FiftyOne.in a nutshell

FiftyOne is a new addition in the world of cashbacks and corresponding alluring offers. It acts as an intermediate in the Business to Consumer (B2C) ecommerce section. FiftyOne is an apt platform for the shoppers who are eager to provide best offers to increase their businesses. Also, its priority is to help customer save their money on everything they purchase. Recently I had a discussion with one of the team members of FiftyOne and found it worth to convey its know-how to my blog-readers.

New Ventures of FiftyOne

  1. FiftyOne has tie-ups with not only leading brands in majorityfiftyone_web sectors (like Lenskart, Jabongg, Myntra in the world of Fashion and Dominos in world of food) but also with eCommerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart.
  2. It has integrated with PayTm as well. Hence you can pay your mobile bills with a cashback and that too without even a need to install the app. Also it can be a portal to receive your cashbacks.
  3. FiftyOne has apps on all the platforms. (Andriod and iOS)
  4. Benefit to the users: We can avail the cashback within few hours of your purchase through PayTm or FiftyOne Wallet.

How it varies from its competitors?

  1. FiftyOne takes care of its users and hence provide additional bonus to the new customers. It also has strategies that users find it worth retaining the service.
  2. We can redeem the cashback amount immediately (however small the amount is). That might not be a case with other vendors as we require there to accumulate cashback to a minimum threshold before redemption.

What FiftyOne needs to work on?

  1. A very attractive User Interface: When I had a look at its competitors’ websites, they were buzzing with offers and highlighted the most lucrative ones. FiftyOne, on the contrary, has a uniform UI giving importance to all the sections equally. Full marks to you from the web developers’ perspective, but to grab user’s attention, you need to give your interface a festive look all the time.
  2. Users should be able to shop based on items rather categories. For eg. I want to buy a shirt and I am not aware of leading brands, rather I make a selection based on the look and price. So, there should be a category like Men’s clothing and further sub-categories. Then it should list the cashback offers from different vendors. Whereas, in the current scenario, I need to go through different vendors, make a selection and then approach FiftyOne to see whether there are nay offers.

So, these were observations of the efforts carried out by FiftyOne. No portal is completely flawless and there is always a scope for improvement all the time. But I would recommend you to give it a try and post any further observations/suggestions/feedback as a comment for further enhancements.

Web Literacy at Nanaware Night School

For the first time, I was conducting a Web Literacy campaign at night school. So, it was totally a new experience for me right from the inception of the idea. From past 2-3 years, few V.J.T.I. students of B.Tech and M.Tech were actively participating in activities of various night schools including “Nanaware”. Their contribution was in terms of giving lectures, conducting competitions and helping schools organize annual functions. This year, they had planned two new activities in their schedule, first was the science day and other was the Web Literacy Drive. Being a volunteer this year, I was suggested to conduct one.

In the previous week, I had visited the school twice to familiarize with the students. I came to know about the ethics and discipline that a night school usually follows. The school comprised of children of very tender age without any adult student.

Challenges in front of me: As a Mozilla Rep, I was used to deliver talks to students, developers, entrepreneurs and professionals, but I was going to face children for the first time. Also, I was told not to have any preconceptions about their innate knowledge. Hence, I had to start right from “What is Computer” and reach till “How to use Internet effectively”. Secondly, it was a Marathi medium school. Hence, not only that I had to speak in Marathi, but also prepare slides in the same.

Fortunately, I managed to prepare well and with the help of other volunteers, the infrastructural requirements like projector were arranged very smoothly. I started with the talk mentioning that it will be an interactive session and hence, I will keep on asking questions. Students were extremely enthusiastic and I felt synergy propagating towards me. All of them actively participated in every kind of discussion. I really admire their ability to listen without a pinch of boredom.

