Attending OSCAL 2018 in Tirana, Albania

<Pictures, Slides, URLS will be added on Monday>

I wrote a post on all my travels during May. One of my trips was to Tirana, Albania for OSCAL conference organized by Open Labs.I feel lucky to be given the opportunity to be a part of the experience – not just as a speaker but also a learner.

Open Labs is fuelling the open source movement in Albania starting from building a community from the grassroots in Tirana, Albania – and they have done an awesome job at it! The Open Labs community is warm, welcoming, inclusive and inquisitive (and women are the majority! Yaay, fem power!).

I learnt a lot of things about open source, hardware, different projects and communities and got to meet people behind them. I was representing the Fedora community and doing outreach and spreading awareness about our project, our community with a primary focus on getting more women into Fedora and open source. The audience at OSCAL is unique in the sense that a lot of them are female (about 70 percent of open lab members are female) and are university students or recent graduates.

I had three sessions at OSCAL – a community meetup for ‘ Women in Open Source’ and their supporters, a presentation on ‘How to get paid to do open source?’ and a workshop on Machine Learning. We also had a Fedora community meetup and Fedora 28 release party! It was definitely a packed conference for me. Thankfully, Renata and I were doing the meetup and presentation together!

We had a lot of participants in community meetup for ‘ Women in Open Source’ – from different walks in their open source journey. Some were newcomers and wanted to get involved while others wanted to learn how their companies or projects could shift and collaborate with other open source communities. There was a lot of buzz around different open source projects and especially Fedora! We even had a few high school students as attendees and people were promoting open positions at their companies! The time was not enough and in the end, we were both being asked questions about internships and contributing to open source! Also, it was not just all girls and I was glad to see our male allies there too! Did I mention the chairwoman of The Document Foundation, Marina Latini was there? It feels so awesome to meet one of your role models in real – and the meet up was a pathway to that for me – and I hope I could do it for others too!

During our talk on ‘How to get paid to contribute to open source’, Renata and I talked about different paid opportunities including internships, fellowships, project grants and job offers and how to search and apply for them! Personally, I always feel like I find such awesome opportunities after their deadline is over and I hoped our talk would avoid that for others. If you are interested, you can find our slides online. While prepping for the talk, I myself learnt about a lot of new opportunities. Also, we used the opportunity to highlight the importance of subscribing to different mailing lists and job boards – especially, if you are a women or from other underrepresented community! My personal advice:

Open source has a lot of paid opportunities too –  Don’t be shy! Don’t doubt yourself! There are a lot of resource and support for you out there! Take advantage of them!

On the afternoon on the same day (yes, I know!), I had my Machine Learning workshop. I talked about different machine learning applications and taught the fundamentals of some basic algorithms. The audience was very engaged and I hope they learnt or atleast became interested in Machine Learning after. I also talked about Open source in machine learning world and how different FOSS communities are using machine learning. We wanted to try and implement a small algorithm during the session but the time was less and attendees didnt know Python – so it was a dead end! However, I showed them one of my notebooks, introduced them to common ML libraries like numpy, pandas and scikit learn and how to use them and pointed them towards learning resources for both Machine Learning and Python!

When I was not presenting, I was at the booth with the Fedorator! There were a lot of people dropping by who used Windows and I spent a lot of time discussing about advantages of Linux distros like Fedora. Few people asked us for the CD and how to install – but we had the Fedorator to save the day! There were also some intense discussions on modularity in Fedora, Fedora spins and on getting involved with the community! Since the OSCAL venue was a public heritage site just open for the conference, a lot of tourists and locals who didn’t know about open source dropped by and hopefully, learnt about open source from us! This was also the first time we tried to have a hack challenge at Fedora booth during the conference. We had a poster and promoted this hack challenge at booth and meetups. People who contributed during OSCAL could get an OSCAL attendee badge. Easy contributions which were promoted for hack challenge:

* Translate strings from english to albanian in zanata

* Fedora easyfix issues

* Tagging packages

* testing bodhi kernel/ updates

A lot of people were interested in the whatcanidoforfedora.org and easyfix issues website. However, I don’t know of anyone who actually contributed during the conference and a lot of people also said that they might not be able to because of the different talks/ workshops going on simultaneously. However, most of them expressed concern about difficulty in starting to contribute as a newcomer and having this challenge helped us show the low barriers to entry to Fedora community. I am positive this helped them get a foot in the door to start contributing after the conference. The hack challenge also helped create a lot of buzz around Fedora.

