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Updated: 1 hour 30 min ago

Ron Wellsted: Health Update

Tue, 11/02/2014 - 10:05

A few of you will know that I have been unwell recently.

The situation is that at the begining of December 2013, I was diagnosed with a form of heart disease known as Atrial Fibrillation. The main symptom of this is an iregular heart beat.

read more

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Jono Bacon: The Next Ubuntu Developer Summit: 11-13 March 2014

Tue, 11/02/2014 - 00:55

The Ubuntu Developer Summit is the primary place where we discuss, debate, and plan the future of Ubuntu. The entire event takes place online, is open and accessible to all, and every session is recorded so everyone can see how decisions are made. It is a useful, fun, and rewarding event to join.

My apologies for the delay in announcing the next event. The last few months have been somewhat hectic and we wanted to wait for some confirmed conference/sprint dates across Ubuntu Engineering and cross-check those with our release schedule before committing to final dates so we can ensure as many people are there as possible.

I can now confirm that our next Ubuntu Developer Summit will take place from Tues 11th March 2014 – Thurs 13th March 2014. I wanted to let you all know ASAP so you can get it in your calendars. summit.ubuntu.com is updated and ready to start having sessions added or proposed.

This next UDS will look and feel much like the last one; the same tracks and format. The feedback we have received from the last UDS suggests that the changes we made were well received. As ever, your feedback is always welcome.

If you want to have a session at UDS, please see this guide for how to propose it. As usual, feel free to ask for help from myself or Michael Hall, David Planella, or Daniel Holbach,

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Jono Bacon: An Exciting Future

Fri, 07/02/2014 - 19:53

We are growing a world-class community and app developer eco-system, fuelled by Open Source and open collaboration. We are putting the core pieces in place and I am delighted to be working with such a wonderful team:

(L-R) Daniel Holbach, Kyle Nitzsche, Michael Hall, This Guy, Nicholas Skaggs, Alan Pope, David Planella

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Aq: Follow-the-pointer mini screencast Python app for Ubuntu

Fri, 07/02/2014 - 19:10

I had this idea for a “screencast” which follows the mouse pointer around, rather than making you nominate a fixed screen area; ideal for little demo animated GIFs of how to do a thing on websites. No existing screencast app seems to do this, so I threw a quick thing together to do it for me. Python (because that’s what I use for native apps that can’t be done in pure QML) and Gtk (because there’s no point in using Qt for this since the Python bindings are weird, I use Qt/QML for Ubuntu SDK apps but this can’t be done there anyway because the phone is Mir rather than X and app confinement will prevent screenshots anyway).

Lots of hardcoded things, so it’s not a proper useful app, but it works for what I needed it for. Note that it contains a hardcoded mouse pointer image, because getting the mouse pointer image is insane and requires you to talk directly to X, which is possible with Python but needs loads of extra libraries, and look life’s just too short what are you thinking. Also uses modern Gdk and GI, not pygtk which is ancient and yet what all the existing posted code samples are. Probably should use Cairo from GI too but cairo.CONTENT_COLOR doesn’t seem to exist there. Anyway, if you need to take screenshots from Python using modern Gtk, or you want to do a little animated gif screencast which follows the mouse around, here you go.

import time from gi.repository import Gdk import cairo from PIL import Image from PIL.GifImagePlugin import getheader, getdata import StringIO CURSOR = """iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAA0AAAAUCAYAAABWMrcvAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAACXBI WXMAAAsTAAALEwEAmpwYAAAAB3RJTUUH3gIHETMhphEADwAAAfJJREFUOMuVkztvE1EQhb+b9cq+ 3s2CIU7hH+GOxpWxoOIhOR1UaTBUQEmFIA1C1BTUceWCyp1Lp7HcpCFVIgpLK0XRyo4Uy3cfuUOz tlDMIxlpym/OvXPmAHwCfGCDG5S4rvsNuHsTUKrVauw4zlfgznVBOT4+lkqlkiilvgC3rwOKtVaO jo4kCIJEKfURuPU/UNI0FUAODw/F9/0EeAcE/wJlsViItVYAGY1GUi6XE+AtsAmoP0IXFxcrNUCG w+ESfJXbsQbKbDYTY8wKAmQwGIjWOgZ2Ae8qKFEUrakB0u/3RWttgGdXQTk9PZXz8/M1NUB6vZ5o rRdAG9BLUMIw/KsaIPv7+1ZrPQceASUFyGQyoVgsrtp1Xer1uj05OZHlc+I4dpRSU2vt4w2ALMvI sowwDOl2u4gInU5HOY4zMca8Mcbsishza+0LYLE6o/F4LLVaLfE8Lz07O5P5fC5BECTAS6CWX0kA aAf4sLOzQ7vdTqMoGiilFq7rbrdaLZWmqRqPx9tpmvaACDBABiBbW1tJoVD4DjwEnvq+H0dRJNPp dGnyk3xzq7KO43SB+3mmNj3PO9jb27vMskwajYYBPuexWfn0Hrj3W5YcoFUqlUyz2TTlcnkOvAYq S0jln7vMt2LzQSXgQd4/gCHwE4gBfgH0ew11MKHjYAAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==""" def shot(width, height): # Take a screenshot t = time.time() w=Gdk.get_default_root_window() _, mousex, mousey, _ = w.get_pointer() s=Gdk.Window.create_similar_surface(w, cairo.CONTENT_COLOR, width, height) ctx=cairo.Context(s) Gdk.cairo_set_source_window(ctx,w,-mousex + (width/2),-mousey + (height/2)) ctx.paint() return (t, s) SECONDS_DURATION = 3 WIDTH = 300 HEIGHT = 150 FPS = 25 surfaces = [] start = time.time() last = time.time() while (time.time() - start) SECONDS_DURATION: while (time.time() - last) (1.0/FPS): time.sleep(0.01) last = time.time() surfaces.append(shot(WIDTH,HEIGHT)) # now, convert each surface to a PIL PNG then write as a gif buffer = StringIO.StringIO() buffer.write(CURSOR.decode("base64")) buffer.seek(0) cursor_image = Image.open(buffer) fp = open("anim.gif", "wb") previous = None for t, surface in surfaces: sio = StringIO.StringIO() surface.write_to_png(sio) sio.seek(0) im = Image.open(sio) im.paste(cursor_image, (WIDTH/2, HEIGHT/2), mask=cursor_image) im = im.convert('RGB').convert('P', palette=Image.WEB) del surface # Fixme: add specific delay (from t) for each frame, and add looping if not previous: for s in getheader(im) + getdata(im): fp.write(s) else: for s in getdata(im): fp.write(s) previous = im.copy() fp.close() print "Now optimise with gifsicle -b -O3 anim.gif"
Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Aq: Follow-the-pointer mini screencast Python app for Ubuntu

