Tag Archives: barcamp

Why you should be on Twitter – and how best to use it

This weekend, at Barcamp Pune 5, I gave a presentation targeted towards people who are new to Twitter, or who do not see what the hype is all about. The presentation went into the reasons why people find Twitter so useful and why it’s considered to be the next best thing after email. I also gave tips and tricks on how to use twitter effectively.

You can view the presentation online via slideshare:

or you can download it in your favourite format: PDF, Powerpoint 2007, Powerpoint 97-2003. Please feel free to download it, forward it to your friends, especially the ones whom you want to convince to start using twitter.

What to expect at Barcamp Pune

Update: Our hearts go out to the people of Mumbai, but our bodies continue their day-to-day activities in Pune. Barcamp Pune 5 will happen. It starts at 10am, at SICSR (Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research), Model Colony, Atur Centre, Opp. Om Super Market, Pune (map).

Barcamp Pune 5 is this Saturday (29th November) and I am hoping that this time, a lot of people who are not familiar with the concept of barcamp will show up. Earlier, we wrote about what is barcamp, and why you should attend. For those still sitting on the fence, wondering whether to attend, let me try and give an idea of what to expect at BCP5.

The barcamp page shows 250+ registrations. So expect at least 150 people or more to show up.

Expect chaos. I mean that in a good way. Conferences are thoughtfully organized by committees of experts to include topics that you should know about. Barcamp is not a conference – it’s an unconference. No suits, no committees. What you will get is talks on topics that you want to know about.

Expect a tweet-up. At 5:30pm. A meeting of people who use and love twitter. If you are not a twitter-user yet, you should be. Attend the tweet-up to find out why.

Expect talks from a set of very wide-ranging topics (mostly tech): how to secure your home wireless network from hackers, PHP, how to build iPhone applications, the semantic web, using maps in your applications and websites, robotics, bootstrapping your startup. And many more. It’s an unconference, so can’t know in advance all the different presentations that will ultimately happen. And some of the presentations will actually happen with 4 people huddled around a laptop in a corner on the floor.

Expect enthusiasm. Expect to see lots of energy. People passionate about technology. Blogging. Web-2.0.

Expect to see people not just from Pune, but also Mumbai, Bangalore, Aurangabad, Hyderabad and other cities. Yes, barcamps are worth travelling 800km for.

Expect to see students, junior techies, people with 15+ years of experience, programmers, managers, designers, NGO volunteers, open source fanatics, .NET gurus, savvy businessmen and geeks.

Expect to make new friends. You’ll meet lots of interesting people. If you are thinking of a startup, you might meet your co-founder. If you are interested in Erlang, you might meet other Erlang enthusiasts. If you are a recruiter, you might meet your latest recruits. If you are single, you might meet your future partner (hey! it happens).

Expect to go off to dinner parties with strangers.

Expect to give and receive business cards – some old school habits die hard.

Expect people to take lots of photographs and upload them to flickr. Expect blog posts about barcamp to trickle in all through the next week. Expect wi-fi. Expect live-blogging. Expect twittering.

Expect struggling startups to demonstrate their work. Some of them would have been doing this for the nth time, because they’ve been going to every barcamp in the country to get visibility for their startup. In other cases, you’ll be the first people in the world to see the new product.

Expect the unexpected.

Expect to learn. To teach. To discuss. To argue. To agree. To disagree. To clap. To laugh. To giggle. To boo (yes, that happens too.)

Expect the boring people to stay at home, and only the interesting people to show up.

Expect those who wanted to come but could not to be profoundly unhappy.

Expect those who did not attend to have missed something great.

What is barcamp, and why you should attend barcamp Pune (Nov 29)

What: Barcamp Pune 5

When: 29th November, all day

WhereSICSR, Model Colony. Here is the map.

Registration and fees: Are you kidding? (Actually, register at the barcamp homepage.)

What is barcamp?

A barcamp is a conference that is the opposite of conference. Conferences are arranged by people in suits who have expert committees to decide agendas, and scheduled printed on glossy paper 3 months in advance. By contrast, a barcamp is organized (or unorganized, actually) by the T-shirt and jeans types. There is no agenda, no schedule. You just show up, and anybody can announce a talk, and preferably it shouldn’t be pre-prepared. For a more formal introduction to barcamp, check out the wikipedia entry for barcamp. (Encyclopedia Britannica doesn’t have an entry for barcamp!)