The Fedora community meetup was also another event where we engaged with attendees and other community members. Justin talked about the project and how to get involved. We also had a small release party – and there was cake! Not just our FCAIC, Brian Exelbird but also delicious blue Fedora cake – It was so good, I still want some more 😦

We also managed to sneak in a few hours to work on diversity team tasks since all of us were together after so long. Hopefully, you will get to see some of our work during FLOCK soon. Till then, see our pagure repo or hang out in our IRC/Telegram channel or subscribe to our mailing list to know more about what we do and if you want to get involved. (Btw FLOCK registration is out!)

It wasn’t all just work. We also hung out together in the evenings – had icecream with Bex and got the cake badge instead :P, had awesome sea food in Tirana where we celebrated Justin’s birthday (more cake!) and went around lovely city of Tirana. I even managed to sneak in some shopping :)Albania reminded me so much of India – the culture, the weather, the traffic 😛 and I fell in love with the city. Hopefully, I will be able to come back soon.



The May from my 23rd ride around our sun

This past month (of May) has been a whirlwind for me – I have been hopping continents a lot, meeting new people, having new experiences, exploring, learning, growing but mainly (re) evaluating what it means to be me.

I did check off quite a few items off my bucket list like

  • Doing a road trip in US (We didn’t get to go through a drive through – till next time IHOP!) and part of it while it was raining!
  • Have a lot of cakes – cake for breakfast, cake for when you are hungry, cake for getting high (on life, duh!), cakes I don’t like.
  • I went through an all American car wash
  • Had unworldly amounts of salt and sugar dumped into everything I had – it was either too sweet or too salty but completely normal if you are an American – and I survived.
  • Found my new drunk food for NYC – Pastrami and pickles from Katz Deli, it is!
  • Made someone break their <rule?>
  • Got a parking ticket in a zone where you could park (it’s NYC baby!)
  • Got pictures with fearless girl on Wall Street
  • Made punctual people late ( – I give up! -)
  • I was IN UNICEF!! Ahhh, UNICEF!! Ah, met people at UNICEF!!
  • experienced the New York subway (Chicago, I love you more!)
  • Talked with Mel, danced with Toshio and did I mention I was at UNICEF – talking to people at UNICEF – about UNICEF?
  • Saw an Amish family in person and no they didn’t ride a horse cart – also saw Niagra falls!
  • Went to Albania and Open Labs, had Raki and lazy breakfasts – loved it completely!
  • Made a shopping record – 1 skirt for 100 leks – less than a euro! It’s not even that cheap in India.
  • Fell sick – I have to fall sick atleast once on every trip

and added a few more stories to my ‘I-will-tell-this-at-parties’ list

  • I dropped my mobile phone in the toilet as soon as I landed in US! or if this were a party, I would say I did the ‘no phones for a week in a completely new land’ challenge and I came out exactly the same.
  • I got drunk on Coffee toffees (yes, it happened!)
  • Found the best possible comic store with every possible comic – and it didn’t have ‘Heart and Brain’ in stock – whatttt?!!
  • Felt the divide between NYC and NJ – I felt like a slave crossing over
  • Had COSTCO experience (COSTCO is for giants?) and then had Walmart experience (I want to buy everything!)
  • Went to supermarket  5 times in less than 48 hours
  • Was scared by a seagull at an american lake ( Americans are crazy with their dimensions – it’s definitely a sea and not a lake!)
  • Talked for 3 hours straight
  • Realized decause was going to be presenting at conference. I was finally going to meet him. Missed meeting decause him because he couldn’t attend. How does this happen to me – everytime?
  • Had donuts and beer – brewnuts!
  • Had a fear of dogs, Lived with 5  huge dogs out of which a few who constantly barked at me like I was a robber – and survived!
  • Then went on to live with 2 cats who didnt bark (or mew), had automated kitty food and`kitty litter and lived a more comfortable life than me (What have I come to – I am jealous of cats!)
  • Got back from US and on to flight to Albania within 2 days – and worked for those 2 days at Siemens – whaaat? How am I so productive?
  • Realized Albania is like India and traffic is crazier, had major missing home feelings
  • Had tzaziki lays, coconut cookies like home
  • Wore a winter coat in 30 degrees heat – and I felt cold!

