Jan 19 2016
Jan 19

DPSX-jan-2016DPSX-jan-2016 Our January meet up was in the making since the #DPSX BoF at DrupalCon Barcelona in September 2015, the sign up for the 13th Jan event was great but logistical challenges mid December left quite a few folks confused. In retrospect the meet up needs a permanent abode, if you’d like to host the next meet up please get in touch.

Despite that the turn out was good, we had 11 from a possible 29 and one late arrival found the venue doors locked! apologies Chris, have expressed much annoyance with the venue management.

We had Greater London Authority, Crawley borough council and Lambeth Council representing the public sector along with folks from the Drupal community.

The theme for the evening was ‘A Drupal Distribution for Local Councils’ though discussions as always went beyond the theme, other subjects that made for a lively discussion included Agile colocation, G-cloud for local government procurement, user lead design and next steps to making a local gov distribution happen!

Obvious place to start the conversation was GovCMS, as it turned out Andy from Lambeth had a look but did not go with it, likewise the general consensus was there is too much there for a local council and by the time you’re done stripping stuff out and adding to it you’d have forked it significantly! and of course there is the ’not invented here’ factor too. GLA tried Panopoly with one supplier only to have the next one rip it out, which turned out to be the right decision for GLA.
General reluctance towards distributions; few found them to be cumbersome and perhaps best suited for proof of concepts and demos but not the real thing. Consensus was getting to a distribution for local councils in the UK ought to start by utilising a local council’s existing platform as the base, the requirements are likely to follow the 80/20 rule – 80% common across and 20% custom, with the custom requirements most likely to be integrations with back end systems. Questions raised included which council’s platform would be the base? this would require a discovery, setting out a minimum viable product (MVP) criteria, an evaluation criteria, getting buy-in to the concept, evaluating contenders etc.. the other key aspect to consider for a local council distribution is keeping it minimal! if overloaded with features it will fall by the wayside as cumbersome.

The discussion went on to how could we make it happen? Chandeep is certain there is an initiative in the making (shall reach out to the local community to explore further) and if you happen to be involved in it please reach out to the #DPSX community here. A to do for me is to reach out to Ben Goward from Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham councils and explore their initiatives on shared digital platform and services. For the next meet up it would be invaluable to get a few more councils represented, explore if there is an initiative on a local gov/council specific distribution and to put in a process to capture the minimum viable product (MVP) criteria. Shall update everyone with a followup post as and when I have news either way.

For this post I will pick one more topic from our meet up to keep it brief, that being User lead design at local councils and making the most of the Government Digital Services’s (GDS) user testing lab and services. Agile co-location and G-cloud shall share in separate posts. 

Graham informed the group that GLA placed a great deal of emphasis on ensuring the solution followed user lead design principles and practises, and for that the GLA called on the Government Digital Services’s (GDS) user testing lab and services, GLA accessed the GDS testing lab and had the benefit of working with the GDS’s design team. This is a huge takeaway for all local Gov representatives reading this post, for local council product owners it would be hugely beneficial to enquire that sort of access and service costs, or reach out to the GLA to share the learnings. I’d like to point out to an earlier post on better understanding your jury (your users), and if you’d like to learn more about persona driven user journeys then you’d benefit from the following resources:

This is relevant to our conversation on distributions too, for most if not all distributions appear to me as engineering lead, whereas they ought to be user-need / problem-solution driven. If approached from the problem-solution view I have no doubt we would have leaner, more focused distributions that address vertically focused user needs which in turn would mean increased uptake, lower cost of ownership and quicker release cycles. A valuable exercise to under take would be to develop a empathy map for local councils to identify their digital behaviour as an organisation, I sense a #DPSX workshop evening in the making!

The resolution for 2016 is to hold more frequent DPSX meet ups and with that in mind I’ve set up a meetup.com group which ought to make it easier to coordinate and grow the community, you can sign up and keep track of our meet ups here. The next meet up is planned to coincide with Drupal Camp London, we’ll be holding a BoF at Drupal Camp London (4-6th March 2016) (details to be confirmed).

