#SidnetDonations: Olga for Citizen Evidence Lab and Oncorun – Together for health!

In the opensource project we’re supporting in July, the opensource element is not the source code itself, but an idea. Behind this unconventional approach to the #SidnetDonations initiative is Olga Muzyczuk, who manages IT projects in the Sidnet team—especially those involving branding, communication or usability. Sensitive to the human side of things, she gives credit to organizations fighting against dehumanization, i.e. those which expose human rights violations and restore the right to treatment for cancer patients.

Learn more about the organizations that will receive our financial support at Olga’s request.

Citizen Evidence Lab

A collaborative space for individuals and organizations committed to protecting human rights. Initiated by Amnesty International in 2014, it brings together investigators, researchers, journalists, engineers, programmers, and students from different countries.

When investigating human rights violations, they use photo and video verification and remote sensing, and more recently, increasingly innovative methods: crowdsourcing, data science, and machine learning.

Citizen Evidence Lab’s projects include:

  • Amnesty Decoders — a microtasking platform that leverages Amnesty International’s greatest strength—a community of several million people spread around the world. Thanks to the platform, researchers no longer have to process huge amounts of data on their own. They are supported by volunteers who analyze satellite images, documents or social media content.
  • Digital Verification Corps — an international program in which students from a number of partner universities verify visual social media content to provide evidence of human rights abuses. During training, students learn to confirm the authenticity of photos and videos, as well as verify the time and place where they were taken.
  • Sharing knowledge in the spirit of opensource. Citizen Evidence Lab provides not only working tools but also guidance materials. It teaches its community how to make ethical decisions when working with sensitive data, and how to protect from vicarious trauma.

Amnesty Decoders volunteers have so far supported online investigations on topics such as violence against women on Twitter, oil spills in the Niger Delta, and previously overlooked civilian deaths in Syria. It would take an individual researcher 2.5 years (!) to thoroughly investigate the latter topic. Currently, all projects are finished, but I have registered with their website and I am looking forward to join the next research,” stated Olga.

Oncorun – Together for health!

It’s a run around the National Cancer Institute (a virtual run since 2020) aimed at providing financial and mental support to those afflicted with cancer. Oncorun is the oldest oncology‑themed charity running event in Poland. It has been organized by the Sarcoma Association since 2008.

The initiative is of great importance to Olga because of her family’s cancer history. For a few years now, Olga has been supporting the Association with her expertise. She coordinates the website development and advises on communication. She is responsible, among other things, for the concept of this year’s 1% tax donation campaign.

“I don’t need to be good at running to be a part of the Oncorun community. There is room for everyone on the starting line: athletes, coders, kids, seniors, those who are healthy, those who are weakened from chemotherapy, people with prosthetic limbs, and people in wheelchairs. What Oncorunners have in common is sensitivity to cancer-related issues, gratitude towards medical personnel, and readiness to help those currently fighting the disease,” explains Olga.

The upcoming 14th edition of Oncorun will take place online on 12 September 2021.

#SidnetDonations: Krzysiek for SciPy and the Foundation for Polish Science

There is no shortage of science geeks in the Sidnet team, but when phrases such as “scientific computing”, “machine learning”, and “data science” come into play, the one who reacts most vividly may be Krzysiek Pisera. Our Senior Lead Developer overseeing work on projects for Edge NPD is a proponent of a scientific approach to software development and business management.

No wonder science is a keyword running through the open‑source and non‑profit projects we support at Krzysiek’s request. What are those projects?

SciPy

An open‑source software kit based on Python and used when solving various mathematical problems in software engineering.

The basic elements of the SciPy “ecosystem” are:

  • NumPy—a program used for matrix calculations
  • Matplotlib—a plot creator
  • iPython—an interactive interface
  • SymPy—a symbolic computing package
  • pandas—a program for supporting data analysis
  • SciPy library—a basic library for scientific computing

In several recent projects for Edge NPD, Krzysiek used NumPy, pandas, and iPython packages. Thanks to the SciPy library (the scipy.optimize package in particular), he solved optimization problems from the areas of linear programming.

“Solving our Client’s mathematically modeled business problem involved simultaneous operation on over 150 variables. In addition, constraints on these variables were dynamically created based on user‑provided instructions. As a result, executing just one optimization required performing up to a thousand mathematical equations and inequalities. The SciPy library allowed the finding of solutions in just a few seconds,” explains Krzysiek.

SciPy means also an engaged community of creators and bloggers as well as annual conferences held in Texas and their local versions: EuroSciPy, SciPy Japan, SciPy Latin America or SciPy India.

Paraphrasing Joey from “Friends”, our Senior Lead Developer sums up: “What’s not to like? Python? Good. Open-source? Good. Science? Gooood!”

Foundation for Polish Science

A non‑profit organization supporting scientists and research teams for the past 30 years. Apolitical and self-financing in principle, it is the largest extrabudgetary source of science funding in Poland.

START scholarship program ensures that the brightest scientists under 30 do not give up their research careers for economic or personal reasons. The development of Polish science should not require many years of sacrifice for young scientists,” says our lead developer.

In addition to consistent funding for scientific development, the Foundation is credited with, among other things, introducing Polish Studies at the Columbia University in New York and the Cambridge University in Great Britain.

#SidnetDonations: Staszek for LimeSurvey and the Gajusz Foundation

The projects we are supporting in May relate to Staszek’s past and future experiences. These include the professional experience of conducting surveys and the experience of being a parentStaszek will become one in just a few months.

Find out why selected opensource and nonprofit projects are so important to our Sales Specialist Michał Staszewski, who in a team full of Michałs is known as “Staszek”.

LimeSurvey

Leading opensource statistical survey software. It has been developed since 2003 and is provided without licensing fees. The LimeSurvey web application is written in PHP and designed to run in LAMP (Linux + Apache + MySQL + PHP) or similar environments.

“I previously used paid corporate survey systems such as SurveyGizmo or SurveyMonkey. When I reviewed LimeSurvey’s capabilities, I  ound that the open-source software does not lag behind its commercial counterparts. This software also allows you to conduct large surveys using advanced survey templates and automation,” explains Staszek.

What other benefits of free LimeSurvey does Staszek recognize?

  • More than 80 language versions and simplified translating of the survey into other languages.
  • 28 readymade question types, including singlechoice and multiplechoice questions, questions with the option to mark answers on the scale using a slider, and with date and time fields (in the selected format), etc.
  • Interactivity: hints, validation, the displaying of additional questions, and the skipping of irrelevant ones depending on the answers given.
  • Embedded analytics, data visualization, and export.
  • Access management: invitationonly, open, and public surveys.
  • Customizable appearance, including the addition of HTML/JavaScript code with custom templates.

Gajusz Foundation

Established in 1998, the foundation has been running the first hospice in central Poland for terminally ill children. Each year it supports more than 400 families facing not only terminal illness but also childhood cancers, lethal defects diagnosed during pregnancy, as well as traumatic events.

Gajusz Foundation initiated such projects as:

  • OKNO (WINDOW). Support for children who have experienced cancer. During therapeutic and integration meetings, they meet new friends, learn to cope with stress, and acquire competencies that will help them return to ordinary life.
  • Inpatient hospice. “Palace” housing terminally ill children called “Princesses” and “Princes”. A place for children deprived of parental care, from families unable to care for terminally ill children or provide palliative care at home.
  • Tuli Luli. A center that prepares infants abandoned by their biological parents for adoption. Toddlers grow in the company of three dedicated caregivers. They go for walks, use the room for sensory integration, and do rehabilitation exercises.
  • Cukinia (Courgette). Therapy center, which gets its name from the movie “My Life as a Courgette.” It brings together psychotherapists, speech and language therapists, child psychiatrists, physical therapists, and many other professionals who help families in crisis.

“I learned about the Gajusz Foundation during my studies in Łódź. On my way to the faculty, I met distraught parents visiting the Foundation’s office. Since I learned that I am going to be a dad, the plight of the small ones has been especially dear to me,” said Staszek.

#SidnetDonations: Dawid for Git and Animal Shelter in Tczew

Years ago, Dawid joined Sidnet as a selftaught developer; today, he has more experience than many Frontend Developers put together. He masters new JavaScript frameworks at an astonishing pace, and specializes in singlepage applications (SPAs) and desktop applications.

Check out the opensource and charitable projects that we will support thanks to Dawid’s choices.

Git

An opensource version control system created in 2005 by Linus Torvalds as an alternative to the thenproprietary BitKeeper. It’s one of the most common tools used by developersfrom freelancers to tech giants such as Google, Netflix, Twitter, or Android.

“Git is one of the first tools developers learn. We use it in almost every projectboth commercial or hobbyistwhenever it requires developers to seamlessly work together. The system also works well in projects with a single developerit allows the separation of work on individual elements of the application thanks to the so-called »branches« and, if necessary, to restore the previous version of the code,” explains Dawid.

If you want to become a Git expert and use its advanced functions like a pro, refer to the freely available book “Pro Git.”

