I just wanted to talk about a busy week of community management and leadership related content I will be involved in in July 2013 in Portland, Oregon.Community Leadership Summit 2013
The Community Leadership Summit is the primary annual event that brings together community leaders, organizers and managers and the projects and organizations that are interested in growing and empowering a strong community. The event pulls together the leading minds in community management, relations and online collaboration to discuss, debate and continue to refine the art of building an effective and capable community.
The Community Leadership Summit 2013 takes place at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon on 20th – 21st July 2013, which is rather conveniently the weekend before OSCON.
At the heart of Community Leadership Summit 2013 is an open unconference-style event in which everyone who attends is welcome to lead and contribute sessions on any topic that is relevant. These sessions are very much discussion sessions: the participants can interact directly, offer thoughts and experience, and share ideas and questions. These unconference sessions are also augmented with a series of presentations from leaders in the field, panel debates and networking opportunities.
I can’t quite believe that this is the fifth anniversary of the Community Leadership Summit, and I am determined to make this the very best year yet! We already have an awesome list of pre-registered attendees, and this is shaping up to be yet another fantastic example of the primary place for community managers and leaders to get together to discuss, share, and learn best practice.
The event is completely free to attend, you just need to register first. I hope to see you there!Community Management Training at OSCON
Speaking of OSCON, which takes place the week after the Community Leadership Summit 2013, I am also delighted to announce that I will be running my very first community management training class.
As some of you will know, I wrote The Art of Community published by O’Reilly (now in its second edition), which has rather fortunately become the best-selling book on community management and leadership.
For some time now I have wanted to deliver a training class that takes many of the concepts of the book, but extends them with detailed problem solving discussions, workshops, Q+A sessions, and more to provide an intense, detail-rich class about how to manage and lead communities, be them small and local or large and global.
On Monday 22nd July 2013, the day after the Community Management Summit 2013, I will be delivering this one day community management training class.
Topics in the class will include:
Find out more about and book your seat in the class by clicking here. Space is limited, so be sure to reserve your seat as soon as possible!Burnout and Bickering: a Community Manager’s Guide to Conflict
I am also pleased to announce that I will be presenting a brand new presentation at OSCON on Wednesday 24th July 2013 at 2.30pm in D137.
The talk is entitled Burnout and Bickering: a Community Manager’s Guide to Conflict, and here is the description from the talk page
One of the most challenging aspects of growing community is managing conflict and burnout. While we often see the effects of conflict, getting to the heart of the issue is often more challenging.
In this new presentation from Jono Bacon, the Ubuntu Community Manager and author of The Art of Community, he presents a comprehensive guide to conflict and its many different causes.
The presentation explores how to identify these different causes (such as stress, personality differences, language/age/cultural barriers, and more), how to identify when problems are happening in a scalable manner, and how to resolve conflict in a progressive and repeatable way.
Bacon will also cover preventative measures to reduce the potential for both conflict, stress, and burnout, and wrap the content in a set of practical tools you can use in your own community.
All of this will be delivered in Bacon’s amusing anecdote and story filled style, delivering practical recommendations and techniques in a fun and contextual presentation.
I am excited about this presentation. As some of you will know, I have talked before about burnout and managing stress and conflict in communities, and this presentation provides extensive coverage of the topic. I am looking forward to presenting this at OSCON.
See more about the talk by clicking here.
As you can see, quite a week for community management and leadership! I hope to see you there!
I have finally reach the limit with unsolicited marketing calls (in spite of being registered with the TPS). So today I have implemented a couple of changes to the Asterisk phone system here.
1. All inbound calls with the number withheld will be presented with the number disconnected tones, then told that the call may be recorded (it will be!) before any phones ring.
2. If the call is from a telemarketer, I will transfer the call to sip:email@example.com:5060
3. If they are already on my blacklist, they will automatically get transferred to sip:firstname.lastname@example.org:5060
A couple of days ago, someone asked me whether the Gmail website was any good on mobile. I said: it seems so, the couple of times I’ve used it, but I’m not really sure. I’ll find out, I said.
You’d think I’d know better by now.once more into the breach, dear enemies
The way to actually find out whether it’s any good, with the gmail web app as with all things, is to use it for real for a bit. So I decided that what I’d do is exclusively use the web app to read my mail on my phone for a week.
There are two base criteria here which must be met. First: I have to be able to get at gmail from an icon on my iPhone’s home screen, and second I have to get notifications when I get a new mail. Those two things are axioms, here: if they’re not possible, then my answer is “the gmail web app is crap” because I can’t use it. The easy bit first.the easy bit
Go to gmail.com in the browser: press the share button, press “add to home screen”. Done.notifications for a new email
Web apps have a notification API, but it’s not useful on mobiles, because the whole point of a new mail notification is that you get it even if you’re not looking at your mail app. You wouldn’t want to keep the gmail web page open all the time, even if you were allowed to do so on a phone, which you are not. (The Nokia N9 allowed this. No-one else does; mobile platforms routinely decide to quietly kill your app and then raise it from the dead again when you want it back, and while it’s dead it’s not notifying anybody of anything, because it’s dead). So, we need a way for me to get a notification that I have a new email. This requires some sort of native app on the phone, fine, OK, but I didn’t want to have to write a native app to do it; someone must have written an app which can handle notifications and then open up gmail in the web browser. And indeed it is so: on the iPhone there’s Boxcar and Prowl. (I assume there are similar for Android.) Prowl costs money, so I looked at Boxcar first. Boxcar does, indeed, allow you to have it get notifications when you get a new email and then do some sort of user-specified activity when a notification comes in, hooray! (It does this by giving you a magic email address: you tell gmail to forward all your mail to that email address, and when it gets an email, it sends your phone a notification and then deletes the email. This requires trusting the Boxcar people, I agree, but the purpose of this exercise was to see if this could be done at all. If you want security, run your own webmail server, or your own server which monitors gmail and then send the notifications yourself, that’s fine; Boxcar can help with that too via their API.)the easy bit… is never that easy
So, at this point, when I get an email, Boxcar shows a notification: I press the notification, and it opens my configured URL, which is gmail.com. This is great and I should be done by now, except…Boxcar opens my chosen address in a little in-built web view rather than my browser. Lots of iPhone apps do this — build in a webview rather than using the browser — and it really, really irritates me. There is no option to say “open this in the browser, damn you!” Grr.