So anyway, a barcamp sounds like chaos, right? Surprisingly, it works very well. A barcamp is one of the best places to go to get a feel for the pulse of the tech community. You’ll meet interesting people and get introduced to interesting new technologies. Tarun Chandel, the grand old man of barcamps in Pune, said this after Barcamp Pune 4:

Let me go back around 20 years and take a look at the life of a developer. It was simpler than your life isn’t it? He just had to learn one or two languages and the career was rolling (you don’t believe me ask any of your bosses). Let me come back to you. I am sure you all know at-least 3 languages in which you can produce code for living. But how many of you are confident that you will be able to make a career like the guys did 20 years back?? The reality is that the innovation is happening at an unbelievable rate today, oh sorry I cant fool you guys you are insiders and as insiders we know that the splurge of various technologies, languages, platforms is because of the work that people have been doing for a long time. For an outsider there are too many things happening suddenly but for an insider this is not a surprise but a time when all the things are peeking and coming together perfectly. To be successful at this time we have to make sure that we are riding on the top of the tide. It is easier said than done. It takes a lot of time and effort to be just aware of all that is happening in the technology space. A developer needs to be aware of so many things at once and not only that he should be ready to work with newer things as early as they happen. It is not easy to keep pace with the speed of innovation and ever changing world of technology, how much time do you guys get out of your project work? The pressure is enormous to deliver, where is the time for other things?

Barcamp Pune or similar events are the place that gives you a present snapshot of the world around you (or let me put it this way gives you a heavy dose of all the technology related things that you missed or are still missing). There is a learning curve in all the places so is there a leaning curve in Barcamp Pune as well. You come here and get excited about new things technologies, you go back and whenever you get time, say the code repository server is down or your manger has fallen ill you can read in details about what you learned here. You come back for the next time and you attend a workshop on the same got to learn how to code or use the technology. You go back home and run some code get your hands dirty learn few new things. You again come here and this time you share with other campers what you have learned and they will share what they learned and you will improve yourself. Isn’t that great!!! I read somewhere that you retain 95% of what you share with others.

We have a very experienced Barcamp crowd in Pune but just for those who were there for the first time, let me repeat what I said at the starting session of the event that, the onus of getting best out of camp lies with you. There is a famous rule of Barcamp “Law of 2 feet” that is, you will have to use your 2 feet to walk to a place where you can learn, if you are not learning walk out of that place (no one will mind) and go to a place where you can learn or share. Meet as many people as you can and network and use this gathering of intelligent people wisely.

So mark your calendars, and head to SICSR for a Saturday of unorganized tech fun.

And check the PuneTech calendar for other exciting tech events that have been planned for you in the next few months (for example, I bet you did not know about the Conference on Advances in Usability Engineering?)

Help plan a JoomlaCamp or OpenSocialCamp in Pune

After the amazing success of PHPCamp in Pune last week, and also noticing the amount of attention received by OpenSocial on the one hand, and PHP based CMSs (like Drupal, Joomla) on the other, some of the organizers of PHPCamp, and others, are thinking of having more specific barcamps in Pune on those two topics. The kickoff meeting to plan and organize those events is happening this Saturday, at the Level 9 Cafe, at ICC towers on S.B. Road. 

If you want motivation on why you should get involved in organizing events like this, check out Amit’s post on the 10 things he got out of organizing PHPCamp. Even if you miss the meeting, you can join late and follow the discussion over at the PHPCamp mailing list the OpenSocial Developer Garage mailing list.

Rohan Dighe, one of the primary organizers of this meeting, left the following comment, which gives much more detail on what this meeting is about. I am reproducing the comment here:


After PHPCamp, a few of us have been planning on an event specifically focused on Content Management Systems (CMS Camp) and also an event focused on Opensocial (building apps for orkut/myspace/hi5, etc).

Below are the details of ODG:-

The Opensocial Event is named “Opensocial Developer Garage”

We at Social Web Factory have been planning long to host an event like this specifically focused on social web apps and current web2.0 trends and looks like our dreams are coming true.

