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Spacemob's Head of Engineering: Beverly Dolor

An Interview with Spacemob’s Head of Engineering: Beverly Dolor

What does a day in the life of a Head of Engineering at a co-working space look like? We chat with Spacemob’s Head of Engineering, Beverly Dolor to find out more!¬†Spacemob is a coworking space that builds foundations for businesses by providing space, technology, and connections. By laying down the groundwork, companies can thrive with purpose. With their space as the starting point, Spacemob is endlessly building proprietary tools like with member matching technologies to enable you to augment your business, and scale it to the heights of your imagination.

 

What’s a typical work day for you like?

Coffee ūüôā Check and reply to emails.¬† See pending tasks on our tasks list that our very organised and efficient Head of Product maintains. Check-up on team members see if they need anything from me before I dive right into coding.¬†In some days sync-ups with my fellow engineers to check on them and to see what other tasks we can work on in the next days.¬† Since we are a startup, I also get asked to do frontdesk duties sometimes ūüôā

 

What are you working on right now? Any side projects you’d like to share about too?

The Spacemob platform is continuously evolving, so that keeps me busy and awake most of the time ūüôā We‚Äôre still looking at different technologies that we can integrate into our system.¬† Constantly getting feedback from all the different teams in Spacemob and our members as well keep us, product and engineering, on our feet all the time.¬† I believe that our role as engineers is to provide solutions to our users, and help them make their work faster, more efficient and easier. We keep working to ensure we are fulfilling that role.
Nope, I don’t/never do side projects.

 

How did you pick up programming?

I only heard of computer science as a course when one of my aunt took it in College. I came from a zero-background on computers. I don’t even know how to insert a disk in a computer! Good thing was first day in the university they gave a hands-on seminar for people like me… and yes the computer lab was filled with people like me, zero-background. But I learned to love it!  I love how you can solve problems or rather create systems that solves problems by writing codes.  Overtime its not just programming that kept me going in this field.  Its knowing that you are able to help people Рyour colleagues by building systems that they need to make their jobs a lot easier; seeing your users and how they  interact with your applications and them appreciating its usefulness.

Did you ever find yourself with the imposter syndrome?

I‚Äôm blessed to have worked with some of the best people in my industry! So sometimes I feel i‚Äôm not qualified even be in their presence ūüėõ But I cannot be intimidated and stay that way. Or else I will always shortchange or question myself in what I do. Its a feeling you need to overcome. Just give your best in all the tasks/projects that you do. Be passionate and have accountability. Care more, however small, big, simple or complicated your task is.¬† You need to accept to yourself that you are not perfect and that you will fail people‚Äôs expectations of you. But that doesn‚Äôt mean you are a bad person or employee. You just keep going. Learn. Don‚Äôt be prideful. Don‚Äôt think of yourself better than anyone. Keep improving yourself. And sharing what you learn/know helps you to keep grounded.

What do you think about opportunities for developers in Singapore? (e.g, tech ecosystem with startups?)

Singapore rewards anyone who wants to work and who works hard. I’m blessed to have been given opportunities to work here since 2008.  Its is a melting pot of different cultures and opportunities.  Companies who wants to expand in Asia Pacific see Singapore as their launchpad.  Thus, all types of industries are here: banking, electronics, consultancy, food, travel, etc. Which almost all have need for developers in one way or the other.  Singapore is also brimming with different activities as well that developers can participate to enhance themselves and enlarge their networks: seminars, conferences, talks and hackathons.

Any advice for ladies who are picking up programming? ūüôā¬†

I seldom hear the word ‚ÄúI love‚ÄĚ in connection to programming. I guess that‚Äôs my advice. You have to ‚Äúlove‚ÄĚ programming to really enjoy it. You have to be passionate about it.¬† Solving problem is one thing, but learning different techniques on how to solve a problem is another. You need to constantly evolve in your chosen field. And in programming it shows on how you write your code, how you leverage on existing libraries or modules, how you take time to ensure that the code path you have is the most efficient and fastest.¬† It takes time and it takes patience.¬† Training yourself by learning new languages is a good exercise.¬† Looking for problems to solve is a great way to kickstart your journey to programming.
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Roopal Kondepudi: From HTML & CSS to Android App Developer

Singapore Geek Girls started our workshops 4 years ago with HTML & CSS. Roopal was our youngest participant at 12 years old. Four years on, she’s come a long way from just basic front-end development! Now she’s working on building Android apps and has even started a Geek Girls Chapter at Singapore American School! We chat with her to find out her aspirations for the future and some tips for those interested in learning programming.

1) Give us a brief introduction of yourself! 
My name is Roopal Kondepudi, I’m 16 years old, and a high school senior at Singapore American School.

