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Stephanie’s Blog

January 26, 2011

Conf.KDE.IN is coming!

Filed under: India, KDE, KDE-edu, KGeography — Tags: , — steph @ 1:32 am

Well…exciting news! Come March 2011, India will host the country’s first KDE conference. It will be held in Bangalore at R V College Of Engineering. The 9th-11th is the conference, and then a coding sprint will be held on the 12-13th.

The list of talks came out yesterday. The speakers come from around the globe, including India, Sweden, Germany and many other countries. The topics range from KDE-edu, Plasma, the KDE e.V., python, Qt, PyQt, and many other interesting topics.

They are still looking for sponsors, the information can be found here.

All are invited to come, students, teachers, KDE contributors, FOSS enthusiasts, and anyone else who wants to come.

Next time, I promise, I’ll have a snazzy button ;-) I promise we’ll have tons of fun! So come join us!!

I am attending conf.kde.in, are you?!?!

October 5, 2010

Software Freedom Day 2010

Filed under: India, KDE, KDE-edu, KGeography, Kolkata, maps — Tags: , — steph @ 10:00 pm

I was recently invited to speak at Software Freedom Day in Kolkata. I was very surprised to be invited to speak, until I saw the topic, FOSS in Education. I was initially invited to speak about Kgeography, but when I informed the coordinator that it would be almost impossible to speak about that for a whole hour, so I offered to speak on KDE-edu and Kgeography.

The event was held on Saturday, September 18, at DPS India. It consisted of 4 speakers, who spoke about Alfresco, digitization of printed books with FOSS tools, setting up networking for school/small businesses, and my topic.

First I went through a brief introduction of KDE-edu, and the programs. I followed that up with demonstrations of each program. Also, a detailed demo of Kgeography, and how to add maps. There were many people interested in it.

All in all it was a good talk, and surprisingly enough I found this time around taking 1 hour was not a problem. =]

August 10, 2010

My going-on’s lately

Filed under: Friends, India, Kolkata, every day life, my family, personal — steph @ 9:54 pm

Well…lately I have been reading a few more expat blogs. Especially Diary of a White Indian Housewife, these interest me because I can see how others live, and their experiences of being an expat living in India. I must admit though, some of the stories there shock me! I suppose we’ve had it easy so far with the FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office) here in Kolkata. But more about that in later posts, as I promise to post more about my experience with them.

This past week, the 3rd-5th, my brother, Julian, was in Kolkata. It was a blast! I enjoyed having him here although after dropping him at the airport on Thursday I was thoroughly exhausted!! (**NOTE** since my blog is not playing nice and letting me upload photos, the pictures of the visit here : http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=188159&id=530387772&l=616c4a25cf )

Tuesday Indra and I picked him up from the Howrah Train station at 630am…yes thats right! After 2 1/2 hours of sleep we left in the hired car, and were on our way. We found him waiting on the platform near his coach looking around. He had been brave and took the 3-tier sleeper class compartment, which means 3 bunks on each side of the train, without air conditioning for 2 1/2 days!!! WOW talk about brave, I’ve only been on a train once, and that was in an air conditioned train, and it was one of the best trains around. =D Once we picked him up we delivered him to his guest house, Mona Lisa Guest House, on Sarat Bose Road by Deshapriya Park. It was a very nice place, and we will probably use them again in the future for any other family who comes to visit.

After giving him some time to get ready, Julian and I ventured out to Howrah to go to the Botanical Gardens to see the Great Banyan Tree. We paid our Rs 50 ($1.10) for our tickets and went in. It was beautiful, so quiet and green. We kept walking, and finally found it. It was amazing! We had both thought it would be just one big huge tree, we were very pleasantly surprised. It was very much worth the 50 rupees we paid to get in. While walking around a over-sized golf cart pulled up to us and asked us if we wanted to go for a ride. We asked how much, he said 250 rupees each, but i am already giving you a discount to 150 rupees. We said no and continued on our walk.

Then we went to the Victoria Memorial, where we paid 150 rupees each to get in. We walked around and looked at the photos, and the old artifacts. But, we were not very impressed.

Later that night we met up with Indra and had a vegetarian bengali meal, with rice, daal, and some other veggies. It was yummy.

