Cats and funny band-aids

This has got to be one of the funniest incidents in a long long time, and in reminiscence, it will always bring a smile to my face. I have a known fascination with cats (though am a dog person), despite the occasional run in with them. I had a sort of a pet during my undergraduate course, where a cat camped in one of the cartons I used to use for storage, occasionally startling me by climbing on top of me when I was working on my laptop. I find them enigmatic – deep, brooding creatures. You never know what they may be thinking. Their actions do not make sense, and this particular incident exemplifies that.

The Devil!

I was outside talking on the phone, when this cat comes out of nowhere and starts following me. I start to pet it, and take pictures with it (it was not that interested, and kept avoiding the camera). A few pictures later, it is on it’s back, inviting me to come and pet it. Now, if you have read Oatmeal’s How to Pet a Kitty, you know exactly what to do, and what not to do. You especially don’t do Point No 4. I did exactly that, and the kitty took a swipe at me. Result: Scratched Hand.

What does the cat do after scratching me? Get back to business and inviting me to pet it again :D

Though the scratch was pretty shallow, I was advised to show to the doctor, and off I went. The doc took one look at it, and gave me a band aid to put on. According to her, cats love to scratch their humans, she being a constant victim of those vicious claws. The band aid she gave me had me in splits: ‘Taz’ mocking me for getting scratched by a cat, and going to see the doc for it. :D

Taz band aid

Time to take a revision course in petting kitties ;)

A New Challenge

So after two years of working at an IT Major, it is time for a new challenge. For the next two years, I will be pursuing a graduate course in Computer Science at CU Boulder. A Master’s course has been in the pipeline for the past two years, and has now come to fruition. It is a new challenge, as it will enable me to specialize in advanced courses of computer science. Moreover, as this is my first time in the US, it brings its own set of challenges. New place, new environment, new culture. I am quite excited to get the opportunity to study in the US, and I am sure it will help me a lot in pursuing my career goals. More to follow :)

Crusade

Sometime back, I wrote a post about how I got inspired by a lady in upholding traffic rules. I actively took upon myself to do my bit in this regard. Just today, traffic came to a standstill due to the rains. My usual commute by bicycle took me an hour and half, as opposed to 35 minutes. I encountered 3 individuals, whom I told off for riding on the footpaths with varying responses:

Person I:
I was blocking the area from where bikers could get onto the footpath. This guy repeatedly honked at me, after which I pointed out that it was a footpath. I told him that I would not budge no matter what he does. The guy forced out a way, not caring whether he hits my bicycle or tramples over me. He rode over the footpath, and got stuck in the jam a few meters away(which is what these idiots often do).

Person II:
This guy knew what he was doing was against the rules. I shouted out to him. He replied ‘I know that I am riding on the footpath. I know that it’s wrong’. He just sped away. These people are the most dangerous. They know that it’s wrong, and still do it. This guy really infuriated me.

Person III:
Same situation as with Person I. I had the following conversation;

Me: That’s a footpath.
Him: So?
Me: You know it’s against the law.
Him: I am getting late.
Me: So am I. Do you see me riding on the footpath? I am not even obliged to follow traffic rules.
Him: This is India
Me: That is irrelevant.
Him: Look to your right. People riding on the footpath.
Me: Don’t justify. I will try and stop them as well. I am taking photos of their plates and will send to Traffic Police for action.
Him: <looks surprised> Ok. Fine

Signal turns Green

Me: Thanks.

The third conversation was interesting. I really hope that the guy respects pedestrian rights. Now, it is time to start a campaign. I will carry my cellphone with me when I ride, and take pics of those violating traffic rules, such as jumping a signal, or riding on the footpath, and tweet to Bangalore Traffic Police for them to take action. I sincerely hope others do the same and report the transgressors to the traffic police. It’s time to end this menace, and bring some semblance of order to the already clogged up traffic.

The Lone Warrior

It was a normal day at work, and I was riding back home. The traffic was busier than usual, and I was getting stuck at many signals. At one particular signal, I saw many motorcyclists using the pavement. This was nothing new, and is quite common in Bengaluru. What followed certainly was new. An old lady, probably in her mid sixties told off two guilty motorcyclists. When she them ignoring her, she stood in the middle of the pavement trying to stop others, shouting ‘I WILL NOT LET YOU PASS’. I stood there transfixed staring at this Gandalf incarnate, not knowing what to do. I thought of helping her, by blocking the other half of the pavement, but by the time I got off my bicycle, the lady had moved on, and the signal had turned green. Throughout my way back, I was thinking of the old lady…the lone warrior trying to make a difference in her own little way. Her effort may have proved futile, but she did inspire me to not look away when I see something wrong happening, especially if I can help prevent it.

The Power of Open Source Communities

This week, the open source world was rocked by Groupon staking claim over the GNOME trademark. The GNOME Desktop Environment, supported by the amazing community has held the right to the name since more than a decade. It was quite shocking to know that Groupon being large organization with a legal team could be so ignorant (or apathetic). They were filing 28 trademark applications for ‘GNOME’.GNOME came out with a strongly worded article on their blog protesting the move, and the whole open source world (yes…not just GNOME) came out to their defence, donating to help counter the move by Groupon. The intense pressure paid off, and Groupon decided to drop their interest in GNOME.

This is a massive win for open source in general. It was heartening to see that open source organizations united to defend the GNOME community. This brings to mind one image which Ralf Flaxa shared at the openSUSE Summit, about how open source communities are perceived from the outside world.