2) How did you get interested in programming?
My interest in programming began when I was ten – as a birthday present, I received Lego Mindstorms. The entire summer, I built robots and took them apart; I experimented with Mindstorms’s simple drag-and-drop programming. I loved that I could make my creations come to life with programming.

3) What have you learnt so far (in terms of programming) and what are some resources you think are helpful?
I’ve been a part of my school’s robotics team since I joined SAS in 2013. Through robotics, I’ve learned ROBOTC. My school also offers AP Computer Science, which is taught in Java. From there, I realized just how much I enjoy coding and continued to learn outside of class. I’ve taken online courses in Python, and currently am learning C through the Harvard CS50x course online. Over the summer, I had to learn SQL and XML for an Android app I was developing.

If a class or workshop isn’t readily available, MOOCs are a great way to learn programming. I like the format of online courses because if you forget something or need to review, you can just re-watch the lectures. A resource I used in APCS was CodingBat, which is available in Java and Python – it’s an online resource that allows you to practice writing functions and methods.

I recently learned about esoteric languages and code golf, where the programmer tries to do as much as possible in as few lines of code as possible. I really love learning about new languages and trying them out!

4) Tell us about the apps you’ve built so far¬†
The past two summers, I’ve been working with the NUS FloraSG team to create FloraSG, an app that allows users to input characteristics of a native Singapore plant and will output a list of possible plants complete with descriptions and pictures. I worked to improve database functionality (which is why I had to learn SQL) and added an Update Database function to the app. I learned a lot about android programming.

Here are some screenshots of the app:
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5) Why did you start a Geek Girls club in your school and what do you hope to achieve with it?
When I was twelve, I saw an ad in the newspaper for a coding workshop led by the Singapore Geek Girls. Eager to get past my Mindstorms phase and begin coding in a ‚Äúreal language,‚ÄĚ I attended, only to discover that I was the youngest girl there. At the workshop, I met Joyce, who helped me start a chapter at my high school. We‚Äôve grown from one member to around twenty in two years and will be expanding to the middle school soon.

I’ve already started to see an improvement- more girls than ever are taking AP Computer Science, more girls are interested in majoring in CS, more girls joined robotics.

6) What activities do you run with Geek Girls? e.g, workshops? office tours….
This year, we have a lot of activities planned for Geek Girls. Every year we go on tours, invite speakers, and hold workshops. For example, we visited IDA labs and Microsoft in the past. We’ve also had a speaker, Ms. Meri Rosich, come to talk to us about her experiences as a woman in STEM. This year, we have a member whose mother works for Apple! She’s eager for us to set up a panel of other women who work at Apple, and I’m excited for that to happen.

7) What are your plans for your own future and Geek Girls in SAS?
As a senior in high school, I’ve begun my college application process. Wherever I end up going, I know for sure that I want to major in either Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or Data Science. As for Geek Girls, I’ve been fostering the younger members so that when I leave, they can keep the club going.

My knowledge and love for technology isn’t something I want to keep for myself. I would like to use it to help people who don’t have access to technology or the education to learn how to use it. My hope is that once people learn tech skills, they become independent and teach other, opening up opportunities.

Roopal will be applying for university soon and I’m sure her interest in Computer Science will take her far!

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SG Geek Girls Reboot! Featuring Anthea Tang, GM, Rokkan Singapore

It’s been a while since we’ve done a meetup and we’ve missed you! We had a special reboot meetup on 27th September at a brand new, swanky, co-working space in Orchard called Spacemob and¬†had so many lovely people join us! Here’s a quick summary of the talks and the video links for you to watch the recaps if you’ve missed them!

SG Geek Girls Meetup featuring Anthea Tang, GM, Rokkan Singapore

Speaker #1: Anthea Tang, GM, Rokkan Singapore

From a degree in industrial engineering, to working on optimizing public transport through software, and now being MD of a digital creative agency, Anthea shared about her journey with the many sides of technology and how a background in tech gave her a headstart in her career. Watch her full talk if you’re wondering how a background¬†in tech can bring you places!

Speaker #2: Roopal Kondepudi


Roopal
is (was) the youngest attendee of our first SG Geek Girls workshop back in 2012! 4 years on, she’s come a long way from our HTML and CSS workshop! Roopal¬†talked about the apps she’s been working on (FloraSG) and her experience setting up a Geek Girls chapter in her school ūüėČ Super inspiring talk for all ages!

Special thanks to our sponsors!
Spacemob

Spacemob: spacemob.co (venue sponsor)

Spacemob is a coworking space that builds foundations for businesses by providing space, technology, and connections. By laying down the groundwork, companies can thrive with purpose. With their space as the starting point, Spacemob is endlessly building proprietary tools like with member matching technologies to enable you to augment your business, and scale it to the heights of your imagination.

