An escape to The Square Mile #Mozfest2018

Dates of the event: 26,27 and 28, Oct 2018.

Venue: Ravensbourne University, London

My first trip overseas came true  just because of Mozilla and Mozfest2018. In first place my sincere thanks to Mozilla Foundations and Sarah Allen for helping me to make myself all way to London and for Mozfest.

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I arrived at the Heathrow airport on 25th morning with my crew of Indians and we started to explore the city with our journey in the tubes. An ecstatic view of old and new buildings and with the 6 degree celsius made me remember Ooty and Kodaikanal in India. It was like me entering into a country whose replica remain similar under the name of India. So it was like a home away from home. When I was initially confused with things happening around it was so good to see the British people helping me and easing me out despite me being a stranger.

 

 

 

I stayed at Modrian London- The sea containers hotel, which was located at the banks of Thames river and the location was very busy with tourists, office workers and Mozillians. A walk along the bank of Thames was very serene and relaxing. Every morning I loved the breakfast at the hotel and the British style of starters satisfied my appetite.

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On 26th morning I was very eager to meet all the virtual people in their physical forms. Had a few minutes of training session and met other facilitators who had come for the same purpose as me. I was thrilled to see people who were attending Mozfest for  the 3rd or 4th time consecutively and learnt a lot from their experience as a veteran. Then we moved to our spaces and I introduced myself to the team. There I saw my family, yes they are none other than the wranglers of my space, and my face beamed with excitement when I met them in person. David Bild, Mariaon, Stephanie, Yo Yehudi and Marcos were all helpful to me throughout the days of the event, they guided and appreciated me for all the efforts I paid for.😊

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I also made a poster which was appreciated by many and I stuck it on the elevator in order to promote my session. But what I did was very minimal when compared to the posters of other sessions which were all around from washrooms to trash cans, where ever there was little space left.

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Then the big day came, it was 27th and I had to present my session on “Farmer’s Gear” under the Openness space and I was a bit tensed because my presentation was the first session of the day. Initially I did not see much participants but later I went around to call people for my session. Atlast some 7 interested folks joined me and a few left before the conclusion. Not sure if they had to rush for their own sessions or something more interesting than mine🙈 . But my purpose was solved, I wanted some inputs in a diverse context and I did manage to get it. Thanks to Dirk and Zannah for helping me to organise my session plan. Although my audience were 7 in number after my session I went all over the space to know what was happening. In this way, when I met people and they asked me what session I had been doing for the weekend I got to spread a word about my project to more 20 people and they also gave me valuable feedback, so my number of participants is actually 27 . But it is not just for the number I was happy to get some volunteers who were eager enough to contribute for my project.

 

 

 

Moreover, there was another session which impressed me a lot. It was called “VR colored girls musuem” 😍 and my passion towards VR and AR drove my interest to know more about it. I attended the session and was also ready to contribute for the same. It was astonishing to know that LaBrina Loving, Community Manager from Microsoft was also part of the project.

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On 28th, I explored other spaces and was inquistive in solving the puzzles in the 7th floor.

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Mozfest is the right place to meet the people from Mozilla and Mozilla Reps program ❤, which is my favorite part not just because I am a Rep but because of the sole responsibilities and other stuff I do as a part of the Mozilla Community of my region. Happy to meet Konstatina and Michael Kohler, I did clarify all my doubts and also shared my experience as a Rep with them. Also, it was great to meet Caitlin and discussed my ideas I had for Mozilla Addons and how eager I was to develop one. David Ross helped me to take a tour through the Science Fair and helped me to connect with more people. I was all about awaiting for the openings of Tech Speakers and got the right chance to meet Flaki and expressed him my crave to join the program.

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Also got the right chance to visit the Mozilla UK office and it was super awesome. Loved it!!! Discussed about Mozilla IoT and Firefox Mixed Reality and other trending projects.

 

 

 

 

The final day came, the last day of the trip and I wanted to cover some popular attractions around and my fellow Indian Mozillians accompanied me.

 

 

 

I just could not await for the next Mozfest. Truly I had so much attachment towards the place and people that I left London with drops of tears running down my eyes.

Mixture of emotions, thrill, connections, family, bonding and me made Mozfest2018 complete 😍

All about A-frame in 8 mins!!

Introduction to A-frame:

a-Frame is a web framework for building virtual reality (VR) experiences. Originally from Mozilla, A-Frame was developed to be an easy but powerful way to develop VR content. As an independent open source project, A-Frame has grown to be one of the largest and most welcoming VR communities.