Fri, 07/02/2014 - 19:10

I had this idea for a “screencast” which follows the mouse pointer around, rather than making you nominate a fixed screen area; ideal for little demo animated GIFs of how to do a thing on websites. No existing screencast app seems to do this, so I threw a quick thing together to do it for me. Python (because that’s what I use for native apps that can’t be done in pure QML) and Gtk (because there’s no point in using Qt for this since the Python bindings are weird, I use Qt/QML for Ubuntu SDK apps but this can’t be done there anyway because the phone is Mir rather than X and app confinement will prevent screenshots anyway).

Lots of hardcoded things, so it’s not a proper useful app, but it works for what I needed it for. Note that it contains a hardcoded mouse pointer image, because getting the mouse pointer image is insane and requires you to talk directly to X, which is possible with Python but needs loads of extra libraries, and look life’s just too short what are you thinking. Also uses modern Gdk and GI, not pygtk which is ancient and yet what all the existing posted code samples are. Probably should use Cairo from GI too but cairo.CONTENT_COLOR doesn’t seem to exist there. Anyway, if you need to take screenshots from Python using modern Gtk, or you want to do a little animated gif screencast which follows the mouse around, here you go.

import time from gi.repository import Gdk import cairo from PIL import Image from PIL.GifImagePlugin import getheader, getdata import StringIO CURSOR = """iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAA0AAAAUCAYAAABWMrcvAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAACXBI WXMAAAsTAAALEwEAmpwYAAAAB3RJTUUH3gIHETMhphEADwAAAfJJREFUOMuVkztvE1EQhb+b9cq+ 3s2CIU7hH+GOxpWxoOIhOR1UaTBUQEmFIA1C1BTUceWCyp1Lp7HcpCFVIgpLK0XRyo4Uy3cfuUOz tlDMIxlpym/OvXPmAHwCfGCDG5S4rvsNuHsTUKrVauw4zlfgznVBOT4+lkqlkiilvgC3rwOKtVaO jo4kCIJEKfURuPU/UNI0FUAODw/F9/0EeAcE/wJlsViItVYAGY1GUi6XE+AtsAmoP0IXFxcrNUCG w+ESfJXbsQbKbDYTY8wKAmQwGIjWOgZ2Ae8qKFEUrakB0u/3RWttgGdXQTk9PZXz8/M1NUB6vZ5o rRdAG9BLUMIw/KsaIPv7+1ZrPQceASUFyGQyoVgsrtp1Xer1uj05OZHlc+I4dpRSU2vt4w2ALMvI sowwDOl2u4gInU5HOY4zMca8Mcbsishza+0LYLE6o/F4LLVaLfE8Lz07O5P5fC5BECTAS6CWX0kA aAf4sLOzQ7vdTqMoGiilFq7rbrdaLZWmqRqPx9tpmvaACDBABiBbW1tJoVD4DjwEnvq+H0dRJNPp dGnyk3xzq7KO43SB+3mmNj3PO9jb27vMskwajYYBPuexWfn0Hrj3W5YcoFUqlUyz2TTlcnkOvAYq S0jln7vMt2LzQSXgQd4/gCHwE4gBfgH0ew11MKHjYAAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==""" def shot(width, height): # Take a screenshot t = time.time() w=Gdk.get_default_root_window() _, mousex, mousey, _ = w.get_pointer() s=Gdk.Window.create_similar_surface(w, cairo.CONTENT_COLOR, width, height) ctx=cairo.Context(s) Gdk.cairo_set_source_window(ctx,w,-mousex + (width/2),-mousey + (height/2)) ctx.paint() return (t, s) SECONDS_DURATION = 3 WIDTH = 300 HEIGHT = 150 FPS = 25 surfaces = [] start = time.time() last = time.time() while (time.time() - start) < SECONDS_DURATION: while (time.time() - last) < (1.0/FPS): time.sleep(0.01) last = time.time() surfaces.append(shot(WIDTH,HEIGHT)) # now, convert each surface to a PIL PNG then write as a gif buffer = StringIO.StringIO() buffer.write(CURSOR.decode("base64")) buffer.seek(0) cursor_image = Image.open(buffer) fp = open("anim.gif", "wb") previous = None for t, surface in surfaces: sio = StringIO.StringIO() surface.write_to_png(sio) sio.seek(0) im = Image.open(sio) im.paste(cursor_image, (WIDTH/2, HEIGHT/2), mask=cursor_image) im = im.convert('RGB').convert('P', palette=Image.WEB) del surface # Fixme: add specific delay (from t) for each frame, and add looping if not previous: for s in getheader(im) + getdata(im): fp.write(s) else: for s in getdata(im): fp.write(s) previous = im.copy() fp.close() print "Now optimise with gifsicle -b -O3 anim.gif"
Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Dick Turpin: They don't come out?

