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Alan Pope: January 2014 Core Apps Hack Day One – Reminders and Music

Fri, 24/01/2014 - 11:58

As David blogged yesterday, we’re having another round of Core Apps Hack Days for our Ubuntu Phone Core Apps

Each day we’re focussing on two apps, today that’s Reminders and Music, 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/reminders-app and https://translations.launchpad.net/music-app.

If you find bugs in the apps you can look for existing bugs to confirm or fix at https://bugs.launchpad.net/reminders-app/+bugs and https://bugs.launchpad.net/music-app/+bugs, or file new bugs at https://bugs.launchpad.net/reminders-app/+filebug and https://bugs.launchpad.net/reminders-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/reminders-app/+activereviews and https://code.launchpad.net/music-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/reminders-app-development and https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu-phone-commons/+spec/coreapps-1404-music-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

Anton Piatek: So Make It has a new location

Wed, 22/01/2014 - 09:57

(originally posted at http://blog.somakeit.org.uk/2014/01/20/a-place-of-our-own/)

It’s our very sincere pleasure to announce that we will be holding the Grand Opening of our first dedicated space:

On
1st February 2014 at 2pm
(please arrive from 1pm)

At
Southampton Makerspace,
Unit K6, Liners’ Industrial Estate,
Freemantle,
Southampton SO15 3FQ

It’s been a very long road but we’re very excited to finally have a place of our own, allowing us a lot more flexibility and freedom (not to mention warmth!). If you’re not familiar with Southampton Makerspace (or even if you are) you may be interested to read on.

What is Southampton Makerspace?

Wikipedia states:

hackerspace (also referred to as a hacklabmakerspace, or hackspace) is a community-operated workspace where people with common interests, often in computers, technology, science, digital art or electronic art, can meet, socialize and/or collaborate.

But we like to think of Southampton Makerspace as a friendly and inclusive community of people who like making things (be they physical, digital or otherwise) and sharing knowledge, experience and tools. Currently the interests of the current membership seem to focus on subjects of technology (3D printing, microcontrollers (Arduino, etc), robotics, home automation, computers (Raspberry Pi, etc) and programming), wood- and metal-work and more arty disciplines such as costume design. We have a significant number of tools available to facilitate these activities and our members are often willing to lend their own personal tools too.

We are keen to attract new members to expand our horizons and build upon other forms of making such as costume design and props, pottery, photography, fine art, glass blowing, baking, games design and anything else that tickles your creative fancy!

Looking back (or: a brief history of Southampton Makerspace)

Activity interest according to the 2012 SoutHACKton survey

It all started as a call to Southampton hackers in 2009, followed by a tentative first meeting at the Crown Inn to gauge interest. Then there were some further meetups including a visit and workshop from Mitch Altman and Jimmie P Rodgers of Noisebridge, San Francisco. We started joint meetings with a Dorkbot group at the Arthouse, where we effectively merged and continued to meet monthly for the next few years (except one meeting at ASpace). Finally by September 2012 our community had grown sufficiently that getting a space of our own seemed feasible, so we ran a survey, the results of which were very promising. In the mean time we started meeting at DHaus/Etch; a venue that enabled us to hack easily without having to worry about the safety of other patrons.

At the beginning of 2013 we attempted to set up a makerspace as a charity, but this was quickly quashed by the Charity Commission who insisted that we were an educational outfit and thus must register with Ofsted to qualify. Not being fans of bereaucracy but not giving in easily we decided to go ahead the next best way – as a non-profit company limited by guarantee (CLG) – So Make It Ltd. Whilst we were sorting out the paperwork to register with Companies House one of our members had located someone who could help us out with somewhere to meet and keep our stuff – Tim from rideride Cycle Workshop was very supportive of our venture. He very generous allowed us to use a 500sqft area in the corner of their warehouse at just the cost of the electricity we used until we were big enough to afford a space of our own. We continued to grow and met much more frequently at the rideride warehouse; until finally at the end of 2013 we realised we were big enough to set out on our own and we crowdfunded some capital and started looking for places to go.

Having ruled out a large number of places; at the very end of 2013 we finally found a suitable and affordable place – Unit K6. We signed the contract early in January and spent the rest of the month moving in and improving the space. There’s still plenty to do but we’re very proud of what we’ve achieved – and it’s much easier to heat than our previous space!