and I still have the trip to Malta left!

How to Outreachy?

I was an Outreachy intern in the past and I know how nerve wracking the application process can be. Hence, I have decided to aggregate blog posts from past Outreachy interns describing do’s and dont’s as well as tips for application process.  These can be helpful if you are applying from Google Summer of Code too. Hope this helps!

Posts from past Outreachy interns with Fedora:

Alisha Aneja

Bhakti Bhikne

Suzanne Hillman

Some other interns : miguel

Posts from past Outreachy interns with other organizations:

Neha Jha, Wikimedia

Mansimar Kaur, Kinto

Bee, Mozilla

Zareen, Wikimedia

Anjana Vakil, Mozilla

Princi, Mozilla

More Outreachy related posts on Medium by past interns

View at Medium.com

P.S. Some of these the things mentioned might have changed due to updates in rules and application process for the current Outreachy round. Even then, I think these should be useful.

Bee or !Bee

Hi, I am Bhagyashree. Or you can call me Bee. Like the insect, movie, alphabet ….. or whatever floats your boat !

I love to crunch numbers and analyse data especially if it’s to improve the user experience/gain insights about user behavior. My interests lie at the conjunction of Machine Learning , Natural Language Processing and Social Media Analysis. I am also interested in Information Retrieval and Recommender Systems. You can check out my work on my homepage here or you can read my blog here. I recently started contributing to Fedora CommOps on metrics-related tasks. Check out the awesome work going on at CommOps here.

Apart from that , in my short lifespan on this beautiful planet, I want to (not specific to the given order)

  • always be human ( in every sense and not just the purely biological one )
  • maybe someday own a small bakery on a side street in a quaint little town, preferably where it snows.
  • travel to new places and get to know new people, traditions and cultures and hog their food.
  • keep learning forever and ever.

When I am not finding stories in data, I am daydreaming about food or European cities.

For any questions/feedback/suggestions/just want to talk, ping me !
E-mail: (You can guess, or you check out my homepage to get it.)
IRC Nick: bee2502                                                                                                                                   Twitter : @BeePadalkar

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Note : This blog is for tech related stuff (mostly involving data analytics and open source community). For my personal musings on life and in general, check out my blog on Medium @BeePadalkar

Hello world!

‘ Hello world! ‘ seems like a befitting title for my first post since every person who learns to program first writes a code to print hello world to the screen and my case here is no different with English being the language and WordPress being the IDE used.

As mentioned in the description of the blog, I want this to be a research blog about anything related to networks, complexity and data. While complexity can broadly as a term be about anything in this world , here I will only talk about complexity of interaction networks. I plan to blog about research(ongoing/past) in this area which I find interesting. It will generally be about Social Networks- their structure, dynamics and analysis and anything and everything related as I am currently really really fascinated by this topic , however it wont be restricted to that. I plan to read an interesting research paper in this field and post the results, analyse the methods, make my observations – in short just blog about it and I would really love it if I can discuss about it with someone! (This blog has been primarily formed due to the absence of a regular reading group in my university on data analysis/networks/social network analysis/social computing ). I really cant wait to get started but one last thing and quite important thing needs to be said and clarified beforehand – that sometimes it may happen I might be wrong about something or I might offend you – please don’t be because whatever it was it was surely unintentional ! If you feel I am wrong, do tell me via comments/messages/mail and we will talk and discuss about it because I am here to learn and grow and so is every true researcher, according to me.

So now I am gonna go choose my first research paper to blog about. See you pretty soon 🙂