Tag Archives: community

TechMarathi wants tech articles in Marathi for their e-Diwali-ank 2016

TechMarathi.com is a sister site of PuneTech, that focuses on publishing technology articles in Marathi for the benefit of Marathi speaking population who would like to stay abreast of the latest in technology.

Every year, in the time-honoured tradition of Marathi periodicals, TechMarathi publishes a special Diwali online magazine for the the past 2 years. This year too TechMarathi is planning an online “e-Diwali Ank” – a Diwali Special “bumper” edition of articles.

If you are a techie who can write in Marathi, please consider contributing an article. The article can be humorous, informative, experience sharing, or a
short story. It can be an article, poem, cartoon, or any other form of content. You can even translate an existing English article to Marathe – even that can be quite valuable.

These are the submission guidelines:

  • The articles should be 200 words or more (there is no strict upper limits for length of longer articles.)
  • Send the articles in Unicode.
  • Send the articles to sampadak@techmarathi.com
  • You will receive acknowledgement in 24hrs. If you don’t receive it by that time please write to sampadak@techmarathi.com
  • All rights to approve articles for publishing will be with the committee appointed by TechMarathi, and their decision will be final.

If you have any questions or suggestions please write to us at sampadak@techmarathi.com

TechMarathi wants tech articles in Marathi for their e-Diwali-ank

TechMarathi.com is a sister site of PuneTech – a site that focuses on publishing technology articles in Marathi for the benefit of people who are not yet entirely comfortable in English, but would still like to stay abreast of the latest in technology.

This year, in the time-honoured tradition of Marathi periodicals, TechMarathi is planning a “Diwali Ank” – a Diwali Special “bumper” edition of articles.

If you are a techie who can write in Marathi, please consider contributing an article. You can even translate an existing English article to Marathi – even that can be quite valueable.

The article can be humorous, informative, experience sharing, or a short story. It can be an article, poem, cartoon, or any other form of content. Please send short articles of about 250-300 words, or longer ones of 400-500 words.

Please get in touch with pallavi@techmarathi.com for details.

TiE Pune Chapter wins the “Best Turnaround” award at TiE Global Retreat

TiE Pune, the Pune Chapter of TiE the worldwide community of entrepreneurs, has just won the “Best Turnaround” award at the TiE Annual Global Retreat in Athens Greek. They competed with 61 chapters globally, and were selected from 5 finalists.

5 years ago, when PuneTech and the Pune Open Coffee Club started, TiE Pune was dormant, and used to have one event per year (or less). In fact, it could be argued, that neither Pune Open Coffee Club nor PuneTech would have actually gotten started if TiE Pune had been active.

In any case, in the last few years, there has been a remarkable rejuvenation of TiE Pune. Here is proof – in 2012, these were the activities of TiE Pune:

  • 23 My Story Sessions (where entrepreneurs like the founder of Redbus.in talked about their startup story)
  • 19 Breakfast with TiE sessions – morning meetings with a discussion around a theme
  • 18 half/full day workshops were conducted on various topics related to startups
  • 7 Stree shakti fellowships were awarded
  • 2 6-month long “Nurture” programs were conducted to nurture young entrepreneurs

To support TiE Pune in these activities, you should consider buying a TiE Pune membership.

For more information see the TiE Pune website

The Ninja Club at BMC Software

(BMC Software Pune has created a by-the-techies, for-the-techies group, called The Ninja Club, to give the technical individual contributors in the company a place to learn, hang out, and get recognition for their work. This article about the Ninja Club is by guest author Neeran Karnik, an Architect at BMC.)

The problem is well known in the IT industry in India – why are smart techies tempted to switch to the management ladder, a few years into their careers? The industry loses technical talent, and quite possibly, gets saddled with mediocre management talent in the bargain! Techies who stay on the technical track complain about a lack of control, a lack of visibility, and a lack of rewards. Society also seems to treat “managers” as an exalted breed, and someone who remains an individual contributor is seen as having stagnated in his or her career.

