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Tony Whitmore: Malawi Mountain Madness – update

Mon, 10/02/2014 - 20:50

Later this year I am going to do something stupid. I’m going to climb Mount Mulanje, the highest mountain in southern Africa. It will take 5 days to get up and I’ll be carrying a heavy pack all the way.

People keep asking me if I’m in training. I’m not. I probably should be. What those people don’t know is that it’s not climbing the 3,002m peak that worries me. It’s the insects. I am extremely attractive to insects. Even in the UK I get bitten, a lot. When I was working on an outdoor theatre production I got bitten so much that they put it in the accident book.

I’m doing all this for AMECA, a UK charity who have built a sustainable hospital in Malawi. Adults pay for their treatment, which funds free medical care for children. Sadly there is no NHS in Malawi. So, is this just about helping people in Africa? (As if that wasn’t reason enough!) No.

The money that I’m raising pays bursaries for nurses from the UK to go to Malawi and work out there for 6 months. The nurses get valuable experience that they bring back to the UK. Everyone benefits.

I first wrote about this last summer, and I’ve had a lot of generous sponsorship from people. Only some of whom want me to suffer whilst I’m doing the climb. Some generous people donated anonymously, so I can’t thank them in person. But thank you. Thank you so so much to everyone who has helped. I really do appreciate it.

I’ve only got 4 months to reach my fundraising target of £2,550. If you can help out, the link is right here:

Please donate on my Virgin Money page

All the money goes straight to AMECA. Thank you.

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Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Steve Kemp: Sad times

Mon, 10/02/2014 - 14:09

There are times when I'm very proud of the Debian project, the developers, the contributors, the bug-reporters, even the users.

There are times when I'm less impressed.

These days I guess I'm not qualified to comment, being an ex-developer, but I still am disappointed.

Part of me wants to rejoin the project, to see if I can help. The other part is thinking there are other choices, maybe I should look at them.

Conflict is bad.

Being conflicted is worse.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Adam Trickett: Picasa Web: Yorkshire

Sat, 08/02/2014 - 15:24
Date: 8 Feb 2014
Number of Photos in Album: 4

View Album

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Steve Kemp: External Comments, updated

Thu, 06/02/2014 - 11:40

The simple external-comments code is now complete enough for me to stop poking it on a daily basis:

  • Although the comments are styled minimally you can override that with CSS.
  • Although the default "Add your reply" form is ugly you can replace it with your own.
    • The reply-form may go above or below the comments.
  • If you add an email field then your comments will include a gravitar link.
  • Comments are assumed to be in markdown now.
  • The commments may be retrieved in newest-first, or oldest-first order.
  • There's now a simple anti-spam plugin system present.

All in all I'm pretty happy with the way it works, and the server-code. The client-side Javascript is less good, but I'm probably done poking that too.

In an ideal world the client-side code should be a jQuery plugin, but I've not worked out how to make a static method (the JSONP callback) be a member of a jQuery plugin-object. So without that I have to re-pass the options around too many places, rather than making them a member of "this".

Meh, pull requests welcome for adding new storage back-ends (redis and sqlite are supported by default), and similarly for cleanups.


Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Tony Whitmore: New year, new logo

Mon, 03/02/2014 - 19:30

I’m very pleased to reveal a brand new logo for my photography. I think it reflects my geekiness, my excellent sense of humour (you may disagree) and generally straightforward approach to photography.

It was a fun but challenging process to collect together ideas that might influence the design. “Describe yourself” is always a difficult question to answer, but gradually I collected a pinterest board full of things I feel describe my aspirations and that I admire: Classic design, comedy heroes, retro computing.

My photographic style has developed so much since I started photographing weddings back in the dim and distant past of 2011. This new branding reflects the clearer understanding I have of my style, but also who I am as a person and a photographer. I’m not going to be in your face and demanding, but I will be smiley and chatty. I won’t filter, airbrush and process your photos until they look completely artificial: I will produce natural looking images that show your personalities. I won’t try and pose every tiny aspect of your photos: I will create a space where you feel comfortable and can act naturally.

My new branding was designed by the brilliant Tom Holmes and I will be using it for my wedding photography as well as other photography and video work (about which more soon!).

I think the little fella should have a name though. Any suggestions?

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Steve Kemp: disqus on the cheap?

Sun, 02/02/2014 - 13:44

Last night I was up again, really hard to sleep when you have a bad cold.

I decided to do something fun, and allow my tweaking guide to accept comments.

Like many of my sites this is 100% static, and generated by templer, so comments are "hard".

I've seen a few people try to rewrite disqus as a general-purpose solution, and I like that idea, because I don't trust that particular service.

I wasn't so ambitious though, I just hacked up a quick sinatra server:

  • "GET /comments/ID"
    • Retrieves the comments on the specified identifier as a JSON array of comment-hashes.
  • "POST /comments/ID"
    • Append the submitted comment to a redis set.

My jquery/javascript is nasty, but the thing seems to work pretty well. The page loads and comments are populated, and new ones are persisted as expected.

I can see the appeal of putting all this magic in one javascript file. You include that and get both the existing comments and the form to add new ones - my approach is to hardwire the submission/display in my generated site.

Perhaps something for the future.

In conclusion if people wish they can now leave feedback on most of the pages :)

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Steve Kemp: Optimization Recipes

Fri, 31/01/2014 - 16:08

Today I am mostly in my bed suffering from "the plague".

Between naps I've worked on a new site a little:

Hopefully this will become updated, contributions welcome, and be useful to the world.

(Source available on github.)

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Alan Pope: January 2014 Core Apps Final Hack Day – Weather and Terminal

Thu, 30/01/2014 - 14:05

See also Hack Day One – Reminders and Music, Day Two – Calendar and RSS Reader, Day Three – File Manager and Calculator and Day Four – Clock and Doc Viewer.

The Final Day of the January 2014 Core Apps Hack Days brings focus to Weather and Terminal but as I keep saying we welcome contributions to any app on any day of the week!

In order to get started we’ve come up with some suggestions for new developers.

First off get your development environment setup as documented at which you can do either natively on Ubuntu 13.10 or 14.04 or in a Virtual Machine if you prefer.
If you have a Nexus device, you could either replace the legacy OS with Ubuntu using either of these guides – or

Next up take a look at some of these suggestions based on your area of interest and skill level.

We welcome translations for all our Core Apps. If that’s if interest you can find everything you need at and

If you find bugs in the apps you can look for existing bugs to confirm or fix at and, or file new bugs at and

You may find some bugs which have yet to be confirmed or triaged, we’d love your help there too.

You’ll find out-standing merge proposals on launchpad at and

If you’d like to take on a task then we have some work items in the blueprints which you can assign to yourself and get cracking on at and

You can find out more about the Core Apps Hack Days at the links at the top, and you’ll find all of us hanging out on #ubuntu-app-devel on freenode.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs