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July 28, 2017

Jack

Packing List for Two Weeks in Vietnam

I’m about to head off an overseas trip for two weeks in Vietnam (travelling via train from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi), and like a true millenial traveller I thought it might be interesting to show everybody what I’ve packed for the occasion.

The plan is to live out of my backpack for two weeks, which, based on previous conference travelling, is a very achievable goal. My partner is also taking a backpack (albeit one slightly larger than mine).

You’ll note that this trip is unusual in that my partner is ‘encouraging’ me not to take a laptop (presumably because it’s so unusual that I travel without a laptop). That’s not much of an issue these days as smart phones can do almost anything a laptop can do these days, just with a much smaller keyboard. This lightens the backpack considerably.

The other change from my usual conference packing list is that, due to Vietnam being a tropical country and our trip being during the wet season, I’m taking a lot of medical gear I wouldn’t bother with otherwise (mosquito repellant, antibiotics, gastro tablets, bandages, and so on).

Without any further ado, here we are:

Clothing

You’ll note that five changes of clothes is nowhere near enough for a two week holiday, so we’re planning on doing laundry two or three times while we’re away. From my experience in the Philippines in 2013, laundry facilities are everywhere in South East Asia, and it’s even ridiculously cheap to pay somebody else to do it, so it makes a lot more sense than packing a suitcase to last you the entire trip (and then dragging that around with you for two weeks).

Medical / Toiletries

Other Items

And when it’s packed, it all looks like this:

I’m planning on doing a review of this bag (the Thule Crossover 32L) as it’s an awesome bag, both for commuting and (hopefully) for travel. I’ll probably write that once I’m back and have fully trialled it in every scenario.

For now though, it’s time to begin the travels!

July 28, 2017 10:00 AM

July 19, 2017

Jack

Retrieving A List Of Customer Emails From WooCommerce

Recently I had cause to retrieve a list of customer emails (which due to guest checkout functionality is not the same as a list of user emails) from a WooCommerce installation. A quick search suggested that the easiest way was to install a plugin to do the job. I hate installing plugins on WordPress unless absolutely necessary (as half of them, including this one, are very badly maintained and thus either a security risk, a performance risk, or both).

Instead, the SQL query to retrieve this information, as well as a count of how many orders each customer has made, took only a few minutes to prepare and run:

July 19, 2017 04:30 AM

June 22, 2017

Chris

Hire me!

tl;dr: I’ve recently moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, received my US Work Authorization, so now I’m looking for somewhere  to work. I have a résumé and an e-mail address!

I’ve worked a lot in Free and Open Source Software communities over the last five years, both in Australia and overseas. While much of my focus has been on the Python community, I’ve also worked more broadly in the Open Source world. I’ve been doing this community work entirely as a volunteer, most of the time working in full-time software engineering jobs which haven’t related to my work in the Open Source world.

It’s pretty clear that I want to move into a job where I can use the skills I’ve been volunteering for the last few years, and put them to good use both for my company, and for the communities I serve.

What I’m interested in doing fits best into a developer advocacy or community management sort of role. Working full-time on helping people in tech be better at what they do would be just wonderful. That said, my background is in code, and working in software engineering with a like-minded company would also be pretty exciting (better still if I get to write a lot of Python).

Why would I be good at this? I’ve been working on building and interacting with communities of developers, especially in the Free and Open Source Software world, for the last five years.

You can find a complete list of what I’ve done in my résumé, but here’s a selection of what I think’s notable:

So, if you know of anything going at the moment, I’d love to hear about it. I’m reachable by e-mail (mail@chrisjrn.com) but you can also find me on Twitter (@chrisjrn), or if you really need to, LinkedIn.

June 22, 2017 07:42 PM

February 15, 2017

Chris

Two Weeks’ Notice

Last week, a rather heavy document envelope showed up in the mail.

Inside I found a heavy buff-coloured envelope, along with my passport — now containing a sticker featuring an impressive collection of words, numbers, and imagery of landmarks from the United States of America. I’m reliably informed that sticker is the valid US visa that I’ve spent the last few months applying for.

Having that visa issued has unblocked a fairly important step in my path to moving in with Josh (as well as eventually getting married, but that’s another story). I’m very very excited about making the move, though very sad to be leaving the city I’ve grown up in and come to love, for the time being.

Unrelatedly, I happened to have a trip planned to Montréal to attend ConFoo in March. Since I’ll already be in the area, I’m using that trip as my opportunity to move.

My last day in Hobart will be Thursday 2 March. Following that, I’ll be spending a day in Abu Dhabi (yes, there is a good reason for this), followed by a week in Montréal for ConFoo.

After that, I’ll be moving in with Josh in Petaluma, California on Saturday 11 March.

But until then, I definitely want to enjoy what remaining time I have in Hobart, and catch up with many many people.

Over the next two weeks I’ll be:

If you want to find some time to catch up over the next couple of weeks, before I disappear for quite some time, do let me know.

February 15, 2017 08:33 PM

January 01, 2017

Chris

My 2016 Highlights

2016 was, undeniably, a length of time containing 366 days and a leap second.

For me, there were a bunch of highlights that it would be amiss to let pass without recording on this blog, so here goes:

So those are some of the highlights of my year. It’s been entirely not bad, in the grand scheme of things. Hooray!

January 01, 2017 07:52 AM

July 27, 2016

Jack

Book Review: Pride and Prejudice

It’s been a very long time since I’ve read a fiction book. It’s not that I don’t read; I spend the majority of my evenings poring over non-fiction of some kind or another (business, history and engineering being my favourite subjects). I just never really saw the point of fiction.

That was, until I read Why Every Man Should Read Jane Austen, by one of my favourite bloggers, Brett McKay of The Art of Manliness. The Art of Manliness is one of my favourite blogs on the Internet (and you should definitely subscribe if you enjoy long-form blogging about philosophy and practical skills, regardless of gender). As such, I was intrigued.

Particularly fascinating to me was the discussion of ‘theory of mind’, the ability for us to understand each other and attribute emotions to other people. Honestly, it’s something I’ve never been particularly good at. Other people’s emotions are guesswork to most people most of the time, and to me (and combined with a healthy dose of impostor syndrome in my work) it is mostly cause for panic.

Initially I read the article and then almost dismissed it; I put it at the bottom of a very long to-do list (which will never be complete, my grandchildren will be splitting it up between them when I die). But it kept coming back to me, gnawing at me almost. I don’t read much fiction. I could be better at understanding others. My writing skills have deteriorated.

A week ago I couldn’t bear it any more and downloaded the book on Google Play (substitute Kindle, Project Gutenberg or a physical book store as you like). I thought it might be nice to read a couple of chapters each night to wind down before sleep. Oh how wrong I was. I was hooked.

Three days later, I’d read the entire book (including staying up to 3am two nights in a row), as well as watched the entire BBC mini-series of 6 hours (which I did in one sitting).

This book is incredible.

There’s intrigue, there’s romance, there’s comedy, there’s so much metaphorical bitch-slapping you wouldn’t believe.

Due to the age of the book (it’s written and set in Regency England) the language can be hard to read at times, especially the dialogue. People spoke to each other much differently then, and it took reading passages three or four times before I could sometimes understand them. There were also some passages I didn’t understand the significance of, because I couldn’t read the sarcasm or other inflections properly – it took watching the mini-series to sort that out.

But the difference in language is also one of the strongest points. It gives you an insight into how formal the language was then, and how formally they treated others as a general rule. To not be polite to somebody then was the worst thing that could possibly happen. And the ramifications would be severe: Mrs. Bennett’s loud-mouthedness almost cost her the potential marriages of two of her daughters.

There are other insights too. To do something dishonourable (such as live with a somebody out of wedlock, a big deal for fair reasons back then – there was no contraception) had an impact not only on other’s opinions of you, but also on your family and your friends, and for a very long time. This is something still true today, but it’s far less obvious and the reminder of it’s presence is welcome (even if the presence itself is not).

I also now understand a lot more pop culture references. So many TV shows make references to Pride and Prejudice. I always used to giggle when I saw a reference to some classic that I had read, and now I see them far more often. Even Top Gear made them. Almost for this reason alone I’ve committed to reading more fiction in the future. It makes everything more fun.

July 27, 2016 07:01 AM

July 22, 2016

Jack

Renting Advice

Here is a random list of advice for one of my friends who is looking for a house.

July 22, 2016 03:45 AM

July 06, 2016

Chris

linux.conf.au 2017 wants your talks!

lca2017-tweet-cfp-open

You might have noticed earlier this week that linux.conf.au 2017, which is happening in Hobart, Tasmania (and indeed, which I’m running!) has opened its call for proposals.