TribeHired: tribehired.com  (food sponsor)

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At TribeHired, we flip the model on recruitment. We select 50 developers every week looking to get hired and get employers instead, to compete to hire them. We are on the lookout for the next batch of developers to help.

¬†O’Reilly for sponsoring some very cool swag!

We gave away books about data science sponsored by O’Reilly, they’re having a cool Strata + Hadoop World¬†conference in December at Suntec – you should check it out!

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SG Geek Girls Maker Series #3 with Cindy Lin

In our earlier interview with Cindy, we talked about The Nenek Project. In the 3rd edition of our Maker Series talks,¬†we had the opportunity to catch Cindy before she flew off to Michigan to do her PhD in Information Science with¬†her talk on “Snails, herbs and Ibu-Ibu: Recounting transnational tinkering moments“.

Snails, herbs and Ibu-Ibu- Recounting

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In the cosy space of IDA@Labs in National Design Centre, Cindy shared about her projects and collaborations such as:

РStarting the Sewon Food Lab, a space not only for urban farming and food experimentation but also acts as a springboard for critical discussion surrounding issues such as food safety and security, agricultural productivity, health and medicine, biodiversity, and in large, our human-nonhuman relations

– DIY projects and workshops such as creating personal lubricants, dispelling stereotypes in Indonesia

Making abstract paper sculptures with snail poo (!!!)

–¬†Squat & Grow,¬†a quasi-legal gathering of tinkerers, enthusiasts and amateurs in Singapore creating a space of transient food fancy and bacteria economies.

–¬†(Re)Thinking Invasive Alien Species, a project that wishes to not only trace the introductions and establishments of invasive alien species, but also to probe the varied human definitions of nativity and non-nativity. (Again, using snails!)

Please check out her super interesting talk:

Special thanks to:

  • Cindy for the sharing with us, ¬†you can see more about her work at¬†http://cindylin.org/
  • IDA@Labs for sponsoring the venue
  • Engineers.SG for recording this talk and putting it up so quickly!

Bio: Cindy Lin

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Cindy Lin is a researcher dedicated to the study of shared technological and scientific spaces, vernacular technologies and intergenerational knowledge exchanges in the Global South. Her previous ethnographic work involved extensive fieldwork on the politics of DIY maker and hacker culture in Indonesia and the complex flows of scientific and technological information across nation-state boundaries. She will be a PhD Student at the School of Information, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor this Fall 2015.

 

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[Workshop] Introduction to Mobile App Development with Android

Ever wanted to translate your idea into an app but don’t know where to start? In our recent workshop, ¬†our instructor Laura Brandon¬†brought 10 ladies¬†¬†through their¬†first steps in learning about Android App Development.

Android is a Linux-based, open source mobile operating system developed by Google. Applications developed on Android are written in the Java programming language, and due to the open nature,  anyone can develop Android apps!
Our workshop was led by Laura Brandon. Laura is a software engineer from NEC and an avid innovator. Currently Singapore-based, she began her career in New Zealand and is pursuing her dream of working abroad.

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We began with a round of introductions, talking about the motivations behind learning about Android.¬†Laura has created¬†several Android applications including a human-to-dog matching app for Fox Network’s star dog trainer, Cesar Millan and also augmented reality ‘smart glasses’ conducting facial recognition!

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We cosied together at National Design Centre on Sunday, 14th June and were given a high level introduction to mobile app development. Participants got to start  on the Android Studio platform (a tool for Android development), and walk participants through the development of their first Android app Рa temperature conversion app!

Here are more photos from the workshop: 

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Before we started, a round of introductions to get to know one another.

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Following the tutorial to complete the app.

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Thank you also to our coaches for their help! This is Andrew ūüôā

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We had a great time with you ladies! You can watch the introduction and tutorial walk through in the video recorded by Engineers.sg

If you missed this workshop, check out the introduction slides and instructions to download Android Studio and JDK prepared by Laura.

Anna speaking at SGGG

SG Geek Girls Maker Series #2: Anna Filippova

In our SG Geek Girls Makers Series #2, Anna Filippova, co-organizer of RubySG and current PhD Candidate at the National University of Singapore talked to us about the Paradox of Open Source software.

The Open Source movement has been around for a long time, but here are some common myths that Anna debunked during her talk.

Myth #1. Free/Open source software is a new idea

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Between the 50s’ to 80s’, DECUS tapes were a unique way of worldwide transmission of free software.

Since the 1950s, the most famous group of people that were using open source software, even before that term came to be, were the academics at MIT.

At that time, it was generally distributed under the principles of openness and co-operation long established in the fields of academia, and was not seen as a commodity in itself. Source code, the human-readable form of software, was generally distributed with the software itself because users frequently modified the software themselves, because it would not run on different hardware or OS without modification, and also to fix bugs or add new functionality.