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A-Frame is based on top of HTML, making it simple to get started. But A-Frame is not just a 3D scene graph or a markup language; the core is a powerful entity-component framework that provides a declarative, extensible, and composable structure to three.js.

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A-Frame supports most VR headsets such as Vive, Rift, Windows Mixed Reality, Daydream, GearVR, Cardboard, and can even be used for augmented reality. Although A-Frame supports the whole spectrum, A-Frame aims to define fully immersive interactive VR experiences that go beyond basic 360° content, making full use of positional tracking and controllers.

 

Why I prefer A-frame :-

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  • Helps in moving to Mixed Reality
  • Very simple
  • Entity-component based
  • Optimised performance because it’s DOM based.
  • Compatible with most of the frameworks and tools
  • Variety of components available

If you like to dig more about this, then:-

1. Follow on twitter for latest updates:-

  • @aframevr
  • @mozillavr
  • @mozillareality

2. Join WebVR Slack:

3. Join A-Frame Slack:

 

Keep following my posts for further updates on WebVR and A-frame 🙂

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Watch my youtube video on the same: https://youtu.be/xRRMwgwi7fM

 

A day admist techie geeks #Devconf2018

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Dates of the event: 04 & 05, August, 2018

Venue : Christ University, Bangalore, India.

 

This is the first conference as a speaker I attended and it turned out to be a great event with huge bunch of people interested in tech and only tech (I like this kind of community basically). The whole space around me was filled with chit-chats on technology, discussions about programming and fresh Open Source ideas. The decorum was well maintained with debates and discussions in workshops and speaker sessions, ultimately a lot of ideas shared. So, all  this can happen only in this interesting arena called “Devconf”.

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Devconf 2018- India, is the second annual meetup organised by Redhat and one of the massive events for all the like minded tech savvy people under one roof. It was a 2-day conference and the first day the intensity of the summit was elevated with the keynote session by Ric Wheeler on his journey in Open Source. I went around for other talks and also was part of the Mozilla Booth where my contributions on WebVR were displayed.

In the evening the most awaited part happened, I delivered my talk under the title : “Behind the screen: WebXR revealed”. It was very interesting to have assorted age group people and they were interested to learn more about what is Virtual/Augmented/ Mixed Reality. I demonstrated a few samples on how I used A-frame to create different VR/AR scenes. The best part is I had many people who spoke with me after the talk and how they very curious to go about this. Happened to meet much experienced audience from giant industries too and they discussed with me on how this technology can be of great help to improve their organisations.

The second day was kick started with the keynote session by Christian Heimes, who spoke on security and efficient encryption techniques. I was fortunate to meet him in person on his visit to the Booth area and explained about the products we worked on. Definitely, he’s a man of good humane and is constantly in touch with me and eager enough to know more about my interest on AR/VR.

These two days I enjoyed as it was like more of a carnival and this was a great opportunity to meet a lot of my fellow Mozillians. A lot of whom I was contacting virtually so I little struggled to recognise them 😛   However, the multifacet community I had ever seen and always vibrant , so very proud a Mozillian.

Thanks Devconf for giving me this opportunity and also I loved all the photography booths, they make me look like a popstar indeed 😛

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Also the Twitter wall, I stood beside it often to check if my tweets came up there 😉

All in all, Devconf is the colloquium where one can share, debate, invent and discover new ideas.

Kudos to the team and I loved the swags!

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Taking WebXR to the most energetic gen

Venue: Academic heights public school, Hyderabad

Date: 20.05.2018

I in the first place wondered whether a topic like WebXR going to complicate the audience I targeted for the day. My audience included 50+ kids, their parents and their guardians of the AHP school. But when I showed the crowd the VR googles and asked the question what is it and what does that deal with, I got answers from 5 kids. With no doubt the kids were familiar with Virtual Reality as they had played games in malls and game arcades in their city. Also they were familiar with Augmented Reality as they had played Pokemon Go in their mobile phones. This eventually made my job easy.

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I amused them with the fusing results of AR and VR and how this can lead to WebXR. They loved experimenting with the VR googles. They in fact gave solutions on how their education system can be improvised with technologies like these. It was very much vibrant to see these kids who wanted to make their classrooms more interesting.

