BarCamp Bangalore 5, Winter Edition

29 10 2007

All preparations for BarCampBangalore 5, Winter Edition are going at extreme speed. This time, participation in the organizing committee has been more than three times the previous teams. Its great to have so many people willing to participate and make this event the most happening BarCamp in the world.We had our first planning meeting around 14 October and the main point of our discussion is the way the camp should be structured. Last BarCamp was the Collectives edition and we had more than 600 participants. The main feedback we received was that the collectives were diluted (we had around 25 collectives) and people could not get a chance to attend other collective sessions as they were clashing with time. Jace tried his best to schedule the events, but it was really a tedious task. Anyway, coming to this discussion, the main input was that we should streamline the collectives, have more focused sessions and get in more people to participate rather than just being spectators. This time around, team has been planning to have 2 sessions each during one part of the day on both days, so that the sessions are streamlined. Which means to say, you have 2 session in the morning and 2 sessions post-lunch on the 17th and 18th November 2007.The venue remains same, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.Visit BarCampBangalore home page and mark your calenders for the event.





Canon Rebel XT

28 10 2007

After a serious research and hunting for a cost effective camera, I zeroed in on the Nikon D40 earlier. However, after a little more research and analysis I decided to go for the Rebel XT, the EOS series Digital SLR from Canon.

This is a 8 MegaPixel camera which came with 18-55 MM lens Kit. I will not speak more on the technical configuration, as the camera model link above will give you all the details (even those which I will not), but will speak a little bit on my experiences.
Well, the first think I will need to admit is the ease of use of the camera. The menu is very user friendly and you will not need to go through the manual too, if you have already handled a point-and-shoot camera before. I felt that the operation is much better and easier than point-and-shoot and also other cameras in its category. I have been using a Pentax ZX 50 Analog SLR camera for about 6 years now and recently bought a Nikon Cool Pix point-and-shoot just to capture small moments when I do not carry my Analog SLR.




Buying my Mac

28 10 2007
As I mentioned in my earlier post, I was serious about the Mac this time when I came to the US. As per my itinerary, I would be in Kansas City
on the 26 October when Leopard would be launched by Apple 🙂 For the first time, I would be traveling when something is being launched by Apple.
On the 26, I came back from work and was trying to check Apple’s website to see if the store on the Plaza would be open. Just then my friend called me and said that they were coming through the main road and saw a huge line in front of the Apple store. I
wasted no time, just ran to the store and found a huge line. It
was 6:15 PM and I was there, about 1/2 KM from the store wondering if I would be able to make it to buy a copy today. The store was distributing coke and water to people who were standing…

At around 7:15, entered the store to first be invited by a cool black T-Shirt freebie. Then the store attendent asked me what I was looking for? I told her and was guided to another counter for only computers. I told that person what I wanted and lo! my Mac

his arrived in front of me 🙂
I am really enjoying this great PC.

Am really amazed with the usability it has and I do not think I would enjoy working with a Microsoft OS anymore. I do agree that I would take some time to get acquainted with this system, but wow! what an amazing computer this is…





BangaloreIT.In – A new look

24 10 2007

On the 17 October, I, along with Arun, Saurabh, Prasanth along with few others was invited to meet Mr.Vidyashankar, Secretary to Government of Karnataka, India for an introduction and Q&A of the new version of BangaloreIT.In, a mega event showcasing Information Technology, Bio-Technology and Science & Technology event organized by Karnataka Government every year during November.
We were given an appointment time at 7 PM and we were in his chamber by around 7:15 PM. The discussion lasted for almost 2 hours, but I had to leave a bit before. Here are few key highlights of our interaction with him:

IT Infrastructure in Karnataka, an Overview of Present and future….

  • IT in Karnataka contributes to 26% of GDP and nation contributes to 4.7%
  • This will cross 50% by 2010
  • There are 4,90,000 people working in the IT sector
  • Karnataka has more than 225 organizations in the BT sector
  • Karnataka has more than 1,900 organizations in IT sector
  • All Fortune 500 organizations in the world have presence in the state
  • Karnataka will have its First Knowledge City in the country in an area spanning 10,000 acres. There are 5 townships planned around Bangalore
  • When organizations buy land for their offices, they will also need to take land for providing residential accommodation. This will help de-congest the city.
  • The 10,000 acre Knowledge City will have 25,000 Square Foot built up area.
  • The first township is coming up at Bidadi, a suburb in the south of Bangalore.
  • The Bidadi township is to be completed in 3 years and will have 13-14 Software Export Zones.
  • Lowest agricultural land has been acquired for this project.
  • Total investment of Rupees 60,000 Crores.
  • At the present rate of growth, Bidadi Knowledge City will suffice until 2015.
  • There were 32 Bidders for the Project and 1 has been shortlisted.

