Engineer’s day

15 September is celebrated as Engineer’s Day in India in memory of Sir M. Visvesvaraya. He is one of the best engineers the world has ever seen. We, as Indians, should be proud of him.


Last month I received an email from Shri Raksha, a Firefox Student Ambassador & Club lead of K S Institute of Technology, Bangalore. It was an invitation to speak at their club launch on the 15th of September.

After travelling for more than 20 km, I reached their college at around 10:40 AM. Probably the first time I’ve travelled so much for an event in the same city! Upon reaching the college I learned that they had many other events on the same day organized by different departments.

Oh, interesting! What’s with so many events? What was special about today? 

It’s Engineers day!
Yes, I’m ashamed and guilty of not knowing that I was to speak at an event on Engineer’s Day.

Pro-Tip to event organizers: If you’re inviting someone to speak at an event, please give them the full context.
Pro-Tip to speakers: If you’re invited to speak at the event, always research about the date. September 15th was also International Democracy Day. Had I read about it earlier, I could’ve spoken about Democracy. (#JustSaying)

Fast forward to the event, I met the team behind the event and the FSA’s. Soon, the teachers and HoD’s from various departments came. It was a full house.

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I was invited to the dais to join the HoD of Computer Science Department and their Principal. It was an honour sitting among these great teachers.
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It’s been a while since I’ve visited a college and for some reason it felt nice to be with students again.Like every traditional inauguration, this one too had lighting the lamp. (One of those rare things that make me feel really old).
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Their principal, Dr. Govindaraju spoke about Engineer’s day, Sir MV and his achievements. He also spoke about making softwares, applying for patents and monetizing them. Maybe I’m more of a Tesla person. I believe in using technology or making softwares to solve problems. If you make something to solve a problem, it’s more likely to help someone else solve theirs too, so share that knowledge. Monetizing is never a bad idea. However, that shouldn’t be your end goal. The achievable must be a solution to the problem. To each his own, I guess.

The wonderful students of the club had made a mobile app to register for events and get updates on upcoming club events. It was an honour to be invited to launch their app along with the Principal.
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I always admire the capability of students to organize events. Some colleges don’t even support the students in this, however, KSIT had made a really good effort to support student initiatives, events and personal growth.

I was invited to talk and share more about the Mozilla and what I do with the Mozilla Learning Networks. During the event I learned about all the amazing things Shri Raksha and her team were already doing. They’ve conducted events in schools to teach kids about the web. I later learned that KidZilla was a huge inspiration for them to do this. Go team!img_7446

As I picked up the mic to speak, I couldn’t help but smile. I had to share the reason behind that with the audience.

On Engineer’s Day, talking to a room full of Computer Science engineers, was me, who’s a Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science and Engineering, but chose to leave that behind and become a full-time Community Builder at a startup because that’s what I’m passionate about! Communities! People! Building relationships!

This was a great time to rethink their choices in life. Why?

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Until now, in every event that I’ve spoken at, I’ve met those students who  are least interested in engineering but have chosen the subject because their parents told them to or because they we’re clueless at the time of admission and wanted to do what most of their friends were doing.


Last week, I was talking to some amazing community managers based out of the US and the UK. Learning from their experience and understanding more about the Community management scene outside India. Why? Because it’s non-existent in India! That’s why! Community Management isn’t a thing in India.

Companies here don’t see value in investing in people or building communities. What matters to them are number of customers, downloads of their app or people using their service. One of the people I was talking to, told me that he saw a post on LinkedIn from a company in India saying that they’re hiring a Community Manager. He read the role only to figure out it was a role under the Marketing & Sales team to sell their product offline!
At this point, my reaction was..
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Right now, the best tip I probably could give the students was to do whatever they liked & enjoyed. Don’t follow the crowd. Mozilla has different projects you could contribute to. This is an organization where everything is transparent and where people work collaboratively. This means that you can contribute to any project you wish and can interact with the paid contributors working on it. This gives you the opportunity to learn so much about how things work and most importantly, get more clarity, if not an answer, to that weird question:
What do you see yourself doing in the next 5 years?