Thu, 06/02/2014 - 17:22
Customer: "Is it possible to swap the battery on this HP 8440p?"
Me: "For what?"
Customer: "No, can you take the battery out? I was in Currys looking at laptops the other day but they was no good as you couldn't remove the batteries."
Me: "You don't think that was deliberate to stop people pinching them do you?"
Customer: "Oh!"

Sheesh give me strength!
Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Dick Turpin: Give me your supplier.

Thu, 06/02/2014 - 14:05
Customer: "I see you have some Windows 7 pro laptops for sale, can you do them any cheaper?"
Me: "I'm afraid not, we put very little markup on them and as they are refurbished they are very reasonably priced anyway."
Customer: "Seeing as it's pro I take it they come with Word and Excel?"
Me: "I'm sorry, why would Pro mean that? No that is just the operating system, Office will be extra"
Customer: "What? They're not much use without Word."
Me: "As I said, you can have Word/Office for an additional cost."
Customer: "Can you tell me where you buy them from please?"
Me: "I'm afraid not."
Customer: "Why not?"
Me: "Two reasons, one they only sell to Trade and two, why would I tell you that so that you go to them direct?"
Customer: "You're very rude?"
Me: "I'm sorry you feel that way, I think we will leave it there. Goodbye."

And they say sales people try to rip you off?


Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Peter Cannon: Please work!

Thu, 06/02/2014 - 12:40

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll know I’ve just taken ownership of a Behringer Q502 mixing desk. Last night , full of excitement,  I looked forward to recording episode 69 of The Dick Turpin Road Show.  I should point out that everything was fine with my Fedora 19 machine as I had spent the whole of the previous day doing test recordings.

Knowing from bitter experience that kit and systems can let you down when you most need them around 6:30pm I set about setting up my systems for recording. “Oh no?” the network is not working on the Fedora box? Now I know I could have restarted the network but hey, let’s do a reboot anyway. Still no network? OK, lets not faff about, I don’t really need Internet access on this machine as in this instance it’s just a large, if expensive, recording device. “Oh no?” I can’t mount /dev/sdb1? keeps moaning about FUSE? Did modprobe fuse, nothing? And this is where I save the recordings! Lets look in Settings. Hang on, it can’t see my network card, sound card or recording device? This is serious!

So there I was boys and girls thinking “Looks like no recording tonight?” but hey, we tdtrs’ers are made of sterner stuff! I whipped out a Parted Magic Live CD to see if the hardware on my motherboard had failed. Nope, boots fine, I’m on the Internet and can play music. Parted Magic is pretty much a self-contained distro anyway with a browser, tools and most of the features you find on any basic Linux release. “Right lets download Ubuntu.” now that may surprise some people as I have been tagged as an Ubuntu hater, which is pretty unfair tbh. I don’t hate the distribution as such I just hate the cobblers that comes out of Canonical and the Ubuntu community about it. Anyway, I downloaded Ubuntu 12.04 to /dev/sdb1 (Which can be mounted I hasten to add) then used xfburn within Pmagic to burn the iso. Rebooted with the 12.04 Live CD so now we are running Ubuntu in memory.

Networking is OK as is sound and I can access /dev/sdb1 right lets install Audacity (To memory remember) Cool, Audacity sees the Q502 and is recording device. Changed the temp location for Audacity’s recording within preferences to /dev/sdb1 as it was using memory then Matt and I prayed that my 8GB of memory didn’t run out as we set about recording EP69

All in all this proves the saying “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” Hats off to Ubuntu for a reliable distro, for Live CD’s and Matt’s encouragement of “The show must go on!” Sadly as of this moment I have no idea how to fix my broken Fedora I may well have to do a fresh install of something?

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Jono Bacon: The Community Leadership Summit and Think Tank

Tue, 04/02/2014 - 15:46

As some of you will know, I founded the Community Leadership Summit that takes place in Portland, Oregon every year. The event brings together community leaders, organizers and managers and the projects and organizations that are interested in growing and empowering a strong community. Each year we discuss, debate and continue to refine the art of building an effective and capable community, structured in a set of presentation and attendee-driven unconference sessions.

This year’s event is happening on 18th – 19th July 2014 (the two days before OSCON), and is shaping up to be a great event. We have over 140 people registered already, with a diverse and wide-ranging set of attendees. The event is free to attend, you just need to register first. We hope to see you there!

The Think Tank Community Leadership Summit

This year I am also excited to announce an additional sister-event to the main Community Leadership Summit at the Open Source Think Tank.

The Community Leadership Summit and Open Source Think Tank have partnered to create a unique event designed for executives and managers involved in community management planning and strategic development. While the normal annual Community Leadership Summit serves practicing community managers and leaders well, this unique event is designed to be very focused on executives in a strategic leadership position to understand the value and process of building a community.

I have been wanting to coordinate a strategic leadership event such as this for some time, and the Think Tank is the perfect venue; it brings together executives across a wide range of Open Source organizations, and I will be delivering the Community Leadership Summit track as a key part of the event on the first day.

The event will be in the form of a day of presentations and sessions that cover many of the considerations when building a community management strategy, and these approaches will be exercised in a practical and interactive case study. The conclusions from the event will then feed into the rest of the Think Tank. I am excited to get started and I am confident the event will be tremendously valuable for attendees, particularly in an age when a community management strategy is more and more of a core requirement.