Richard Stallman

Richard Stallman, formerly from the MIT Lab, launched the GNU Project in 1983 to create a Unix-like computer operating system composed entirely of free software. With this, he also launched the free software movement.

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In Finland, Linus Torvalds, a computer science student, implemented the first versions of the Linux kernel. Soon, many people were collaborating to make that kernel more and more usable, and added many utilities to make GNU/Linux a real operating system.

In 2002, git was born. Shortly after in 2008, GitHub Рa powerful collaboration, code review, and code management platform for open source and private projects was introduced.

Today, thousands of new code repositories are added to GitHub daily.

Myth #2. Women don’t participate

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While comparison of absolute numbers for women who contribute to open source software remains low, there are many significant women leaders in the open source community that are worth mentioning:

  • Danese Cooper – a veteran in the open source world, having served as Sun Microsystems¬†first chief open source officer and spearheaded the company’s efforts to open its source code, leading to projects like its Open Office initiative. She also held similar positions at Symantec and Intel, and was CTO of the Wikimedia Foundation until 2011.
  • Karen Sandler¬†– the executive director of the Software Freedom Conservancy, former executive director of the GNOME Foundation, an attorney, and former general counsel of the Software Freedom Law Center.
  • Elizabeth K. Joseph¬†–¬†Wrote¬†The Official Ubuntu Book,¬†Ubuntu Community Council Member and runs Ubuntu Women
  • Linda Liukas – Ruby Hero and writing a children’s book about Ruby called “Hello Ruby”. Co-founder of Rails Girls, a community for women to understand technology and to build their ideas using Ruby.

Myth #3. There are no personal and economic gains to contributing

Most people think that sharing software is altruistic, but there are many personal and economic gains to promoting and contributing to open source projects.

Anna¬†talked¬†about post-scarcity –¬†an alternative form of economics or social engineering in which goods, services and information are universally accessible.

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Eric Raymond is one of the co-founders of The Open Source Initiative,  an non-profit organization dedicated to promoting open-source software. They keep track of open source licenses, which are licenses that comply with the Open Source Definition. In brief, they allow software to be freely used, modified, and shared.

“Given enough eyeballs, all bugs look shallow.”- Linus’ Law, Eric Raymond.

This quote by Eric Raymond really emphasizes the underlying philosophy that if you put your program out there for others to scrutinize and improve on, it will only get better.

There are also personal reasons to contribute to open source software Рsuch as to learn a new language, to get into a sense of community and to show others what you are doing professionally as well.

Myth #4. I need to be really good to get started

While it might take a while for beginners to start contributing to huge open source software projects such as Firefox, there are many ways for you to get involved if you wanted to start contributing to the open source community.

Here are some examples that Anna lists:

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There are many open source community meetups in Singapore as well that you can take part in to learn more about a particular language, or get involved in a project.

Other helpful links:

Singapore’s Tech Communities –¬†http://webuild.sg/

Google’s Anita Borg Scholarship –¬†http://www.google.com/anitaborg/apac/

Rails Girls Summer of Code – http://railsgirlssummerofcode.org/

Ada Initiative – https://adainitiative.org/

You can watch the full video of Anna’s talk on YouTube:

About Anna Filippova:

Anna’s¬†research looks at the social dynamics of FOSS systems, charting how projects work, and how they work through collaboration challenges. Armed with perspectives from communications and social psychology, Anna digs into conflicts to find out what makes and breaks working together online. She hopes to improve the experience of both FOSS projects and organisations that rely on remote work.

You can find her work in peer reviewed academic publications like Computers in Human Behavior and CSCW proceedings. Anna has also appeared as a guest on Webuild.sg, and regularly speaks at barcamps and hackathons.

Ask her how you can get involved in a project, about learning to code, or the many other ways you can become a part of the community.

Special thanks again to our sponsor Paypal for the venue and food~

 

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Feature Story: Cindy Lin from The Nenek Project

Our feature story for this month is about Cindy Lin (left in photo), co-organizer of The Nenek Project (Proyek Nenek)¬†a transnational collaboration between Stefanie Wuschitz (right in photo) , Cindy Lin and citizen lab, Lifepatch in Yogyakarta, Indonesia to encapsulate elderly women’s ways of experiencing, understanding and doing science and technology.¬†

1. Tell us about The Nenek Project

Cindy: The Nenek Project is a transnational collaboration between Stefanie Wuschitz (AUS) ‚Ästgeek, artist and researcher, Lifepatch (IDN) ‚Äď a citizen initiative blending art, science and¬†technology and myself. Spending most of our time with the mothers of some Lifepatch¬†members, we attempted to understand the social and political underpinnings of the¬†vibrant DIY culture in Indonesia. From our interview narratives, we managed to identify¬†the tactical ways elderly women employ to survive in local and global economic crisis,¬†the subtle constraints of ibu ideologies, and the everyday supportive structures to elderly¬†women build together.