So, Opensocial Developer Garage’08 – Pune has a tentative date of (20th December’08, it’s a saturday!)

Now, the idea of the event is to unite all the social web apps developers from all over the country and just share/code/have fun and maybe inspire a few wannabee..

The idea is not to duplicate PHPCamp (get 750+ people) but to focus on the genuine/interested crowd, opensocial enthusiasts or app developers. I really have no estimate now of how many people would come or how everything would fall in place but i just have a feeling that this can be done.

The event is a free event but is an invitation only event, we will call for speakers as well as delegates as soon as our website is up.

My plan is to invite people from Google/MySpace/BigAdda/20 other social networking website owners and their developers. We really need people to have the “WoW!!” feeling when they are at the event.

Venue/Sponsors are yet to be decided. I am preparing an email which we will send to multiple groups including expert opensocial developers across the country and big SNS groups.

I guess that all i have for now:
The kickoff meeting to plan and organize those events is happening this
Saturday (tomorow) , at the Level 9 Cafe, at ICC towers on S.B. Road.

Agenda for the meet would be
1) To finalize goals for both the camps
2) un-conference/ conference
3) Budgets
4) Organizers/ Volunteers
5) Strategy/Game Plan
6) Resource Allocations
7) Venue.

I am setting up the website DeveloperGarage.in and should be up soon.

Google Groups have been setup.

All the discussions regarding Opensocial Developer Garage will happen here.

Join Up.


Group email: developergarage@googlegroups.com

OpenSocial Developer Garage now has a profile on the PuneTech wiki.

PHPCamp Pune – the biggest (un)conference in India

PHPCamp in Pune this Saturday, with a reported 700+ campers, was easily the biggest barcamp-style event in India. There were people coming in from all over the country, including groups of students from various colleges (not necessarily from Pune). Unfortunately, I missed it, and I’m trying to make up for it by rounding-up all the blog posts about PHPCamp that have appeared over the weekend. I’ll update this post as more pop up. The PHPCamp website has a comprehensive list of all blog posts before and after the event.

Some of the presentations are online. Check them out.

Varun Arora gives the history of PHPCamp and a blow-by-blow account of how the day progressed. Priyank has another view of the history of PHPCamp. Rahul Bansal of the Devil’s workshop points out that Drupal and Joomla got a lot of airtime but was very surprised at the absence of the two most popular PHP platforms, WordPress and Facebook. A talk on OpenSocial by Pravin Nirmal appears to be one of the most talked about talks.

Amit Kumar at AmiWorks, one of the organizers, has put up photos of the volunteers from SICSR and Pune IT Labs who did a lot of the behind-the-scenes work. Amit has also written about the 10 things he gained from unorganizing PHPCamp. This should encourage all of you to organize some community event. 

Tarun Chandel one of the godfathers of all barcamp style get-togethers in Pune was also on hand and has uploaded a bunch of photographs of PHPCamp on his photoblog. You can see how crowded the rooms were, with probably more people standing than sitting.

Also check out these other blog posts about PHPCamp by Sebastiaan Deckers, Priyanka Parekh, Rishi Agarwal,  Jaguarnac, and MyPHPDuniya.

PHPCamp Pune will be huge – Sept 20

What: PHPCamp is a barcamp for PHP enthusiasts from all over the country.
When: Saturday September 20, 2008
Where: Persistent Systems Pvt. Ltd., Plot No. 9A/12, CTS No. 12A/12, Erandwana, Near Padale Palace (Opp Sharda Center), Pune, Maharashtra 411 004

Registration: This event is free for all. Register here.
PHPCamp is a ad-hoc gathering for PHP community. It similar to barcamp, but more focused towards PHP based web application development. This means that anyone can come to PHPCamp and participate. There is no set agenda – the agenda gets decided at the venue. If that sounds weird to you, you should read up on barcamps now.
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Help Organize PHPCamp Pune

PHPImage via Wikipedia

PHP enthusiasts in Pune are organizing a barcamp focused towards PHP based web application development, in September 2008. (If you don’t know what a barcamp camp is, now is a good time to find out.) What started out as a small initiative at getting together the PHP community in Pune for an informal gathering is, judging from the initial response, fast snowballing into a major all-India conference.

