Theme “Leaves” added to “KDE – Pairs”

“Leaves” is the newest theme I created for KDE-Pairs as a part of my ongoing project ‘Theme Designing of Pairs’. This is done under the guidance of my mentor “Heena Mahour” who initially gave the idea about leaf structures. This will only work in 3 game modes namely, pairs, relations and logic.  You can download the theme from here.

pairs-leaves-pairs pairs-leaves-logic pairs-leaves-relation

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Theme ‘Stationery’ added to ‘KDE – Pairs’

As a part of my ongoing project “Adding new themes for KDE Pairs game”, a new theme ‘Stationery’ is added. The motivation behind selecting the particular theme lies on its simplicity. Stationery objects are very much familiar with pre-school children rather than other objects. Hence these stationery items can be used in the ‘Pairs’ game to develop their logical skills, rather than worrying about their familiarity with the domain.

The stationery objects I have used for this are; book, pen, pencil, paint brush, paint tube, ruler and scissor. The theme can associate four of the six game modes. They are pairs, relations, logic and words. Few screen shots of the theme will be as follows;

In 'Pairs' game mode

In ‘Pairs’ game mode

In 'Logic' game mode

In ‘Logic’ game mode

In 'Relation' game mode

In ‘Relation’ game mode

In 'Words' game mode

In ‘Words’ game mode

This theme can be downloaded from here.

Devise vs. authentication from the scratch

One of the main advantages in Ruby on Rails is as I mentioned in my earlier blog post, is not re inventing the wheel. For example for the authentication in a web app, you can use devise gem and have the full functionality of it in a few seconds. So what is the use of doing authentication from the scratch?

If you are a new developer to Ruby on Rails, I highly suggest that coding the authentication from the scratch. RailsCast have a very good tutorial on this.  By doing this you can have a full understanding of how ruby on rails works. If you are a seasoned developer and know enough you can use devise which also has lots of features.

In my project for Learn IT, Girl I first did the authentication part with devise. Then I got that I don’t really get a full understanding and then I followed the above tutorial and learned to make it from the scratch. It gives me the flexibility to change the system as I wish and most of all given me a good understanding on how Ruby on Rails works.

Why RoR?

For about a month now I am learning Ruby on Rails and doing a web application as a part of the Learn IT, Girl mentoring program. When I tell this to my friends almost everyone asked why ruby? Even it has been considered a cool geeky programming language and web development framework in the world in general, it has not been a great hit in Sri Lanka. (I wonder why? But may be because none of the major software companies in Sri Lanka is using Ruby or Rails as far as I know.)

Rails is a web application development framework which follows MVC (Model, View, Controller) architecture. The thing I love most about RoR is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. RoR is a full stack framework that covers both front end and back end design while taking care of the boring stuff you have to do with every app like user authentication. In RoR you can simple use devise gem and have an up and running user authentication system for your application in few minutes.

When considering the statistics Ruby developers have high demand and high salaries. Most popular applications like Amazon, BBC, Scribd are built with or have some component of Ruby along with it. So if you have a free time or willing to learn a new language or framework, select RoR. It will be useful in the future.

How to extract the images in a Google Doc

Have you ever face a situation where you have access to a certain document with some images and you want to use the images it has for some other purpose. If you want to get these pictures in a word document what you have to do is just copy the image and paste it in the word document. But what happens of you want these images and images only to upload in some wort of web page??
Recently I faced such scenario. When I am writing a research paper using WriteLatex online Latex editor I wanted to include some figures. My friend has shared those figures in a Google Doc and has sent a link to me. Since I wanted the images to upload to the Latex site, downloading it as a word document or pdf did no help. But then I found the solution.
In Google Doc you have 6 download options. If you want to download you have to click “File” menu , go to “Download as”. In the 6 options the last option is download as a web page. If you click that the document will be downloaded as a .zip file. It will contain .html file of your document and a separate folder for images. You can get the images separately if you go to that folder.