BangaloreIT.In – Redefining the Technology Event…

BangaloreIT.In is being organized for the last 5 Years in Bangalore during November every year. The first two editions of the event have a great success, and after that, there has been a downturn in organizing the event, with the key objectives not being met…

This year, the Government has realized the importance of showcasing the event in a better fashion and ensured that all steps are taken from the beginning to re-invent the entire show. 
The Department of Science and Technology has announced the dates of the event well before and ensure that it sends out invitations to various organizations and country representatives to help them block their calenders. 
This year, the event is happening between 29 October and 2 November at the Bangalore International Convention Center and all measures are taken to ensure that there are no troubles to reach the venue in any way. Special bus’s have been organized periodically from central locations in the city to ensure convenience. 
PS: As I write this post (it is late though), I am traveling on business and misplaced my notes 😦 Am trying to recollect as much as i can, but would promise my readers that i would ensure that i come with more information from next time..
Read more in detail on Prasanth, Saurabh or Arun’s Blogs. 




iMac and Nikon D40

14 10 2007

Apple Mac Notebook

For a long time now, I have been really raving for a Mac Book. Earlier, when I got my Acer, was seriously thinking of picking up this dream machine, but it was not able to afford. Now, I think I am very serious about this machine and I am seriously thinking of picking up very soon. The configuration I am looking for is 13 Inch, 2.16 GHz, Intel Core Duo, 1 GB RAM, 120 GB HDD, CD/DVD RW. At the current exchange rates, i feel this is the right time to pick this beauty. Hopefully I can….
Nikon D40

This is my another wish. I researched a bit on the DSLR Camera’s and finally zeroing on this one for its afford ability and features. This has got a 2.5 inch LCD screen, comes with 18-55 MM lens, Remote control to shoot self pictures, Auto and Manual modes for preference of picture shooting, Auto flash, Portrait, Landscape, Child, Sports, Close Up and night portrait pictures. The other lens I would definitely suggest is the 35-200 MM lens which will help a mature photographers the flexibility of taking various kinds of pictures. Photography is science and going forward, will try writing reviews / understanding of lens for people who are beginning to have their own photography collection. With technology advancing everyday, buying a good camera is just being affordable.

Let me get into photography classes later, just wanted to share my thoughts on this computer and camera…share you thoughts if you already have one of these and make me make a better decision.





OCC New Format

14 10 2007

OCC Bangalore has had a good reception from many Entrepreneurs in Bangalore. Ramji and Vaibhav have put in lot of energy to get this group going and I am happy that they are doing an excellent job. When we last met, we discussed that this group should have more focus in the meets and there should be a better format. As on date, this group meets once in two weeks at some location mutually agreed by people. Honestly, till date, we have been meeting at Brew HaHa at Koramangala. We have come out with a new format – Technically, meeting once in two weeks is twice in a month. We thought one meeting in those two weeks should be focused on a particular topic and one person can speak on the topic / start a discussion on the same. The other meeting, will be a general catch up and we can have open discussion.
Today, as I write this post, the group has met up at ThoughtWorks office to discuss on IP Protection and Patent Laws. I am waiting for an outcome of this meeting, and requested Ramji to get some kind of minutes for people like me, who were not able to make it for the meet.





BCB 5 Planning

13 10 2007

Today, we had the first meeting for BarCamp Bangalore (BCB) 5 which will happen end of November/beginning of December.
I should confess that it was a great way to start with around 20 enthusiasts willing to be part of the group of Planners and take this forward. We had loads of discussions, arguments and debates on the format of the camp, willing to consider few thoughts which have come up. Arun was coordinating the discussion and others pitching in.
Here are people who came in today to kick of planning for BCB5:
Arun
Jace
Kesav
Aditya (on Phone)
Akash Mahajan
Mansi
Nishant
Srinivas
Shahnawaz
Pawan
Saurab
Vinayak
Prasanth
Satish
and we had an unexpected guest – Kiruba.

Last but not the least, even I was there 🙂

I will not get into the details of what we discussed or how it went, but it was a good 2 hour brain storming session and I am sure everyone enjoyed it.


Few more pictures on my Flickr…

If you are interested to be part of this exciting and most happening Bar Camp in the world, please add yourself to bangalore_barcamp@yahoogroups.com.

If you are interested to be a planner for the event, leave a comment for this post and I will write back to you.





BCT – Visit Report

7 10 2007

On the 19 September, I visited Bhagavatula Charitable Trust, a Not-for-Profit organization who’s vision is “To transform 100 villages in 3 mandalas, viz. Yellamanchilli, Atchyutapuram and Rambilli of Visakhapatnam District, Andhra Pradesh into model villages in such a way that all able bodied persons are gainfully employed, that substantive improvements in the state of literacy, health and economic sustenance take place and that local leadership and facilitation is fully developed.”

Here are my notes from my discussions with Mr.B.Sri Ram Murty, Joint Secretary of the organization.

Current Organization strength is around 80.
Villages Covered : 40

Activities of BCT:
Education
Agriculture
Women’s Empowerment
Skill Training for Disabled
HealthCare

Going forward, the organization will concentrate more towards Education and Livelihood training for Children and Youth.

