meebo roCks !

I have been following meebo for long time now since its start. It always interested me and I kept a chek on the features it provided from time to time. I would also sometimes happen to read their blog. It surely was an interesting read. A post I remember distinctly said,

“We wouldn’t misuse your passwords, as even our friends use meebo and they would remain our friends if we wouldnt have done so.”

So what makes me make a post about meebo today?

Simply because meebo launched meebome !

Whats special about this ?

Okie here it is. For years now, one could enable live statistics for a page to display the number of current users on a website. Then we also had ways to display our online(Yahoo! I am Online) status. meebome allows you to chat directly with a visitor on your site (provided you are logged onto meebo) while the visitor need not have a meebome account.

Check the live demo here > http://www.akshaysurve.com/scrapbook

(Don’t expect me to be online as I avoid being online when at work)

I tried it and its coOL !

Pune Ruby Hackathon !

To start with I said to myself, “I have tried the Half Marathon! Why not try the Hackathon too !! – 22nd July”

I was not sure of taking part in the hackathon as i had never treid RoR, there was still a week to go and not many participants had signed up on their wiki. Even then I just happend to put my name there in the list of participants. There was a faint chance of me going for the hackathon if Shweta (intern at my office) would join in as she has been trying out Ruby on Rails (RoR) for over a month now. I asked her and she was going to leave for Hyderabad a day before the hackathon. I had almost left the idea of joining the hackathon as i had to work a lil harder the same week to meet project deadlines. To cut things short I was surely going to miss the hackathon. Later in the day (I guess Tuesday) something happened (I am not sure wat) but I decided I would give it a try. So, here I was having no clue of RoR but wanting to attend the hackathon a core no-frills geek meet. I took a 15 minute tutorial (LoL) from Shweta on RoR and also got the Agile Web Programming with Rails book (thnks to my office). I would read the book while travelling in the bus and late at night. I could only read it for 3 days.

It was around 11am on 29th July and I typed the first command to start a project in RoR… $ rails mars

If I do not discuss the positives from the event then I won’t do justice to the thought behind organising such an event.

To keep things short

People !

– I met quite a few interesting, friendly and like minded people around.

Vaibhav Domkundwar from Better Labs who was one of the organisers, was really interested in the proceedings and made everyone feel comfortable. One of the things he stressed on was taking this initiative forward. He also discussed the future potential of the applications with each one personally. He even discussed about his latest initiatives like dealplumber.com and how he wanted the Tech community in India to develop and grow.

– Satish Mishra again from Better Labs made sure that everything was in place. Later after the hackathon he also shared his views on what Better Labs was all about and their india2.0 initiative.

Pratik who also happened to come down for BarCampMumbai was participating. I had read his blog and even commented on the BarCamp posts. Never happened to to know/speak him (didnt happen to start a conversation with him at the BarCamp). He has been actively involed wtih RoR for around 3 months now. BTW he won the hackathon !
Learning !

– Yup, being there was a learning experience. Though I was not sure of how I would fair at the hackathon but I was sure that I would try to experiment with RoR for 24 hours. Everyone present was helpful and alway ready to share what they knew.
IDeas !

– Everyone was working on their own ideas. The positive vibes around were contagious. Being there was really encouraing.

Future !

– I am sure something like this will catch up soon in other cities too like the BarCamp. Looking forward for more of such geeky encounters.

Deliverables !

– I would surely be realeasing Mars soon to the open source community. This is going to be my second initiative after Qikblogger and I am excited.

Thnks !

Yup, thnks to the organisers and congratulations for a super-successful event.

The MaRaThoN has just begun 😉

HaCKaThoN OveR bUt MaRaThoN bEgiNs

Have been following Ruby and Ruby on Rails(RoR) for some time now. Today (in the last 24 hours) I finally treid it out live at the hackathon. Ruby is coOL and Ruby on Rails is even coOLer! Like there is no smoke without fire… RoR really stands up to the hype (wateva) around it.

I also liked the whole concept of a hackathon. Cheers to Better Labs for initiating it and hearty congratulations for its success.
More about it later…

Hey I was selected as the SiLver Hacker at the hackathon after the evaluations ! Cheers !!! I built a planet application using Ruby on Rails in 36 hours and named it Mars (any guesses y ?). You can know more about it here.

I guess I was waiting for a excuse (?) to start using RoR. Now I am sure its going to be a MaRaThoN run with ruby for company.

BarCampMumbai

To start with I must say BarCampMumbai was as coOL as its theme ‘Bindaas Geeks | Hackin over Vada Pav’

Some highlights :

  • 3 simultaneous tracks named ‘VadaPav, Bhaji on the Beach and … don’t remember the name (?)
  • I just loved the wiki-like scheduler at the venue. Stick a note with ur name and topic on the board. I moved my my note thrice 😉 . Finally I just let it be….. and then Tarique moved it to the best slot (first on after the lunch break)
  • Loads of people who I knew but never seen/met in person. http://barcamp.org/BarCampMumbai#ConfirmedParticipants
  • The food… :p
  • Some thoughtful sessions
  • My talk (…LoL! Now I can say Been there | Done that! … a nice experience for me)
  • … Lots more… check the BarCampMumbai wiki for what others had to say.
  • The conference extended after sessions too. Mahesh Murthy from Pinstorm decided to drop me and Barkha home. We ended up at his office and him showing us around his coOL work place. By the way his was one of the coOLest talks at BarCampMumbai. (Don’t tell me you missed it :p)

What I presented @ BarCamp ?

