Fun with shell scripting

All though the title of this blog says Tech Talk with Abhi, I haven’t posted anything technical as of now which is a really bad sign. But just hang in there and you will know some cool stuff I’ve been working on. The start is here.

Frankly speaking, this post is a home task that I should be doing as part of the dgplug summer training I’m undertaking (details mentioned here). Although I did a course on Unix shell programming the last semester I was completely bewildered at my ignorance of a few essential commands.

Most of the commands I found out using the net but there were some tricky ones that needed the combination of two or more commands. When I wrote them I thought they were right but my follow up session proved me entirely wrong.

I did certainly learn something cool (like in every other session) and that’s the xkill command. When you use this command, your cursor changes into a skull or an “X” mark. You can hover over any window or process and just click on it and puff! your process vanishes. Essentially what happens is you are killing processes using a GUI model.

In practice, Linux is giving a gun to you and allowing you to shoot people whom you don’t like or people who just don’t do anything. So cool, right?

If using the terminal is your sweet spot then you could always use $kill -9 pid. There was a really useful command by name $lsusb which allows you to list all connected devices to your system. This one is a real gift because at times, your phone doesn’t detect itself automatically and this becomes the only way you can check if your phone is connected or not (through data-cable).

Another very interesting command is the $ifconfig command. I can go on harping about this one for pages but there’s one most important information it gives you, and that’s your IP address. I used it a lot of times to set up my local server and it allowed people to access files from my system provided we’re connected on the same network.

I do know that other commands are pretty useful too but I haven’t had the time to check them out.

Either ways I’ve hosted my code here on BitBucket. Check out, share, modify, improvise and use! (Philosophy of FOSS in a nutshell 😉 )

MozCoffeeBlr is on cloud 9!

What started as sessions primarily to energize the Mozilla developer community and update each other as to what works each one is involved with in the beginning, has now grown to become extremely purposeful in Bangalore.

MozCoffee Logo by Cosmin Stahiescu

What is MozCoffee? “This is a small scale informal meetup of up to 20 persons where a report is given of recent activities and upcoming projects of a community as well as get ideas and feedback from the general public. The idea for this event is to be easily reproducible and as frequent as possible, serving as a meeting point and reference event for local communities.” says the official wiki page. MozCofeeBlr v7.0 Well that’s exactly what happens at MozCoffeeBlr. This time around, we had a special surprise. For those who came in for version 7.0, it was a dream come true. Well for those who didn’t, hard luck. Three brand new Firefox OS keon devices (popularly known as geeksphones) were unboxed thanks to Galaxy who has been a constant Santa-Claus (though not yet Christmas time) for all of us!

Unboxing the devices!

Un-boxing the devices

“Ah, the smell of new phones!”, you must be wondering. I was particularly ecstatic because until now I had to run all my apps and never had tested an app on an actual Firefox OS phone. Now I had the chance to really understand how my app’s users feel. We all sat together and immediately started hacking on the three available devices. Kaustav  and Deb showed us the trips and tricks about how to push our apps on the devices.

Can't get enough of the new phones. ;)

Can’t get enough of the new phones. 😉

We went on to discuss about the various plans for the launch of Firefox OS in India which is anytime soon.  Considering that the Web Maker month has officially started, plans were made to conduct maker Maker Party in Bangalore.  All in all, it was a great MozCoffee once again and every time such events happen, it feels great to be a Mozillian and renews hope in the entire FOSS culture.

Getting my hands on the new device

And yes, I finally got my hands on it!

 

PS: For more pictures, click here. A word of caution, they might make you jealous!

#dgplug and the enormous help it’s doing to me

Last time I heard about Durgapur, I was like “What? Where’s the place!?”. But off late, my entire vacation has surrounded  around people from over there. I haven’t been around much but I did learn a lot about rST (Re-structured text) in the first session that I attended and the next one was about various blogging platforms.

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The tag is insanely catchy. So is the presentation, Summer Training.

Hoping to learn more in the coming days! <eof> 😛

Boot Camp to Mozilla

It’s been a while. But like they say, “Better late than never!”. The concept of the Mozilla Foundation has always fascinated me, in terms of it’s approach to make the “web” more open and friendly to both developers and users. My first interaction with the Moz community  was at the FSMK’s Summer Camp at JVIT(Maker Party). There were couple of interesting things that struck me, one was the FirefoxOS device and the other was that the whole community was a huge open source enthusiast.

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Poster. Courtesy, Sandesh Gade

Can you believe almost 40% of an actual phone’s operating system being written by developers and volunteers like you and me? Mind-boggling, right! It was then that the idea to boot a Firefox club at college took shape in mind. After a good round of discussions with the interested lot, we thought the time had come to join the party.

It was on the 28th of February and with a whooping registrations of about 150 people, we were ready to host the show on the big day. I have no doubt that the amazing poster for the said event had a huge role to play in gathering people. Frankly, it was my maiden attempt to cater to such a huge crowd and without the help of Sadesh Gade and Arjav Jain ( co-club leads) it wouldn’t have been as cool as it was.

