended was by Manan Kakkar who spoke about the tech blogging scene in India. Some of his tips and ideas were good but I found his tone admonishing and patronizing at times and his idea about tech blogging seemed a bit myopic because of his presumption that all tech blogs only report tech news. This was followed by one on solving Rubik Cube and What History can teach us about prospering in the tech age respectively.

The session that I like most (beside mine of course) was the one of Scaling web apps by Vaibhav Arya of Skenzo as bits of it related to HPC which is my area of interest. Lunch followed and I chatted with Amitabh Jain who was to present a talk on Django Framework to be parallel to mine. He is a techie-turned MBA from IIM-A-turned entrepreneur and techie again. Talking to him again made me think if should reconsider my decision to go for MBA, or should I do a Masters in Comps. Soon after lunch I attended a session on Zopte, a web based dynamic website creation and hosting tool. I wanted to go deeper into it but mine was the next session and hence I was busy re-reading my presentation.

I had realized during the introduction session that the crowd was only party techy and that too relating to web technologies. And my talk on Parallel Application Profiling using Scalasca was strictly cutting edge High Performance Computing. Actually I had wrongly assumed that one must speak of ones original work at a BarCamp and my Scalasca work was the only original worthwhile work I could claim of. Had I known the target audience I would have probably talked on JavaFX or Zembly or FBML. Nevertheless I decided to do my best to talk about HPC, Parallel Apps programming, Profiling and Scalasca in my span of 20 min, hoping to create a world record of sorts. As expected, my session had a little more than a dozen people, most had left after reading the title. Still I decided to give it my best and skipped slides which I knew would be too technical. I had prepared those slides while on the bus and at Barista the next morning, so they weren’t exactly my best creation. I finished up my session fast and was asked quite a few questions and all were on the basics of Parallel Programming and MPI which I tried to answer to the best of my abilities.

I attended one more session and then left as I was tired and wanted to go back to Surat and sleep. Overall it was a great experience. I met school kids, entrepreneurs, professional blogger, coders, a really varied crowd and you could learn something from everyone.Overall an enriching experience. Looking forward for more.

So guys I will call it a day now. Am dead tired, need sleep and my back aches from having sat for nearly 32 hours. Good night.

More photostreams

Friday Aug 07, 2009


My SCALASCA project is coming to an end. Its nearly over. I will take up another after this. This seems to be addictive, I want to learn more and more about it. And I have such fantastic and supportive people like Ganesh, Rajesh and Verdi. I wont talk about my next project right now. Let me complete this one first.

Ganesh Sir has already let students from my college ( work on porting apps to OpenSolaris IPS. Now he is also willing to let selected students to work on HPC projects under Sun Engineers from Singapore, who are also researchers at NUS. And I am understandably ecstatic about it. This will really help our students. HPC @ Sun means the cutting edge of technology and some really cool projects.

Also I and a few other friends of mine are fully going ahead with our plan of setting up a cluster here. Exciting times ahead. :)

First CA event of this academic year

My CA term got extended for a year. So I will be the CA throughout my 4th year. My coordinator this year is Kumar Abhishek, a absolutely cool guy whose tech demos are wildly popular. My first event this year was on 4th Aug. It was an introduction to Sun and FOSS. I wanted to talk to people about FOSS, why it matters to Sun and why it should matter to them. We at our ACM Chapter, too, take FOSS seriously and do our best to promote FOSS. I made 2 types of posters(20 each), one to promote FOSS and the other to highlight Sun, which were put up at various part of the college.

Sun poster
FOSS poster

The talk focused on what FOSS is and I talked a bit about all the history related to it including the Free Software Foundation and Open Source Initiative. I also talked a bit about some popular FOSS software to make it clear that FOSS means serious software and not just enthusiasts stuff.Then the talk moved over to Sun Microsystems. My focus was mainly the software and hardware that Sun develops and some of its pioneering work. The students were particularly interested in OpenSolaris and have asked me to conduct workshops on it. That will soon happen, but before that I need to conduct workshop on Netbeans and SPOT. I am already in the process of installing Netbeans on all PCs in our computer lab. The talk went for about 90 mins and I was happy to see that the students were not bored.Students who asked good questions or answered my questions received Sun goodies. A total of 43 students attended, a good feat considering most had left home for raksha bandhan. Expectations are high now and I have to deliver. I will do at least one more tech demo next week, if possible two.

Wish me luck.

Sunday Apr 26, 2009

Pizza treat for FOSS and Sun Tech Quiz winners

I had conducted a FOSS and Sun Quiz on 2nd March. The first three winners received cash prizes of INR 300, 200 and 150 respectively. Also they were promised a pizza treat at Smokin' Joes. Conflicting schedules did not allow us to have it till now. So yesterday, we all found free time (we have loads now coz exams are over) and decided to get it done. Prakhar could not make it though.

\\Pizza treat for FOSS and Sun Tech Quiz winners

From left: Abhishel, Gurupad and Me

Thursday Feb 26, 2009


Lots of updates:

1. Visited Sun Tech Days 09 at hyderabad. Learnt a lot (Sun SPOT and JavaFX were the most interesting). Had a lot of fun. Met other Campus Ambassadors. Also Rajesh Umashankar, Ganesh Hiregoudar and many other Sun execs (sorry I cant remember names. I have a very bad memory). Pics and a detailed account coming up.

2. Installed OpenSolaris on multi boot along with WindowsXP and Ubuntu. Took quite a lot of time as my DVD drive is not functioning, so I had to use USB disk to install all of these. Plus Internet not working properly.Also OpenSolaris Grub and Ubuntu GRUB did not recognize each other. That required a bit of tweaking. I did not enjoy OpenSolaris on VirtualBox because my laptop had just 1 GB memory and OpenSolaris requires at least 512 MB to itself. And I wanted the real feel of the OS. So I have it now. Took a lot of time but its done. Now experimenting with OpenSolaris. Will soon write and how to on how to install opensolaris using USB and do triple boot.

3. My first CA event, a quiz on FOSS and Sun Technologies will be conducted on Monday, 2nd March. I chose quiz because it would make people read about Sun and its technologies and thereby make my work easier.

4. Have formed a 4 people Sun Club. We are working on a Sun SPOT based robot. Since I am not much of an electronics guy, my friend Nirzaree will handle the electronics and I will just do what I do best, code. We are also planning other innovative use of the technology. Everyone is excited about SPOT. Everyone wants it. I will probably order another kit through our college ACM Chapter. Will be giving a demo of our robot at our college annual tech fest,Mindbend. Also will do another Sun Tech demo there. Plus I am hoping if someone from Sun could come and deliver a talk or conduct a workshop. Anyone interested??

Thats all for now...Gotta sleep....


Hi. I am Sandip Dev. I am a student of Computer Engineering at SVNIT (NIT-Surat). My passions are coding, listening to music, reading and learning new things. I am also the Chairperson of the ACM Chapter of my college and Sun Campus Ambassador here.


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