The event takes place on 24th March 2014 in Napa, California. See the event homepage for more details – I hope to see you there!

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

David Goodwin: Automated twitter compilation up to 01 February 2014

Sat, 01/02/2014 - 07:00

Arbitrary tweets made by TheGingerDog (i.e. David Goodwin) up to 01 February 2014

  • Trying to tell $possible_customer that ~120 days is not acceptable payment terms. Unfortunately they’re a FTSE 100 company. We’re not. (2014/01/31 src)
  • RT @dick_turpin: So +Pale Purple Ltd has been going for 8 years? Well done +David Goodwin (2014/01/30 src)
  • Even duct tape can’t fix stupid. But it can muffle the sound. t.co/5WYQRswuOX
(2014/01/30 src)
  • RT @guardiantech: Sky’s internet service mistakenly blocks web-critical plugin t.co/NzoGvDgzOo (2014/01/28 src)
  • RT @mikko: It looks like you’re trying to redact a document…
    t.co/moERWwSPPd t.co/GSJuz0CaEU (2014/01/28 src)
  • RT @Sniperovitch: EXCELLENT !!! RT @_youhadonejob: You had one job. t.co/52oUTHzUFf
  • (2014/01/28 src)
  • RT @AskNationwide: Pocket Money research: North East kids get an avg of £51.68 per month; in Wales, kids get an avg of £21.66. ^DB t
  • (2014/01/28 src)
  • RT @rdlowrey: #php just got more secure I merged the implementation for the TLS Peer Verification RFC: https://t.co/exAKWMgv1M More TLS+… (2014/01/28 src)
  • RT @chris_coltrane: 3 men to stand trial… for taking unwanted food from a bin. The stupidest of all stupid arrests: t.co/ChZB8syuk0 (2014/01/28 src)
  • RT @pibphilly: A stunning piece of photojournalism from the AP in Kiev, also probable future crust/doom record cover: t.co/a2VaVbanfw
  • (2014/01/26 src)
  • RT @jonmasters: “@engadget: Google and Samsung agree to license each other’s patents for 10 years t.co/jZYjKYmt8z” – I see an epic b… (2014/01/26 src)
  • RT @TheBakeryLDN: …and here’s what a brand knows when you login via facebook t.co/mxYYfsaoSn (2014/01/26 src)
  • RT @stuartdredge: A helpful infographic for anyone of my generation who’s also having problems following The Three Musketeers on TV http://…
  • (2014/01/26 src)
  • Currently waiting outside the deputy headteachers office like a naughty child. (2014/01/22, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire src)
  • RT @rdohms: Check out @petewsmart ‘s redesign of the airline boarding pass: t.co/Dxx7DqSSGx #UX — Why didn’t someone do this yet? (2014/01/20 src)
  • Cough cough cough. Grr. #stupidVirus (2014/01/20, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire src)
  • RT @ESA_Rosetta: “Hello, world!” (2014/01/20 src)
  • RT @tdobson: The UKIP Shipping Forecast (by Nicholas Pegg) t.co/2ci5ysyg2f (2014/01/19 src)
  • RT @serverdensity: #SysAdmin links: Are passwords stored in memory safe and should you take PHP seriously? t.co/nSgP9crl7b #devops (2014/01/19 src)
  • RT @ArghJoshi: Look, I just don’t like eating things that contain chemicals. t.co/hF0RE7qHCk
  • (2014/01/18 src)
  • RT @kernelpool: Format string proof t.co/z9sdUZ4zjz
  • (2014/01/18 src)
  • RT @HAL9000_: Windows taught me this trick… t.co/nMZxvX4GER
  • (2014/01/18 src)
  • RT @CypherTheDane: You guys ready for the awful future of the internet? #netneutrality t.co/sDY1MujPZ7
  • (2014/01/14 src)
  • .@BromsgroveHC men 3xi vs Hampton in Arden. Lost 4-1 (2014/01/18 src)
  • RT @ioCassie: US Army to begin testing Smart Rifles t.co/84urDigguc
    ✓ Linux
    ✓ Wifi
    ✓ USB & moreWhat could go wrong? t.…
  • (2014/01/16 src)
  • RT @guardian: #GCHQ searched metadata of “untargeted, unwarranted” communications of UK residents t.co/yXOTBBHx3L #NSAfiles (2014/01/16 src)
  • RT @Channel4News: Revealed: UK and US spied on text messages of Brits t.co/pq7gr4aUGi On #c4news now (2014/01/16 src)
  • RT @adrianhardy: This PHP RFC needs to pass. Non-BC breaking, opt-in behaviour: https://t.co/ysXxLcRiuH #fingerscrossed (2014/01/16 src)
  • RT @NickFitz: The flame war in the comments on this piece about $600 USB cables that allegedly improve audio reproduction is great: http://… (2014/01/15 src)
  • Unicode try catch …. https://t.co/HtMrmtHufS (2014/01/15 src)
  • RT @DeathStarPR: R2-DespicableMe2 t.co/fAMhRmbEyH
  • (2014/01/14 src)
  • RT @Turve: The importance of the comma…. t.co/AgPVnl3DN2
  • (2014/01/14 src)
  • RT @isamlambert: This is some magical shit right here t.co/QIlfhTBOPh (2014/01/12 src)
  • RT @tdobson: This is the nastiest, cleverest, most elegant, malicious-insider, sysadmin hack, I’ve ever heard about: t.co/sKHQiHJDXn (2014/01/12 src)
  • RT @avantgame: 11,000 kids tracked for A DECADE to see if videogames lead to negative attention, behavioral, mood impact. Result: NO http:/… (2013/11/17 src)
  • RT @Si: If, like me, you don’t want your private NHS records shared with commercial companies, you must opt out quickly t.co/N7gf7wS… (2014/01/09 src)
  • Finally watched the What The Fox Says video. #tryingToKeepUpWithTheKids. (2014/01/09 src)
  • RT @karolikl: What’s the logic behind prefixing your database name with ‘db’? “Gosh, good thing I prefixed it or I would have mistaken it f… (2014/01/08 src)
  • RT @bhamsouthpolice: Back to school, uni or work this week? Have you registered new phones and gadgets on Immobilise yet? t.co/YtVL… (2014/01/08 src)
  • RT @lwnnet: CentOS Project joins forces with Red Hat t.co/FCtyeNWHEk (2014/01/07 src)
  • RT @sunny_hundal: DWP has 3000+ staff after benefit fraud of £1.2bn; HMRC has 300 staff after tax evasion of £70bn+ #benefitsstreet !! http… (2014/01/06 src)
  • RT @herdyshepherd1: Asked a lady 4 times to put her dog on a lead 2 years ago over two months… was met with verbal abuse.It later kille…
  • (2014/01/04 src)
  • RT @philsturgeon: The first t-shirt has now launched on Made in Production: Respect the Double Claw! https://t.co/Mp0VOOIwTP #php (2014/01/04 src)
  • RT @daijones19: Aberystwyth – 1927 and today. t.co/lduqVEg41O
  • (2014/01/04 src)
  • RT @handee: aberystywth storm damage blog – incorporating my video cut together from a walk along the seafront this morning t.co/wFV… (2014/01/04 src)
  • RT @mikko: Got a new app? Hex edit it’s binaries to modify the License Agreement text to suit your needs before you run it for the first ti… (2014/01/04 src)
  • RT @RidgewayGroup: Made us smile … Roadworks signage gets hacked with a rather honest message! #ridgeway t.co/NyOWso9i3Y
  • (2014/01/04, West Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire src)
  • RT @NSA_PR: Through our Cybersecurity Community Outreach program, we’re ensuring all HP Proliant servers have the latest BIOS updates. (2014/01/03 src)
  • RT @mart_brooks: Hey mail people. It’s 2014 and you have told _no-one_ about the @Excommunicado project. The junk won’t block itself. https… (2014/01/03 src)
  • Hearing the rain outdoors reminds me of being young & working on the farm. #thosewerethedays #rain (2014/01/02 src)
  • Trying to decide if there is a chicken outside or if one of the children has an amusing snore. #parentingproblems (2014/01/02 src)
  • RT @lwnnet: Raymond: bzr is dying; Emacs needs to move t.co/ObQwx19VLs (2014/01/02 src)
  • RT @JamesBlunt: As does your missus. RT @teamtommo58: James blunt your music sucks #fact (2013/12/31 src)
  • Categories: LUG Community Blogs

