Adventures with Elastic Search – #week 3 & 4

Last week I did not blog about my outreachy internship. That is because I was stuck with elastic search.

I have the feeling of being Alice in the Wonderland. I was lost in the maze last week, and no, there was no special rabbit to help me, no special potion to get me from novice to advanced! However there were bugs,  and the bugs were my enemies.

I got some feedback from my awesome mentor Peter and we decided I change approach.

I usually use to go with small snippets of non functional code seeking for some help to unstuck. However that might have not been the best approach. I mean, I am learning something new, sometimes I have to allow myself to be stuck and get unstuck on my own. It is part of the process, but I have my deadlines and I really did not want to go past them so I resorted to that approach. Now I am shifting from that to shipping some functional code on which I will be asking feedback on instead. That is a great leap. It made me worry initially, being stuck is never fun, but this is worth trying.

Last week there was no functional code. This current  week, I finally started seeing some light in the tunnel. I am optimistic about that.

First of all my elastic search queries work!!! That is a progress that happened yesterday. Read more

Deleting an Item from a List in Python (Pop, Remove, Delete)

Last 2 weeks I was reading django girls tutorial which is something I had promised to do when I wanted to learn more about Django sometime back. This day finally came where I read it.

So as I was reading it, I thought it will be good to have an example of how to delete a list item since it already had one for dictionaries. I decided to suggest  that contribution as it might be a good thing for a newbie to see. Then I got a question lingering in my mind….

What do I feel is the best way to demonstrate that? I went to StackOverflow to research on how others felt was the right way or better way to do it and I notice the main suggested ways, in the few Q&As I read, were the pop method or the del statement.

That led me to think of if I should create a suggestive pull request with one of these two suggestions [by the way this gist code embedding trick was shown to me by another cool Outreachy intern. It looks really pretty I must say. High five to you if you are reading this 😀 ]

Suggestion #2: Seems like the best option because it also returns the item that gets deleted, in result to that, that value could be used to do something. Read more

Outreachy Internship week blog #2

This week was better than last week. Last week it was a struggle both because my area had no internet and also because I was kind of stuck with ElasticSearch. I will be using pyelastic search instead and I can’t find enough examples of its usage in python/django projects online. I think several examples for an API or library are a good thing to have. It shows you how to use a tool and see it visually in action. In particular real life examples are the best. Maybe I’ll have to research some more for that. I submitted a non functional PR with what I had done so far for review. I mean, I knew it wasn’t working but it had a lot of coding involved and in some way I had to figure out how to make it work or if I was in the right path. I am glad I got a good amount of feedback on it but there is a lot more I have to learn, I hope as time goes on that I will get faster and better than I currently am. This week I also did a small bug fix just to break out from the ElasticSearch cycle I was in and have some break. Now I am back working on ES and then I’ll work on some other area of the project I am working on till I connect the dots. The time is flying pretty fast. I feel it is faster now that the internship started opposed to before where it looked like a long way. I am looking forward to having  a prototype soon.

Just a tip….

This week my mentor mentioned a wonderful tool by Mozilla that I didn’t know existed. It is called Firefox Hello. In fact I didn’t know Mozilla had so many products. I just knew of the Firefox browser and Mozilla Thunderbird.  I believe recruiters should be using Firefox Hello for video calls while recruiting instead of some other software’s because with that tool they do not need to add anyone on their IM list. So the connect/remove thing becomes less discomforting. That’s of course good for anyone of you out there that want to have a chat without necessarily adding someone to your video conferencing software for long. Some other perks of it are…

1. It works from your browser. Firefox preferably though I saw something about browser compatibility but I didn’t read that piece.

2. You don’t need to add anyone you just give them a link.

3. You do not need to download anything or sign up/in/out anywhere! I love no registration items haha because then I do not need to think of a password all the time or give out my emails and wish for no spam messages. I know we have password management tools but I have not tried any yet.

4. Super easy to use!

5. Your conversation gets encrypted

If you want more info about it you can check here => Firefox Hello

Anyways that’s it for today 🙂

Summer Internship Begins #Mozilla #Outreachy

This is more of a late announcement, well, it could be taken as an early announcement as well, based on which point of view you are taking.

* So I was selected to be one of Outreachy 30 interns! Yay. *

What is Outreachy?

