Moments of Inspiration

Friday, May 9, 2008

Sometimes you have a good week, other times a great week. This week has definitely been one of the latter.

We spent Monday morning with some incredibly bright youngsters from the Watershed School in Colorado, all of whom had spent the past three days exploring the joys of the Maker Faire. Our conversation bounced from how the students use Google Apps for their school projects to extending this non-profit school's computer budget by using Open Source software. The best part of the day, though, had to have been the campus tour; as we showed off the Growing Connection Garden on our HQ's main campus, we were greeted with many stories of how these students had recently begun exploring issues around food production in their course "From Farm to Table"; needless to say, a lively discussion ensued over lunch about sustainable agriculture and alternative educational strategies.

Not long after returning to the usual swing of things Open Source, full of both organic produce and inspiration, Maital Ashkenazi, Google Summer of Code™ student in 2007 for the GenMAPP project, pinged. Maital, whom you may remember from her report on last year's Cytoscape Developer Retreat, let us know that the two plugins she produced for her project have been downloaded more than 800 times and will likely soon replace the current search functionality in Cytoscape. We were also proud to hear that an article on her work had recently been published in Oxford's Bioinformatics Journal. The best news of all, though, is that Maital has gone on to mentor for GenMAPP for this year's Summer of Code.

In other news from mentors, Colin Charles, former mentor and 2008 organization administrator for MySQL dropped a note to let us know that their Community Bonding period is moving along swimmingly. So well, in fact, that their students are already delivering weekly status reports. Colin mentioned that their student Filippo Bollini had crafted a particularly well written update; it's worth checking out for mentors wondering what sorts of information to collect from students or for students wondering what kind of details are most useful to their mentors.

Getting back to great news from the younger crowd, Wilco Jansen, one of Joomla!'s mentors and organization administrators for both Summer of Code and the Google Highly Open Participation Contest™ (GHOP), wrote in to share some great news about their Grand Prize Winner, Tomasz Dobrzyński. Two of Tomasz's recently written plugins for Joomla! are community favorites, and Tomasz should soon be back to developing 'full-time' as his school holidays approach. Our Polish speaking readers may be interested in reading more about Tomasz and his two fellow Polish GHOP Grand Prize Winners, Jaroslaw Tworek and Wojtek Szkutnik. (Alternatively, now may be a great time to phone or make some friends in Poland.)

With so many great things happening this week, we knew we wanted to share it with all of you. We hope you too find these notes inspirational, and that you're now fully primed to go scratch your own itch. If you have a story like these you'd like to share, we would love to hear from you.

Happy Hacking this weekend!