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Portland coincidental work-week

I will leave my travel adventure out from this blog post cause they are sufficiently interesting to deserve a separate, dedicated post. So, I will jump directly to my experience of this co-incidential work-week at Portland.

On the first day, when I walked into the Portland Art Museum in the morning, I was overwhelmed to see so many known faces and being able to flag a few new faces to their IRC nicks (or twitter handles), whom I was meeting for the first time outside of the virtual world. 



What's your slingshot?

During this one week, I heard a lot of amazing people, from David Slater to Chris Beard, from Mark Surman to Mitchel Baker....too much awesomeness on the stage! The guest speakers on the first day was Brian Muirhead, from NASA who made us realize that even though we were not NASA engineers, and our work was limited to the earthen atmosphere, sometimes the criticality of projects or the way of handling them didn't need to differ much. The second day's guest speaker, Michael Lopp (@rands), was a person I had been following on twitter but never knew his real name or how he looked untill the moring of 3rd of December. The talk about Old guards vs New guards was not only something I could relate to but also had a few very interestig points we could all learn from.

After the opening addresses on both days, I found a comfortable spot with the MDN folks. I knew that under all possible circumstances, these would be the people I would mostly hang-around with for the rest of the week. Well, MDN is undoubtedly my most favorite project among all other possible contribution pathways that I have (or still do) tried contributing to.


We do know how to mark our territory!

Just like most Mozilla work-weeks, this week also had a lot of sticky notes all around, so many etherpads created and a master etherpad to link all the etherpads and a lot of wiki pages! When you know that you are gonna be haunted my sticky notes for at-least the next one week, you can be sure that you had a great workweek and a lot of planning. Plannings around the different contribution metrics for MDN, contribution recognition, MDN events for 2015, growing the community as well as a few technical changes and a few responsibilities which I have committed to and will be trying to complete before the calender changes it reading to 2015....it was a crazy crazy fun week. One important initiative that I am not only interested in being executed by also am willing to jump into in any possible manner is the linking of Webmaker and MDN. To me, its like my two superheros who are planning to work together to save this world!

I didn't spend much time with the community building team this week, other than the last day when I could finally join the group. First and foremost, Allen Gunner is undoubtedly one of the best facilitators I have seem in my life. Half of the session, my focus on his skills and how I could learn a few of them. I am happy to have been able to join the community building team on their concluding day as I got a summary of the week's discussion as well as could help the concluding plans and also make a few new commitments to a few new interesting things that are being planned in the year 2015.

Well, I am not sure if I have been able to do a good job at thanking Dietrich personally for inviting me and hosting me at his place for the fun filled get-together, but I sincerely do confess that I had way more fun at his party than I had expected to. Meeting so many new people there, mostly meeting so many amazing engineerings who are building the new mobile operating system which I not only extensively use but also brag about to my friends, family and colleagues.

A few wow moments -

[1] Seeing @rage outside the twitter world, live infront of me!


[2] Mitchel's talk on how Mozilla acknowledges the tensions created around the last few decisions that went out and her explanation around why and how they were made and were important.


[3] Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' live performance at the mega party.


[4] My first ever experience of trying to 'dance' with other Mozillians. Yes, I had successfully avoided them during the Summit, MozFest and all other previous events in the last 2 years.


[5] The proudest moment for me was probably the meeting of the MDN and the webmaker team. When neither of the teams knew every other member of the other team, I was probably the one person who knew every person in that circle. Having worked very closely with both the teams, it was my cloud nine (++) moment of the workweek to be sitting with all my rock-stars together!

A lot of people met, a lot of planning done, a lot of things learnt and most importantly, a lot of commitments made which I am looking forward to execute in 2015.

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My Portland To-do list

Posted by priyanka nag on 10:03 AM in , ,
My travel to Portland, the city of Roses, is going to start in a few hours. I have always loved being a globetrotter....visiting different places, trying different fun things, meeting a lot of new people...all of it. I am not much of a planner though. I have being to places and gone with the flow. This time, I wanted to do things a little differently. This time, I thought of making a to-do list of all the things I would like to do, see, eat, drink etc in Portland. Everytime I complete executing one task, I will tick it off. Lets see, by the time I am back in India, how many of these items can I get done with!





Action items:



Things to do:

Try out some Voodoo Donuts
Try out some S'more pudding


Check out some alcohol free Portland nightlife (one of them surely is the Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade
(Totally missed it)


Things to see:

Portland Art Museum
Powell's City of Books
Portland Audubon
Benson Bubblers


Forest Park
International Rose Test Garden
Multnomah Falls

I am sure this list is going to be modified on the go, as and when I get to explore the city a little more.


P.S. - Ofcourse all of these action items are to be executed only after the work hours of the work-week.