I started with “What is Computer” and migrated through hardware and software devices including different types of computers. Then explained bit about the i/o and processing. After that, I briefed about how computers are useful in modern world. The next section was about Internet. I started from basics to general working. I focused more on how Internet is a boon to the society and how one should use it properly. Also, I made students aware of the negative side of Internet, how people become victim to frauds and how children get addicted. Lastly, I ended my session with few tips on “Do’s and Don’ts” while using Internet for social networking.

Next activity was to introduce “MS powerpoint” to kids. I explained few operations which students demonstrated on laptop under the supervision of volunteers. They were very excited as they got to handle the computer and at the same time got some productive learning.

I loved interacting with kids as it helped me discovering a child within me. I became one amongst those while conducting the activities. It gave me more confidence which would help me in my further presentations. Also, one thing I discovered that there are hardly any tutorials or presentations available regarding computer basics and web in our local languages. Hence, we must come forward and take initiative individually to develop those. I will upload the slides, not only on this topic, but develop on other tech topics as well. Overall, the event was an amazing experience for me. Thanks to “Friends of Nanaware” for the initiative and overall support. I would write the blog post on the main event soon.

 

Session on Open Source Projects in Image Processing @ TCET

I was invited for a guest lecture at Thakur College of Engineering (TCET), Mumbai on the domain of image processing. The attendees were final year students of Computer Engineering. During the preparation phase, I went through the revised syllabus of Mumbai University to check what knowledge they already had on the subject. To my surprise, there wasn’t any subject allotted to this field. When I was studying engineering, there was a full-fledged compulsory subject in semester 7 which now, they moved it to the elective section. Based on my experiences while learning the subject, I was pretty sure no-one would have opted for it.

I started the session with my introduction and my journey through open source. My aim was to give them the idea of what image processing is and then dive into open source projects in that area. I explained them the basics of digitization and briefly guided through the steps of image processing. I made sure I am including sufficient examples in each step in order to give them the proper analogy.

Then my next section was “Research areas in Image Processing”. First topic in the section was “Biomedical Imaging” where I explained how a skin cancer named “melanoma” can be detected using image processing. Next topic was “Video Analysis” where I showed them a demo of its procedure. Next was “3D Reconstruction of Underwater Scenes” where I explained how points are mapped. Final topics in this section were GIS and Autonomous Robotics.

IMG-20160229-WA0006

Next Section was the “Applications”. I explained them the IRIS project which is used in various fields like Biometrics. Also I spoke in brief about how Hubble Space images are transformed into attractive pictures. Last section was about “Open Source Projects in Image Processing” where I explained Open CV and ITK. Finally, I spoke a bit about how artificial intelligence and image processing are related to each other and their significance in research domain.

I thank the authorities of Thakur College and Rahul Kanojia (CEO, Diplomads) for providing an opportunity for students to explore in different domains and also giving me another good platform to represent myself.

Open Source Event at Saboo Siddik College

I was invited to deliver a session on Open Source at Saboo Siddik Polytechnic Institute. Being a Mozilla Rep, it was an opportunity to present myself and advocate Mozilla at another renowned institute. The event was scheduled on February 18, 2016 from 4pm to 6pm. The ambiance of the college was totally different than what I was accustomed of seeing till then. A different culture, different ethics but aimed at the common goal, i.e. student development and excellence.

After a brief introduction about myself, I began with the session. My motto was to spread awareness about FOSS, Linux and Mozilla. Fortunately, the diploma students had a rough idea what open source is actually about. I dwelled into more by briefing the history of open source, mentioning the acts carried out by Richard Stallman. I spent a good amount of time explaining the advantages of open source to students and professionals, thereby, encouraging them to extend their knowledge to the open source projects.

I then, jumped into Linux. Briefing the history about the UNIX and explaining them the pros of using such Open Source Operating System, I shifted to Mozilla. In this section, I introduced the Mozilla Community, introduced various project domains of Mozilla including Firefox, Thunderbird, WebMaker. I explained on how to get started into Contributing to Mozilla by spanning through WhatCanIDoForMozilla, Firefox Student Ambassador Program, Bugzilla and Bug-Fixing Process (Showing a sample bug), Github repository and how to commit changes. Lastly, I dwelled into Community building factors and encouraged students to start a Firefox community in their institute.

