Posted in Outreachy, Random

Biannual updates

I like to set my goals at the beginning of every year and reflect on them about what’s being achieved and what isn’t. Here is what I have written in the past:

For 2017, this is what I had set.

goals-1
2017 goals

Having achieved most of them already, I thought of a biannual update for this year. And today being 31.05.2017, it is a good time of the year to share these updates.

Although Outreachy commenced officially yesterday, me and Bianca have already started our Lightbeam project and we are two weeks through. It’s been fun two weeks getting to learn lot of things, interacting with mentors and working remotely with people from different time-zones.

My next blog post will be on the test environment setup for the Lightbeam web extension. I am super happy for being able to set this up from scratch and I can blabber about this on & on 😉

My personal website is a work in progress and I intend to launch it soon. It features the TIL series.

Ending this post with words of wisdom to stay focused to be able to achieve your goals:

  • PRIORITISE things
  • Have PATIENCE
  • CHALLENGE yourself

See you 🙂

Posted in Outreachy

Outreachy – suspense unfolds

I am happy to announce that I am one of the 39 participants selected into this year’s summer Outreachy internship.

Results were announced on 04.05.2017 at 4:00 pm UTC and my joy new no bounds.

outreachy-results

I have been accepted into Mozilla’s Lightbeam project.

outreachy-mozilla-accepted-list

Initially, the results were scheduled to be announced on 28.04.2017. Anticipating a rejection, I had jotted down a Plan B for myself on 26.04.2017. But now, ditch the Plan B 😉

26.04.2017, Berlin

With two more days left for the announcement of Outreachy results, I have decided to go with Plan B. I think I am being too paranoid about the results this time, I am not able to concentrate on anything else. While I am being 90% optimistic, I want to have a Plan B to console the 10% pessimistic me. Even though I was a tad late to apply this year, I feel I have done a decent job with my application.

Here is my application.

And here is my contribution.

Best case, I will get the internship and the money. Worst case, I have the following Plan B.

I am an optimistic individual and it is very difficult to have me demotivated. While not securing the internship won’t be the end of the world to me, there will be a few obvious regrets; not getting the money to be one of them 😉

First let me make it clear to myself what this internship means to me:


I want to make the best use of my leave for this year. I have always wanted to be an active opensource contributor and this year I have the time to make this impact.

 

With this firm resolution in mind for this year, I was pretty happy when I found the debugger.html project in January and was able to make a PR.

I was keen on picking up a project from Mozilla because Mozilla has always been participating with Outreachy and it would fit with my forte of work. When the Outreachy’s participating organisation list was announced this year, Mozilla wasn’t listed and I was disappointed. I reached out to one of the programme’s coordinator via Twitter and she confirmed that Mozilla was participating and their project list would be up within a week’s time. The hope came back 🙂 When the project list was up, Lightbeam caught my immediate attention and I worked towards my contribution. I must say, web privacy is an interesting topic. There is so much scope to learn here.

I like to encourage women into technology. With this internship, I would be setting a real life example between managing work and home.

 

Plan B:


  • I can still contribute to Lightbeam because it is an opensource project and try to learn and understand about web privacy to the maximum. There is a lot of scope in this area!

  • I will get back to debugger.html and try to get some more PRs merged.

  • I want to do three courses from Coursera:

    • Algorithms (I HAVE to be very good at this)

    • Machine Learning

    • Data Scientist’s toolbox

    I have been aiming to take up these courses from a very very long time (from past 3-4 years). This year I have no excuse.

  • Ideas for fun projects:

    • Build a StackOverflow like platform for all the discussions happening at ExpatBabies Facebook group and Jutta’s idea of online midwife.
    • Build visualisations for some day to day life problems.
    • Cook, bake and blog
      The foodie in me is very excited about this one 🙂
  • I need to get better at the following and blog my learnings:

    • ES6
    • Web performance
    • D3.js, SVG, WebGL
    • WebVR
    • CSS layouts

As I conclude this post, let’s hope for the best 🙂

Posted in Random

If I Ruled the World!

Welcome to 2017! My first blog post for this year. However, I have been doing this here.

Anyways, I have an interesting post for tonight! This is an essay for my 9 year old niece – “If I Ruled the World”. She has a competition on 31.03.2017 and I am helping her with it. Prior to me writing this, I made her tell me 5 each of her likes and dislikes. This article is a compilation of her thoughts.

She had an essay competition last year around the same time. This is what I wrote back then.

I like today’s topic and the innocence it brings up from a 9 year old’s perspective.

