11 August 2014

Another Saturday at OpenGyan

Many of you would know by now that we, from OpenGyan were at KCG last Saturday for a one day workshop on programming fundamentals. It was personally an wonderful exposition on various aspects of programming. We tried mapping programming from different perspective and there were wonderful answers from the students too. What we came up was the following map which was our agenda.

Talking about trivial and non-trivial software and trying to explain the logic. We took an example of searching a list. How to come up with a logic. We conveyed how easy is to write a brute-force algorithm for searching and how it fairs when the number of inputs is increased and why it cannot scale up. How to optimize the brute-force and to come up with a algorithm that usually takes less iterations.

The students wrote two versions of solution - brute force and building a binary tree. All these were correlated to real-world and the students were spot on in relating effective data storage with library, medical shop.

Towards the end, i felt why we were ending the session. It was an wonderful session talking to young minds. Hope we meet often and soon. Some pictures from the event

01 June 2014

Self Learning - Resources

After a very long time, writing this post. Stayed away from blogging, primarily because i didn't know what to write. The work kept me busy and so no reading, no browsing and no learning (except work). It is just work, work and more work :-)

Finally got some time off and yesterday i did something which i never did for past many months. I started learning a new programming language. It is Python and i know you are fuming for saying it. It isn't new to many of you but it is new to me. I started to learn python in Code Academy and completed the beginner course in Python. Here is the list of online portal that helps you build your skills.

Hope it is useful to someone out there.

If you want to add new skills to your kitty, look at the above places and i am sure you will end up learning more. And additionally, you will get a certificate.

BTW, interesting found PyCon India scheduled coming Sept and hoping to attend the sessions and workshops and you can buy tickets here

30 March 2014

OpenGyan - An Update

Last two weeks, we at OpenGyan had a great time in conducting workshops. Last Saturday, we were at KSIT Bangalore for a one day workshop on "Pointers in C" and yesterday we were in ES Engineering college in Villupuram for a workshop on "Networking".

KSIT - We are visiting the second time (CSE department) and the response from the students were too good (and the students themselves are too good). The day went like a second and there were learning at both students. At the end of the workshop apart from learning pointers, the students felt that learning pointers is easy (but it requires lots of practice) and we too had wonderful learning as we had to learn it again to conduct this workshop. There are interests from other departments from KSIT and we met up HODs of two other departments post our workshop. Kudos to staff, students and management of KSIT, Bangalore. It is one of the institutes where we feel we should keep going.

ES Engineering College - Being my hometown and it makes feel so happy to contribute to an institution in my hometown. It is the first time for us in Villupuram. It was wonderful experience to meet up students from different background and we spent a day on talking about networking. The second half of the day, we managed to capture live network traffic and show the students how to analyze the traffic using Wireshark. The management was very interested to get our feedback and suggestions to improve the quality of education. It is glad to see such interests from the department. Thanks to management, staff and students of ECE department.

Here are some of the snaps taken in these two workshops

KSIT, Bangalore (22-Mar-2014)

ES Engineering College, Villupuram (29-Mar-2014)

10 February 2014

Creativity Vs Commodity - A Rant

Beware, this might appear as a rant for many :-).

The ability of an individual to do something is very limited unless you automate something. The results produced due to automation is huge because they can run always. But then, they are not fool proof because the automated process do not have common sense. It cannot apply its mind because it doesn't have one. You teach some sense, it learns but it can't apply to different situations - lack of common sense. So, some part of the world is trying every bit to make everyone as a "automated thing" with repeatable, predictable, assured models - skills are commoditized. Automating using computer is not profitable but automating using human is profitable. It's a business here.

Then, it leads to erosion (from people moving out in short term to skill erosion in the whole thing). You don't cherish someone with rare skill neither you feel bad when you lose someone with rare skills. Because you do not need such skills (so you have not used it well) or you have decomposed the skills as models.

But the irony is that you try to find creativity when the skills are commoditized and using the skills that are commoditized. All those recommendations in LinkedIn are worthless when "the creativity" of human is lost. It is sick thing.

By now, you would gotten that this post is not against programming, scripting or building products using software or automating using software.Automation using software is great thing but trying make human as cogs isn't great.

