La Femme – A sum up of Tech for Good 2015

Daily_indian serial (1)She works to support her middle class parents and three sisters in an office infested with letches and perverts. She is then rescued by the CEO, who falls in love with her. After much ado she marries into a rich household that detests her middle class presence in their elite home. She perfects 4 inch radius rotis, decks up with make-up and fancy sari’s, presses her resentful mother-in-law’s aching legs, and makes guest appearances to the family business to troubleshoot financial crises, and finally makes it to their good books. She passes all tests of the fire gods by justifying her purity (with solid proof) to her suspecting, scorning husband and fights her sautans like a ninja warrior. Sometimes, she transforms into an insect repellant to ward off ichadari nagins and bura saayas like a pro. An all in-one-solution is our tainted Indian girl draped in bling, by our daily soaps.

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Our tolerance and endorsement for such quixotic and ghastly portrayals of ideal women deserves a second thought. Think about it, haven’t our friends/ sisters/ colleagues taken off from their confinements to excel and earn respect in their professional lives? Women, just like everyone else, are doing their bit to follow their heart and make a difference. It is time we came to terms to TFG 2015 maccept women in their new roles and drew inspiration from their real lives.There’s Arunima Singh who climbed the Everest despite having lost a leg in an accident. There is a 15 Year old girl, Sushma Verma, who is India’s youngest MSc. from the same college where her father is a sanitation worker. Do you see dearth of inspirations to draw from?

At Tech for Good 2015 – A Hackathon Ace Hacker conducted for Anita Borg Institute India across 5 cities, we saw women, some young and some seasoned, from various walks and spaces collaborate and compete to develop apps for social causes. We heard women talk about technologies they had learnt themselves, parents who suppoTFG 2015 brted their daughters to make it big, spouses who managed kids and kitchens while their wives were working and team members who participated in their growth. We were heartened at how we have evolved and accepted women as professionals. There is no doubt that challenges exist and gaps need to be bridged. We’ve got a million miles to get there. Yet, here’s a great beginning.

TFG 2015 pOur transformational journey to a developed nation would depend on encouraging and leveraging untapped potential in our women, who are a mighty 51% of our countries’ population. We wish to see the light of day when we wouldn’t have to wrap women events like Tech for Good early, so that women could make it home in ‘safe conditions’. It isn’t reasonable to expect a flock of birds to take flight with their wings tied up. Our battles would be half won when women are able to make their choices without restrictions, constraints or influence. May there be more confluences such as GHCI, may there be real inspirations to draw from and may there be equal opportunities to scale higher.

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(The GHCI Conference will be held from December 2-4, 2015. In 2014, GHCI broke records with 1,600 participants and received an 82% overall quality rating of excellent and good. GHCI 2015 promises to have a stellar lineup of inspiring keynotes, career workshops, leadership panels, technical and management tracks, a Student Career Fair, Back to Work Program and more.)

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La Femme – A sum up of Tech for Good 2015

The Future is in Great Hands

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With anticipation looming large, a night before the day of the Hackathon, we were excited! Having an unexpectedly huge number of registrations from participants from all across Bangalore and other cities, over one thousand to be precise, we were under the weight of delivering the best to the choicest talent.

The next morning, we arrived at the venue to a sea of participants waiting at the reception, many hours before the start. Our energies doubled. We rushed inside to make sure our last minute arrangements were made before we could welcome the surge of geeks. Our registrations, revealed a diverse mix of people, right from a team of 12-14 year olds to hard core hackers and seasoned professionals with over 17 years of experience. All awaiting to witness what was to unfold.

When it all began:

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Seats were all taken. The ambiance was buzzing with pleasantries and strategies. The curtain was raised with a headcount summation demonstrated with a divide and conquer algorithm . After a quick run-down of the day’s events and formation of teams, Hacking began.

Coffee and code:

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With their morning dose of caffeine, programmers got on to hatching their plots and creating flow charts to execute their ideas. Since the theme endorsed was on building mobile and web applications on any domain, we had hackers letting their hair down to a host of technologies and domains. By the first half of the Hackathon, before they could all break for lunch, concepts were taking shape, ideas exchanged were being fused into design and teams huddled around their laptops to bring ideas to conception.

For code huggers:

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Hack Trilogy, a prelude to the event was followed with some more nerdy surprises at the Hackathon with spot quizzes thrown out as challenges post lunch. One of the quizzes that gripped everyone’s attention was a live programming challenge in which a game was spontaneously developed and anyone who could replicate it in their respective languages bagged a prize.

