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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.

Links:

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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Categories: LUG Community Blogs

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 http://developer.ubuntu.com/apps/create/get-the-sdk/ 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 – https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Touch/Install or https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Touch/DualBootInstallation.

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 https://translations.launchpad.net/ubuntu-weather-app and https://translations.launchpad.net/ubuntu-terminal-app.

If you find bugs in the apps you can look for existing bugs to confirm or fix at https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-weather-app/+bugs and https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-terminal-app/+bugs, or file new bugs at https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-weather-app/+filebug and https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-terminal-app/+filebug

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 https://code.launchpad.net/ubuntu-weather-app/+activereviews and https://code.launchpad.net/ubuntu-terminal-app/+activereviews.

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 https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu-phone-commons/+spec/coreapps-1404-weather-dev and https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu-phone-commons/+spec/coreapps-1404-terminal-dev

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

Alan Pope: January 2014 Core Apps Hack Day Four – Clock and Doc Viewer

Wed, 29/01/2014 - 11:35

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

Day Four of the January 2014 Core Apps Hack Days brings focus to Clock and Doc Viewer but as I keep saying we welcome contributions to any app on any day of the week!

The Doc Viewer app is currently not in the image, so no screenshots there.

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 http://developer.ubuntu.com/apps/create/get-the-sdk/ 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 – https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Touch/Install or https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Touch/DualBootInstallation.

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 https://translations.launchpad.net/ubuntu-clock-app and https://translations.launchpad.net/ubuntu-docviewer-app.

If you find bugs in the apps you can look for existing bugs to confirm or fix at https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-clock-app/+bugs and https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-docviewer-app/+bugs, or file new bugs at https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-clock-app/+filebug and https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-docviewer-app/+filebug

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 https://code.launchpad.net/ubuntu-clock-app/+activereviews and https://code.launchpad.net/ubuntu-docviewer-app/+activereviews.

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 https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu-phone-commons/+spec/coreapps-1404-clock-dev and https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu-phone-commons/+spec/coreapps-1404-docviewer-dev

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

Debian Bits: Debian.org enabled for SIP federation and WebRTC, XMPP/Jabber to follow

Tue, 28/01/2014 - 17:45

Debian System Administrators working in conjunction with pkg-voip team member Daniel Pocock have set up a SIP proxy and TURN server for debian.org.

Specifically, the SIP proxy provides a way for Debian Developers to use their Debian email ID as a SIP address for making calls to other project members and exchanging calls with any other domain that is enabled for SIP. The repro SIP proxy from reSIProcate has been chosen for this project.

The TURN server provides a mechanism for users of SIP or XMPP (Jabber) to relay audio and video streams through a public IP address when necessary, eliminating many of the quality issues that arise when NAT devices block the media streams in one or both directions.

The service allows the users to connect directly with the SIP device or softphone of their choosing, including many of those packaged in Debian such as Jitsi and Empathy or third party solutions like Lumicall or CSipSimple on Android. The SIP proxy also includes a WebRTC interface, allowing Debian Developers to immediately try WebRTC voice and video calls without installing or configuring any software of their own other than a web browser.

A second stage of the project involves providing an XMPP (Jabber) server with similar capabilities for federated communications between debian.org users and other domains. Further details will be announced in the weeks ahead.

It is a significant feature of the Debian Project philosophy that we can operate the entire project using free software, specifically, using software available in Debian packages running on our own infrastructure and without a dependency on third party cloud solutions.These new services for project members fulfill those expectations. It is particularly relevant for situations where real-time communication (voice or video) collaboration takes place with third parties such as applicants for Google Summer of Code, Outreach Program for Women, sponsors, media and other free software projects.

Project specific details and a user guide are available now on the Debian Wiki at http://wiki.debian.org/UnifiedCommunications/DebianDevelopers

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Alan Pope: January 2014 Core Apps Hack Day Three – File Manager and Calculator

Tue, 28/01/2014 - 10:50

See also January 2014 Core Apps Hack Day One – Reminders and Music and January 2014 Core Apps Hack Day Two – Calendar and RSS Reader

Day three of the January 2014 Core Apps Hack Days brings focus to File Manager and Calculator 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 http://developer.ubuntu.com/apps/create/get-the-sdk/ 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 – https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Touch/Install or https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Touch/DualBootInstallation.

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 https://translations.launchpad.net/ubuntu-filemanager-app and https://translations.launchpad.net/ubuntu-calculator-app.