It is still very early, and the details are all still being worked out. Since this is an unconference, it is all volunteer driven, and anyone can participate, and more importantly, anyone can join the organizing committee. Which means that if you are interested in PHP, you should seriously consider helping out with the effort. They are still looking for speakers (and due to the unconference nature of the event, this will continue until the day of the event). More importantly they are looking for sponsors, to smoothen the process of hosting the event. This means that if you are a company (or know a company) that wants to get visibility with the most enthusiastic PHP developers in the country, you should sponsor this event.

In any case, join the mailing list to keep tabs on what the organizers are planning, and register yourself for attending the event, so they have an idea of how many people to expect.

Check out other technology user-groups and organizations in Pune at the PuneTech wiki (for example, Pune Java, Pune Ruby, Pune Linux User Group, PHPCamp, Pune Project Management Institute etc.)

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WiCamp – “From Ideas to Dollars” barcamp – 30 May

What: WiCamp is a barcamp with the theme “From Ideas to Dollars”, organized by Wipro Technologies. BarCamps are un-conference like meetings. Here like minded people come over and share their learning on a topic of mutual interest through presentation, demos, videos, etc.

When: Friday, 30th May, 2pm to 7pm

Where: Wipro Technologies, Platinum Training hall, Tower-3, Lower Ground, Phase- I, MIDC, Rajiv Gandhi Infotech Park, Hinjwadi, Pune

Who can attend: This event is open to all. There are no fees. Please register at the WiCamp website.

Themes for WiCamp:

  • How firms arrive at value proposition for an innovation
  • Partnering to take ideas faster to market
  • Open Innovation
  • Measuring returns on innovation
  • Shrinking the time to market
  • Increasing hit-rate of ideas
  • Managing teams for innovation
  • Personal creativity to organizational creativity

More than the actual presentations given what I like about a barcamp is the people you meet in the corridors, and the enthusiasm and energy levels. You should definitely attend if you’ve never attended a barcamp before. For details, see the WiCamp wiki, which will keep getting updated until the last day.

IdeaCampPune – a Report

These are the quick-n-dirty notes that I took during IdeaCampPune. (Actually, they are my live-tweets of the event.) I’ve tried to include relevant links where I could find them.

Generally, I think it went rather well. The organizers had stopped registration after 80 entries (there were a bunch of other people who wanted to get in, but couldn’t) – so I guess about 80 people attended. All the sessions were attended by a roomful of people and many sessions had lots of discussion and audience participation.

If you find any one of these initiatives interesting, and need help with getting in touch with the relevant person, let me know and I can try to put you in touch.