Lastly I’d like to thank our sponsors Acquia and FFW for their support with the venue and refreshments for the evening.

Nov 23 2015
Nov 23

Drupal Public SectorDrupal Public Sector

As a tax payer I want companies who provide frontline public services to make the data they gather in the provision of such services available through Open APIs to other actors in the ecosystem, so that such actors can utilise that data to provide new and innovative services to the public.

News from Australia shared with the DPSX BoF at DrupalCon Barcelona back in September was both good and bad, whilst the Australian government is spearheading adoption with the GovCMS distribution, efforts are we were told loosing steam as the distribution in its current form is quite restrictive requiring significant customisation by individual departments adopting it. The question is why fork it? why not modularise it? To get some answers that may help us in the UK I reached out to my Acquia colleagues in Australia to shed some light on the matter and this is what they had to say:

govCMS is growing and maturing at a good rate after a slow start. The fundamentals have been adjusted to allow for greater openness and govCMS_logo (3)_1govCMS_logo (3)_1 community interaction with the distro via github. The Australian Government is delivering on their aim to work with the community. We are expecting to see further iterations of the govCMS product over the next 12 months that will improve the ‘out of the box’ experience and allow clients to get sites up and running quickly/cheaply. Expect to see improvements that either reduce the need for customisation and make custom work easier.

The restrictions you mention are by design – they largely relate to the modules available to developers. By providing best of breed modules, the distro can avoid bloat/cost. The other effect is to focus expertise on those modules so they become easier to implement via experience and documentation that are relevant to this client space. That said, the process of requesting changes has also moved to github in the last few months and is less a ‘black box’ than it was initially.

As to why govCMS was forked – this largely related to the need Australian Government had to work with a stable platform where they could apply their own governance controls. This will probably mean a distro that evolves at a slow and steady pace, with a focus on security and compatibility. Australian Government is also sensitive to appearance that they are endorsing one vendor over another, or becoming subject to vendor lock in, taking ownership of the distro removes this issue and makes further broad investment by a range of departments more likely.” Gavin Tapp | Program Director | Acquia

There are valuable lessons for local councils in the UK seeking to create a local government distribution, which ought to make for engaging conversations at the 13th January 2016 meetup of the DPSX in London. If you’d like to a part of the conversations please register for the free event here:

One more option to look on her packing at it levitra vardenafil it of course to take not so simply because a form another and there is a wish to hold in hand her not so strongly. You can carry by me on a wide field.

Mar 01 2015
Mar 01

DCLondon-2015-01DCLondon-2015-01 #DCLondon 2015 was nothing short of Epic, Drupal Camp London has in its own right become a mini-Con, with community members flying in from not only across Europe but the US, India, Australia and New Zealand it is hard to call it just a London camp!

London is the centre of the multiverse!
Drupal Camp London 2015Drupal Camp London 2015 It was awesome catching up with old friends, some new ones and finding an engaging audience for my session on using Empathy maps, content touch point analysis to develop a robust content strategy.

Bummed about not being able to catchup with everyone though!!

I’d like to reiterate my two asks from the community this March:

1) Like, Follow and spread the word on Bringing Peace Through Prosperity, it goes hand in glove with our activist nature and desire to make this rock a better place today, tomorrow and beyond.

2) Drupal Camp Tunis needs our support to bring their local community into the wider fold, the organisers at DCTunis are looking for speakers and support.

And a HUGE thank you to everyone who attended my session…

See y’all at the next Camp!

One more option to look on her packing at it levitra vardenafil it of course to take not so simply because a form another and there is a wish to hold in hand her not so strongly. You can carry by me on a wide field.

Feb 26 2015
Feb 26

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Jun 02 2014
Jun 02

DCon-Amsterdam-logo

DCon-Amsterdam-logo

DrupalCon Austin 2014 is in full swing as of tomorrow,  my attendance is restricted to watching live feeds of the keynotes and the session recordings on Drupal Association’s Youtube channel … having not made it to the North American Con (again!)… thought I’d put the little down time between contracts to prepare for DrupalCon Amsterdam, on what I propose to share in two sessions freshly submitted.