As messengers of the future:

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Letters to the future was a hearty surprise thrown at the end of the hack that got the crowd rushing to the letter booth. The booth consisted of a post box and colorful blank inmail letters. Participants could write letters to their future self- with things that they would like to see come true. We’ve promised to scan and mail their letter back to them exactly a year from the day of the event, for them to see if their predictions, hold true.

Our Gurus:

We had in our panel of Jury, Pankaj Rai- director of Dell Global Analytics, Ranjan Malik- Innovation facilitator and methodology developer, GBS Bindra-Founder & CEO at Tagos, Salil Godika- Chief Strategy & Marketing officer at Happiest Minds, Bharathi Muniswamy- Pre Sales Head, Thulasinathan Rajamani- Delivery Leader from Wipro Digital and our Chief Geek – Vivek Shangari. Despite their vast experience and knowledge, they did not hold back on their hunger for new ideas and intently heard out to contrasting views.

When the sun set:

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Running last minute tests, polishing on their presentations-Programmers were on the edge of their seats. Hacking stopped. A range of applications and ideas came out of this hackathon. Some of the applications that stood out were, one that could control watering systems for crops, a hardware hack by which the wheels of the model car could be controlled by facial movements. Our youngest hackers in the house were brilliant, giving the likes of Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana a run for their money, with their web based voice recognition app.

All in all, we had over 80 odd teams presenting a unique program each. Despite the evaluations running beyond the scheduled time, our participants at Code the Future didn’t let their spirits deter. They went on to present and encourage their fellow hackers. The facilitators, technicians and support staff from Wipro Digital also need a huge mention for their relentless effort to kept the wheels of the hackathon in motion.

The summit:

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As the stage was set, the judges were all seated for the finale, the anticipation among the 7 presenting teams grew stronger. As the teams came in one by one, the audience gathered closer to the stage to get a better look at the as interesting display of each idea. While every team stood out from the other, only one could be crowned winner. With the concluding presentation, the score sheets were gathered to determine the champions of Code the Future.

The last lap:

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Team Zense emerged as sublime champions for their application that uses Near Field Communication technology to simplify the experience of commuting through digital pass that can be topped up anywhere- anytime.

Inching in as the first runners up were Team Hexagonal Loop- their application presented aimed at optimizing limited cabs in the city by sending cab-sharing requests to potential passengers who are heading to a common destination.

Team Smart Sprinklers came in as second runners for their application that has the capability to control water levels for crops based gauging humidity and climate conditions.

At the end of it all:

As we drew curtains and bid farewell to our audience, we sat in retrospect awe-struck at all that was achieved in just a day. Witnessing technological miracles, collaborating with people from all walks- proved to be greatest learning of all.  We concluded that the future rests in the hands of exceptional minds, who go beyond the tried and make the impossible true with sheer grit and might of the mind.

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The Future is in Great Hands

Going Digital

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Starting out as engineers in one of the giant tech corporations, Brian Acton and Jan Koum are now co-owners of the world’s most successful instant messaging app. They stepped out of Yahoo! to find WhatsApp as small business venture with a big idea in mind. A company with over 55 employees is now brought over by Facebook Inc. and valued at 19$ billion, with over a billion users and counting.

Looking at the success start-ups possess, Indian IT giants who for decades had invested in software and server maintenance are heading to the Silicon Valley in search of such game changing opportunities.

Companies like Wipro, TCS, Infosys and peers are all joining the Digital Bandwagon.  As they see the rise in demand for Digital services increasing in sectors such as banks, retail, health etc. They scaling up to innovate and seek lucrative contracts for unmanned cars, robotics and other advanced projects bridging the gap between online innovations and ever changing customer needs. Going head on with the likes of Google Inc and Facebook, and creating a foray into the Digital space, they also intend to bring a shift in their business models and work culture. It’s no longer going to be about hiring a class of engineering graduates to indicate their bench strength to complete projects. It’s about hiring fewer, efficient workforce who can get work done in smaller time frame.

To build and sustain such contracts, these companies are looking to collaborate with start-ups jointly develop solutions for clients. They are going all out and also eyeing to hire individuals with the niche skills in this area win and maintain an edge in their business. This is the time for programmers and developers to Strike gold with code. As your innovative program may just be the next big catch.

If you are a programmer who challenges the status-quo, indulge in our hackathon “Code the Future” on 11th July at Wipro Avenue, Bangalore and make your mark in the digital space.

 To register for the Hackathon – Click Here

See you at the hackathon.

Cheers!

Ace Hacker Team

Going Digital

Program to think inside the box

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Once Steve Jobs showed Walter Isaacson, a fence his carpenter father built which was still standing tall. He recalled a lesson about making things of quality that he learned from his father. Touching the boards of inside of the fence, he said “He loved doing things right. He even cared about the look of the parts you couldn’t see.”

