Saturday Nov 15, 2008

Code For Freedom Contest

I planned out this workshop after taking feedback from everyone from in my OSUM club. The date we finally decided upon was just one week before our examinations. We then did online registrations for participants via email. In a couple of days we got around sixty registrations. Finally on the day of the workshop, the venue I had booked was being used for some other purpose. So, I took permission to use another auditorium as the venue and sent out SMS messages to all the participants about the venue change. After settling down at the new venue, I informed the participants about the contest, its rules and regulations, SUN technologies they can use, its benefit and finally the grand prizes.

I was happy to see the response of the students who were all very enthusiastic about participating in the contest. I asked them to register for it and clarified their doubts regarding it with the help of Tirthankar Das, OHAC engineer who is one of the coordinators of the contest.

I also asked all the participants to join OSUM and encourage their friends to do the same too. I told them about the benefits of joining it and what an useful and fun website it is.

Later on we also discussed ideas for projects to be submitted in the contest. I was extremely satisfied with the successful completion of the workshop.

Wednesday Oct 08, 2008

Love at First Boot and SFD festivities at Manipal........ :D

The very first time I heard about Software Freedom Day was by Gary during our induction program in Bangalore. Ever since then I was all excited and had started planning things for it to involve as many students as possible and make them a part of what I think is the revolutionary “Open Source Revolution”.... I am emphasizing on the word revolutionary a lot because I feel its certainly like a tide of new technology which will overturn the existing one and in a big, big, big way!!!. The bubble is growing and growing every day, every moment, every second.....
Anyways in my dreams of evangelizing Open source like never before, I completely forgot to take into account, the monthly exams which we have in our college whose dates coincided with SFD and all my dreams came crashing down like a sand castle..... But then I thought why should I not do it a week ahead and again with a new ray of hope, I called up Rajesh and Ganesh who gave me a thumbs up to go on...Then another miracle happened, while I was talking to Rajesh one day over the phone, Abhishek seemed to be around and I asked him if he would like to come to our college and give a lecture. The extremely enthusiastic and passionate Abhishek at once said that he would check out his project plan and let me know. So in a couple of days, I got a mail from him that he would be ready to come here at a cost that I would have to introduce him to all my beautiful female friends and juniors. Just kidding Uncle!!!... :D
Then began the usual work of getting posters designed,printed, putting them up, setting up info
desks at strategic places all across the campus, we ( my volunteers and me) managed to get a huge registration list, so much so that we stopped registrations and announced that seats will be on a first come first serve basis only....
Finally on a lazy Saturday afternoon, with our Lecture hall completely full i.e. With 200 participants (about which I was a bit sceptic as Saturdays in Manipal are synonymous to sleeping and partying only), we began with a talk on “Open Source technologies and You” where participants had a gala time and were laughing their heads off with Abhishek's interesting anecdotes. Then we did a hands on and demo session on NetBeans where we installed NetBeans on each and everyone's laptops and then followed it up with some simple programs which everyone would follow...Thus the first day of the two-day SFD celebration got over with the hall full to its brim till the last minute.....
The next day again we all met at the same venue and in the first half we did Open Solaris installations in VirtualBox in everyone's laptops, and it was such an overwhelming scene. I had tears in my eyes looking at the familiar dark blue Open Solaris desktops of about 215 laptops all at once.....
After lunch, we had a PHP and MySQL demo session where Abhishek told us about the basics of Internet, HTTP and then took us through an interesting journey of creating cool websites using the deadly duo PHP and MySQL. After that, Abhishek did the most comical intonation of “SHIFT HAPPENS!!!” and everyone present there was rolling with laughter. Then we ended the program with “Three cheers for SFD” and an extremely generous and warm round of applause for the king of the show i.e. Our UNCLE............
Never before did the MIT junta enjoy a technical seminar so much, this was evident in the fact that not one person in the whole audience wrote a single negative comment about anything in the feedback sheets we distributed at the end of the event, instead showed a lot of positive interest in Open Source technologies and said that they were willing to know more about them in detail, in future....
I would rate the event as 10/10 and I would give all the credit to Abhishek for his sheer excellence in the way he interacts with the crowd, keeps them hooked and interested and makes all of them fall in love with him literally( a few girls actually left their phone numbers on the feedback sheets for him, not that he was complaining!!! and a couple of guys too....lolz...... :D).....Thank You Uncle for all the pains you took to make this event an out and out success.......
I would like to heartily thank Gary for infusing the spirit of Software Freedom Day in us, giving us useful tips and suggestions all the time and personally dealing with all our little problems...
I would also like to thank Ganesh and Rajesh for being so supportive and encouraging at all times and being there, only a phone call or email away.....
I hope as a CA, I will be able to contribute in my little way in making the Open Source revolution bubble big till it encompasses every student living under the SUN (no puns intended!!!!) ...... Cheers!!!!!!! :P

 

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Vasudha Amrit

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