But, after some poking around, I notice that the Boxcar changelog says “NEW: Add ability to open custom safari:// URLs in MobileSafari.” Aha! That sounds like what I want. So… I configure my custom URL to be safari://mail.google.com, right?
That doesn’t work. Nor does safari://http://mail.google.com, or any other combination I could think of. There is no documentation other than the above changelog line. Frustrated.
Then I thought: well, it doesn’t have to be Safari, per se. I have Google Chrome on the phone too. Maybe I can use that. The iPhone is set up so that apps routinely register custom URL schemes: it’s how they communicate. Is there, wondered I, some sort of custom URL scheme that I can use to force an https link to open in Chrome rather than Safari?
Indeed there is. Well done Chrome people. If I open googlechromes://mail.google.com it opens https://mail.google.com in Chrome. Yay! So I configure that as my link in Boxcar. Now when I get an email, I touch the notification, and gmail opens in Chrome! Hooray! We’re done!
We’re not done. Now, you see, my home screen link opens in Safari, and my Boxcar link opens in Chrome. That’s annoying and wrong. So, how do I edit the home screen link to be to googlechromes://mail.google.com?
You can’t. You can’t edit a home screen bookmark once it’s created. Bah. So, how do I make Chrome bookmark something to the home screen?
You can’t. Only Safari can do that, because it’s allowed the magic secret APIs and no-one else is.
So how do I put a Chrome bookmark on my home screen? Well, one way would be to have an HTML file which meta refreshes to the googlechromes: URL, and bookmark the HTML file in Safari. That way, I’ll press the home screen icon, that’ll start Safari, Safari will instantly start Chrome, and I’ll have a bookmark. Slightly inelegant, but not too bad.
I stuck the HTML page on my site, and tried it. Minor problem: the page refreshes before I can bookmark it! So, remove the meta refresh, open the page in Safari, bookmark it, put the meta refresh back in again. Ha! That works. (And add a nice home screen icon with <link rel="apple-touch-icon">.
New problem. Every time I hit the home screen bookmark, or the link from Boxcar, we open a new tab in Chrome with gmail in it. After ten minutes of testing this, I’ve got fifteen gmail tabs in Chrome. That’s no good. The Chrome links doc dictates how to explicitly say “I want a new tab”, but not how to say “I don’t want a new tab: reuse the previous one”. After a bit more poking around, though, you can use an x-callback-url-style URL with Chrome, and that lets you specify a source. So, instead of making my bookmark and my Boxcar URL be googlechromes://mail.google.com, I’ll make it be googlechrome-x-callback://x-callback-url/open/?x-source=boxcar&&url=https%3A%2F%2Fmail.google.com. That way, when you open that link a second time, it stays in the same tab as the first time! Hooray!
It’s not perfect. I can’t get Boxcar links and the home screen link to share a tab between them, so I end up with two Gmail tabs in Chrome. That’s annoying but not a total crisis. And this is now clean enough that I can stand to use it for a week. Now I get to actually try using the Gmail web app for a week and see what it’s like!how annoying is the iPhone?
This all seems like a great big faff to me. Is that all the iPhone’s fault? Well… certainly some of it is. All that crap with Safari being the only thing that can bookmark to the home screen? You can’t add home screen bookmarks that aren’t to real URLs? Sure, these things are fairly technical, but they don’t seem like they’d get in anyone’s way if they did exist. Apparently in older versions of iOS you could bookmark (via a roundabout data URL procedure) weird URLs such as pref:something to open a Settings page directly, and Apple took that away. So that’s annoying.
But in general, I think that the approach of having a server monitor my email and then use the platform’s push notification service to tell me about it and open the webmail client…seems like a good approach. Android does seem to have a couple of IMAP notify apps in the Play Store, but they aren’t reviewed very well, and I don’t really want my phone to hang on an IMAP IDLE socket 24 hours a day. Avoiding that is precisely what push notifications (Google’s “Cloud to Device Messaging”) were invented for. (Note: there are lots of mail notification apps, but they poll. I don’t want polling. When I get an email, I want a notification. Not five minutes later.)
So, then… is this doable on Android? Is there an app like Boxcar where there’s a server component which can (somehow) monitor my gmail account and notify my Android phone, and then pressing the notification on my Android phone will open up https://mail.google.com in the phone’s browser? I’d be interested in hearing the answer to this, Android-using readers.
What about other platforms? How will Firefox OS handle this? (Maybe because they’re all web, they’ll just keep the web page open without ever suspending it, and let it use the web notification API?) I’d like to hear about other approaches. (I don’t want to hear “just use the native app”. Of course that’s the logical thing to do. The point here is to see whether I can set up my life so using a web app for email on my phone is a doable thing. If your answer is “you need to use the native app”, then I’ll take that as you saying “you can’t use web apps for this; you have to go native”. That’s a perfectly reasonable argument, but this post is not directed at you if that’s how you feel.)