Outreachy is the successor of the Outreach Program for Women (OPW). OPW was inspired by Google Summer of Code and by how few women applied for it. The GNOME Foundation first started OPW with one round in 2006, and then resumed the effort in 2010 with rounds organized twice a year. In the May 2012 round, Software Freedom Conservancy joined OPW with one internship with the Twisted project. In the January 2013 round, many other free and open source organizations joined the program. For the May 2015 round, the program was renamed to Outreachy with the goal of expanding to engage people from various underrepresented groups and was moved to Software Freedom Conservancy as its organizational home.

This program is a welcoming link that connects talented and passionate newcomers with people working in free and open source software and guides them through their first contribution. Through Outreachy, participants learn how exciting and valuable work on software freedom can be, while helping us to build a more inclusive community.

For more info on what’s Outreachy you can check here – Outreachy Info

Which company did I apply for?

In specific I applied for only 1 company and that is Mozilla. I believe Mozilla is a cool company to work for and contribute to and I like the way it supports the open web. My mentor from Mozilla is also super awesome! He really knows how to mentor from my experience so far, he is patient, welcoming, resourceful and knows how to keep people motivated. I believe other employees at Mozilla might be as cool, but I haven’t met many of them due to this being done remotely. However the few I have met on the IRC/bugzilla were all super nice, helpful and welcoming. So I am very happy working with them all and believe this will be a nice and productive summer.

So yes I am super happy for it. I might share on how it all went at some point down the road if I get asked a lot.

Day 1 started with memorial day which is a holiday in the USA I got the chance to meet other cool interns doing internships on other opensource projects. I learnt a lot from the few minutes we talked and it is nice hearing how we are all going through this experience.

How did I get involved with Opensource?

Prior to this I had absolutely no idea on how to contribute to opensource even though I really wanted to. I googled endlessly online just to find good but limited information. I couldn’t find something as succinct as I wanted that could help me learn to contribute as a “newbie”, but this whole experience up to this day has made me learn way too much than I knew back then and I am glad that I applied and didn’t let my doubts stop me from it.  If I get the chance maybe I should write a succinct “How – to” sort of thing, to make someone else’s life easier when it comes to doing your first contribution to opensource projects, and get more people involved with it. I’ll think about that, for now I’m focusing on learning and contributing to Mozilla. I have submitted several bug fixes/patches of code that have been merged and that was an awesome experience.

How has week 1 been so far?

This week was my first week, I downloaded elastic search which we plan using for this project I will be working on if it fits what we are looking for. If it doesn’t then it will be switched to something else. So far I have been trying to figure out how to get it to do what I want it to do based on its documentation. I wished  I could find more real-life examples on how it is used in python/django. I am still searching for such materials and trying to read more about it.

OK. What project are you working for?

I am working on Air Mozilla. Air Mozilla is the Internet multimedia presence of Mozilla, with live and pre-recorded shows, interviews, news snippets, tutorial videos, and features about the Mozilla community. Mozilla creates software that promotes the goals of the Open Web.

Wanna have a look on Air Mozilla ? Check here => air mozilla page


I am looking forward to the day I complete my project, I really hope that day comes soon so I can take a deep breath of relief that “I made it!”  🙂

In the next weeks I’ll be blogging more of my experience so if you are interested in it, keep an eye on the blog.

while True:


Stay tuned!

A bit about my thesis – Stage 0 – Arduino

The thesis I am working on is on has to do with several technologies. So far I have figured out that there are 4 techologies I am to work on

1) Arduino 2) Bluetooth 3) Android 4) Robotic Arm

Basically this is a mixture of robotics, mobile development, micro-controllers, switchers and the list can go on and on. The goal is to get a robot arm be controlled by an android phone through an “app” that I have to make, communicating with a bluetooth module. I also have to write a dissertation about it in Greek.

To make things simple lets say it is a mixture of hardware and software, which is something I like because I want to get involved with both before I graduate as my studies involved both.  It is good I challenge myself as much as I can. Right now I have worked with the hardware, below I’ll have a picture with some wires I soldered for the project showcasing my successful newbie skills 🙂 and a lil bit of my project. Few weeks ago my sister’s laptop which I use got its charger cable torn and I decided to fix it but I ended up making it worse and it never worked again oppose to it working after several tweaks. I tried to find a DIN connector and see if I could figure things out but I couldn’t find any in the electronic store so we had to get another one.

Soldering, even though my hand is pretty stable, is a bit hard for me because I find it challenging to get the solder melt and attach itself exactly on the place it was intended to fall to, and then we have the fumes and how tiny some components might be. Hopefully with time things get better. So far I Read more

QS World Grad School Tour Athens

Last Saturday I decided to go to the QS World Grad School Tour that took place in Athens (Greece) as I am interested in the prospect of continuing my studies if and when I get the chance. I was a bit hesitant at first due to several factors and me having other things I wanted to do, but at last I decided to go. When I went there it was packed, unlikely of what I expected; because I have gone to a few technical and educational meetups here in Greece and it was always less than 100 people. This time it was super packed.