The Ninja Club the BMC
The Ninja Club at BMC is a techies-only club, created to provide cross-team visibility for techies, encouraging collaboration, peer reviews of design and code, and in general, letting the smartest techies interact with each other more easily.

Organizations are taking different approaches to tackle this problem – including creating explicit technical ladders, giving more high-profile recognition for technical accomplishments, even awarding junkets for creating IP. At BMC Software, we have taken a somewhat different approach – a grassroots effort in the technical community that is backed by, but not actively promoted by management. It’s loosely patterned after the martial arts, and is called the Ninja Club.

The Ninja Club is a forum created by techies, for techies. Its membership is self-selected (by invitation), purely on the basis of demonstrated accomplishments on the technical front. As such, membership itself is a badge of honour. In addition however, like in a martial arts discipline, members qualify for different coloured belts – starting with white, and earning their way to black. These belts are completely independent of the usual grades or bands in the HR system, and unrelated to promotions and performance evaluations. A points system has been put in place – a Ninja earns points for activities such as technical talks, participating in coding contests and ideation sessions, filing invention disclosures, publishing conference papers / whitepapers, etc. Points make you eligible for ‘promotion’ to the next coloured belt: white –> yellow –> green –> red –> black. But promotion is not necessarily automatic – in addition to points, the Ninja may have to get past, for example, an online programming test or an interview by other Ninjas at the higher belt level.

Like martial artists, the idea is that Ninjas get together regularly to practice their skills – coding, design, etc. – and to learn from each other. To that end, the Ninja Club organizes various activities such as coding contests, design review sessions, etc. for club members. We are also starting Special Interest Groups (SIGs) focused around technology areas like Big Data, Cloud Computing, SaaS, etc. Discussions can also be around the business domain (IT management and data centers, in BMC’s case) and customer use-cases, not necessarily on technology. Smaller groups of Ninjas can get together in SIGs to discuss, brainstorm, and do small side projects on such topics of their interest.

Such activities enable techies to network across their product teams, find role models and/or mentors, benefit from peer review of their ideas, and expand their sphere of influence. However, the club also organizes wider events that are open to everyone at BMC, not just its members. Over the past year, Ninja Club has organized the following different types of events:

  • Ninjutsu: Quizzes focused on technology and programming – with questions ranging from tech trivia to ‘spot the bug in a snippet of code’
  • Kaigi: Technical talks on hot topics like Hadoop, Android development…
  • Tougi: Debates, where teams argue for or against a given proposition, such as the effects of Consumerization of IT, “BYOD”, or Desktop Virtualization
  • Online contests like treasure hunts, crosswords, etc.
Ninja Club emee screenshot
A screenshot of one of the pages in the Ninja Club, powered by eMee.

One key element of Ninja Club is its online presence, in the form of a gamified social network called eMee. This was developed at Persistent Systems, and heavily customized by them for BMC. Ninjas get their own profiles and avatars on eMee, using which they can showcase their technical skills, certifications and accomplishments. Points earned for various activities can be exchanged for ‘gifts’ that are used for decorating your house. Promotion to a higher belt results in your moving to a fancier house! Like in the martial arts, a Ninja can have ‘followers’. You can follow your role models or mentors, to keep track of their activities and status updates. Common news items are published to the “Ninja Times”, and visible to all. Non-Ninjas also get their own limited profiles, and the ability to follow Ninjas. A search mechanism allows anyone to find people with specific skills. This melding of the real and virtual worlds in eMee levels the playing field for smart programmers who may not be very social in the real world!

The hope is that this Ninja Club initiative will improve the technical vitality of the organization, and make technical careers more desirable and rewarding. By providing cross-team visibility, encouraging collaboration, and peer reviews of design and code, product functionality and quality should also improve over time. Success will eventually be measured in terms of the quality and growth of the technical populace at BMC Software, and being seen as the techies’ employer of choice in the region!

