GTAC, 2016

Google Test Automation Conference was held on November 14-15, 2016 in Sunnyvale, California. It is an annual test automation conference hosted by Google which brings together engineers from industry and academia to discuss the advances in test automation and test engineering computer sciences field. I got an opportunity to be there at the Google Sunnyvale campus and attend GTAC after following up for 2 consecutive years. Other than CFP for speakers, they have applications for attendees as well and your seat isn’t confirmed until you get a confirmation email. This year they rolled out Diversity scholarships forms and I was selected as one of those 14 out of 273 applicants which felt like an achievement after I realised the number on reaching there. It was a great experience to meet people from different cultures across the globe who were also a part of the diversity scholarship program.

Diversity scholarship group

Day 0:

Google had organised a ‘Scholarship reception’ for all of scholarship recipients at Computer History Museum, Mountain view, California. It was exciting to meet a bunch of Googlers over snacks and drinks. The conversations involved discussions about the existing QA processes at Google, QA titles, agile, etc. It was fun to visit the Computer History Museum and see the super computers around you.


Registration booth

Day 1:

After the warm reception the previous evening, the wait was over for GTAC and we were expected to reach the Google campus by 9:00 am. As we reached, everyone was very excited to see the campus and we used the time to click some pictures around the Google logo 😉 *pictures* We moved inside the conference hall and the event kicked off with a keynote speech by Manasi Joshi. She started how it was 10 years back when we used to have discussions about how to use open source tools for testing or how to do automated testing. She walked through her journey at Google and talked about Ads, multiple axes of growth for any business and other things. The first talk of GTAC was a hit, worth remembering and the best one of the entire lot. It was about ‘Automating Telepresence Robot Driving’. What does it mean to be present in the 21st century? Conferencing – you can hear but it is too hard to visualise the remote environment; teleconferencing – you can see and hear each other but cannot react to the environment in a meaningful manner because you are stationary; telepresence – is action at a distance, a pilot drives a robot in a remote environment. You can listen to the complete talk here. There were a couple of talks throughout the day involving topics like selenium based test automation for windows, audio quality testing, etc. One of the interesting ones for the day was the last one on flaky tests, that was based more on a research from a large chunk of data provided by Google. There was a party at the end of the day in the Google campus itself, the theme appeared to be carnival where there were a few stalls of games and of course there was food! Google is really serious about food 😉 Nevertheless, there was lovely food for lunch at the different cafes they had, too many options to choose from. It was a great eventful day networking with so many people.

Automating Telepresence Robot Driving
At the conference * but not while the session was going on*
With the name tags and Google logo behind!
Evening party! Carnival theme

Day 2:

Day 2 started with another keynote session followed by a bunch of talks throughout the day. One of talks was focussed on speeding up tests and was aptly titled as “Need for Speed: Accelerate automation tests from 3 hours to 3 minutes”. It included some of the best practices like independent environments, in memory databases, containers and parallel execution of tests. Some other interesting talks of the day were ClusterRunner, integration testing multiple mobile devices, etc. After all the knowledge sharing for two days, it was time for closing remarks by Matt Lowrie, he had been an amazing host for those two days *never seen a host who was that soft spoken /that’s a compliment/ *. The conference came to an end and it was time to bid a goodbye to all the Googlers, other attendees and also the Google campus 😐 .

After the conference!
Group photo

Highlights/Takeaways from the conference:

  • Following the Test Pyramid
  • Scalable test infrastructure
  • Test as  Service: Let the developers run the test whenever they run
  • Testing for mobile is a challenge, given the number of people who use mobile today as compared to the ones using computers.
  • Better utilisation of test infrastructure
  • Reviving QA roles
  • Speeding up tests
The Test Pyramid

Some tools that I found interesting:

Some GTAC moments:



Thanks Google for giving us a chance to be there at GTAC 2016! It was a good experience all together. Looking forward to more! 🙂

FOSSASIA, Singapore 2016

FOSSASIA is an annual conference which brings together open source enthusiasts from around the world. This was my second time to FOSSASIA and Singapore as well. Undoubtedly, the conference was awesome and so was Singapore!

Journey: The flight to Singapore isn’t that long, 5:30 hrs from Mumbai but it’s longer when you calculate the number of hours starting right from your place. That was clearly a tiring journey but without any jet lag. I landed in Singapore a day before the conference.

While I was flying!