I feel blessed that I am getting such opportunities to present myself at a wider platform. Thanks to Rahul (CEO, Diplomads) and Akshay (Diplomads member) for believing in me and entrusting such good responsibilities.

Software Freedom Day 2015

Even though it’s late to post about the event, events like SFD can never go unnoticed. I have never seen any Open Source event in Mumbai as well planned as SFD 2015. Many dignitaries within India and abroad extended their support in terms of sessions and/or sponsorships to the event. Mozilla was a part of such a grand event right from the planning stage. I had been in touch with Mr. Purvesh Shah, the organizer and owner of startup named ‘Idiotic Ideas’, since few months. The event was scheduled on September 19 at Directiplex, Andheri and included various sessions, out of which two were by Mozilla.

On the day of the event, it was very much exciting to see around 150 people marking their presence. Few of my VJTI colleagues also turned up, adding to my happiness. The audience consisted of students and working professionals. The event started with my session on Firefox OS Security. Last year in SFD, I had introduced Firefox OS to the attendees. This year, I planned to take it to a more specific level, hence Firefox OS security.

Topics I covered:

  1. Self-introduction and journey in Mozilla
  2. Introduction to FxOS, the motivation behind its launch and how it brings web to mobile. I explained its advantage to both developers (who require openness, can develop apps just with web development knowledge) and consumers (who get device with nominal features at minimum price).
  3. FxOS architecture and Web APIs
  4. Steps for app building and publishing on Marketplace
  5. Pros and Cons of Firefox in comparison with other browsers
  6. Security aspects in Firefox OS: App vetting, permission system, sandboxing
  7. Pros and Cons of Firefox OS in comparison with Android and iOS
  8. Ongoing security projects in fxOS
  9. Appeal to everyone to extend their contributions to open source projects

I also introduced the VJTI tech-club members to the attendees. After my session, Nikhil Malankar (founder of Gameeon) took over and taught how we can build a game within few minutes. Then was the session of Sachin Dedhia (founder of Skynet solutions) who introduced many new hacking technologies. During lunch time, I had a good discussion with astute personalities of GNUKhata and Hamara Linux team. I purchased a Marathi version of a book compiled by Prof. Arun Kelkar which how open source came into existence.

After the lunch was the keynote session by Nagarjuna (president of FOSS, India) which was followed by Krishnakant Mane and Arun Kelkar who demonstrated GNUKhata and also explained its use in accounting arenas. KK Sir also conducted a session on Orca (Orca works with applications and toolkits that support the AT-SPI).

Rahul Kanojia, founder of Diplomads, conducted a session on “Importance of Contributing to open source”. It was mainly for students pursuing their graduation. We all were requested to narrate our experience and journey in Open Source. The final session was by Chandan Baba on Suggested Tiles. Mozilla Suggested Tiles offer sponsored placement in a designated interest category. Then was the closing note by Purvesh who felicitated all the speakers and those who helped immensely in making the event a successful one.

SFD 2015 helped me in presenting Mozilla on a very large scale. Events like these help in spreading the open source concept and also help all the techies to get in touch with developers and entrepreneurs. I thank all the communities who extended their support to the event, students and professionals who spent their entire holiday for SFD and organizers who came up with this idea. Looking forward to be a part of such grand events in future.

Using Mercurial (hg) through a proxy

I had been searching and researching  on how to use mercurial through proxy. Even updating Ubuntu is not straightforward if you are lying behind the proxy. If you google it out, you will come across many forums that suggests proper command to be used. But I think there are some restrictions that I discovered today.

(PS: I might be wrong at many places, So please feel absolutely free to correct me. Your opinions/suggestions are most welcome)

Usually, in proxy environment, every user has its own account and it is possible to connect to network only after logging in.