Open Source Communities

Instead, we are just one big happy family :)

I recently attended Open Source India at NIMHANS Convention Centre, Bengaluru. I was quite disappointed by the conference, which claims to be the biggest open source conference in Asia. Though the talks were really nice and informative, I felt they focussed too much on the industry using open source software. They left out the most important aspect of the Open Source Movement: THE COMMUNITY. There were no talks which discussed on how people could contribute to open source communities. What I love about open source conferences is how people from different communities get together and brainstorm about what works and what doesn’t. This aspect was totally missing. Instead, what we got was a bunch of people talking about how they are giving back to the community. I expected more from a conference of this scale.

Upgrading from openSUSE 13.1 to openSUSE 13.2

openSUSE 13.2 is out and gets a host of new stuff. Right from new desktop environments (KDE, GNOME, MATE…its got it all), there is plenty of stuff to write about. For those running on openSUSE 13.1, upgrading is pretty simple and takes only about 20 minutes.

1.) Open Software Repositories from YaST
2.) Disable all the unnecessary repositories (keep only OSS, debug, update repositories)
3.) Change the 13.1 in the Repository URL to 13.2
4.) Open Terminal. As root, run ‘zypper refresh’
5.) Once the repositories are refreshed, run ‘zypper dup’
6.) Go through accepting some licenses. Let the magic run

This should upgrade the system from 13.1 to 13.2. Have fun :)

A Truly Asian Summit

What a conference!!! openSUSE Asia Summit was unforgettable. The whole event had an amazing feel to it, and I had a rocking time in Beijing. openSUSE really has one of the best and most helpful communities, and the people are amazing. I had the pleasure of interacting with the active organization community. You guys absolutely rock!!!

Here are some of my experiences, and things I learned at the conference:

A little history:
The beginnings of the summit go back a year to Thessaloniki, where the idea of the Asia Summit was first mooted. Due to time constraints and clashes with openSUSE Summit in the US called for the event to be shifted to 2014. I had interacted with Sunny and Max in Thessaloniki and loved the idea of having an openSUSE event in Asia. At oSC14 in Dubrovnik, it was more or less confirmed that the summit would take place.

The Organization Team:
I joined the organization team a little late. The others had already done a lot of the hard work. I helped around a little with the invite letter and the promotion of the logo contest, and trying to find people to help around with the artwork. The opening session, where we welcomed the attendees in our native languages was cool. Also, Sunny’s speech in the beginning, which took us through the past one year was memorable, and I still remember each and every word of it.

I would take this opportunity to thank the openSUSE.Asia Summit
organization team. Today, now the openSUSE.Asia summit has started,
I’m reminded of the journey we took to get here.
I can not forget our weekly meetings, which often lasted to midnight.
I can’t forget 137 cards in trello for the preparation tracking.
And I can’t forget hundreds of emails about the Summit in our mail
boxes.

When we were on the way to reach this summit, we encouraged and
supported each other. Even though we were tired, we never gave up,
because we did believe we would finally be here. It is my honor being
a member of such a great team!

There are 17 people in the organization team, I won’t list everyone’s
name because we are a team, and we couldn’t have make any success
without each of us.

-Sunny

The organization committee did a fantastic job with the event and everything was planned to perfection. I would love to work with you all to host openSUSE Asia Summit next time as well (hopefully in India ;) )

New things:
I absolutely loved the concept of ‘Chops’ where the workshop speakers would put a lovely ‘Geeko’ stamp on the brochure for the participants for the performance in the workshop. More than judging the performance, it gave us a good chance to interact with the attendees and have a lot of fun in the process. The gifts for the speakers and for the chops were great and well thought out. Personally, working with the organization team was very fruitful and I learned how an event of this scale is organized from the ground up. Additionally, being a room coordinator was a novel experience as well.

The Event:
To put the event in a single word: memorable. It was a very well conducted event and the speakers did a great job. The workshops and talks were conducted both the from the point of view of newbies as well as seasoned contributors. I particularly liked Richard’s opening session where the direction that openSUSE (with respect to Factory and Tumbleweed) is taking became clear. There were workshops on Bugzilla and OBS which were really helpful for getting new contributors involved.

Talk is Cheap. Show me the Code:
This was the single biggest lesson I learned during conducting my sessions. While taking the Qt Workshop, I was talking about basic object oriented concepts like Inheritance. The attendees (mostly students from the university) gave me a blank look. I was not sure whether they understood me or not. I ultimately decided to show them some code. They understood that. At that point I realized that there is one universal language that we could communicate with: CODE. That made the job a whole lot easier, and the rest of the sessions went well. I also made some ‘brilliant’ errors during the workshop, which demonstrated some or the other concept with respect to Qt. Overall, had a fun time conducting the workshop.

Food:
Being a vegetarian, I was not sure how I would survive in China. I absolutely indulged myself and tried out plenty of stuff. I have never eaten so much in a conference than I had in Beijing. Thanks to the awesome community guys, specially David who helped me a lot in finding out things to eat. The food was amazing. I can safely conclude that the Chinese take their food seriously. Plus, I learned how to use chopsticks properly. Thanks ftake for that ;)

China and Sightseeing:
This was one trip where I did not do much sightseeing. I had talks for both the days and could not spare the time. To my dismay, I found that visiting the Great Wall requires a full day, and I had just about 6 hours to spare. In the end, I just visited the Forbidden City and the Bird’s Nest (Olympic Stadium). I should have made my travel plans a little better and stayed an extra day.
I found Beijing to be an excellent city. I managed to get around pretty comfortably on the subway despite the language issues. I found the subway system quite effective and very cheap (2 Yuan is dirt cheap). The only problem I faced was the air pollution, which was a little unexpected. Other than that, the people were amazing and really helpful.

TSP:

Thanks to the openSUSE Travel Support program, that I, and many others got to attend the event. It is really an amazing program, and I hope that contributors use it very effectively.