We had a fantastic 4-day weekend camping with our kids down in Bundeena. Bit of a risk this late in the season but we got extremely lucky. 26 degrees every day! Our kids were a bit unwell at times, with bad colds and Louis seemed to have a short bout of gastro. But we still had loads of fun.
Ruby has me out of bed at 0530 this morning so everything moved along earlier than usual. Got to daycare and realised we had 35 minutes to kill so we stopped for smiley babycinos.
We spent the day cooking for charity. Lots of fun. I helped on chicken cacciatore and another team did amazing apple calzones. Good stuff and quite fun.
My wimpy office hands scored some nice blisters cutting up ten chickens.
Holly's out to see The Hobbit so I'm home along with the kids. Improvised Ploughmans of:
I've always had a spreadsheet to help me compare a daily contract rate to a "standard" salary, to ensure I'm always comparing like for like when considering jobs. A newer wrinkle has been recruiters quoting "package" salaries, which just means you need to multiply by 0.91 to get the "standard" salary (ex super). But it's always been confusing.I've recently been sharing my spreadsheet with friends who've been considering contract jobs. The spreadsheet was fine, but a bit clunky and I'd only ever bothered to make it convert daily rate to "standard" salary. To make this work a bit better, I created ContractOrPermie.com, a little one-page application I wrote to allow you to quickly and easily compare contract rates with standard salaries. It's only really suitable for Australia. As well as nicely solving this particular problem, I also got to try out Twitter Bootstrap, which means it looks great in all browsers without me having to futz around with CSS. I'm hosting it using the new functionality Amazon Web Services have launched to allow static file hosting at the root of a domain using Amazon S3 (in the new Australian data centre).
Anyway, check out ContractOrPermie.com and let me know what you think.
I took Louis camping this weekend in Bundeena. Train, ferry then a short hike to the campsite on the edge of the Royal National Park. The weather outlook before we left was pretty shaky, and it lived up to the forecast: heavy showers and strong winds pretty much the entire time. Louis was so excited about the idea of camping that I had to take him, and we had an excellent time.Satellite view of the campsite It's an astonishingly beautiful spot, on the edge of a lagoon that adjoins Port Hacking, so you're camped amongst mangroves and birds with a view across the water of Cronulla. So close to civilisation, but you feel like you're a million miles away. Saturday after arriving at the camp site, we pitched the tent just in time to shelter in it from a shower. Next we pottered around the low-tide lagoon and big spit of sand that divides the lagoon from Port Hacking. We found some pretty interesting things along the sand including a cobalt blue piece where a chunk of seaweed was attached to the sea floor. Any seaweed experts know what that's about?
Dinner was interesting. The BBQs were fortunately sheltered from the frequent showers. We got the sausages on and Louis announced he needed to use the loo, so we headed off. As we came back we saw a murder of crows on the BBQs eating our dinner! We ended up with just a single sausage between us for dinner. Fortunately I'd over catered on snacks so we didn't go to bed hungry. (PS, yes I've always wanted to use the term "murder of crows".) Next morning we pottered around the sand dunes then hiked back into town for coffee/babycino just in time to meet up with Holly and Ruby who'd driven to meet us. Lunch was with Rich, Debs and their kids for an amazing cooked lunch at their place. Sadly we didn't get to stay as long as I wanted, Holly and the kids were knackered so we popped home. Lovely weekend, despite the weather! Thanks again to Debs and Rich for an amazing lunch.
Since Jack was born my music has taken something of a back seat. Recently I got the itch to write a new song and here is my first metal tune since he was born. It is an instrumental named after his onesie with chimp feet. I wanted to enjoy writing a song that spins around a little bit without the need to make it radio-length. As such it weighs in at just under 7 1/2 minutes. Anyone want to make a music video for it.
I wrote and recorded this in my home studio and played the guitars and bass; drums are programmed this time around. Licensed as CC-BY-SA.
It’s been a manically busy few weeks so I’m not going to write much today, just share some photos from some of the engagement sessions that I’ve photographed recently. In no particular order.
Rachel and Dan are getting married later this year in Cambridge. We went to a nature reserve near Basingstoke for their photo session.
Sarah and Marcus are getting married next month. For their photo session we revisited the site of their first date, and where Marcus had proposed. Right there on that very bench!
Andrew and Callum are getting married this week. When I went into their flat and saw the rows of Doctor Who DVDs on their shelves I knew we were going to get along. We went to a Doctor Who location for this photo session.
Lucy and James got married at the Tithe Barn in Petersfield, but we went to the Queen Elizabeth Country Park for their engagement photo session. The morning sun poured through the mist and created some rather special lighting.Pin It
I've now upgraded a few systems. Mostly painless I think so far. My desktop was running testing all along so it's upgrade was automatic. The first systems I upgraded were a couple of VM clients I use for SSH, not much on them and no X or GUI stuff so that went pretty painlessly.
