Posted in Uncategorized

Tech Events and its Folks.

I expected my Summers to be a lot of things, exciting, hectic, and full of learning but I thought I wouldn’t have time to do something I have come to love – attend tech events. But old habits die hard and that’s how I found myself attending and participating in more events I could have imagined for the given time frame.

First Up : Tech In Asia Summit, 2016. This was a start-up pitch event and not one of the hackathons I was used to. But a line up of great speakers and promise of free goodies made me take few hours off work and end up at it’s gates. Before this, I never saw myself coming up with a StartUp of my own, having worked at some (because they are exceptionally fun to work at), I had seen the amount of grit and hard work that goes into being the person behind the wheel and was wary of my capacity for it, but this event was abuzz with the kind of energy that is seldom found inside any corporate four walls. I was able to attend perhaps one talk and preferred to spent all the rest of the time talking to some of the great people around. The opinions I received and debates I had with the founders of the startups about their products, the current market and my own experience were scintillating and exhilarating. I was hesitant at attending an event without any real purpose there but found myself at home in this hive of tech lovers and entrepreneurs. There, I learned more about the products, the people and about myself as a person on whether I would like to be a part of one these. I would recommend attending similar events for those looking for internships or jobs in coming years, or just to have some interactive fun. Mentionable products: Flock, BeeHive, Recipe Book

Next Entrant: AngelHack Bangalore, 2016. What can I say? When your life becomes an endless hackathon, your enthusiasm to do the same on weekends has to dim down. The sole attraction for the event was its location at JW Merriot and the food it would have. I discovered  spending less time on the problem statements, the coding and more on the environment around me. For the first time in all the hackthons I attended, I went to every sponsor’s desk and chatted about their involvement and expectations. Interesting conversations with fellow participants from across nearby states sprouted up. The more time I have spent interacting, I have begun to realize that you can learn from  a 10 minute conversation with the right person than a night of coding (though I in know way discourage one to do so at hackathons), but point being the awesomeness of these events comes from the people attending it and it would be a shame if that opportunity is led to waste. Our team going on to win the HPE Grand Prize and the much coveted prize of GoPros happened in one of the least expected fashions. Being able to connect with female developer community in Bangalore was also one of my motives for the event and was fulfilled to some extent though the participation levels still left something to be desired.

Three days spent at my comapany’s internal hackathon was perhaps the only true amount of coding and product building I undertook. Unfortunately, I lack the liberty to disclose the details for the same.

These events took place in a back to back fashion and at the end of the month of July I was left reevaluating my earlier assessment and it seemed that time for the things you like can be made in any circumstances. They gave me a quick and thorough insight about myself as an individual and techie. The very fresh and diverse perspectives I gained from all those I had a chance to connect with will influence my decisions in times to come.

hackathon_swag
Not buying clothes ever again.

 

 

 

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Posted in Uncategorized

Learn It Girl! Learning As I Teach.

The second edition of Learn It Girl!   finally kicked off this week after tremendous amounts of efforts on the parts of all the applicants and the organizers. I personally am aware of the issues encountered being an organizer but today I am here to talk about my experience  as a mentor as that is possibly the most selfless volunteer task in this program. I have mentored my fellow juniors and take classes at a local institution but each experience is as unique as night and day. The level of commitment and willingness that goes into one-on-one mentoring is both surprising and humbling.

Honestly when I applied as a mentor I had little idea of how everything will progress, I had no misgivings of my technical abilities but after a point it is the way you come across that  matters. While teaching I have to question every sentence I speak to make sure I did not assume any background knowledge required for the same, the tasks have to built up from the scratch with increasing level of difficulty and you have to judge both, your ability to impart a certain piece of information and that of your mentee to grasp it. The process is interactive, thought provoking and ultimately rewarding in terms of the joy and gratitude you can hear in the voice of the one being taught. In my opinion it forms one of the most sacred bonds – built on the foundation of give and take of knowledge.

The task does not come without its share of hiccups or rather practical constraints as most of the mentors (to the best of my knowledge) are not professional instructors and to decide a suitable path to undertake within the given three months can be at times daunting. I am in a personal dilemma on deciding how much of the project proposed by my mentee (an ambitious and innovative idea) is possible in the given time considering everything has to learned from scratch. I wouldn’t want to deliver anything less than what she envisioned. But these are small problems, better and beautiful solutions to which I am sure will arise on discussion and deliberation. At times I am as excited as I was when I first had the same lessons. This journey will hopefully help many (both mentors and mentees) in their own unique way and help shape a tech community that is built from within with crusaders to take its mission forward and others being prepared to carry the torch in future.