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The afternoon session was mainly focussed for parents and guardians. I emphasised on why this gen must be involved in learning latest technology. Also in most parts of India after a girl child finishes her studies, about 70-80% percent are married at an earlier age (that is before they getting an industry ot real technology exposure), so application of knowledge is very less. To overcome this I shared ideas and motivated the parents to allow their girls to freely explore what they need in life in terms of technology or any other innovation. Furthermore, I took myself as an example and told them my journey and how I got into Mozilla and also how Mozilla helps its women contributors through its Womoz program.

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The final touch as usual, no matter whatever the age group my audience fall into, they always love the swags from Mozilla.

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As a closing note, I thank AHP school, Hyderabad for inviting me as a speaker for their Summer School progam 2018. Also my humblest gratitude to Mozilla and Shahbaz (my Reps mentor) for always encouraging me to participate in these wonderful events.

Organise things right!

The Global Sprint which was going throughout the world on various projects made Fahima and me to think about the event in our home town too. So I took the initiative to organise all things required for this event. I thought this way I would also learn a lot on event organisation and hosting.

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We had 15+ participants who actively took part in this event. The event was focussed on SOHW(Spread Open Healthy Web) project and explained in what ways the participants can do their part in this project.

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In this project we had various issues and its main objective was to be a single point of access to the resources thus helping the newbies to start their contributions. The issue had various interesting topics like making memes, designing logo and also many stuffs related to building the webpage for this particular project. Eventually, there were many options to contribute.

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In the afternoon, we attended the global online conference call where everyone got an opportunity to speak about their projects. It was indeed amazing to see other projects happening world-wide. Found that this sprint was indeed spread across miles and had a great impact in relevant to current technologies and open source.

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Finally, we concluded the event with some feedback from the participants and also distributed the swags. We are very much grateful Smt. Sujatha, Principal, Sai Bhuvaneswari Vidyalaya N&P school, for sponsoring a beautiful venue. The event was a great success and also we had contributors to this project from overseas where they worked in remote.

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Thanks Mozilla for giving us this wonderful opportunity and swags 🙂

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A day as a speaker @ SRMkzilla

 

Date: 24th March,2018

Venue: SRM University, Chennai

The day started with the inauguration by the chief guest, Mr. Raaman. It was an interesting talk on Linux forum and how open source plays the real trend in today’s world. I was very glad and proud to be amidst of great speakers who were very much senior to me in age and also in experience.

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My session happened in the second half slot and I initially gave a small pitching about my talk and audience who were interested to know more took part in my session. Surprisingly, I had 50+ enthusiastic audiences who were very keen to know the tricks and magic hidden in WebXR. I shared my in detail on how WebXR works followed by definitions on WebVR, WebAR and WebMR. Furthermore, I amused my participants with my demos and gave them an idea on how this technology can be used in real time for useful applications. Moreover, I shared about the WebVR Challenge and how to approach the same.

 

 

 

Finally, it was a different experience and I happened to gather around lot more knowledge through the sessions handled by my co-speaker viz.,

  • Jayesh on Rust
  • Sayaji on privacy
  • Anand on QA
  • Viswaprasath on Web-extensions
  • Mehul on Auth0
  • Karthikeyan on Anscible
  • Janani on R language 

 

These people  were amazing and it was worth networking with them. The day ended perfect and thanks to all the coordinators of  the SRMkzilla who made this a grand event.

My first talk on WebXR

 

 

Date: 17.03.2018

Venue : PES University, Bangalore, India.

This was my first presentation on WebXR as my previous talks were mostly focused on WebVR and projects related to it. There were around 150+ enthusiastic participants who actively participated in this event.

 

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The morning first half session, I briefed about Mozilla and its projects. As the students haven’t come across Mozilla rather than its Firefox browser, I got this platform to rightly propagate about the community and how they can involve themselves in volunteer contributions both as individual and as an institution.  I mainly emphasized on:

  • Add-ons/ Webextensions
  • Localisation
  • SuMo
  • QA
  • WebVR
  • Mozilla Mixed reality

The forenoon second half session involved a deep dive into WebXR. I found the audience struck with surprise on how technology has rapidly grown and how Mozilla is also into the competition.  After giving a detailed notion on WebXR I showed a few demos on my contributions to WebVR and WebAR.

During the intervals the students got a chance to experience Virtual Reality world using VR googles.

There was a feedback form to be filled by my audience and based on this I was about to predict the count of participants for my afternoon session. To my surprise almost 80% of the attendees came forward for the hands-on session.

