Start a series on PuneTech where everyday problems (plaguing Pune) are taken and an attempt is made to address them using technology.
Essentially, someone poses a problem (e.g. uncoordinated traffic lights) and puts forward an attempt at solving this problem. PuneTech community debates the feasibility and if it stands the test interested folks come together to take it further. A sponsor willing to put their name (and some moolah) behind the approved initiatives would round this off well.
We are techies. Technology is our strength. So it makes sense that we try to find ways in which we can use technology to solve issues. Granted that technology isn’t always a solution to problems, but it can be a part of the solution, especially if we team up with others (non-techies) who are domain experts. Often, domain experts who are working on a problem at the grassroots are not technologically savvy, and hence are not able to leverage technology well, and a little technology boost can significantly improve the impact of their efforts. This is where we can help.
What is the best method of taking this idea forward? As Unmesh indicated, we can start a series on PuneTech itself where the problems and proposed tech solutions are posed and voted upon. Or we could create a separate, more specialized package that is better at keeping track of votes (if you have good experiences with any such open source package, then let us know in the comments).
What other things do we need to take care of to ensure that this is successful? One thing I strongly feel is that every idea needs an “owner” who is willing to give non-trivial amounts of time for that idea for the first few months. I believe that the number of people intersted in an idea looks like this:
After the initial hype, where a number of people show interest, there comes “the dip” when people back out for various reasons (or just stop responding), and then only a few people are left (in some cases, just the “owner”). It is necessary that the idea owner continues working on the idea and making progress during this time, so that they can come out of the dip towards success. For that, you need to be passionate about the idea, and you should be clear that there will be a chunk of time when you are working on the idea alone. Basically, what I am saying is that you cannot depend upon “community participation”, especially in the early months.
So, every project needs a passionate “owner”.
Please give all your ideas, suggestions, feedback in the comments below.
This posts comes across as a promotion of a person more than his views/contributions or even his blog. Please be objective in future such promotions (a disclaimer, e.g. he is not paying or otherwise doing any favors to PuneTech to promote him, would also help). Peace.
PuneTech is a completely non-commercial site. Nobody makes any money from this site. No favours of any kind are accepted in return for any content posted on the site.
The PuneTech front page has never been, and never will be objective. We select what information appears on the front page, and we give our own opinion along with it. We feel that this makes the site (more) useful.
We encourage opposing points of view in the comments – those too make the site more useful.
The PuneTech wiki, and the PuneTech calendar are not governed by these guidelines. Anybody is free to post anything there, as long as it is relevant to Pune and to technology.
The basic idea is that we strive hard to be free of vested insterests, but we are not objective. We are not fair and balanced. In fact, we are quite unbalanced! We are opinionated, and make those opinions known.
We do believe a little bit in the “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything” philosophy. If we don’t like a particular company, or person, or technology, we simply don’t feature it on PuneTech. Unfortunately though, there are lots of companies, people, groups and technologies that we like quite a lot, but haven’t yet put up on PuneTech, simply because we lack the time to do so.
That’s where you can come in. Please help PuneTech and the tech community in Pune by writing articles about interesting technology in Pune. You can write the article for PuneTech, or you can write it for your own blog and let us know, so we can publish it on PuneTech. If you publish a long, detailed article about the technology domain that your company is working in, that is of wider interest to PuneTech readers, we’ll even allow you to put in a pitch for your own company (and the kind of people you’re looking to hire) at the end of your article. That much cheating is allowed, as is explicitly mentioned in the editorial guidelines.
If you have any comments, suggestions or any other feedback for us, please let us know in the comments below.
PuneTech is a for-the-community, non-commercial site, with an intention to keep technology professionals in Pune informed of interesting technologies, events, companies, user groups, organizations, mailing lists, and people in, or related to Pune. A lot of the content that is put up on PuneTech actually comes from other sources, and is often a cut-n-paste job, if not a direct copy (with permission). Thus, a lot of the value that PuneTech provides is in the selection of the content, and the editorial opinions and biases that we introduce in the process.
This note lays out our editorial policy to help the community understand what goes up on the site, and why:
PuneTech does not accept any payments or favors (monetary or otherwise) from any body, for any reason. All content on PuneTech is there because we feel that it needs to be there, and is in keeping with the purpose and the spirit of the site.
PuneTech strives hard to be free of vested interests. With precisely that in mind, right from the first day, we’ve always made it clear that PuneTech is not monetized in any way, and it does not provide any direct revenues, or indeed any direct monetary benefit to anybody associated with PuneTech. (For example, we don’t promote our own companies, and before promoting, or featuring our friends or their companies, we try very hard to ensure that we use the same criteria for judging them as we use for everybody else. And thankfully, our friends all respect this fact.)