Looking Forward

The Makerspace has run a number of events covering quadcopter dronesbuild your own mini-Arduino and use it to power your Christmas Lightslearn to program Node.JS and a behind the scenes of rendering in 3DS Max; not to mention our regular 3D printing meetups and of course our thrice-weekly regular openings. But now we have a place of our own with a dedicated workshop room we hope to run many more events in 2014!

Having a space of our own also gives us a lot more freedom – we intend to expand our number of keyholders significantly. Any member can become a keyholder by passing a short list of sensible pre-requisites. We’ll be “hacking” our front door such that any keyholder can get in to the space by scanning an wireless card or similar (like opening the gates at the London Underground using your Oyster card) which gets past the issues of potentially having to revoke all copies of traditional keys. By having more keyholders we should have the space open considerably more than we’ve been able to commit to in the past, and this also relieves the pressure on the trustees freeing them up to work on growing the space in other ways.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Tony Whitmore: Big Finish Day 4

Mon, 20/01/2014 - 23:27

I had a great time at the weekend, taking photographs at Big Finish Day 4. The event is for fans of the audio production company, who make audio plays of Doctor Who, The Avengers, Dark Shadows, Blake’s 7 and much more. I’ve listened to Big Finish audio plays for years, mostly their Doctor Who range (of course!). The production standards are superb and one of their recent releases is up for a BBC audio drama award. I’ve been lucky enough to do some work for them over the last few months, and was asked to go along to capture some of the event.

In the morning I was wandering around taking candid shots of people enjoying the convention and the panels. It was rather like taking wedding photographs although slightly more relaxed. There are so many different moments to capture in a short time during a wedding ceremony, but a convention panel is a little more static and a good deal longer. Fortunately the urbane Nick Briggs kept the crowd laughing through the morning, and there was a really great atmosphere through the whole event.

https://twitter.com/DudleyIan/status/424504877109510144

In the afternoon I set up a portable studio to take some photos of various Big Finish actors. I was rather pleased with this set up, especially as it all managed it fit in my car! Apart from the background roll.

I really enjoyed working at Big Finish Day, catching up with some of the very nice people I’ve met at recording sessions, and hope to be asked back again!

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Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Imran Chaudhry: Why is Ronald D. Moore’s Battlestar Galactica one of the best TV shows ever?

Sun, 19/01/2014 - 09:36
Here are two reasons (there are many more): this http://vimeo.com/51598991 and this http://vimeo.com/51466779
Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Steve Kemp: Some software releases to change the topic.

Sat, 18/01/2014 - 13:43

Now it is time for me to go silent for a while, and not talk about jobs, unemployment, or puppies.

This past week has also been full of software releases. Some of the public ones include:

Lumail - My console mail client, with integrated lua scripting

After three months of slow work I've issued a new release today. This release features several bugfixes for dealing with malformed MIME messages, and similar fun.

The core set of lua primitives hasn't changed very much for a good six months now, which means I guess rightly what kind of things would be useful.

Templer - My perl-based static-site generator.

This was recently updated to add two new plugins to the core:

  • A redis plugin to allow you to set variables to values retrieved from redis.
  • An RSS plugin to allow you to inline (remote) RSS feeds into your static HTML. Useful for building news-pages, etc.

Although there are a million static-site generators I still think mine has value, and I am consistently using it.

Months ago when I said "I'm writing a mail-client", all I need to do is handle three cases:

  • Display a list of folders.
  • Display index of messages.
  • Display a single message.

Then some new things like "Compose", "Reply", "Forward", I remember somebody commented along the lines of "Yeah, but MIME will make you hate your life" I laughed. Now I know better. Still it works, it works well, and I'm glad I did it.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Steve Kemp: So I found a job.

Fri, 17/01/2014 - 13:27

Just to recap my life since December:

I had worked with Bytemark for seven years and left for reasons which made sense. I started working for "big corp" with a job that on-paper sounded good, but ultimately turned out to be a poor fit for my tastes.

I spent a month trying to decide "Is this bad, or is this just not what I'm used to?", because I was aware that there would obviously be big differences as well as little ones.