About the Author – Neeran Karnik

Neeran Karnik is an architect at BMC for their Bladelogic Server Automation product. Before that Neeran has worked at IBM India on the datacenter automation and cloud computing products in the Tivoli group, and as a Technical Director and Research at Symantec, and a Research Staff Member at IBM India Research Lab. Neeran has a Ph.D. in Computer Sciences from University of Minnesota, USA.

Neeran is also one of the co-founders of Cricinfo.

Growing Wikipedia in India – How a community is being built

The Wikipedia is fast getting more visibility in India, and not only contributions from India to the Wikipedia increasing, but also Indian Language Wikipedias are seeing rapid growth. All of this is possible because of a grassroots community that is developing across various cities in India, and with the help of an official chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation (the not-for-profit foundation that runs the Wikipedia).

Tory Read spent a few months traveling all over India to understand what is happening with the Wikipedia community in India and has written a short e-book based on his experiences that is worth reading.

Pune is one of important the cities in this community, not just because it has a very active Wikipedia community (WikiPuneri), but also because it has been picked as the first city where the Wikipedia Campus Ambassador program has been implemented.

Here are some Pune-related excerpts from the book:

“Wikipedia saved my life”

That’s what Srikeit Tadepalli, an MBA student in Pune, India, told me one day in June. He’d been a below-average student with few college options, but a prestigious school saw his Wikipedia achievements and admitted him to its communications program in spite of his test scores. Now, he’s thriving.

and also:

“At first, I contributed just to get the t-shirt, but then I started to like it,” said Shravani Joshi, a 13-year-old girl in Pune who is adding new material to the Harry Potter article. “It’s cool. Whatever I write is getting seen by the entire world.”

Later, the book spends a couple of pages talking about the Wikipedia Campus Ambassadors Program. Excerpt:

There is no mistaking that the [Campus Ambassador] training introduced a new vibe to Wikipedia activities in Pune. It feels youthful, energetic and hip, intentionally designed to sell the Wikipedia enterprise effectively to urban college students who are actively participating in 21st century global culture. This new version of the Wikipedia brand will take some getting used to for the established vanguard in the area, which has a more traditional way of doing business.

It even covers the flamewars that broke out due to differences between Wikipedia volunteers in Pune/Mumbai who wanted to organize a Wikipedia Conference in Mumbai and the “official” chapter of Wikimedia Foundation:

The second week I was in India, conflict between the chapter and the broader community erupted again on the email list. A few months earlier, volunteers from Mumbai and Pune had hatched a plan to host a national conference in Mumbai in November 2011, and they’d requested that the chapter support their efforts.

It took some weeks for the chapter to reply, and when it did, it wasn’t with a “yes” or a “no.” Instead, it proposed a framework to establish a set of procedures and guidelines for planning national conferences, including a national competition to determine which city should host it.

In the interim, the ad hoc volunteers in Mumbai and Pune had done extensive research on venues and costs, and they had invited Jimmy Wales to attend the event. They had energy, vision and momentum, and they were taken aback by the chapter’s response. Tempers flared, and behind-the-scenes conversations commenced-dozens of community members spent hours on phone calls, Internet chats and email.

There are many more interesting stories in the book. Anybody interested in Wikipedia, or internet communities should take a look.

Check out the whole document

Code + Beer + Enthusiasm = Pune Hackfest

(Last weekend, the Pune Rails Meetup community organized a weekend-long Hackfest to build a Citizen Empowerment App. Gautam Rege, one of the organizers of this hackfest wrote this event report about the hackfest, which first appeared on the Josh Software blog, and is being re-published here with permission.)

Damn! Hackfests really work.

At the latest event of the Pune Rails Meetup – we organized a hackfest for the ‘second’ time (ahem – the first one ended before it started). This time however, we had a plan:

“Citizen Empowerment for Better Governance” – the aim was to complete the MVP for this in 2 days! We had a record attendance of 25-30 people on both days. I was skeptical of how much we could do, how much we can organize and if we can manage to keep everyone satisfied – it was make or break!

http://kipwiki.heroku.com — WE DID IT! This portal is almost complete (a few technical glitches but over all I would say it was success in more ways than one. The source code is hosted on github: https://github.com/punerb/kipwiki The hitch was that MongoHQ use v1.6 which does not support $nearSphere conditions for geo-spatial indexing — this causes our geo-location to go for a toss.