Thursday Indra took the day off and we went around the city. First we went to the Kalighat Temple, where we were accosted by touts telling us for a fee they could get us into the temple, avoiding all lines and all hassle. We ignored them, and walked around without going in. Then we were on our way to the Indian Coffee House on College Street. We had noodles and cold coffee with cream, it was yummy. We then went to a book store where Indra found a recipe book full of Indian sweets that we purchased for Julian. Then we went to Mithai (indian sweet shop) where Julian had sandesh and my personal favorite, ladu. Then we went to New Market, near Esplanade to go shopping.

Since Nina loves elephants, we wandered around New Market until we found a suitable elephant bracelet. We then went to Mocambo’s with John Bose, his gf Tara, Choto (small) Indranil Dasgupta, Arjun Ghosh, and us. We enjoyed some good beef steak sizzlers. Also, we had tried Baked Alaska (which was not very good)…then went home.

Thursday I picked Julian up at 12pm, and took him to the airport.

I will blog about each adventure individually, if you give me some time :)

February 25, 2010

Getting more Indian States into Kgeography

Filed under: GIMP, India, KDE, KDE-edu, KGeography, maps — Tags: — steph @ 3:40 pm

I have been working on getting more India specific content into kde-edu. The first program I decided to work on was Kgeography.

At first the maps would just work in Kgeography while choosing and showing the State names and capitals, but not the placing the districts into the state. After many failed attempts to get this working, Albert told me:

PNG images need to be 8-bit colormap, yours are 8-bit/color RGB.

I finally learned how to make the maps using GIMP into 8-bit color maps after being told by Patrick Spendrin. Using 8-bit colormap enabled the maps to use the placing option.

After the maps I was working on worked correctly I emailed them to Albert. He committed all 4 district maps into KDE svn. Since then I have been even more motivated to get the remaining political state maps of India completed. Most of the maps have now been traced and colored. I am working on the corresponding KGM files before sending them to be committed.

The states that have been put into Kgeography are: Assam, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, and Jharkhand.

District Map of Assam Get the PNG file Assam KGM file
District Map of Goa Get the Goa PNG file Goa KGM file
District Map of Himachal Pradesh Get the Himachal Pradesh PNG file Himachal Pradesh KGM file
District Map of Jharkhand Get Jharkhand PNG file Jharkhand KGM file

Jammu and Kashmir, was not accepted by Albert, because people would start debating about the actual state borders.

December 29, 2009

My Christmas Weekend

Filed under: Christmas, Friends, India, crazy crap, every day life, funny stuff, personal — steph @ 2:15 pm

Well…Christmas just passed, and wow! what a different christmas I had this year. This year I spent it with Indra, his family, and friends. On Christmas night, about 730pm we picked up Devdas Bhagat from Dum Dum Airport, after he flew in from Mumbai to come visit. That is about when the weekend started, and didn’t end until Sunday night.

Well…Friday night, Indra, Mak, and I picked Devdas up from the airport and promptly took him to his hotel in Salt Lake City. Then…we went to get some food, at 777, as Devdas was hungry, and I wanted a snack. Well…it ended up as dinner. We ate **SO** much that night. We had about 3 starters, mutton kebabs, fish tikka, and then tandoori chicken. I had never eaten so much. But then, we had some chicken ra-ra dish, and a sweet vegetable dish with some butter naan. It was yummy. We hung out with Devdas until about 10pm, and then proceeded home.

Saturday, Devdas was scheduled to give a lecture at WBSU - Barasat. Arjun Ghosh and Mak met us at our house and we left around 945am to go and pick up Devdas. We had gotten a Ambassador car for the day, and proceeded to squish all 5 of us in the car. Good times! So then we proceeded on to Barasat, in the process getting lost, since the driver missed a turn, but then Indra corrected him, and we reached the University. Then we sent the car (and Mak) to pick up Susmit who had finished his tasks, and surprise, surprise, they got lost too! =D

Devdas delivered a interesting, and educational speech about System Administration. After which, we ate…and lingered around eating lunch and waiting for others to be done with their tasks. Now, as we were getting ready to continue our adventures, there were 6 of us. So, therefore Devdas, Arjun, Mak, and Susmit all sat in the back seat, quite cramped and squished. Devdas adding, “Its quite okay compared to a peak hour Mumbai local passenger train”. Now we were on our way to Park Street to look at the lights. About 15 kilometers into the trip the brakes on the car started to go out, but the driver kept a cool head, and most of us were oblivious to what was happening. The driver managed to keep the car going and not getting into a car accident by engaging the manual transmission (shifting the gears to generate braking action). When it was realized by all what was unfolding the 4 guys in the back seat commented about using the hand brake, and the driver promptly replied, “What hand brake? That’s the first thing that gets taken out of a car!” The driver then called the owner of the car, and requested for a replacement car, little did we know that the “real” fun was about to start.