Both in the business track;  one more a workshop than a traditional session… am quite excited at the prospect of having one if not both selected (fingers crossed). The first one I have proposed is a more indepth version of my ‘Practical Agile Product Development’ session recently delivered at Drupal Drupal Camp Yorkshire 2014 Agile Product Development

Drupal Camp Yorkshire 2014 Agile Product Development

Camp Yorkshire. Its 16 years of experience of delivering products, projects and transformation programs using various flavours of Agile, from James Martin’s RAD (Rapid Application Development) for getting products out of the door in their minimum viable form to giving the chaos structure using Dynamic systems development method (DSDM) to falling in love with the simplicity of SCRUM and then the combination of SCRUM and KANBAN: SCRUMBAN. From the beginning to date the challenge remains selecting which flavour of Agile is best suited for the engagement… and more challenging still occasions when the herd is convinced on not using Agile at all and its my job to swing the Jury in the opposite direction, this happens more so on the non-tech elements of a transformation program than the tech aspects of course.

Agile Digital Consultancies Vs the Big 4

Agile Digital Consultancies Vs the Big 4

The second session I have proposed is about getting agencies of all sizes in the community better tooled up to face off  Tier 1 & 2 consultancies and systems integrators who are increasingly and rapidly developing their Drupal capabilities given the size and scale of the opportunities in the Enterprise space. What started of as a niche platform has gone mainstream and with it has brought the big full service firms in to Drupalverse, which folks is a great thing for all involved in Drupal, FOSS and Enterprise!

Then there is the wider shift of agencies moving in to digital consulting since many of the Tier 1’s have historically lacked the depth agencies have built up over the years in the digital realm. So my second proposed session ‘Understanding your prospects, clients, stakeholders (Jury) and end users‘ is an in depth look at three models, my current favorites; Empathy maps to better understand the actors in your ecosystem, HotHousing  an exploration framework that mixes creative design thinking options with agile delivery outcomes, and Jobs-To-Be-Done framework (JTBD) a way to understand customer’s needs, motivations and behaviours. All three together are a powerful toolkit for any engagement be it tactics to approach a new prospect, running productive workshops with clients or ascertaining the ‘true’ needs of end users and facilitating them to articulate them and then co-designing options for fulfilling them.

Fingerscrossed I’ll get to share my knowledge and experiences on both Agile and Digital Consulting, however if there could be only one… I’d jump on the opportunity to tool up the community to better understand and engage with their prospects, clients, stakeholders (Jury) and end users.

Drupal Give back

Drupal Give back

For the curious this post is called Give back  for it is exactly that, back in 2012 in Munich I shared the challenges I was facing bringing peripheral communities into the fold with the global community, who in turn rallied to my aid and between Munich 2012 and Austin 2014 me and a few local hosts have kicked off four 1st ever Camps in 4 cities in two countries and been an inspiration for another two. Sharing what many of my peers in the consulting space prefer to keep to themselves as their magic models, I would like to believe sharing them with the community is my own personal give back, a huge thank you of sorts. Gondor returning the favour to Rohan if that’s your thing… or Lannisters paying a debt if you are so inclined!

Jun 01 2014
Jun 01

The community in the North… is quite hospitable and the Camp in the North was fantastic :)

:)


Drupal Camp Yorkshire 2014

Drupal Camp Yorkshire 2014

Back at Drupal Camp London Paul Driver invited me to Drupal Camp Yorkshire to deliver a session at the Camp. Drupal Camp Yorkshire 2014 was the 2nd Camp up in Leeds I am told, but from the experience I had for the short while I was there it could have been the 10th… it was  very well organised camp no doubt and next time round I will have to make sure I juggle my diary to be able to stay for the entire weekend.

