Proto: The Next Big Thing

September 29th, 2006

After BarCampChennai: It was one heck of an amazing event. The talk was on web 2.0 and geeks and only interested geeks were there. Lots of entrepreuners too. Atul Chitnis said that BarCampChennai was the best of all in India.

BlogCamp.in: Six months after the smashing success of BarCamp, Chennai came up with an event tagged as India’s Biggest Blog Unconference. True to the tag, the event attracted participants from around the globe and as many as 60 volunteers owned various parts of the unconference.

After BlogCamp.in: Two weeks later, the same team met again and thought of a DEMO like event for India and Indian products. After some heavy discussions, the event has been named as PROTO. It should be noted that Palm, Java and many other great products were launched at DEMO. Read the DEMOblog.

PROTO cannot be in unconference mode because it will become a bigger BarCamp. This event is one place where we get venture capitalists (VCs) and entrepreuners together so that some of the best brains and ideas in the Indian sphere can get funded. We are aiming for a one-on-one coordination between the entrepreuners and VCs. That is, number of VC companies will be greater than or equal to the number of teams presenting at the event. Ofcourse, there will be a lot of press coverage.

Teams who think they have innovative products will be asked to register at the website that is expected to come up shortly. After that, each team will be reviewed by an expert team from PROTO who have an eye for future trends and the ability to judge products which promise to be the next huge wave. Some teams will be shortlisted for presentation at the event. They will also have the opportunity to have a face-to-face meeting with interested VCs who will gather at the event. The place and time of the event will be announced shortly.

The main reason for coming up with such an event is that, even though there are a huge number of IT companies in India, there is not enough innovation happening on that front. It is like yet another government job where we get a good salary, pension, wife, 2 kids etc. This face of India should change. Entrepreuners should be encouraged. Events like PROTO are a step towards that. As DEMO had set the stage for entrepreuners world-wide, PROTO hopes to be India’s defacto platform for staging new products and technologies. With a pretty huge population and talent raising day-by-day, I think innovation shouldn’t be a problem. It is all in the mindset of the people.

Interested? Read the discussions we had during our first meeting. Our community tech blog says, “India has the potential to become a technological innovation hotspot. It must be noted that, it won’t be the IT majors who make this happen, but startups”. Vijay says, “We are the future of India. Either embrace us, or fear us :)”.

PROTO will make a change on the IT face of India.

Dream

September 24th, 2006

It’s raining outside… The weather is so lovingly cool that there is nothing to beat this situation. Rains clattering the sun shade above the southern window, the wind chime hung on the curtain rails danced to the slight wind creating the familiar klink-klink sound. I was mesmerized by the beauty of nature.

A quick zing into the recent past… 9 months ago… It was 2.30AM in the morning. Myself and Moyeen were wrapping up the discussion for our project work. We were preparing for a review that was to be held the following day. Very tired, I washed my face and headed to bed. I immediately fell asleep. About 2 hours later, I woke up. I was riding down the dull lighted roads to a small park nearby. It was dark and there were some people doing some early jogging. Birds started chirping too. I didn’t know where to wait. Few minutes later, this girl turned up. She was wearing clothes around the orange shade and said an enthusiastic “Good Morning!”. Brightened up at the sight of her, we both walked for sometime and settled at one of the park benches.

She turned, brushed her hair aside and stared straight into my eye, the stare that you have to encounter to believe. Our knees were touching slightly. We started talking, smiling, laughing… slowly at first and then discussing 2 million things around the universe. By now, the sun is out. More joggers are up. A small team of grandpas formed a circle a few yards away and were laughing their heart out. All these distractions were immaterial to us. They happened as if it were in another world.

Slowly, my face became slightly wet. I became a bit uncomfortable. More beads of perspiration began to fill my face. They grew so much that, they started flowing. My t-shirt was suddenly so wet. In a fit of discomfort, I yelled and discovered that my mom had poured a glass of water on me to wake me up so that I could get the college bus on time….

Hi, how many of you have felt the need to create a new wordpress template and felt that the structure is too intimidating? We had the same feeling too until we realised how easy it is to create a wordpress template.

A few things before you need a template are,
1. Figure out the layout of your blog. That is, you should be clear about what should be placed where. Ofcourse, it’s entirely at your discretion.
2. Create a simple HTML page that show cases your layout.
3. Mould the simple page into a beautiful wordpress template.

Ready?? Ok, let’s start!

As said in point 1, I have just created a basic layout as shown in the screen shot below.

Sample Template Screenshot

You can definitely tell about the various sections that make up the page. They are the header, content, sidebar, footer. To abstract this and give power to the template designers, wordpress has placed the various sections into different pages.

In addition to this, you have to add proper CSS to your design. Include them in “style.css”. Therefore, the files necessary are,
1. header.php -> Header
2. footer.php -> Footer
3. sidebar.php -> Sidebar
4. index.php -> Content glued with header, sidebar and footer.
5. style.css -> CSS
That is all you need to create a basic template. Clear? Any doubts? Post them here.

Designing the Template:

The HTML for our basic layout goes like this.

Have a look at the simple style sheet for the basic layout. Save this as “style.css”. We would need it later.

Now that you have saved it, open the HTML file in a good text editor. You can see <div> sections that are tagged with “header”, “footer”, “sidebar” and “content”. Let us create the header file.