Hobart’s a wonderful place to visit in January – within a couple of hours drive, there’s wonderful undisturbed wilderness to go bushwalking in, historic sites from Tasmania’s colonial past, and countless wineries, distilleries, and other producers. Not to mention, the MONA Festival of Music and Arts will probably be taking place around the time of the conference. Coupled with temperate weather, and longer daylight hours than anywhere else in Australia, so there’s plenty of time to make the most of your visit.

linux.conf.au is – despite the name – one of the world’s best generalist Free and Open Source Software conferences. It’s been running annually since 1999, and this year, we’re inviting people to talk abut the Future of Open Source.

That’s a really big topic area, so here’s how our CFP announcement breaks it down:

THE FUTURE OF YOUR PROJECT
linux.conf.au is well-known for deeply technical talks, and lca2017 will be no exception. Our attendees want to be the first to know about new and upcoming developments in the tools they already use every day, and they want to know about new open source technology that they’ll be using daily in two years time.

OPENNESS FOR EVERYONE
Many of the techniques that have made Open Source so successful in the software and hardware world are now being applied to fields as disparate as science, data, government, and the law. We want to know how Open Thinking will help to shape your field in the future, and more importantly, we want to know how the rest of the world can help shape the future of Open Source.

THREATS FROM THE FUTURE
It’s easy to think that Open Source has won, but for every success we achieve, a new challenge pops up. Are we missing opportunities in desktop and mobile computing? Why is the world suddenly running away from open and federated communications? Why don’t the new generation of developers care about licensing? Let’s talk about how Software Freedom and Open Source can better meet the needs of our users and developers for years to come.

WHATEVER YOU WANT!
It’s hard for us to predict the future, but we know that you should be a part of it. If you think you have something to say about Free and Open Source Software, then we want to hear from you, even if it doesn’t fit any of the categories above.

My friend, and former linux.conf.au director, Donna Benjamin blogged about the CFP on medium and tweeted the following yesterday:

At @linuxconfau in Hobart, I’d like to hear how people are USING free & open source software, and what they do to help tend the commons.

Our CFP closes on Friday 5 August – and we’re not planning on extending that deadline – so put your thinking caps on. If you have an idea for the conference, feel free to e-mail me for advice, or you can always ask for help on IRC – we’re in #linux.conf.au on freenode – or you can find us on Facebook or Twitter.

What does the future of Open Source look like? Tell us by submitting a talk, tutorial, or miniconf proposal now! We can’t wait to hear what you have to say.

July 06, 2016 01:21 AM

April 26, 2016

Chris

Introducing Registrasion!

Time for me to fill you all in on some work I’ve been doing in preparation for linux.conf.au 2017. I’ve been looking into how we can better run the conference website, and reduce the workload of our volunteers into the leadup to the conference.

linux.conf.au has, for the last 10 conferences, used a home-grown conference management system called Zookeepr. I got administration experience in Zookeepr after being involved in running PyCon Australia for a couple of years, and continued to help manage registrations for the years following. While Zookeepr is a venerable piece of software, my 4 years of experience with it has helped me become familiar with a bunch of its shortcomings. Most of these shortcomings are in the area of registration handling.

A problem with conference management software is that the people who come to develop on it are often highly transient — they’re conference organisers. They show up, they make their modifications, and then they get as far away from developing it as possible. Zookeepr’s been affected by this, and it’s meant that difficulties with workarounds are usually overlooked when fixing things.

So I decided to look elsewhere.

Back in 2012, the Python Software Foundation funded a conference management suite called Symposion.

Symposion solves a bunch of problems that Zookeepr solves, and more importantly, it doesn’t suffer from the lack of continuous contributions that Zookeepr has: It’s an actively-maintained app, built on Django, and it has a community of developers supporting it in the form of the Pinax project. In the Python world, it’s used for a very large number of conferences, from PyCon US (a big conference, getting some 1000 talk submissions yearly), down to local regional conferences like PyOhio. It’s well known, and improvements to the system aren’t contingent on conference organisers maintaining interest in the system after they stop running conferences.

Unfortunately, for various reasons, Symposion doesn’t handle conference registration.

So after OSDC2015 in Hobart successfully ran their conference website with Symposion, I decided to plug the gap. In January this year, I jotted down all of the things that I thought was good about Zookeepr’s registration system, and thought about how I could go about objectively improving upon it.

I threw together a data model, and wrote a test suite, and liked what I saw. I asked the Python Software Foundation for a grant to let me do some concerted work on the project for a month or so, and they accepted.

The result is Registrasion (that’s Registration for Symposion (sorry)). I’ve just put out a 0.1 release, which I believe is suitable for running a conference if you’re happy to pull data out of the system with SQL queries, and take payments with bank transfers.

Registrasion was designed with a few key goals in mind, all of which came from observing how Zookeepr struggled around some frequent edge cases that, incidentally, come up late in the process of running a conference. Those late-occurring edge cases are invariably the ones that don’t get fixed, because volunteer conference staff all need to go and run their conference.

In particular, I focused on:

Many of these goals solidified after talking to past conference organisers, who’d all used Zookeepr.

I’m quite proud of a few things in Registrasion. The first is that Registrasion makes it really easy for attendees to add extra things to their registration as they decide they need to. We also take care of automatically giving out freebies that attendees forgot to select during initial registration. In PyCon AU’s case, that’s a lot of manual work we can avert.

Another is a really flexible way in managing what parts of the inventory are available to our users, and at what time. We can show and hide items based on voucher codes, or based on whether they have other products selected. This averts a whole pile of manual work that a past linux.conf.au reported, and I’m glad that our year won’t have to

Finally, I’ve made sure that Registrasion has a lot of documentation. It was a key goal to make sure that new conference organisers can understand vaguely how the system fits together. Python’s tools, and Read The Docs, has made this very very easy.

There’s a pile more work to be done, but there’s also plenty of time before lca2017 opens its registration (in October, probably?). But so far, it’s been super-fun to dive back into Django development, given it’s something I haven’t played with in a few years, and to solve a problem that I’ve been dwelling on for a couple of years now.

Hopefully, in Registrasion, we’ve got a piece of software that can serve the community well, will find use outside of LCA, but will still serve LCA’s needs well for years to come.

If you’re interested, please come along and contribute! I’d love to have you on board!

April 26, 2016 11:41 PM

April 25, 2016

Jack

Time Management 101: The Calendar

Time management is one of those areas in life where there are as many different answers as there are people asking the questions. Instead of telling you exactly how to manage your time, I’ll tell you how I manage my time. With any luck, you might find some hints useful to you. Following on from my introductory post, I want to demonstrate how I manage my time.

A sample day in my calendar.A sample day in my calendar.

The most important tool I use is Google Calendar, although I could substitute most cloud-based calendars without issue (I used Exchange for years). The key feature is that it synchronises to my phone. It’s also important that I only have one calendar. If I had a separate calendar for work and home, things would get lost in the cracks. I also have a very important rule – as soon as I have an appointment, it goes in my phone and into the master calendar. Not even an hour must pass before I put it in. This reduces the chances of me being double booked. I never trust my mind.

I’ve divided my work-week into periods, like high school. Unlike high school, not all “classes” are the same length, because not all work takes the same time to do. I might spend two hours programming, then take a break and spend ninety minutes doing administration work and responding to emails. I also specialise my days: Tuesdays and Fridays are for meetings. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday are for sitting down and cracking on with things. Splitting my week up like this allows me to concentrate on something for an entire day if I need to, and also reduces my need for ironed shirts.

I also have a second calendar which does not hold any of my own events (they always go on the master calendar) but instead holds events that I hear about my friends doing – it contains notes like “Matt playing RPGs” or “Dad in Melbourne”. This ensures that I never forget about important events in my friends’ lives, and comes especially in handy for remembering where my house mate is, so I don’t have to worry when he’s not home in the morning.

Finally, I’m a big fan of weekly planning. At some point on the weekend (generally on Sunday afternoon) I’ll sit down for half an hour and plan out all my activities for the week – errands that need to be run, tasks that need specific times devoted to them (a big one for me is scheduling server upgrades and restarts), that sort of thing. I also schedule time to relax: every evening sometime between 5 and 6 I take the dog for a half-hour walk. This doesn’t mean I can’t change my plans on a whim (such as getting invited out to party on short notice) – just that I have some structure to fall back on.

There’s still a lot to discuss – my routines, task management, project management, automation, and more. But that’s for another day.

April 25, 2016 06:23 AM

April 12, 2016

Jack

The Tastiest Hobby

When I lived with my parents years ago, I was blessed to have an oven with a stable temperature and a working fan. I didn’t realise it at the time, but moving out of home marked the start of more than five years of walking through a culinary desert. Cooking just wasn’t fun any more – and eating out was so much more adult and sophisticated!

Last August I moved into a house with an amazing kitchen, and slowly my desire to cook has come back. It’s not a desert I’m walking through any more, it’s a dessert. Here’s a selection of the things I’ve made, just in the last week:

Apple and Rhubarb CrumbleApple and Rhubarb Crumble
Chocolate FudgeChocolate Fudge
Pumpkin PiePumpkin Pie

Amazingly, despite the above evidence, I’m actually fitter and healthier than I was – I’m exercising more, and I’m eating out far less than in the past.