Day 1:

The venue for FOSSASIA this time was Science Center which was pretty much an interesting place in itself. The registrations were pretty neat and the speakers badge gave access to the sessions and the entire Science Center for all the three days. Everyone headed to the Marqee Hall for the keynote and following sessions for the first half of the day. The welcome keynote was by Hong Phuc and Mario Behling. After that Harish Pillay shared some wise words under the title “A funny thing happened on my to the Science Center”. This was followed by a couple of talks in the same track and the one I remember was by Cat Allman on Science and Open Source program in Google. The lunch was pretty good and after the lunch everyone scattered in different tracks. I made my way to checkout the Science Center a bit and then moved to the Exhibition area. We also had the Red Hat booth, I spent some time there as well meeting fellow Red Hatters from the Singapore. I attended a few talks in the Dalton Hall including ‘Managing a healthy github community’ by Mike McQuaid and the one on systemd by Lennart Poettering. Also, went for the talk on ‘Comparing Containers and Virtualization’ by Amit Shah. Day 1 was pretty good, there was a Pub crawl scheduled at end of the day for everyone though I skipped that and went for a night safari 😉 . The night safari tram ride was truly incredible and worth it. I treated myself with some good food at dinner and that was it for Day 1. The next day, I had my talk scheduled too. 😉

That’s Harish Pillay sharing what happened on his way to the Science Center
The busiest guy at Science Center!

Day 2:

My workshop was scheduled at 3 p.m on Day 2. Other than the talks, there was a group photo shoot too before the lunch. There were a series of lightening talks in the Dalton Hall post lunch where some of the GSoC students shared their journey or talked about their projects. After that I moved to the hall where my workshop was scheduled at 3. There were a decent number of people who turned up for the workshop. The workshop was on ‘Jenkins Job Builder’ and was completely hands-on where all the attendees were able to write Jenkins Job Builder configurations and create jobs on a public jenkins instance. I ‘d done a bit of setup for everyone to use. Coming down to the internet, which was the most important thing for my workshop, didn’t work! But, I used the data from my phone and so did everyone else at my workshop, anyway the workshop was a success as people could learn a bit of it. My slides for the workshop are here and the github for the basic JJB configurations is here. In the evening, we had the social event at roof top Newton Hall and the view was fantastic 😉 . We had live barbecue, drinks and one of them also got some home brewed beer! Lots of interactions with a lot of people, did some salsa moves towards the end and headed back to my place by 10 pm. Day 2 was fantastic!

 My picture with Cat Allman and Stephanie Taylor
The guy who got home brewed beer 😉
Live barbecue at the Social event

Day 3:

Day 3 was relaxing with fewer talks scheduled and some of them were workshops for long hours. I spent some time at the Red Hat booth talking to a bunch of people and let more people know about the ‘Women in Open Source Award’. Towards the end of the day, I attended an interesting workshop on WebAudio School by Chinmay. It was a self-guided tutorial where you could create your own music, you can go ahead and try on the link too. Also, how can I forget the interesting conversation I had with Mike McQuaid from Github while he was at Github booth and gave me a bunch of cute github stickers which are the new members to my wall of stickers at my workplace. Next up was the closing ceremony which was very informal and heart warming. Hong Phuc thanked each and every person who contributed in making the conference a success and a bunch of other people (including the kids) shared their experiences. Biding a good bye to everyone is a little sad, though at the last, I made connections with a few more people. It was so nice to meet everyone and especially Hong Phuc and Mario. That was the last day at the conference and Science center but not in Singapore, I had a day more to explore the city around. Thank you FOSSASIA and Red Hat for such an incredible experience this year.Looking forward to the next year 🙂

Red Hat booth
github stickers 😉 *i got those*
Closing ceremony! FOSSASIA ’16 comes to an end!



GHC 2015

The  Grace  Hopper  Celebration  of  Women  in  Computing  is  said  to  be `World’s  largest gathering of women technologists` and indeed that was! It was overwhelming to see 12k women together whereas I have ended up being at conferences/meet­ups where I was the only  women  or  only  10%  women  may  be.  The  conference  was  grand  in  it’s  own  way starting from the Convention center to keynotes, luncheons, career fair, plenary sessions and after conference party. This was the most awaited conference for the year and I got an opportunity to attend the conference and mentor at OSD. #GHC15 was held October 14-16 in Houston. It was a great place to know the leading faces in technology.