The driver managed to get us safely to Middleton Row off Park Street, where we all had tea. We spent our time looking at the church down the street that was decked up in lights for Christmas. By this time Devdas had taken out his camera, and was snapping about a million shots of everyone and everything around him! After waiting about an hour, and about 6 phone calls later, the replacement car showed up…well…it was a Maruti 1000, which was about…you know, half the size of the Ambassador we had previously had. We were all hungry, so we decided to pile into the car and go to Kafulok, one of our regular hang out joints. Well…We had adventures doing this…we had 4 guys to shove in the back seat that was designed for about 3 of them…so…Mak ended up sitting on Arjun’s lap because Susmit refused! LoL!

Once at Kafulok we had some golden fried prawns, chili garlic pepper chicken and prawn chips for starters. Then we had some delicious steamed fish, one with ginger and mushroom and the other with garlic. Then, since I was still hungry, we had some yummy hot and sour soup! =]

After this Susmit, Mak and Arjun took a cab and went home, while Indra and I took the car and dropped Devdas at the guest house.

Sunday - Started out with everyone supposedly meeting up at our house. Well…that didn’t work out well as people were late…so Indra and I went off to Science City to find Devdas. We met the others at Park Circus. We went out to some hole in the wall restaurant, called Milan Hotel. The people that were eating at the restaurant, all stopped eating and looked up to stare at our group as we walked in. It was merely a light gravy with pieces of beef in it that we ate with tandoori roti. While we were eating our beef stew, since Mak doesn’t eat beef he was eating Mutton. After this we, well…by we I mean *I* decided I wanted some fresh juice. But the others overruled me, as they wanted “joynagarer moya“, so we went and found a sweet shop and had our fill. After a time I got my wanted juice! =] Indra decided he didn’t want any juice, but instead wanted coffee. We went next door to a coffee shop, that for the life of me I can’t remember the name. We spent about 3-4 hours at this coffee shop having many adventures. Devdas and Indra had some espresso, while I had mint tea…well at least I had mint tea after a mix up with some Milk tea. After a while we got bored of sitting outside, and proceeded inside, where Arjun and Mak had something, and Devdas and I wanted some ice cream. The ice cream shop was like Cold Stone, where there were many choices and one had to answer about a million questions about what was wanted and the options. After paying our bill we then went to St. Paul’s Cathedral to see the lights at night. After this we had gone to our usual local joint, Sonar Sansa, and hung out and had some drinks before proceeding to Nirala’s China Town (one of my favorite chinese restaurants) for dinner.

After we all had our fill (and being the last people in the restaurant), we left. We waited on the street and then Indra, Devdas, and I caught a bus that goes close to our home, and Arjun, Susmit, and Mak took a taxi.

December 28, 2009

KDE update

Filed under: India, KDE — Tags: , — steph @ 2:28 pm

Its been some time since I have been in the KDE world…but now, I am back!

I am currently working on maps of India and her states for Kgeography and getting more India specific content out into the programs.

I look forward to contributing more as the days go on, and maybe, just maybe (blauzahl read the double maybe! ;-]) help bug triaging.

October 17, 2009

Princeton, Lost Souls and John Bose

Filed under: Cassini's Division, India, crazy crap, funny stuff — steph @ 1:32 pm

Thursday night, my all time favorite band, Cassini’s Division, played at Princeton. Total good time, you know, except for the fact that they started like 45 minutes late…or maybe they had already started, and were on their first cigarette break? I really dunno. :-) Well…it was fun, hung out with some friends, listened to some totally awesome music. I had arrived with Arjun Ghosh, and *EVENTUALLY* choto Indranil Dasgupta, Brandon (an american from my Bengali class), and Indra showed up (although only to pick me up!).  Also got to meet a friend for the first time, Urmi! It was fun! Little did I know…this was just the beginning of the fun.

Well…so, fast forward to the end of the show…all of us (Arjun, choto Indranil, Indra and I) went out to the street…and they started talking, and talking. And talking some more ;-)!

All of a sudden John comes out to the street with this old guy. The old guy was totally wasted. We were waiting for a taxi, and none were going our way…and the ones that were coming were getting picked up as fast as they came! Well…this guy keeps spouting out, “Am I a bad person?”, “Did I do something wrong?” and (my personal favorite ;-) sorry John!) “You are my god!”. Also, my other personal favorite outburst from the old man was, “Who are these white people standing around?!”. I had to turn away to stifle a giggle, and so John explained that I was a friend of his (the funniest part being the old man used refered to me as “people” when I was the only white person standing there!). John had asked us if we could take a detour on our way home and drop the old guy at Ballygunge Phari where he said he lived.