Fun little project of gluing together technical bits, I must say. Constraints are the mother of inventiveness!
So there I was last week at my parents’ house, and my dad said: I am thinking of getting Netflix.
“Oh?”, says I. “What brought this on?”
Questions like that end up turning into long discussions, and this was no exception. Those of you with the attention span of a four-year-old will find a summary at the bottom of the post.
He explained (in response to my question) that he likes the idea of watching films and it’s probably easier and probably cheaper and probably less hassle to do that in your own living room rather than the cinema, especially since the nearest cinema to him is probably 15 miles away. I pointed out that the available films will lag behind the cinema releases (so if you see an ad for, say, Star Trek Into Darkness 1 on the side of a bus, you can’t watch it in your living room now) but that they lag behind a consistent amount (so all the films that hit the cinema 12 months ago 2 arrive online at now, roughly, so all the films which were contemporarily released with one another are still contemporary with one another), and that there are multiple different providers of this sort of thing (Netflix, Lovefilm, Now TV). And I pointed out 3 that this would be a bit of a problem technically, because the computer plugged into the big TV in the living room runs Ubuntu, and you can’t watch commercial streaming video on Ubuntu 4 because it all requires MS PlayReady DRM 5 and there’s no Ubuntu implementation of that, and so this meant that we’d need to install Windows on that TV computer instead. 6so, like, wassitallabout?
“How does it work?”, says my dad. “Well,” said I, settling into the chair and adopting a wise look, “you pay a monthly subscription, and then pick any film you want and watch it whenever you want for free, beyond the subscription. I think if you watch the very latest films then they might charge an extra cost because it’s a really recent film, but you’re already waiting 12 months before it hits Netflix at all; you might as well just set your clock to 18 months behind and watch a film once it hits non-pay-per-view.” A nod from Dad. “Oh, and I think occasionally there might be a film that Netflix doesn’t have: sometimes there are little wars between them and, say, Amazon or Lovefilm 7 or Hulu or whatever, and a film is a ‘Netflix exclusive’ or something.” 8
“We should check that,” says my dad, a man for whom “films I want to watch” has hitherto been Zulu and The Great Escape, but he’s right 9. Now we pause here for twenty minutes while, with increasing disbelief and shrillness, I discover that Netflix don’t provide a browseable list of their films. They don’t. That’s insane. Also: you know how shops that don’t display their prices are doing so because it’s all stupidly expensive? Anyone who doesn’t display a list of their products is doing so because that list is a lot shorter and less comprehensive than you think it will be. So we poke around some more (I was honestly, properly shocked by the absence of a list) and find a website that searches Netflix and gives you a link. Commence another twenty minute block of disbelief during which my dad names film after film after film he wants to watch, or wouldn’t mind watching, or has always meant to watch… and we find, I think, three. These weren’t all new films, weren’t all obscure films, weren’t all old films: there was a good mix. And hardly any of them were there.and the rat was nowhere at all
Further research establishes that the rivals — Lovefilm, Now TV, Blinkbox — are the same. I was under the impression that every one of these online movie places had basically every film you’ve ever heard of, and they compete on pricing, or access to the very latest films. It is not like that. 10 Instead, Netflix and Lovefilm and Now TV have basically no films for streaming and then every now and again they might have one. That is: I thought that the model was “think on the bus of a film you fancy watching, then go home and find it on Netflix and watch it”, and the model is totally not that. Instead, the model is “decide you want to watch a film, and set aside two hours for film-watchy time, and then go to Netflix and choose a film from their list of films”. Or, in practice, from the subset of their list of films that you actually want to watch. That’s not necessarily a bad model — I’m sure new films come into Netflix’s list faster than you can watch them, and you could probably get quite a long way by just looking at their list and finding all the stuff on it that you like the look of — but I totally misunderstood (and so did Dad). I thought that Netflix were like Spotify but for films, and they really ain’t. 11father, I shall bring you only the finest blank tv screens
At this point he said, well, that’s crap then. I suppose I ought to go to the cinema.
I said: well, if you have to do the just-choose-off-the-list thing anyway, then why not just use a service who don’t charge a monthly subscription? What I mean is: do it all pay-per-view. So then you’re not paying when you’re not using it, and on any given day you can just do a search and see if there’s anything you fancy watching (and paying for), and if there isn’t, get in the car and go to the cinema instead. Best of both worlds. I’m sure that if you watched ten films a week that Netflix would be cheaper, but I don’t think that you’re gonna do that, daddy dearest.
OK, says daddy dearest. So, we do that, and put Windows on the computer, right?
Yep, I said. None of this stuff works on Ubuntu. Amazon Instant Video works fine, and does exactly what you want, but (check briefly on internet to confirm; briefly bitch on reddit about this; go back to dad) it’s US only. Soz.the sacred art of stealing
We then have a little discussion about BitTorrent and theft of movies, during which I basically say: it is not the solution for you. First, it is really awkward and annoying. Popup ads, hundreds of different websites, being able to tell the difference between a “download the torrent” link which is real and one which is put there by an advert. Torrent sites are blocked by ISPs in the UK. Yes, gentle reader, stop sniggering at how this blocking approach is useless. Tt’s not meant to stop you, you filthy techie pirate: it’s meant to be a speed bump which makes it difficult for the unwashed masses to do this, to keep people like my dad out of the torrent gutter and in paid-for shiny Netflix territory… and it works.
