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From Drupal, PHP to the future of SmartTV and gamifying education our blog is on occasions rants of an over active mind….

Drupal Camp Pakistan in Lahore – Drama in LollyWood

DCPKLHR Logo 1 131x300 Drupal Camp Pakistan in Lahore   Drama in LollyWoodKick off for Drupal Camp Pakistan in Lahore was a strange affair! unfamiliarity with the local culture of the metropolis meant we went through a steep learning curve in the morning!

Registration opened at 0900 and by 1000 only half a dozen people had turned up! We were told by the University reps none of the students would be turning up till 1130 – there were classes going on but did not expect industry to be sleeping in!

The few locals who did turn up on time, near on time were quite relaxed… ‘this is a Saturday in Lahore’ we were told, relax.. ‘you said 0930 reg closes right, so they’ll be running an hour late for sure’. All but one took kindly to the norm of his city folk, we ended up getting blame for not organising things properly! I guess the expectation was that we ought to either kick off on time with 8 people in a room that accommodates 100 or to go around waking people up, dressing them, feeding them and bringing them to the camp! WTF!

Ali Ahmed DCPK 300x100 Drupal Camp Pakistan in Lahore   Drama in LollyWoodOur sincere apologies to Ali Ahmed for deciding to wait for the masses before we kicked the camp off. As forecasted by the locals the Lahoris started trickling in past 1000 and we kicked off at 1015 with a call to Jacob Singh across the border in Bangalore. Jacob had arranged for us to connect with a Bangalore Drupal meetup over Skype (Thank you) and that got me super excited… the prospect of connecting the two neighbouring communities is on every doves mind! this was going to be awesome… well it was until we introduced a local Trainer to the group in Bangalore! and in the interest of politeness I will not name this individual but he really f**ked it up!  This bafoon went off on an idiotic nationalistic tangent as far removed from the spirit of community as pluto is from the third rock! it took him 15 seconds to sabotage what was going to be a historic moment for the two communities! It took me a moment to step in and push the fool aside and try and recover from it, 40 local Drupalers and me were in a total state of shock! The look on everyones faces called for a public lynching! I and the 40 odd Pakistani Drupalers in the room have to hand it to the guys in Bangalore for their maturity for brushing aside the idiots comments, thank you Anil and the Bangalore meet up group! I guess every community has an idiot amongst them.

Having been taken off guard, felt like I’d been thrown out of a plane without a parachute, I cut the call with the Bangalore Drupalers short and it was time to set some freaking ground rules!
I took the fool to task as did all the locals. I did not travel 6000+ KM from London to Lahore via Dubai and Islamabad, running on less the 8 hours of sleep over the last 72 hours…. for this! What was heartening was the audience in mass was was calling for blood! LOL letting him know publicly that he is a racist, the fool tried to recover with stupid logic that only a fool can conjure up! The positive from the drama was a racist fool was unveiled and now the local community knows who to avoid like the plague.

Enough of the fool,  rest of the session was spent on a very constructive discussion on borderless communities, OS playing its part to transcend differences of all sorts… and why complete strangers were taking time off from London, Gent, Brighton, Bangalore to Helsinki on a Saturday to share their experiences, and how grateful the locals were for it. It was time to move on…. it was pleasant to hear in a room of 50 odd people by now no one else shared the bigot’s views.

If you are reading this post you know who you are, climb out of your cave of ignorance fella’

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Fouad Bajwa – innovation is driven from within

Our next speaker was a local open source advocate, Fouad Bajwa who adapted his discussion well to pick up where I left off.. on individual mind-set and culture being the biggest barriers to innovation and growth.

I would have gone into a live commentary of every session as I did from the Islamabad camp but we were not provided wifi access,  bandwidth had been dedicated for the Skype calls… the submarine cable issue under the Suez Canal had not been sorted out, connectivity though fair still wasn’t it’s awesome self and it was more important for our speakers to have all the bandwidth dedicated to the calls…  reporting back to the community could wait till I was back in Islamabad!

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Jennifer Tehan’s session on backend usability was the most popular session amongst the advanced track

Given a late start we had to shuffle things around, by lunch time we had 70 folks in attendance as opposed to the 118 registered for it! and in majority it was the industry that failed to show up! as classes finished more and more students came around to the camp, few already dabbling with Drupal, most plain curious.