These are the lessons we learnt:

Pair Programming

This was not mandated but recommended (LoL — “mandatory pair-programing” — an oxymoron?). This photo says it all. Everyone paired with someone automagically — and it worked like a charm.

There were plenty of more modules build, tracked and tweaked. However, everyone was open to change, talking to everyone AND most importantly committed to “GETTING IT DONE”.

What we did

Initially,we had some mocks that we got confirmed – narrowed down the scope of work to 2 days, discussed with Peter at length what he wanted and then planned this hackfest. The first morning – we discussed the plan and with 1 hour we got down to business. This was our rails stack:

– Rails 3.0.7

– MongoDb (via Mongoid)

– Devise & omniauth for authentication

– mongoid-paperclip (with S3 as storage).

– Heroku and MongoHQ

– jQuery search result filtering

The Party continued into the night

Peter sponsored not just the lunches and dinners – but also ensured there was a steady flow of juices, snacks, fruits and beer! Shardul did not miss the chance to ‘showcase drink-fest’ 😉

Peter even bought a ‘Hackfest’ cake – what more could we ask for?

We worked on the first day till 11.30pm and then crashed to be ready for Day2. Day2 was very very productive and we were coding till 1.30am in the night to reach the finish.

Lots of beer, fun, ‘resolving conflicts’, ‘git blame’ games — and even doing something right like this one of Sergey! 😉

Coding, Designing and Testing

We were able to churn out a LOT of code indeed. But it did not start there. We had to design the web-portal with our designers, we had pivotal tracker to track stories and rspec to test the models. No we did not do ALL this. We used Pivotal tracker to check and evaluate stories and unfortunately we did not do Test Driven Development. Some of the things that we need to improve.

The excellent part of was that we had some rock-star programmers – who churned out a LOT of awesome code and we had some excellent designers who helped with designing.

“427 commits from 17 developers” and here is the impact:

We missed out on Test Driven Development!!

This is one thing that we need to do differently at the next hackfest. Its very important to see this work beautifully and always be ‘code green’.

All in all I think we are ready to be a part of RailsRumble later this year and I do intend to get Pune.rb on the RailsRumble map!


Design Thinking: Award winning designs and how to think about them – Apr 3

(This Pune Open Coffee Club event has been organized by Anjali Gupta and Santosh Dawara on the 2nd anniversary of the POCC. This event description was posted by Santosh on the POCC website.)

Design thinking is more than just the art of designing a usable interface. Think of it as a skill that can help mold technology in to an agent of change.

To help stimulate design thinking a mix of celebrated as well as young design entrepreneurs will share their award winning designs and thinking models with POCC.

Pune OpenCoffee Club - POCC Logo
POCC is an informal group of the Pune Startup ecosystem. It contains more than 2000 people who either have their own startups, or want to start one, or provide some service (or funding) to startups. Click on the logo to find all punetech articles about the POCC

Satish Gokhale, was recently in the Times of India for designing TATA Swach, a water purifier unveiled by Ratan Tata, that costs under Rs. 1000, does not use electricity or running water often not available in rural India. Satish has designed several award wining products, and won the BusinessWorld Design Brilliance Award several years in a row. He was invited to deliver the keynote address at the International Design Forum, Singapore, and invited by HP Innovation Labs to present on “Design for The Other Six Billion”, Palo Alto, California. Satish is an entrepreneur himself, and he has accepted our invitation to speak at POCC on how he designed the Swach for extreme affordability, something that MIT Review calls “Value for Many and for Money”.