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Poster is designed by Antirender from Lifepatch

2. What motivated you to start this project with Stefanie and Lifepatch?

Cindy: I will speak for myself here. As a researcher interested in spaces of science and technology, I often wonder to myself if there are particular socialising factors or inherent capability for particular genders and sexualities to do science and technology better than other genders and sexualities. I was also a little tired of the stereotypical depiction of a geek as a bespectacled male glued to a screen and typing away. By saying this, I don’t mean to suggest that there is an overrepresentation of self-identified males in STEM fields. However, it is apparent that there appears to be a lack of elderly, female-identified participants in STEM fields. And I do believe that Nenek Project can be an interesting and productive entry point to understand the relationships between open spaces, knowledge exchanges and hacker and maker cultures.

When I was in Indonesia, I became curious about vernacular technologies and knowledge as I was collecting data and spending time with my friends at Yogyakarta during fieldwork. I was also fascinated about how and why women in Yogyakarta seem to challenge this public and private divide with the relations they create and sustain by engaging in particular activities. These activities are not only centered on how women were very active at the pasar (market) but also as administrators for particular population control duties. As foreigners, Stefanie and I grew more and more curious about how and why elderly women do science and technology in Indonesia.

With the collaboration of Lifepatch and most of their mothers, all of us were presented with a refreshing insight into doing and making among elderly, self-identified nenek-nenek (grandmothers) or ibu-ibu (mothers).

3. What surprised you the most about the participants of the project?

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Cindy:¬†The mothers behind the Nenek Project surprised Stefanie, Lifepatch members and¬†myself with how reflexive and aware they are behind the politics of doing technology and¬†science. Of course, it is also an amazing realisation for the children (Lifepatch members) when their mothers revealed particular skills and knowledge similar to what Lifepatch¬†members have attempted to exchange, learn and do as a collective. For example, one of¬†the members‚Äô mothers have been working on river management and hydraulic¬†techniques in Solo and Yogyakarta ‚Äď some of these techniques and knowledge will be¬†useful for Lifepatch‚Äôs Jogja River Project. Another mother is a professor specialising in¬†systems at Gadjah Mada University. There are also other mothers who expressed the¬†practice of doing science and technology in more lo-tech yet highly skilful manners.

What I am trying to say is that there are many ways one can initiate a group or start a¬†collective. However, to sustain it as a constantly negotiating, fair and collaborative¬†collective is a different ball game. Stefanie mentioned before that sustaining a collective¬†such as a hackerspace is like a technique, a technology that does not only exist in a¬†material form. I was also very taken by this. And this is what most of the collaborative,¬†long-term sister economies built by the elderly ladies (whether formally or informally)¬†surprised us most with ‚Äď their microfinance programmes, their daily exercises, their¬†participation in the departure of deceased neighbours, their cross-warung/toko (small¬†restaurant/shop) collaborations and their meetups at arisan (small gatherings for various¬†purposes). Of course, there are the not so positive sides of particular activities and¬†engagements but throughout our four months, particular techniques employed to sustain¬†sister economies and relations stood out a lot.

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“Ibu Rini Astuti Nasution is one of our interlocutors for The Nenek Project. She has three phones, two of which are smartphones.”

4. What are the future plans for The Nenek Project and yourself?

Cindy: Stefanie, Lifepatch and I are still discussing our future plans. All of us do need to reflect, discuss and understand the impact and relevance of our previous outputs during our exhibition at Yogyakarta, Indonesia. There were some plans to have the mothers do workshops in Lifepatch or a gallery space but these are not yet realised.

Nonetheless, two of our exhibition works are currently shown at HeK — Critical Make¬†turning functionality¬†at Basel. One of it is GLOSSARY NGOPREK ¬†(2015) ‚Äď a collection of terms used to describe Indonesian and Javanese verbs and¬†nouns related to hacking, making, sharing and exchanging in Indonesia employed and¬†used by the interviewed elderly women and Lifepatch members. Another work is¬†PROYEK NENEK — an approx. 30 minute documentary featuring the interviewed¬†mothers filmed by some of the interviewers and edited by Antirender from Lifepatch.¬†I hope to show it in Singapore. I will like to understand what elderly self-identified women¬†do, think and perceive science and technology as in Singapore. It will be nice to see how¬†social and political factors have shaped and been shaped by elderly self-identified¬†women.

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5. What do you think about the tech ecosystem in the region? 

