Sunday, April 10, 2022

Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2022

This year, Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is open to anyone who is a newbie to open source. Not just students. As such, we replace the term "Student" with "Contributor" this year.

Given below is an introductory presentation to GSoC 2022. There are some more important changes to GSoC this year compared to the past years. Specifically, workload has been made flexible this year. Some projects are medium size, requiring a half-time effort (18 hrs/week, 175 hours in total) as in 2021. Other projects are large projects (full-time, 35 hrs/week, 350 hours in total). Make sure to find the project that fits your availability. Of course, large projects yield to double the stipend compared to the medium size project, as your effort will be double too. Additional flexibility also include the potential to complete the GSoC up to 2 months later, with the mentors' prior approval. 

2020 and before, the potential to commit full-time to GSoC was a major deciding factor. Mentors would avoid selecting candidates who already have an on-going internship or a job unless they still exhibit the potential to commit the same amount of time and effort. This year, just like 2021, allows the half-time (medium-size projects) contributors to have other internships in parallel.

Mentors and collaborators can even schedule their work hours the way they see fit.

Good luck!


Saturday, April 9, 2022

Random spam and a train journey...

Kansas City, KS
Have you ever received a WhatsApp or a WeChat (WeiXin) message like, "Hello, I'm Stella, are you Mr. Jack, the costume designer introduced by Annie?" from someone with a Chinese woman as the profile picture but a US number?

My friends and I kept receiving those messages frequently. The template is always the same:

"Hello, I'm [a woman], are you [a man], [description to the man's job] introduced by [another woman / my colleague / my secretary]?"
A Google reverse image search on the profile picture will take you to the source - where they have stolen the image from.

For fun, we tried to reply to those to see where they would go. "Oh, sorry, you have messaged the wrong person." They respond, "my bad, at least you are kind enough." But these never proceeded further. They always sensed that I was trolling them and discontinued the chat almost immediately.

Train from Kansas City to ABQ
But managed to continue the chat a bit longer as I was on a long train trip. After this "wrong number," the person, who claimed to be a cloth designer from California, suggested I add to their Telegram since the WhatsApp is apparently for their work discussions only. So, I added them to their Telegram, a number from Indonesia. The person also introduced themself as a divorcee with a child and even shared a family photo (again, stolen from the Internet) after I shared a selfie from the train. They again shared the sketch of some cloth they designed and their lunch downloaded from the Internet. At this point, I can see how lazy these scammers are. They are not lazy. They just don't want to invest too much time on each potential victim as they cannot be bothered and have to function at large. Seriously, why can't they send an actual selfie of their lunch?

Anyway, in the beginning, they mentioned they also invest in crypto (they shared a selfie in front of a crypto dashboard - again taken from the Internet). At this point, I was sure this was either a crypto scam, romance scam, or a scam that would make me pay for their cloth design. This chat was dragging on over a couple of days as if they had formed a close and caring friendship with me. Usually, their conversation was in bad/broken English. But every time they talk about crypto, they get more professional and convincing - as if they were copy-pasting some paragraphs they wrote sometime back (not from the Internet. No text matches on the Internet). They even offered to help me invest. Ok, that is when I decided this was a crypto scam. My long train trip was coming to an end too. They also realized I wasn't falling for them - instead, I wasted their valuable scamming time. Their chat was getting repetitive with little time investment from them (just photos and videos stolen from the Internet). They stopped trying to convince me into crypto investments, and I blocked them.

Some arrests have been made on these crypto scams.