I specifically recommended to dad that he not think about dealing with this stuff through theft, because theft is hard. Try it, next time you steal a movie: look at what you’re doing with the eyes of an inexperienced person. A person who doesn’t have Adblock Plus, who isn’t able to read through a list of search results and identify which ones “look legit” and which look like spam, who isn’t able to tell which links on a site are real and which download an exe. Theft is hard, and frankly it’s fairly close to not being worth the pain. It’s fairly close to it being easier to just pay the money. And that’s all the movie people want. They don’t want to make it impossible, they don’t want to studiously ignore that DRM doesn’t work, that blocking doesn’t work, that they can’t shut down every Pirate Bay proxy… all they have to do is make most people think “blimey, it’d be easier to pay the money than do this”. To me it feels like that’s now fairly close to being the case unless you’re a super techie (like most of the people reading this).
Also, y’know, stealing.
Also also: mkv. avi. srt. Do you really want to care about this stuff? Learn what a “BRRIP” is? Learn whether the thing you’ve got has Italian audio rather than English? Is "Incepcja - Inception DVDRip.XviD AC3 - ENG / Lektor PL" OK to download? 12 Srsly, hassle. Avoid.say that my glory was I had such friends
While explaining BitTorrent and why it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, a couple of very helpful people saw and commented on my Reddit post complaining about this stuff. Google Play, they said… that’s in the UK. Single-purchase pay-per-view videos, no subscription required. Dad’s got an Android phone so he’s already got a Play account… and Play Video works in Ubuntu?
It does, it turns out.
I was quite surprised by this.he saved every one of us
You have to install hal to make Google Play work in Ubuntu 13: to do this, search for hal in Ubuntu Software Centre and then install it (“Hardware Abstraction Layer”) 14. This is the same thing that Amazon Instant Video in the US needs. It’s using Adobe’s Flash DRM stuff. This is good for us, we happy few, we Ubuntu users, because we have Flash. We do not have the PlayReady DRM which is in Silverlight 15, and which the movie studios are pressuring online video people to switch to — that’s why Netflix doesn’t work in Ubuntu, that’s why Lovefilm no longer works, why Now TV doesn’t work. Google Play, on the other hand, works fine. Dad likes the pay-just-when-you-watch-a-film model, and it works on his existing computer with his existing accounts; he didn’t even have to sign up for anything. Just click and he’s bought a film and can watch it. Right there in the web browser. No app required at all.
It was literally that simple.
People on other platforms, who are not only used to the idea that it’s that simple, but have hardly any concept that it might not be simple, are laughing themselves sick right now at me being so childishly, pathetically pleased by this. I personally am thinking: good work, Google Play. You made that easy.
The film that Dad chose to watch… was Twilight. Twilight. You’re not my real dad, dad.dispatch war rocket Ajax to bring back his body
This is worrying. (Not the Twilight thing.) Flash still exists on Ubuntu, but Adobe have stopped making it. The DRM parts of it are already dependent on hal, which is basically deprecated: Adobe built the Flash DRM stuff into Flash and on Linux when hal was the thing, and since then hal has stopped being the thing, but Adobe didn’t update Flash to work with the replacement… and right at the moment it doesn’t look like they will at all, because they’ve stopped doing Flash for Linux. This means that at some point it will stop working. At the moment it is possible to legitimately, legally, happily, easily watch a Hollywood film on a stock, standard Ubuntu machine. Google Play can do it in at least the US and the UK; Amazon Instant Video can do it in the US. If Flash stops working, that goes away.
And HTML5 will not save us. It will not. They’re talking about putting DRM into HTML5 video right now, but either they won’t do it (and then there won’t be any commercial videos in HTML5, just like there aren’t now) or they will do it and they’ll likely pick a DRM scheme which is not implemented on Ubuntu and won’t be (highly likely to be something like PlayReady, because the whole industry is already familiar with it). A move away from Flash and towards anything else makes life measurably worse for Ubuntu users, because we have Flash, and don’t have anything else.fight the work per unit time
But you’re missing the point, man! We must fight DRM! It doesn’t work and it’s evil and useless!
I agree with all that. But that’s a long-term fight. And no-one has yet convinced me that there is a way to do it without selling the whole world on the idea that they should just Stop Watching Movies until the DRM goes away. And we, the DRM-haters, have had little to no success convincing people to make that sacrifice.
The music industry is not a good guide here. What happened in music was that all the players fought one another with different DRM schemes, no cooperation, to try and beat out their rivals. And while they were doing that, Apple came along and built something which was slick and easy to use and had Apple-specific DRM in it and dominated the market. Then the music industry said: it is our music, you have to play by our rules… and Apple said: no we don’t. We really don’t. What are you going to do, music people? Go and sell WMAs? Not likely. Everyone’s got an iPod now. And Apple were right… and because everyone wanted to sell music to iPod owners and didn’t want to do it through Apple’s sales channel, they had to go DRM-free. Because that’s all that iPods would play. You could see this as a great victory for consumer power, if you squint a bit.
The movie people, though (and this is an important point) are not stupid. They have seen what happened to the music industry, have seen that it ended up with all viable saleable music being DRM-free, and have said: that’s not gonna happen to us. They are not going to fight and bicker amongst themselves while Apple builds a royal road to all the money. They are not going to knife one another. They’re going to get together, swallow their pride a bit, and cooperate because they recognise that one DRM system that everyone compromises a bit on is better than a million and the eventual arrival of DRM-free videos. And so they did cooperate: that’s what Ultraviolet is. And it does not matter that Ultraviolet hasn’t taken off yet: it does not matter that it is not a viable competitor to Netflix. The point is that it exists. The movie people will not be forced into offering DRM-free movies because they didn’t cooperate until it was too late. They have seen the mistakes the music industry made, and won’t get caught the same way.