However, PuneTech is not objective. We believe in evaluating the world around us and making our opinions known. We strongly believe that our opinions have value, and that our readers value our opinions. All PuneTech posts will always reflect the opinions of the authors (at least those opinions that we feel are worth publicizing to the rest of the world).
PuneTech often has posts that promote a certain company, event or person. In fact, it can be argued that all the posts on PuneTech are promoting something or someone. When we write about a company, we are essentially promoting it, and implicitly saying that the company is good enough to feature on PuneTech. When we write about an upcoming event, we are promoting the event, and essentially saying that we feel this event will be good, and worth attending. When we interview a person, or otherwise write about him/her, we are promoting that person, and saying here is a person that you should know.
We welcome and encourage opposing points of view in the comments. We usually approve all such comments, as long as they are in keeping with the PuneTech comments policy. Occasionally, we do delete comments that violate our policy, so please read the comments policy carefully to get an idea of what is not allowed.
Note: the PuneTech wiki is an open wiki that anybody can add to, and edit. Any content that anybody puts up there will usually be left there, as long as it is relevant to Pune, and relevant to technology, and is not illegal in some way. Note, however, that we, or someone else, might edit the content to make it more useful and usable.
In contrast, all content goes up on the the PuneTech blog (i.e. content which goes up on the front page, and to all PuneTech subscribers) is controlled by the PuneTech editor (currently Navin Kabra, with help from Amit Paranjape, and also some other friends of PuneTech). These are the rough guidelines currently used in determining what is appropriate for the front page:
Company profiles for interesting companies. Service companies are boring – unless the service happens to be something unique. Product companies are more interesting, especially if the product is technologically interesting, or has some aspect that is innovative. Or the product or service is itself useful for the tech community Pune.
Interviews of interesting tech people. Guidelines here are similar to that for company profiles – the person must be working on something that is technologically interesting, or innovative, or unique in some way, or useful to the tech community in Pune.
Events: The event must be in Pune, and should be related to technology. By and large, we try to focus on events that are free, or have a nominal fee. In general, we will not feature commercial events (i.e. those which have a hefty registration fee), unless we feel that the content is especially interesting, and the price especially reasonable. We usually don’t feature information about paid training programs. These days, there are so many tech events in Pune, that we have started being selective about featuring only the more interesting events on our front page – all other events that fit our criteria are posted on the PuneTech calendar. Note: the PuneTech calendar, like the PuneTech wiki, is a by-the-community calendar. Anyone is free to add events to the calendar.
PuneTech does not post job requirements. We are constantly asked about unpaid or paid job postings, but we feel that having job postings on PuneTech would distract from the primary purpose of the site. Note, however: if somebody writes a long, detailed and interesting article for PuneTech about the technology domain that their company is working in, one that would be of wider general interest to the readers of PuneTech, then, at the end of the article, we allow a short pitch about the company, and that can include a description of the kind of people they’re looking to hire. We feel that is a fair trade-off.
A few things to note:
These editorial guidelines have evolved over time, and will continue to evolve. Thus, it is possible that some article that featured on the PuneTech front page in the page violates one of these guidelines. The most likely reason would be that that guideline did not exist a the time the article was posted.
It is also possible that we make mistakes and violate our own guidelines. When you feel that such a mistake has happened, please point it out to us publicly (as a comment on the post). That will give us a chance to explain our choice to you and to everyone else, or to apologize, and learn from the mistakes.
If you can think of additions/modifications to the guidelines, please let us know.
We are now experimenting with an additional format for PuneTech updates – short video clips hosted on YouTube.
Almost since the time PuneTech started, people have been suggesting to us that we should use video. Finally, something clicked last week, and we decided to take the plunge and start it on an experimental basis.
Our first few video posts are up here (proto.in reactions) and here (Druvaa update). Admittedly the video quality is not great. The sound quality is also quite variable. The main issue is that we are basically trying to balance the quality of the video against the amount of effort required to produce each video. Right now, we are in favor of going with a minimally acceptable quality of video that we can produce with as little effort as possible. This ensures that we continue to produce videos regularly (as opposed to starting with a bang and then discontinuing it because it is too much work.)
So the question for you is this:
Is the current quality good enough? (Sound quality will probably improve a little bit over time as we get more experience. Picture quality is unlikely to improve.)
Are you able to stream/download it conveniently and watch it, or is it too painful?
