News aggregator

Tony Whitmore: New year, new logo

Planet HantsLUG - Mon, 03/02/2014 - 19:30

I’m very pleased to reveal a brand new logo for my photography. I think it reflects my geekiness, my excellent sense of humour (you may disagree) and generally straightforward approach to photography.

It was a fun but challenging process to collect together ideas that might influence the design. “Describe yourself” is always a difficult question to answer, but gradually I collected a pinterest board full of things I feel describe my aspirations and that I admire: Classic design, comedy heroes, retro computing.

My photographic style has developed so much since I started photographing weddings back in the dim and distant past of 2011. This new branding reflects the clearer understanding I have of my style, but also who I am as a person and a photographer. I’m not going to be in your face and demanding, but I will be smiley and chatty. I won’t filter, airbrush and process your photos until they look completely artificial: I will produce natural looking images that show your personalities. I won’t try and pose every tiny aspect of your photos: I will create a space where you feel comfortable and can act naturally.

My new branding was designed by the brilliant Tom Holmes and I will be using it for my wedding photography as well as other photography and video work (about which more soon!).

I think the little fella should have a name though. Any suggestions?

Pin It
Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Meeting at "The Moon Under Water"

Wolverhampton LUG News - Mon, 03/02/2014 - 14:54


53-55 Lichfield St
Wolverhampton
West Midlands
WV1 1EQ

Eat, Drink and talk Linux

Event Date and Time:  Wed, 05/02/2014 - 19:30 - 23:00
Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Wayne Stallwood (DrJeep): IPv6

Planet ALUG - Mon, 03/02/2014 - 00:22
This site is now IPv6 enabled, it turns out that my co-lo provider already offers IPv6 addresses. So all I had to do was enable the ipv6 kernel module on the RPi, fiddle some iptables rules and the Apache config so it listened on the IPv6 address. Then head over to my DNS provider and drop the appropriate AAAA records onto my zone.

If you are running a dual stack from where you are browsing you may already already be using it but to force the issue try visiting ipv6.digimatic.co.uk

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Steve Kemp: disqus on the cheap?

Planet HantsLUG - Sun, 02/02/2014 - 13:44

Last night I was up again, really hard to sleep when you have a bad cold.

I decided to do something fun, and allow my tweaking guide to accept comments.

Like many of my sites this is 100% static, and generated by templer, so comments are "hard".

I've seen a few people try to rewrite disqus as a general-purpose solution, and I like that idea, because I don't trust that particular service.

I wasn't so ambitious though, I just hacked up a quick sinatra server:

  • "GET /comments/ID"
    • Retrieves the comments on the specified identifier as a JSON array of comment-hashes.
  • "POST /comments/ID"
    • Append the submitted comment to a redis set.

My jquery/javascript is nasty, but the thing seems to work pretty well. The page loads and comments are populated, and new ones are persisted as expected.

I can see the appeal of putting all this magic in one javascript file. You include that and get both the existing comments and the form to add new ones - my approach is to hardwire the submission/display in my generated site.

Perhaps something for the future.

In conclusion if people wish they can now leave feedback on most of the pages :)

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Chris Lamb: Defaulting to comparing against yourself on Strava

Planet ALUG - Sun, 02/02/2014 - 13:30

Strava's brand positioning is based around challenging and comparing yourself to others through virtual competitions and leaderboards.

I am not against the competitive spirit in principle, but my personal experience is that most psychologically and physiologically rewarding training comes from comparing your own past performances to today or from setting long term goals. I accordingly use the service as a glorified training diary, with the public leaderboards serving only as curiosa or as an occasional check on hubris.

(Zen-like introspection aside, using public data as a guide in a metropolis such as London is problematic as rankings are distorted by professional racers, KOM hunters, drafting, fraud and—obviously—traffic conditions.)

To make this easier, I wrote a Chrome extension that changes the default leaderboard to "My Results" instead of "Overall" when viewing a segment effort:

The other leaderboards can still be viewed via the usual selector:

I've found it curious—but not altogether surprising—how this mere change of default dramatically affects one's mindset.

Source code is available. If you found this extension useful, you might like my extension to quickly switch between metric and imperial units.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Adam Bower (quinophex): Why buying a Mio Cyclo 305 HC cycling computer was actually a great idea.

Planet ALUG - Sat, 01/02/2014 - 15:11
I finally made it back out onto the bike today for the first time since September last year. I'd spent some time ill in October and November which meant I had to stop exercising and as a result I've gained loads of weight over the winter and it turns out also become very unfit which can be verified by looking at the Strava ride from today: http://www.strava.com/activities/110354158

Anyhow, a nice thing about this ride is that I can record it on Strava and get this data about how unfit I have become, this is because last year I bought a Mio Cyclo 305 HC cycle computer http://eu.mio.com/en_gb/mio-cyclo-305-hc.htm from Halfords reduced to £144.50 (using a British Cycling discount). I was originally going to get a Garmin 500 but Amazon put the price up from £149.99 the day I was going to buy it to £199.99.

I knew when I got the Mio that it had a few issues surrounding usability and features but it was cheap enough at under £150 that I figured that even if I didn't get on with it I'd at least have a cadence sensor and heart rate monitor so I could just buy a Garmin 510 when they sorted out the firmware bugs with that and the price came down a bit which is still my longer term intention.