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Mr. Galaxy’s talk on Firefox and FSA

Let’s get to the specifics then. We were honored to have midst us, Mr. Galaxy Kadiyala a Mozilla Rep Mentor who gave us a brilliant insight into Mozilla Foundation as an organization. About the FSA( Firefox Student Ambassador Program), the various Webmaker tools and it’s activities, his presentation was brilliant. There were a lot of questions about why Firefox, and what’s there in it for grad students which were answered with much passion by him.

That was followed by a presentation on FirefoxOS by Sandesh and Abhiram.  It included an insight into the basic structure of a Firefox App, it’s architecture and applications. There was a huge round of applause and enthusiasm when it was announced that people were eligible to get a Firefox OS device if they successfully push an app to the marketplace. By the way, the Firefox Marketplace is the one-place store for all apps for the FirefoxOS device. Next was the App-demo of TRVLR, a simple travel app so as to show the various features provided by the OS.

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Sandesh and Abhiram’s app-demo of TRVLR

Like any Mozilla event, swags were given to all those who took part. With the PESITBSC Firefox Club, officially booted looking forward to many more events in the coming days! And I’m sure each one will be unique.

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Mozillians!

Like the Facebook page here for all updates.

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Adios from the organizing team! From left to right: Arjav , Siddharth, Galaxy, Sandesh and Abhiram

The Droid fever kicks off!

KitKat, Jelly Bean, Ice Cream Sandwich and Honeycomb. Do any of these sweets strike a chord with you? Most definitely, yes! Well, these are the different versions of Android OS that run your Android phones! Android, arguably is one of the fastest growing mobile operating systems and this weekend, we had a glimpse into what it takes to become an Android app developer.

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Mr. Android

On Saturday, the first session of the Master Android Workshop kick-started with a bang at PESIT-BSC. An initiative taken up by the PLUG-IN ( PESIT Libre Software Users Group – India) in association with the MCA Department and the ever-supporting Free Software Movement Karnataka organization. A remarkably cold day, the 1st of March, who knew the surprises that awaited everyone! A crowd of about 80 people turned up on a Saturday morning, (supposedly a holiday) very much proving the positive energy and enthusiasm associated with learning something new.

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Courtesy: Rahul Kondi

Well, I should say that the early morning wake up call on a Saturday was truly rewarded. The presenters Yajnesh, Vishal and Jickson pulled off a great show. The day stated with a few installation issues with the Open-JDK and Android-SDK bundles but once everyone was on board, things went on smoothly. Yajnesh’s introduction to Android (the phone we all know) was inspiring in-terms of making the whole concept simpler and understandable. The session’s topics included an introduction to Eclipse, (the powerful IDE) , how Android phones are powerful and what are the various advantages they offer to both end-users and developers.

People glued to their laptops

People glued to their laptops and Vishal in action.

On to some work now! The participants were shown the various features of the Eclipse IDE and how those can be used to make their lives easier. For example a 5-line code to add a button at a specified point on your screen, a button is just dragged-n-dropped from the Tool box. Though I would personally prefer the former, this is the right approach to get beginners to work around and build interfaces. At the closure, the concept of tags was introduced.

Some feedback worth mentioning:

Santhosh, a very active participant,

Worth every penny! A good investment made.

Tejasvi, our friend says,

Got a little boring, but really good though. I learnt a lot.

Sameeksha, another participant says,

I had registered for the sake of it, but I just loved the session! This was my first technical workshop and I could follow whatever the trainers said. Felt good.

Yajnesh, our Android trainer says,

This was the most lively crowd I’ve seen till now. Hoping to have a wonderful time in the coming weeks as well.

From the organizing team, I believe that we had a good time too and learnt a great deal. We sincerely hope that this course on Android proves helpful to all participants.

 1 done, 4 more to go! Tick-tock.

TheDayWeFoughtBack Against Mass Surveillance

Exactly a year and a month after the Internet activist Aaron Swartz passed away, the global village unites itself on 11th of February to raise a protest against the most striking revelations of the decade, the mass surveillance adopted by the US security agencies. We at PESIT-BSC as a part of PLUGIn, supported today’s movement in its own small measure.

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Abhiram talking about surveillance and what it means to the Indian context

It began with a small introduction of what the NSA (National Security Agency) is and what it does. An inspirational video about the SOPA protests and Aaron Swartz’s contributions to the world in general and to technology in particular was screened.

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The Day We Fight Back

This was followed by what #thedaywefightback meant to India and its people. Thoughts about the RTI act, freedom of speech and privacy being breached were raised. People were made to think about how ignorant they were and enlightened upon the fact that its time to stand up against such forces. Striking revelations show that the PRISM program has sniffed even the diplomatic channels used by embassy officials. This is the very proof that our country has lost its sovereignty in making decisions for itself and abiding by it.

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Karan talking about encryption techniques and TOR

Technologies like TOR, Diaspora and textSecure which use some kind of encryption techniques and provide data security were discussed. Thoughts about how to make ourselves and our communication channels safe were aired. There was a decent response and the majority of the crowd believed in the purpose of this movement which we believe is the goal! It’s on our shoulders now to fight back.

There are whistle-blowers like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange who have sacrificed their illustrious lives to keep millions of people safe on the web. Its time we showed them some gratitude, rise to the occasion and support the cause.