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Aframe Wrap Up at HoustonVR

I first got to know about HoustonVR ar Immersive Technology Conference and since then always wanted to catch up with them. However, my Mozilla All Hands and my master's defence (which was smack middle of it) kept me from attending their weekly meetings.
So I was very much delighted when they asked if I can attend a meetup where they are going to wrap up some projects and what they learned as a community on aframe. I thought this was an excellent opportunity and joined in.
The meetup itself was hosted at Station Houston. Which had a bunch of other events as well. The meetup mostly was an informal one. I got to learn a bit about everyone and also some projects they were working on in VR. I already had met Wanjun before and she was detailing her experience of teaching Aframe to school students and how they were building their curriculum. 
It only felt natural to show them some of the more interesting things involving WebXR, and everyone seemed very excited about it. This was us playi…
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Immersive Technology Conference at Houston

At the end of last year, I was invited to speak at the Immersive Technology Conference, which took place at the University Of Houston. It was a two-day event with my talk being the first one. That always is something I simultaneously hate and still crave for. Because even if it's stressful, that is the only timeslot which allows me to actually listen to and enjoy other talks after me. Otherwise, I keep fretting over my own and can't concentrate on anything else.

The conference line-up was pretty good. I enjoyed the talk by Ann McNamara. Ron Dagdag, Brian Dornbos and Angel Muniz. The only problem was the two rooms had conflicting sessions so I had to prioritize and choose. Which made me miss the talk by Chris Gerty from NASA since my own talk had a clashing slot.
The event also had a few expo stalls. And I managed to try my first Hololens experience here. Admittedly I look a bit foolish in these glasses. This also was the first conference as a Mozilla TechSpeaker where I start…

IRCTC blocking certain countries?

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation or most commonly known as IRCTC is the only authorized government portal in India through which someone can book a Train Ticket. It also provides booking for flights and buses but its primary use for most people is to book rail tickets online.
And like thousands of other people I also use the site intermittently while booking train tickets, especially for my parents who are in India and when I want to book tickets for them. A few days back they asked me to book a ticket for them and that is when the fun started.
I found out that when I tried to access the website day before yesterday (4th July 2018), instead of the familiar login page I was greeted with an error that page cannot be loaded. I thought maybe something wrong and I would try later. After a day I tried and faced the same error. Now a little bit curious since I actually never seen the site down for a prolonged time, blamed it on my Comcast connection and connected to my school…

Story of a Drupal theme mis-configuration, Hacking and Ministry of Defense India

If you have been following news or were online for past couple of hours you might have noticed this news making a tweet-storm and appearing all over your timeline regarding how India's Ministry of Defense website got hacked (allegedly by 'Chinese' origin).
Almost all the big media outlets covered it. Including
* Youtube : TimesNow * Times Now * Hindustan Times * NDTV
* Business Standard * Times of India An example of the coverage

Fueled by our own famous ministers chiming in with their own ideas

Action is initiated after the hacking of MoD website ( https://t.co/7aEc779N2b ). The website shall be restored shortly. Needless to say, every possible step required to prevent any such eventuality in the future will be taken. @DefenceMinIndia@PIB_India@PIBHindi — Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) April 6, 2018
It all seemed for the fact that the homepage of the websites showed this image with a Chinese character
And though most of india's government portals and websites aren'…

April Fool and Google Compilation: 2018 Version

Every year different teams withing Google spend considerable amount of effort - both time and money to make to come up with awesome nerdy April fool joke/products. I have started following the trend since last two years and they never seem to disappoint. What I have been able to find this year are:
Where is Waldo - Google Maps TeamOften Google Maps team comes up with quest/games or real worl overlays that you can interact and play in Maps. In past we have seen pac man appear in map and this year it is Waldo. Once you open your Google Map in android or iPhone Waldo will be waving his hands at you and clicking him will take you on a quest to find Waldo in different maps location. You can play and level up. I gave up after level 3 realizing my eyes aren't that great at finding Waldo. The most interesting part of the quest seems to me that you gain badges with more quest you do and the better you are able to find it. Way to go in gamifying a April fool's joke. More information on…

HackRice 7.5: How "uFilter" was born

I have a thing for Hackathon. I am a procrastinator. A lazy and procrastinator graduate student, not a nice combination to have. But still when I see hundreds of sharp minds in a room scrabbling over idea, hungry to build and prototype their idea. Bring it to life, it finally pushes me to activity, makes me productive.  That is why I love Hackathon, that is why I love HackRice, our resident Hackathon of Rice University.

TL;DR: if you just want to try the extension, chrome version is here and Firefox version is here.
I have been participating at HackRice since 2014, when I think for the first time it was open for non-rice students, and have been participating ever since. What a roller coaster ride it has been, but that is a story for another day. HackRice 7.5 being the last one I will be able to attend at Rice, it was somewhat special and emotional for me.
HackRice 7.5 was a tad different form the other iterations. For starters it was the first time it was being held in Spring semester…

macOS High Sierra App Preference Unlock Bug : Be high to unlock that padlock with any password

It has been a very interesting year for macOS. If we keep security in mind. Afterwe all were enjoying the "elevated" privileges[1], combined with the 'root'less effort[2], taken to a new high[3] by apple.  And not forgetting the local notification bug [4].

We really thought it was all over. But then again....how about unlocking your App Preferences panel on your high sierra without any password at all?

Steps to reproduce:
Open System PreferencesOpen App StoreCheck if your padlock is locked. Else lock itTry to unlock it and click on "Use Password" optionPut any password you want in it and it will unlockHow cool is that -_-
If you don't have access to a machine, here is a nice cool video I just recorded showing it in action


Not sure if it will actually be called a security bug. But there is a bug report atleast now with this video if they take notice.