If I ruled the world I would outlaw contests with themes of the likes of “if I ruled the world”. I would let people talk about whatever they feel like. I would accept each and every voice.

I’d sing and dance and see everybody happy. I would not make rules for anybody. No do’s and dont’s. “Live and Let Live” would be my mantra. I would like to see the world filled with love, fun, laughter and not to forget food for everybody.

I would actually, come to think of it, resign from my post as ruler of the world. If I ruled the world I would jump off the next bridge because, hey, who wants to rule the world?

I’d rather be Doraemon; to protect myself, my friends and Nobita from being bullied. I’d use Doraemon’s gadgets – from toys to medicines, for the needy. I would use Doraemon’s technical gadgets for our better future.

If I ruled the world, I would refuse to rule the world. I’d be a kind human being to myself, my friends and family, rather than a ruler to the world. I want a world without fear, sadness and wars. I want a simple and happy world.

If I ruled the world I would keel over from exhaustion and that is why I don’t rule the world, that is why I am standing here now hiccuping words and catapulting sounds and sights in front of you all and trying to be poetic, trying to talk, talk and talk. If I ruled the world my speech would win the prize of the “If I ruled the world” contest.

Thank you!

Posted in Random

Mentoring @ Hackathon

Recently I had this opportunity to be a mentor at a hackathon. It was a Health & Fitness hackathon which took place on 14-16 October, 2017. The hackathon was organised by Geek Girls Carrots Berlin and my employer Zalando was one of the sponsors.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

I was contacted by the employer branding team within Zalando to participate as a mentor and I had an amazing weekend. Although I wanted to participate as a participant at this hackathon, the idea of being a mentor was overwhelming and I jumped in to volunteer.

My colleague Andra accompanied me on Day 1, Day 2 and Iuliia accompanied me on Day 3.

Day 1: 14.10.2016

It was Friday evening but I was gladdened to watch out the participant turn-out. It was a decent number of audience. The evening was meant to meet & greet mentors and participants. After a formal welcome, mentors introduced themselves and participants were asked to brainstorm on their Health & Fitness related hacks for the weekend and build teams.

I met couple of women who were very enthusiastic about their participation. Me and Andra tried to give them insights about being able to use the Zalando Shop API for this hackathon.

The evening was accompanied with good, healthy food and we were hosted at the Native Instruments, Berlin office.

Day 2: 15.10.2016

It was a pleasant Saturday morning and the previous evening made sure I had my motivation level turned on to show up at the venue on time.

20161016_151737

I was excited to talk about the Zalando Shop API. Since it was a health & fitness hackathon, Zalando’s fashion reputation was less enticing amongst the participants. Our pitch was to lure the audience by asking them to come up with ideas which involved a little bit of shopping. After all, you need new clothes, accessories etc. for a healthy start at the gym 😉

We offered them 20% discount code for shopping at Zalando. Here is the voucher code for all the readers – ZRNN48454E. Happy shopping!

The API briefing session was followed by a VR workshop using the Unity Framework and the hands-on-hacking session followed thereafter.

One of the teams reached out to me and Andra asking for some help in getting started with React.

We were hosted at the Axel Springer, Berlin office. The food served was delicious. The rest of the day was intense hacking session and the participants were engrossed in their hacks. True to the hackathon’s theme, there was a Zumba workout session in the evening 🙂

picsart_10-16-06-15-27

Day 3: 16-10-2016

Mentor participation was required only during the second-half of this day for the jury discussions and voting. I decided to quickly run my weekend errands at home. Meanwhile I was helping one of the teams remotely with their React doubts.

Around 2:00 pm, it was jury time. I and Iuliia were quite excited about this. Being one of the jury member was one of my best experiences.

There were 7 teams all set to present their hacks. The source-code of all the teams can be found here.

I was amazed at the energy level of all the participants. There was no drop in their energy, inspite it being a Sunday. The presentations were excellent. I enjoyed listening to every detail. Me and Iuliia were silently making our notes and voting them based on code, idea and potential behind the hack.

After the presentations, all the jury assembled in one room. We were voting and it was interesting how the votes differed based on different evaluation criteria.

First criteria – potential and uniqueness of the hack.

Second criteria – presentations and team-spirit.

Third criteria – Implementation (working prototype)

It was surprising that looking into the source-code was the last criteria and the team ratings varied when this happened.