About the journey:
I knew that was going to be a long journey and truly that was.. with my first flight of 10:30 hrs, lay over at Paris for 2 Hrs and then a journey of another 9:30 hrs. After 22 hours of flight mode, I landed in Houston. The greetings ‘Welcome to United States!’ made me feel happier 😉 There was a long immigration queue up there but everything went smooth with immigration officer telling me “you are too young to be a software engineer” 😛 😀 *still wondering if I looked like a school kid to him* . Apparently Air France could manage to bring me to Houston but left my luggage in Paris, another hour being in queue and filling up forms :\ . The total hours of my journey counting right from leaving my place in Pune to reaching the hotel in Houston were close to 30. That was fairly a long and tiring journey.

An evening before Grace Hopper(Grace Hopper Eve):
There were supposed to be 12k attendees at the conference and it wasn’t a good idea at all to collect your badge on the morning of Day 1. So, I headed to the venue an evening before and was thrilled to see the number of people at the convention center. Everyone was super excited for the conference and so was I. There were self registration kiosks which made the entire process super easy, super fast. I had my badge printed in less than 10 minutes. Everyone was busy looking at the swags in the welcome kit and planning out their three days. I was doing the same and then I happened to meet Gina(@lintqueen) who was sitting right next to me but didn’t know until I happened to read her name on the badge. Here is the first face unveiled behind the name(faces with names thing)! Some more networking and then I headed my way back to the hotel.

an evening before #GHC15
Self-registration kiosks in the right
Excitement in everyone..

Day 1:
The first day at the conference was overflowing with girls! The day started with a keynote followed by a bunch of talks scattered all over the venue. The venue was huge and kind of big enough to fit 12k attendees. It took almost 10 minutes to reach from one place to another. One of the main events of Day 1 was Open Source Day which was a hands on session with a bunch of projects to contribute to with respective organizations and selected mentors/attendees. The call for participation for OSD opened days back for the attendees as well as the mentors whereas the organizations were pre-selected. I spent the entire day mentoring with Open Hatch where we introduced beginners to hands-on github, irc, etc. Separate rooms were allocated to each organization for collaborating the entire day and at the end of the day was showcasing the projects. There were a bunch of things going in and around at different places like the #facesintech booths, you can see some of the pictures here and while I was on the wall too(see below) 😛  .Thereafter there was the most awaited event ‘Career fair’ for most of the attendees present at the conference. Career fair was huge with tonnes of booths giving away tonnes of swags and of course the job opportunities. That was the first time I ever saw the madness in people wrt jobs. Red Hat had a booth too and it was fun talking to people who stopped by our booth and giving away the best possible answers to their questions from my end. Being at the booth with other colleagues was fun indeed and altogether a different experience. Day 1 was too busy to be the first day at conference, being at Open Source Day from morning to evening and then the booth at Career fair. After all the work on Day 1, it comes to an end at 10 pm and I was super tired by then! I simply took the shuttle and went back to get some rest so as to start afresh the next morning.

my fancy badge with all the ribbons 😉
Open Source Day
#facesintech wall
Career fair!
Recreational area top view!

Day 2:
Day 2 again started with a keynote followed by the day packed with sessions. Our fellow Red Hatter Gina (@lintqueen) gave a talk on ‘Moving from Proprietary to Open Source’ where she talked about her past experiences and that she loves the open culture at Red Hat. I attended a bunch of talks throughout the day including ‘intelligent mistakes in test automation’, some from the internet of things track and can’t remember the rest. There were a couple of sponsored lunches arranged in the ballrooms of Hilton Americas open to everyone. I along with few other females walked to the women of color lunch. There were appetizers arranged beautifully at all round tables for the beautiful ladies to join in followed by the course of food. It was good to meet young ladies belonging to different parts of the world. After the lunch, again a bunch of sessions here and there and spent some time at our Red Hat booth with fellow Red Hatters. And it’s time for the most awaited event of GHC which is the plenary keynote by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook! Until then I watched her on my laptop screen only but this was live. All the attendees at GHC were honoured to have her there and talk about her experiences. Some of the words I still remember from that keynote looked like.. if a female is aggressive, she is called bossy but if a guy is aggressive he is said to have leadership skills #banBossy . She motivated all the women to stay in technology and not quit! The keynote was more of a question answer thing where Sheryl answered few of the selected questions from audience as well. When asked what kind of a guy a girl should date, she answered guys who come to such conferences 😛 n they were just a handful. 😀 😀 It was truly an incredible experience to listen to her live. We all need to work together to improve the ratio of women in technology. After that, there were a couple of parties which you could attend only if you had an invitation to one of those. I had one for ‘Women TechMakers'(@WomenTechmakers) party by Google, which was indeed a great party. There was food, drinks, live food counters, games like Jenga, etc., techie stuff like graffiti paint wall(below) and fun people around. It was great to meet new people including Natalie who runs the Women Techmakers(she asked me to drop an email and I still haven’t done that 😛 #lazy) 😉 The party ended at 10 pm and off to the hotel now. The hotel was almost booked for GHC attendees and there as well you could continue the fun if you still had the energy.

