WordCamp Season in Mumbai

Are you a WordPress user, fan, enthusiast, developer, designer? Are you interested in finding out more about WordPress in general?

Do you want to meet WordPress experts from around the world, around India and most importantly Mumbai?

If you are find saying “yes” to any of the questions above you might want to check out WordCamp Mumbai 2015 that takes place on March 7 & 8, 2015.

Yes I am a co-organiser at WordCamp.

Check these links out:

Speakers | Schedule | Buy Ticket

What is a WordCamp?

WordCamp is a conference that focuses on everything WordPress.

Stuff I use

There is a lot of things I use daily. But here is a list of things I use for work mainly.

Why am I sharing this list to public?

Why not? We share random useless data like checking into coffee shops and cinema halls. This makes more sense to me. Mainly, it serves as a way for me to keep track of stuff I am using on a daily basis. More importantly people who may read this might recommend me better alternatives.

  1. WordPress (self hosted) – Mostly for this blog and work related blogging and some documentation.
  2. Gmail – Gmail on browser and Gmail app on phone for personal and work related emails.
  3. Digital Ocean – I host this site on a Digital Ocean droplet.
  4. EasyEngine – A CLI tool to help me with using WordPress on Nginx server on Ubuntu. But I am not really a IT Admin and not very proficient with EE.
  5. Github – using it for updating documentation at work. I am not a developer. I dont really use this extensively.
  6. Macbook Air – 13 inch screen, light weight, works great, has awesome battery life.
  7. Nexus 4 – Nice Android vanilla phone – runs Android 4.4
  8. Chrome – I have Firefox installed and Safari is obviously there but Chrome for the win (but I am getting a bit annoyed with its impact on battery life)
  9. Feedly –  Using the Feedly mac app for following some good blogs usually from WordPress centric products and people.
  10. Twitter app for Mac – Works great at tracking 4-5 accounts. Since I do not need to heavily tweet for anyone of them, this suits me fine.
  11. Google Drive – Usuallly all my photos from the phone get backed up here automatically – also great for collaborative writing and planning. Use at work too.
  12. Dropbox – Stopped using it as much but still use it to backup .txt files where I often write a lot of stuff to remember
  13. Send Anywhere – Nice app to send files between my Nexus 4 and Mac
  14. Slack – Use for work mainly – also to hang around Make.WordPress community chats. Lately using it to organize WordCamp. Native app for Mac helps a lot.
  15. Skype – Not using it as much as before but still very very good for calls.
  16. Hangouts – Use rarely.
  17. Bufferapp – User bufferapp to schedule tweets automatically. Thought I use Buffer only for Twitter, it can be used with FB, Google+ pages and LinkedIn
  18. Skitch – Used extensively for screenshots on my computer.
  19. Simplenote – Nice note taking app. Not really using sync options but like using it for its labels and simplicity. Not too happy with Evernote and Google Keep.
  20. Atom – Use it to write in markdown – but really it does so much more.

There are other obvious things I have not included. eg: Facebook.

Fiction to read in 2015!

I love reading non-fiction. History books usually. But I do not mind the odd “Outliers” either. I have usually avoided fiction – possibly why I have actually managed to NOT read Agatha Christie or PG Wodehouse in my growing years.

But a recent catching up of a BBC series called “Jeevs and Wooster” has prodded me to read more Wodehouse and more fiction for 2015. I guess in a way 2015 will end up being “Year of Wodehouse” for me.

But since I have stopped reading good fiction for ages, would love to get recommendations for new books I should read in 2015. Just drop them in comments or email them to me at aditya.kane at gmail.com

 

When your blog is really about “You”

 

I can see the road I travelled as a blogger in the past 6 odd years. The road I left behind is a bit fuzzy, a bit clear in parts but mostly I never realised that unknown to me all these years, I was probably on a return journey.

The world of blogging for me really started with checking out out my sister’s online diary of sorts on blogspot. It was her secret corner hidden on the web and I wanted something similar for myself. I started writing on bombaypirate.blogspot.com (this very blog). I started writing on and off, but mostly it was about things I observed, things I got outraged by and stuff I found were cool.

“So what is your blog about?”

I was often asked this question by friends, family members. I was actually stumped to give a proper answer. I usually said something lame like “It is about anything that enters my mind” or even lamer “It is a blog about nothing specific but my views”.

It was bad manners to say “This is a blog about myself” – but it really was just that. My views, books and movies I liked or disliked, stuff I felt strongly enough to write about. But really most people (at least I think) do not think that their lives are that important, that it’s needs to be cataloged.

