Archive for the 'Photography' Category

A city kid’s reaction to OLPC XO and other stories

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

Day 2 and 3 from Bal Vividha

A small video of the reactions of a young city-based kid to the OLPC XO. The editing, subtitling and title card creation was done using Kino and Gimp. The video was shot using a Canon Powershot A610 digicam. This is my first attempt at doing something like this, so rough edges and bad technique is to be expected :P The uploaded version has loss of details, thanks to conversion and compression, it’s not *this* bad in the final edited version on my lappy.

A slightly older lad (studying in Class VII from the South Point High School) can to our stall, and played a nice game of
on one of our CASTLE Labs terminals.

Among other things, Lipika Bansal from Waag Society, Nederlands came around to the stall. She was very interested in knowing what we were doing. She wanted to visit Bijra to see what we were doing. It was a lovely exchange of ideas. She shared with me details of several projects that Waag was into at present. I particularly liked the idea of the experimental Scottie

On the last day of the exhibition, Satabdi and Debamitra from AID India came over. They too wanted to go and visit the Bijra High School project site. Probably we’ll all go for a visit on Tuesday (the 11th).

Mr. Arup Chakraborty - a member of ILUG-CAL.ORG and a key person with the Kolkata efforts of Indian Assn. for Blind Persons, came down as well, along with a colleague. They are presently using Orca screen reader and are interested in getting it to work with Bengali Unicode text. They have expressed a keen interest in closely working with ILUG-CAL in setting up a training program for the visually challenged persons in using Free and Open Source Software. We all agreed to establish a base-line reference for the program within December 2007.

Bal Vividha drew to a close on Sunday, 9th December. Chandita from Comet Media Foundation, Amit from OLPC India and myself, we all sat down for a quick review. We drew up the tentative plans have a program on ICT in Education at Mumbai during the 3rd week of February, 2008.

Err 99 is Canon’s 42 :P

Sunday, August 12th, 2007

Newest experience with the camera. Just now I had tried to shoot a timed shot in the full-manual mode, the shutter fired after the de-facto 10 secs. But instead of the image being displayed, the small LCD panel flashed “Err 99″.

At 2:30 AM, such a message isn’t exactly welcome. Tried again, same error. Power cycled the camera, still no change. Detaching the EF-S 18-55mm kits lens, and keeping the body pointed down (so as to keep the dust from going inside as far as possible), pressed the shutter. No errors this time, a burnt, over-exposed frame filled the display.

A closer look at the gold contacts on the lens showed up a faint finger-oil stain. Dabbed it off carefully and re-attached the lens. Tried to shot a snap. It worked! Goody! The staining must have happened while trying my hand at “reverse lens photography” recently :-P
Apparently Err 99 seems like a generic code to signify any error condition. I guess 99 is Canon’s 42 ;-)

A busy sunday

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Woke up rather early today. Pradeepto stopped by at WBUT on his way to the airport, to meet ART (the vice chancellor) to discuss the proposed training programs for Qt. The meeting went off well… we ended up tentatively slotting 3 training shifts over the course of the next 12 months. The first one is scheduled for 20 - 21st of July, followed by one in September 2007 and one in Jan - Feb 2008.

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After seeing off Pradeepto it was time for some serious work. Worked with ART to plan the programme for 11th May, when all the Vice Chancellors of the 13 Universities of West Bengal are scheduled to participate in a 1-day orientation-cum-brainstorming session on FOSS. The meeting would be addressed by the MIC, Dept of IT (Prof. Debes Das) and MIC, Dept of Higher Education (Prof. Sudarshan Roychowdhury). Also on the same day, an MoA is scheduled to be signed with NASSCOM and hence Kiran Karnik is also expected to be present and speaking at the program.

In the afternoon, there was a meeting scheduled at our regular watering-hole. Abhisek, Soumyadip and Santanu turned up. We discussed the up-coming training workshop at Calcutta University, budgets, future plans for more workshop. I gave the updates on the morning’s events at WBUT and the proposed NRC-FOSS node at Kolkata. We ate, drank, smoked, cussed… we also discussed about gcc optimizations, santanu and kakoli’s forth-coming marriage, state politics, the general state of affairs of ILUG-Cal.ORG, Japanese beer, eating sushi and wasabi dips. But not necessarily in that order.  And FWIW, Soumyadip has finally mastered the art of eating a beef steak with a blunt knife! :P

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Around 8:30 we decided to the Barista outlet across the road for some coffee… that ended up in a far lighter mood, with p0werp0rk going into sting-op cam mode, much unlike Karunakar’s “Indranil… are these bengali girls?”. Finally, I hustled Santanu into buying us all some cigars and we decided to call it a day.

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A look at Kolkata

Friday, April 27th, 2007

I had gone to meet the GM (IT) of Calcutta Telephones for some work. His office is on the 10th floor of the Tiretti Bazaar Exchange which is bang in the middle of central Calcutta… sitting just a few blocks away from the Calcutta Police HQ at Lalbazaar.

The view from the top was rather amazing… it looks so different from what seems like way up there… :-)


The Rabindra Seta (aka Howrah Bridge) can be seen towards the left part of the frame.


The following photo was taken on the road outside while waiting endlessly for the signal to turn green, the buses belching fumes, the 38 degree heat that felt much worse, the builders’ ad promising an affordable, mega-housing project for the middle-class and in midst of all that, the poster of a just release local movie - aptly titled “বিধাতার লেখা” quite literally “The Decision of God!” :-P


Pictures of the Intel Classmate PC

Saturday, April 21st, 2007
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The “politics” of work culture???

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

“Work culture” is a rather hotly debated topic in West Bengal. This photo depicts a “Ensure a Successful Bandh/Strike” poster on the top, the hand drawn poster at the bottom protests against work culture being allegedly destroyed by the authorities. A study in contrast?


The Bookseller from Delhi

Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

During our last trip to Delhi for LinuxAsia I saw groups of young boys aged around 9 - 13 peddling shrink wrapped editions of popular fiction and other latest bestsellers. These boys would typically approach you when your vehicle has halted at intersection signals.

They would carry about 8 - 12 books in their hands and many more in cloth satchels hanging from their shoulders. I would not have paid any attention to them except for the first one I saw, walked up to our auto-rickshaw at a crossing near Nizamuddin. He looked like he was barely 11, if at all. Already a canny salesman, he kept badgering us to buy something. Perhaps with our “Exhibitor” badges and our bags of esoteric equipment we looked like outsiders to him. Finding a tough customer in me, he changed track and started addressing Najmun, offering her a mint-fresh copy of “Interpreter of Maladies” with “Yeh dekho madam, mere paas Jhumpa bhi hai!”

That certainly got my attention! How on earth did this barely 11 year old know of Jhumpa Lahiri…??? I wanted to ask him how long he was doing this, what was it like, where did they get the books and if he had ever gone to school. But, before I could articulate my thoughts, the signal had turned green and the young hopeful face vanished from our side as our once again hurtled pell-mell into the mad Delhi traffic.

I kept a lookout for this young fellow as we traversed the same roads every day on our way to India Habitat Center. But to no avail. However, I did see his other “colleagues”. I saw this young man (click the thumbnail below) along with two others sorting their books before they started on their day’s business.

I wonder if its irony or inspirational or sheer shame that he was holding on to Shiv Khera’s “You Can Win“… indeed I wonder!