Cindy: The tech ecosystem in this region surprises me most. As a researcher deeply enamoured by the intricacies of cultural peculiarities and how these interweave with technological making, consuming and thinking in Southeast Asia (SEA), vernacular technologies and repair culture excite me most. The invisible users and makers who recombine and reuse articles and artefacts lying at the border of decay reminds me how uneven flows and transmissions of scientific and technological knowledges and materials are in SEA. For example, the practices of tukang ban (tyre repair men) on Indonesian streets. That being said, this street exuberance should not be exoticised. It might be more productive to analyse the intersections of both hi- and lo-tech knowledges and understand how knowledge is both globalised and local at the same time.

Aside from an emphasis on creating a more mature start-up culture, I also think the larger stakeholders determining the tech ecosystem in SEA should invest itself into weighing the advantages and disadvantages behind Human-Computer Interaction For Development (HCI4D) projects and appropriate technology projects in smaller scales. I believe technological solutions can be beneficial but it can also be very disadvantageous and irrelevant to particular so-called sample populations of particular development technologies. I also hope to see how critical design can be articulated via the cultural peculiarities of various global South countries.

The innovation discourse in Southeast Asia will also be another aspect that thrills me most… especially with regards to how it shapes the balance in inflows of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and extent of government intervention for funding tech start-ups in Southeast Asia.

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6. Where should someone who is interested to explore the maker/hacker community start?

Cindy: It is definitely interesting to see how the maker/hacker cultures articulate and shape their own identities in Indonesia and Singapore. Or to even see how hacker and maker culture elsewhere is a subset of what is happening in SEA. If we are looking at Singapore, I find myself most comfortable in Hackerspace Singapore. Luther from Hackerspace Singapore has always been supportive of another initiative I am in, DIYbio Singapore. From hosting our workshops on fermentation to teaching some of DIYbio-ers soldering skills, the members of Hackerspace SG have always supported DIYbio SG’s cause. I will also recommend any enthusiast to be on one of Joo Khai’s informal electronics tour where he will bring you to several places in Bras Brasah area. The One Maker Group’s Prototyping Lab @ National Design Centre (NDC) has one of the most well-equipped and informative workshops I have been to in Singapore. It definitely has a different workshop style from the workshops I have attended in Indonesia, and explains how knowledge is most effectively transferred in different cultures and spaces. The Geek Girls meetups will be another mobile meetup I hope more enthusiasts, geeks and newcomers will attend. An alternative insight in to how the technological and scientific industry can work is definitely worth a visit.

I will also say that it might be more exciting for someone to go beyond what is formally recognised as hacker and maker cultures and trace historically, such practices in Southeast Asia.

Please do not hesitate to send me an email at lincindy@rocketmail.com or visit my website at http://cindylin.org/

Recommended reading:

Lifepatch: http://lifepatch.org/

Stefanie Wuschitz: http://grenzartikel.com/

More information about The Nenek Project can be found here:

http://lifepatch.org/Proyek_Nenek

http://lifepatch.org/Pameran_Proyek_Nenek

http://grenzartikel.com/projects/?p=1319

http://cindylin.org/The-Nenek-Project

Science and Tech spaces to visit in Singapore (non-exhaustive):

http://hackerspaces.org

http://onemakergroup.sg/the-prototyping-lab/

https://www.facebook.com/thegrowellpopup

The Lifepatch members include Agus Tri Budiarto, Nur Akbar Arofatullah, Budi Prakosa, Andreas Siagian, Agung Geger, Arifin Wicaksono, Adhari Donora, Ferial Afiff, Wawies Wisnu Wisdantio.

 

 

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[Workshop] Learn Arduino Basics at our Electric Party!

SG Geek Girls and 12 Geeks are teaming up to hold a basics Arduino workshop called ‘Electric Party’!

Cost: S$50 for SG Geek Girls (females only), S$80 for Public

Addon: – Bring home your Arduino – S$30

Prices are in SGD.

REGISTRATION LINK: http://learn.12geeks.com/event/7

Join us for our first workshop of 2015!

Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for anyone making interactive projects.

In this “workshop” – you will learn the fundamentals of Arduino programming and have fun making your party gadgets with the Arduino, LEDs, sensors, actuators and simple everyday materials. We will also turn off the lights and party.

*Basic programming knowledge will be great though not required. Only 5 spaces available. ūüôā

Date & Time: Thursday, 23 April 2015. 7pm – 10pm

Venue: Hackerspace.SG, 344B King George’s Avenue, Singapore 208576, Singapore

Please bring your own laptop installed with the Arduino IDE.