    Dick Turpin: Is it in yet?

    Fri, 31/01/2014 - 13:53
    Colleague: "I'm trying to boot off the ROM drive can you see any activity back there?"
    Me: "Nope"
    Colleague: "I'm rebooting, anything now?"
    Me: "Nope"
    Colleague: "Hang on I had the USB plugged in the front before, lets try that. Any joy?"
    Me: "Nope"
    Colleague: "Oh, hang on, maybe I need to put the CD in?"
    Me: #facepalm
    Categories: LUG Community Blogs

    Jono Bacon: New Bad Voltage Episode and Competition

    Fri, 31/01/2014 - 07:11

    Bad Voltage Season 1 Episode 8 ‘We Don’t Need Roads’ is available now.

    In this show Jeremy Garcia, Stuart Langridge, Bryan Lunduke, and myself present an hour of talk about leafblowers, dust-resistant paper, fruitflies, and:

    • Back to the Future II, the 1989 film, predicted a raft of technology for 2015. With only a year to go, is anything they suggested even close to achieveable?
    • We speak to Matthew Garrett, notable Linux kernel hacker and commenter on security, UEFI, and hardware about the NSA in your firmware, why computers are more compelling than fruitflies, and his work at Nebula on providing trust to the cloud
    • Guns. As a followup to our previous discussion about 3d-printing of guns, we talk about the issue of whether guns are a good idea, the arguments for and against gun control, and how this differs internationally
    • The second half of our predictions for 2014: Bryan and Stuart give theirs

    Go and listen or download the show now and share your feedback on the forum.

    Today we also launched our first competition, the Bad Voltage Selfie Competition where you can win a free bundle of O’Reilly books if you are the winner or runner up. To find out more head over here and join in the fun!

    Categories: LUG Community Blogs

    Aq: Fantasy League Planet Ubuntu?

    Thu, 30/01/2014 - 11:15

    Mike Hall proposes “UbBloPoMo”, an initiative to get everyone on Planet Ubuntu posting every day about something. While I think his heart’s in the right place, I’m not sure that that’s the right way to go, especially since his thing sounds like it’s named after a disease of the rectum or something. So in thinking about it I thought… why not throw a little bit of fun in there?

    The idea (which I have not built, to be clear) is: Fantasy League Planet Ubuntu. You go to the website, sign in with Ubuntu One, and get presented with a list of all Planet Ubuntu participants and some free money 1. Each Planet Ubuntu participant has a price, based on how often and with what quality they post… and you have to spend your money to buy a team of ten. Then, every time one of your team posts to the Planet, you get some points, based on the quality and frequency of their posting. The winner is the one with the most points at the end of the month, or at the end of every month. If it takes off, maybe we can get Canonical to throw in a t-shirt for the monthly winner or a voucher or something.

