Kushal Das

FOSS and life. Kushal Das talks here.


PyLadies Pune meetup, February 2017

TL;DR - It was a lot of fun.

This month’s PyLadies Pune meetup was held in reserved-bit, the new hackerspace in Pune. The microbits were sent by Ntoll, without his help this workshop was not possible.

The morning

Anwesha left home earlier so that she can join in from the beginning. I came in late, as I had to get Py (our 2 years old daughter) ready for the day. By the time I reached in the hackerspace, the rest of the participants were discussing PyCon Pune, and how are they going to represent PyLadies in the conference.

After having a large round of coffee, I started with setting up the laptops for Microbit development. That involved getting the latest Mu editor. I precached the binaries on my laptop and shared over the local network for faster access. We also had 3 people with Windows on the laptops, so we downloaded the device driver as explained in the Mu documentation. By this time we had 10 participants in the meetup.

Just when I started handing over the devices to each participant, I figured that I left the main pack of the devices back at home. Sayan ran back to our house and brought us the packet of Microbits. Meanwhile, all participants wrote a script to find out the groups of the current user in the Linux systems. We shared a group file for the Windows users.

Programming with Microbit

I spoke about the hardware and backstory for few minutes. Then we dived into the world of MicroPython. Everyone started scrolling their favorite message into the display. People also opened up the official documentation of the microbit-micropython project. They started exploring the API of their own. After a few fun trial and errors, we moved into the world of music, and speech. I never tried these two modules before. Everyone plugged their earphones into the microbits using the alligator-chip cables. We also learned about handling button presses, and people were experimenting all the things together.

In the last part of the workshop, I demoed the radio module. I think that was the most fun part of the whole day. People started sending out various messages and seeing them live on each other's devices. Siddhesh and Nisha went outside of the hackerspace to find till how far they can receive the messages. It seems these small devices can cover a large area. People had enough time to experiment on their own. Looking at the enjoyment at their faces, we could understand how much fun they were having. We are going to see more of this during the PyCon Pune devsprints.

FOSSASIA 2016 is on

FOSSASIA, the premier conference on Free and Open Source Software in Asia is having their 2016 edition in Singapore Science Center, Singapore. Even though the today is the first day of the event, the social part of the conference already started from yesterday.

Harish Pillay arranged a get together for all the speakers in the Singapore Red Hat office yesterday morning. I met many speakers from previous years, I also met some new faces. Among the many different discussions we had, a major portion was about SDR, and HAM. Thanks to Daniel Pocock, and Harish, and few others HAM(s) in the room, we learned a lot of new things. I came back to the hotel in between to get Py, and Anwesha. After lunch, rest of the day we spent in the office helping out Harish to setup Fedora 23 on the laptops for the conference. Anwesha was busy practicing her talk, Py was happy to see so many cables in one place :)

Had to wake up early so that we can catch the MRT on time, we reached the venue around 9:10AM, and moved directly in the main auditorium. After a slight delay, the conference started, Hong Phuc gave the first welcoming talk, and then Mario spoke for few minutes about the conference. Harish gave the keynote, and formally the talks started afterwards. In his talk he went through many history lessons, and also discussed about GPL. I am sure that he managed to get many people excited about the current phase of FOSS in the technology world.

The next talk of the morning was from Bunnie Huang, where he spoke about Burning Man 2015, and the IoT device they have used as the conference badge. Another interesting talk followed as Rethinking Drone Delivery with Open Source from Singapore Post. In another talk Cat Allman gave an insider view of Science and Open Source program in Google. As you can see, I had already attended way more number of talks than in most other conferences (even though I know that the video recording of the talks will be available in future).

Lunch was good, though Py was in kind of angry mode at that time. We had to chase her around in the venue as she was being able to walk/run properly from the last few days :)

I took some time to find the room for hardware track, I went in more than 1 hour before my talk on micro:bit. I met Daniel Blueman (from Numascale) once again (we met last year), and we spent the time discussing about ARM hardware, and why do we think that it will become a super major thing in future.

In my micro:bit talk I demoed Mu, the editor for microbit. Couple of kids tried hands on programing at the end of my talk.

We came back from the venue to the hotel. Even though there was another speakers' meetup at night, we both decided to skip it as we have talks/workshop tomorrow. I will start the Python track at 10:15AM, it will end with my Python 3 101 workshop starting from 4PM.