Let’s talk about how, in the long term, the studios can be convinced to not use DRM: that’s a good conversation to have. But it’s hard to see how to do that now without telling my dad that he can’t watch Twilight on Ubuntu even if he wants to.whataboutery
One of the things about this whole topic of movies and DRM and Ubuntu and stuff is that every sentence comes larded with a million caveats, oh-but-what-abouts, roads-not-taken, sidebars, and other ancilliary things. If you manage to find something where I said “and therefore X” and didn’t mention that Y and Z also exist as possibilities, do not assume that it is because I do not know about Y and Z. But tell me about them!tl; dr
Summary: Google Play video works on stock Ubuntu, in your browser, and exists here in England. It is, as far as I am aware, the only legitimate, unhacky 16 way to watch a streamed Hollywood film on a standard Ubuntu laptop in England. I like it. So does my dad.
Just a quick note: I will be on vacation this week in Australia. I will be checking in with work and email, but this will be more limited throughout the week.
Look forward to seeing everyone in a week! Lots of exciting things to focus on when I get back.
Arbitrary tweets made by TheGingerDog (i.e. David Goodwin) up to 01 April 2013
As some of you may know the dash team has been working to get the new smart scopes functionality in the dash ready for 13.04; this functionality delivers a far more comprehensive dash experience, performing searches over 50 or more different data sources. This feature makes the dash dramatically more useful by searching a far wider range of data sources and returning more relevant results.
The team has been working in a PPA to get the feature ready, and as we are past feature freeze, had filed a Feature Freeze Exception (FFe) to get this into 13.04. After an extensive amount of work to get the feature ready, unfortunately the dash team doesn’t consider it mature enough for 13.04 — it is nearly there, but doesn’t meet the quality needs for Ubuntu. As such the team has decided not to pursue landing in in 13.04 and to instead move it to the Ubuntu 13.10 cycle where it will be developed as soon as the archive opens. As I mentioned earlier, this feature has been developed in a PPA and has not landed in 13.04 yet, so there are no actual changes to the archive.
Some of you may have some questions about this so we have prepared a short FAQ below. I have also notified our governance boards to ensure they are aware of the change. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments!
The FFE (1154229) got a sabdfl override and is now being rejected, how come?
A sabdfl override always has high requirements regarding code quality and User Experience. After looking at the current status of the smart scopes project we decided that the User Experience simply needs more work and it does not meet the quality requirements for Ubuntu. We would prefer to delay the feature until the next release cycle to ensure that it is rock solid.
Why was this feature being pushed at the last minute?
We believe the feature does provide additional benefit to Ubuntu Users by improving the search experience in the Dash, which is Unity’s weak spot. Landing the feature in 13.04 would have given us 1 additional cycle on the way to 14.04 to train and improve the suggestions provided by the server and further refine the overall Dash experience.
When, if at all, will the feature make its way into Ubuntu?
We are planning to provide the feature in a PPA for Ubuntu Raring which will be always rebased on Unity shipped on Raring. It will land it as soon as we are confident enough on the feature quality in Ubuntu S.
What about the in-dash purchases feature? Will that be landing?
There were some final outstanding issues with in-dash purchases and we are striving to have a conclusion to this ready for early next week (week beginning 1st April).
What about the privacy enhancements that were part of the smart scopes project?
It is unfortunately not possible to get the privacy enhancements from the smart scopes projects without the larger project itself. Smart Scopes would have allowed to disable individual scopes and limit network access for searches at all. In Ubuntu 13.04 you will still be able to disable all server communications through the settings apps. You can also remove the scopes and lenses you are not interested in using them by directly uninstalling the corresponding packages.
I haven’t really talked much about it on my blog as we have been fixing up the rough edges, but I wanted to share a little about it now.
As some of you will know, I have been increasingly getting into BBQ as a hobby. I love being outside and cooking, I love cooking over fire, and the art and science of BBQ facinates me. Don’t think there is a science? Well check out amazingribs.com and see just how much detail, science, and engineering can be involved in creating awesome BBQ.
One of the tips people give you when you start learning grilling and smoking is to maintain a notebook where you track the details of your cooks. You can then refer to what you did, learn from what works and what doesn’t, and improve your ‘cue.
Being of the nerdy persuasion, I was not going to use no stinking paper and pen, so I wrote a web app to track my cooks.
Originally I wrote this as something just for me, and then it struck me that this could be of general interest. I was chatting to Aq one day and he loved the idea so we decided to build what you now see at www.bbqpad.com. The sites works on your computer, mobile, and tablet.How BBQpad Works
So what does BBQpad let you do?
Well, with it you can create any number of cooks; each cook is a place you track the details of each cook session, such a meal for your family, practicing to improve your cooking, a party for your friends, a BBQ competition, or anything else. Go and see an example cook.
Within a cook you can add as many cookers and foods as you need (we maintain a database of cookers and foods to make this easy).
When you start cooking you can then track lots of different things:
We also allow you to add photos for the final food products as well as photos through the cook to show how your food is evolving. Photos can be added from your desktop, or mobile devices such as your phone or tablet.
When you have finished cooking an item you can then rate it for taste, tenderness, and appearance; these are the same ways people rate food in a BBQ competition setting.