Live with Sheryl Sandberg!

Day 3:
Sadly, the last day of the conference had arrived and last day at Houston too. Day started with the keynote followed by sessions here and there, probably the last day to grow your network at GHC15. I attended one of the sessions on ‘Lean In Circles’ which was pretty interactive and some women almost started their first #leanin circle right away in that room. There were a lot of Indian women around but mostly either studying or working in United States but at Systers luncheon, I met another female who traveled all the way from India for the conference. The Career  Fair was there on all three days after it started on Day 1 evening but it was time to wrap up the booths by 1430 hrs and then you could just relax or do some more networking or attend talks. Then comes the closing keynote where Telle Whitney(@TelleWhitney) comes up on the stage with a lot of enthusiasm and energizes each one of us. Followed were the words by Isis Anchalee(@isisAnchalee) and others focused on the importance of diversity in technology. There was a special performance from iLuminate, and the closing keynote was no less than a celebration. And here comes the end of the conference but the celebration still goes on! It was a great opportunity to get introduced to ladies associated with different organizations. Later was the party at Minute Maid park, incredible fun that was! Google, Expedia and Microsoft were the main sponsors for the party and they gave away awesome prizes to some whose raffle ticket got lucky(mine wasn’t 😐 ). Inside there were enormous number of glow lights, glow tubes to wrap around yourself, photo booths, games like shuttle board, pool, and even the Jumping castles, bull ride and all the possible crazy stuff. I do not even remember when did I last go on a Jumping castle but at the party all the girls were in there and to admit, I was a party to it too 😛 . Everyone was super crazy on the dance floor, in and around. At a given point of time I was dancing next to Telle Whitney too and I was amazed to see her energy and enthusiasm on the floor, simply loved it! It felt like the only place where girls could dance safely without bothering who else was around 😀 . We continued to be on the floor until our lady DJ stopped the music but we still could manage to convince the security to let her play ‘the last song’ again! And here comes the end of the party and all of us took the shuttle back to our hotels.

Welcome to the party @Minute maid Park!
All the dance till 12!
Photo booth fun at the party!

The next morning, I departed from Houston! Was missing GHC and all the girls :\  😦 . My journey in United States still doesn’t end here but the first leg of my trip did.
To be honest, #GHC15 was simply AWESOME and full of great experiences, and not to forget the best after conference party I have ever been to. Thank you!

Some more pictures:

Click after the Open Source Day showcase session
Career fair top view 😉
These girls were just pro at it, did not miss even a single beat!
Red Hatters at #GHC15!

FUDCon APAC 2015

FUDCon APAC 2015 was held in Pune, India from 26-28 June. This conference was a bit different for me than the ones I been to in past. The first conference that I was attending in the city and was volunteering but not speaking 😛 . So, the process started right after Pune won the bid 😉 . We used to have regular meetings to discuss on CFP dates, budget, sponsorship to speakers, swags, venue and a bunch of other things. Organizing an event is not an easy job, alas! I could see that very closely as people not having proper sleeps and putting in the best of their efforts to have everything in place. Every one was doing their bit to make the conference a success.

This was the first FUDCon that I was attending and moreover it was back to Pune after 4 years. People were really looking forward to the event with a lot of excitement. There were three main tracks and three dedicated tracks for Containers, Openstack and Storage.

This was the venue!
This is how the entrance looked like..

Day 1:

The conference started with a keynote by Dennis Gilmore on “Delivering Fedora for everything and everyone”.  I attended the keynote and had to rush to the top floors to take care of the video graphing part as I was volunteering for the same along with few other folks. The talks in all the other tracks started right after the keynote session except the seminar hall. @hasgeek guys were taking care of the video graphing for three main tracks and rest were covered a little unprofessionally by volunteers. I had to be in the Seminar hall the entire day taking care of the video which was compelling enough for me to listen to the talks the entire day. Though it’s been months that I am writing this blog but I still remember about some of the talks, there was one by Parag Nemade on DNF, can’t remember the rest 😛 . That was probably the conference where I happened to attend the maximum number of talks. The last for the day was a keynote by Harish Pillay. Day 1 was pretty hectic and I had a bad headache by the end of the day may be because I looked through the camera for longer during the day.