We had the winners listed at the end and this whole experience was elating.

picsart_10-16-06-27-24

Last but not the least, it was a weekend well spent 🙂 Mentors and participants had this as a take-away gift!

picsart_10-16-06-09-54

Here is the short-video featuring the hackathon

Posted in JavaScript

JSUnconf 23-24 April 2016, Hamburg

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are my own! Pictures are copied from twitter @jsunconf.

Now start reading…

It’s day #2 at JSUnconf, Hamburg and it’s snowing here! It’s weekend, yet nobody is tired. The enthusiasm within the audience/community is crazy. Everybody is here to share and learn something new.

jsunconf-audience

This was my first time at an Unconf! Unlike other conferences, the good thing about Unconfs is that the audience get to vote for the talk proposals on the fly. This is absolutely a conference for the people and by the people.

The two days started with a healthy breakfast and a quick welcoming of the audience. This was followed by potential speakers proposing their ideas. Voting was followed next and the schedule for the respective days was released.

As a speaker, I feel this is an interesting concept to validate your talk proposal. The joy of getting votes and getting a chance to speak is cosmic. My talk did make it to stage on day #1. My slides can be found here. The talk was on Natural User Interfaces using JavaScript. I had a chance to validate my idea before going live at JSConfBP, Budapest.

My session was at 14:30 on day #1. With 3 parallel sessions at a given time, I had a decent audience count listening to me. The demos which I had prepared, showed up very well and all the hard work paid off.

Being a foodie, it would be unfair from my part if I don’t post some FOOOOOOOOOD pictures 😉

JSUnconf highlights

  • It was a well-defined and nicely emphasised code of conduct.
  • This is what was there at both the rest-rooms. Promoting diversity at it’s best!jsunconf-all-gender
  • The coffee cups were re-usable.
  • The diversity scholarship of 300€ was awarded to 17 deserving candidates. I was one of them.jsunconf-diversity

From annoying pop-ups to JS on the back-end, the JavaScript community has seen JS in its varied forms. Conferences like these are a great place to network, learn and share knowledge.

My personal favorite talk at JSUnconf was about CSS refactoring by Christoph Reinartz, Trivago (@pistenprinz). Even though it was more about CSS, talks like these come out with a strong message about the need to use design patterns, code refactoring, terms much reserved to back-end and eyes drooling when the front-end community talks about.

It’s 14:15 (day #2) as I am ending this write-up. With 3 more hours to go here at the conference, it was a weekend well-spent. I have proposed a lightning talk too and is due in next 90 minutes. I made some new friends as well!

jsunconf-new-friends

Long live #javascript!

Posted in Random

LearnItGirl -Failure Lessons

It’s been a relaxing weekend. Berlin and Zalando, both are treating me very well. Every day is like living my dream. Well, ‘so far, so good’…

After a heavy lunch today, I have been going through my to-do list. With no mood to sleep, I thought of writing a blog. Earlier this year, I had made an announcement of being chosen to be a mentor for LearnItGirl. I was very excited about this program. I and my mentee exchanged few emails in the beginning, one Skype call. That’s it. After that we failed to catch up.

My mentee, Iulia Dromereschi is from Romania. She is a freelance translator, conference interpreter, language trainer, collaborator at bookblog.ro, creative writer and is a co-founder of a NGO (she had once told me, what this NGO does, but I have no notes of it and now I have forgotten). I was readily impressed with her interesting profile. She has basic HTML and web design knowledge. She wanted to get started with JavaScript, which is why she chose LearnItGirl as the platform.

Since she uses email for communications very heavily, she wanted to build a tool like MailChimp. She decided to name it MailPump. Below is the abstract of the idea:

We would like to build a mail client (similar to MailChimp) which should help Iulia’s NGO send e-mails to the people they have to be in contact with. The mail client should facilitate sending e-mails to a great number of people, and also edit the e-mail content/layout, embed images, links, short movies, allow people to vote in polls or confirm their presence to events, to subscribe and unsubscribe to the newsletter(s).

I liked this idea and we both decided to work on it. Below is the work plan for 12 weeks which we had agreed on:

  1. HTML
  2. CSS
  3. JavaScript – Getting started
  4. Some more JavaScript
  5. Learning to build a basic website with HTML, CSS and JavaScript
  6. Prototyping MailPump
  7. Coding the layout for MailPump using HTML, CSS and JavaScript
  8. Adding interactions into MailPump
  9. Manage mailing lists
  10. Create email templates
  11. Add audio, video, image into email
  12. Final project wrap up

In one of the projects (Selasdia) which I have worked on earlier, back in Bangalore, I had built an email template engine, similar to MailChimp. I thought this would be a good learning project for Iulia to learn JavaScript.

