posted on Tue, Nov 26 '19 under tags: mozilla, events

inGenius is a hackathon by PES Engineering College in Bangalore. I had attended it as a mentor from Mozilla community and this is an event log

PES has two three campuses in Bangalore - one is at electronic city (now called PESU), the other is near Mysore road (and I don’t know where the third one is). The hackathons I went to were in the electronic city campus. They were doing for the first time an event called girlGeeks hack which was simultaneously occurring and shared all the resources, including the website.

I had received swags the previous day from a mozilla rep and proceeded to the venue in the morning. They had already started an informal event called “AR treasure hunt” where they had to scan things and get clues (and then run around like a real treasure hunt).

Later people gathered in a hall for inauguration. The sponsors were giving a talk each and I really liked the talk Sanjoy Bose from Sahaj Software about how software should only be written to solve problems and should be designed with the end-user in the loop. I referred this point many times while talking to participants later.

The hacks started around noon after lunch and most teams already had begun serious hacking. Bhuvana and I set the Mozilla stall up near the title sponsors and waited for people to come and visit us. I got bored in between and started walking through the various classrooms that the participants were divided into (for the hack) and introduced myself and asked them to ask me anything. By the time I went back to the booth there were many people coming in continuously.

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Akshay and Bhuvana represented Mozilla community at @ingeniushackathon and mentored the hacks on 16th November at PES University, Bangalore. #MozillaIndia #MozillaKarnataka

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I used an analogy to introduce Mozilla which has now become my favourite. I imitate the signal bar of a phone with my hands and tell them “air” (pointing to the smallest bar), “water” (to the next bar), “food” (the third bar), and ask them what is the next bar. People eventually answer it as wifi/internet. And then I tell them mozilla protects that internet as a global public resource open and accessible to all.

Many of them were curious about Rust as they would have heard about the language but never really heard about the language. I told them about how rust doesn’t let you do a dangling reference and how design decisions like that make rust extremely fast. I even got a networking question that I struggled to answer.

Later I could help a couple of teams fix their bugs in their hacks. A team which was using flutter was unable to get their code compiled due to some dependency error. I asked them to isolate the error by first building a hello world app and then replacing only the files they changed. Turns out, as soon as they did that the error went away. The other team was having trouble making the camera follow the character in their unity based project. I had never did anything with unity and therefore I asked one of the team members to explain how the camera works to me. While explaining it to me, they themselves figured out that they were not attaching the camera correctly and found a way to fix it.

The team from Sahaj was really friendly and they talked about devday which is a monthly informal event for developers that they host, and invited both Bhuvana and I to give talks.

After a while there was very rich sandwiches being served and the dinner later was also nice. As I had a friend visiting me and I generally don’t like working without good sleep, I took a cab back about an hour before midnight.


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