  • First hour spent in “corridor discussions”. About a dozen ideas listed on the board so far.
  • Kaushik R (http://lin.cr/ru) et al trying to create a platform for structured participation of Industry in (Pune) colleges
  • IIT-B Alumni association inviting nominations for Innovations-2009 (http://innovations-pune.com/). I’ve heard good things about the Innovations program from a number of people. (Beware, it is not all IT/Tech, some of the innovations might be in a different field. But still interesting.)
  • Srikanth Sunderarajan (COO, Persistent) pushing people to be serious about their ideas – to think everything through.
  • Anupam Saraph, CIO of Pune, talking about “Design for Pune” (http://lin.cr/rv) – competition/game to design Pune of the future. Competition will have participants using SimCity (http://lin.cr/rw). Possible first prize – spend a day with Will Wright (top game designer). See my recent article about some of the initiatives that Anupam is currently spending his time on. 
  • Abhay Shete (http://lin.cr/s1) talking about the Semantic Web (http://lin.cr/ry); faceted browsing (http://lin.cr/rz
  • A couple of students from COEP talking about Swarm Intelligence (http://lin.cr/s2). Complex behavior from simple pieces.
  • Anurag Agarwal is creating the “Mentor India Program”. Pick promising students from colleges and mentor them for a few years.
  • Shashikant Kore (http://lin.cr/s3) talking about SMS based micropayments. I wonder if his new company (still in stealth) is about this
  • The Design for Pune (http://lin.cr/rv) presentation repeated by popular demand (for those who missed it)
  • Aparna talking about “India, I Care” http://lin.cr/s5 – Lots of audience participation
  • Entrepreneurship cell IIT-B; promoting entrepreneurship amongst youth. http://genportal.org/ – funding, incubation, showcase, etc.
  • Freeman, talking about the use of mp3 players in (rural?) education (the “one mp3 player per child” project). http://clrindia.net/ is using radio to run an english teaching program. Digital Hall provides videos that teachers can use to run lessons. Teacher only has to answer questions/doubts. OLPC classroom near Karjat is also rather cool. Also see http://curriki.org/ a wikipedia for curricula. All of these have some problems. That’s where mp3pc comes in. The web has a large amount of audio web content that is freely downloadable. Usable for education. use cheap chinese mp3 players for education! Easy to use, cheap, sturdy, easy to carry around. Many hours of education. Can use even while the child is doing something else (e.g. walking 5km to school). Freeman is hoping to do a pilot program with the 15 mp3 players he bought. Looking for a good institute where to run it. 
  • Aditi talking about “Generating Rural Income”. Can we tap traditional abilities of villagers/tribals to generate income? A number of interesting NGOs were mentioned during this talk, but I was unable to capture their names. Hopefully someone will blog about this in more detail.
  • Shyamal leads a discussion on various ways of saving power (mainly about our use of computers)
  • My own discussion on what we can do to improve participation in tech community events in Pune. Some interesting ideas that I hope to try out in the near future
  • Guna talking about “Lean Thinking”. The Toyota way. How to incorporate lean thinking in your own startup. Identify waste, measure it, and eliminate it.
  • One presentation on a single website where you can go to see all your e-mail. Everybody jumped on the poor guy. Surprisingly, in a day full of unconferenced talks, this was the only presentation that did not have interesting content.
  • bosky101 conducting a session on brainstorming. Creating random patterns of different ideas. Everybody having fun coming up with unrelated terms/areas/activities. 
  • Since a lot of the ideas presented today have been about social responsibility, Anurag felt that the audience would be interested in the other activity that he has been a part of for the last year.  http://aksharbharati.org – the program he started for creating libraries for disadvantaged kids. They have created 50 libraries so far (using, 40 to 50 people across 5 chapters). He hopes to double the numbers this year.
  • There was a wrap up session in the end where people talked about which ideas they liked the best. Design for Pune was the clearly one the ideas that people were most excited about. Other honourable mentions: SMS micropayments, Mentor India, 1MP3PC.

PMC vision for the future needs your help

Pune now has has a CIO – whose job it is to guide all use of information technology related to PMC. This includes external facing services like property tax payments, marriage/birth/death registration, and also internal use of IT like MIS and ERP. Dr. Anupam Saraph, who has been appointed the CIO of PMC, is an industry veteran with a good understanding of the latest trends in both technology and e-governance. As a result, his vision for PMC goes far beyond simple computerization of services – this includes initiatives to encourage citizen participation through the use of wikis and social networking, games and competitions to increase citizen involvement, use of maps, GIS, and mashups to increase usability and usefulness of the services and websites.

However, I don’t think this is something that can be done without active community participation. For really successful implementation of some of these ideas, what is really needed, in my opinion, is the involvement of the tech community to help with the execution – frontends, backends, usability, evangelization. I would like to start a discussion on how we can help.

Dr. Saraph has agreed to attend IdeaCampPune for a few hours in the first half o the day. If we can get a few discussions started around this topic, he can participate, clarify his vision for us, and answer questions. I have also requested him to write an article giving some more details on his ideas and initiatives, so we can start thinking about how best the community can help in each of those areas. He hopes to have it done by Monday or Tuesday, and I’ll post it here as soon as I get it. Please check this site again on Tuesday. (Or better yet, subscribe to the RSS feed or email updates.)

If you have any immediate questions or suggestions please post them in the comments below, and I can have Dr. Saraph answer them.

Related articles:
Upcoming Events: IdeaCampPune
PMC to re-charge Pune wi-fi project
Pune Municipal Corporation gets CIO, new website, wiki