Continuing the competition theme, we then provide a cook score based upon the certified KCBS competition scoring format for each of your food items as well as an overall score for the cook. This provides a neat way of seeing which cooks or items were better than others.
An example cook.Getting All Social
One of the goals of BBQpad is not just to provide a place to store cooks, but to also make BBQpad as social as the cooking itself. BBQ is all about cracking open a few beers, cooking some food over fire, enjoying the spoils with friends, and having a great time.
The social aspect of BBQpad is built right into the cooks.
On every cook page there is integrated discussion where people can leave comments and offer tips, advice, and other comments while you are cooking. We also have integrated social media to post your cooks to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Reddit.
One area where BBQpad is really handy is pointing people to the details of a cook. As an example, you may join one of the many BBQ forums/communities online and ask a question about an aspect of your cooking and you can easily point people to the cook page on BBQpad where people can get a good idea of the context of the cook. We have also seen many users tweet about their cooks so folks can follow along as they are happening, often leaving feedback and comments on the cook page.
Another neat part of BBQ is the community. Here you can see the latest photos from cooks, most active pitmasters, new users, active cooks happening right now, recently completed cooks, and more.
The community brings BBQpad pitmasters together.
Another feature is the most popular page which shows you the most popular cookers, woods, and fuels that the community uses in their cooking. We plan on expanding this page with other most popular items soon.
See what our pitmasters prefer.
Clicking on one of these products will also take you to a product page which shows you information about the cooker, the prices on various sites (right now Amazon, but we will add other vendors soon), and a place to have discussion about that product.
Product information for the Weber Performer grill.Cooking Together
Another cool feature that we added recently is the ability to do online cook offs.
The idea is simple: there will be a number of cook off events on BBQpad in which everyone is welcome to join and participate in. The cook off will happen on a specific date period and cover a specific food, and pitmasters from around the world will all cook together, tracking their cooks on BBQpad.
To take part you simply go to the event page on the date(s) of the event, create a new cook as part of the event, and track your cook in BBQpad. As you and others cook you can see the latest cook updates from these different cooks all in one place, as well as discussion from those watching the cook off. We also encourage those of you who tweet to tweet about your cooks with the #bbqpad hashtag, and those tweets appear on the cook off page too. This provides a great way of cooking together and having fun with the cook off.
Congrats to Jason Perlow for winning our first cook off!
We did our first cook off recently and it was a lot of fun; go and see the The Ultimate Rib Cook Off. We plan on doing another cook off soon (most likely chicken).Upgrades
BBQpad is completely free to use, and we want it to be a fantastic community resource for the wider BBQ community. Naturally we have some running costs, so we have added some discrete ads to the cook pages to help cover these costs. We also gather a small amount of affiliate revenue when someone buys one of the products linked on Amazon. As such, if you want to buy a cooker or charcoal, go and buy it from BBQpad.
We also have a few cheap upgrades people can buy. Our view is simple: all cooks by default are publicly available and thus shared with the wider community, and when people provide these cooks we feel they have earned the right to use BBQpad for free. Some folks (such as competition cooks, restaurateurs, or just private people) may prefer to have private cooks so they don’t share their techniques and recipes.
We offer private cooks as part of BBQpad Pro (which includes blocking ads) for $24/year, which is only $2/month. You can also just block the ads for $10/year.
The private cooks feature is pretty cool: you can choose whether cooks are private or not on a per-cook basis, so if you want to use the community features on the site (such as cook offs) you can make those cooks public, but if you want to practice for a competition and keep those cooks private, you can do so with the click off a button.The Technology
Now, many of you in the technology world who follow me will be curious about the site and how it was built. In a nutshell, we are using the awesome Django platform (and the always lovable Python) as well as Twitter Bootstrap as our CSS library. We are managing the source code with Bazaar and hack on it on Ubuntu Desktop using Geany. All imagery was created using Inkscape and the GIMP. We test across a number of different browsers, and primarily use Firefox for debugging. The site is deployed and running on Ubuntu Server.
In terms of development methodologies Aq and I both hack on the site and we manage our work using Trello and drafted and reviewed UI designs using Balsamiq. We have also deployed staging and live servers and we each code review each fix before it lands.
The site is currently in beta and has evolved significantly since we first launched it. This has included two rounds of user testing that have proved to be tremendously valuable in refining the user journey on BBQpad.
I know some of you will want to know if this is Open Source or not. Right now BBQpad is not Open Source but is a free web service that everyone is welcome to use. We may consider Open Sourcing it in the future, but right now it is not a priority; we would rather focus on adding extra features and refining the site.
BBQ is a lot of fun and our hope is that BBQpad makes it even more fun and social. Come and join in the fun!
Continuing with the work to refine and improve how we build Ubuntu in an open, transparent, and collaborative way, I want to take a few minutes to discuss some work going on to improve the regularity of our planning and the benefits this brings.
Traditionally planning for Ubuntu has worked like this.
While this has served us well, there are a few problems with this approach. The most notable issue is that we work in software, and a lot changes in software in a six month period. This means we define a set of work items, prepare the burndown, and then if requirements or direction changes it can be difficult to reflect those changes across our community and we have to go and postpone a bunch of work items and re-build our burndowns. This means that even though the changes are made to open blueprints, it can cause folks across our community to be out of sync. It also presents the misconception that everything at UDS is locked in for the duration of the six month cycle. If something changes in our strategy or a new opportunity opens up, it can be difficult to change course with everyone on the same page.
Solving this is part of our theme of making Ubuntu engineering as transparent and agile as possible.