Win win!

April 12, 2016 08:12 AM

March 01, 2016

Chris

Python in the Caribbean? More of this!

I don’t often make a point of blogging about the conferences I end up at, but sometimes there are exceptions to be made.

A couple of weekends ago, a happy set of coincidences meant that I was able to attend the first PyCaribbean, in Santo Domingo, capital city of the Dominican Republic. I was lucky enough to give a couple of talks there, too.

This was a superbly well-organised conference. Leonardo and Vivian were truly excellent hosts, and it showed that they were passionate about welcoming the world to their city. They made sure breakfast and lunch at the venue were well catered. We weren’t left wanting in the evenings either, thanks to organised outings to some great local bars and restaurants over each of the evenings.

Better still, the organisers were properly attentive to issues that came up: when the westerners (including me) went up to Leo asking where the coffee was at breakfast (“we don’t drink much of that here”), the situation was resolved within hours. This attitude of resolving mismatches in the expectations of locals vs visitors was truly exceptional, and regional conference organisers can learn a lot from it.

The programme was, in my opinion, better than by rights any first-run conference should be. Most of the speakers were from countries further afield than the Caribbean (though I don’t believe anyone travelled further than me), and the keynotes were all of a standard that I’d expect from much more established conferences. Given that the audience was mostly from the DR – or Central America, at a stretch – the organisers showed that they truly understood the importance of bringing the world’s Python community to their local community. This is a value that it took us at PyCon Australia several years to grok, and PyCaribbean was doing it during their first year.

A wonderful side-effect of this focus on quality is, the programme was also of a standard high enough that someone could visit from nearby parts of the US and still enjoy a programme of a standard matching some of the best US regional Python conferences.

A bit about the city and venue: Even though the DR has a reputation as a touristy island, Santo Domingo is by no means a tourist town. It’s a working city in a developing nation: the harbour laps up very close to the waterfront roads (no beaches here), the traffic patterns help make crossing the road an extreme sport (skilled jaywalking ftw), and toilet paper and soap at the venue was mostly a BYO affair (sigh). Through learning and planning ahead, most of this culture shock subsided beyond my first day at the event, but it’s very clear that PyCaribbean was no beachside junket.

In Santo Domingo, the language barrier was a lot more confronting than I’d expected, too. Whilst I lucked out on getting a cabbie at the airport who could speak a tiny bit of English, and a receptionist with fluent English at the hotel, that was about the extent of being able to communicate. Especially funny was showing up at the venue, and not being allowed in, until I realised that the problem was not being allowed to wear shorts inside government buildings (it took a while to realise that was what the pointing at my legs meant).

You need at least some Spanish to function in Santo Domingo, and whilst I wasn’t the only speaker who was caught out by this, I’m still extremely grateful for the organisers for helping bridge the language barrier when we were all out and about during the evening events. This made the conference all the more enjoyable.

Will I be back for another PyCaribbean? Absolutely. This was one of the best regional Python conferences I’ve ever been to. The organisers had a solid vision for the event, far earlier than most conferences I’ve been to; the local community was grateful, eager to learn, and were rewarded by talks of a very high standard for a regional conferences; finally, everyone who flew into Santo Domingo got what felt like a truly authentic introduction to Dominican Culture, thanks to the solid efforts of the organisers.

Should you go to the next PyCaribbean? Yes. Should your company sponsor it? Yes. It’s a truly legitimate Python conference that in a couple of years time will be amongst the best in the world.

In PyCaribbean, the Python community’s gained a wonderful conference, and the Caribbean has gained a link with the global Python community, and one that it can be truly proud of at that. If you’re anywhere near the area, PyCaribbean is worthy of serious consideration.

March 01, 2016 07:50 PM

February 12, 2016

Chris

Talks from linux.conf.au 2016

I spoke at linux.conf.au 2016 in Geelong! Once during the main conference, and once during the conference close.

Welcoming Everyone

My main conference talk, Welcoming Everyone: Five Years of Outreach and Inclusion Programmes at PyCon Australia, a five-year retrospective of how we’ve done outreach and financial assistance at PyCon Australia. It’s important that we share knowledge about how we run programmes that increase the diversity of our communities, and PyCon AU’s example shows how to build and grow such a program.

lca2017 handover talk

During the conference close, I gave our handover talk for linux.conf.au 2017, sharing what we think Hobart has to offer for the conference, and our vision for the conference. If you want to find out, in 6 minutes, what we’re planning on doing next year, this video is a good way to do just that.

February 12, 2016 10:26 AM

February 06, 2016

Chris

linux.conf.au 2017 is coming to Hobart

Yesterday at linux.conf.au 2016 in Geelong, I had the privilege of being able to introduce our plans for linux.conf.au 2017, which my team and I are bringing to Hobart next year. We’ll be sharing more with you over the coming weeks and months, but until then, here’s some stuff you might like to know:

The Dates

16–20 January 2017.

The Venue

We’re hosting at the Wrest Point Convention Centre. I was involved in the organisation of PyCon Australia 2012 and 2013, which used Wrest Point, and I’m very confident that they deeply understand the needs of our community. Working out of a Convention Centre will reduce the amount of work we need to do as a team to organise the main part of the conference, and will let us focus on delivering an even better social programme for you.

We’ll have preferred rates at the adjoining hotels, which we’ll make available to attendees closer to the conference. We will also have the University of Tasmania apartments available, if you’d rather stay at somewhere more affordable. The apartments are modern, have great common spaces, and were super-popular back when lca2009 was in Hobart.

The Theme

Our theme for linux.conf.au 2017 is The Future of Open Source. LCA has a long history as a place where people come to learn from people who actually build the world of Free and Open Source Software. We want to encourage presenters to share with us where we think their projects are heading over the coming years. These thoughts could be deeply technical: presenting emerging Open Source technology, or features of existing projects that are about to become part of every sysadmin’s toolbox.

Thinking about the future, though, also means thinking about where our community is going. Open Source has become massively successful in much of the world, but is this success making us become complacent in other areas? Are we working to meet the needs of end-users? How can we make sure we don’t completely miss the boat on Mobile platforms? LCA gets the best minds in Free Software to gather every year. Next year, we’ll be using that opportunity to help see where our world is heading.

 

So, that’s where our team has got so far. Hopefully you’re as excited to attend our conference as we are to put it on. We’ll be telling you more about it real soon now. In the meantime, why not visit lca2017.org and find out more about the city, or sign up to the linux.conf.au announcements list, so that you can find out more about the conference as we announce it!

lca2017 handver.001

February 06, 2016 03:45 AM

February 02, 2016

Jack

linux.conf.au 2016 – Monday & Tuesday

So far this week I’ve been at linux.conf.au, held in Geelong. As usual, it’s been the insane mix of seeing awesome talks by awesome people, hanging out with old friends, meeting new friends, and not getting quite enough sleep.

Of the awesome talks, a few stand out:

The UnPDNS in progress...The UnPDNS in progress…

Of course, LCA isn’t just about talks – if it was, I probably wouldn’t bother going. It’s about people. It’s been great to meet new people over dinner, and discuss talks with strangers after they end – it’s been fun to get some new views on what I thought were uncontroversial topics. I ended up playing Ingress late at night with a few people, and had great fun (and a lot of exercise, which I probably need). And there was of course the UnProfessional Delegates Networking Session, a barbecue organised by my friends Adam Harvey and Chris Neugebauer, which despite getting rained out was great fun – and then we all adjourned to the pub.

Geelong seems like a lovely city. I visited roughly fifteen years ago and I was fairly unimpressed at the time – it was dull and grey and seemed devoid of anything interesting. That can’t be said now. The waterfront is a lovely place to be, the weather is perfect (at least in summer), and there’s plenty of good food to be had (not on the level of Hobart or Melbourne, but that’s a tough standard to meet).

I’m looking forward to what the rest of the week brings!

February 02, 2016 09:36 PM

Why I Have A Windows Laptop at linux.conf.au

This is just a quick blog post to get something off my chest. It’s about the open-source conference I’m currently attending, linux.conf.au. The thing is this: I run a Windows 10-based laptop, I’ve brought it with me to LCA, and I’m proud of that.

In my mind, when somebody makes fun of Windows at an open-source conference, they’re buying into an anti-Microsoft herd mentality, forgetting that Microsoft does a lot of FOSS stuff, that Microsoft users do a lot of FOSS stuff, and the Apple laptops and Android phones that the majority of delegates have all contain a lot of closed-source software too.

End rant.

February 02, 2016 12:37 AM

January 15, 2016

Jack

Eight Things I Hate About Living In Hobart – Six Years On

Six years ago to the day, I wrote a bit of a rant about Hobart. At the time I thought nothing of it, my blog only has three readers (Hello!). Of course, there’s Google.