More generally: Is this useful? (Please note: doing the video takes about 5 minutes, while writing an article with the same information will probably take us 1/2 hour. Which means that either you get all this info in video format, or you get 20% of this info as articles, and the remaining 80% is lost. So please answer yes for this question if you think you will watch at least 30% to 40% of the videos, and answer no, if you think you’ll probably not watch the videos at all.)
Any other suggestions are welcome
Please leave your responses as comments. Your responses will help us decide whether we should continue this, or use that time to work on some other aspect of PuneTech.
Update: The “contest” part has ended, and the winner (amongst those who want a pass) is Annkur. But, please keep the suggestions coming in. We have some great suggestions up here. In a week or two, we’ll have a follow-up initiative to identify which specific ones to actually implement immediately (and who will do it). Thanks!
Pune’s tech scene is rocking.
How do we rock it more? How do we get more people involved? How do we get more students involved? How do we get more people from large companies (Infosys, Wipro) involved? Please give ideas.
Maybe you have an idea for a new series events that will be very useful. Maybe you have an idea for how to get more people to collaborate with each other. Maybe you have an idea for an interesting use of technology to improve the ‘community’. Maybe you have an idea for how to get people to contribute more to our wikis/social-networks/mailing lists.
PuneTech is giving away a proto.in pass (worth Rs. 750) to the person with the best suggestion. But please don’t let that be your motivation. Even those not interested in the proto.in pass please give your suggestions.
Here are the approximate rules:
The suggestion does not have to be about punetech.com. It can be about improving any aspect of the tech community in Pune. e.g. you can suggest how to make the Pune OpenCoffee Club more useful that it already is, or something to do with the Pune Linux Users Group, or anything at all.
Criteria for evaluation will be: practicality of suggestion, what are the chances of success, ease of making it happen, and the impact it will have.
Leave your suggestion as a comment on this post; or you can put it up on your own blog and leave a link from here.
If you’re not interested in winning the proto.in pass, please say so in your comment, so that the prize can go to the next best comment
The best comment received until 5pm on Friday (24th) will receive the prize. Please ensure that you leave appropriate contact info so that we can contact you on Friday evening if you win.
Have you ever forgotten about an interesting tech event in Pune, and then regretted the fact that you did not attend it?
PuneTech is pleased to announce the Free PuneTech Event Reminder SMS service that will send you reminders about tech events in Pune one day before. Basically, this is a Google SMS channel, where we post the basic information about events: title, date, venue. In most cases, this will be posted twice – once when the event is announced (or when we find out about it) and once one day before the event. In case of events with submission/registration/nomination deadlines, we’ll also post a reminder a day before the deadline. Every reminder will be contained in a single SMS. For details, you’ll be expected to use a web browser to check out the PuneTech calendar (or ideally, you’ll already know all the details of the event because you are already subscribed to the PuneTech daily email updates (which is also free)).
This service is totally free. To subscribe, SMS “REGISTER” to +91 9870807070 to register with Google SMS channels, and when you receive confirmation, reply to that message with “ON PUNETECH”. Remember the second part – your PuneTech reminders will not start until you’ve sent the “ON PUNETECH” message. You can also subscribe via a web browser by going to the PuneTech SMS Channel page, sign in with your google account (i.e. if you use GMail, enter your GMail username and password, if you don’t have a google account, create one), and then follow the instructions there. For more details about the Google SMS service, see their homepage and FAQs.
We claimed that Pune is expecting growth in revenues in spite of the recession, whereas the other cities, including Bangalore, would see a decline. If you missed all the excitement yesterday, check out our report yesterday. Unfortunately, the entire report was a hoax. There is no company by the name of INHR Associates, the links to the “extended abstract” and the “full (paid) report” are both non-existent, and the the news clip by a “certain TV channel (that will remain unnamed)” was actually created for PuneTech by some of our over-enthusiastic friends.
We have shown above a different, more over-the-top version of the same “news video“. It some out-takes and has credits of the cast and crew who made the film. As with the original video, the “reactions” of the average techie-in-the-street are the most hilarious – definitely worth checking out.
The hints you should have seen
As with any good April Fools’ Prank, we tried to liberally sprinkle it with giveaways – hints that people should have caught on to:
The original source report did not exist. Only two brave souls complained to us that the links were broken. Everybody else seems to have taken our report at face value
INHR Associates, the company which is supposed to have done the survey, had a website called http://inhumanresources.com – very few people picked up on that
Needless to say, the video is completely ridiculous. The fact that many people actually believed it to be real, is a very sad commentary on the state of the real news being put out by our TV channels. We have come to expect trash like this from our TV.
