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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

Steve Kemp: Some productive work

Sat, 11/01/2014 - 19:15

Having decided to take a fortnight off, between looking for a new job, I assumed I'd spend a while coding.

Happily my wife, who is a (medical) doctor, has been home recently so we've got to spend time together instead.

I'm currently pondering projects which will be small enough to be complete in a week, but large enough to be useful. Thus far I've just reimplemented RSS -> chat which I liked a lot at Bytemark.

I have my own chat-server setup, which doesn't have any users but myself. Instead it has a bunch of rooms setup, and different rooms get different messages.

I've now created a new "RSS" room, and a bunch of RSS feeds get announced there when new posts appear. It's a useful thing if you like following feeds, and happen to have a chat-room setup.

I use Prosody as my chat-server, and I use my http2xmpp code to implement a simple HTTP-POST to XMPP broadcast mechanism.

The new script is included as examples/rss-announcer and just polls RSS feeds - URLs which haven't been broadcast previously are posted to the HTTP-server, and thus get injected into the chatroom. A little convoluted, but simple to understand.

This time round I'm using Redis to keep track of which URLs have been seen already.

Beyond that I've been doing a bit of work for friends, and have recently setup an nginx server which will handle 3000+ simultaneous connections. Not too bad, but I'm sure we can make it do better - another server running on BigV which is nice to see :)

I'll be handling a few Squeeze -> Wheezy upgrades in the next week too, setting up backups, and doing some other related "consultation".

If I thought there was a big enough market locally I might consider doing that full-time, but I suspect that relying upon random work wouldn't work long-term.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Steve Kemp: Interesting times

Wed, 08/01/2014 - 17:04

In November I resigned from Bytemark.

In December I started working for a local company, here in Edinburgh, in a real office (rather than working from home).

Unfortunately today I resigned from that new job, meaning I'm currently unemployed.

I plan to take a 1-2 week vacation, then look for another job as a matter of some urgency. (I can live off savings for the next half-year, or so, if I need to, but I'd go crazy if I had nothing to do for that long.)

It is unfortunate to have to resign from a new job after only five-six weeks, but much more honest to do so now than pretend everything was OK and do it at the point I'd passed my probationary period (of three months).

The people were lovely, the office was lovely, the coffee machine was excellent, the work was interesting, but the nature of a large corporate job with the associated beaurocracy made it a less good fit for me than it looked on paper.

I shall pretend that the next week or two of down-time is our honeymoon ;)

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Tony Whitmore: A message for fans of Sherlock (spoilers!)

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 21:36

For fans of Sherlock, I’d just like to make it clear that although I am a wedding photographer, I’m not a psycho murderer dude. And I almost never use flash during the daytime. I just do stuff like this…

These photos are from Stuart and Zoe’s fantastic wedding in Greece last autumn. I will be writing more about it soon!

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Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Steve Kemp: A beginning is a very delicate time.

Mon, 06/01/2014 - 08:30

Recently I wrote about docker, after a brief diversion into using runit for service management, I then wrote about it some more.

I'm currently setting up a new PXE-boot environment which uses docker for serving DHCP and TFTPD, which is my first "real" usage of any note. It is fun, although I now discover I'm not alone in using docker for this purpose.

Otherwise life is good, and my blog-spam detection service recently broke through the 11 million-rejected-comment barrier. The Wordpress Plugin is seeing a fair amount of use, which is encouraging - but more reviews would be nice ;)

I could write about work, I've not done that since changing job, but I'm waiting for something disruptive to happen first..

ObQuote: Dune. (film)

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Adam Trickett: Bog Roll: Dithering

Sun, 05/01/2014 - 14:52

My desktop boxen are getting on. Over a year ago I started to think about replacing at least one of them: Twin Dilema. The boxen are even older now, really feeling the strain and I've still not done anything about it...

This autumn I ripped the hard-disk out of an old Sky+ box I had, and put that into my desktop PC. It is faster and larger than the original drive and as a result has bought some life back into my PC. However the writing is on the wall and it will need replacing this year.

Since I last thought about this, I have managed to get the gas boiler replaced and have the ancient windows done. That did cost a fortune, a lot more than the £1k of a decent desktop, but I will get some of that back in reduced energy bills. It looks like a ~ 10% reduction at the moment. If you assume a 10% annual energy inflation that adds up to a total saving over 30 years of around £16.5k which covers the cost of the boiler but not the windows and doors.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs