The FOSSASIA OpenTechSummit is Asia’s leading Open Technology conference for developers, technologists, scientists, entrepreneurs and IT professionals to get together to showcase latest technologies, communicate, exchange ideas, learn from each other, and collaborate. This year the event took place from March 17th – 19th at the Science Centre Singapore. During the three days, the events not only introduced me to lots of new ideas but also gave me a fresh outlook on existing ones. Without further ado, here are the top ten:

1. Expanded knowledge base on Android Development

I love developing android apps, so I pinned down the android tracks which I didn’t want to miss. There were two sessions by Google developers which I found particularly useful, namely ‘Using Android apps on Chromebooks for greater productivity and flexibility’ and ‘MVVM architecture with Data Bindings’. Not to forget, it was very generous of Google to give a US$100 credit (for using Google Cloud Platform) to all the attendees of Google Open Source Track in Fossasia 2017.

 

2. Enhanced understanding of Openstack

The talk on ‘Better Testing through Statistics’ by Mathew, cleared few of my doubts and gave me more clarity about some basic concepts involved in testing which affect OpenStack’s health.  I learned how to use ELK i.e. Elasticsearch, Logstash and Kibana effectively and came across StackViz – a visualization tool of individual CI build results. Mathew is a member of the OpenStack TC (technical committee) and was the OpenStack QA program PTL for 4 development cycles from Juno through Mitaka.

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3. Met my Outreachy Mentor

This was the second time I met my mentor- Samuel de Medeiros Queiroz, a core reviewer of OpenStack’s keystone project. We are co-mentoring in the upcoming Outreachy May-Aug ’17 round in OpenStack, so we took advantage of this opportunity to discuss and chalk out further action plan.

 

4. Joined the Wikimedia community

Srishti Sethi gave an amazing talk on ‘The Wikimedia free software community: Learn ways to get involved’ along with a hands-on workshop to get started, the following day. Deep emphasis was laid on different areas through which one can contribute to Wikimedia projects, such as design, documentation, research, translation, etc. Srishti also talked about GSOC, Outreachy and Google Code-In to spread awareness of the programs.

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5. Gained exposure on Artificial Intelligence

The ‘Open AI assistants’ and ‘Artificial Intelligence – Panel’ tracks were very enlightening and helped me get a basic overview. The track, ‘The Brainduino Project, Brain-Computer Interfaces and AI in the Future’ was about how the Brain-Duino project started, where it is now and where it is going. It also explained how EEG brain-computer interfaces work, and why this topic is relevant, together with the current advances in artificial intelligence and hardware.

 

6. Deployed Open Event Web App to Google Cloud

I attended a 2-hour hands-on-workshop by Arnav Gupta, who is my college senior and former GSOC intern. The Open Event Web App project had two components a) an event website generator and b) the generated website output. The web generator application could generate event websites by getting data from event JSON files and binary media files, that are stored in a compressed zip file. Tackling some issues along with helping fellow attendees, made the workshop even more exciting.

 

7. Realized why Good Communication is at the heart of Open Source communities

The talk ‘Non-native English speakers in Open Source communities: A True Story’, given by my mentor Samuel – a Brazilian, Masayuki – a Japanese and Dong Ma – a Chinese beautifully captured the diversity present in Open Source communities. They gave insights on issues faced by non-native English speakers along with handy tips to tackle them.

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8. Formed new connections and strengthened the existing bonds

Meeting other open source enthusiasts and contributors in person brought the experience to a whole new level. Meeting the former outreachy intern Vaishali after her talk on ‘Finding bugs in the Linux Kernel’ was an enriching experience. Talking to Srijan Agarwal for the first time and soon realizing that we had lots of mutual friends is another cherished memory. After all, that’s the power of Open Source communities!

 

9. Unraveled the mysteries in Science center

The venue of the conference made it even more fun. It was pretty easy to get distracted and eventually lost, though. Tesla Coils, Earthquake generator, volcano room and fire tornado room fascinated me.

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10. Explored another country

The trip pushed me into a flurry of seemingly uncomfortable situations like meeting new people with completely different lifestyles and cultures, or navigating my way around where no one speaks my native language, or trying out the local cuisine which I could hardly enunciate while ordering and so on. Yet, the beautiful image of the Lion City is imprinted on my memory.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

― Eleanor Roosevelt

Heartfelt thanks to Outreachy Travel Grant for sponsoring my trip!

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