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Thank your for inviting me to speak at KSIT. I had a great time with you all. For the folks who came to talk to me after the event and telling me that the talk was “refreshing”..
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Mozilla India Community Meet up

Mozilla India Community Meet!!This was the stuff going on in my head since a long time after I got the invite. On 2nd of April I started off from home sweet home, Kannur, Kerala to Chennai.

Though every single time, when I sit in the railway station and see the train coming to take me from Kannur to Chennai, I always have second thoughts of running back home. But this time, it was very different. The very thought of meeting many Mozillians and having an awesome time, got be running inside the train with joy!

I reached Chennai at around 6 am in the morning, came home, freshened up and got a call from Damini, “Do I have to take anything specifically?” , Nah, not required.
Fastforwarding the other parts, I reached the station, met a friend of mine who lives near Chennai Central, went to the compartment. After a while Naresh reached. Damini also reached soon.

We started discussing random stuff and having fun on the way. Stories about each other, to events we’ve conducted to random facts like “Did you know that the eye sight of people does not really change after 21 years”. Not mentioning the person who said that 😛

We reached Secunderabad in the morning after a fun filled journey. Soon enough we reached The Park Hotel.

On reaching the hotel, we checked in at the reception. We met Ankit at the reception. Later, we saw Gautham, Sayak and Vineel too. We then proceeded to our room. The view from the room was pretty good, and so was the room. We could see the beautiful Hussain Sagar lake from our room.

As soon as we kept our bags, we went for breakfast because we were told that the session would start soon. We hurriedly ate our breakfast and got in to the conference hall.

We entered the room to find out that it had already started. We grabbed our seats next to Brian King. I looked to my left to see Gen Kanai and Madalina Ana. It was great to see these wonderful people.

Discussions were going on about the Stepping down of Brenden Eich . Mozilla hitting the media for the wrong reasons in the past week. There were sharing of views from the Community and Gen, Brian and Madalina made us aware of the importance of standing together as a community and dealing with such delicate issues.

After that, Vineel briefed us on the agenda for the day and the task force that were working.
Myself and Damini joined the Webmaker Task Force while Naresh joined the Localization, which was lead by some amazing people from Red Hat.

The Webmaker taskforce discussion was started by Ankit. Gauthamraj , Vikas and Tripad were the others present in the discussion apart from myself and Damini.

General Idea:
The general idea in the first half was to give a brief on what is the particular taskforce about and it’s achievements from January 2013 to April 2014. The second half of the discussion was to  brainstorm and build a roadmap for the future and set specific target and goals.

The brainstorming resulted in elaborating the types of events we conducted until now, issues we faced during the events and how we could enhance the quality of the events in the future by implementing new stuffs to teach the web.

After the webmaker session was done and the taskforce Mentors Gauthamraj and Ankit presented a brief session on what is the Webmaker Task force and all the activites conducted till now.

After this session, there was a discussion about FSA’s by Umesh. We discussed on the problems faced by the FSA’s now and the possible ways in which we could overcome these problems.

Two of the major issues that were listed out were:

  • Lack of swags and budget for an event for some Firefox clubs.
  • Permission for FSA’s to conduct events in their colleges.

Solutions to these above problems:

  • Swags  and Budget are a very important factor. Hence, the FSA’s are initially requested to  conduct few events without these so that the Local Reps in their region are confident about requesting Swags or budget to support them next time when they are in need.
  • Perhaps Mozilla India could have a template of an official letter stating that the particular FSA is authorized on behalf of Mozilla India to conduct the event in their University or College.

After that , Galaxy discussed about the Events , Campaign and Logistics task force.
Jafar gave insights on the  Design as well as Social media Task force.
The details about Technical and Documentation task force was given by Kaustav.

The day got over really quick. At night, the Mozillians walked to Ohri’s for a wonderful dinner.