I next tackled a laptop, and that was mostly okay except that I couldn't connect it to the WiFi after the upgrade or mount a SD card or USB stick. That turned out to be a problem in how the ck_connector was started from PAM. All things considered it's not a very visual upgrade, KDE 4 is mostly evolutionary rather than revolutionary and the same can be said of most desktop applications too.
Once the laptop was completed it was time to do my better half's desktop system. This is the second most critical system there is so it has to be right or I get complained at. As I'd already done one GUI system I was relatively happy to do this one. Couldn't get Plymouth to work but other than that it's all happy. I do rather have a long list of orphaned and old packages to clean out still.
I've now only got two systems to go, both servers, my home sever and my hosted server, both have no GUI on them so the upgrade won't be as traumatic but they do have Dovecot on them which I gather will take some effort to migrate as the old and new configuration formats are quite different. However I've plenty of time to plan for that.
Here’s how to use this from guestfish:$ export LIBGUESTFS_BACKEND=direct $ guestfish --ro -a ssh://onuma/mnt/scratch/winxp.img -i Welcome to guestfish, the guest filesystem shell for editing virtual machine filesystems and disk images. Type: 'help' for help on commands 'man' to read the manual 'quit' to quit the shell Operating system: Microsoft Windows XP /dev/sda1 mounted on / ><fs> ll / total 1573209 drwxrwxrwx 1 root root 4096 Apr 16 2012 . drwxr-xr-x 23 1000 1000 4096 May 20 19:47 .. -rwxrwxrwx 1 root root 0 Oct 11 2011 AUTOEXEC.BAT -rwxrwxrwx 1 root root 0 Oct 11 2011 CONFIG.SYS drwxrwxrwx 1 root root 4096 Oct 11 2011 Documents and Settings -rwxrwxrwx 1 root root 0 Oct 11 2011 IO.SYS -rwxrwxrwx 1 root root 0 Oct 11 2011 MSDOS.SYS -rwxrwxrwx 1 root root 47564 Apr 14 2008 NTDETECT.COM drwxrwxrwx 1 root root 4096 Oct 11 2011 Program Files drwxrwxrwx 1 root root 4096 Oct 11 2011 System Volume Information drwxrwxrwx 1 root root 28672 Oct 11 2011 WINDOWS -rwxrwxrwx 1 root root 211 Oct 11 2011 boot.ini -rwxrwxrwx 1 root root 250048 Apr 14 2008 ntldr -rwxrwxrwx 1 root root 1610612736 Oct 11 2011 pagefile.sys
Recently there was yet another storm in a teacup that distracted us from creating and sharing Ubuntu and our flavors with others. I am not going to dive into the details of this particular incident…it has been exhaustively documented elsewhere…but at the heart of this case was a concern around the conduct in which some folks engaged around something they disagreed with. This is not the first time we have seen disappointing conduct in a debate, and I wanted to share some thoughts on this too.
In every community I have worked in I have tried to build an environment in which all view points that challenge decisions or decision makers are welcome with the requirement that they are built on a platform of respectful discourse; this is the essence of our Code Of Conduct. Within the context of an Open Source community we also encourage this engagement around differences to be expressed as solutions with a focus on solving problems; this helps us to be productive and move the project forward. This is why we have such a strong emphasis on blueprints, specs, bugs, and other ways of expressing issues and exploring solutions.
Within the context of this most recent issue I saw three problems (problems I have seen present in other similar arguments too):
Ubuntu is a community filled with passionate people, and I love that we have folks who are critical of our direction and decisions. If everyone agreed with what we are doing, we would not always make the right decisions, and our diversity is what makes Ubuntu and our flavors such a great place to participate.
As I said at the beginning of this post, it is important that all viewpoints are welcome, but we have to get the tone and conduct of some of these debates under control. The sheer level of sensationalist and confrontational language that is often in place in these disagreements doesn’t serve anyone but hungry journalists looking for page hits.
Now, I am not suggesting here that anyone should change any of their viewpoints. If you vehemently disagree with an aspect of what we are doing in Ubuntu or at Canonical, that is fine and of course, welcome. What I am appealing to everyone though is to treat others like you wish to be treated, with respect and dignity, and lets keep the sensationalism out of our community and focus on what we do best…building a world-class Free Software platform and its rich ecosystem of flavors.
Yesterday was the (almost) annual OpenTech conference. For various reasons, the conference didn’t happen last year, so it was good to see it back this year.