Its been 6 or 7 years since I have been up to Leeds, driven past many a times but did not have an excuse to stop over, Drupal Camp is probably up there in the top 5 excuses to stop over or visit… but before I jump into the details I must mention another community who like myself had taken the Saturday off to take part in a very different but essential sort of activism.

2014-05-31 13.46.51

2014-05-31 13.46.51

On the train up to Leeds I met with a couple of ladies heading up from London, volunteers who were much like our own community giving up their Saturdays to give back.

Did’nt quite catch their names but they were activists heading up to Newark to give them folks from UKIP a hard time and to help the community there see UKIP  true ‘far right’  colours. I would like to thank folks like them who keep Britain grounded and heading in the right direction, giving geeks like me and others the ‘space’ to build, focus on and be part of other communities that rely on a certain kind of society to keep looking ahead and progressing in the right direction… probably not as eloquently put as I could.. but I am going to blame the beautiful sunny Sunday that it is right now!

Ok, back on topic, My session was on ‘Practical’ Agile product development and you can watch the video below to understand what I mean by that.

[embedded content] You can view/download the slides from Slideshare.com.

Lastly I must mention the venue, Electric Press at the Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds was by far the most picturesque of Drupal Camp venues I have have been to so far, over looking the Millenium square which given the weather was bursting with life and an open air concert set the scene up for a community event quite well.

Excellent job done by the organisers, a huge thank you to everyone who attended my session and apologies to a few friends I could not see or spend time with… for I dashed in and dashed out but will make it up to them at the next Camp or at the Con in Dam.

“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.”
Rollo May

Dec 05 2013
Dec 05

November was huge for the Open Source community in Middle Earth, Those who attended Drupal Camp Karachi on 2nd November and Dubai on the 30th of November 2013 made history. I shall get to Karachi later, this post is about Dubai Camp, challenges of organising it and the outcome of the journey that started in June 2013.

BaY96-QIQAAQ_I3

BaY96-QIQAAQ_I3

As organisers our focus was both quality and quantity of course; share best practises, tools and knowledge with as many as possible! though we did not get the quantity, 80+ were invited 55 were expected and the campers peaked at lunch with a turn out of 45… and for the last session and closing we had 20.

Organising Dubai camp was a challenge for the organising committee… though committee sounds grand! there was me, Ahmed Koshok and Massoud Al-Shareef, with two regionals on board you might expect things to be easier but with no boots on the ground mobilisation of the community, securing the venue, putting the logistics in place was always going to be a challenge! but planning for it made it that tad bit easier.

DCAE_Email_Volume_2013

DCAE_Email_Volume_2013

At first there was just me (and making very slow progress), then Ahmed came on board and both of us dragged the vision of Dubai camp a fair distance but nowhere close to the starting line… then in Massoud we found a regional champion and a reliable network on the ground to go through the red tape… that was Hani Hejazi; and securing the venue was Hani’s feat. From start to finish organising Dubai camp took 6 months!

DCAE_pic_4_2013

DCAE_pic_4_2013

DC Dubai had a strong contingent of local/regional Drupal rockstars in attendance and that was the magic sauce in Dubai camp, from a total of 16 speakers/trainers we had 9 local/regional speakers/trainers and that was a coup for any first camp I have attended or been a part of in Middle Earth.

At Dubai camp there were many firsts! the faculty was not just curious but participatory and super supportive, Professor Jassim Jirjees the program director for MLIS was in attendance and his staff ensured everything ran like clockwork!

To top it all Professor Muthanna G. Abdul Razzaq the president of AUE announced a full scholarship for anyone applying from within the Drupal community… we shall get the details for application, prerequisites etc and post them on our Facebook page.

A super supportive and involved institution, local rockstars in attendance, informed and engaging speakers, an awesome regional community to network with and a tasty lunch… made it epic.

From Ahmed Koshok, Massoud Al-Shareef and me a huge thank you shoutout to:

And I would not have been able to co-organise Dubai Camp had it not been for Ahmed Koshok, Massoud Al-Shareef, Jihan Al-Shareef, Hani Hijazi  and Marwa Ezzat – we made an awesome team folks! thank you and lets get going for the next one!