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Building an army around my blog

Posted by priyanka nag on 5:11 AM in , , ,
I am a blogger...someone who likes to share her views and expressions with others by simply putting them in words. But whats a blogger without his (or her) followers and readers? (Well, here I am not talking about those bloggers who maintain private blogs). Followers, readers, criticisms, appreciations...thats what a blogger's world consists of. 

Posting a blog only gives partial satisfaction. When my posts receive comments (positive or negative), thats where the other half of the satisfaction comes from. 

After posting a blog, I have often received emails or facebook messages from readers, wanting to discuss more on the topic. Its probably then that I realized, how important it is, at times, to have a communication platform right on the blog, where the readers and critics could immediately start a conversation about something they like or dislike about the post.

Adding the Scrollback widget to my blogpost was not out of any obligation or commitment towards my job. It was a very selfish decision from my end to be able to communicate better with my readers.


Photo credit : Rahul Kondi

It was after adding the Scrollback widget that my army around my blog got stronger. People started reaching out to me on my Scrollback room, asking me more about why I wrote something, why I felt a certain way (referring to some writing) and sometimes also talking about how they shared similar feelings. All those readers of mine, who would like to talk to me, but wouldn't want to find me on facebook or write a long email, now found a much better way to reach out to me, instantly. I could also reply to them, almost instantly. 

Ofcourse not everyone likes what I write. I even had messages from the 'anonymous' readers, saying how I am doing it all wrong and how I need to think better. Well, even those messages have been helpful....helping see the other side of the coin. I am not a great writer, but I appreciate the criticisms received, which often help me improve.

P.S - If you go through my Scrollback room's chat log, you won't find much content there. Most of the time, when I have a very intense discussion with someone on any topic, I prefer to remove the logs after the conversations so that others don't need to suffer from the impact of those conversations.


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My last two cents to the Mozilla India Community

Posted by priyanka nag on 9:55 AM
This should not be coming as a big surprise to anyone who has seen my last post on Facebook regarding my decision to leave all community activities in Mozilla India. Well, this is a followup on that.

Abiding by my previous decision, here I am, taking a voluntary retirement from all community activities related with the Mozilla India community. I had taken up some responsibility for this year's MozFest and didn't wanna spoil that job for sure.

MozFest has always been awesome...its awesome even now, except the cold war I am unfortunately having to face with my own community people here. I had to set up a Hive India booth at the Maker Party here at MozFest, and I was determined to do it to the best of my capabilities. I had been almost begging my own community members, who are here at the MozFest, to help me plan and execute the session. But, not to my surprise, I received absolutely no help and only ignorance from my entire team here.

Ofcourse I am not forgetting the only rockstar who rescued me and my session today, Umesh Agarwal. I also shouldn't forget to thank Sayak for remotely putting in all the possible help and support to keep me from breaking down into tears, with all the struggles here.

Well, fortunately for all of us, the session didn't go that bad. Umesh and I did manage to grab some attention and engage with the kids during the Maker Party at MozFest'14.


She was making a Halloween card for her mother at our booth

Yes....we helped her decorate her hat

Well...this was probably the best make at our booth

Creativity at its max

Different people...different idea...but we all had a lot of fun

True creative artists at the Hive India booth at Maker Party

Thats Ioana with her vampire teeth


A big thanks to the entire Hive team for giving me the opportunity to represent Hive India here at MozFest this year.

Now that the last responsibility is completed, I would like to peacefully walk out of the community.

p.s - I am definitely not trying to start any revolution here. Nor am I complaining against anyone. Also, I am not leaving Mozilla. I will continue my contribution as a volunteer in all other possible ways. I am just gonna keep myself safely away from all community activities in India.

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Debutsav'14 at God's own country

Kerala...God's own country. I had always wanted to visit it, but never had a chance of being there. One evening, I suddenly received a very unexpected call, inviting me to be a part of Debutsab'14 at Amrita college, Kerala.

The poster of Debutsav'14
Though it was Kerala, I wasn't entirely enthusiastic for this event. I not been keeping too well for the last few days and doctor had strictly asked me to work less and rest more! Attending one more event at this time would definitely mean another hectic trip. But someone, the idea of introducing Scrollback to another community of open source lovers, talking about this awesome project to a new group of people was an idea which I couldn't entirely ignore. After some discussion with the rest of the Scrollback team, I decided to take this event up.

13 hours to reach Ernakulam, 3 hours from there to reach Kayankulam and another 30 mins ride to finally reach Amritapuri...it wasn't a very easy or comfortable journey. But once I reached Amritapuri, I realized that this long trip was totally worth it. Kerala, rightly called God's own country. The campus was beautiful. Backwaters, boats, sea, loads of coconut trees, a very clean beach and a very peaceful environment, the campus had it all.


Amritapuri...an example of true beauty

When I had left for this event, I was really wondering about my next few days. I knew I was not going to be welcomed by too many known faces here! But, once I was there, I realized how like minds often don't need much time to get along. I was meeting almost everyone for the first time, but it didn't feel like so after the initial 5 minutes of the conversations. Sometimes, strangers don't feel strange at all...and that is exactly what happened to me here.