Blogging for me started out as creative writing but soon veered towards an interest in cataloging things. Back in 2009, I joined rtCamp and became its Editor-in-Chief. The title is a little over the top as to be honest, I was the only Editor around as such (only one on a full-time basis). I was now in charge of the popular tech blog Devils’ Workshop.

I had a tough time adjusting to the life of a tech blogger. Back then the focus was on writing content so often and so much that you topped search results. This in turn brought visits to your blog which made you money by serving those visitors ads. It was interesting at first but the excitement slowly diminished.

I was still very interested in tech, I read a lot through the day – but I had found my writing was losing its purpose. It was a game that many had figured out and end result was that it was not very ‘creative’.

Then I read a famous quote by Om Malik, a popular tech journalist

“Being authentic in your thoughts and voice is the only way to survive the test of time” 

So the trick was simple. I told myself I am cataloging technology. I would imagine what if our civilisation was lost, what if the only stuff remaining about our world were blogs hidden or backed up in some virtual cemetery, thousands of years later? Would it be not so much better to be authentic about your views and thoughts?

Maybe just maybe that would help me love blogging once more. I was not mistaken. I loved being a tech blogger and cataloging technology. For current and future readers.

“My blog is about myself”

Today, I have more or less stopped being a tech blogger. I work solely on content for rtCamp. Passions have changed. I run along with some others a local WordPress meetup group in Mumbai. Life moves along and so does the nature of the work you are doing.

But since my life as tech blogger has more or less ended, I started to gravitate towards my old blog. My personal brand, diary, my not so secret corner of the web. I am well past thirty, I have a better perspective on my life. I know how many things I have been wrong about. I have learnt to appreciate kindness, learnt to be kinder – appreciate value of hopefully being a good person.

I do not any longer care about sounding modest. My blog is all about myself. I want to hopefully grow old and have a record of how my views on certain issues have changed, how I have been wrong about so many things and for sake of my ego – how many things I got right! :-D

image credits

References

Becoming anti-social on a blog!

Blogging is odd business. Some people write for money, some for glory and some just to write. I think I have been in all categories in the past. Recently, I feel I simply want to write and read good stuff online. Now on this blog, there was a widget that allowed you to follow me on Facebook or Twitter and also subscribe to it via email.

anti-social-blog

 

It looked ugly, distractive. Why was I telling people to follow me on some social network instead of them just reading what I wrote. Hence I have removed the widget. Its plain, simple and just focused on reading. Maybe it will also keep my focus on writing.

Paying for the News

Imagine one was studying economics and came across highly recommended books on the topic. The books came recommended by famous experts and claimed to be written with no bias. The books are given away free or at some nominal price.

Then out of every ten pages, three or four and sometimes more were Ads. Ads paid for by government agencies, corporate houses and political parties. The experts who wrote these books on law were themselves working for government agencies, corporate houses and/or associated or part of political parties.

Would you expect such books to be useful or valuable? I would probably hear an emphatic “NO”.

Yet, this is exactly how we consume the News. Almost all the News we consume is provided free or something close to free.

Yet, we do not complain and sometimes even carry out self-deception in the toasting our existence in the golden age (or should it be cage?) of “Content is free” and “Customer is King”.

But I think only one of those statements stands true. Content is free is almost always not a fact. The content is actually paid for – mostly by government agencies, corporate houses and political parties.

But the second statement, that of “Customer is king” is accurate. Just that the customer is not the one who is consuming the News. Who are they? Probably government agencies, corporate houses and political parties.

Maybe its time to embrace the term “paid media” – but paid for by consumer itself.

What I took away as Organizer of WordCamp Mumbai 2014!

Last weekend was a culmination of months of preparation for WordCamp Mumbai. There were days when I was was extremely sure of it’s success and there were certain days, I had tremendous doubts on my ability more than anyone else.

WCMUMBAI_MUGS

How did the event go?

I loved organizing this event. I kept asking many people around if they were having a good time and enjoying the sessions. Most said incredibly nice things but by no means am I going to fall into the trap of thinking this was the perfect WordCamp. They were probably being polite and real feedback will soon start trickling in.

How WordCamp Mumbai was as an event? The best to answer that question, would be people who attended as participants, speakers and even sponsors.

As an organizer I am too close to it to be rational enough. Maybe 6 months down the line I could be more objective- hence I won’t get into rating the WordCamp sessions, events anytime soon.