We finally found a taxi that was going our way, Indra, choto Indranil, and I all got in the back seat. First he wouldn’t get in the taxi because he was busy pissing on the gates of The Princeton Club. Then he had a bit of a fit about getting into the taxi. He finally got in after John reassured him that we were his friends and that we would get him safely to where he needed to go, he finally got into the front seat, with a little help.

Off we went! The old guy was muttering to himself when he was not falling asleep and falling over the front seat, at one point even leaning on the driver! Shortly we were at Ballygunge Phari and it was time to unload our “passenger”. Which proved to be tougher than getting the dude *inside* the taxi!!! Choto Indranil and Indra got out and helped the old guy out of the front seat. He at first refused to get out of the taxi and wished us good night. Finally he was standing on the sidewalk holding choto Indranil’s hand in both of his hands while bending over and touching choto’s hand to his forehead with utmost reverence. After all this time choto Indranil was his “god” and that he was “indebted to us forever”. Choto was concerned about whether or not this drunk old guy would be able to remember his house and get inside safely. On his repeated assurance that he was gonna do just fine, we left, after choto managed to “recover” his right hand.

We took a U-turn from the crossing ahead, and as we doubled back we saw the old guy still standing on the pavement where we had left him. We wondered who he was and hoped that he would get home safely. We then went home, and sent choto home in the same taxi. Yes, the taxi driver got a decent tip for this ride!

BTW, John, I know you are reading this, and you owe us 40 rupees! =P

September 28, 2009

Do you hear that?

Filed under: Durga Puja Kolkata, India, ranting — steph @ 5:03 pm

The silence is back! No more drums, and plays, and children trying to be cute by talking on the microphone, while really being annoying…ahhhhhhhhhhh it’s wonderful!

September 3, 2009

another rant

Filed under: India, crazy crap, every day life, personal, ranting — steph @ 4:45 pm

Sorry all…I’ve just been down a bit these last few days. I don’t get out much, because… 1. I prefer not to go out alone and get into some sort of trouble or get ripped off… 2. I don’t know the city very well, and I don’t want to get lost, and yeah…so pretty much the only time I get out of the house is when I go to my Bengali class, well…unless I go to Barasat or WBUT with Indra (which these days is not that often). But anyways, life goes on. The hardest part is I used to enjoy my bangla class…but now…its just getting irritating because the teacher doesn’t seem to be teaching us *anything* new…its the same thing day in and day out…I mean yeah, mind you, he has taught us the conugations of the verbs, but we are hardly learning any new vocab…we are learning a bunch of verbs…but no words…if you can get what I’m saying…I am learning more at home by asking Indra, Maa, or Sujata what the word means. Its really annoying…and I’m sick of not having a job…I’m really sick of having to depend on others, and I just want to be active again…sorry for the rant…I had to blow up somewhere…and the internet is a safe place because nobody gets hurt.

August 13, 2009

Yeah-ness!!!

Filed under: India, every day life, personal — steph @ 1:54 pm

So, since today *was* Thursday, but now is Friday, since it is 107am. I went to my bengali class. Well…low and behold to my surprise, today is a Hindu holiday…well, so the Hindu’s say, but the calendar says tomorrow, erm today…so…class was canceled. I suppose had I been feeling better on Tuesday and attended the class, I might have known there was no class today. Oh well! =) So…I come home again, and after getting sick of waiting for a bus, I walked down to Bijon-setu (bridge) and caught an auto-rickshaw home, which costs 6 rupees (like 10 cents). Well…the auto rickshaws normally drop us off on the other side of the crossing from our house. The crossing by which we live is pretty dangerous, and so, I (like a good girl) find myself a group of people, and if there isn’t one immediately available, I just wait for one, and then I cross with them. Then we usually take a cycle-rickshaw home. Well…today I was getting on, and told the riskshaw-wallah (the peddler) the name of our apartment complex. We go off on our way, and about half way home, he asks me (in english!) what gate to go to. Well…that surprised me, and not knowing if this rickshaw-wallah knows *exactly* where I live (since I don’t know how to direct him to the house in bengali) I just tell him ‘teen-nombor gate’ (which basically means gate number 3). So today, someone recognized me, without Indra by my side! =) Happy day

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