Available for download here: http://www.arduino.cc/en/main/software

PLEASE REGISTER AT: http://learn.12geeks.com/event/7

 

Maker

SG Geek Girls Maker Series Talk #2: The Paradox of Online Collaboration by Anna Filippova

“The paradox of online collaboration: on open source work and why open source works” by Anna Filippova [REGISTER]

Details:
Wednesday, April 22, 2015, 7:00 PM

PayPal, #14-01, Millenia Tower, 1 Temasek Avenue, Singapore

Ever wondered what open source technologies are out there and why they matter? How should you get started with open source communities? We are so excited to have our next speaker for our SG Geek Girls Maker Series share with us about her personal journey in the open source community!

Introducing our speaker: Anna Filippova

Anna Filippova, co-organizer of RubySG and current PhD Candidate at the National University of Singapore.
Anna will be sharing with us about “The paradox of online collaboration: on open source work and why open source works“.

Anna is a PhD Candidate at the National University of Singapore and co-organizer of the Singapore Ruby Meetup group. Everything she knows about computers and programming, she learned from Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) development. She is constantly trying to pay this forward.

Her research looks at the social dynamics of FOSS systems, charting how projects work, and how they work through collaboration challenges. Armed with perspectives from communications and social psychology, Anna digs into conflicts to find out what makes and breaks working together online. She hopes to improve the experience of both FOSS projects and organisations that rely on remote work.

You can find her work in peer reviewed academic publications like Computers in Human Behavior and CSCW proceedings. Anna has also appeared as a guest on Webuild.sg, and regularly speaks at barcamps and hackathons.

Ask her how you can get involved in a project, about learning to code, or the many other ways you can become a part of the community.

Special thanks to our sponsor Paypal for the venue and food~

REGISTER NOW: http://www.meetup.com/singapore-geekgirls/events/221721544/

From L-R: Jay Ching, Kean Ho, Daniel, me, Leonardy

Hacking Hackathons: How we won Masters of Code SG

This is a special guest post by Gwen Yi @gwenific . Her team One Small Step were the recent winners of the Masters of Code SG Hackathon. You can check out the demo: https://one-small-step.herokuapp.com/.

It all started in a bootcamp.

Coding bootcamp, to be exact.

From L-R: Jay Ching, Kean Ho, Daniel, me, Leonardy

From L-R: Jay Ching, Kean Ho, Daniel, me, Leonardy

Jay, Kean, Daniel and I met in the March intake of Code Division, an intensive 9-week web development bootcamp sponsored by MaGIC.

We were all there to learn Ruby on Rails, but our motivations differed;¬†Jay and Kean wanted to level up their already-badass coding¬†skills, while Dan and I simply wanted to understand technology ‚Ästand our future technical co-founders¬†‚Ästbetter.

The four of us hit it off almost immediately.

When Jay found out the February cohort was joining Masters of Code Singapore, he suggested we sign up for it as well. We concurred, thinking it would be a good place to practice the skills we’ve picked up so far. (The free transport played a role as well… Thanks, Heis! ;) )

We started brainstorming two weeks before the hackathon, but due to internal assessment exams, we couldn‚Äôt¬†give it our all.¬†Two days before the hackathon ‚Äď the day of our last exam ‚Äď our fifth member dropped a bomb on us:¬†She¬†wouldn‚Äôt be coming¬†with us to Singapore.

After a frenzy of stalking, calling¬†and elevator pitching, we managed to get Leo ‚Äď UX design extraordinaire ‚Äď on-board. At that point, we still didn‚Äôt have a solid idea.

We hardly got any sleep on the overnight bus. Groggy, irritable and restless, the five of us looked around the room at our bright-eyed, bushy-tailed competitors and thought to ourselves:¬†‚ÄúWe don‚Äôt stand a chance.‚ÄĚ

masters-of-code-sg-gwen-yi-1-683x1024

24 hours later, we were hugging each other in sheer ecstasy and striking victory poses in our oversized Masters of Code jackets.

It’s been three days, and it still doesn’t seem real.

How on Earth did we become the regional Masters of Code?!

The boys and I have spent way too much time analyzing, dissecting and talking about this.

Here’s what we’ve gathered.

1. We stuck to the theme.
Even our flowcharts are a mix of MECE and coding syntax. Help.

Even our flowcharts are a mix of MECE and coding syntax. Help.

We knew the theme for Singapore‚Äôs hackathon¬†was ‚ÄúUsing Commerce / Payments to Empower Women‚ÄĚ, with the operative word being ‚Äėwomen‚Äô.

So when we were brainstorming, we ran the gamut on all ideas ‚Äď from bill automation to confinement ladies (LOL)¬†– that were even remotely related to women empowerment.

Our final idea ‚Äď simple¬†coding games for women¬†to understand the technology around them ‚Äď was a marriage of our current bootcamp experience and what MasterCard was looking for.¬†Which brings me to‚Ķ

2. We identified a real need in the market.
FEMSTORIA-1024x273

WTF, Google?