I initially helped with two different Hello World programs using A-frame. Later I hosted a mini hackathon that is, to create a WebVR or WebAR application on either “Informative Pokemon world” or “Press for Progress-International Women’s day 2018”.  Almost everyone gave a very unique try and within 30 minutes they were competing enthusiastically. Finally, I got the tiresome task of choosing the winner of the contest and I appreciated them with A-frame T-shirts. The students were indeed glad to take away the swags and were contented for the time they had invested.

 

 

My sincere thanks to the Computer Science department of PES University, Bangalore for helping me to get the happiness, because true satisfaction comes only in sharing. Also the coordinators and volunteers did a perfect job to make this show a grand success.

I adore WebVR when amalgamated with GIS!

What is WebVR?

WebVR is an open standard that makes it possible to experience VR in your browser. The goal is to make it easier for everyone to get into VR experiences, no matter what device you have.

WebVR was first conceived in spring 2014 by Vladimir Vukićević from Mozilla. The API’s contributors include Brandon Jones, Boris Smus and others from the Mozilla team. On March 1, 2016, the Mozilla VR team and the Google Chrome team announced the version 1.0 release of the WebVR API proposal. The resulting API refactoring brought many improvements to WebVR.

The last tagged version is 1.1, which was last edited on April 5, 2017. The editors of the document include members from Mozilla and Google teams. However some Microsoft members have joined, and are actively collaborating in the drafting process of version 2.0 for the WebVR API.

My works in WebVR :-

As a contributor  of  Mozilla community of Tamil Nadu I have done  WebVR  scenes to highlight a traditional festival of my state. In addition to this, I thought this interesting technology can be used to preserve and pass down our culture and heritage to the coming generations.

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https://bhuvanameenakshi.github.io/Pongal_WebVR_wishes/index.html

 The duo combo (WebVR and GIS) :-

In my lower classes where I had a subject by name “Geography”, plotting and sketching of maps were really challenging and stereotypical. At times,  these classes are of true boredom too. This indeed not helps me to understand the whole purpose of my subject. But now I realize that at least understanding of directions and routes is necessary even if one posses a Google map in hand.

This created a sparkle in me to think about a blend of WebVR and GIS.  It is really incredible!

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The use of maps and mapping should undergo a renaissance; use in the classroom has a bright future because of digital scanning, computer cartography, geographic information systems (GIS), and virtual reality. This also makes the theoretical classes more interesting. The application of virtual reality to geomorphic processes looms on the horizon; just the way geologists could recognize how the current spatial revolution can help with the assessment of geologic phenomena even students can get them expertise with the new technology.

Conclusion:-

In a nutshell, this is a small step towards to revamp the educational system of India. With the future moving towards this virtual technology, it is necessary for students to update and go in pace with this rapid changing world. Moreover, no more “Geography” classes will be tedium. Nevertheless, more geologists shall come forward from our country to defend against global warming!

References:-

  • Mapping geomorphology: A journey from paper maps, through computer mapping to GIS and Virtual Reality. Authors: John D. Vitek.; John R. Giardino; Jeffrey W. Fitzgerald.
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WebVR

 

6 months in the Featured Add-ons Advisory Board- whoopee!!

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Extremely happy for contributing in Add-ons featured board. I learnt a lot of things and was very cautious while giving my votes. Having been part of the board helped me earn a collection of 15 compatible add-ons for my Firefox browser. The feedback that we people in the board gave, accounts to be of huge importance to the community. Moreover, I thank the Add-ons team of Mozilla for trusting me and for having given me this unique opportunity. Also huge thanks to Scott for the encouragement. A special note on Mozilla Tamilnadu team needs a mention here, for they always kept me in loop and helped me to understand my responsibilities.

Proud to be a Mozillian!!

The Versatile Oomph @ Design Sprint B’lore

The set-in

The learning, networking, collaboration and fun all started with the candle light dinner. The panoramic view from the 13th floor of the Barton Center was explicit and pertinent. We came to know each other and shared the stories of our background.

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Why focus on women?

 

“We need all hands on deck, and that means clearing hurdles for women and girls as they navigate careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.”

Michelle Obama

I basically liked the theme, as me being a woman I thought the sprint is well suited for me. I was very fortunate for getting selected and being a part of intellectuals from various geographic spaces of India and overseas. Since I dwell in Salem, one of the developing cities in Tamil Nadu and the disadvantage of being in such cities is that, any technology update gets implemented very slowly. This way I was able to share my views on many issues and how internet awareness needs a reach in many rural areas of India.

