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2009 March 2 [Monday]

UbuntuWomen meetup and BarcampBengaluru

Living in different countries means syncing oneself across the timezone span and after the fever and sinus torture of last weekend I was not sure if I'd have it in me to stay awake till midnight staring at the screen or making any coherent statements in the current heat wave. I hate Indian summers :( but I digress ...

Technology makes it easier to sit at home and meet various folks online in real-time so we (read Ubuntu-Women) did just that and had an IRC meetup last night as a kind of stock taking on the project founded (by yours truly :)) three years ago. Gosh 3 years already !! Everyone agreed that UW was doing well and that we love it in its present form :) We would like to do more but given that each of us is handling more than we can as is, its stretching things to take on additional responsibilities. Mamarok volunteered to do a series of interviews for Ubuntu's Full Circle mag so that is something to look forward to.

On saturday, someone asked me if I was attending BCB8 this time too and i remembered that Jose's talk (now postponed) was scheduled on the same day...darn !! Since Ram's office was hosting us it was imperative that we release the space for others. Jose was in great demand from a lot of groups who wanted him for a talk at their college/lug meetup so I will need to see when he is free next.

Talking of Barcamp bangalore, there was a lot of angst (on the list) over the undue focus on technology to the exclusion of non-techie technology enthusiast. The wiki has been replaced and one has to register an account now for bcb8. I completely understand why the blogger or general technical enthusiast would feel excluded but in retrospect I also realise why there is a tech-focus (even if it is forced on us, the unwilling junta). I have attended only 2 barcamps thus far, loved BCB6 the most, with BCB7 lacking the magical spell that I had so come to take for granted at a barcamp.

I dont really want to see a sales pitch, even if it is a startup and they have done something cool or got VC funded and hence the listener must endure a monologue, one-way conversation. Whoever wants to be talked down to? How boring. I want to be able to interact and talk to people and share ideas. For me a barcamp would mean seeing someone talk about linux and not really about sessions on astrology and Kamasutra/dating.  Even if they had maximum participants and maximum laughter was heard from the rooms where these sessions were being conducted, I didnt plan on attending the dating/KS session and Tania and me sat through the astrology session at bcb7 because that was the only room where we could charge our laptops :( Gah, so much for attendees.  Travelling 32 kms on a weekend suddenly seemed a waste of time :-(

I hope bcb8 @ Y! changes into an upswing with the magic of bcb6

2008 September 16 [Tuesday]

BCB7

At BCB7 someone saw the "i am blogging" sticker and asked why i had not blogged about bcb7. Heh, this lazy blogger needs reminders :-).  Attended the citizenmatters but the rest of the time was spent in the corridors, meeting and catching up with friends - old, new and the unknown (having a gender-neutral nick is sheer fun at times :)) was a better way to spend a weekend.

The best news was when AshwinMahesh of Mapunity told me they were working on my idea which I had pitched to him some months ago. wOw...it felt nice and warm to hear that. They are already into geo-mapping and my proposal was based on my pain point - my trysts with auto drivers in Bangalore.  Yeah, i know Chennai is worse.

Anyway, my technical solution to get out of sticky situations was, suppose I had a 'hotkey' on my cell phone which i could press when an auto-driver took me on deserted roads, it should send a distress signal to the nearest cell-phone tower which will convey my geo-coordinates, tie it to my cell# and pass the information to a central server which will send out my location message to atleast 5-10 friends (or family members) simultaneously providing them my exact geo-location co-ordinates. This is important as i am a moving target in a vehicle so they could not help me if they dont get a GPS location for me. He thought it was a good idea and their beta would be out soon :) yay !!

As barcamp was in progress, there were bomb blasts in Delhi with the terrorists mocking the police. Nothing new for Indians since the aam junta has to live with terror when elected representatives go soft on tech-savvy terrorists but move around with Z+ security themselves, and the crime-busters are clueless about the whodunnit, or maybe they just dont care - as someone said, "In a nation of One billion living, who cares for the few thousand dead". Chilling words!


2008 April 20 [Sunday]

bcb6

Barcamp Bangalore (BCB6), the 2008 Summer Edition was kickstarted yesterday at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. I reached the venue at 0945 hrs after getting caught in traffic and managing to lose my way in some one way... grr, why do they have so many one-ways in Bangalore? The IIM campus is a green oasis and it was heaven after the traffic outside and I could have spent hours soaking in the peaceful greenery but i shall wax eloquent on that later.

Since things were just starting and i hate missing the good stuff i went in and found more folks walking in slowly. The organisers had a sense of humor and that was really cool. Listening to stuffy, self-publicists gets me bored and looking for the closest exit. They left most of the space (talk time) for people to introduce themselves and sessions they would be conducting.

As is evident on sessions page there were many interesting topics but i could not attend all of them :( There is a blogathon starting today and today's topic is "Infrastructure"- its specific to Bangalore but i guess traffic in every major city sucks. Shall keep the rest for the actual blog post though.

At some talks, i met some old friends, made new ones and the best part is connecting the faces to the nicks and email id's. It was a fun day in all. There was even a dating session but i had no plans to attend it and had to leave early.

Today (20th April) is the second and conclusive day of BCB so be there and have fun. The whole event is well organised, FREE entry, great crowds and i am looking forward to the next BCB7 :)