Over time, this one post has attracted more visits than any other post on my blog (I haven’t done the hard numbers, but my guess is that it would be more than all other posts combined). Which annoys me, since over the last six years Hobart has become an amazing place to live. So let me address a few points:

I won’t comment on TV (apart from the cricket and ABC News 24, I hardly watch it any more). We also still get a few two-headed-Tasmanian jokes from mainlanders, but I think they’re jealous these days. All in all, it’s a pretty good place to be.

As a final note, it seems the ABC agrees with me, writing an in-depth article about how much MONA has changed Hobart over the last five years.

January 15, 2016 03:05 AM

January 12, 2016

Jack

linux.conf.au 2016 Plans

It’s that time of year again. This year LCA is being held in Geelong, and as such will require train travel, which is awesome. 😀

I’ll be flying in to Melbourne on Sunday the 31st of January, on flight VA 1321. I’ll arrive in Melbourne city just after midday, and my plan is to catch the 14:10 VLine train to Geelong. While in Geelong I’ll be sharing an apartment at Vue Apartments with a couple of friends. I generally stay in the university accommodation (where there is likely to be a high density of fellow LCA attendees), but this year the university accommodation is well out of the CBD, making it much less convenient than Vue.

Returning from Geelong, my plan is to catch an afternoon train from Geelong to Southern Cross on Saturday the 6th. I’ve pencilled in the 12:52 service, but this will probably depend on who else is travelling that afternoon and when they’re going. My flight back to Hobart is that evening, VA 1332 at 19:40. I love that flight this time of year; with the late sunset and generally good weather, you’re almost certain to get amazing views.

I’m already looking forward to a number of the talks:

It’s shaping up to be another great best-week-of-my-year (as I always tell people LCA is).

January 12, 2016 02:22 AM

January 08, 2016

Chris

Three weeks until LCA2016

In February, I’m presenting my first-ever solo presentation at linux.conf.au, my favourite Free and Open Source Software Conference. This year, the conference is in Geelong (just out of Melbourne). I’ve been attending linux.conf.au since 2008 in Melbourne, and am running the conference next year in Hobart.

I’m presenting Welcoming Everyone: Five Years of Outreach and Inclusion Programmes at PyCon Australia, a five-year retrospective on how we’ve handled running financial assistance and related programmes at PyCon Australia.

Doling out financial assistance money to people often looks like it should be an easy thing to do right, but targetting and assessing grants so that the right people are interested, want to attend, and receive assistance is quite a difficult task. This talk shares our successes, our mistakes, and what we’ve learned along the way.

Registration for linux.conf.au 2016 is still open, so if you’re not yet planning on attending, there’s still time to get a ticket!

January 08, 2016 10:10 AM

January 06, 2016

Chris

I’m looking for a job!

tl;dr: I’m looking for somewhere new to work. I have a résumé and an e-mail address!

UPDATE: Right now, I’m based in the San Francisco Bay area, so I’ve re-posted this article and updated it to be current.

I haven’t scared you off yet? Great! Let’s try being a bit more specific.

I’ve worked a lot in Free and Open Source Software communities over the last five years, both in Australia and overseas. While much of my focus has been on the Python community, I’ve also worked more broadly in the Open Source world. I’ve been doing this community work entirely as a volunteer, most of the time working in full-time software engineering jobs which haven’t related to my work in the Open Source world.

I’ve spent the last few years swapping context between building and working with communities I love, and working in a field where these strong ties weren’t useful. This hasn’t been sustainable, so late last year I resigned my job to refresh myself, and considered what my future might look like.

It’s pretty clear that I want to move into a job where I can use the skills I’ve been volunteering for the last few years, and put them to good use both for my company, and for the communities I serve.

What I’m interested in doing fits best into a developer advocacy or community management sort of role. Working full-time on helping people in tech be better at what they do would be just wonderful. That said, my background is in code, and working in software engineering with a like-minded company would also be pretty exciting.

Why would I be good at this? I’ve been working on building and interacting with communities of developers, especially in the Free and Open Source Software world, for the last five years.

You can find a complete list of what I’ve done in my résumé, but here’s a selection of what I think’s notable:

So, if you know of anything going at the moment, I’d love to hear about it. I’m reachable by e-mail (mail@chrisjrn.com) but you can also find me on Twitter (@chrisjrn), or if you really need to, LinkedIn.

January 06, 2016 11:03 PM

January 02, 2016

Jack

Why Thomas The Tank Engine Is Okay

I was recently linked to a story in the NZ Herald entitled “Why Thomas The Tank Engine Is Not Okay“. There were so many factual errors in the article, as well as a general lack of understanding that the fact that Thomas the Tank Engine is a commentary on British Railways’ policies in the 1940s and 1950s, that I could not let it stand.

Trains are sent to the scrapyard if they’re not useful. And we all know what that means – it means they’re executed.
[…]
There are no unions in Sodor, that’s for sure.

First of all, the human equivalent would be firing them (“making them redundant” in the capitalist jargon), not executing them. Secondly, unions don’t exist to prevent useless employees from being fired (except when unions have too much power), they are to prevent good employees from being taken advantage of.

The women trains are actually girl carriages.

Daisy (mentioned in the article) isn’t a carriage, she’s a diesel multiple unit (DMU). There’s a very important difference. In Britain in the 1950’s, DMUs were the future. Daisy is leading the way.

In addition, from a very quick look through the Wikipedia article, there are at least five female locomotives: Molly, Rosie, Belle, Mavis, and Flora. It’s definitely not a 50/50 mix gender-wise, and all of the original “Steam Team” are male, but it’s not zero. It’s just a basic lack of fact checking. Note that I’m not saying there shouldn’t be more female characters – I think there should be – but the article is just plain incorrect.

Either they have no personality (Daisy)…

This was the entire point of Daisy’s character. The Rev. Awdry (I believe) wanted to show diesel railcars as being unimaginative and dull compared to steam engines. This was a direct commentary on British Railways’ campaign to phase out steam engines on British main line railways in favour of diesel and electric propulsion. Steam then, as now, was seen as romantic and full of character compared to diesel. The character ‘Diesel’, the first diesel engine seen in the books, was rude and brash and nobody liked him – again, steam was better than diesel.

Every single character has a flaw in their personality. It’s part of the anthropomorphosis of the trains into people. Henry got bricked into a tunnel because he was too vain. James is rude and arrogant. They are all flawed, just like us.

wnlzm

January 02, 2016 04:30 AM

October 16, 2015

Chris

On burnout, resigning, and coming back to life

Fun story: I quit my job last week.

Somewhat ironically, the first time I’m really writing on this blog about what has been my day job for the last 3-ish years is writing about leaving it.

I don’t have too much to say about my reasons for leaving, but identifying that I’d been suffering severe burnout for a few months was the tipping point for it. Over the last few months my output in most everything I’ve done has visibly dropped – not just in work, or my volunteer efforts (for which numerous other people depend on me), but also in the things I enjoy doing in my spare time.

My last upload to Flickr, prior to this week, was in June last year. Beyond things necessary to get talks done, I haven’t written a line of code in my spare time all year. The last useful thing I wrote on this blog was in January 2014. Those things should have been pretty good indicators, but I missed them.

When deadlines started approaching, I put less pressing things off to the side. I thought at the time that I was merely re-prioritising things in favour or more pressing ones, rather than completely dropping the ball on them. I mean,  that’s basically how it’s always worked in the past.

More on that: I’ve long used conference trips as a way to pace myself through my work; timing trips more-or-less equally throughout the year, so that just as I was starting to get bored and demotivated, I’d have a chance to recover for a bit. This worked pretty well for a few years.

(Indeed, getting away as often as I have over the last few years has let me forge lasting friendships far across the world, and to get really useful things done locally, particularly for PyCon AU. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to do that.)

So the pattern of feeling down just before a trip was there, just as it always was, for my trip to OSCON and PyCon AU in July this year.

The difference: for whatever reason, I came back feeling not much better than when I left I didn’t pick up the tasks I’d put aside, so they slipped even more.

Something had to give. I chose work. There’s not much more to say for the moment, other than that the time was more-or-less of my own choosing, and I left my job on amicable terms.

Now, what next?

First and foremost, I’m getting myself into a position where I’m mentally ready to run LCA2017 next year. This is probably the biggest undertaking of my life, and I need to be ready for it. I’m making steps to getting the organisation of that back on track.

I have roles with PyCon Australia again next year. Happily, my main role – raising sponsorship money – is now a team role, and I’ll be far less hands-on this time around.

If you’ve been depending on me to get something done over the last few months, and it hasn’t happened, I’m sorry. I’ve been terrible for letting things slip, even worse, I haven’t been open enough about my reasons for it. I really hope to improve this in the future. My backlog is slowly, but surely, getting cleared out.

Beyond that, I’m taking a couple of months off to sort myself out, and to make a concerted effort in figuring out what’s next.

I’m travelling for fun! Right now, I’m sitting somewhere in Far North Queensland, visiting my parents who are here for some reason (I’ve not seen Mum since February).

Over the next few weeks, I’ve got a few conferences I have committed to speaking at (OSDC in Hobart in two weeks’ time; PyCon Canada and Fossetcon in Florida in November), and so will be spending time travelling to attend those, but also taking a bunch of time off around them to relax.

One of the projects I’ve been putting aside for motivational reasons is a book I’m co-authoring on Android development, which I’m sure will show up (a bit more finished) in the future.

As for what I’ll be spending most of my time doing? I’m really not sure. What I’d like to be doing is the subject of another post. I’ll probably write it next week. If you want to cold-call me with opportunities in the hope that they’re relevant, linkedin is as good a place as any for now (lol), but I’m also around on twitter or e-mail.

October 16, 2015 06:20 AM

August 10, 2015

Chris

PyCon Australia 2015!

I was at PyCon Australia 2015 in Brisbane last week, and I presented a couple of talks!

This was the second year of PyCon Australia in Brisbane, it was pretty excellent. I’m looking forward to next year’s, which will be in Melbourne!

August 10, 2015 10:19 AM

January 16, 2015

Chris

To the Future

hobart.lca2017.org

That is all.

January 16, 2015 07:17 PM

January 27, 2014

Chris

Hottest 100 Spoiling results

Well, the Hottest 100 happened yesterday, so now it’s time to evaluate how my spoilers list went:

Why wasn’t it more accurate, or as successful as last year?

I’ve got every confidence that this method will be viable for next year, especially since the results were a much less spectacular spoiler than 2012’s Warmest 100. Let’s see if we can make a better model for next year.

January 27, 2014 03:43 AM

January 24, 2014

Chris

Booting out the Warmest 100

(Beware – this article includes a link to some probable spoilers for tomorrow’s Hottest 100 count. You can read this article without reading those spoilers.)
 

You’re probably familiar with Triple J’s Hottest 100. It’s the world’s largest write-in music poll. Last year, Triple J made an easy, shareable link for people to post their votes out on Twitter and Facebook. Alas, these links were easy scraped from the web, and the Warmest 100 (link to 2012 count) was born. The top 10 (but not its order) was revealed, and the top three was guessed perfectly.

This year, voters weren’t given a shareable link, but a few thousand people took photos of their confirmation e-mails and posted them to Instagram. With a tiny bit of OCR work, the Warmest 100 guys posted their predictions for this year. They found about half the number of votes that they did last year through the scraping method, which is no mean feat, given the lack of indexing.

So the question is — how useful are these votes in predicting the Hottest 100? What songs can we be sure will be in the Hottest 100? How certain is that top 10?

Both years, Justin Warren independently replicated their countdown (spoilers), and has written up his methodology for collecting the votes this year. I asked him for his data to do some analysis, happily, he obliged.

He’s since updated his method, and his counts, and written those up, too (spoilers).

Update: he’s updated his method *again* based on some feedback I offered, and has also written that up (spoilers). This is the data my final visualisation runs off.

So, what have I done with the data?

Bootstrap Analysis

When you have a sample — a small number of votes — from the entire count, you can’t really be certain where each song will actually appear in the count.

In this case, Justin’s data collected 17,000 votes from an estimated 1.5 million votes. That’s a sample of 0.1% of the total estimated vote. It’s a sample, but we have no idea how that compares to the actual count.

If we think that the votes that we have is a representative sample of all of the votes, then what we’d like to know is what would happen if we scale this sample up to the entire count. Where will songs end up if there’s a slight inaccuracy in our sample?

The good news is that computers give us a way to figure that out!

Bootstrap analysis (due to Effron) is a statistical technique that looks at a sample of votes from the whole set of votes, and randomly generates a new set of votes, with about as many votes as the original sample. The trick is that you weight each song by the amount of votes it received in the sample. This means that songs are picked in roughly the same proportion as they appear in the sample. The random sampling based on this weighted data adds noise.

You can think of this sample as a “noisy” version of the original sample. That is, it will be a version of the original sample, but with slight variation.

If you repeat this sampling process several thousand times, and rank the songs each time, you can get a feel for where each song could appear in the rankings.

How do you do that? Well, you can look at all of the rankings a given song gets for each randomised set. Sort this list, and pick the middle 98% of them. Based on that middle 98% of rankings, you can be 98% certain that the song will be at one of those positions. In statistics, this middle 98% is called the 98% confidence interval by bootstrap.

You can repeat this for different confidence levels, by picking a different amount of rankings around the middle.

I’ve used Google Spreadsheets to visualise these confidence intervals. The lightest blues are the 99% confidence intervals. The darkest blue intervals are the 70% confidence interval. The darkest single cell is the median — i.e. the middle of all of the rankings that we collected for that song in the bootstrap process.

The visualisation is up on Google Docs. (spoilers, etc).

I’ve run the same visualisation on Justin’s 2012 data, it’s less of a spoiler than the 2013 version if you care about that. It can inform the rest of the article for you.

Notes

First up, a bit on my methodology: Justin’s data didn’t separate votes into their original ballots. So, I had to pick songs individually. To improve accuracy, I selected songs in blocks of 10, where each song in the block of 10 is different — this vaguely resembles the actual voting process.

In my experiments, I ran the sampling and ranking process 10,000 times.

You’ll notice some interesting trends in this visualisation. The first one is that the higher the song is in the countdown, the narrower its blue interval is. Why is this so?

Well, as songs get more popular, the distance between each song in the number of votes received grows. In Justin’s sample of the votes, #100 and #73 were separated by 15 votes. So if one or two votes changed between #73 and #100, that ordering could change spectacularly. Given Justin’s sample is of 17,000 votes, 15 votes represents an 0.1% change in the vote.

So at those low rankings, a tiny change in votes can make for a massive difference in ranking.

At the other end of the count, #1 and #2 are separated by 16 votes. #3 and #4 are separated by 22 votes. #4 and #5 are separated by 51 votes. Down the bottom of the list, where 16 votes could move a song 33 places in our count, you’d need 16 votes to change just to swap positions 1 and 2.

What this means from a statistical perspective is that the closer to the top you are, the more work you need to do to change your position in the count.

You’ll also see this phenomenon in the right-hand side of the intervals. The interval of a given colour on the right-hand side of the interval will generally be longer than the same colour on the left. Once again, this is because lower ranks swap around more easily than higher ranks.

Update: Since writing this article, I ran one more test – how many of the songs in the top 100 of Justin’s raw  sample of votes will make it into the actual Hottest 100? Well, bootstrapping helps us here too. For each bootstrap trial, I take the top 100 songs, and see how many of those are in the raw top 100. I reckon, with 98% confidence, that we’ll get 91 songs in the actual Hottest 100. Thanks to David Quach for the suggestion.

In summary: the Warmest 100 approach is statistically a very good indicator of the top 4 songs. The top 4 is almost certainly correct (except that 1&2 and 3&4 might swap around between themselves). Everything up to #7 will probably be in the top 10.

The sampling approach is less accurate at the bottom, but I’m pretty confident everything in the top 70 will be in the actual top 100.

I’m also pretty confident that 91 of the songs in the raw top 100 will appear in the actual top 100.

End

I’ll be making some notes on how these confidence intervals got borne out in the actual count on Monday. I’m very interested to see how this analysis gives us a better idea of how accurate the Warmest 100 actually is.

January 24, 2014 11:07 PM

December 13, 2013

Chris

Talk: Making Mobile Web Services That Don’t Suck

The second of my DroidCon India talks introduces developers of mobile apps with the difficulties of designing for mobile networks. It also contains a series of design ideas that developers can take back to their back-end development team, so that the APIs that they produce for accessing their services are less difficult to use in a mobile context.

December 13, 2013 11:53 PM

Talk: Portable Logic/Native UI

My first talk from DroidCon India 2013 (November, Bangalore). It’s an exploration into the approach that we’ve taken at AsdeqDocs in producing a properly cross-platform mobile app. We take the approach of separating our core application logic into a C++ codebase, and apply platform-specific user interfaces over that codebase.

This talk covers the software engineering principles that make that work; as well as the benefits, difficulties, and insights that we’ve learned over a few years of doing this. It’s probably the favourite of my mobile dev talks.

December 13, 2013 11:46 PM

Announcing the LCA2014 Open Programming Miniconf

Very pleased to say that I’ll, once again, be running an Open Programming Miniconf at Linux.conf.au in January. This time around, the conference will be at the University of Western Australia in Perth.

I’m especially pleased, because after initially being rejected by the conference team, with limited time to assemble a line-up, I’ve put together what I think is the best Programming miniconf lineup in the five years I’ve been running it.

One of the goals of the Open Programming Miniconf is to be a forum for developers to share their craft: ideas for improving the way people code, and topics that are of benefit to people who develop using many open source programming languages. This year, for the first time, I think we’ve filled that remit.

This year’s talks cover everything from low-level mobile programming and driver development, to deployment of web applications, as well as talks about packaging, deployment, and development tools.