Why internet for women?

“Necessity is the mother of invention”

In India, the literacy ratio of women is higher when compared to men. In Tamil Nadu, for the past few years the State Level ranks are bagged mostly by women. This way women’s life can be even more enhanced with the help of internet in the field of education. Also the necessity for women is security. If safety measures can be provided by internet then this makes them to rely on it. Whereas if internet itself makes them feel insecure then the reliance decreases. The need of the hour is that women need internet not just for the fad of social media but for the security and development of knowledge.

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Power packed dyads

The two day event was held at HasGeek (a Startup Space), Banglore. The place looked busy and had lots of space to do wonderful things.

Day 1: (Nov 19,2016)

The day started with Vnisha sharing about her own personal life on how it correlated with the theme. Then we had the basic designing session. I actually cannot give an artistic touch although I could put things what’s in my mind into the paper. Michael took over the session well and helped us to bring out the artists in us. Then the purpose for which we were present there was well-described by Rina. She said us the case studies which they had taken for the past couple of days. The case study was taken out in the vocational schools and colleges of Banglore where women from different background were surveyed. It was found that, most of them were restricted from using internet because of lack of affordability and pessimistic influence of the people around them. To frame a solution for this issue was the very purpose for which we were gathered there.

Merge Sort Strategy-

We examined the case studies which were around the hall and gave our opinions in the form of HMV (How Might We?). Then all our ideas were clustered into a single wall. Then the main domains were framed and accordingly the ideas were sorted out. This was made to keep things simple and also to reduce the redundancy of thoughts.

Diverge then converge-

Furthermore, we were split into teams. My team consisted of Tripad, Shreyas, Dinesh, Vnisha and me. This helped us to work on a single focus area. Each of us picked up our favorite areas of contributions and we gathered it in a chart. Then we examined each topic on each stratagem and pictorially we gave ample number of solutions for each. Then we casted votes on the ones we felt will be effective and practical. Finally, on majority basis we chose two concepts and prepared the poster for a presentation. This way I learnt how to extract down the juice from a large pulp.

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Day 2: (Nov 20,2016)

The posters were ready. It was time for feedback. I love getting feedback! We were instructed to cast votes and give feedback for the fellow team’s posters. Likewise we did our part and judged our fellow-mates’ work with varied perspectives. This way we were able to give and get valuable feedback. Using the feedback we understood how people have understood our concepts and so we wanted a better means to make people understand what we had framed. We then made storyboards to make the concepts more clear and then presented it. Through this I found that stories can help in easy comprehending than other ways. Moreover, we made a final prototype for one of our ideas. Michael enacted aptly like a rural woman and this way we came to understand the feasibility of our idea in a user’s perspective.

Life ethics from Dino Tank workshop

  1. Team player– I was very fortunate for having got a wonderful team. My thoughts, my words and my works were respected and justified. Yes, we worked as a team! A perfect team!
  2. Bravery – I am inspired from Vnisha for this. This is because; the whole initiative of the theme was taken up by her. She took this huge step for the welfare of the woman throughout the country. I appreciate her fortitude when she said that rather than we working for her plan she is happy to work along with us and help us in making this a grand success.
  3. Volunteer– I appreciate our foreign delegates- Michael, Rina, Rosana and Stacy, for understanding the need and situation of the women in India. Moreover, I’m grateful to you for helping us to draft our ideas and extending your help to make every woman of India to envision their dreams.
  4. Hospitality– I loved the lodging, food, refreshments, logistics and all the arrangements which were made at the accurate time was simply astounding. I must mention Subashis Pranjal for this, his efforts paved way for triumphant event.
  5. Friendship– I learnt sharing, accepting, adjusting and giving, through this event. These values accounts to the real meaning of “FRIENDSHIP”. I got a bunch of talented companions at this occasion and this networking will help me in a long run.
  6. Feedback– This is one of the most important aspect that is needed in everyone’s life. Here I learnt the right etiquette of giving and receiving feedback. The feedback are essential not only in our work place but also in our lives.

The upshot

In a nutshell, the event helped me to realize that “A picture speaks louder than words”. I not only got food for thought but also for life. When I returned home I thought about carrying out the survey at my college and neighborhood, where many women are in need of internet. I kept the squishy Dino toy (swag which was given to us at the event) on my study table so that every day I could cherish the memories of the event.

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