Steps to Follow:

  1. Edit/create the following files as shown below:
sudo gedit /etc/apt/apt.conf

And add the foll. content

Acquire::http::proxy "http://username:password@proxy-host:port-number";

Acquire::ftp::proxy "http://username:password@proxy-host:port-number";

For example:

Acquire::http::proxy "http://1421900:amodnn@174.20.18.15:3128";

and

sudo gedit /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/apt.conf

Add the same “Acquire” statements to this file as well.

(PS: I dont know whether editing both the files is required. Expecting an answer from you :P)

2. Let us say, I want to clone mozilla-central,

the usual command:

hg clone https://hg.mozilla.org/mozilla-central

Now, in presence of proxy, the command complicates to something like this:

hg --config http_proxy.host=proxy-site:port-number --config http_proxy.user="username” --config http_proxy.passwd=”password" clone https://hg.mozilla.org/mozilla-central 

For example,

hg --config http_proxy.host=174.20.18.15:3128 --config http_proxy.user="14219000" --config http_proxy.passwd="amodnn" clone https://hg.mozilla.org/mozilla-central

Few instructions: (when you don’t follow so, you get some AMAZING errors which will force your cognitive senses to believe that it has to do something with Hardware…having no clue that those were just syntactical errors :P)

  • In password we cannot include any special characters, esp. ‘@’ and ‘!’ since the ‘Acquire’ command considers it as the end of password. Even enclosing it under the quotes/double quotes won’t work.

say, my password is: amod@123

so, the command will be

Acquire::http::proxy "http://1421900:amod@123@174.20.18.15:3128"

and same in the case of ‘clone’ command,

  • In “Acquire” cmd, dont forget to terminate the stmnt with semicolon, many ppl forget that.

Performing hg pull and update operations:

Steps:

  1. If you are having a dedicated account in your institution then you need to add your user and group to the list of trusted entities.
sudo gedit /etc/mercurial/hgrc

And add the following lines

trusted.users=your_account_name
trusted.groups=your_assigned__group
  1. Add those lines to .hgrc file as well, preferably update both the files (one at home folder and that in .hg folder

And then you may request pull operation as follows

hg --config http_proxy.host=proxy-site:port-number --config http_proxy.user="username” --config http_proxy.passwd=”password" pull

These were some of my experiences. Please let me know (by comments) if you get to know a better way than mentioned. It would be helpful for me as well to improve.

FOSS- a pathway towards good career.

I was invited to give a session on importance of Open Source for students seeking for a good career. The entire program was scheduled for two days, organized by Rahul Kanojia (Diplomads) and sponsored by MSBTE and BOAT. The audience of the program were engineering and diploma students, Training and placement Officers of various institutes. Venue was Thakur Polytechnic College, Kandivali. The speakers along with me in the panel for the day were Mr. Roy Charles (who has been a consultant & trainer for more than two decades. He was Director of IPSER India), Mr. Aniruddha Joshi (an employee of Oracle Finance Solutions). In parallel, I was requested for one very short session on Fuzzy Logic and Neural Networks to Final Year Diploma Students. Since I had done a good research on Artificial Intelligence (including a publication in an international journal), the organizers requested me to share my knowledge in the domain. I reached college by 10 am. After a brief discussion over a cup of tea with the principal of the college and Mr. Roy, we headed towards the seminar hall. The day began with our introduction and felicitation.

The first session was conducted by Mr. Roy who started off by explaining the current job trends and approach of overall companies towards engineers. Roy sir is an eminent speaker and have achieved pinnacle in field of training. His way of conducting the session, the delivery of idea and the technique of gathering students’ attention is something I would always admire. Meanwhile, I was called for the parallel session. I interacted with Final year students, discussed their project ideas and also shared my knowledge in the domain of AI.

After a 20 minutes brisk talk, I headed towards the auditorium for my session. Meanwhile, Roy sir had just finished the talk and Rahul introduced me to the audience.