But I certainly learnt a lot of things with this WordCamp and here are my takeaways.

  • Prepare like crazy! – First thing I take away is that one has to prepare for everything. Take your time and make plans and prepare for all eventualities.
  • Things will go wrong! – However much you prepare, it won’t be enough. Things will go wrong! (Hint: Crowding at registration)
  • And some more things will go wrong! –  (Hint: WiFi)
  • A lot of things do go right! – And finally things do end up going right too. Sometimes its important to just keep calm and carry on. :-P

Getting rid of Organizer’s Ego

Every organizer because of the amount of efforts they put into a WordCamp tends to feel a certain amount of ownership over the event. Personally I think that is a dangerous trend among event organizers.

Open source communities will have their famous personalities but we must not forget that we do not own this community or movement. I just had the privilege of organizing a meeting place for them.

As a organizer I hope I won’t fall into the trap of thinking that I have some ownership over WordCamp Mumbai or WordPress community. I do not.

Finally “Remember it’s a privilege!”

It is a great privilege to be an organizer of WordCamp. You become friends with some awesomely talented people.

I doubt I would have interacted much with any of my co-organizers like Vachan, Sahil, Yash, Jaidev, Chirag, Saurabh, Premanshu, Gaurav, Ajay, Ratnesh and so many more had it not been for WordPress meetups.

I doubt I would have had the chance to hang out with founders, CEOs, web developers, code geeks, WordCamp organizers from other cities, event organizers, journalists, writers, bloggers, sketch artists and so many more – if I had not been involved in organizing this WordCamp.

Now to what my plans are post WordCamp – It is time to chill out a bit, start reading some books and toss a few beers and enjoy turning a year older this weekend with some close friends and family.

Yes there is life outside the great “W” too. :-D

Here are some posts by some participants.

Saurabh Shukla, Ideasmithy, Annkur,  Puneet, Rahul, Brajeshwar (will add more as days go along)

Needed “Anarchy” in Media

Elections are near and the media circus is getting louder. Politicians and industrialists all complain of “media bias” and “paid media”. Despite the accusations about a corrupt media, all parties involved are buying up media.

When News channels host panel discussions and moderators sit spouting righteous judgmental pronouncements then- we are in trouble.

We blame the media for its elitism and lack of focus on what is important. But we seldom realize that media is just doing it’s job and doing it very efficiently.

The problem is with the perception. Many of us have not understood that media is not supposed to inform and educate us. It is supposed to be packaged entertainment. A product that is sold to entertain us, to shock us, to keep us busy enough to not ask questions. The current state of media is “Reality TV” at its most efficient.

Do you really want to discuss FDI, women’s rights, poverty in detail? It is so much more entertaining to see talking heads from different political ideologies call each other names while the TV host stopping them with a holier than thou attitude.

The media needs a bit of anarchy introduced. We need to promote self-publishing even more than we ever did.  The fourth estate  needs to stop being an estate.

I think the media does not need to be taught a new lesson or be regulated. It probably needs to be redefined and possibly changed.

New Year Resolutions!

A New Year is exciting and fills people with hope, gratitude and new found vigour. Then 2nd January hits home and everything is more or less the same.

I was asked a lot by people what my new year resolutions are. I never made any, except when I was little and decided to study really hard so I could top my class. I never even came close so… here is how I feel about resolutions.

New Years Resolutions

Since you nice people are reading my sometimes silly ramblings. Thanks and wishing you all a Happy New Year. ;-)

Malala Yousafzai is Awesomely Humbling!

Malala Yousafzai is awesome. She embodies the word “inspiration”. An outspoken supported of women’s education, she not just survived an assassination attempt but has stood up to the more vile brutes in a way only a child could have.

How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?

But for some something as basic as going to school is a struggle. Malala Yousafzai is from the town of Mingora in the Swat Valley of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakthunkhwa region. This is a region the Taliban started a campaign to shutdown schools for girls.

In September 2008, Malala only 11 years old spoke against the Taliban at the Press Club in Peshawar. She thundered “How dare the Taliban take way my basic right to education?”

Malala was shot in the head last year, a assassination attempt she survived with months being spent in hospital. Until yesterday, this teenage girl was nominated for the Nobel peace prize until they gave the prize to an uninspiring organisation which basically was sort of doing its job – it seems old men with desk and supposed gravitas won over someone who actually is inspiring. She appeared on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and left him (and many others I am sure) speechless.

We don’t learn the importance of anything until it is snatched from our hands

-on her love for education