For session slides please follow the DrupalCamp Dubai twitter account and we shall be releasing the slides as and when we receive them from the speakers, a few are already up on Twitter.

Looking forward to hearing about meet-ups in KSA, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and beyond!

Oct 27 2013
Oct 27

Drupal

Drupal

There were four drupal camps  for 2013 on my radar… three firsts in Lahore, Karachi, Dubai and Islamabad’s second camp, and as with most plans.. things got skewed after Lahore!

Back in March at Drupal Camp Lahore we had the unpleasant experience of an individual announce himself as a contender for  ‘douche of the community’ award!  spewing out bigoted, racist opinions about fellow community members  from Bangalore whilst we had the Bangalore community with us over Skype…  you can read the details here. Unfortunately that was not the last we heard from the ‘Douche’, instead of apologising and seeing the errors of his ways the ‘Douche’ having been taken to task by several members of the local community announced his own camps in Karachi and Dubai soon after, with dates to coincide to those organised by ourselves. So we called it a day in the summer and postponed Drupal Camp Karachi to November and Dubai thereafter. Yes… I am venting, am a little annoyed for there has been malice at work from the very start to sabotage the efforts to nurture a single cohesive community in Middle Earth.

Being the first in Karachi or Dubai was not the objective, doing it right was and remains! now on to the upside! Having my summer schedule blown wide open was great! I spent August in the high Atlas in Maroc, summited Tizi Agouri and M’Goun and came back rested and with fire in’me belly for the fall camps! 

DrupalCon_Prague_Logo_2013

DrupalCon_Prague_Logo_2013

September was Drupal Camp Belgium in Leuven and then of course the highlight of all things OS for the year DrupalCon Prague and catching up with friends from all over the rock and making some awesome new ones!

October has been a month of careful planning and absolute frenzy! all good though.

DCPKHI_Logo

DCPKHI_Logo

For Drupal Camp Karachi  the local organising committee and I roped in [email protected] and together they have worked tirelessly to ensure Karachi camp would be worthy of  Karachi’s Drupal Community and the awesome city Karachi is (the economic hub of Pakistan and the third most populated city proper on the rock). The venue is the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), folks at IBA jumped on board with epic enthusiasm from the get go! Karachi camp has a little under 400 delegates registered, 13 speakers from 11 different countries! Karachiites have been awesome! and the credit goes to [email protected] and the local organising committee. I have no doubt Karachi Camp will be epic in proper Karachi style.. on the 2nd of November 2013.

With Karachi sorted, well almost sorted it was time to turn my attention to Dubai, and little surprise the Douche was all over D.O with a Drupal camp in Dubai and had it been properly executed I would have conceded that my job has been done and any further efforts to that end redundant, but that was hardly the case. So Ahmed from Acquia and I ignored the meetup dressed up as a camp and ploughed ahead with Drupal Camp Dubai.

facebook_page

facebook_page

Once again the credit goes to local community members Massoud Al-Shareef, Hani Hejazi, Marwa Ezzat from KnowledgeWARE Technologies who have been epic! with neither Ahmed or me on the ground in Dubai the team from  KnowledgeWARE came to our aid and stepped in where we physically could not! thank you for making it happen! Drupal Camp Dubai is scheduled for the 9th of November at the American University in the Emirates with a strong contingent of local Drupal rockstars and international speakers!

Stay tuned…

Oct 15 2013
Oct 15

Drupal Public Sector Exchange

Drupal Public Sector Exchange

Though DPSX has been a tad bit quite since July we did kick up a mini-storm in Prague at DrupalCon last month! The BoF was a hit with relevant attendees from Belgium, Britain, Finland, France, Netherlands and Slovakia represented on the table. in majority the attendees other than Steve Purkiss and myself were from the public sector which was a result!

