Thursday, October 18, 2012

My weekend with Mozilla

   It has taken me about two long weeks to sit down and write a blog post. Hey there, I am talking about the Mozilla Mania and Tech Carnival Sastra that we had sometime back. Am I just too busy or not managing time properly? I had already thought about that a million times, before calling my state “Helpless”. Well, enough of oh-sorry-you’re-making-me-sleepy stuff.
Exactly a couple of weeks ago, we had two big events coming in Tamil Nadu. One at Velammal Engineering College, Chennai on 6th October and another one at Sastra University, Tanjore the very next day. Preparations had started about a week before the events. Each day, after I return home from college by evening, I would talk about an hour or two with the organizers, who would call me to ask about arrangements, logistics, food and again the regular “We sure will get goodies in time right?” It gives you so much pleasure and enthusiasm replying to a responsible team, although sometimes can make you a little tired in answering too many questions. :P
The swags had arrived to me just in time. Thanks to Konstantina, for making sure of that. I had to pick up Gauthamraj, my fellow Rep, from the Railway station, on early Saturday morning. Because it was kind of his first time in Chennai. But, I fell asleep and he had to find his way to my home. Sorry Gautham :( And, about the time when we had got dressed up and ready to start to the venue, Deb had landed at the Airport and was picked up already. We had a lot of goods to carry to the venue and the organizers had sent us a car to reach the college premises where we were joined by Karthik Padmanabhan and Naresh Kumar.
The hospitality of VEC was downright awesome! Volunteers had accompanied us wherever we went. The organizers had arranged a pretty good team to help us with the workshop. From students and staff to the Head of Department, everyone seemed too friendly.
Around the time, when we got prepped up and ready to say, “Hey every...”... oops, is there.. uh? Ummm... ?!” “Well, sorry, there is a power problem. We are sorry for the interruption.“ said an organizer. Yeah, power problems are rampant in Tamil Nadu. But, this ?! The irony or beauty of the situation, whatever you call it, is that, the back up had also failed that day. We had to wait for about an hour or so, before we could start the session. Gautham however, had made an intelligent use of the time and kept the crowd engaged with FOSS, Mozilla and Webmaker initiatives.
Soon after, boom! The power was back. For almost about 3 to 4 hours, Deb had given a good session with Firefox Addon making. There was enthusiasm all around. Students rising their hands, asking doubts. We had just enough time to wind up the worshop back at VEC. We were given special shields by the College's Entrepreneurship Development Cell for participation in Mozilla Mania. Call it a little too much ?! I won't say so. After all, its Mozilla !
After the event got over, we had a little over five hours before we started for Tanjore to attend the Tech Carnival 2k12, where we were supposed to conduct similar sessions. Deb, myself and Gautham had come to my home and spent some time here. Soumya had successfully managed to flatter my parents with his so called “obedience and respect towards elders.”. Well, that's all what happened here.
And at around 8 or so, we started to again. Myself, Gautham, Naresh and Soumya, at Egmore station to Tanjore. When everything seemed to go smooth, we suddenly noticed that our names weren't there in the boarding list ! We got all panicked, shocked and finally surprised only to know that our tickets were upgraded. The night's journey was unforgettable. We were talking everything except Mozilla. :P It was like friends on a bachelor party.
By morning, we were picked up again at the Tanjore railway station. People at Sastra were no less than the ones at VEC. Their reception was equally commendable. Only that we had to run two sessions back to back. Although the first one was a little delayed owing to problems, second session went on to be really nice.
I had to miss so much of Mozilla's events owing to several reasons. “Be it bad luck or fate, I am not blaming anyone, but I had ultimately missed the joy” I would often think and worry. But now, I think I've made up for it. Early Saturday morning, I never knew who Gautham even was. Now, he is my best pal. Not to mention Soumya. He has already been a good friend to me. But we bonded really well those two days and especially the Monday morning. I had my project review that day at my college and I didn't bother to bunk it just to spend time with Soumya to give him company. He had about 6 hours to go before he could board his flight. We didn't know where to go. We were tired, strained and stressed. But, that didn't stop us. Out of nowhere came the thought of hitting the beach to watch the sunrise. At first,I thought Soumya is reserved and moody. That was back when I had first met him during March. Not anymore. I never knew, we would open up so much to ourselves. From our retirement plans to my first crush, there was actually so much to talk about. Probably that brought us really close I feel.
This is the best part I guess. Building community and friends. Mozilla is not always about building good goals, motives and exposure. It also about adding values, creating bonds. Those two days of Mozilla was certainly a memorable one.  

Monday, April 23, 2012

Comes a new blog page !

Hi All !

Its been a while since I wrote a blog on my page. The reason its because, I’ve started writing for the 4cast.com – The new technology site in the making. Doesn’t mean, I would stop blogging here from now.

4Cast shall also host my blog entries.

Follow me @4cast here : http://www.the4cast.com/author/dwarak/

Follow 4Cast : http://twitter.com/#!/We4Cast

Monday, March 26, 2012

Creating Add-on, Hands-on the fun way ! at Chennai Workshop

What makes Firefox the best browser ? Open Source ? nah ! HTML 5 ? No… you gotta be better than that. Look, I’m an average user just wanting to have the best browsing experience. I don’t really care if you got HTML 5 or 4 or 6 in it.  Well, Its not just me. Its about how Firefox has maintained a significant user base. Obviously, it all comes down to the greatest collection of Addons that the browser has got !

We’ve all enjoyed using addons with Firefox. It’s even more fun to develop one right ? We just wanted to share it to a greater crowd there and thus happened the Add On Development Workshop at Madras Institute of Technology, Chennai on 25th March 2012.

The speaker for the event was Soumya Deb a.k.a Debloper. He got along really well with the audience and was very interactive. Assisting him were Dwaraka – (myself), Harvish and Naresh.

We had the session split up into 2 parts, covering, the need to have Addons- an introduction, setting the developer environment in 1st part and developing addons using online builder in the 2nd part.

All the participants had developed a sample add-on that provided a right click menu option to see all the ‘About:<--->’ pages using a simple javascript code.

Internet connection was slow but, we were able to manage though. Thanks to the MIT hospitality team ! You were amazing :) On the whole, the session was very productive and enjoyable !

Click to view the Slides and Notes of the Workshop.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Phonetic Typing…? Yes, you can do that in Linux !

Typing always makes us shit crazy ! English typing is a you-have-to-do-it situation. But, most of them using Internet, are non-Englsh speakers. How about typing in that language ? Not many would’ve learnt typing in that language keyboard layout. Phonetic typing might be an answer. But, do we have the right stuff to get it working ?

Yes, we got tools for that. Consider using Google Transliteration. It works, yes. But, native support for Phonetic typing is always preferable, if you want it to work in a cross-application platform scenario – not just the web. Unfortunately, Google has released its Input Method Editor (IME as how it is shortened) only for Mac and Windows operating systems. Poor old, Linux is left back :(

We’ll now see a workaround to this. iBus (Intelligent Input Bus) to the rescue. Let’s see how to get it working in Linux, in our case a Fedora 16 x64 operating sytem.

Steps

 

  1. You first need to install the iBus tools. Do it command line, by typing,

         su –c ‘yum install ibus’

  2.  Once, the install is complete, you may run it by executing,

         ibus-daemon from the run dialog window (Alt+F2)

  3.  You’ll now see a ‘keyboard icon’ getting displayed in your window

4. Right click the window, click preferences and choose the language you want;

5. Always choose a phonetic language;

6. Now, you’ll see an option to choose between the Input Methods as below.

7. Voila ! You’re typing your language ! (Tamil language screenshot has been given below)