We also don’t have a single state-of-the-language talk. Everything’s about topics that can be transferred to any number of languages.

I’m excited! If you’re interested in the miniconf, check out our schedule and all of our abstracts at the conference wiki. See you in Perth!

December 13, 2013 09:32 AM

November 25, 2013

Chris

Where to, this time?

… Once again, I’ve completely failed to document my travels this year. I need to do better. Here’s my first attempt.

I’m off to Bangalore, India tomorrow to join in with DroidCon India 2013! I’m presenting two talks, and being a panelist on a panel:

I’ll post back here with slides and videos as they become available.

I’ll be in Bangalore until late on Saturday, then coming home via Singapore for a few days. Should be fun!

November 25, 2013 11:42 AM

November 17, 2013

Chris

I’m Christopher Neugebauer: Android Developer, Python Community Guy, Generally Etc; And This Is How I Work

Lifehacker regularly features a segment where they interview famous people and ask them how they work. Rather than waiting for the e-mail that would never come, my friend Jack Scott decided to answer this set of questions on his own last week, and tapped me to answer them after him. So here’s my answers.

Location: Hobart, Australia
Current gig: By who pays me: Software Developer at Asdeq Labs. By what I love to do: Open Source Community person; general developer conference raconteur.
Current mobile device: Nexus 5 & Nexus 7.
Current computer: The one I directly use? That’d be a 2013-era MacBook Air; 13″ screen, with all of the extra trimmings.

One word that best describes how you work:

Sporadically?

(But, if I’m actually passionate about something, that word might well be “obsessively”.)

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Python. It’s what I go to every day when I need to quickly bash out some proof-of-concept code or make some calculations. Even if I don’t use Python in my day job, Python prototypes will often form the genesis of production code I write in another language. Surprisingly often.

Also: Keynote. Or at least version 5 of it, I haven’t tried Version 6 yet. It makes making presentations easy, and I seem to be doing a fair bit of that at the moment. It’s probably the one piece of software that keeps me tied to Mac OS X.

What’s your workplace like?

At work, I have a pretty generic veneered flat-pack style desk, with a 24″ monitor, and a laptop stand so I can put my laptop’s screen parallel with my larger monitor. I also have a Microsoft split keyboard, which I still can’t use properly. If I were planning my own office, I’d probably have an Aeron chair. But I’m not (at the moment, anyway), so I won’t :D

At home, I’ll sit wherever feels most comfortable to do whatever it is I need to do. Often that seems to be bed, just because I’m writing stuff, and it seems like a good place to do it.

What’s your best time-saving trick/life hack?

If you’re travelling for more than 4 hours, learn to sleep on planes, and fly at night. Waking up in another city is cool, and having a whole extra day to do things on a trip is like generating extra time for free. It’s a productive use of sleep time!

What’s your favourite to-do list manager?

Honestly, I tend not to use them. I’m generally across most of what I have to do in a day. If I have deadlines, I’ll shove them in a calendar. Otherwise, meh.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?

A coffee maker. I like coffee of high quality. I have a rather nice espresso machine, which is the high-end model of a low-end brand; when I’m travelling, I carry an AeroPress and Hario Slim grinder, with a supply of high-quality beans. It saves me money, and I don’t complain about the coffee being awful when I’m somewhere I’m unfamiliar with!

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else? What’s your secret?

It seems to be remembering things. No secret, I just do it. Brains are weird like that.

On a completely different note, I have absolutely no natural pre-conception of how good other people are at things I know how to do. I’ve found that getting good at presenting technical material is great for figuring out what people need to know to know something (ask me about this sometime).

What do you listen to while you work?

If I’m in at the office, not very much. I hate music getting interrupted, so I’ll take my headphones off the moment I sit down.

If I’m at home, and I’m listening to music, pretty much anything in my library. Right now it’s jumping between Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, and Dear Miss Lonelyhearts by Cold War Kids. But that could change any moment.

What are you currently reading?

Python documentation. AppleScript documentation. Mostly so I can figure out how to implement features in my side project (Keynote-as-a-service). More generally it’s things on Wikipedia. I like to know things. Then I can remember them.

Are you more of an introvert or extrovert?

Introvert.

Though, introverts tend to think I’m extroverted. Probably because I can talk to a crowd if I need to. Needless to say, that’s a completely different skill to actually talking to people one-on-one, which I still have no idea how to do.

What’s your sleep routine like?

Pretty regular. I go to sleep sometime between 22:00 and 23:30, and wake up, just before my alarm does, before 7:00. I wake up with disturbing regularity.

Fill in the blank. I’d love to see _____ answer these same questions.

Jethro Carr :)

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Life’s too short for bad coffee.

If you don’t like coffee, substitute this for something else you actually like.

Basically, if you’re going out of your way to find something mediocre, or not as good as you can find in the general area, you’re wasting your time. Don’t do it. Be exceptional, and expose yourself to people who are great at what they do. You’ll almost always find some way to apply it to whatever you do.

And yes. Speaking with people who know how to make coffee properly has helped me be a better programmer :P

Is there anything else you want to add for readers?

Not particularly. I prefer responding to stimulus than coming up with ideas out of thin air.

Errm, so if you want to get an idea from me in the future, ask me something direct, and don’t ask for open-ended ideas.

November 17, 2013 09:44 AM

August 12, 2012

Tom

Hosting stuff at home without modem port forwarding

I set up some services on my home server and wanted friends to be able to connect to them. Initially I was faced with an interesting dilemma: the internet had been set up before I moved in and we didn't know the password for the modem. My housemate had the ISP password so we could have reset it, re-entered the username and password and set up some port forwarding or a DMZ IP. But that is boring. (Ultimately that modem died and I set up a new modem in bridge mode, giving my home server a direct WAN interface. Everything that follows is therefore irrelevant to me now.)

What I do have is a remote VPS with a static IP in a datacentre. For reasons of privacy enthusiasm I have decided not to host my services there but I am happy for it to act as a waypoint for TLS-encrypted connections. Here are a couple of ways I've tried out to host stuff on the home server. Everyone knows about the first method so I'll just summarise it quickly...

SSH TUNNELING

We establish a permanent SSH connection between the home server and the VPS. The VPS acts as a proxy, listening on a port exposed to the internet. When a connection comes in it transmits it over the SSH connection. The home server sees a connection from localhost. All data sent to that localhost connection is forwarded automatically over the SSH link and vice versa.

How To Do It

Set up passwordless SSH login.

Run a command like this one on the home server, which forwards port 12345, perhaps in a loop with a sleep delay.

ssh user@vps -N -g -R 12345:127.0.0.1:12345

Interesting bits:

VPN AND SOURCE-BASED ROUTING

This is a little more fun. What we want is:

The first part is easily done using a VPN and some DNAT rules on the VPS. The trick is that we need to simultaneously provide two default routes: the VPS gateway for traffic related to the forwarded services and the plain DSL connection for everything else. Source-based routing takes care of that.

How To Do It

Set up a VPN (I used OpenVPN). For testing my VPS is 192.168.200.1 and my home server is 192.168.200.6. It's an IP tunnel and the client uses 192.168.200.5 as its point-to-point gateway. The "push redirect-gateway" option should be left off as we only want to use this connection for specific traffic.

Create a DNAT rule to forward a particular incoming port (12345 here) to the home server's VPN interface. Also make sure that we lock down the routing to just the traffic we want.

iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -p tcp --dport 12345 -j DNAT --to-destination 192.168.200.6:12345
iptables -A FORWARD -i tun0 -m state --state RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
iptables -A FORWARD -o tun0 -p tcp --destination 192.168.200.6 --dport 12345 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A FORWARD -j REJECT

Turn on IP forwarding on the VPS.

sysctl -w net.ipv4.ip_forward=1
echo "net.ipv4.ip_forward=1" >> /etc/sysctl.conf

Create an additional routing table on the home server and make it use the VPS as the default gateway for all traffic on the 192.168.200.0/24 interface. (I adapted the commands from here.)

echo "100 vpn" >> /etc/iproute2/rt_tables
ip rule add from 192.168.200.0/24 table vpn
ip route add default via 192.168.200.5 dev tun0 table vpn
ip route flush cache

Finally make sure that the home server is bound to the VPN interface.

That seems to do the trick. I just know that this is going to be useful someday in a perverse set of circumstances.

August 12, 2012 04:45 AM

April 09, 2009

Kieran

Saying a bit about nothing

Hello everyone!
How are we all? I am in London. Well, near London. I went there for a bit, and had some looking around. We also went to see Wicked, as well as Mamma Mia. It’s all great and fun and wonderful but I’m already missing home so the fact that I’ve got a bit less than two months left isn’t promising. I’m sure that I’ll start getting used to it in a couple more days.
What I would really love is to start hearing from some people (thanks Chris for doing so ^_^)
Anyway, I’m sleepy, and I can’t think of anything much to say. So I’m going to put a link onto my facebook and hope that people will start commenting on nothing at all😛
So goodnight, and I’ll try and think about stuff thats actually interesting to say!
Good night/morning!