Ada Camp, Banglore – Two Awesome Days

Ada Initiative is a nonprofit organization which supports women in open technology and culture.  Ada Camp is a major event organized by Ada Initiative.  It is a series of conferences (Actually in unconference format, more on that later) aiming to increase the women participation in open technology and culture. In 2014 there were 3 Ada Camps in 3 continents.  The participation to Ada Camp is by invitation only. You can apply through the Ada Camp web site if you are interested and they will let you know if you are selected to attend. I was very lucky I got the chance to participate as an attendee in the Ada Camp, Banglore which was held in 22nd and 23rd of November, 2014. I also got a travel scholarship from Ada Initiative which made me possible to come to India and participate Ada Camp.

Rather than going in detail about the conference I will first introduce my self and what are my contributions in open technology and culture. Since being a final year undergraduate studying in Computer Science and Engineering in Sri Lanka, I am very much familiar with open source software. But my expertise does not end there. I am a Wikimedian and Wikipedia article writer in Sinhala. I translate Wikimedia contents and Wikipedia articles. I also contribute to the new Wikimedia project Wikidata which is aiming at structuring Wikipedia.

Ada Camp was held at Red hat office which is located in 11th floor in IBC Knowledge Park. The place was very nice and have a really nice view of Banglore.

IMAG0615

The considerations taken by the organizers to make the ada camp experience a comfortable and a pleasant one to all the attendees should be highly appreciated. From the registration table we get a tag with a coloured lanyard to write our names and have it with us, so we all can communicate with each other easily. The lanyard logic made every one’s life easier representing the preference to be photographed. It goes as follows:

Red : Do not take photograpghs, do not even ask.

Yellow: Should ask and get the consent before photographing

Green : no restrictions in photograpghing

They have even given consideration in to small things such as reminding to bring a sweater if the AC is too cool. Alex and Suki did a great job in hosting the event.

Ada camp actually started with the Friday night reception which was held on 21st November. It was a networking event where the attendees get the chance to get to know each other over the dinner and snacks.

Ada Camp started off with an impostor syndrome workshop. Impostor syndrome is the feeling that you aren’t actually qualified for the work you are doing. It is a very common feeling among women in tech. Even I have that feeling to a certain extent. The most interesting thing happened during the workshop was giving and receiving compliments.  It was actually a surprise to figure out that we can compliment others very easily, but are uncomfortable in receiving compliments.

Ada camp is an unconference. An unconference is a participant driven meeting.  After the impostor syndrome workshop the unconference procedure started. The first day was dedicated to discussion sessions as the second day was more focused on workshops and hands on lessons. These sessions and workshops covered a wide area. These are not pre-scheduled. In the morning anyone can propose and pitch the sessions and others can vote. So according to the votes the agenda is created. There are parallel sessions which are run across a couple of rooms and attendees can choose what they want and attend to that. If you feel like you want to go to another session while you are in a different one, you can stand up and leave the session without any hard feelings.

IMAG0599 IMAG0601 IMAG0604Two of the most interesting workshop sessions I attended was the Mozilla crafting community and Arduino and Raspberry Pi workshop. In the crafting community workshop we made thank you cards for our hosts.

IMAG0609One more thing which was new to me was lightning talks. They were 90 seconds talks that you can talk about anything. You can submit your talk proposal before for the ease of organizing. The lightning talk session was after lunch each day.

Ada camp was the best experience in my life where I was able to share my knowledge and learn from others. Everybody participated was willing to learn and willing to share. I was highly motivated to do my best to increase the number of women and their participation in technology. I was amazed how people have initiated things to achieve this aim and successfully expanding their projects.

I can conclude that Ada Camp, Banglore was a big success and I wish Ada Initiative all the best to keep up the good work. If you want to support Ada Initiative and their future work you can support it by donating.

Donate now
 

 

More Themes Added

After adding the first theme, I was working on a theme on nature. That theme represents the basic elements in the nature such as trees, flowers and etc. Since KDE Pairs is developed for pre school children the objects represented in the themes should be familiar and educational to them. Following are some screen shots after adding the theme nature to the game. These screenshots represents the different game modes such as logic, pairs, relations and words.

Theme Nature nature-pairs nature-relations nature-words

After drawing the elements of this I started drawing for another theme which is very similar to my previous theme (Fruits). That is vegetables.

First Theme added

Today I added my first theme for Pairs. You can find that here.  In my current project “Theme Designing for Pairs” which is a project from “Season of KDE” and mentored by Heena Mahour, the main task is adding themes.