If you find bugs in the apps you can look for existing bugs to confirm or fix at https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-filemanager-app/+bugs and https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-calculator-app/+bugs, or file new bugs at https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-filemanager-app/+filebug and https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-calculator-app/+filebug

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 https://code.launchpad.net/ubuntu-filemanager-app/+activereviews and https://code.launchpad.net/ubuntu-calculator-app/+activereviews.

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 https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu-phone-commons/+spec/coreapps-1404-filemanager-dev and https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu-phone-commons/+spec/coreapps-1404-calculator-dev

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

Steve Kemp: It is unfortunate that many companies need the same sysadmin jobs carried out

Tue, 28/01/2014 - 00:01

It is unfortunate that I've been exposed to several companies that all need the same kind of problems solving, again and again:

  • Imaging systems. Quickly.
  • Configuring MySQL & Postgres replication and fail-over.
  • Configuring local users.
  • Solving the problem of distributing usernames/passwords to 500+ client-systems within a team.

A lot of these are solved problems, yet they seem to keep cropping up. I guess the fact I've done some of these things more than once means I'm the local-expert, so that's why I get asked. But still..

There was a time when I thought my Debian Administration site would help solve these kind of problems; that writing documentation would encourage people to do things properly. Certainly it has helped me, and some other people are greatful, but it didn't do enough to help.

I'm not sure if the problem is that my documentation is a little ideosyncratic, isn't good enough, or isn't reaching the right kind of people. I suspect a combination of that and scale - You can't walk somebody though the idea of setting up a ten-node database-cluster, they need to suffer, they need to break things, they need to sweat on Christmas Day, at 5AM, as everything goes to hell. Then the next time they'll do it properly.

I'd love to take the time to write out recipes in Salt, Ansible, Puppet, Chef, CFengine, Slaughter, whatever, and support them.

Remote. Automated. System management.

Throw in monitoring of metrics, security fixes, and reporting and there's probably a valuable service there.

It probably can't happen though, for three main reasons:

  • The people that need it don't know they need it. They're fighting fires, they know it is important and they will fix things "soon", but other work takes priority.
  • The people that are tempted will baulk at the idea of unknown code from an external source running on their system(s).
  • Companies managed by one sysadmin will wonder why they need more help, because "everything is working, right?".

I did recently write some policies for setting up a two-node Master-Slave MySQL setup, with reporting, monitoring, and custom SMS-based alerts. I guess I'm wondering if I can be cheeky and sell the same work twice. ;)

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Tony Whitmore: Helen Thompson

Mon, 27/01/2014 - 19:30

This isn’t my usual sort of blog post, so please bear with me.

Last summer I worked for Neil Thomas Douglas as second photographer at a wedding in Oxfordshire. James and Helen had put a lot of thought and effort into their day. From the outdoor ceremony where Helen’s pupils sang, through the meal cooked by family members and served to guests seated on hay bales, and onto the evening with live bands, swings and tug-of-war, the whole day was alive with their personalities. It was clear just how much Helen loved James. Her short, powerful speech sent shivers down my spine.

Helen died suddenly last month.

Even though I only knew her for a day, it was clear that Helen was a caring, lively and compassionate person. Someone who wanted to make the world a better place to live in. It was a privilege to be a part of Helen and James’ wedding day.

The fundraising campaign that Helen had set up to raise just £200 for voluntary aid workers in the Philippines has been flooded with donations and is currently at over 9000% of the target. This immense response shows just how loved and respected Helen was. If you can give anything in Helen’s memory, please do.

Thanks to James and Neil for letting me write this post.

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Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Alan Pope: January 2014 Core Apps Hack Day Two – Calendar and RSS Reader

Mon, 27/01/2014 - 11:19

See also January 2014 Core Apps Hack Day One – Reminders and Music.

Day two of the January 2014 Core Apps Hack Days brings focus to Calendar and RSS Reader (a.k.a. ‘Shorts’), but as always 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 http://developer.ubuntu.com/apps/create/get-the-sdk/ 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 – https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Touch/Install or https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Touch/DualBootInstallation.

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 https://translations.launchpad.net/ubuntu-calendar-app and https://translations.launchpad.net/ubuntu-rssreader-app.

If you find bugs in the apps you can look for existing bugs to confirm or fix at https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-calendar-app/+bugs and https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-rssreader-app/+bugs, or file new bugs at https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-calendar-app/+filebug and https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-rssreader-app/+filebug

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 https://code.launchpad.net/ubuntu-calendar-app/+activereviews and https://code.launchpad.net/ubuntu-rssreader-app/+activereviews.

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 https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu-phone-commons/+spec/coreapps-1404-calendar-dev and https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu-phone-commons/+spec/coreapps-1404-rssreader-dev

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