At the point I realized some of the niggles could be fixed but most couldn't then I resigned, rather than prolong the initial probationary training period - because I knew I wouldn't stay, and it seemed unfair and misleading to stay for the full duration of the probationary period knowing full well I'd leave the moment it concluded - and the notice period switched from seven days to one month.

A couple of people were kind enough to get in touch and discuss potential offers, both locally, remotely in the UK, and from abroad (the latter surprised me, but pleased me too).

I spent a couple of days "contracting", by which I really mean doing a few favours for friends, some of whom paid me in Amazon vouchers, and some of whom paid me in beer.

e.g. I tweaked the upcoming death Knight site to handle 3000 simultaneous HTTP connections, then I upgraded some servers from Squeeze to Wheezy for some other folk.

That aside I've largely been idle for about 10 days and have now picked the company to work for - so I'm going to be a contractor with a day-rate for an American firm for the next couple of months. If that goes well then I'll become a full-time employee, hopefully.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Debian Bits: Call for Proposals for the MiniDebConf 2014 Barcelona

Wed, 15/01/2014 - 19:40

Debian Women will hold a MiniDebConf in Barcelona on March 15-16, 2014. Everyone is invited to both talks and social events, but the speakers will all be people who identify themselves as female. This is not a conference about women in Free Software, or women in Debian, rather a usual Debian Mini-DebConf where all the speakers are women.

Debian Women invites submissions of proposals for papers, presentations, discussion sessions and tutorials for the event. Submissions are not limited to traditional talks: you could propose a performance, an art installation, a debate or anything else. All talks are welcome, whether newbie or very advanced level. Please, forward this call to potential speakers and help us make this event a great success!

Please send your proposals to proposals@bcn2014.mini.debconf.org. Don't forget to include in your message: your name or nick the title of the event, description, language, and any other information that might be useful. Please submit your proposal(s) as soon as possible.

For more information, visit the website of the event: http://bcn2014.mini.debconf.org

We hope to see you in Barcelona!

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Debian Bits: Call for Proposals for the MiniDebConf 2014 Barcelona

Tue, 14/01/2014 - 00:00

Debian Women will hold a MiniDebConf in Barcelona on March 15-16, 2014. Everyone is invited to both talks and social events, but the speakers will be all people who identify themselves as female. This is not a conference about women in Free Software, or women in Debian, rather a usual Debian Mini-DebConf where all the speakers are women.

Debian Women invites submissions of proposals for papers, presentations, discussion sessions and tutorials for the event. Submissions are not limited to traditional talks: you could propose a performance, an art installation, a debate or anything else. All talks are welcome, whether newbie or very advanced level. Please, forward this call to potential speakers and help us make this event a great success!

Please send your proposals to proposals@bcn2014.mini.debconf.org. Don't forget to include in your message: your name or nick the title of the event, description, language, and any other information that might be useful. Please submit your proposal(s) as soon as possible.

For more information, visit the website of the event: http://bcn2014.mini.debconf.org

We hope to see you in Barcelona!

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Tony Whitmore: Oh yes they did!

Mon, 13/01/2014 - 22:08

This weekend I had the pleasure of watching my parents do something I’ve never seen them do before. Acting together. On a stage. In front of people who have paid to be there.

The church that they attend resurrected its annual pantomime this year, for the first time in probably fifteen years. Conversation over Christmas was about little else, and they have clearly put heart and soul into it since August when rehearsals began.

I went along to the performance not knowing too much about what to expect, apart from embarrassment. Dad has been a dame before and something tells me he was near the front of the line of volunteers, offering to don the wig and heels again. It is a measure of his commitment that he shaved his ankles and forearms for the role. Mum claims she was roped into playing the baddie’s son who gets to woo a milkmaid with enormous buckets.

My parents are, I hope they won’t mind me saying, both in their sixties now. Yet you wouldn’t know it if you had seen them throwing themselves around on the stage. Dad actually did a forward roll, in heels. Mum sang and danced and looked so different in the costume and wig that I didn’t recognise her at first!

Of course, there were plenty of other people in the cast doing their bit. With a script and songs written especially for the run, this was not an AmDram production that did things by halves. Particularly impressive were the costumes, even the chorus dressed in consistent and plausible outfits. Clever use of moving lights kept the lighting rig small. But above all it was fantastic to see my folks having a ball on stage, clearly loving every moment of it. Congratulations.

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Categories: LUG Community Blogs