Talk by Parag, and I am busy doing the recording part with hasgeek guys!
Time keeping sheets for the speakers

Day 2:

Day 2 started with a keynote by Jiri on ‘Present and Future of Fedora Workstation’. After the keynote I was back to the seminar hall. There was a talk by Rejy on “Be Secure with SELinux” where he nicely explained all about SELinux. Sayan spoke on Fedmsg and Nigel spoke on Contributing to Mozilla. And, it was lunch time and I decided to take a break for a while from the seminar room and went to the auditorium to see what else was happening around. Post lunch, Izhar talked about selling Open Source software and mentioned how Red Hat has been doing it so well for years. Then there was talk on Atomic Project and Docker by Aditya Patwari(@adityapatawari) and Lalatendu where Aditya attempted a bit of standup comedy on the stage as well. The talk was pretty good though and lastly there was the closing keynote for the day. Here comes the most waited part for all the volunteers and spaeakers.. FUDPub 😉 College volunteers looked the most excited for the same. We all headed to Blu-O for the evening party, everyone was so engaged at the party.. with either food, drinks, discussions, or playing games like pool, Foosball, bowling without scores. The food and music at the party was pretty good and everyone enjoyed to their best. And there we go back home all tired.


Day 3:

Here comes the last day of conference and I was pretty late to catch the bus and so were a few to board the last one to the venue. There were no talks scheduled for the day but workshops and BoFs. I attended the first workshop for the day which was by Ryan and Sirko, all about graphics design and marked my presence at the one on Docker by Aditya, did learn a little too 😉 . It was a great day with interactions with a lot of people. Lastly, a thanking note by Rupali and we all board the buses for a drop at Magarpatta.

Workshop by Ryan and Sirko
Fedora BoF

This was my first time volunteering at any conference and I realized that volunteering wasn’t any easy job but required a lot of commitment to the work allotted. It was a bit tiring though but not boring. Moreover, you have contributed in a certain way to make the conference a success. There were certain areas where we could have done better as a team like, spreading the word about conference and having more attendees, regular volunteer meets for three conference days to keep a check if everything was alright and assigning duties to college volunteers. Rest, it was altogether a different experience and I got an opportunity to get introduced to a lot of awesome folks from Fedora community. #fudconin15 was great conference on home turf 😉


Ruby Conf India, 2015

RubyConf India, 2015 was held in the first week of April in the fun filled and beautiful city of Goa. The announcement of the venue itself created excitement among people while the tickets were out for sale way back in October, 2014. As per the schedule people were expected to arrive at the venue on Apr 3 and the conference was scheduled for Apr 4, 5. The venue for the conference was ‘Cidade de Goa’, a beautiful resort by the beach side which added awesomeness to the conference. A residential conference lets you interact with a more number of people.

Day 0, (Apr 3, 2015) I reached Cidade de Goa at 11:00 am, it was good to know that we were being allowed an early check in whereas the check in time was mentioned as 3:00 p.m. People were dropping in gradually and the peak hours were between 2-4pm where the maximum people checked in. The entire day was to relax and explore the resort depending upon what time of the day you check in 😉 . Some of them relaxed in the pool while others enjoyed having beer at the poolside bar. Most of the veteran Rubyists were happy to meet their friends from the community. Day 1 was very relaxing and enjoyable. Later in the night, everyone was formally invited for dinner.

_DSC3346 IMG_20150403_114055

Day 1, everyone was geared up at the venue for the conference to begin. The registrations went smooth and clear followed by the welcome note by Ajey Gore(@AjeyGore). Everyone at the conference was looking forward to the keynote by Aaron Patterson(@tenderlove). @tenderlove did some pair programming with a pear and talked something fun, something reaaal fast! Then, was a talk by Christophe Philemotte(@_toch) where each one took a deep dive into the unknown depths of a project. He also had some Belgian chocolates to be distributed later throughout the day(yummmm 😛 ). The day was followed by talks with intermittent tea breaks and lunch as per the schedule. One of the talks ‘Writing Ruby in your mother tongue’ was interesting enough to grab everyone’s attention with some fun-filled jokes. Later in the day, Eleanor McHugh gave an excellent talk relating to security, her slides read “Privacy is always a requirement; privacy requires trust; building trust is hard; and securing trust is harder”. This was followed by some lightening talks and then was the beach party which everyone was looking forward to. The beach party began by around 7:45 p.m with some networking until the bar counter opened(and yeah, socializing continued after that as well!). There was karaoke and people were truly engrossed into it. The food was equally good as the party. Day 1 came to an end by the beach side. Kudos to the organizers for organizing a flawless dinner party for the attendees.