I began my session explaining the importance of placements and my experiences in the field. I went through all the major placements procedures and showed a video which depicted how an interviewee should behave. Then I jumped to Open Source. I explained the concept, importance and benefits. I could sense a spark on the face of students. Many of them were expert in a domain but never got any platform to showcase their talent. I introduced Mozilla, few contribution areas. I also summarized my journey as a contributor and then as a Rep.

I received a huge applause and noticed many students and professors taking pics of my slides where they found valuable info. After the session, students personally met me seeking for some guidance in their career.

Challenge I faced: The event was undoubtedly, on a very large scale and representing Mozilla and myself in front of such huge, experienced and talented crowd was a good opportunity accompanied with increased butterflies in my stomach. This was the event where I was in front of various colleges’ students and professors. So, any nuisance would have created a bad impression of mine and of Mozilla community. Hence, it was a major responsibility on my shoulders. Also, I had to cumulate my experiences and present to students in a very concise way. That required a lot of preparation

Success: After the talk and even today, many students and professors are in touch with me. I am able to portray myself as a responsible contributor and as someone from whom the newbies can seek guidance.

I would like to thank Diplomads and the authorities of Thakur College for giving students a platform to learn and decipher many things on training and placements.

SFD Mumbai (Event Announcement)

Software Freedom Day (SFD) is an annual worldwide celebration of Free Software. SFD is a public education effort with the aim of increasing awareness of Free Software and its virtues, and encouraging its use.

Open Source Communities from Mumbai have been actively involved in SFD since its formation in the city. Every year, SFD, Mumbai tries its level best to gain a new momentum by exploring new heights in terms of collaboration with communities, participation from developers, students and employees. The communities have always something new to offer every year.

SFD 2014 Mumbai had been very successful and it had been a privilege for me and Akshat Kedia to be a part of this event.

This year, SFD is back with involvement of many reputed communities including

  1. Mozilla
  2. Google Developers Group
  3. WordPress
  4. Anool Open Hardware
  5. Google Business Group
  6. Drupal Mumbai
  7. Digital Freedom Foundation
  8. Duck Duck Go Community

The event is going to be held on September 19,2015. Do visit the official event page and Mozilla reps event page for further details

Introducing FOSS to Undergraduates !

I received a call from an entrepreneur and a very good friend of mine named Rahul Kanojia, who invented Diplomads, a startup aimed to provide training to undergraduates about the upcoming and trending technologies. He invited me to give a talk on Open Source Technologies to the students of Thakur College of Engineering and Technology. It was another opportunity for me to get involved in advocacy and promote Mozilla and Open Source concept to students. We came upon a feasible schedule July 29, 2015 and timings: 9.30-1.30 IST.

On the specified day, I reached well before time inorder to interact with the professors. The department allotted a good amount of their time from lectures for the event, rather than making students wait after the college. Also, they were planning to start Open Source Community in their college. So, it was necessary to give a brief idea to the students regarding what is Open Source. After a good discussion with the professors and H.O.D., we headed for the breakfast and till then, all the students got assembled in the seminar hall.

The event started with an interaction with the students by Rahul. Then he introduced me and handed over the control to begin my talk. The students were super active, their response was amazing and that was giving continuously giving me an additional energy every time to proceed with the talk.

The topics I touched upon were:

  1. Objective of the event
  2. Introduction to FOSS
  3. Benefits to Student Contributors
  4. Introduction to Linux
  5. Linux Vs Windows
  6. Mozilla and its story
  7. Contribution Arenas (Brief intro to MDN, Bugzilla)
  8. Intro to FxOS
  9. Intro to Open Source Database Technologies

I did not want the session to be theoretically boring and hence included few videos in it. Students enjoyed the learning through videos as well. Also Rahul made internet connectivity available and hence I could make students visit MDN, Bugzilla, Transifex, etc.