09 February 2014

OpenGyan - Public Workshop on Networking Basics

Computer networks is a fascinating area. I picked up very little of networking or computer networks when i was doing my engineering and most of it came from the place where i m working. Like many folks at my work place, i too started my career with networking and played with routers and switches. Slowly, i was introduced to works of great programmers/teachers/authors like Richard Stevens. 

Many folks who attend my workshops used to ask me - how can i learn networking. If i do CCNA will it be helpful. While the certifications are there for a specific reason, a mere certification will not fetch you a job. It is the knowledge that will get you something. So, my suggestions to all folks who wants to learn networking is to get started with reading/experimenting using the books of Richard Stevens. Unlike other theoritical books, Richard Steven's work are thought provoking and the reader gain knowledge by doing stuff.

Keep this in mind, i am planning to put together a curtain raiser to the fascinating subject - communication of computers. We believe this workshop would help someone to understand various jargon and at a bare minimum will give an exposure on practical aspects of networking. At the end of the course, you will not get everything about networking but you might develop an interest towards networking and will be in a position to take networking knowledge to next level (if you are ready to put the efforts needed).

We are planning to have this workshop somewhere in Nanganallur, Chennai and for logistics reason we need a minimum of 10-15 students committed to attend the workshop. If you would like to take this opportunity, please do fill this form. One of us will get back shortly. This is targeted for students. Here is the registration link

02 February 2014

OpenGyan - First Public Workshop

Today - From colleges to community.

OpenGyan has been conducting workshops in colleges. Today (and for the first time), we conducted our first public workshop in Nanganallur, Chennai. The workshop was on "Resume Writing and Interview skills". It was wonderful experience and all the participants (though number of participants were less) were really charged up. The advantage of conducting such workshops is that you get folks who are really interested to learn and this group of participants were really good. I got a feeling that the day was spent well and we hope that the participants too feel the same.

Our special thanks to Mr. Barani Prasad, Nanganallur, Chennai and the school administration of Jaigopal Garodia Girls Higher Secondary School, Nanganallur, Chennai for helping us giving a class room. Kudos to Ganesh Narayan who was behind organizing this workshop flawlessly and without his dedication this workshop wouldn't have happened.

Glad that we were able to do this today and here is a picture captured.

08 January 2014

Accepting Perceptions

I wanted to write this as my Facebook status. But i failed to make it concise. So, it became a blog post.

In life, we say that "i understand your point". It usually goes like this. You say something, the others perceive it in a way, they say something and you say "i understand your point". As we live we build perceptions and keep building it at a much faster pace. Sometimes the perceptions are wrong because our understanding is wrong. Sometimes we say we understand others perceptions but the reality is we say so due to "diplomacy".

"accepting perceptions" or "understanding others" will not be a true statement if you do not have either the trust on the other side/person or you are very stiff on your own viewpoint. If you are stiff (adamant or arrogant), i believe that you will miss an opportunity to learn something or an opportunity to correct our own perceptions on things (and miss an opportunity to be smarter). And there won't be questions from you to fine your perceptions. It will just be an acting. You will say "i accept" but internally you will "overrule it".

I believe it is very difficult to be truly "accepting perceptions" as requires one to be very bold to accept others. You got to be bold because by accepting others' perceptions, you lose yourself. But the key here is to stop as "losing yourself" and start seeing this as "reinventing yourself".

Accepting perceptions is the way to go about reinventing oneself.

01 January 2014

Wish you a very happy new year

OpenGyan and Unstuck wishes you a very happy new year 2014.

A lot of good stuff happened in OpenGyan and it was mini-turnaround. Few of the colleges wanted to engage with us continuously and we do find that it would be apt to do the same. Instead spreading and scattering our bandwidth, it would be meaningful to focus and invest our energies on few institutes. We are hoping that this year will be fruitful in terms of building longer & strategic partnerships with those institutes. As the days go, you will find more interesting updates on building relationships and sustaining those relationships. Overall, we want to be little intelligent in investing our bandwidth and reach out to more students to help the community.

Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has supported us. Hope we continue to get your support.

Once again, OpenGyan wishes you a very happy and fantastic new year.