Day 2, Undoubtedly, it was difficult to be on time the morning after the beach party and thus the conference schedule got delayed by around half an hour which was fair enough as we tried to get everyone together and move ahead. The day followed with scheduled talks, ‘Aggrobot – Go fetch me an aggregation’ and ‘Writing Fast Ruby’ were some of the best ones. I too had a talk pre-lunch, which I believe might have been boring for most of the audience :/ as it was a fairly beginner level talk on ‘Taking the ruby road to Front-end testing’ while on the contrary a guy tweeted saying mine was one of the talks he could understand 😀 . According to me, I did not speak that well, probably not my day or I got nervous looking at the larger number of audience or on trying to interact with the audience I got blown away with the sad response(I guess the attendees had all their attention on food and I was eating their time 😛 ). Could be anything but I myself was really disappointed with those 25 minutes. Even though my talk did not go well, but still I enjoyed the entire conference a lot except that! I am glad that I attended the conference this year and was the only female speaker at the conference (just to make myself feel good 😀 ). Goa being the venue added to all the fun. This was probably one of the best conferences I have attended till now 🙂 .

Not to forget, the food at the resort was pretty good at all times. Lastly, the closing keynote by Terence Lee(@hoe02) where he summarized the talks of the entire conference beautifully by including slides with take-away from each talk. He also talked about making contributions to ruby and ended his talk on a note “May the Ruby be with you”. Gautam Rege(@gautamrege) took over the charge for the conference wrap up and thanked each one behind the scenes who contributed to make this conference a success. Tea break followed the wrap-up and people were almost set to leave the venue though there were some lightening talks pending for the day. It was good to interact with a friendly and supportive ruby community throughout the two days. The conference was very well organised and planned. Kudos again to all the organizers.

IMG_20150405_155230RubyConf India 2015, Goa was simply awesome!

IMG_20150403_160408IMG_20150403_160113 IMG_20150405_183346

Dev Conf, Brno 2015

Dev Conf, Brno 2015 was held from Feb 6-8, 2015 in Brno and this was my first time at an international conference, glad to have this opportunity. After receiving the talk proposal acceptance mail, it was a long way to go(literally a long journey) and involved too much of planning and preparation. I started with looking at the documents required for Schengen Visa (appeared a long list at first), collected documents for Visa process, deciding on  travel dates was not easy and then doing respective bookings for accommodation as per the travel plan. Shopping was the next step as it was chilly in Brno accompanied by snow partially, then came preparation for the talk 😛 . (Following you shall not find any description of talks at DevConf but my journey)

I was travelling along with few other folks (Huzaifa, Amita, Siddharth, Amit) and we departed from Pune at 5:25am for Prague via Frankfurt. Though Pune airport is not an international airport, still Lufthansa has Pune <->Frankfurt and we opted for it to avoid the hassle of traveling to Mumbai. At Frankfurt, we rushed from one terminal to another in order to catch a flight to Prague. The flight from Frankfurt to Prague was nearly an hour and finally we reached Praha(Prague) International Airport. Inside the airport, the temperature was pretty controlled and could not feel the chill but as I moved out, the chilly winds made me shiver to the core. We had already done the bookings for the bus to Brno. The cold was unbearable while we waited for the bus. The Student Agency buses had free WiFi and coffee/tea/hot chocolate but paid water and there it was ‘Welcome to Czech!’. The bus dropped us at Hlavni Nadrazi and then we took a tram and reached our hotel late in the night at 10:15 pm. It was a long journey! All of us decided to meet for breakfast at sharp 7:30 the next morning so that we can be there for the keynote speech at DevConf.