DrupalCon Prague BoF Drupal Public Sector Exchange

DrupalCon Prague BoF Drupal Public Sector Exchange

The discussions centred around:

  • The political challenges of having a single platform in government
  • options of multisite Vs Domain access and of course creating distributions
  • Managing diversity in government
  • Selling by building business cases
  • When Open becomes closed and proprietary

The audio from the BoF can be downloaded from here.

Looking ahead we are planning on one more DPSX meet up in Blighty prior to Christmas, so if you are interested please drop us a line or comment on D.O.

Oct 03 2013
Oct 03

DrupalCon_Prague_Logo_2013

DrupalCon_Prague_Logo_2013

Coming up to a week  since DrupalCon Prague, caught up with my girls, emails, calls, follow ups and all else… time to reflect.

I stand by my verdict of the 26th of Sept: @drupalcon #Prague No #Munich but No #Croydon either but an informative fun week. That is to some annoyance of a few fellow community members and possibly some folks at DA… folks there was and is no offence intended, someone has to lay it out as it is and I did share the feedback in person with DA and not just tweeted it on my way to the airport HA!

The host city was awesome, the venue was well their congress centre (the best they had to offer I suppose) but the connectivity there sucked! the food though not that important could have been much better, the sessions that I have been catching up on line were good though more diversity is key for the future… representation across the continents please! BoFs were super useful no doubt and some of the SWAG was nice, some just awesome – Acquia and Deeson win the SWAG award!

DrupalCon_Prague_201325 11.51.49

DrupalCon_Prague_201325 11.51.49

Having said all of that the most awesome thing about DrupalCon Prague was the connectedness! on that note Prague won hands down! out did Munich too!

I am going to be at DrupalCon Austin which will be my first DrupalCon across the pond and knowing how conferences go over the Atlantic am sure it will be mind blowing and if not you will hear about it in person. As for DrupalCon Amsterdam… it can be nothing short of epic! but then most peeps who have been to the Netherlands would say that!

It was great seeing old friends and making new ones and looking forward to the next Cons and upcoming Camps across the third rock.

May 12 2013
May 12

Drupal Public Sector Exchange

Drupal Public Sector Exchange

Our second event adopted an alternative format not by design but its usefulness has us thinking it may well be the way to go!
Speaker at the seond DPSX event:
Mark Smitham  – Cabinet Office (G-Cloud) A huge thank you… Mark, we appreciate? the knowledge shared; old hats, newbies and the curious, we all took away a lot from the discussions.
And the key points shared and discussed:
+ G-Cloud is about engaging the SME sector – it is access to the eco-system #GCloudJoinin
+ has delivered the equivalent of £180m+ in savings; introducing innovative SME enterprises into the eco-systemDrupal_Public_Sector_Exchange_meetup_2_May_2013_1

Drupal_Public_Sector_Exchange_meetup_2_May_2013_1


+ G-Cloud is about greater transparency: there are 29,000 Govt. customers on G-Cloud – the access to opportunities for the SME sector is unparalleled  Drupal_Public_Sector_Exchange_meetup_2_May_2013_2

Drupal_Public_Sector_Exchange_meetup_2_May_2013_2


+ The new G-Cloud Store interface by the way is a sight of relief! job well done. Note: G-cloud is a non transactional store but a marketplace for Govt. customers to have access to selected SME suppliers that they can engage with
+ on the CloudStore good old SEO is handy for searchability and visibility
+ There are challenges to getting the critical mass from the Govt. customers… SMEs could assist and inform their clients and prospects of the G-Cloud route to product/service acquisition.
+ a short guide to understanding Impact levels and Pan-Govt accreditation

some useful links:
G-Cloud
CloudStore
if you are a buyer
if you are a supplier

if you are not on the G-Cloud as a supplier  and as a Customer/buyer
LocalGov Digital ?

The next meet-up for Drupal Public Sector Exchange will be held next month and stay tuned on our Twitter account DPSX ?@DPSXchange

DPSX: @Alanpeart @Calert @Greenman @Kubair @MarcDe_ath @shaunwilde
#Drupal #PublicSector #Innovation #G_Cloud_UK #LocalGovDigital

Mar 31 2013
Mar 31

Am back in Islamabad after two very long and tiring days to Lahore and a full on Camp!  details to follow, this is abridged version for the experience!