Kieran


April 09, 2009 09:37 PM

April 04, 2009

Kieran

Bet you didn’t see this coming!

I know I sure didn’t! I have started up this blog again. The reason is because I’m in the process of heading overseas to travel! I am currently in melbourne airport and will be for the next couple of hours. It isn’t the most exciting place to be, and I was wondering what to do. I saw a computer and thought that I might as well let people know it.
I’m sure that when I am not tired I will think of something interesting and/or insightful to put onto this. In fact, I might also find some time to clear out all of the spam and stuff that has no doubt accumulated here. Anyhow, I hope to get writing into this a bit more and start getting in touch with people so I can meet up with everyone when I get back.

They say we have a freedom of speech, but at the moment they are charging me per minute to write what I want to say. There is a count-down thing in the bottom-right hand corner of the screen. Not that that will interest anyone. At least it gave me something to do for a good, oh, 30 seconds. So thanks for amusing me everyone!

I will be interested to see whether anyone has replied to this by the time I get to check it next. Goodness knows when that’ll be though…

Have fun, and hopefully someone will read this!

Kieran


April 04, 2009 08:26 AM

October 16, 2008

Simon

The Two Levels of Social Governance

Briefly put, money is the new “Democracy”. Think about it, it provides equal opportunity to social power. It is also completely indiscriminate of human specifics. Indeed, it requires our discriminations in order for it to be useful. This social tool is what it is, a human creation. Just like the sword and gun it is the new form of “it’s not money that owns people, people do.”

The control we have on money is completely one-way. If you wanted to live a money-less life it is as simple as detaching yourself from this specific other. There is no phenomenological value in money other than what we put on it. This is apparent as the amount transcribed to a particular set of money is in a constant flux based on the need of the human. Whatever you buy or sell impacts “economy”. “Economy” is the system that determines the value of an object at any given time. It’s as easy as prescribing how much worth a thing is to the human race. Pick up a chair and understand that comfort is in great demand in our society. Compare it to a rock which has no use to us, hence it has no value. This is what “Economy” is based on, what is useful and what isn’t. What should we spend money (property control) on and what is fruitless to invest in.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate money, I think it is a near-perfect system that compensates for the fluxes of interest in society. I mean, should we really ditch something that has been born out of our cognitive structure? This would be potentially damaging specifically as there is no other clear option. Other than forcing people to adhere to an equally profiting governance. Is it fair to say that this would have come about in a liberal monetary system if we all thought the same way? Money allows for ideology, the system of currency allows for human learning. If there are people starving in Africa or under-paid over-worked workers in sweat-shops then money is not to blame. Of course, this is the usual response to guilt, try and blame it on something that can’t talk back.

Currency is a social institution, hence it can be changed, improved upon or possibly removed at some point.


October 16, 2008 10:31 PM

October 13, 2008

Simon

Thoughts on current economical/political situation

“It is the international system of currency that determines the totality of life on this planet.” (excerpt from Network (1976))

Isn’t that a wonderful quote?

I mean it just completely sums up the state of the world today. That we (humans yes I am bringing humanity to acocunt) have created this …. thing! called economy. Then lo and behold, it’s out of our control! Now how could this have happened? But, wait a second, we should look closer and find that it isn’t completely out of our control. No, nothing that governs our lives and influences our decisions can ever be out of our control. This is a dangerous road to go down, but alas it is already one that many capitalist societies have proceeded to take (completely unawares of course).

I had an argument a few years ago with my sister over the importance of money. I think this was the early stages of my understanding that all was not quite right in the world. I had quite simply said “I do not need money to survive.” Naturally, she found that statement to be utterly ridiculous and proceeded to argue case-in-point that money is necessary for food, water and ergo our basic functions as a living human being. This shocked me, to say the least and I should have developed on my point back then and not leave it as just a generalization. She probably thought I was declaring I am going to live as a homeless person eating scraps out of dustbins. But, what I really meant was that I had understood and corrected my attitude to this thing called “money”. I do not need money to survive. Of course I understand that in the nature of this capitalist society we live in the system of currency is a required path to adhere to in order to have a basic level of living. But, I do not need money, I do not covet money, I do not cling to money and I certainly take care to not attach myself to money. It is simply just a shift in attitude towards recognising that currency is just a system of social governance created by a few men in order to control and surpress the ambitions of the wider community. It is in no way some a priori “norm” that we must blindly accept.

I am to this day completely amazed at the lack of understanding of the so-called “sharemarket”. There seems to be this image of it circulating the media to which the impression derived is always one of confusion and ambiguity. This naturally leads to a complete absence of enthusiasm to try and understand it in basic reasonable terms. Money is and always has been power. It is a non-physical manifestation of power (in regards to physical violence userping control, money does this non-violently). It is therefore important to note that the system of currency is just another form of governance which usually operates in conjunction with the “government” of the country it is operating in. For example, in the United States of America, their Federal Reserve Bank (which is a private operation, none of the board members are voted in, nominated etc) creates money and then loans it to the US government with interest. The government is essentially indebted to the Federal Reserve Bank.

In summary, all money is debt. And all debt, that’s expressed in dollars, is money. To understand that, is to understand much of what is wrong in our economy. All debt, that’s expressed in dollars, is money.” (Rodger Malcolm Mitchell 2003)

Thus is the control of a debt-based economy, but it can change!

I would like to note that there has never been a Democracy in the fullest sense of the word. Don’t try and cite the Ancient Athenian Demokratia, simply because its directivness was not fully developed. Slaves, non-Athenian citizens (people moved to Athens, living there but not considered “citizen”) and women were unable to vote. This left all male citizens over the age of 18 to participate, around about just one quarter of the population. Also modern representative democracy? Firstly it doesn’t oblige everyone to vote, it’s not about forcing people to vote or not merely making people accept their responsibility. Indifference of good action is a huge negative force. Also, two teirs of the government are quite lacking in “representativeness”. The presidency is one person weilding immense powers of veto, and their party’s legislative powers. They can also nominte supreme-court judges which is another teir of accountability. So the only real spread of representativness in the US democracy is the senate. But of course, with only 100 members versus the millions of US citizens, I fail to see basic representation occuring.

Enough for today, my brain is tired =)


October 13, 2008 04:43 AM

February 11, 2008

Jen

Checkout chick

Started work at woolies today. How momentous. Despite the fact that it was an exhausting ten hour shift, I really enjoyed it! And hooray for penalty rates on a public holiday. Haha it was meant to be a quiet first shift for me, being a Monday, but apparently Coles was evacuated because their sprinklers went off (not sure if there was an actual fire) and all their customers came to us. So it was rather busy at times.


February 11, 2008 10:01 AM

January 07, 2008

Jen

As the US legal system sinks further into idiocy… please don’t let the poison spread here

http://cad-comic.com/news.php?i=1540#1540

Please God, as someone about to commence studies in the law, I ask that if I become a solicitor and/or barrister, you don’t ever let me stoop so low as to prosecute on cases like these.

*ships out a box of spare Lives to the loony, overweight kids with transparent skin*


January 07, 2008 08:55 AM

December 29, 2007

Jen

Got XP?

Does anyone have a copy of Windows XP on CD that I could use to install it? One that wouldn’t expire after a certain time. Yes, I know, it’s naughty, but I’ll need to reinstall it when I change my hard drives around and getting it for free is an attractive option.

Or if you think I should buy my own copy, where is it cheapest and how much?


December 29, 2007 06:26 AM

October 08, 2007

Hannah

Hmm….procrastination anyone??

Well I can’t actually remember the last time I made a post, but I just finished my Psychology test rewrite on the Moon Illusion, and thought I’d do something useful for the next fifteen minutes until History starts. Things have been pretty chaotic, which is to be expected, given that there are four weeks left of school, plus a week of swotvac, plus two weeks of exams. I won the Jean Yeates Creative Writing Prize (school writing competition) which came with $200 and my name on the honour board, so that was quite exciting. I have also decided on what to study at UTAS. I was going to do Arts-Law Advanced Honours, but that was going to take me six years and probably bore me stupid, so I’ve opted for Arts Advanced Honours, and I shall major in History and English. Can’t wait. I’ve chosen History 1A and B, Ancient Civs 1A and B, English 1A and B (pattern detection anyone?) and Latin 1A and B as my first-year subjects. So yeah.


October 08, 2007 12:20 AM

August 18, 2007

Jen

tanglefire

This is sort of a continuation from this post:

https://tanglefire.wordpress.com/2007/05/24/lol/

I just googled searched “snog” on images to check if this is still the case, and not only was that picture still the first result, but the second one was also of the Doctor getting snogged, this time by Rose’s mother. (Army of Ghosts, kiss rape.) How ridiculous is that getting! Then I searched it again to double check and that picture didn’t come up again which was strange.