Posted in Android Experiments, Uncategorized

Building CyanogenMod 12.1 from Ground Up

This is part of a continued series of my experiments with Android. I am pretty sure my device will just pick up its bags one day and walk away from me in Disney movie style of leaving a cruel master. I better make the most of it till then.

Seeing as I had rooted and explored the world of custom ROM for a while, I decided (well having time to kill decided it for me) that it I should try building the CyanogenMod code from scratch. Download the source and all. I will have to ask for forgiveness right here for messing up any technical terms and process as I am not quite sure of all that happened myself. Having a great mentor always helps and I was fortunate enough to have one who guided me to follow :

https://wiki.cyanogenmod.org/w/Build_for_hammerhead/

A very comprehensive and step by step guide. What all the process entails can easily be read but what I wanted to share were the hair pulling difficulties I ran into.

Half the guide was already covered so I began by downloading the source code which on the first attempt brought down my healthy net connection of ~30mbps to some 18kbps. I had to give up and call it a day. The journey was kick started at 5 in the morning in the hopes of Delhi winters keeping everyone in the hostel asleep leaving the LAN all to myself. I was blessed indeed, it was done in matter of half an hour (all 10 – 12gb of it). I even used and intimidating looking commands for running download on threads (not that scary but I deserve brownie points) .Then came the waiting part – my device needed a lot of food. First a ‘breakfast’ then a ‘brunch’. Aptly named as I had both while waiting for it to finish. But before that how could Java not poke its ever demanding nose in the middle? Apparently I had jdk version 1.8x while it worked only for 1.7x, the agonizing search of removing the latest update, countless ‘jdk already in its latest version useless messages and path variables mess up, it approved my jdk version (Android Studio wasn’t too happy about this downgrade though and it let me know.)   After hours of waiting and watching my terminal light up like in Mr. Robot, I saw the grateful message of a successful build!

Finally the build was flashed onto my device (after getting hysterically lost in the myriad of folders that gets created) and seeing no apparent change, was doubtful about the validity of the whole process. But as pointed out by a helpful soul, seeing my name on the kernel version was worth celebrating and that’s what I did right after 🙂 .

kernel name

Do I wish to carry on and be able to actually make changes to source code? Yes.

Am I sure I will be able to? No.

No step of this journey is without complications and I am not sure how much patience I have. I have come this far, I wish to go forward, only time will tell if I actually do. Fingers crossed.

Things learned today:

  • Think before you decide to mess up your only device.
  • Java has grown too complicated for its own good.
  • Linux/Terminal is GOD.
  • Happiness is seeing your name in the Kernel Version.

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

DroidCon India

This is my first attempt at writing a blog post so forgive the errors of synchronization.

Talking about firsts, Droidcon for me brought a lot of firsts. Introduction for people who landed here randomly without knowing what droidcon is(though I don’t think that is possible):

Droidcon is a two day conference held in different cities all over the country where android enthusiasts and developers meet to discuss, present and explore this amazing and dare I say most popular piece of technology right now. The Indian edition of it was held in Bengaluru this year and managed spectacularly by HasGeek.

Talking about myself, I was lucky enough to receive the Female Developer’s Sponsorship to attend the event which made it much easier to pack my bags and head south for a wonderful time.

DroidCon(I keep camel-casing it….geeks will understand) began with an air of professionalism, we were handed our bags containing our itinerary , a very cool set of AuraVR headsets by inShorts, stickers and ID-cards(with schedule printed on the inside which was extremely thoughtful).

What followed was a serious of hands on workshops(as I chose to attend) about plugins in Android Studio. Who knew that Android Studio is itself just a huge set of plug-ins on the existing IntelliJ platform!

More than just developers, you could see people with a sense of duty to contribute to society to their full capability, the Indic Keyboard initiative by SMC was an example of pure dedication to building meaningful resources.

The list of people to mention and must-attend events could go on to fill pages but what I personally gained was a sense of Freedom – knowing there is a large society backing up any efforts I choose to make in this field, Trepidation – fearing if I will be able to match up to their expectations, and most of all Inspiration – and isn’t that just what everyone is searching for?

I dont know if I will leave my mark in this group of greats that come before me but attending an event like this taught me that it isn’t glory(exclusively :P) they work for, it is that pure satisfaction of watching what they envisioned come alive and affect the lives of those around them.

Yes you can watch all the videos and take all the tutorials online but the feeling of seeing these tech giants walk and talk, just the atmosphere around, will stay with you for a while.

image

 

PS: It is very good place for networking if that influences anybody 😉