    Sounds like it’d be fun, to me

    Now for the detail and anticipation of complaints:

    it’s way too easy to game the metrics

    Disagree. It’d need a little thought, but it’s not hard to conceive of the scoring algorithm for new posts. A post existing at all scores some points; being longer scores more; the points drop off with more subsequent posts on a given day. That’s enough to stop people turning Planet Ubuntu into a linkblog or Twitter while still encouraging posting. Remember, the underlying goal here is to have more people writing more things and thus having our community be more vibrant. Sure, there’s nothing in theory stopping someone writing a bot to just post huge lorem-ipsum posts, but firstly it’s hard to imagine that anyone who’s already a valued member of the Ubuntu community 2 stooping that low to win a game, and secondly they’re polluting their own blog by doing it, so it hurts them more than it hurts us!

    There’s endless scope here for extra stuff, too; does a link from one post to another add extra score? Do pictures improve the score? Etc. Iterate forever.

    gamification is bad

    Well… I certainly agree that some people think so, although I personally do not. And this would need a little thinking about; obviously if you don’t wanna play you don’t have to, but there’s a risk of being hassled by people to post more because you’re on their team. I suspect that having a way for a poster to request that they cannot be picked for a team is the obvious way out, but we ought to be better at social pressure than that; don’t hassle people.

    so how would you build it?

    Two components: an RSS aggregator, and the website. Choose your favourite RSS aggregator (spycyroll? planetvenus? whichever). Then, hourly, scrape the list of feeds from Planet Ubuntu 3 and hit each feed. For new posts, give them a score with the scoring algorithm. Your RSS aggregator needs to keep around the post metadata, but can throw away the post content because it’s not actually producing any output. Then credit each relevant team owner with the score for this new post. (Note: do not fetch this stuff on the fly. You need the aggregator running in the background, which means a cron job or something similar, not something embedded into PHP in the page.)

    The website is pretty trivial: Ubuntu One sign in, simple database with one table containing (username, score, reason, blogowner, posturl) rows which look like

    username score reason blogowner posturl sil 5 Michael Hall posted ‘UbBloPoMo’ mhall119 http://mhall119.com/…problem/ sil 2 Birthday bonus null null

    and a page displaying your score, the reasons you got it, and how you’re doing compared to everyone else. If this site had a million million users then you’d want to do a bunch of clever denormalisation and use a nosql database or whatever, but it’s not going to… so just one mysql table will be fine, and get someone’s total with SELECT SUM(SCORE) FROM TABLE WHERE USERNAME='sil'.

    so if it’s that easy why haven’t you built it?

    Two reasons. The first and least important is shortness of time; it’s probably only a day or two to build, but I don’t have a spare day or two this week. The second, and more important, is that if it’s a good idea then we want to encourage lots of people to get involved, which is about motivating the community, and there are people out there who are better at that than I am. Hint.

    I think this would be rather fun. It’s also ongoing fun with no ongoing time investment; once it’s built, it runs itself and continues being fun

    And if it works, one can imagine as a sequel Fantasy League Ubuntu Developer — one point for a merge, two for a bug filed…?

    Notes:

    1. note: not actual money. Of course.
    2. they’re on the Planet, right? So they’ve already passed that hurdle
    3. it would be nice if the Planet exported its list of participant feeds in machine-readable form; it must already have that list, so pointing a URL at it would be useful. Note that you can’t just fetch Planet Ubuntu’s own RSS feed, because you can’t unambiguously tell from that feed who wrote each post, unless you use their name as a unique key which is not a great idea
    Categories: LUG Community Blogs

    Aq: Fantasy League Planet Ubuntu?

    Thu, 30/01/2014 - 11:15

    Mike Hall proposes “UbBloPoMo”, an initiative to get everyone on Planet Ubuntu posting every day about something. While I think his heart’s in the right place, I’m not sure that that’s the right way to go, especially since his thing sounds like it’s named after a disease of the rectum or something. So in thinking about it I thought… why not throw a little bit of fun in there?

    The idea (which I have not built, to be clear) is: Fantasy League Planet Ubuntu. You go to the website, sign in with Ubuntu One, and get presented with a list of all Planet Ubuntu participants and some free money1. Each Planet Ubuntu participant has a price, based on how often and with what quality they post… and you have to spend your money to buy a team of ten. Then, every time one of your team posts to the Planet, you get some points, based on the quality and frequency of their posting. The winner is the one with the most points at the end of the month, or at the end of every month. If it takes off, maybe we can get Canonical to throw in a t-shirt for the monthly winner or a voucher or something.

    Sounds like it’d be fun, to me :-)

    Now for the detail and anticipation of complaints:

    it’s way too easy to game the metrics

    Disagree. It’d need a little thought, but it’s not hard to conceive of the scoring algorithm for new posts. A post existing at all scores some points; being longer scores more; the points drop off with more subsequent posts on a given day. That’s enough to stop people turning Planet Ubuntu into a linkblog or Twitter while still encouraging posting. Remember, the underlying goal here is to have more people writing more things and thus having our community be more vibrant. Sure, there’s nothing in theory stopping someone writing a bot to just post huge lorem-ipsum posts, but firstly it’s hard to imagine that anyone who’s already a valued member of the Ubuntu community2 stooping that low to win a game, and secondly they’re polluting their own blog by doing it, so it hurts them more than it hurts us!