The event consisted of two sessions, one for Third Year and another for Second Year Graduates. I made sure that my exhaustion after first session is not reflected in the second one. Also, I need to reframe the talks even though the content was same. It was because, the newly First Year passed out students were unaware of the concepts like OS, Database, etc. Hence I had to explain them from the very much basics. After my talk Rahul showed a demo of how a database could be created in MYSQL. He gave a motivational talk suggesting student to be apt with their communication skills and participate in Technical Paper Presentations. There was a logo quiz held and students were exuberant thoughout the session.

The event came to an end when professors and students thanked me for utilizing my time for the event. They handed me a thank you letter appreciating my efforts. I personally enjoyed the interaction with the students. I could feel their interest when many of them waited after the event for some doubts. I would like to thank Rahul for giving me another opportunity to interact with the fresh new talent. Looking forward to work with him for many such sessions.

MOZILLA CODEBASE BOOTCAMP

First Event by Mozilla Mumbai in 2015

                        As a Mozilla presence organizer, I feel very proud to state that 2015 began with a huge pomp for Mozilla Mumbai with the very successful Codebase Bootcamp held on Jan 11. The inception was set in by Rigved Rakshit (who is working with Directiplex as Linux System Administrator) and it propagated to Mozilla Mumbai community through Akshat Kedia. I immediately undertook the responsibility of organizing the event so as to gain altogether a new experience. We started planning the budget, food, registration and shortlisting procedure. Talks was not a problem as we had been through the codebase since beginning, hence a separate preparation was not required.

I created an event page on the Mozilla Reps portal. I posted the link on my college and school groups. One or two days later, I was amazed to see my mailbox flooding with requests to participate. That eagerness boosted us to quickly create a registration form and allow people to register. We decided to order food from Merwan’s , Joey’s and localbanya. Dealing with all the three was very hectic experience and I had to visit each of the place after my college in the evening. A week before the event proved to be very hectic managing with all three. So, finally, I placed the orders and kept a periodic follow up with all of them to ensure confirmation.

On the day of the event, I reached the venue by 8.30 am. Few participants were already there. I interacted with them with a curiosity to know their background. Meanwhile Akshat and Rigved arrived. The consignment from localbanya was received and those juices and snickers were served to the participants. The event started with an introduction from participants side which included their domain and awareness about Mozilla. Akshat quickly introduced the various steps of codebase right from selecting appropriate OS till getting the working copy of the source code locally. Then the participants were told to demonstrate on their systems. We distributed the mercurial bundle and suggested them to carry out the future steps. This took a considerable amount of time. We were roaming throughout the hall to solve the doubts. Few participants were lucky enough to achieve ‘unbundling’ perfectly without any errors. Few had built the code already. In rest of the cases, build time varied from 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on the system configuration.

Meanwhile, Joey’s Pizzas were delivered and we suggested participants to proceed for lunch. Post lunch, all of us resumed our work. Participants scanned the bugsahoy page while waiting to get the build completed. Many of them called us to help finalizing their first bug. I told them to drop a comment, specifying your interest, and get in touch with the mentor on IRC. Few participants were fortunate enough to get ‘Replace ABC with XYZ’ kinds of bugs. Next step was creating a patch which included all the mercurial queue operations. We made sure all are comfortable with ‘hg’ commands.

By 3.30 pm, I and Akshat went to Merwans to get the previously ordered snacks. Participants staying far away left the venue by 4-4.30 with a promise that they would continue their contribution to Mozilla. Finally the bootcamp was called off by 6.45 pm. We had a group pic before leaving. Many thanked me, Akshat and Rigved for organizing the camp that helped them getting started with codebase. I could see satisfaction and confidence on their faces which was the motto of bootcamp.

We had around 7-8 patches uploaded on different bugs. It was only due to the difference in time zones that mentor couldn’t review the patch immediately, otherwise we would have got those many bugs Resolved-fixed. So, i consider this camp as a successful one. I would like to thank Akshat and Rigved for helping enormously in realizing the concept of bootcamp. Also, a vote of thanks to Manish, Abhishek, Purvesh and Augustine for attending the event and helping participants. Hence, Mozilla Mumbai took a succesful start in 2015.