When we read that, we had two kinds of reactions:

OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE GOOGLE ACTUALLY SAID THAT

and

HOLY $%^* IT’S A FREAKIN’ BLUE OCEAN?!

At the moment, there were only coding games for kids on the Internet; there simply wasn’t any avenue for a young woman to learn more about technology in a fun, casual context.

She would either have to join a coding bootcamp (full-time commitment) or an online course (part-time commitment), which didn’t sit well with most busy women’s schedules.

So, why not create our own?

3. We validated our ideas to the best of our ability…

Remember, we had exams and we were stuck in Cyberjaya, so getting in touch with the right people was a real feat.

Since our focus was¬†on women empowerment, I sought counsel¬†from all the local community¬†organizations that supported women in tech ‚Äď RailsGirls, Code Equality, Women Who Code, Gorgeous Geeks, even Google Women Techmakers.

Many times, I had to sneak out of the room to entertain phone calls; Daniel and I skipped a whole morning of classes to meet up with the former regional COO of Groupon. (S/O to Chen Chow for being a kick-ass mentor and friend!)

4. … And we were willing to pivot when necessary.

We didn’t actually end up going with the idea we ran by CC. But it doesn’t matter, because it wouldn’t have worked anyway.

Part of the hackathon experience is knowing when to push on and when to let go.

The moment MasterCard announced their secret API (MoneySend), we pivoted until we could find a way to incorporate it into our revenue model (funneling our Premium revenue to a coding scholarship fund for underprivileged Southeast Asian women).

It wasn’t by chance. It was a conscious choice.

And last but not least…

5. We had AMAZING team dynamics.
Coders doing their thang.

Coders doing their thang.

Leo was the only one among us who¬†had bona fide hackathon experience; the rest of us had¬†either dabbled in Startup Weekends¬†(the less technical version of Angelhack) or not¬†engaged in any form of ‚Äėhacking‚Äô¬†before.

Nevertheless, we respected one another for what we brought to the table ‚Äď be it coding, designing or business expertise ‚Äď and we allowed each other to do what we did best. No questions. No instructions. Just trust.

Sometimes, Daniel and I would give feedback on how the company logo or the programming structure should look (and here is where I am eternally thankful for our one month of RoR training); other times, Jay, Kean and Leo would share their thoughts on the copywriting or the business model.

The dynamic just WORKED.

To sum things up… Here’s a poem:

We stuck to the theme,
Identified a real need.
Validated to the best of our ability,
And pivoted when necessary.
Last but not least,
We had great team dynamics!

BONUS TIP: If you’re a biz dev looking to join a hackathon, do the techies a favor and complete at least one course on Codecademy. You can thank me later.

***

You could cut the atmosphere with a knife.

At least, you could for the six finalist teams.

We were clustered in the back, anxiety rolling off of us in waves. At the front of the room, the MasterCard team was waging Nerf Gun warfare; so oblivious were they to our obvious distress.

And then just like that, the verdict was out.

They kicked things off with a photo roulette giveaway. All the individuals in the selected photo will receive a stack of Sentosa Adventure Cove Waterpark passes, as well as a pair of A-Reserve tickets to watch Disney’s Beauty And The Beast in Marina Bay Sands.

 

Of the seventy billion pictures we took together… They picked my favorite one of us!

Of the seventy billion pictures we took together… They picked my favorite one of us!

We got it.

What were the odds, right?

Little did we know sweeping the sweepstakes was prescient of our bigger triumph to come.

 

‚ÄúAnd the Second Runner Up goes to‚Ķ Rebound.me!‚ÄĚ

That was the February cohort. My jaw dropped open as they made their way to the stage.

You Jing, my bootcamp mentor,¬†housemate and friendly rival, looked me dead in the eye as he passed. ‚ÄúWin¬†it¬†for me.‚ÄĚ

There would only be two winning teams; the First¬†Runner Up would receive $500 USD worth of MasterCard gift cards per¬†member, and the Regional Winners would be flown to Silicon Valley for the Masters of Code Grand Finale and the¬†MasterCard Priceless¬ģ Experience ‚Äď Northern California.

We held each other with steel-tight grips; to give or get support, I couldn’t be sure. Our foreheads touched as the lady judge stepped up to the stage. All eyes were on her.

‚ÄúHere at MasterCard, we care a great deal about women in STEM. One team was courageous, creative and determined enough to come up with an innovative solution that addresses that problem. Today, we celebrate them.‚ÄĚ

She looked over at us, and smiled.

We screamed.

masters-of-code-sg-gwen-yi-683x1024

I’m not sure which is sweeter: becoming the regional champion, or winning the title on foreign land. #MalaysiaBoleh

I know one thing for sure, though ‚Äď I‚Äôm going to treasure these memories for a lifetime.

Silicon Valley, here we come!