Jobs said that his father refused to use poor wood for the back of cabinets, or to build a fence that wasn’t constructed as well on the back side as it was in the front.

In early years of Apple Inc., as part of this effort, a hardware engineer had designed a new PC board, and was presenting the prototype to Steve, who started critiquing the layout of the board for purely aesthetic reasons:

“That part’s really pretty, but look at the memory chips. That’s ugly. The lines are too close together…”

The puzzled engineer interrupts, “Who cares what the PC board looks like? The only thing that’s important is how well it works. Nobody is going to see the PC board.”

Steve shouts back, “I’m gonna see it! I want it to be as beautiful as possible, even if it’s inside the box. A great carpenter isn’t going to use lousy wood for the back of a cabinet, even though nobody’s going to see it!”

Make an application that looks nice, feels right and works great.

To get cracking join us at “Code the Future”- A Hackathon to build mobile and web applications for the future world.

To register for the Hackathon – Click Here

Video story about Thinking Inside The Box: 

About Wipro Digital:

Program to think inside the box

Monday Mojito: Does my browser support HTML5?

You cannot detect “HTML5 support”, because HTML5 is not one big thing. It is a collection of individual features, like, canvas, video, or geolocation. You can detect support for these.
An easy way to detect support for many HTML5 and CSS3 features is to use Modernizr – an open souce, MIT-licensed JavaScript library. This is how it works:
Download Modernizr from http://modernizr.com
Include the file using the <script> tag in the <head> tag of your file. For example, if you have saved the file in the folder ‘js’ of your code repository, add a link to the file like this:

<head>
    ….
    ….
    <script src = “js/modernizr-latest.js”></script>
</head>

Now, use JavaScript to detect for HTML5 features. For example, to detect if your browser supports the geolocation API:

if (Modernizr.geolocation){
    // I see you
}
else {
    // I can’t locate you
}

About Monday Mojito: Monday (muhn-dey, -dee) – The day of blues,hang overs, fresh beginnings and chilled out programming. Monday Mojitos are bitter lime programming bloopers.
Have a great week ahead! Hack away.
Cheers!
Ace Hacker Team
Monday Mojito: Does my browser support HTML5?

Why you never liked coding and how that can change

An account of an engineering student:

Droning by teaching syntax

Ever looked at a computer program in school/college and felt “I am not good at this”? Join the club. That’s how I felt when I saw C/C++ in high school. To most of us who took CS in school, Computer Science was taught by teaching the syntax of C or C++. We were also conveniently handed a list of important “theory” questions that would be asked in the exam. This should have set someone’s alarm bell ringing, but nothing happened as usual.

The biggest problem with teaching programming C/C++ was that, not only were the languages harder to pick up, but also there was nothing you could build that felt useful.

This made sure that no one got past the syntax and actually learned to write programs and have fun in the process. For most people programming in school meant memorizing programs for practical exams and vomiting them, end of story.

Programming is fun again!

Down the road, my story thankfully took a turn for the better as I discovered the power and flexibility of dynamic languages such as JavaScript and programming was finally fun again. Languages such as JavaScript are very beginner friendly and help you focus on the problem to be solved and not worry about arcane syntax details. They let you build stuff for the mobile and web, this leads to a feedback loop where you can show your app/website to users and get feedback.

I wrote a few small programs for fun, and the thrill I got from them was nothing compared to memorizing and typing out code. The code I wrote was an artifact of my creation, however small it was.

I finally discovered the best way to learn programming was by writing code and reading code. I also realized that by reading about arcane syntax or about the seven datatypes available in Java because it was an important 2 mark question, I was gaining nothing long term.

The Future is software

We all know that technology is slowly eating the world and disrupting industry’s paradigms. Programming skills will be crucial for the next few decades, as more technology jobs are created. The core skill required to build companies or be a part of them is coding. If you want to build the next Redbus/Zomato/PayTM, then you better get coding!

Kicked about joining the first immersive boot camp team in India

I kept an eye out for hubs that impart programming knowledge as it should be, in a fun practical-oriented way. Hubs that make you build apps/websites and ensure your computing fundamentals are strong so that the base for picking up new technology is set. While I knew of such international boot camps, I hoped to find one that taught programming similarly in India. My decision to enroll as an intern at Ace Hacker is a step towards my conviction in such a learning process. The three immersive months of coding for 11 hours a day, building websites/ apps will change a student’s approach towards programming and building software. I also think students will start seeing programming in a new light. Coding can be a lot of fun, learning it the right way makes all the difference.

sai

Sai Prashant

Intern @ Ace Hacker

Why you never liked coding and how that can change