When designing a theme for a game designed for pre-school children, you can’t just draw some pictures and add. The pictures will be educational and easily identifiable. So as my first theme I designed a theme of fruits. It contain 8 fruits; apple, banana, pineapple, mango, strawberry, pairs, orange and grapes. It will support the “Pairs”, “Relations”, “Logic” and “Words” game modes. A screenshot from “Pairs” game mode will look as follows:

Screenshot from 2014-12-14 22:56:09

To create the image files in the svg format, I have used inkscape.  Even though it took some time to be familiar with its functionality first, once you draw a thing or two you get addicted to it with its cool features.

 

 

GHCI – 2014 An Experience of a Lifetime

Ever since I returned home from Grace Hopper Celebration, India I was hoping to write this blog post. But due to my extremely busy schedule I couldn’t find time. Although it has been almost a month, GHCI excitement is still not out of my system. It was one of the most awesome periods in my life.

Since I am from Sri Lanka, going to Banglore is another type of an adventure which I am not going to focus on here. (May be in another blog post) The Grace Hopper Celebration was held at The Lalit Ashok, Banglore. Scholars were given accommodation in nearby hotels. Since I arrived on 19th my hotel was 37th Crescent Hotel. It was really nice and the staff was very much helpful and the food was great!

After an adventurous day and a good night sleep, on 20th morning we were so excited about what will happen in the conference. We knew it would be a whole different kind of experience. But never hoped that it will have this much of impact on our lives. When we enter Lalit Ashok Hotel on 20th morning, we already saw the difference. The vibrant colours made the atmosphere energetic.

After registering and collecting the souvenir gift pack (two bags full of goodies :D) we went to Kalinga Hall where the welcome presentation and keynote speech to be held.  The conference started off with a grand way with a very inspirational and motivational keynote speech by Jayshree Ullal, the president and CEO of Arista Networks.

Next was the panel discussions. They were categorized in to different themes and we only were able to attend one at a time because the sessions were parallel. My first choice among the first set of sessions was “Tapping in to my inner Prada”. I was interested in this session as soon as I saw the name for the first time. It was the most interesting and awesome session I attended throughout the conference.

The aim of the panel discussion “Tapping in to my inner Prada” is to discuss how our appearance impact on our career growth. I have to say that the panelists were amazing. They covered the every aspect of the problem themselves. As a women we all have the problem that our working environments are so casual such that if we stepped out of the denim and t shirt dress code and wear something different and elegant, we are bound to look odd.  In the session they talked about how we want us to be seen and how to achieve that. The panel discussed about how the way we dress and our clothing affects and how we can choose the way we dress to display authority. It also focused on grooming, communication and body language.

Another important session in the first day was the keynote speech by Jane Moran, CIO of Unilever. One important thing I learned from her speech was that if we want something in our career we’ve got to ask it. We have to speak for ourselves and if we think we are qualified, we should go and ask for it. With the Asian culture women are little bit of reluctant to this kind of behavior.

The evening followed with a career fair with all the important companies like Google, Facebook, etc. The networking and entertainment dinner at the poolside was also awesome.

The most interesting session in the second day was the keynote by Laxmi Partury. She talked about how she solved the problems she faced. Specially as Asian women we have to face lot of problems regarding our careers and relationships. By our culture we are bound to our families and tend to give priority to family rather than the career.

Two other sessions that I loved were “Discover and build your strength” and “The career guidance never given”. They talked about how we choose the career according to our strengths and how to progress in it.

The most important thing happened in the conference is it changed my mind about career women. During the two days I got the chance to speak and see a lot of women who has gone up to the top of their career ladders while balancing and caring for their families as well. I always thought that balancing family and career has a limit. At a certain point as a mother, as a wife and as a daughter you will have to give priority to your family and you will eventually be stuck at some point in your career. But GHC taught me it is still possible to balance the career with family life and that is entirely up to the individual. “If there is a will, there is a way :D”.

Acknowledgement

Thank you Anita Borg India for the wonderful opportunity to attend GHC India. It was a well organized great event. I think every girl in computer science should attend GHC even for a once in their lifetime.