August 18, 2007 09:13 AM

July 16, 2007

Jen

Hey there…

Hey TBA members, I was just wondering…

…Who is Tom?

Hi Tom! I’m not meaning to sound all bitchy and “who the heck is that”, I’m just curious because your blog was mysteriously added and I thought I’d get some answers quicker by posting.


July 16, 2007 03:32 AM

July 02, 2007

Jen

Really over school right now

I cannot wait until next year. As my mother says, a change is as good as a rest. Actually, I just can’t wait until the summer holidays. That’s when I get a nice change! My intention for the holidays are to start working as soon as I finish my exams. I’ll still be doing stuff for In The Light (student publication which Hannah, Jack and I are working on) but I want to start working as soon as possible. Hopefully if I get a summer job, I’ll be taken on during Uni semesters as well. I have to start paying rent to Mum at the end of this year and there’s no way I can afford that on youth allowance, on top of gym and internet fees, plus the loans I have to pay back to my mother and brother for the Kakadu trip.

So since a change is as good as a rest, the theory is that I’ll find a summer of working before starting at Uni a sufficient holiday. At least I’ll have some extra cash on hand and some growing savings.

I’m not sure why I’m so over school. I think it’s all the small assignments. I never have any time to just sit down and revise because I’m always doing stupid assignments. Now, a few big assignments over a long period of time, I could probably organise that. Can’t wait until Uni!!! I considered taking a year off but since I’m doing a five year degree, I honestly can’t be bothered spending a year being a waitress. I don’t want to be a student forever when all my friends are finished and in the workplace.


July 02, 2007 10:40 PM

June 30, 2007

Jeremy

My 5 cents for the first 6 months of 2007

Brace yourselves, for Jeremy is re-entering the blogosphere.

How many people does the blog aggregator get out to these days? I think it must be only Jack, Chris and perhaps Jen, if I’m lucky. It would have been nice for the blog aggregator to have taken off the way it was meant to, with everyone regularly blogging about anything and everything. But it doesn’t take much time for people to see it as a chore, and as soon as it becomes a chore, the window for procrastination is open. And so the blog aggregator is left to those loyal few who feel that the internet ought to be blessed with their 5 cents on a regular basis, and for that I commend you.

As I returned to wordpress.com to dust off the surface of my blog, and read any new comments which may have randomly been added since last I posted. And lo and behold, there were a few comments from random people. I enjoy the fact that somehow, random people stumble across my little piece of the internet and decide to leave a comment. I wish that I had kept up with the blogging, because even going back and reading it myself, I remembered a few things that had evaded my memory in the months since i wrote them. It’s just like a public diary.

Another interesting doscovery, was that my blog had been the target of blogspam, that is, comments written in reply to your posts, advertising things such as the promise of three inches to your member. They only hit one post, which was one which advertised that I was about to go and watch “T.h.e S.i.m.p.s.o.n.s” I’m sure that these lame pre-programmed robots target common words such as these (hence the periods between them). How incredibly pointless, given that I doubt anyone would ever click on these spam ads.

As for my life, well, this year has brought along it’s challenges, friendships gained and lost, the early morning tedium of waking up for school. The added freedom of having my provisional licence has made made my social life slightly more active, because I can get out of the house on weekends and do things without having to rely on parents, or that absolute CRAP that Metro calls the “Lauderdale Weekend Timetable”.

In just 6 months time it will be the end of the year. This means that I will have finished year 12, and hence finished school. Now there is a scary thought. The thought that this year counts for more than anything else I have done in my life. And with the end of school, comes the beginning of a new period of my life. As I leave behind my “Friends’ School” era, there will be some things that I will be quite happy to leave behind, but others that will be much more difficult. However, going too far into this would be a bit too much for me to entrust unto a public blog site, so my innermost thoughts will remain in the safety of my own head, for fear of being sued for defamation.

I’m guessing that if anyone actually started to read this post, noone is reading it now

So with a completely unfulfillable promise of more posts in the future, I must sign off.

Jeremy


June 30, 2007 12:41 PM

June 27, 2007

Jen

Week and a half into term 2

The school trip was fantastic. The best time I’ve had during my school holidays in a long time. It was great to be able to spend so much time with some of my friends, under all sorts of circumstances, and prove that we could cope with being with each other.

I got a lot more fond of the Northern Territory than I expected. Also, I feel like I know a bit more about Aboriginal culture, and I’m interested in learning a lot more. Since we’ve gotten back there’s been a lot in the media about the government’s plans to stop child sex abuse in the NT, so we’ve been discussing that in legal studies. It feels really weird to talk about it because I feel like my classmates have this opinion of the NT, that it’s full of drunks or “bogans” or something, and screwed up compared to here. Now, I’m not saying that I know the place really well. Obviously I don’t since we were just passing through towns. But at least I’ve been there, and am not just basing my opinions on some recent news reports. Of course child sex abuse is wrong and should be stopped but I think some of my classmates currently have nothing in their heads regarding the NT apart from what they’ve heard in the news recently.

I liked the locals I met. But the point is, I feel uncomfortable when everyone talks about the news we’ve heard. Maybe none of this made sense! Oh well. It’s good to get some thoguths out.

EDIT: Argh I wrote an entire edit and then lost it. Damn! Basically I was saying that I’m back at school and doing my best not to get hideously behind. I’m going to make a colour coded study schedule, taking into account the rehearsals I have to go to for the musical, time to go to the gym, and time to practise singing. (I dropped flute lessons. Way too much to worry about. I’ve also dropped IB French.)


June 27, 2007 12:58 AM

May 24, 2007

Jen

Lol

If you search for “snog” on google images with Moderate SafeSearch on the first picture to come up is from Doctor Who when the Doctor kisses Madame de Pompadour.


May 24, 2007 10:13 AM

May 22, 2007

Jen

Time for some warm weather in the NT

Can’t wait until Sunday. Why? SCHOOL TRIP to the Northern Territory! I won’t bore you with the details as Jack has already described the trip very concisely in a recent post. I thought I ought to mark the event in my own blog to show that I haven’t completely forgotten I have one. One of the best things about the trip is that I’m turning 18 on the day we arrive in Darwin.

I still have a lot of shopping to do before the weekend. I don’t have everything on the packing list. Who owns four pairs of shorts? I don’t even own four t-shirts.


May 22, 2007 01:03 AM

February 02, 2007

Hannah

Potty for Potter…

NEWS FLASH!

The final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be published on July 21st (a Saturday) at midnight. I already have the weekend planned: I’ll get one of my parents to go into Target on the Saturday morning, I’ll request the Sunday off work, I’ll make sure all my homework is up to date, I’ll excuse myself from musical rehearsals and I will spend the whole weekend reading the book so as not to have ANYONE spoil the ending.

And the Order of the Phoenix movie is out on July 13th. It’s going to be such a great month!


February 02, 2007 01:41 AM

February 01, 2007

Hannah

School’s cool…or is it?

It’s that joyous time of the year again, back to school time. I’ve bought my textbooks and stationary, and I’m mostly looking forward to my final year of schooling. I’m doing Modern World History (I love the text book already) Religion (also another awesome textbook) Psychology (textbook is really fat) and English Writing (no textbook – just your brain!) I am planning on being in the school musical, and playing soccer. My aims are to earn my Clemes Certificate, and get EAs in all subjects.

In other news, Daniel Radcliffe (of Harry Potter fame) is bearing all in a new West End musical. He plays a young guy who has an erotic fascination with horses, and appears nude a scene or two. Parents are in uproar about the fact that a guy who is supposed to be a role model to children is participating in roles such as this, as children cannot distinguish between Daniel and Harry. It’s funny with child stars, they always seem to have to do something outrageous to prove that they are no longer ‘kids’ anymore, like Nikki Webster posing for playboy and Lindsay Lohan getting hooked on the drugs and the drink. It’s quite sad, really. But I don’t think what Dan’s chosen to do is too bad, (and no that is NOT because I think he’s slightly cute)  but I can understand parents’ perspectives. What does everyone else think?


February 01, 2007 08:43 AM

January 17, 2007

Hannah

Dreadlock Holiday

My goodness it’s warm! I’m really not suited to the hot weather, I belong in England or Ireland. Yesterday I went to the cricket, and it was stinking hot, but we had great seats in the shade. Amazingly England achieved their first win of the season, but it could have gone any way in the last half an hour. At one stage a fraction of the Barmy Army were gathering on the lawn singing ‘God Save Our Queen’ while the Beige Brigading Kiwis were attempting to drown them out with some of their own cheers. Daniel Vettori was looking as handsome as ever, and I delighted in observing him through my binoculars! Unfortunately he wasn’t fieldng near us : ( but that’s okay, I’ll recover! Overall it was an awesome day. There’s talk that Tasmania might get to host an Ashes Test next year, so fingers crossed that happens.

Not much else happening of great significance. Hope everyone is enjoying their holidays!


January 17, 2007 07:59 AM