BCT believes in Programs and not in Projects. What is the difference?
Ramesh (as Mr.Sri Ram Murty is fondly called) says “Projects have a beginning and an end which comes with a report on how the project has started, progressed and closed, submitted to organizations/people who have funded/supported the project. However, Program is more longsighted and typically does not have an ending. We believe in designing programs keeping the grass-root level problems in mind and work towards making changes in the program if necessary as it progresses”.

Let me dig a little deep into the current activities and share my observations.

Education
BCT has been into Education since the beginning (infact, the organization started with a School). BCT schools are categorized as follows:
Class 1-5 : 144 Schools
Class 6-7 : 16 Upper Primary Schools
Class 8-10 : 1 Model High School

As per research information, over 45% of Indians are un-employed and over 95% (very high number) of Graduates are un-employable (There is a lot of difference in being employed and being un-employable, I will explain in detail in another post). BCT has identified three main categories in education system and is working towards building the same and implementing in their schools:

A) Academics
B) Vocational Training
C) Values

Academics are important (Social, Science, Mathematics and Language) and taught in all schools and in all classes.

Vocation Training encompasses providing skill based training to children which will add the value of implementing what they have learned through academics. It is not mandatory that what is taught in school should be practical and implementable, but what is practical and implementable should definitely be taught during the school days.
I find this absolutely correct. If we look back, how many of us agree that what we have studied in our school / collage days is what we implement today? I really don’t know and I personally am not implementing most of the things. I did my graduation in Economics and Computer Applications during the days when ‘Career’ is only Engineering/Medicine and both subjects are of use to me today.

Values – The most important aspect of education and bringing up are “Values”. In today’s world, most of us are just being for ourself – me and my family. But, we are part of the society and we do play an important role in living in the society. Are we any time taught the principals governing “Society”. Values are most important aspect of education and this is what BCT is trying to incorporate into their education system.

One basic question I have is that India has attained independence 60 years back and the education system was build over the period of time since then. We are one of the world’s largest democracy. Is there any subject in school/collage which educates children on “Democracy”? We can vote after we turn 18, but before that, are there any classes which teach children on what is Voting? How do you select your leader? What are your responsibilities? (I do know this is what we learn in Civics subject, but that is lot more generic and I do remember what I learned). This is where we need thinking and setting direction.

Now, let us look at what BCT has in its syllabus for inducting Vocation Training and Values into their education system.
Academics – Andhra Pradesh State Syllabus is followed
Vocational Training – Orientation in Agriculture (Bio-Intensive Gardening)
Values – Moral / Ethical / National Values

What is Bio-Intensive Gardening (BIG)?
This is interesting, Each student / group of students are given a 100 Sq.Foot area in which they would need to grow vegetables for a family of 5. All the required education, seeds, medication are provided by BCT and the student(s) have to grow vegetable themselves. This teaches students to be self-sufficient as they grow.

BCT also has KVK (Krishi Vidyana Kendra) which concentrates completely on Agricultural Research.

I have also visited their Baking Department where children are taught to bake biscutes and cakes which are sold in the local market.

They have a campus for Disabled Training program which concentrates on training disabled children in paper-bag making, stitching etc.

Please note that all Vocational Training Programs which generate any money will go to the person/child who has earned the same. Each child has bank accounts which are opened by BCT and any monetary benefit will be deposited in the account.

You can see few pictures of the organization at my flickr account.

If you are interested to know more/contribute to any of their programs, please contact:

Bhagavatula Charitable Trust
BCT Farm Complex,
Haripuram – 531 061
Visakhapatnam District
Andhra Pradesh. India
+91.891.255 0084 Phone
www.bctindia.net
bctindia@yahoo.com





Car Wash in Bangalore

7 10 2007

After coming back from my trip to Vizag, was on hunt to see if there was any decent Car Wash available in Bangalore (other than the traditional water cleaning shed’s). My search was successful after my friend told me that she has seen a car wash center.
I decided to check this place and went on a Saturday morning. The first thing they did was interiors vacuumed. The next was the Car Bath. The equipment is provided by Marvel Car Wash and the sprinklers do really touch the corners which you usually cannot clean with hand.
The dryer’s at the end of the system blow out hot air to clean up the car and then there is manual cleaning also.
The overall cleaning process was good, but was a bit disappointed towards the end that I was showing them small stains which remained (When I went mine was the second car and by now there are about 10 cars waiting and I really don’t think I can blame them).

Here is the address and phone number of this Car Wash center:
SLV Car Wash, #43, Old Kanakpura Road,
Basavangudi, Bangalore – 560 004.
Ph: +91.80.26615942

Try not to go on a weekend or go very early. They open by 7:30 AM everyday.

Price for the Car Wash is Rs.250 and with Polishing is Rs.450. They have a scheme of 7 Wash’s for Rs.1,250 (5 Paid + 2 Free) which you can use in a year’s time not only for your car but for any other car which you might wish to take.