* Pune Design Firm Shapes Tata’s Water Purifier

Dipendra Baoni is the Founder and Managing Director of Lemon Design, a Pune based Strategy, Branding and Multi Disciplinary Design Studio. Some of Lemon’s clients include RBI, Airtel, TVS Lucas, Hindustan Times and TCS. An Industrial Designer from NID ( National Institute of Design), Dipendra has won awards in Transportation Design ( Audi International Design Competition – 1996, Nagoya Car Design Competition – 1997) and Web Design ( Macromedia). Dipendra is interested in the convergence of Design & Technology to create/identify unique marketplace opportunities that address real world problems and create compelling value propositions for users and stakeholders. Dipendra is also a Director at Bisquare Systems, an Industrial Design, UI/UX Design, Embedded Software and Electronics Design Firm and has also recently started ECCO Electronics, a company that makes environmentally friendly, affordable consumer products. Dipendra is also involved in academics at NID, MIT and SID.

Chinmay Kulkarni is a Business Design Consultant and heads Preference Architects, a Brand Strategy Consulting Firm. He focuses on identifying and harnessing strong motivators in the value flux to achieve the maximum revenue impact. He has been a consultant to companies like Skoda, Prudential, Gera Developments etc, and is the only SE Asian Consultant to global brand IKEA of which he will be sharing a case-study with us. The IKEA case demonstrates the role of creative thinking in business with a definite focus on innovation. His next focus is to help a Tier-I ITES company to build its global consulting practice in design. He is a graduate of National Institute of Design.

After the talks, we will have an hour for general networking as we celebrate the second anniversary of POCC.

Venue: SICSR,7th floor, (Model Colony, next to OM Super market). Map.
When: Saturday, April 3, 4.30pm
Organized by: Anjali Gupta, Santosh Dawara
Registration and Fees: This event is free for all to attend. Register here.

More about design thinking
* Wikipedia: Design Thinking
* BusinessWeek predicts Tomorrow’s B-School? It Might be a D-School

Top Ways in which Persistent and Anand Deshpande have benefitted the Pune Tech community

Persistent Systems, one of Pune’s most well known companies, is finally going public. This is an occasion which many Punekars have been waiting for, and it makes the ‘success’ of Persistent official.

However, Persistent Systems, and its CEO Anand Deshpande, mean much more to the tech community. In the last 10 years, they have been a major force in shaping and helping the community find its feet and grow. To get a feel for the various ways in which Anand and Persistent have helped the tech community in Pune, we asked this question on forpune.com, the new question/answer site for Pune, and got a lot of good responses. Here are some excerpts

  • Persistent Systems is going Public on March 17, and the issue will remain open until March 19. In this article, PuneTech takes a look at the various ways in which Persistent and CEO Anand Deshpande have benefitted the tech community in Pune
    Persistent Systems is going Public on March 17, and the issue will remain open until March 19. In this article, PuneTech takes a look at the various ways in which Persistent and CEO Anand Deshpande have benefitted the tech community in Pune

    Startups founded by Persistent alumni: A friend who wished to remain anonymous has this to say:

    Being a very “tech” driven company, many techies join Persistent. There, they are exposed to cutting edge startups that outsource work to Persistent. They are exposed to the latest startup ideas, and they get a chance to interact with entrepreneurs, CEO’s, Business Managers and Engineers based in silicon valley. This helps build an entrepreneurial outlook.

    In addition, Persistent has also encouraged marrying corporate entrepreneurship with hitech ideas. Employees are encouraged to take time out time to shape Product ideas that later revealed valuable IP for Persistent. This practice continues to be refined and shaped.

    As a result of this, the Persistent alumni network regularly reveals several entrepreneurs chasing hitech dreams and this trend has only grown with the company. Through it’s alumni, Persistent has created a whole generation of entrepreneurs who might one day just enable Pune to figure prominently on the tech-innovation map alongside the valley.

  • Supporting and mentoring Pune entrepreneurs: Successful Pune entrepreneur Gireendra Kasmalkar, who founded VeriSoft, which was acquired by SQS once said that he would meet Anand Deshpande once every year to get advice about his startup. There are many startup founders in Pune who fall into this category. Ravindra Jaju points out:

    It’s amazing – Anand and Persistent have touched many lives. He finds time for all! He mentored and supported us in our start-up attempt, with advice that still lives in my mind. He’s a great role model.