Animal Shelter in Tczew

Animal shelter in David’s home town. In 2020, shelter volunteers helped find homes for 326 dogs and 48 cats. In the same yearwith only funds from 1% tax donationsthey replaced the roofs over the boxes, renovated some of the boxes, and provided their fourlegged friends with insulated kennels, specialized food, and medical treatment.

“A shelter’s expenses list never ends. That’s why I’m supporting the shelter in my city for the 5th time as part of #DarowiznySidnet”, says our programmer.

The shelter in Tczew is one of ten shelters run by the National Society for Animal Protection OTOZ Animals. Every day, the organization’s representatives rescue animals from hunger and pain, fight in courts to punish their tormentors, and prepare animals for adoption.

#SidnetDonations: Emil for Arch Linux and the Polish poetry project

When they are not programming, they’re gaming, playing with electronics, or chatting on IRC. These are the only interests of programmers according to a popular stereotype, while our developers find enjoyment in running, yoga, making music, singing, watercolor painting, or spoiling their pets.

One week before the World Poetry Day, our Full-Stack Developer Emil Maruszczak is remixing technical documentation with classic Polish poetry.

What open-source and non-profit projects does Emil want us to support?

Arch Linux

This DIY Linux distribution is aimed at competent, demanding users. First released in 2002, it has seen continued development by its community.

The creators of Arch Linux profess such values as:

  • Simplicity. In line with the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle, Arch Linux was designed as a simple system without unnecessary additions or embellishments.
  • Being always up to date. The system uses the rolling release model which involves frequent minor updates.
  • Practicality. Decisions made in relation to the system are generally based on technical analyses and discussions, not popular opinions or politics. 

“I had long been on the lookout for a system that worked how I wanted it to. Arch impressed me with how clean it was the moment I first ran a test installation. The barrier to entry was high, but so was my determinationI had to understand and configure many mechanisms which just ‘magically’ work in other systems. Now I use Arch at work, at home and on my private servers,” he said.

Polish poetry

Online audio library of Polish poetry. This project is being developed by the Maurycy Mochnacki Foundation, whose goal is to popularize the works of Poland’s most famous poets, from the Middle Ages to the present. The texts are recorded by actors and uploaded to YouTube thanks to donations.

There are more than 300 recordings currently available for listening, including samples from Master Thaddeus, Jan Kochanowski’s Laments, as well as works by Juliusz Słowacki, Maria Konopnicka, Czesław Miłosz and Wisława Szymborska. They include interpretations by PhD students of Polish literature, short biographies of the authors and descriptions of the literary periods, ideal for helping school teachers and students.

“Polish literature, and poetry in particular, is in need of digitization. This is one way of developing sensitivity in young people, who are more likely to choose their smartphone over a book. The vulgar narrative they encounter in social media every day has desensitized them to the beauty of the world around us,” said Emil in explaining his choice.

#SidnetDonations: Marcin for Laravel Actions and Zuzia Bereza (Between Heaven and Earth Foundation beneficiary)

Valentine’s Day may not be a big deal to us, but we cannot ignore Congenital Heart Disease Day. Even more so because today we can actually relieve the heart of 18‑month‑old Zuzia. The recipients of donations in February have been selected by Marcin Tabaka—Lead Backend Developer, who has a heart for PHP and the Laravel framework.

Check out which open‑source and charity projects are to receive financial aid thanks to Marcin’s choices.

Laravel Actions

A tool for the logical organisation of applications that are built in Laravel. It allows developers to focus their attention on the application’s functionality under the assumption that one action performs exactly one task.

“We have recently used this package in the Fooder web and mobile app project. Together with Wojtek, we were seeking a solution to replace the now obsolete and unsupported Laravel Commander—which implements the Command Bus pattern. Laravel Actions perfectly suits our needs, as it allows us to consistently trigger an action, regardless of whether the request was triggered by the web interface, mobile app API, scheduled cron task, or queued task,” explains Marcin.

Laravel Actions implementation classes can be used as:

  • object,
  • controller,
  • command,
  • listener,
  • fake instance for testing.

Zuzia Bereza (Between Heaven and Earth Foundation beneficiary)

18‑month‑old Zuzia is struggling with Williams syndrome—a genetic defect causing cardiological problems. The girl has already had two complicated procedures to widen the sections of the pulmonary arteries and the aorta, which are narrowed due to the disease. To be able to develop, she needs cardiological drugs, intensive rehabilitation, and visits to a speech therapist.

“I share a mutual friend with Zuzia’s parents. Although the girl will always suffer from the disease, I believe that the current efforts can help her become more independent and capable in the future,” said our developer.

Zuzia is under the care of the Between Heaven and Earth Foundation, which has been providing material, legal and psychological support for incurably ill children and their families since 2011.