On the first day of the event, I took the stage for some 15 minutes to give a quick demo of Scrollback, so that every participant of the event could use Scrollback as the communication platform during as well as after the event, to keep the network alive. On the second day, I did occupy the podium for a little longer, talking about why Scrollback was built, inspite of having so many other communication media.

Me, talking about the next generation IRC
The three days actually passed way faster than expected. I had to leave a little early, before the event could be closed, but the time I did spend with everyone at Amritapuri is totally unforgettable.


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Maker Party Bhubaneshwar

Posted by priyanka nag on 9:09 AM in , , , ,
Last weekend I had a blast in Bhubaneshwar. Over two days, I was there at two different colleges for two Maker parties.

Saturday (23rd August 2014), we were at the Center of IT & Management Education (CIME) where we were asked to address a crowd of 100 participants whom we were supposed to teach webmaking. Trust me, very rarely do we get such crowd in events where we get the opportunity to be less of a teacher and more of a learner. We taught them Webmaking, true, but in return we learnt a lot from them.

Maker Party at Center of IT & Management Education (CIME)

On Sunday, things were even more fabulous at Institute of Technical Education & Research(ITER), Siksha 'O' Anusandhan University college, where we were welcomed by around 400 participants, all filled with energy, enthusiasm and the willingness to learn.

Maker Party at Institute of Technical Education & Research(ITER)

Our agenda for both days were simple....to have loads and loads of fun! We kept the tracks interactive and very open ended. On both days, we did cover the following topics:
  • Introduction to Mozilla
  • Mozilla Products and projects
  • Ways of contributing to Mozilla
  • Intro to Webmaker tools
  • Hands-on session on Thimble, Popcorn and X-ray goggles and Appmaker
Both days, we concluded our sessions by giving away some small tokens of appreciation like e T-shirts, badges, stickers etc, to the people who had been extra awesome among the group. We concluded the awesomeness of the two days by cutting a very delicious cake and fighting over it till its last pieces.
Cake.....
Bading goodbye after two days was tough, but after witnessing the enthusiasm of everyone we met during these two events, I am very sure we are going to return soon to Bhubaneshwar for even more awesomeness.
A few people who are two be thanked for making these events sucessful and very memorable are:
  1. Sayak Sarkar, the co-organizer for this event.
  2. Sumantro, Umesh and Sukanta from travelling all the way from Kolkata and helping us out with the sessions.
  3. Rish and Prasanna for organizing these events.
  4. Most importantly, the entire team of volunteers from both colleges without whom we wouldn't havebeen able to even move a desk.
 p.s - Not to forget, we did manage to grab media's attention as well. The event was covered by a local newspaper.
The article in the newspaper next morning


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Maker Party gets grander in Pune this time

While going through my twitter time-line this evening, I noticed Michelle Thorne's tweet stating that India leads with most Maker Party action this season.
Well, who doubts that! In India, we have a maker parties being organized almost every second day. My facebook wall and twitter timelime is like overloaded with posts, photos and updates from all the Maker Parties happening around me.

Maker Party, Pune


Well, if you are still not aware of this one, we are having the grand daddy of this maker parties in Pune on the 6th of September 2014. The executive director of Mozilla Foundation, Mark Surman, is going to be personally present for this event. Just like all maker parties, this event is an attempt to map and empower a community of educators and creative people who share a passion to innovate, evolve and change the learning landscape.

A few quick updates about this event:
  •  Event date - 6th and 7th September
  •  Event venue - SICSR, Model Colony, Pune
  • Rough agenda for the event is going to be:
    • 6th September 2014 (Day 1) 
      • 10am - 11am : Mozilla introduction
      • 11am - 12 : About Hive initiative
      •  12 - 1pm: Rohit Lalwani - Entrepreneurship talk
      •  1-2pm : Lunch break
      •  2pm - 3pm: Webmaker begins with Appmaker
      •  3pm - 4pm: Webmaker continues with Thimble
      •  4pm - 4.45pm: Webmaker continues with Popcorn
      •  4.45pm - 5.30pm : Webmaker continues with x-ray goggles
      • 5.30pm - 6pm: Prize distribution (against best makes of the day etc). Science fair also ends
      • 6pm - 7pm : Birds of feature
      • 7pm : Dinner (venue - TBD)
Science fair will be from 12 noon to 6pm.
  
    •  7th September 2014 (Day 2) 
      • 1st Half: Community Meetup and Discussions on the future roadmap for Hive India,
        Long term partnership prospect meeting with partners.
      •  2nd Half: Community training sessions on Hive and Train the trainer events.
 
For this event, we are having a variety of different training sessions, workshops and science displays - starting from 3D printing to wood-works, Origami to quad-copter flying and even film making.

If you have still not registered for this event, heres your chance:



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