    The same is true for PuneTech. We regularly meet Anand and he has lots of suggestions, pointers for us and introduces us to people who could help us. In fact, part of the reason why PuneTech was founded can be traced back to Anand. A few years ago, when I used to simply working in a big company and did not take any interest in the tech community around me, Anand was responsible for pulling me into the CSI Pune managing committee. That got me thinking about what the tech community in Pune needs, and that finally culminated in the founding of PuneTech

  • Supporting tech initiatives and organizations in Pune: Be it CSI Pune, or SEAP, or the office of CIO of Pune City, Persistent and Anand have had a hand in it, or at least played a major supporting role. Often, Persistent regularly provides ‘resources’ in the form of developers, or expert advice, to government institutions that are looking to modernize and go digital.Amit Kumar Singh points out that he was able to organize the first PHPCamp thanks to the support of Persistent. That attracted over a 1000 PHP developers to Pune, and was arguably one of the biggest unconferences in India. PHPCamp has now become an yearly activity, and has also spawned the very popular phpcamp.net website.
  • The Dewang Mehta auditorium: This auditorium is easily one of the most sought after places for tech events in the city. it has world class facilities, a perfect center-of-the-city location, and in addition, Persistent is always willing to give the auditorium, for free, to anybody willing to hold a tech event in the city.The number of great events that have happened there (including proto.in, Innovations etc.) is just too long to list out.
  • Support for various initiatives to help colleges and fresh grads: Amit Paranjape points to the TechStart Internship Mela (attended by over 800 students), and the http://punetech.com/techstartin-microsoft-azure-training-program-for-2009-cs-graduates/ (completed by about 200 students) were initiated by Anand, and most of the activities conducted on Persistent premises.
  • Encouragement for returning technologists: Almost any senior technology professional who has considered returning to Pune/India in the last 10 years (myself included) has probably ended up meeting Anand, and gotten the “Pune” pitch – as to why they should return. One of the primary fears, that they might not find anything interesting to work on after returning to India, is quickly allayed by Anand as he talks about all the interesting work that could be done while sitting in Persistent. Many of these people don’t necessarily join Persistent, but they do end up returning, because the picture Anand paints is better than what they had earlier imagined.

If you can think of any other ways in which Persistent of Anand have helped the tech community in Pune, please add to the answers on forpune.com.

Breast cancer awareness drive needs help from Pune’s techies – Please help

(Monday, 8th March, is women’s day. PuneTech has decided to use that excuse to start a new series of articles highlighting inspiring stories about Pune’s women. For this purpose, we are roping in women techies who are active in the Pune tech community, and asking them to interview women who have great career stories and can serve as role models. Basically, by Pune’s women, of Pune’s women, for all of us. See this TechCrunch article by Vivek Wadhwa to get an idea of why this is important to do. We’re hoping that this will not just be an article or two in March, but a continuing series. We already have a number of interview candidates identified – but we need more interviewers. If you’re interested, please get in touch with us.

Normally, we expect to highlight women techies – those who have achieved something in the tech field. However, for the first post of this series, we’ve chosen a non-techie; but one who needs help from techies. We are hoping that Pune’s tech community will rally around her. Also note: women bloggers, twitterers will get a chance to interact with her at the Pune women’s blog/tweetup on Sunday 7th March.

This article has been written by Poonam Sharma, an instructional designer at an e-Learning company in Pune, and a prominent blogger.)

Dr. Capt. Ritu Biyani is a breast cancer survivor. Based in Pune, this lady has earned several feathers in her cap: ex-dental surgeon in army, first lady officer paratrooper from the army dental corps, a mountaineer, skydiver and a thorough nomad.