One approach we are experimenting with in the Ubuntu Engineering Management team at Canonical is to increase the regularity and transparency of how we plan. Instead of locking in every six months we will do it like this:
Now, to set expectations clearly: this is just an idea for how to improve this workflow, and we are doing it for the first time this week, but the idea is that it will dramatically increase the transparency of which teams are working on what, making it easier for others to (a) know what is going on and (b), participate in areas of interest.
My team is currently preparing the work items for April and you will be able to see the final burndown here when it is complete. From there you will be able to see all the blueprints.
I will provide plenty of feedback on what is working well and less well, and your feedback is welcomed, as ever, in the comments.Building Re-usable Processes
As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, we want to make virtual UDS an event that is repeatable and useful for not just UDS but also for domain-specific events too (such as a LoCo themed UDS). The goal is that this event format is repeatable for our wider community.
Likewise, the monthly planning process is also designed to be repeatable for our wider community too, making it simple to get everyone on the same page for planning and executing on awesome projects.
As ever, feedback is always welcome, but I think this combo of a wider planning event every three months combined with monthly work item sync-ups and planning will result in a pretty effective formula for helping Ubuntu to be as effective, transparent, and collaborative as possible.
Sometimes NFS breaks, and gives helpful messages like :
mount.nfs: connection timed out
Stale NFS handle on clients.
While I’m confident that my /etc/exports and other configuration files are correct, it still insists on misbehaving.
Below is a random shell script I seem to have created to fix the NFS server -#!/bin/bash set -e /etc/init.d/nfs-kernel-server stop /etc/init.d/nfs-common stop /etc/init.d/rpcbind stop rm -Rf /var/lib/nfs mkdir /var/lib/nfs mkdir /var/lib/nfs/v4recovery /var/lib/nfs/rpc_pipefs for f in /var/lib/nfs/etab \ /var/lib/nfs/rmtab \ /var/lib/nfs/xtab; do [ -e $f ] || touch $f done /etc/init.d/rpcbind start sleep 2 /etc/init.d/nfs-common start sleep 2 /etc/init.d/nfs-kernel-server start echo "NFS may now work" exportfs -f
Yes… “NFS may now work” … that sums it up about right.
Today, I received a spammy email from an unknown golf club. There was no obvious unsubscribe link or instructions, so I blindly replied with :Hi, Please remove 'xxxxxx' from your mailing list; we've no interest in golf… Thanks, David
They replied with :
But it was actually :
<FONT color=#0000ff size=4 face=”Comic Sans MS”>REMOVED OK</FONT>
So I had to reply with :
<div style=”text-align: center;”><u style=”font-size: 144px; color: rgb(245, 236, 0); font-family: ‘Comic Sans MS’; “><b>Thank you!1!!</b></u></div>
I fear the intricacies of my reply were lost on them.
So, I’ve had a Nexus 4 for a while now … here’s some findings :
Our community is at the heart of how we build Ubuntu. Recently there were some concerns expressed about some aspects of our community and I have been working with various community members and internally at Canonical to resolve some of these issues to make things smoother.
I just wanted to summarize some updates:
I want to get as much feedback on these steps moving forward as well as other ideas and areas in which we can focus. You can always grab me on IRC on freenode (my nick is jono) and I hang out in #ubuntu-community-team. Also feel free to drop me an email and join my regular Q+A session every week. Unfortunately, this week’s Q+A session is canceled as I need to be at an event, but I will be back in the regular slot next week on Wednesday at 7pm UTC on Ubuntu On Air.
Notes made on the 22:30 from Euston to Birmingham, whilst returning home to the provinces after treating myself to an evening of presentations and discussion with Dan Hill, Jeremy Till and Wouter Vanstiphout under the title Institutionalised…
Housed in the Black Maria installation at St Martin’s by Richard Wentworth/GRUPPE we were split into eager registrants who’d secured a ‘seat’ and lazy laggards who just turned up to freeload by taking a chair outside the installation and behind the projection screen. Proceedings get underway with the barrier between us raised and the talk show hosts/guests in the middle, then at the appointed moment when sufficient teasing has taken place, the screen falls (to the sound of a jet aircraft landing) and we become the privileged few allowed sole rights to the speaker’s attention and slides that are the right way round, whilst the rest get only sound piped through speakers and reversed images and text. It’s a privilege that is later slightly sullied by the numbness of our arses as they complain about the unforgiving plywood steps we’re sitting on. The fact that Richard Wentworth himself chose to sit on the chairs outside should have told us something perhaps.
It’s a beautiful thing though, and perhaps the very embodiment of what would during the evening be discussed as the conflict between the teaching of craft and ethics. Carefully crafted as it is to disrupt the usual ethics of oratory; thereby straddling both concepts perfectly.
The evening is introduced by Shumi Bose and the speakers are described as one qualified architect (Till) and two people who inhabit the ‘extended field of architecture’ (Hill and Vanstiphout). It’s this extended field that is of course the primary focus for the evening and a topic ripe for exploration in the UK at the moment given the widely discussed/lamented state of the profession and it’s utter lack of direction or worth. How does a mindful awareness of this extended field allow architecture to work within, against or for institutions?
Here are some (crudely paraphrased) sound bites and notes from each:
Jeremy Till – institutional irritant
1) provides a short intro and begins by reading the founding definition of the RIBA (quoted in his book Architecture Depends), part of which can be paraphrased thus: ‘architects are to be the arbiters of taste’ and he then states that this institute’s position is only legitimised by the support of other institutes i.e. universities.