    There’s endless scope here for extra stuff, too; does a link from one post to another add extra score? Do pictures improve the score? Etc. Iterate forever.

    gamification is bad

    Well… I certainly agree that some people think so, although I personally do not. And this would need a little thinking about; obviously if you don’t wanna play you don’t have to, but there’s a risk of being hassled by people to post more because you’re on their team. I suspect that having a way for a poster to request that they cannot be picked for a team is the obvious way out, but we ought to be better at social pressure than that; don’t hassle people.

    so how would you build it?

    Two components: an RSS aggregator, and the website. Choose your favourite RSS aggregator (spycyroll? planetvenus? whichever). Then, hourly, scrape the list of feeds from Planet Ubuntu3 and hit each feed. For new posts, give them a score with the scoring algorithm. Your RSS aggregator needs to keep around the post metadata, but can throw away the post content because it’s not actually producing any output. Then credit each relevant team owner with the score for this new post. (Note: do not fetch this stuff on the fly. You need the aggregator running in the background, which means a cron job or something similar, not something embedded into PHP in the page.)

    The website is pretty trivial: Ubuntu One sign in, simple database with one table containing (username, score, reason, blogowner, posturl) rows which look like

    username score reason blogowner posturl sil 5 Michael Hall posted ‘UbBloPoMo’ mhall119 http://mhall119.com/…problem/ sil 2 Birthday bonus null null

    and a page displaying your score, the reasons you got it, and how you’re doing compared to everyone else. If this site had a million million users then you’d want to do a bunch of clever denormalisation and use a nosql database or whatever, but it’s not going to… so just one mysql table will be fine, and get someone’s total with SELECT SUM(SCORE) FROM TABLE WHERE USERNAME='sil'.

    so if it’s that easy why haven’t you built it?

    Two reasons. The first and least important is shortness of time; it’s probably only a day or two to build, but I don’t have a spare day or two this week. The second, and more important, is that if it’s a good idea then we want to encourage lots of people to get involved, which is about motivating the community, and there are people out there who are better at that than I am. Hint.

    I think this would be rather fun. It’s also ongoing fun with no ongoing time investment; once it’s built, it runs itself and continues being fun :)

    And if it works, one can imagine as a sequel Fantasy League Ubuntu Developer — one point for a merge, two for a bug filed…?

    1. note: not actual money. Of course.
    2. they’re on the Planet, right? So they’ve already passed that hurdle
    3. it would be nice if the Planet exported its list of participant feeds in machine-readable form; it must already have that list, so pointing a URL at it would be useful. Note that you can’t just fetch Planet Ubuntu’s own RSS feed, because you can’t unambiguously tell from that feed who wrote each post, unless you use their name as a unique key which is not a great idea
    Categories: LUG Community Blogs

    Peter Cannon: Lorem Ipsum

    Thu, 30/01/2014 - 10:26

    John Lewis: “Lorem Ipsum may be more professional but it’s also way more poncey!”

    Categories: LUG Community Blogs

    Jono Bacon: Happy Birthday, Aq

    Thu, 30/01/2014 - 05:16

    Today (well technically the 30th) Stuart ‘Aq’ Langridge enters yet another decrepit year on his prolonged marathon of bothering us all. Not long now and he will be fully fossilized. I am not sure what an angry ginger fossil looks like, but I am pretty sure it is hilarious.

    I first met Aq in 1999 at the Linux User Group I formed in Wolverhampton. Since then we have been the best of friends. We have weathered changing companies, moving countries, setting up businesses, various relationships, trying to sell houses, and spent approximately a third of our lives trying to outfox each other in debates (of which many of you may have overheard on Bad Voltage, LugRadio, and Shot Of Jaq).

    At every step of the way in my life Aq has been there. He has been a friend in the truest sense of the word; he has motivated me, inspired me, told me when I am being an idiot, and kept me focused on the most important things in life. When I moved to California I was really genuinely worried we would drift apart as friends, but I am delighted that we are as close as we have ever been.

    As such, I for one am thankful that approximately 125 years ago he was born on this day.

    Tonight I expect to read tweets as he celebrates, complaining about terrible music and the overly frothy head on his pint, while hypothesizing on yet another computer to buy that isn’t a Thinkpad. Oh, and liking ridiculous yellow sports cars. And thinking Fear Of The Dark is Iron Maiden’s best album. Irrespective, it is a worthy celebration.

    Thanks, comrade, for everything.

    Categories: LUG Community Blogs

    Aq: But these posts go to eleven

    Thu, 30/01/2014 - 01:29

    To add to what I said last year, this post is actually the eleventh 1 time I’ve celebrated my continued survival for another year. Yep, it’s January 30th, the anniversary of the last Beatles gig, Hitler’s investiture as Chancellor of Germany, the naming of San Francisco, the involuntary decapitation of Charles the First, and… me being born.

    Choose for yourself which is the most auspicious.

    Apparently the number of my years this year was sacred to the Norse; it shows up a lot in their mythology, and the Hardrada clan crest had this many ravens and arrows on it. Which is pretty cool. The Langridge crest only has six black rectangles on it, although I only know this from deeply suspect internet genealogy sites, all of whom seem to be working off the same deeply suspect database designed to sell PDFs to hopeful Americans. Still, the family motto is medio tutissimus ibis, which means “you will go most safely in a middle course”. Since the middle course is the main meal, rather than starter or dessert, I’m happy with that. I’ve safely consumed a large number of dinners; it’s nice to know that I’m endorsed in doing so in Latin.

    This year’s number is also a pretty common gun calibre 2, which is ironic considering that today will also see the release of the next episode of Bad Voltage, a podcast containing more than your daily recommended dose of me, Jeremy Garcia, Jono Bacon, and Bryan Lunduke, and which in this episode has a discussion about guns and whether they are a good idea. As a full-time professional resident of England, I think this: they are not a good idea. My co-presenters disagree, wrongly.