After the dinner, we all returned back to our rooms and retired for the day.

Next day morning I woke up and saw a reply for the mail I had sent to Doug Belshaw about the “Community Speaks”. I was really happy that he had replied, after which, I completed the blog post : https://dunebuggie.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/community-speaks-from-mozilla-india-doug-belshaw-speaks/

As I was taking a shower, I heard the doorbell. I opened the door to see Sujith and Sajeev. I told them that I’ll catch up with them in a while. I got ready and went to their room to see Varun and Gaurav. We were joined by Damini and Diwanshi for breakfast.
After breakfast, we all went to the Panoramic Hall for the meet.
The session started off with the I am a Mozillian video. Each time the someone the face of someone present there was shown, we cheered!


Gen gave a talk on Million Mozillians, which was on building a strategy to reach a Million contributors focusing on the transition from Users to contributors.

After this, we went back to our respective taskforces for the discussion for the day and building the roadmap.
The webmaker team got back to work!

Discussions for webmaker:

  • What exactly is Webmaker?
  • It’s more than just Thimble, Popcornmaker and X Ray Goggles
  • The fourth element we’re gonna add for webmaker events: Appmaker
  • Makerparty 2014 from July 15th to September 15th.
  • Web Literacy as  a major part of Webmaker.

Tracks:

  • Theme based makes. Example: Independence day
  • Tagging the makes with regional tags or #india so that it could be easily remixed when needed
  • Web Literacy Mapper: Including Web literacy in future events and taking up Mapping activities.
  • Webmaker Mentor Tasks: All the webmaker mentors in India should prepare atleast one Popcorn or Thimble make every month so that it can be used as a template. This ensures activity of the mentors and increases the number and quality of the makes.
  • After each event, the organizer of the event could be given access to a Google docs form where he nominates best makes from his event. Assessing the number and quality of makes, the best makes could be featured on Mozilla India Blog or maybe creating one called webmaker.mozillaindia.org(Over to technical taskforce).
  • Ensuring the importance of Offline activities :
    Considering a country like ours, where Internet and other things might not be stable, offline activites plays an important role. Some of the existing offline activities could be found on Webmaker.org with tag ‘#offline’. Importance to activities like Paper prototyping and other physical ones is needed.
  • Demo of Together.js, a collaborative and fun way to learn by making. This is another concept which will be showcased in upcoming webmaker events across the country. http://i.imgur.com/C48Dyra.png
  • Privacy and Security using Webmaker:http://blog.mozillaindia.org/823
    This would also include clear definitions of the words “Hacking” and “Remixing” which is often mistaken, especially when using tools like X Ray goggles.
  • Hive India and collaborations with Webmaker
  • Appmaker to be showcased in upcoming events. This would be able to sort out the issue of advanced users who want to get involved with webmaker. Considering the level of expertise, we could even ask them to contribute to Webmaker by giving them the link to Github.
  • Proper process to follow up to the participants after the event is done, which would benefit in getting more contributors.
  • Webmaker L10N: Translating the basic landing page of Webmaker into local languages.

Here is the link to the etherpad: https://india.etherpad.mozilla.org/Mozilla-India-meetup-Feb14-Tracks-Webmaker?

Before the end of the session, during the breaks, we got some awesome swags!
After the session, we parted ways-some to their rooms, some went out, some stayed back.
Me and Sujith went to his house to meet his parents. Unfortunately, they weren’t home. On our way back, we bought the thing that Hyderabad was best known for! Not pearls! It’s the Hyderabadi Biryani ! How could one come to Hyderabad and not have the Biryani!
It was indeed a travel through 3 different Biryani Zones in 2 days: From Thalassery Biryani to Dindigul Thalappakatti Biryani Chennai to Hyderabadi Biryani !

At night, we had an awesome time with Komal, Jafar, Naresh, Sujith and Damini.

Discussing stories, and making fun of each other, the day was almost over. But we always have time for nightwalks. And nightwalks, means selfie time!