Her story is not important only because she is a cancer survivor, but because she chooses to dedicate her life for cancer awareness activism.  In her zeal to reach out to people around the country, she has driven solo across the country!

solo driving map
This is a map of the road trip that Dr. Ritu took across India with her daughter. They personally delivered breast cancer awareness workshops to over 26000 people in the remotest corners of India. Click on the map for a larger picture.

Along with her then 14-year-old daughter Tista, she drove to the four tips of India in a Ford endeavour for 177 days!

Together she and Tista (her daughter) hold the Limca Book of Records for first mother-daughter duo  expedition on cancer awareness across the country.

You can also read much more details about her story and her initiative at her full interview at the Visceral Observations blog, to know her cause and why another road trip.

On her first expedition, Dr. Ritu reached out to 26000 people. She plans to go on second expedition this time focused on North, Central and South India. However, for her endeavour, Dr. Ritu needs our help in several ways to make this expedition happen.

What is the foremost thing you need help with to make your expedition happen?

The first I need is a sturdy car, preferably 4X 4, since this is a road trip. A SUV with good ground clearance is a necessity. As a woman, safety is an additional concern.  I do not want to be stranded with an unreliable car that breaks down in a remote, distant inaccessible place. Last time I travelled on Ford Endeavour, which served well for the purpose.

Dr. (Capt) Ritu Biyani-Joseph and her daughter, Tista, with the car they used for their breast cancer awareness roadtrip.
Dr. (Capt) Ritu Biyani-Joseph and her daughter, Tista, with the car they used for their breast cancer awareness roadtrip.

This time I am looking for sponsors who believe in the cause enough to arrange funds for a car and other necessities like a data card and BSNL connection on roads. BSNL is the only one that works everywhere and phone is the only way I keep in touch with my family while I am on roads.

I would further need volunteers who can help me organise workshops locally during the expedition.

So you must be in touch with organisations that carry out corporate social responsibility initiatives?

Yes, I have few leads. But I am required to submit proposals. Since I have no prior experience in drafting such proposals, I am counting on help from your readers who are adept at this sort of thing. Further, any leads on possible sponsors are encouraged from the PuneTech readers.

What social media networking Websites have you been using to connect with possible volunteers for your cause?

I rely mostly on my email and phone. Thankfully, so far I have had considerable media coverage, all such articles carry my email and phone. People contact me through both. Then there is a Web site for my foundation Highways Infinite, which I admit requires an overhaul to reflect teh details of my work. I aim to add a section there where anyone can interact with the cancer experts.

I have never used social media networking, but yes I am waking up to its benefits. I am planning to open a twitter and facebook account. My challenge is that due to my schedule, I might not have enough time to manage these profiles. Moreover, I have a long way to go before I can be called ‘web savvy’. J

Perhaps it would help if we had volunteers who manage the twitter and facebook accounts for you. You mentioned something about requiring volunteers to organise the workshops.

Yes, though I have not yet planned my itinerary and exact date of my trips. It would be great if some local volunteers in different parts of India could step forward to organise the workshops in their area. Key assistance required is that they can coordinate and get together people from their community.  I also want to identify few volunteers, who could further be trained to conduct workshops in their own. This way even after I am gone, cancer awareness will continue.

This, as I understand, is a call for the volunteers in other parts of India, especially those living in north, central and south India along the central axis, the route on which you are planning your second expedition.  Is there anything that the volunteers from Pune can help you with?

Yes, I can think of at least two ways. I have been meaning to create a documentary of my first expedition and the recent cancer walk conducted in Pune. The latter is a short-time task. I have video footage that needs to be edited. I am learning to edit my videos, but any help in this task is appreciated.

However, creating documentary out of hours of amateur footage (me and my daughter have shot mostof it. )  is tedious. It requires more work. I also hired an video editor but it did not work out. Hopefully, through your readers I can find me someone who can help me with this mammoth task.

You mentioned a second way Pune volunteers can help you?

Yes, when I conduct workshops on my road trip. I would like to leave behind some posters on cancer awareness, facts and myths. I need help from some creative people who can create as many posters as possible. I have few templates for some such posters, but more creative ideas for the same are also welcome.