    Still, it’s been an interesting year, this one. Left Canonical, gone into business for myself as Kryogenix Consulting 3 and thus far been reasonably successful, and I’ve just bought a new computer and am waiting impatiently for it to be delivered, about ten days from now. I think that’s an adequate birthday present to myself, yes it is, especially since I also threw in a monstrous 29″ 2560×1440 monitor. Ho, yus! I shall have more resolution than five New Year’s parties.

    One for the maths junkies: take the sum of the squares of the first three primes. That’s how old I am in years. 4

    Things seem to be hotting up here in 2014. I might even be moving house soon (what?!?). It’s still a fun time to be alive. Happy birthday to me.

    Notes:

    1. I did <em><a>…</a></em> there. Should the <em> be inside the <a>? I am never sure
    2. not Dirty Harry’s one, though. I am not that old. Yet.
    3. Retain my services! For consultancy and custom development on Ubuntu and the web and mobile web. See kryogenix.org
    4. remember: 1 is not prime. This is by definition, in order that the decomposition of a number into prime factors is unique. Otherwise the prime decomposition of, say, 21 might be 7×3 or 7×3×1 or 7×3×1×1 and imagine what that would do to the RSA algorithm, eh?
    Categories: LUG Community Blogs

    Aq: But these posts go to eleven

    Thu, 30/01/2014 - 01:29

    To add to what I said last year, this post is actually the eleventh there. Should the be inside the ? I am never sure/ref[] year. Yep, it’s January 30th, the anniversary of the last Beatles gig, Hitler’s investiture as Chancellor of Germany, the naming of San Francisco, the involuntary decapitation of Charles the First, and… me being born."> there. Should the be inside the ? I am never sure/ref[] year. Yep, it’s January 30th, the anniversary of the last Beatles gig, Hitler’s investiture as Chancellor of Germany, the naming of San Francisco, the involuntary decapitation of Charles the First, and… me being born."> there. Should the be inside the ? I am never sure/ref[] year. Yep, it’s January 30th, the anniversary of the last Beatles gig, Hitler’s investiture as Chancellor of Germany, the naming of San Francisco, the involuntary decapitation of Charles the First, and… me being born."> there. Should the be inside the ? I am never sure/ref[] year. Yep, it’s January 30th, the anniversary of the last Beatles gig, Hitler’s investiture as Chancellor of Germany, the naming of San Francisco, the involuntary decapitation of Charles the First, and… me being born." href="#sf-but-these-posts-go-to-eleven-1" class="simple-footnote">1

    Choose for yourself which is the most auspicious.

    Apparently the number of my years this year was sacred to the Norse; it shows up a lot in their mythology, and the Hardrada clan crest had this many ravens and arrows on it. Which is pretty cool. The Langridge crest only has six black rectangles on it, although I only know this from deeply suspect internet genealogy sites, all of whom seem to be working off the same deeply suspect database designed to sell PDFs to hopeful Americans. Still, the family motto is medio tutissimus ibis, which means “you will go most safely in a middle course”. Since the middle course is the main meal, rather than starter or dessert, I’m happy with that. I’ve safely consumed a large number of dinners; it’s nice to know that I’m endorsed in doing so in Latin.

    This year’s number is also a pretty common gun calibre2, which is ironic considering that today will also see the release of the next episode of Bad Voltage, a podcast containing more than your daily recommended dose of me, Jeremy Garcia, Jono Bacon, and Bryan Lunduke, and which in this episode has a discussion about guns and whether they are a good idea. As a full-time professional resident of England, I think this: they are not a good idea. My co-presenters disagree, wrongly.

    Still, it’s been an interesting year, this one. Left Canonical, gone into business for myself as Kryogenix Consulting3 and thus far been reasonably successful, and I’ve just bought a new computer and am waiting impatiently for it to be delivered, about ten days from now. I think that’s an adequate birthday present to myself, yes it is, especially since I also threw in a monstrous 29” 2560x1440 monitor. Ho, yus! I shall have more resolution than five New Year’s parties.

    One for the maths junkies: take the sum of the squares of the first three primes. That’s how old I am in years.4

    Things seem to be hotting up here in 2014. I might even be moving house soon (what?!?). It’s still a fun time to be alive. Happy birthday to me.

    1. I did <em><a>…</a></em> there. Should the <em> be inside the <a>? I am never sure/ref[] year. Yep, it’s January 30th, the anniversary of the last Beatles gig, Hitler’s investiture as Chancellor of Germany, the naming of San Francisco, the involuntary decapitation of Charles the First, and… me being born.
    2. not Dirty Harry’s one, though. I am not that old. Yet.
    3. Retain my services! For consultancy and custom development on Ubuntu and the web and mobile web. See kryogenix.org
    4. remember: 1 is not prime. This is by definition, in order that the decomposition of a number into prime factors is unique. Otherwise the prime decomposition of, say, 21 might be 7×3 or 7×3×1 or 7×3×1×1 and imagine what that would do to the RSA algorithm, eh?
    Categories: LUG Community Blogs

    Peter Cannon: Linux equivalents to Windows

    Wed, 29/01/2014 - 16:56

    Linux equivalents to Windows One of the biggest difficulties in migrating from Windows to Linux is the lack of knowledge about comparable software. This is a list of Linux equivalents / replacements.

    Categories: LUG Community Blogs

    Peter Cannon: Linux Incompatibility List

    Wed, 29/01/2014 - 16:55

    Leenooks – Linux Incompatibility List A list of hardware that is Linux compatible.

    Categories: LUG Community Blogs