Humanitarian open source work: My internship at UNICEF

In December, I received the happy news of an offer for a internship position at UNICEF in the Office of Innovation. The Office of Innovation drives rapid technological innovation by rapid prototyping of new ideas and building full-stack products to make a positive impact in the lives of children. This is a simple answer, but a more detailed description is on our website.

My internship at UNICEF is unique: I support open source community engagement and research as my primary task for the MagicBox project. For years, I’ve done this in open source communities in my free time (namely SpigotMC and Fedora), but never in a professional role. As I navigate my way through this exciting opportunity, I plan to document some of the experience as I go through blogging. My intent is that my observations and notes will be useful to someone else in the humanitarian open source space (or maybe to a future me).

But first, what does “open source community engagement and research” really mean?

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2017 – My Year in Review

I can’t remember how writing an annual reflection became a tradition, but after writing them for the last two years, it is now a habit. Every time I look back on all that the last year brought into my life, it is surreal. Many things that happened, I could never have expected one or two years ago. And perhaps now, I see that life is defined by the unexpected moments: the things that surprise us, warm our hearts, sadden us, and remind us of our humanity. Thus, I present my year in review of 2017.

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Tergiversate: Demon Days by Gorillaz

The first album to début in my Tergiversate music column isn’t a new album, but it’s an album with a meaning that evolves and changes over time into something new. Demon Days is the second studio album released by Gorillaz in 2005. Demon Days is officially classified as alternative hip hop, but it’s better described as a fusion of styles and genres, rolled together. Some tracks hang true to the underground hip hop sounds from the first album, others to a pop-ish sound found in their third album, and others are completely unique to Demon Days.

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Tell us your Fedora 2017 Year in Review

The past year was a busy for Fedora. The community released Fedora 26 and 27. Different sub-projects of Fedora give their share of time for the overall success of Fedora. But in a project as big as Fedora, it’s hard to keep track of what everyone is doing! If you’re a developer, you likely know more about what’s happening inside the code of Fedora, but you may not know what’s happening with the Fedora Ambassadors. Or maybe you’re involved with Globalization (G11n) and translating and know what’s happening there, but you’re not as familiar with what the Fedora Design team is working on.

Share your 2017 “Year in Review”

To communicate with the rest of the Fedora community what we worked on in 2017, the Fedora Community Operations team (CommOps) encourages every sub-project of Fedora put together their own “Year in Review” article on the Fedora Community Blog. The CommOps team has created an easy to use template to document your top three highlights of 2017 and one goal for 2018.

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Raspberry Pis and open source at Rochester Mini Maker Faire

This article was originally published on Opensource.com.


The Rochester Mini Maker Faire is an annual event at the Joseph A. Floreano Riverside Convention Center in Rochester, NY. Each year, makers, creators, artists, and more from all over upstate New York and beyond show their crafts and creations to the community. Open source software and hardware are popular items at the Rochester Mini Maker Faire, with countless Raspberry Pis, Arduino boards, and open source projects powering many electronic projects.

On November 18th, the Free and Open Source Software initiative at the RIT MAGIC Center and the RIT Linux Users Group presented projects and their communities at the Faire. Students from both communities demonstrated projects made with Raspberry Pis or larger undertakings on other open source projects.

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Tergiversate: Introducing music review column

Music is a key part of my life. I spend a lot of time listening and analyzing music. However, music is as much a personal experience as it is a social one too. In music, an artist shares their perspective and experience with the listener. The listener, in turn, shares music with others. In my experience, some of the best music recommendations have come from friends or from other music fans. Thus, I’m happy to announce Tergiversate, a new column on my blog that celebrates great music and the role it plays in documenting culture and society.

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Statistics proposal and self-hosting ListenBrainz

This post is part of a series of posts where I contribute to the ListenBrainz project for my independent study at the Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall 2017 semester. For more posts, find them in this tag.


This week is the last week of the fall 2017 semester at RIT. This semester, I spent time with the MetaBrainz community working on ListenBrainz for an independent study. This post explains what I was working on in the last month and reflects back on my original objectives for the independent study.

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Election night hackathon supports civic engagement

This article was originally published on Opensource.com.


On November 7, 2017, members of the RIT community came together for the annual Election Night Hackathon held in the Simone Center for Student Innovation. This year marked the seventh anniversary of a civic tradition with the [email protected] community. As local and state election results come in across nine projectors, students and professors work together on civic-focused projects during the night. Dan Schneiderman, the [email protected] Community Liaison, compiled lists of open APIs that let participants use public sets of data made available by governments at the federal, state, and local level.

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ListenBrainz community gardening and user statistics

This post is part of a series of posts where I contribute to the ListenBrainz project for my independent study at the Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall 2017 semester. For more posts, find them in this tag.


My progress with ListenBrainz slowed, but I am resuming the pace of contributing and advancing on my independent study timeline. This past week, I finished out assigned tasks to discuss contributor-related documentation, like a Code of Conduct, contributor guidelines, and a pull request template. I began research on user statistics and found some already created. I wrote one of my own, but need to learn more about Google BigQuery to advance further.

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How a smart phone makes time irrelevant

It’s 2pm in the afternoon and the weather is becoming cold after so long. On this brisk November day, an old professor steps out in the corner lobby of the college. The golden rays of the sun cast a warm, radiant glow, leaving a bright, inviting air. This small moment of time is meaningless in an infinite universe of possible moments.

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