DevCon day 1 & TedX Plaines Wilhems

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DevCon Opening Day

Last Friday I had a really exhausting day, yet it was also one of the most enriching.

Things started early – DevCon at 8.30 in the morning at Voila Hotel. I attended the first two talks on MSCC and User Groups in Mauritius. During the latter, the PHP user group was officially launched (big thanks to Nadhir and Wasseem), hackers.mu explained the awesome stuff they do with Open Source, and Ish from LUGM (Linux User Group Mauritius) narrated a captivating story about how he got started with Open Source software and the obstacles he had faced in following his passion. The PHP guys though, were really energetic and that’s what made their presentation one of the most memorable. I’m eager to start contributing to the user group, and both Wasseem & Nadhir have reached out to me in that respect.

Next I attended Vanessa’s presentation on Drupal 8. I had previously worked with Drupal at Activeline, but it seemed it has really evolved, and is now completely object-oriented. Good stuff, but the overall takeaway was that there was more work to be done to perfect it, and web agencies needed to contribute their real, on the ground experience. I took a coffee break after that, and returned to watch a few minutes of the Angular 2 presentation, before heading down to Trianon Convention Centre.

TedX Plaines Wilhems

TedX Plaines Wilhems
TedX Plaines Wilhems.

I had never been to the venue before, but it turned out to be an impressive location, befitting an event of TedX caliber. I came alone – all my friends had decided to either go to TedX ALC or had other engagements, but I did meet up with a friend of mine who was volunteering and Loic who was there setting up drones for Lexpress. The event was really well-organised, and proceeded flawlessly. My favourite speakers: Shameem Oozeerally, Zaheer Allam, Astrid Dalais and Hudaa Neetoo.

Shameem’s talk was about languages, and particularly how Mauritian languages like kreol and bhojpuri had been constructed. It was interesting to see how diverse the two languages are, borrowing from different languages. His presentation was funny and as the first one set the stage for the others to follow.

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Shameem Oozeerally

Zaheer’s talk had great visuals, as usual. I had already attended his talk and met him at Porlwi by Light in 2015. His topic was on a new (actually thousands of years old) eco-friendly and longer lasting alternative to concrete for building houses called rammed earth. It is a greener, longer-lasting, beautiful alternative to concrete, and it can be made locally in Mauritius.

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Rammed earth house in Arizona. I really like those beautiful, natural striations.

As for Hudaa, I was particularly impressed by her delivery and expressiveness. She really was clear, poignant, and her presentation had a great flow. In essence, what she was pitching was a tolling service for high-pressure processing (HPP) .As with the best pitches, she seemed to follow the NABC (Need, Approach, Benefit, Competition) approach. The Competition part was not entirely clear, but if I had a million bucks with me at that moment, I would have invested in her right there and then.

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Hudaa Neetoo

As for Astrid’s talk, it spoke to me because of the good memories it brought back. I had been to Porlwi by Light on two days, and even participated at some of the other events they had organised, including talks by Zaheer Allam, Paul Choy and photography workshops with Paul ChoyEric Regnard. It was a talk tinged with the hope that culture still has its place in the Mauritian psyche, and that the Mauritian people are strongly united in their diversity and common history.

Astrid Dalais
Astrid Dalais

I was absolutely exhausted when it ended, but still got the time to have a brief chat with my cousin Binesh (his wife, Viti, is curator for tedX Plaines Wilhems) and a much longer one with Laurent Montaigne of Extension Interactive. Yet another long, but productive day!

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