We forced ourselves to go and sleep since we had an awesome session awaiting us the next day same day.

The next morning we got ready in our super awesome Mozilla India tees. Which again meant we had to take a selfie.

We first had a session by Deb and Kaustav on Developer Engagement and Evangelism task force.

We then had recap and highlight sessions by the taskforces.
Post lunch, Madalina talked about SUMO, and the contribution from India.

Gen talked about the launch of Australis. Yes! We’d love to have a launch party in India!

Brian and Jane talked about Firefox OS and Market research.

Post the sessions, it was group pic time!
The making here
The normal one:

The crazy one:

The webmaker team:

Fortunate enough to meet these awesome people! The Malayalees present at Mozilla India Community Meet have a click together

MozAliyans with Deb:

Seriously awesome time with y’all. The thought of getting back to Chennai and preparing for exams was just horrifying.
But then they say, good times are short lived. They also do say, When winter comes, can spring be far behind?

Looking forward to meeting you all again soon…

Flickr link to images : https://www.flickr.com/photos/mozillaindia/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/king-molan/sets/72157643390438705/

BroMoz Makerparty

After the super awesome WoMoz Makerparty conducted at Sathyabama University, only for girls, the boys went came and asked us to conduct an event for them. “Why should Girls have all the fun!?” was their question.
We agreed to conduct the event even though it was on such a short notice. This gave rise to the BroMoz maker party-Brothers in Mozilla 😀
I must admit I was reminded of Barney when we decided to name it BroMoz.

Since college was coming to an end, even though we were busy with record submissions and practicals, I gathered my team and we were up and prepared for the event.

On 27th March, Thursday, the volunteers from IInd year-Franklin, Navdeep and Subash arranged for the registrations which were limited to 60 at the max.

They got the names of the students and the session started at 1:00pm in the Digital Library.

I asked the students whether anyone had attended any of our previous Mozilla Events before. We got a few hands up.
After that, I asked these students to explain to their friends about their understanding of what Mozilla is, as an organization. I was really proud to see them explaining so well about Non profit and sharing knowledge and volunteer community. I was proud that I was successful in spreading the word during my events.
I told them about the Mozilla Community and general functioning of Open Source.

I also told them about Persona and it’s uses, so that they could use it to save and publish their makes.

The next session was taken by Achyuth and Shashank who explained them about Webmaker tools.

When we interacted with them, we found out that they were more interested in doing things rather than listening about the tools, so we told them in advance that since the time is very less(the session was from 1pm to 3:40pm), we had to go quick in order to cover all the three tools. But fear not! For we had our super awesome webmakers to the rescue!

  • Achyuth
  • Shashank
  • Nikhil
  • Franklin
  • Navdeep
  • Subash



We also had the WoMoz team lead, Damini, and WoMoz volunteer- Monika, to help out so that they could assist the boys if they had trouble using the webmaker tools.

We started with X-Ray goggles, since it’s one of the tools that is very less time consuming and extremely easy to understand.

Students had a good time playing around and creating a lot of fun stuff using X Ray Goggles.

We then moved on to Thimble. We gave them the general theme as Meme making since Internet meme’s and trolls were widely popular in here.
Results were some hilarious and creative makes!
We saw multiple makes in thimble from some students who were really interested.

Last session was about Popcorn. Everyone had a great time using Popcorn maker.
Though initially some had a tough time understanding the concept of different Layers in popcorn, I explained them in detail about the need of Layers.

Achyuth, Shashank and Nikhil walked around and helped everyone with their doubts and troubles with saving their makes.

In the end, we had our WoMoz team judging the makes and 3 were chosen among the best, though they had a tough time judging the 100+ makes by these students in the limited time.

Finally three winners were chosen.



We gave away Mozilla swags to the winners.
And no, we never forget to have our share of fun.
Here is #thedaminipose by us:

Links to awesome makes from the event[WARING-A lot]:https://etherpad.mozilla.org/bromozwebmakerparty

Event flickr link: here
and here