So it turns out a couple of weeks ago I plugged my Mio into a Windows VM when I was testing USB support and carried out a check for new firmware. I was rather surprised to see a new firmware update and new set of map data was available for download. So I installed it think I wasn't going to get any new features from it as Mio had released some new models but it turns out that the new firmware actually enables a single feature (amongst other things, they also tidied up the UI and sorted a few other bugs along with some other features) that makes the device massively more useful as it now also creates files in .fit format which can be uploaded directly to Strava.

This is massively useful for me as although the Mio always worked in Linux as the device is essentially just a USB mass storage device but you would have to do an intermediate step of having to use https://github.com/rhyas/GPXConverter to convert the files from the Mio-centric GPX format to something Strava would recognise. Now I can just browse to the folder and upload the file directly which is very handy.

All in it turns out that buying a Mio which reading reviews and forums were full of doom and gloom means I can wait even longer before considering replacement with a garmin.

comments
Categories: LUG Community Blogs

David Goodwin: Automated twitter compilation up to 01 February 2014

Planet WolvesLUG - 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

    Steve Kemp: Optimization Recipes

    Planet HantsLUG - Fri, 31/01/2014 - 16:08

    Today I am mostly in my bed suffering from "the plague".

    Between naps I've worked on a new site a little:

    Hopefully this will become updated, contributions welcome, and be useful to the world.

    (Source available on github.)

    Categories: LUG Community Blogs

    Dick Turpin: Is it in yet?

    Planet WolvesLUG - 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

    Steve Engledow (stilvoid): btw

    Planet ALUG - Fri, 31/01/2014 - 10:30

    I discovered my new favourite fact about my new favourite language recently. I suppose it should be obvious but I hadn't though about it in explicitly these terms.

    Given:

    char* myStringArray[] = {"Hello", "Goodbye", "Tomatoes"}; int index = 2;

    then the following will print Tomatoes:

    printf("%s ", myStringArray[index]);

    and so (this is the bit I hadn't fully realised) will this:

    printf("%s ", index[myStringArray]);

    Good times :)

    Categories: LUG Community Blogs

    Steve Engledow (stilvoid): btw

    Planet ALUG - Fri, 31/01/2014 - 10:30

    I discovered my new favourite fact about my new favourite language recently. I suppose it should be obvious but I hadn't though about it in explicitly these terms.

    Given:

    char* myStringArray[] = {"Hello", "Goodbye", "Tomatoes"}; int index = 2;

    then the following will print Tomatoes:

    printf("%s\n", myStringArray[index]);

    and so (this is the bit I hadn't fully realised) will this:

    printf("%s\n", index[myStringArray]);

    Good times :)

    Categories: LUG Community Blogs

    Jono Bacon: New Bad Voltage Episode and Competition

    Planet WolvesLUG - 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

    Steve Engledow (stilvoid): Stuff what I done

    Planet ALUG - Thu, 30/01/2014 - 22:18

    The diet is still going fairly well apart from a lapse yesterday owing to work-sponsored lunchtime pizza for a workshop session with JG and an evening meal out for Dad's birthday.

    Roasted broccoli is the best thing ever.

    I finally switched over to using mutt for my primary mail client after pondering doing so for ages. With some pretty minimal setup, I've already got more featureful (and considerably less annoying) than any other client. I honestly (actually) don't understand why people are so put off by terminal applications.

    Roasted carrots are the second best thing ever.

    I've learned a lot about C. For reasons I don't fully understand, I've been reading about C and coding things in my spare time. It's definitely my new favourite language.

    Lamb chops are a close third.

    Categories: LUG Community Blogs

    Alan Pope: January 2014 Core Apps Final Hack Day – Weather and Terminal

    Planet HantsLUG - Thu, 30/01/2014 - 14:05

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

    The Final Day of the January 2014 Core Apps Hack Days brings focus to Weather and Terminal but as I keep saying we welcome contributions to any app on any day of the week!

    In order to get started we’ve come up with some suggestions for new developers.

    First off get your development environment setup as documented at http://developer.ubuntu.com/apps/create/get-the-sdk/ which you can do either natively on Ubuntu 13.10 or 14.04 or in a Virtual Machine if you prefer.
    If you have a Nexus device, you could either replace the legacy OS with Ubuntu using either of these guides – https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Touch/Install or https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Touch/DualBootInstallation.

    Next up take a look at some of these suggestions based on your area of interest and skill level.

    We welcome translations for all our Core Apps. If that’s if interest you can find everything you need at https://translations.launchpad.net/ubuntu-weather-app and https://translations.launchpad.net/ubuntu-terminal-app.

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

    You may find some bugs which have yet to be confirmed or triaged, we’d love your help there too.

    You’ll find out-standing merge proposals on launchpad at https://code.launchpad.net/ubuntu-weather-app/+activereviews and https://code.launchpad.net/ubuntu-terminal-app/+activereviews.

    If you’d like to take on a task then we have some work items in the blueprints which you can assign to yourself and get cracking on at https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu-phone-commons/+spec/coreapps-1404-weather-dev and https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu-phone-commons/+spec/coreapps-1404-terminal-dev

    You can find out more about the Core Apps Hack Days at the links at the top, and you’ll find all of us hanging out on #ubuntu-app-devel on freenode.

    Categories: LUG Community Blogs

    Aq: Fantasy League Planet Ubuntu?

    Planet WolvesLUG - 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?

    Planet WolvesLUG - 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

    Planet WolvesLUG - 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

    Planet WolvesLUG - 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
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