My mentee was awesome, the project idea was super cool and the interest to learn and teach was at its best. But, I and my mentee have been too busy with our day-to-day work and we failed to show any progress in this program. My sincere apologies to the LearnItGirl team for not completing this project. As any successful person will honestly admit, failure happens, and we’ve all had our fair share of it. But from each failure, we learn our lessons.

To summarise our failure lessons, I have the following notes:

Choose wisely: I was new to Berlin and Zalando, I had too many things to focus on. I think it was a bad decision from my end to volunteer to be a mentor and not complete the task. I have already learned my lesson. I am now more careful in prioritising things and pick up only the ones which are doable.

Persistence: Iulia was travelling most of the time and had poor internet, which is why we couldn’t schedule our initial calls on time. Both of us didn’t give the right amount of attention to this project and it was undone. Had the two of us been persistent, we would have come half way through by now.

Motivation: Motivation is the key to everything. I strongly believe in this simple yet powerful word. Our daily schedule kept us busy from seeing any motivation in this program.

Never forget why you started!

As I conclude this post, I really hope Iulia learns programming and builds her own MailPump.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Random

How to be happy and make others happy!

As I woke up today morning, there was a message from my sister asking me to write an essay on “How to be happy and make others happy”. Her daughter (my niece) received this email from her school about an essay competition. Today being a Sunday, I had no plans for the day and I liked the idea about writing an article for my blog. Well, I was happy! Maybe once I am done with this writing, I would definitely make my sister and my niece happy!

I am now sitting and wondering how an 8-year old can be happy and make others happy. I like this topic because I am one of those people who constantly tries to be happy by valuing the tiny things which would matter in my life rather than the materialistic side of the things. I have lot of memories of my 8th year and I doubt if I ever wondered how to make others happy. Off course, I was a happy kid back then. And I think, my deeds made my parents and my sister happy. I still remember the day, I was 7 and I stood first in my class and it made my mother so happy that evening. I was happy too. I was 8, and I won an elocution competition for the first time. Both my mother and my sister were happy. I was happy too. So, that’s about it. I was happy and my family was happy too. Not to mention, I am happy even now and my family is happy too!

The next few paragraphs (approximate 400 words, is the essay requirement) will talk about an 8 year old’s perspective of being happy and making others happy.

‘What do I want from my life?’ I think it’s too early for me to decide on this. But off-course, I know for sure, I want to be happy. I do have many reasons to be happy.

  • My parents love me
  • My dad has a nice job
  • My mom is pretty
  • I get good food to eat
  • I have nice clothes to wear
  • I stay in a big house
  • I have friends to play with

This is my sweet world and it is perfect. I don’t see why I should be scared of not being happy at all. But, I do see that the grown ups aren’t entirely happy after all. I am too young to comprehend the grown up’s world, but maybe I have a few lessons for them to be happy and make others happy. I hope to be following these lessons as I grow up too.

  1. Be self satisfied: I have read this somewhere, that man is greedy. He always wants more and he is never satisfied. Instead, focus on the things what you have rather than going behind the ones which you don’t have. Life will be lot easier and happier. For example, I need to consider those kids who are poor rather than complaining to my parents about not gifting me what I saw in the mall yesterday.
  2. Sleep more: I am always full of energy after a good night’s sleep. The grown ups often miss this important aspect and mess the happiness in their life.
  3. Spend more time with family and friends: Money cannot buy all the happiness. Yes, I need my dad to work in the office and earn money but I wouldn’t want him to be only doing his office work. I want him to spend time with me and my mom and take us out on vacation.
  4. Help others: Think of those who are less privileged than you. Do not be stingy. Be thankful with what is give to you and get on the spirit of helping the needy and the less fortunate. I always insist my mom to give away my books, clothes, accessories to our maid’s daughter who is of my age. The joy of seeing my friend happy is inexplicable.
  5. Practice smiling: Smiling can make us feel better, but it’s more effective when we back it up with positive thoughts.
  6. Practice gratitude: This tiny gesture of appreciation is the most effective to make others happy. I start my day by thanking God for giving me a chance to live in this world, yet another day. I thank my mom and dad for looking after me, my teachers for teaching me, my friends for playing with me. This is a very simple strategy but it will surely make a huge difference in anybody.

As I end my happy lessons, I would like to conclude it with the following note: ‘Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder’!

Well, I am done with my task of writing an essay. Did I make you happy? 🙂 Happy Sunday!