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Me being my Evangelical self

Post lunch we broke off to separate tracks, I went on evangelising and fielding some tough questions on why Drupal from a very informed bunch of CS students near graduation, the advanced tracks did not see the numbers for the industry failed to turn up! the training sessions were well attended and about 40 odd students went through the Hello Drupal sessions.

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Amar Mahboob from Kubaku Tech – Flown in from Karachi to attend and speak at the Camp

All in all Drupal Camp Pakistan in Lahore was a mixed bag… as far as our objectives went, we ticked the introduce Drupal to students box, we ticked the train upwards of 30 students box (we trained 41 to be precise), we ticked the get academia involved box but failed to get the industry to turn up in mass and network with potential future Drupalers!

The most interesting conversations I had was with a number of Professors and associate professors who turned up to feed their own

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Deen of IT dpeaking to the mostly student audience – make the most of what the industry shares with you

curiosity, of them one needs a special mention Bilal Arshad, who is spearheading the university’s links with industry and has invited us back to the university to evangelise about Drupal and other emerging technologies on a regular basis. This part of the rock certainly needs more folks like Bilal to align the academic curriculum to the practical needs of the industry as well as global demand for talent and skills.

Our closing was spectacular, the Deen for IT from the university turned up impromptu to talk to what was in majority his students and big up our efforts for bringing the camp to his school and insisted that students drink deep from the Drupal spring and maintain contact with those they met from Industry on the day.

Lastly acknowledgements!

Thank you Fida, Atiq, Khurram, Umair and Ahmed from team ikonami for their hard work in organising the camp, its site and everything else before, on the day and after! excellent show cranes – mighty proud of the team. Thank you to our project managers for allowing the team to take time off to organise  the Camp.

Thank you Jennifer, Stefan, Aaron, Dominique, Jacob, Ronald, Fouad, Amar, Anil Sagar (and the Drupalers in Bangalore), Shakeel and Atta for taking time out on a Saturday to share your knowledge and experiences with the community in Lahore! we all appreciate it immensely! it was a shame Mr Purkiss had to cancel bu Steve had a good reason for it.

Thank you Acquia, AberdeenCloud, Kubaku and ikonami for supporting the Camp with their sponsorships.

And lastly, thank you Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, Bilal Arshad, Armaghan and the IT department at University of Central Punjab for hosting the camp and their assistance on the day!


Drupal Public Sector Exchange – Open Councils event

DPSE logo 1 2013 300x159 Drupal Public Sector Exchange   Open Councils eventDPSX got off to a rocking start on the 14th of March, though the first hour was more of a rocky start given the chaos on the Central and Victoria lines that evening!
To keep things short and simples! all DPSX posts will get straight to the point, none of my usual verbosity! for that you’ll have to go to!

Speakers at the first DPSX event on Open Councils:

Richard Pope - Government Digital Service
Steve Purkiss –
Robert Miller – Lambeth Council
Michael Lenahan – Lambeth Council
Paul Mackay  – NESTA

Key points shared and discussed:

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“..Open Source, Open data and Open by default is the ethos at Lambeth…” @RobMiller31

+ Current govt. is sorting its act out and the mentality is changing.
+ The govt. recognises that its a big undertaking and top down will to deliver value for our taxes and set the guidelines and a path for the local bodies to follow.

“Key to current successes has been lowering boundaries” @richardjpope

+ The govt. Digital service its not just about Drupal of course but the bigger picture, its about setting guidelines for central and local govt. bodies on harnessing Open Source, delivering services for the end users as well as digital services for the govt. and saving billions on the tech budgets!

“for any council to be undertaking this transformation in isolation is crazy” @mcaleaa
+ There is a shift in policy: internalising development

+ Making sure selection of OS suppliers is screened for OS too is open to abuse so watch out for the OS cage!

+ Procurement is opening up to smaller suppliers in a flexible accessible manner….and yes G-cloud is making a difference but not every one is sourcing form the g-cloud either! and there is much room for improvement

“..use your data to unlock yourself from proprietary contracts…” @kubair

+ Workflows at the local govt. level need improvement

Drupal Public sector Exchange March2013 5 300x225 Drupal Public Sector Exchange   Open Councils event + Lambeth is looking to strengthen its team by working with other councils

+ Open data (via APIs) is the key to building a modular evolutionary/re-usable infrastructure – this also opens up the ability for developers to create ‘Apps’ for consumption by councils and potentially central govt.
+ NESTA is soon to launch Code for Europe modelled on Code for America that would improve collaboration across Europe for solutions built upon OS platforms.