Topic:

TagSurfer – Extending the TagCloud

Motivation:

Unlike categories which are strict in nature tags are flexible. Flexibility of tags also comes from the fact that we use multiple words (keywords) to define a single item.
eg: barcamp barcampmumbai tagsurfer hacks

Now I would love to have a mechanism by which I could actually find some related content or may be just digg through the right content.

TagClouds is a good way of doing it. Its intuitive and looks good. But seriously its just 1D… I click on one tag and I am jst shown entries tagged with that particular tag.

As the number of tags entries (or no. of entries in your blogs or photoblogs ) increase one would surely need more intuitive UIs than TagClouds

I did give examples of del.icio.us and flickr in my talk. I also commented that deli.icio.us doesnt allow me to search for entries tagged with ‘ajax and css’. Here is what I meant. If I search for ‘ajax css‘ in the search box on del.icio.us I am given with links that are tagged with ‘ajax or css’ and not necessarily with ‘ajax and css’. Try ‘ajax on my bookmarks‘… you wud be shown links and on the right presented with ‘related tags’ links . Now this is interesting. If I click on the small ‘+’ sign beside scriptalous I get all the links tagged with ‘ajax and scriptalous’ only. (… correct me if i m wrong 🙂

Newways…. more importantly TagClouds are jst 1D! and there is a lot we can do to improve them…!

Proposed ‘TagSurfer’:

TagSurfer is a TagCloud with added functionality of surfing through the tags. Its more like getting deeper and deeper within the tagcloud.

Here is a small limited demo: http://akshay.zeeblo.com/soc/ *Check the right panel with heading tagsurfer.

  • Just hover your mouse over any of the tags… * DO Not Click :d
  • Number in brackets show the no. of entries you would find after surfing that tag
  • Superscripts show the order in which you surfed
  • Top panel with images resembling ‘<‘ – Back and ‘o’ reload
  • Lots of functionality could be added like if you surfed through a few tags and then clicked on one then you would be shown entries within that path only.

    eg: ‘barcamp -> barcampmumbai’ is what you surfed through and finally click on ‘hacks’ you would be shown entries tagged with barcamp and barcampmumbai and hacks

What it used:

PHP + Prototype ( 😉 Ajax )

Yup this was my first attempt to incorporate Ajax. TagSurfer needed Ajax and thats why I used it. It wasnt redundant at all.

Acknowledgements:

Pradeep for allowing me to make a presentation for TagSurfer on his laptop. And Mohit, Abhishek, Atul, Ajay, Hitesh, Ajay, Narain, Kiruba, Murli and everyone who attended for making BarCampMumbai a reality and offcourse RocKiNg!!!

Download:

http://akshay.zeeblo.com/tagsurfer.zi (http://www.akshaysurve.com/projects/tagsurfer/)

  • Edit the tagsurfer.php file to customize font sizes and color
  • Add <div id=”tagsurfer”>&ly;/div> to you template to get TagSurfer.
  • Copy the whole folder to you Wordpres directory and then enable the plugin in admin section.

Comments:

There was a lots of discussion during the talk and even later. Things like ‘folksonomy’ to … collaborative filtering all came up and were spoken about. Now I know what ‘No spectators , Only participants’ means ;-). People were not just listening but were also thinking and improvising.

Hey …still open to discussion… would surely like to hear from you.

Requests:

Do wish me luck(I desperately need it )… my Final exams starting on 18th of May.

[Update] Some picks from flickr:

DSCF1949
TagSurfer TagSurfer - Akshay Surve Akshay Surve

BarCampMumbai… here i come ;-)

Would be leaving for BarCampMumbai in a few minutes. Would be showcasing TagSurfer at the un-conference. For those who hav no clue of BarCamp try >

http://barcamp.org/BarCampMumbai

Well, not many would know of it, me neither. Its the first time that a BarCamp would be held in town and so it would be a coOL experience for me to. Have worked hard ( 2 nights and 1 day :p.. bt i gues its lots during the time of examz).

Wish me luck.

I am sure I would find familiar faces ( ppl whom i knw (been following their blogs) bt they themselves having no clue of me… wud be strange :d)

BTW : still gotta setup everything …. guess wat still I hav to mak my presentations … LoL

Hope things fall into place.

Cheers.

WebD @ ReZoNaNcE’06

Yup, had been to Rezonance’06 UMIT college tech-fest primarily for completely different reasons but ended up participationg in the WebD competition bcoz:

  • There was nothing else to do as the robotics event (Ravi had participated here… also i expected many colelge frnds to turn-p for the event lik on the previous day) which was going to be held was delayed.
  • Ravi and I decided to crown one of us the WebD champion…( or wateva tat is) once and for all.

The subject given to us was Game Website… and this > GameVilla is what i made. Its a gaming website specially targetted for kids (or adult kids), very obvious from the whole look. Did a lot of photoshopping esp. for the banner.

So, any guesses wat happend?

[Would write abt it in next post… also would try and desc the whole outing and FuN we had…:p ]