Check out the ticker at the bottom of the news video. It has ridiculous items like “Mallika Sherawat enters politics” and a bunch of other such things.
This was just the first in the long line of people believers. We had a few accomplices (@aparanjape, @d7y, and @amitsomani, and @meetumeetu) who re-tweeted it, after which I believe about 15 to 20 believers retweeted.
@logic loved the “marathi manoos” reaction in the video and wrote:
http://is.gd/pVGh 3:10 I knew recession wont affect pune coz marati dictionary doesnt have it.. ROFLMAO #EKSI. no this tweet is not #april1
Junta in Pune maha excited about thier recession being not so bad as bangalore. Chest deep or neck deep – You still have sh*t sticking on u
I think the best exchange happened on facebook. Chief evangelist of PuneTech, Amit Paranjape, who was in on the joke, posted this to facebook:
Amit Paranjape: Why Pune is handling recession better than Bangalore. http://tinyurl.com/czl3w8
This resulted in the following conversation thread over there:
Rohit Joshi at 3:06pm April 1
It’s a bit like comparing France with the US. The French don’t have boom-bust cycles like anglo-saxon economies because the French don’t innovate and take risks as much. France is still a lovely place.
Navin Kabra at 3:09pm April 1
@Rohit, I doubt that the software/IT/ITES economics of Bangalore and Pune are very different from each other in terms of innovation, risk taking, and boom-bust cycles. I’m sure the explanation for this phenomenon lies elsewhere.
Abhijit Athavale at 4:22pm April 1
Maybe, the Puneites have not realized how serious this thing is going to be. Seriously, the reason might be that Pune has a ton of local industry that the IT/ITES companies are catering to. Bangalore has none.
Amit Paranjape at 5:30pm April 1
I agree Pune does have other local industry. Also, many other non-IT ‘tech’ companies.
After seeing all these reactions, I almost wished that the news item was true.
A few months back when we first got the idea, I casually asked meetu of wogma whether her film-industry friends would be willing to help us out by making a short film for PuneTech as an April Fools’ Prank. She and her friends went nuts with the idea and produced this clip. At that time, I had absolutely no idea of the huge amount of effort that goes into making even a short film like that. But, meetu and her friends, really took to the idea, and worked nights and weekends for almost 20 days to make this clip. I would probably not even have suggested the idea if I knew this beforehand, but anyway, they seem to have enjoyed the process, and we at PuneTech are absolutely thrilled with the final product. We would like to thank them all for the efforts, and for the superb result.
The director (Nitin Gaikwad, nitindgaikwad[at]gmail[dot]com, +91 98193 74727), the editor (Shreyas Beltangdy, shreyasbeltangdy[at]gmail[dot]com, +91 98922 12953) and the main news anchor (Raj Kumar Yadav, raj.deniro[at]gmail[dot]com, +91 99677 82869) are actual professionals in their field, and friends of meetu, who did this for us, free. The rest of the cast and crew are friends, relatives and neighbors. Here are the full credits:
Cast News reader: Raj Kumar Yadav (raj.deniro[at]gmail[dot]com, +91 99677 82869) Statistical analyst: Subramanyam Pisupati Pune expert: Navin Kabra Field Reporter: Shweta Karwa IT employee #1: Mudit Singhal IT employee #2: Nitin Gaikwad IT employee #3: Subur Khan IT employee #4: Amit Rajput
A billion thanks to: Pushpa and Badri Baldawa
Special thanks to: Mudit Singhal, Ravi Iyer, Agasti, Amit Rajput Lighting: Agasti, Chandu dada Production Assistants: Siddhu, Shiva, Sriram, Hemant, Saraswati Make-up: Suman Baldawa Camera and sound equipment: Rudra Communications Editing Studio: Rudra Vision Concept: Navin Kabra Editor: Shreyas Beltangdy (shreyasbeltangdy[at]gmail[dot]com, +91 98922 12953) Dialogue: meetu, Shreyas Beltangdy, Navin Kabra
Director of Photography: Shreyas Beltangdy (shreyasbeltangdy[at]gmail[dot]com, +91 98922 12953) Director: Nitin Gaikwad (nitindgaikwad [at] gmail [dot] com, +91 98193 74737)
Gautam Morey, a PuneTech reader, said yesterday: “You are spending too much time setting up an April Fool’s Joke!”
And our answer was: “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy :-). We spend so much time being serious that spending some time on frivolous things is OK once in a while.”
At the very least, I think we should be able to say that Pune handled April Fools’ day much better than Bangalore!