Day 1, Early morning view from the window of my room was mesmerizing and added a beautiful start to my first morning in Brno. The breakfast was good enough, we all managed to leave for the venue by 8:20 a.m. There was little snow on the sides of the street and we preferred to walk to the venue. We reached the venue after 10-15 minutes of walk. The venue was Faculty of Information Technology, Brno. The venue was good, I liked the open space and lecture rooms, the good part was that the projector screen, wifi, video recordings were well in place throughout all the three days of conference. The keynote started at 9, we were well in time to find a place in the main room. The keynote was by Tim Burke and Mark Little. Post keynote there were some refreshments. Then the schedule for talks and workshops followed. There were five parallel tracks for talks and one track for workshop. There was live streaming in place for each of the rooms except the workshops. I attended a few talks and spent most of my time meeting new people. I would not describe what were the talks about as people can always watch the videos on RedHatCzech Youtube channel. There were around six booths on Day 1 in the open area including OpenShift, Django Girls and a 3D printer live demo as well. The open area was fairly crowded as people were interacting with each other, visiting booths and collecting some goodies. The crowd was less on Day 2 and even lesser on Day 3. Something about the food at the venue now.. The refreshments(food and drinks) were good, there were different kinds of flavored water as well as soft drinks. The drink I liked the most was Kofola which looked like coca-cola but tasted entirely different. Among all the drinks kept at the refreshments counter, it was difficult to find still water(each bottle I happened to pick was some aerated and flavored water). After attending a few talks and meeting new people from Brno, the day ended by 6:00 p.m and we headed back to reach the party arranged at Fleda, Brno from 7 pm the same day. Most of the food items at the party had meat(rabbit, duck, etc.) and there were very less options for vegetarians. We departed from the venue by 10 pm.

IMG_20150206_090858 IMG_20150207_130543

Day 2, I had my talk scheduled for the first slot for the day, I managed to reach the venue 10 minutes before 9 am and as expected there were few folks who turned up so early on a morning after the party. I started with my talk ‘Choose a testing stack that works for you‘ where I covered some of the front-end testing tools like selenium, watir along with sample code for testing the basic functionality of I also covered the basics of Behavior Driven Testing, brief on Jenkins and included live demo. My talk was followed by few Q&A and did get some positive feedback too wrt usage of as an example which audience could relate to. The video recording of the same (below) has only slides and my voice(you can hear some voice only after 4 minutes in the video, till then the earth isn’t rotating(wallpaper) 😛 ). After attending some more talks, we went for lunch to Cattani which had nice pasta as per the Brno travel guide but apparently I made a bad choice from the menu and did not like it :/ (most of the times I picked the wrong food from the menu). Later in the evening, we walked to La Strada which one of folks mentioned had good Pizza but the one I ordered wasn’t! Ah, again a wrong choice :/ . But all in all the dinner was good, had a good time interacting with some more folks from the security team.

IMG_20150206_102125 IMG_20150206_102120

Day 3, was a beautiful morning where it was snowing. While we were having breakfast, we could see the snow from the window. It was windy at first when Amita dared to go out but returned, then she took a taxi to the venue as her’s was the first talk at 9:00 am. I along with few other folks waited for the wind to calm down and walked while it was pleasant enough to walk. We comparatively took the maximum time to cover the distance as went on playing with the snow and clicking some pictures. Nevertheless we reached Amita’s talk pretty much on time like 5 minutes late or so 😛 . Day 3 had another talk by Dan Walsh and also there was a workshop by Django Girls. There were very few people around on the last day. We left the venue by around 4:30 p.m bidding a bye to DevConf, Brno 2015.

IMG_20150208_084951 IMG_20150208_090022

It was an amazing experience being at DevConf, also I attended QE camp the next two days in Brno which was also great, met some more folks around.

DevConf, Brno 2015 was awesome! 🙂

PyLadies, Pune (January, 2015)

After long days of planning, we were finally able to organize the first chapter of PyLadies, Pune on January 24, 2015 at Cummins College of Engineering, Pune. PyLadies is an international mentorship group which support women who are interested in programming using Python. Keeping the current scenario in mind about women participation in the open source community, we thought it was required to encourage more women participation. The number of girls who turned up at the event was a little disappointing as compared to the number of registrations but the chapter was destined to start that day and it did 😉 . I started the day by giving a very small presentation where I covered introduction to PyLadies and how we can increase the women participation in the open source community. I talked about a couple of existing outreach programs like Ada Initiative, GNOME outreach program for Women, Linux Chix and also awards like ‘Women in Open Source Award‘. Also discussed about some of the common reasons why we see less women in the community and how together we can help improve the ratio.


Later, Ramakrishna Reddy spoke on ‘Why we love Python’. The talk was beautifully structured and interesting enough for the college students. He spoke from his past experiences as when he started using Linux, installations involved a bunch of 30-40 floppy disks. He mentioned that it depends how a person wants to learn to program and how important are the programming concepts like data structures for students to begin their career in the programming. That one hour of the day was interesting.

After a short break of 15 minutes, there was a hands-on session on ‘Fun with Python’ by Chandan Kumar and Praveen Kumar. The topics to be covered were variables, data types,operators, looping, data structures, functions, modules and file handling. Chandan covered some of the initial topics with hands-on exercises for the participants and later Praveen explained some of the latter advanced topics. Anshul Behl grabbed the last slot of the day and explained how to use python-requests module to gather data from web and then using it for some purpose. He used the rottentomatoes API as an example for the same.