1. Open notepad, and paste the code shown below. Save this file as “header.php”.

2. Copy the fragment below and save it in a new file as “footer.php”.

3. Copy the sidebar code and save it in a new file as “sidebar.php”.

4. Last but not the least, let us create the “index.php”. If you notice, there are special lines such as “<?php get_header(); ?>”, “<?php get_footer(); ?>”, “<?php get_sidebar(); ?>”. These are the functions that are used to glue the content with header, sidebar and footer. Great! we are almost done… few more minutes.

5. Create a new folder and name it as “DarlingTemplate”. Move all the newly created files, including the “style.css” to the folder. To test the new template, upload[:1] this folder to the <Wordpress_install_location>/wp-content/themes folder. Login to your blog and you will see the new template under the “Presentation” tab.

6. Click on our template name to activate it. Well, everything is cool. The template looks just like the simple HTML file we created earlier. But, what happened to the posts?

7. Open up “index.php”, replace it with the text in the following box and save it. Make sure the modified
file is uploaded to the <Wordpress_install_location>/wp-content/themes/DarlingTemplate
folder. Refresh the blog homepage. Voila!! the posts are there.

8. Oh! we are still left with 30 seconds. Take a screen shot of your theme. Save it as “screenshot.png” and upload it to
<Wordpress_install_location>/wp-content/themes/DarlingTemplate.

Now, when you login to your wordpress account, our template will have a medium sized thumbnail picture.

We have uploaded the final sample template as a zip file for your reference. Download it here.

Happy Templating! :)

Note:
1. You cannot upload the new template if your blog is hosted at wordpress.com.

Weekend

September 15th, 2006

Hmm… things to do this weekend….

1. Write 2 blog posts. 1 tech and 1 non-tech. There are some posts pending along the netbeans side and 1 regarding the temple tour.
2. Take some pet projects from the dream stage to the design stage.
3. Complete the editing of the video-cast of Krishnaraj that I shot some time back. He is a wonderful keyboard player.
4. Visit the connemera library.

I have become a part of BotHack, one of the coolest tech blogs around. And oh! I have some relatives to visit. Heck, I seem to be the only dork who hasn’t seen vettaiaadu vilayadu. Anyone free?

Beggr

September 14th, 2006

Take a look at that and die laughing!! Web 2.0 can’t get better/worse than this.



BlogCamp – Day 2

September 10th, 2006

Ah! amazing! is the only word I can say of today’s sessions. Karthik ‘spammer’ Kannan started the day on “Branding via Blogs”. Next on line was the best photographer, Sharad Haksar. His excellent session was on “Professional Photography”. Sharad shared his experiences in a very lucid manner. You had to be here for the session!

Sujatha from PodBazaar was live on skype at 10.30 AM. She talked about Podcasting in general and how podcasting is a great platform for promoting oneself, giving tutorials, voice advertisements, corporate alignment etc. She was also talking about free softwares, especially audacity. Infact, they are coming up with a series of podcasts on audacity so that beginners on podcasting would benefit from it.

Sunil Gavaskar, alias Sunny alias Little Master :) arrived well ahead of time. He was waiting for the podcasting session to finish and started off with lots and lots of cameras clicking at him. He finished his session and also answered a couple of questions from the chat channel that is open for ‘blogcamp’ers. Hey, he even posed for a photo with us on request.

Day 2 is seriously great!

Update on BlogCamp

September 9th, 2006

I soon shifted back to the first floor mini auditorium. A small tech crowd formed there and bosky was in full flow with “Ajaxifying your Blogs”. He even showed us some really cool demos that he had developed using ajax. Check his blog. Continuing on this topic, we had another guy named Karthik. He is a long time web user turned web designing hobbyist. He showcased his skills as he unravelled his story about the way he developed his own blogging software that runs on his site. It gave a lot of inspiration for the many of us who complain of not having time to do other small things that we are passionate about.

Ford announced an iPod contest and hey, we are running live blogging, photo blogging, video blogging and podcasting contests too! Join the fun. Moving down, the sessions scheduled today were over. We have hired a bus and we are moving to the beach house in another 30 minutes. Yay!!

Catch you soon…

BlogCamp Live!

September 9th, 2006

Blogcamp is going on great :). We are almost on the end of a very energetic day 1. We had different workshops on track 2 and sessions on track 1. Track 2 was more of an unconference style. GAPP started track 2 with a preview of wordpress.org and wordpress.com, with Prasanna continuing on Beta Blogger. I did a quick 20 minute session on wordpress hacks.

Kausik, Kiruba and Ram Viswanathan continued the afternoon session with a beautiful workshop on podcasting. This session started off on a conference style. The audience couldn’t hold it long and soon started pitching in. Kausik was almost ragged towards the end of the session. Varun then started off with mobile blogging and now Bosky is on with “Ajaxifying your blog”. Amit Agarwal is on an interactive session at track 1. He is talking about “Professional Blogging”.

We are about 150+ strong bloggers, techies, podcasters, video blogers etc. etc. all at one place, having superb fun, sharing knowledge and experience. By the way, did I tell you about the 10 dedicated computers for live blogging? hey, we are also webcasting the event live! Head on to blogcamp.in and see it. My session would be up on my tech blog and on bothack shortly. More on the event coming soon……