It was easy for me to find the location, which was Hilton Hotel in Athens, I did have to ask a few people on where it is, but it was easy to get there and my first time to enter a Hilton Hotel. So I went in there and asked where is the QS Grad Tour; they told me to go straight ahead and I will see people waiting to be enrolled. Now, I was told (by what I read online) that I had to enroll online before I get there to participate, however when I went there it was slightly disorganized. I had to register for the 2nd time through a tablet I was given by one of the workers there, to get some numerical code that is needed in case the universities you visit want to send  you additional information. I stood in the line for about 30 minutes I’ll say. At the same time the seminars listed in the program were taking place but something I found odd was that it had a lot of empty chairs and there were many people outside. I didn’t really get what those people were doing outside, initially, but after my enrollment I decided to not go to the seminars but instead go towards where the crowd is. Well, that was the best decision ever! Haha, and if you go there please do yourself a favour and go right away to the universities area because you will miss out big time if you visit the seminar room first.

The first counter I saw was one from British Council who were in charge of the IELTS exam information, I actually know English as it is my first language (despite my grammatical errors here and there), but due to me doing studies in Greek I will have to do an IELTS or some equivalent English test in the future if I want to get into a European Masters program (I don’t know about the requirements outside the EU yet). After that I went to the GMAT counter to get an information on it. I couldn’t  find a GRE counter so I couldn’t get to ask for that. Then I went to a couple of other counters and finally found where the “CV experts” lounge. Can I say my eyes blinked with joy when I saw that? They took the CV/Resume of each participant (so it is good to have your CV with you if you go) and gave thorough feedback on it. I have got feedback on my resume several times in the virtual world, but this one was face to face plus free too. So I waited in the line for about 30-40 min i’ll say and finally I was able to get to the counter. I sat down (after filling some info for a resume makeover giveaway they had), and she looked at my resume and gave me some cool ideas. In fact, she told me some things I wasn’t told in my other assessments so this experience was enlightening and one that is so worth it.

I then went to some other places and as I waited in the line I was marking the universities i’ll like to visit. Read more

Trying timebox on hard todo tasks

I decided to give timebox a try. I want to study some things I find pretty much intimidating and the fear causes procrastination, so the goal here is to beat the fear one step at a time.

Everyone does not necessarily have procrastination as a trait (if could even be a trait), sometimes our procrastination is targeted on a specific duty. Many times it is because we are scared of that thing, we don’t have enough confidence in our capability of mastering it,  we are intimidated by it, we have a lot on our plate or we don’t really want to do it due to it being super boring. All these do sound as excuses but it is a reality of life, everything doesn’t as easy. Breaking that habit is a great achievement in itself.

There is 1 specific thing that I find it hard to study because I do not really understand it right now, but it is very fundamental for my future career. It is not that I don’t like to study it but It looks hard and that fear paralyzes my brain when I open up the book to read it. Call it my amygdala reacting or what not. Something happens and that is what we want to stop.

So I decided to try the 3 minute rule. Everyday at least 3 minutes. Like…that doesn’t suppose to be scary huh? And with the thousands of pages I have to study 3 minutes make it ages to finish, but starting a new habit is the goal so 3 minutes is the  to keep me going. As I improve 3 minutes will increase and if I feel like studying that subject more than 3 minutes I can but 3 minutes should be the minimum.

There are other things you can try like the 5 minute rule or the pomodoro technique. Starting really small is key when you have something that is really hard for you to keep doing. So you can try that with me if you like.

Let me break it down a little further as someone might not know what this really means. What can be done in 3 minutes? The 3 minute rule is just to get you  going. For example you want to work out, but for some reason you can’t keep up with it. Instead of pushing yourself till infinity, and that never happening, you break it into 3 minutes daily tasks to build your endurance,confidence, drive. Once 3 minutes becomes easy you increase it. In this work-out example you can start by just wearing your trainers in the morning. Then it can be wearing your trainers and walking around the house for 3 minute. Then once that is way too easy to do you can increase the task to 5 minutes – wearing your trainers and going for a walk till you reach the entrance of your home/flat. Then increase it till you are actually working out.  That takes time but overtime I believe it can help in overcoming tasks that are hard to start.


Have you tried this method before? What are the most effective ways you have tried to beat procrastination?