 “..Lambeth has gone from the dark ages to star wars in 2 years..”@socialtechno

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“most applications are still tied up in contracts, OS occupies a very small space within local government at his point..” @stevepurkiss

A few useful links:
Lambeth Council
Made in Lambeth
Government Digital Service
GDS design PrinciplesGDS Digital Strategy blog
Code For Europe Project

The next event for Drupal Public Sector Exchange will be held at the end of May 2013 and we will be going for a venue location a tad bit more centralish!
If you are interested in speaking at the next event, attending or have suggestions on speakers or topics you would like to see covered please drop us a tweet or an email…

DPSX is @Alanpeart @Calert @Greenman @Kubair @MarcDe_ath @shaunwilde

#Drupal #PublicSector #Innovation #G_Cloud_UK #NESTA #GovUK

Drupal Public Sector Exchange

DPSE logo 1 2013 300x159 Drupal Public Sector ExchangeMost initiatives from the private sector that bring the two sectors sectors together tend to justify their being with a beat down of the public sector, the individuals and teams that prop up and manage an under-invested at occasions misinvested infrastructure that provides the privilege of our 1st world life style and status on the rock.

There are challenges and concerns at all corps, the largest corporation that is Britain Plc is not immune; some self evident and quick to address and others not. In context the private sector needs to recognise and address the specifics where their intervention is most likely to have a significant positive impact. One such specific is connectedness between the parts that make the whole; whilst each is individually pursuing efficiency and improvement (or not) others are a degree removed from their successes and failures. It is not a connected environment, it is not a community.

There is no silver bullet but there are a few awesome ideas around, and the Drupal Public Sector Exchange (DPSE) is one such idea. DPSE is not here to sell Drupal to the participants, we have all agreed on that… DPSE is about creating a platform to connect, explore and celebrate successes and failures of applications and solutions introduced using the Drupal platform in the Public Sector, and narratives to explore for those agreed on the Open Source direction but undecided on the platform.

Our role at the DPSE is to take what we learn and benefit from as part of emerging tech communities; Drupal and otherwise,  seed it at the DPSE, to facilitate the development of a similar community of public sector Jedis and private sector Jacks and Giants.

Of course its been done before, however we believe we can bring a fresh perspective and uncommon value with this initiative, drop around and see how at our Open Councils event this week.

DPSE: @Alanpeart @Calert @Greenman @Kubair @MarcDe_ath @shaunwilde

#Drupal #PublicSector #Innovation #G_Cloud_UK

Getting our Drupal ON…

Getting our Drupal ON for DrupalCamp Pakistan – going to Lahore!

DCPKLHR Logo 1 Getting our Drupal ON...Its been four odd months since the first DrupalCamp in Pakistan was held in Islamabad and it was Epic. When I took upon my self and lumbered my team @Ikonami with the responsibility of bringing the Pakistani and other other Drupal communities into the fold of the Global community in earnest, we set ourselves a task… 3 camps per year visiting each major city wherever we engage the community.

Pakistan is our first port of call, Ikonami has a offshore Drupal Development centre based in Islamabad so logistically it made sense to be the spot for the first trench! but we have plans beyond its borders!

It is time for the second Drupal Camp Pakistan and its being held in Lahore, we have a venue a kick ass venue – the University of Central Punjab, we have 6 international speakers confirmed, an awesome trainer running 3 marathon sessions to introduce new blood and talent into the Drupal fold and several local Drupal Jedis taking time out to share their knowledge and experiences, we have three sponsors so far, two confirmed, one of whom is now becoming a regular sponsor we hope @AberdeenCloud and this time round we even got @Acquia‘s attention, And the tickets are flying off fast on

We still need to volunteers to come forward to help us on the day, a few more local sponsors, a few session slots are still open and available should anyone want to step in and share their journey and experiences and then we will be all set to rock Lahore!

…and once done with Lahore Drupal Camp Pakistan is going to the city of lights! Karachi in the Summer of 2013 and for that we are already connecting with Karachiites.

@DrupalAssoc  @timdeeson @UCPofficial @JacobSingh @Acquia  @Kubair @Dries @stevepurkiss @stefanvanhooft @DelishCreative

#DCPakistan #DrupalCommunity #DrupalCamp

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