Speaking at NIT, Calicut
I’ve always enjoyed speaking at colleges more than at corporate events because of sheer energy and enthusiasm. It’s fun and I always have a ball. When the students at National Institute of Technology, Calicut, invited me to speak at their annual FOSS event, I gladly accepted. Besides, other than Munnar, I’ve never been elsewhere in Kerala. So, it was an opportunity to tick another place on my map.
Now, what is a blogging session doing at a hardcore FOSS event? Well, it beats me too until I got it clarified with the organizers. It turned out that most of the tech guys were interested in blogging and even though it wasn’t a perfect fit, they wanted to fit it in.
Well, this is the hall where my talk was scheduled to be held. It was the last talk of the day. And it was scheduled at 9:30 PM. Yup, at night. Right after Dinner. The right recipe for a super low turnout. I mean, who would turn up after a heavy meal for another talk??
Well, a LOT of people. I couldn’t have been so wrong. The hall was nearly packed full, the highest turnout any event got. Boy, was I surprised. I later learnt that that late night sessions have the highest turnout and there was a reason why they slotted my talk there.
The participants were super. Highly interactive and a great sport. There’s something that a hall full of eager youngsters gets you going. I had a ball. I didn’t realize how quickly my one and half hour talk went. My talk easily would figure in my personal all time top 10 list.
The entrance of NITC.
A shadowy entrance to the campus.
That’s the view out of our guest room balcony. We opened the door and stared straight into the woods. Awesome. That’s Atul Chitnis with whom I shared the room at the guest house.
I’ve heard a lot about Mamachan’s, a tiny hotel just outside the compound wall of the campus. This budget friendly joint which allows students to have ‘accounts’, is famous for its Chilly Beef. and it didn’t disappoint. At all!
As you can see, we polished off many plates. and many glasses of ‘sharjah’, a special iced concoction of banana, milk and boost!
It was two days of packed sessions from morning till night. And simultaneously in three different halls. Honestly, it was way too hardcore and I easily got bored on second day. Many of the sessions were sparsely attended. And I saw many doze away. Can’t blame the kids. It got too heavy, especially the post lunch sessions.
Saw this old board discarded inside the woods of the campus. NIT earlier used to be called REC.
The Calicut Airport reaches out to meet you. Literally. The airport seems to be built on a hill top. As the plane descends to land, the runway surprises you by coming in much earlier. And oh, you also need to walk on the tarmac from the aeroplane to the airport. No transit buses. In the picture is Shreyas, who travelled from Bangalore with me, along with Tejas and Atul.
On the second night, the organizers had arranged for an informal midnight session. As expected, it was technology that dominated but it was fun as everyone loosened up. The topics ranged from unconference, girls, drugs and more technology. And yeah toilets. The NITians were proud in having the cleanest and best hostel toilets in India. You should have seen them beam with pride!
I’d give a big thumbs up to the spirit and the enthusiasm of the students. The organizers, all students, showed phenomenal passion and zeal. The hospitality was near perfect. There was always someone to take care of our needs.
NITC has one of the best facilities that I have seen around. True, the net connectivity wasn’t great but how many colleges can boast of free WiFi for the entire hostels. And yeah, the best toilets!!
Hindustan Times Talks Podcasting
Why are there so few Indian podcasts around? And an even fewer video blogs. (Heck, are there any video blogs at all?)
Or are we missing something out here. If you know of good podcasts done by Indians, can you shout out in the comments section? Thanks.
PodCast: Sify’s CTO Talks About WiMax
This interview breaks a lot of myth about WiMax. There’s been a lot of news about WiMax being launched all over India, but guess what? You or me cannot use WiMax for the next two years!! This and more at the audio podcast below.
I got to speak with Bhaskar Sayyaparaju, Chief Technology Officer at Sify. The company recently launched WiMax in 220 cities around India.
March is a Speaking Month
This month looks like a fairly packed schedule on my speaking calendar.
National Institute of Technology, Calicut (formerly REC, Calicut) is organizing Kerala’s biggest FOSS event. Big enough for the Chief Minister of Kerala to bestow his presence there. I know about FOSS as much as the Chief Minister does and that’s not why the institute had invited me. They’d like me to talk about the unconference model and blogging. A sort of a mini-blogcamp is being set up within FOSS event and they’d like this to be conducted in a more unconferencish mode.
My last session on Digital Media will take place this Monday. This is the 5th straight year I’m teaching at the Madras Advertising Club. I love teaching at the AdClub ‘coz its unlike other colleges. The students are far more creative and enthusiastic.
This came as a surprise. Cognizant is organizing a technology unconference for all its employees and considering the size of the company, the event is going to be massive. This is the first time I’m seeing a company organizing an uncon internally. Seen Saber conduct a HackDay before at Bangalore but never an uncon. I’m invited to open the second day of the event and looking forward to it.
AlooTechie and WebChutney, one of India’s most creative digital marketing agencies is organizing a hands-on workshop on Podcasting at Delhi and they have invited me to conduct the workshop. A lot of marketing executives are expected to attend. A few weeks ago, I was invited by Pepsi to Gurgoan to talk to their entire marketing top brass and it was a fantastic experience. If that was any indication, this workshop is going to be quite a rocker.
Polaris Software runs an internal educational program called Nalanda University. They’d like to know more about the power of wikis and its various uses. It’d be interesting to share all the learnings from cool folks I met at WikiCamp.
WikiCamp : A Photologue
Missed WikiCamp but want to know what took place at the event? Well, you are in good hands. Thanks to copious WiFi, trigger happy bloggers, and professional video bloggers, you catch the action that took place at India’s first wiki unconference.
The IndiaInteracts.com team has been extremely professional and helpful. They volunteered to help out record the important happenings at the event. Even though its an unconference, I’ve learnt why its important to have professsionals take care of the video arrangement atleast. Check out some of the videos uploaded so far.
Video 1 : My introductory speech kick starting the event and later handing it over to Jimbo.
Video 2 : Jimbo’s keynote talk about Wikipedia, Wikia and the new search engine.
Video 3 : Participants play the role of reporters. Short interviews with Syed and me. Even Jimmy Wales join in and plays the role of a press reporter and interviews the participants. (Earlier in the day, he must have given atleast two dozen interviews)