Drupal Cam Pakistan in Lahore was a strange affair, all in all a great experience, met all my objectives of promoting Drupal and the power of OS in creating jobs, opportunities and prosperity… introduced Drupal to a small army of students,  but could not quite understand the industry representatives in Lahore! of the 60 odd registered from Industry only 20 odd showed up… total count on the day was about 70+ of which the majority were students – which was great but would have been better for the industry to turn up to network and guide the local student population!

Stranger still was discovering that a perfectly normal Drupaler I know in the community in Pakistan turned out to be a bigoted, racist ignoramus! not so nice known ya fella’

We linked up with the Drupal Community in Bangalore and this guy went off on a nationalistic ignorant rant with them on Skype! of course I used my 6’3 110kg mass to push him aside and apologised for giving the podium to a bigot!

Any hoo… the Camp was great, we trained 41 newbies in Hello Drupal and expect the vast majority to keep at it… we linked up with the Faculty lead on relations with industry and convinced Bilal Arshad from UCP to introduce Drupal in their end of year projects for students.

The next camping trip for Drupal Camp Pakistan is in August to Karachi and then I am off Camping in Dubai to build links with the community in the GCC region…

As for right now… am off to host the inaugural 9others meal in Islamabad… more on that later.

Mar 31 2013
Mar 31

Drupal CampKick 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!

UNhappy DrupalerOur 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 rant 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’

Drupal Camp

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!

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

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.

Drupal Camp Kubair Shirazee

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.

Amar Mahboob from Kubaku Tech - Flown in from Karachi to attend

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

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

Deen of IT (Dr Abdul Aziz) speaking 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!

Mar 29 2013
Mar 29

An evangelist’s log: Star date – 28th March

Drupal Camp

0730 –  landed in Islamabad, 30 minutes in the immigration queue, walked to the carousel and my luggage is right there! out by 0815 – has to be a new record flying coach! Straight to the Crane’s nest, up since 0700 the day before, Bialetti on the stove, quadruple espresso and the world starts making sense again!

0930 am informed by one of our crane also a trainer for DrupalCamp that there has been a slight oversight on his part for the 30th March camp… it also happens to be the day his sister-in-law is getting married! in all the excitement of the Camp it slipped his mind that his attendance at the wedding is not optional! a key crane has to be excused, but an ex-crane steps in to save the session!

0940ish Asif our network ninja informs me that the net speed in Pakistan is not running at its best because of a damaged submarine cable! but the powers that be are working around the clock (somewhere under the Suez canal) on fixing it asap! I get online, start streaming off Vimeo and yes the speed sucks!

1000ish Fida our organiser supremo informs me that Campus at University of Central Punjab has a fantastic mega fat pipe line… the submarine cable damages comes to mind!

1200ish Atta sends me an article from the Guardian – Cyberbunker is kicking Spamhaus’s behind and the end users are paying for it with reduced speed! the Rock’s largest DNS attack is in play! and the net speed in Blighty is suffering! a three word expression come to mind!

But it would be no other way, the camp is going to Lahore home to the not so famous Lollywood, where the action movies would send Action Jackson cowering; featuring horses and Drupal Campriders who can cover great distances in a flash… from Times Square NYC to Lahore Central in less time than it takes for a villain to pull off the distressed damsels veil, XXXL heroines doing Shakira numbers and heroes who would scare the pants of Jet Lee, guns that never need reloading, heroes who can spill more Red than the Red sea and still manage dialogues and live to fight another few dozen baddies in the next 30 seconds, actors with phenomenal stamina to shout out dialogues over 2+ hours!… and directors who evidently compete on how absurd a movie they can make!

There has to be drama involved! this is LAHORE not Sparta!

#Drupal #DrupalCamp #EmergingTechnologies

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