2) he criticises architecture for becoming a spatial projection of imagination (or does he? see footnote)
3) acknowledging his position in the large institute of St Martin’s he describes himself as the institutional irritant that seeks to disrupts from within, but acknowledges that the more effective position may be on the outside
Wouter Vanstiphout – architect as figurehead
4) describing background and past work Wouter talks of his Design as Politics course
5) which leads to later studies on the politics of urban riots and the question of whether the fabric of the city itself is an accessory to the violence with the architect ultimately to blame
6) he proposes that the reason for this is in fact because architecture has merely become the visible garnish/figurehead/tip of the iceberg for the (massive) process of (brutal) urban renewal
beneath or behind it driven by institutions such as the state or the market.
7) underlining the power of the market he shows a picture of a city skyline filled with large buildings by internationally renowned architects, highlighting that their existence/creation is/was
dependent not on the people who inhabit them but the market that requires investment objects
Dan Hill – boundary operator
8) Dan starts by reflecting Wouter’s iceberg by showing Papenek’s triangular diagram with the designer’s share taking only a small proportion of the real problem beneath
9) he questions the ability of yesterday’s institutions to produce the necessary outcome for tomorrow
10) showing examples of projects from his time at Sitra and HDL he explores various examples of the networked city
11) suggesting that activity undertaken by a city’s inhabitants are less important for the actions themselves rather than the ability to make networked decisions about what to do
12) in turn suggesting that the culture of public decision making is the design challenge
13) and that in this networked city the government now has competition
14) thus returning to the question of whether 19th century institutions are capable of facing 21st century problems
15) Dan suggests that the experience he’s had in three different organisations of different roles and scales could be described as inside, outside and (during his time at Sitra) at the boundary of key institutions
16) in summary the goal should be to design the conditions that allow institutions to address meaningful public issues
Each had touched on a question of position relative to the institution or institutions that determine one’s role. Jeremy began by questioning whether it’s better to disrupt from within or beyond, Wouter described the dangers of unwittingly becoming a figurehead for the institution behind you and Dan demonstrated what might be possible at the boundary between the two. I think these positions were further contextualised by comments during the discussion at the end of the evening when Wouter (expanding on his comments about market driven investment objects) questioned the possible conflict of loyalties between the direct source of funding from a client vs. the city in which the work is carried out. How do you maintain the balance between civic responsibility and client loyalty? Following that a question from a planner in the audience about the panel’s view on how the UK’s NPPF and debate on localism might impact the institution brought an acknowledgement of the value of the neighbourhood forum. In there somewhere there were also comments about the market of supply and demand that suggested that the profession concerns itself too much with the supply side, when in fact it should work harder to raise and support the demand.
Neighbourhoods – the demand market – are the boundaries to institutions in which an architect’s loyalties must be invested.
It’s fitting then that the following 24 hours of media coverage in the UK built environment has provided much coverage of a growing interest in the power of self build and co-housing ideas and it’s certainly helping me form ideas about which direction I’d like to head in future with my practice.
Finally, I’d like to end by recording a wonderfully succinct and compelling description of the perils of what Wouter described as the neo-liberal myth of the benefits of rolling back the state. Rather than the space left over being filled by the common man, it’s simply claimed by the private market instead.
* Note: I appear to have heard Jeremy’s comment on the projection of spatial imagination entirely differently to the fellow on my left, Charles Holland off of FAT who wrote it down properly:
Last week we ran our very first virtual Ubuntu Developer Summit. The event lasted two days and gave us an opportunity to try out a new format and to see how well it worked. Generally it seems we got some pretty favorable feedback, but there are definitely some areas in which we want to sand off the rough edges and improve the structure of the event.
I would like us to get the Virtual UDS format so tight and refined that it could be used to organize any kind of ad-hoc online set of meetings. As an example, I can imagine a similar event but focused explicitly on LoCo teams, or documentation, or translations. We want to make the format reliable enough and repeatable enough that anyone in our (or any other community) can use it. This will help our community to plan more regularly and get together more to do cool and interesting things.
We have been keeping an eye on some of the feedback, a combination of observations from comments and feedback send directly to the organizers. We had an initial chat today to discuss this initial feedback and we have a few changes we want to make already:
Although some of these conclusions presented here are a great start, we want to make sure we don’t leave any stones unturned! As such, I would like to invite everyone who joined the event to take a few minutes to fill in this survey. This will help us get a better idea of your thoughts on the event, what worked well, and what we can improve. Can I encourage everyone to fill this survey in in the next week so we can start putting some solid plans in place for the next event.
I would also like to organize a community meeting on IRC and invite everyone to join and provide further feedback. I think it would be most beneficial to organize this meeting in a few weeks when folks have had a chance to fill in the survey.
You can also join the UDS IRC channel at #ubuntu-uds and discuss the event there; we all hang out in there.Want to Help Make Summit Rock?
Virtual UDS is a community event and we want to ensure everyone has an opportunity to contribute to making it as good as possible. One definitive area where folks can help is with our increasingly sophisticated summit.ubuntu.com.
You can get the code and look at bugs on Summit’s Launchpad page. The developers hang out in #ubuntu-website on Freenode IRC, and are available there to help you get a local development environment set up. If in doubt, go and poke mhall119.
This week’s live video Q&A is in a slightly later time slot this week on Wednesday at 8pm UTC (click here for the time in your location this week).
As usual everyone is welcome to bring any and all questions to the Q&A.
To join, head over to Ubuntu On Air at 8pm UTC on Wednesday and you can ask your questions in the embedded chat box.
Look forward to seeing you all there!