The day was concluded by Ramakrishna Reddy where he provided a clear and deeper understanding to data structures in five minutes. Praveen Kumar talked about how one can contribute to fedora and we announced the coming up event FUDCon Pune 2015. Also, we distributed some fedora stickers and DVDs to the students there.


The first chapter of PyLadies, Pune was co-organised by Red Hat and was a successful event all together. We are looking forward to a greater participation by ladies in future.

Rails Girls, Pune, 2014

Rails Girls, Pune was conducted on December 13,  2014 at ThoughtWorks, Pune. The event kicked of at 8:00 am which was too early on a chilly winter day. The introductions/ keynote by Gautam Rege, Rajshree and Pooja covered a brief introduction to Ruby, Ruby on Rails and of course the event ‘Rails Girls’. After that there was a video where the ThoughtWorkers had taken an extra effort to enact and let the attendees decide their track- Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced . Though the video was enacted well by TW folks but IMO, it did not serve the purpose rather confused some attendees whereas last year, there were random groups being formed while I was an attendee then and this time a volunteer. Volunteers helped the attendees to decide groups, installations and setup to get started as it was going to be a hands on workshop the whole day. Though there were arrangements for breakfast but only few girls could take it because of the early schedule and they walking in late. So, the agenda of the day was to introduce the participants to Ruby, Ruby on Rails and help them build a small web application by the end of day, so that they see something substantial and feel proud about what they did throughout the day.

We were all set to start, the attendees have grabbed their round tables. Each group of 4-6 girls(mostly) was accompanied by a pair of coaches where a beginner coach was paired up with an advanced coach. After everyone settled in their groups, the coaches introduced ruby as a programming language to the group. Some of them asked the attendees to use while others used irb(Interactive Ruby Shell). It was good to know that people who have been using C, Java till now were happy to meet Ruby and found it magical. So there was a brief introduction to rails as going forward, the attendees were expected to make a rails application and show case at the end of the day. At 11:30 am there was a talk by a team from Team Vision where they spoke how they understand and code without being able to see. The talk was inspiring as well as motivational, people who cannot see are able to code then what is stopping others from doing that. After that, there was a small activity named Bentobox where attendees were given stickies and a list of technology name and asked to put them in the right section so that they can have a better understanding of Front end technologies, Storage, infrastructure and others. After this 15 minutes activity, the coaches briefly explained the Bentobox to their respective groups. IMG_20141213_114515The Bentobox activity was followed by lunch after which there was a stress busting Origami  session. It was taken by a retired lady teacher with a passion for Origami. To split the girls into groups of six, everyone was asked to stand in a circle and then pick up chits which had some keyword written on it. Now, each one was supposed to find others with the same chit and form groups of 6. Here we were checking in reality how much noise could the girls make while yelling out for theirs partners. Being a volunteer, I stood beside and enjoyed the view 😀  After everyone was successfully in groups of 6, now we started with some paper folding and each piece was to be added to make a colorful cube, which was again an encouraging group activity.

After this stress busting activity, everyone was back to work and started working on their apps. Now there was more focus on Rails and building the apps. All the coaches discussed with their groups regarding which web application they would like to make. All the web applications were basically a CRUD(Create, Read, Update, Delete) but with a different wrapper to it. Those who could complete their apps on time, deployed on heroku while there were some who faced problems in deploying to Heroku. Later, was the showcase time where people came down to demo their application and share their experiences. Some of the attendees looked very happy and proud of what they have done since morning. People had take away which was a proud moment for all the coaches who did the hard work the whole day imparting knowledge to a bunch of people. One of the interesting apps a participant made was Boyfriend Expense Management App. Next, there was cake cutting ceremony and a closing keynote. T-shirts were distributed at the end of the day, those who left early missed the yummy cake and t-shirt and hence another Rails Girls, Pune came to an end for the participants but not for volunteers/coaches/organizers. A meeting was scheduled for feedback which was very organised I felt but too time consuming. We looked at what went well through out the day, what we could improve and what was different from the last time. From being a participant last year to a volunteer this year, I could see that there were less interactions among girls this time, mainly the ice-breaker was missing. The event was a success in all. The day ended with a team dinner and a bit more interactions with people from the organizing team. You can check out the Rails Girls video here which summarizes the event well 😉 .