So there you go, techies and creative folks, you have it from Dr. Ritu herself as to how you can be part of her noble cancer awareness endeavour. You can brainstorm and suggest web-savvy ideas/strategies to spread her work, organise fund-raisers, and arrange for people who need workshops. Please step forward and extend your helping hand.

In case you want to contribute to Dr. Ritu’s project financially, you are more than welcome. NO AMOUNT IS TOO SMALL. Her foundation is called Highways Infinite. All donations are exempted under 80G [5] of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

Dr. Ritu is a guest speaker at Women’s Day Tweet up in Pune on this Sunday , 7th March, 2010). If you are a women in Pune, you can register here and participate.

Contact details of Dr. Ritu Biyani

  • Email: missionhighways at gmail dot com
  • Phone:  +91 98812 32744

About the Author – Poonam Sharma

Poonam Sharma is an instructional designer by profession. She is a bibliophile, movie and theater lover, who doesn’t think twice to take up social causes. She calls herself a small-time activist and blogs at Visceral Observations.

(Editors note for those planning on helping out: Remember that Dr. Ritu is doing a lot of work by just herself. As such, she does not really have the time to do all the things that really could be done. So, rather than simply offering guidance, it would be better if you could actually offer to do things for her. For example, guiding her on how to use a facebook fan page to reach people is of limited use; much better is if you volunteer to not only create the fan page, but to run it (with inputs from Ritu), for the next 6 months. -PuneTech ed.)

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Volunteer for TEDxPune, help to put up the best Technology, Entertainment and Design show in Pune

Update: At this meeting (which is now over), it was decided to form various sub-committees that will work on different aspects of TEDxPune. If you’re interested, please sign-up here.

A group of volunteers has been formed to put up a TEDx program in Pune later this year. And, since we would like to put up a world class show, we need the help of a lot of volunteers to be able to achieve this. Please join the TEDxPune mailing list and help out. There will be a kickoff meeting this Saturday, 27th February, from 5pm to 7pm at SICSR (the Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research, Model Colony. Map: http://sadakmap.com/p/SICSR). Please attend. Anyone who is enthusiastic enough can attend. It’s free.

What is TEDx?

This is a TED video of Sendhil Mullianathan talking about how we are unable to solve “simple” problems like diarrhoea, inspite of the fact that we “know” how to solve them. This is an example to give you an idea of what a TED talk is. Click here if you’re unable to see the embedded video. Another example is the famous “Sixth Sense” talk by Pranav Mistry (a must see, if you haven’t seen it)

TEDx is a local version of the TED program. You might have already heard of TED, or have seen some TED videos. TED is non-profit group that holds conferences all over the world with the single intention of spreading the most inspiring ideas to the widest audience. TED believes in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So TED is creating a repository of ideas, in the form of talks given by some of the world’s most original and insightful thinkes, and videos and transcripts of these talks are disseminated freely to anyone who is interested. The name TED stands for “Technology, Entertainment and Design,” but overtime, the idea has grown to encompass any idea that can (or should) change the world.

TEDx is any locally organized conference that follows the TED guidelines. A TEDx can be a half day or a full day event consisting of talks by various invited, carefully selected speakers. No talk can be over 18 minutes in length. The talks should be cross-disciplinary, and must go over a wide range of topics. And there should be nothing other than these talks. No panels, no break out sessions, nothing. Just talks, and discussions. And we would really like the talks to be mindblowing. Something that will spur the audience into action. Or fill them with wonder.

I am sure there are many, many such people in Pune. But we need your help in finding them. Some of the potential speakers are well known, established names. Like Jayant Narlikar; or Arvind Gupta. We will try to get people like those; but in addition, we would like to find young and upcoming not-so-well-known speakers who have the passion and new ideas that will inspire the next generation.

Will you help us find them? If yes, please come for the meeting on 27th. And join the TEDxPune group. (or follow @TEDxPune on twitter).

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