OpenTech is the conference where I most wish I could clone myself. There are three streams of talks and in pretty much every slot there are talks I’d like like to see in more than one stream. These are the talks that I saw.
Electromagnetic Field: Tales From the UK’s First Large-Scale Hacker Camp (Russ Garrett)
Last August, Russ was involved in getting 500 hackers together in a field near Milton Keynes for a weekend of hacking. The field apparently had better connectivity than some data centres. Russ talked about some of the challenges of organising an event like this and asked for help organising the next one which will hopefully take place in 2014.
Prescribing Analytics (Bruce Durling)
Bruce is the CTO of Mastodon C, a company that helps people extract value from large amounts of data. He talked about a project that crunched NHS prescription data and identified areas where GPs seem to have a tendency to prescribe proprietary drugs rather than cheaper generic alternatives.
GOV.UK (Tom Loosemore)
Tom is Deputy Director at the Government Digital Service. In less than a year, the GDS has made a huge difference to the way that the government uses the internet. It’s inspirational to see an OpenTech stalwart like Tom having such an effect at the heart of government.
How We Didn’t Break the Web (Jordan Hatch)
Jordan works in Tom Loosemore’s team. He talked in a little more detail about one aspect of the GDS’s work. When they turned off the old DirectGov and Business Link web sites in October 2012, they worked hard to ensure that tens of thousands of old URLs didn’t break. Jordan explained some of the tools they used to do that.
The ‘State of the Intersection’ address (Bill Thompson)
Bill’s talk was couched as a warning. For years, talks at OpenTech have been about the importance of Open Data and it’s obvious that this is starting to have an effect. Bill is worried that this data can be used in ways that are antithetical to the OpenTech movement and warned us that we need to be vigilant against this.
Beyond Open Data (Gavin Starks)
Gavin has been speaking at OpenTech since the first one in 2004 (even before it was called OpenTech) and, as with Tom Loosemore, it’s great to see his ideas bearing fruit. He is now the CEO of the Open Data Institute, an organisation founded by Tim Berners-Lee to the production and use of Open Data. Gavin talked about how the new organisation has been doing in its first six months of existence.
Silence and Thunderclaps (Emma Mulqueeny)
Emma has two contradictory-sounding ideas. The Silent Club is about taking time out in our busy lives to sit and be still and silent for an hour or so; and then sending her a postcard about what you thought or did during that time. The Thunderclap is a way to get a good effect out of that stack of business cards that we all seem to acquire.
Thinking Pictures Paul Clarke)
Paul takes very good photographs and used some of them to illustrate his talk which covered some of the ethical, moral and legal questions that go through his mind when deciding which pictures to take, share and sell.
1080s – the 300seconds project (300seconds)
The 300 seconds project wants to get more women talking at conferences. And they think that one good way to achieve that is for new speakers to only have to talk for five minutes instead of the full 20- or 40-minutes (or more) that many conferences expect. The Perl community has been using Lightning Talks to do this with great success for over ten years, so I can’t see why they shouldn’t succeed.
Politics, Programming, Data and the Drogulus (Nicholas Tollervey)
Nicholas is building a global federated, decentralized and openly writable data storage mechanism. It’s a huge task and it’s just him working on the project on his commutes. Sounds like he needs a community. Which is handy as the very next talk was…
Scaling the ZeroMQ Community (Pieter Hintjens)
Peter talked about how the ZeroMQ community runs itself. Speaking as someone who has run a couple of open source project communities, some of his rules seemed a little harsh to me (“you can only expect to be listened to if you bring a patch or money”) but his underlying principles are sound. All projects should aim to reach a stage where the project founders are completely replaceable.
The Cleanweb Movement (James Smith)
I admit that I knew nothing about the Cleanweb Movement. Turns out it’s a group of people who are building web tools which make it easier for people to use less energy. Which sounds like a fine idea to me.
Repair, don’t despair! Towards a better relationship with electronics (Janet Gunter and David Mery)
Janet and David started the Restart Project, which is all about encouraging people to fix electrical and electronic devices rather than throwing them out and buying replacements. They are looking for more volunteers to help people to fix stuff (and to teach people how to teach stuff).
CheapSynth (Dave Green)
Dave Green has been missing from OpenTech for a few years, but this was a triumphant return. He told us how you can build a cheap synth from a repurposed Rock Band game controller. He ended his talk (and the day) by leading the room in a rendition of Blue Money.
As always, OpenTech was a great way to spend a Saturday. Thank you to all of the organisers and the speakers for creating such and interesting day. As I tweeted during the day:
Being at @opentechuk always makes me embarrassed that I’m not getting more done. Which is, I suppose, the point of it :/
— Dave Cross (@davorg) May 18, 2013
But I spent yesterday hacking on something. More on that later.Related Posts: