November 25, 2013
… 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:
- Portable Logic/Native UI – Explores the multi-platform app structure that we use on AsdeqDocs; things I wish we’d known at the start of the project, and things that we’ve learned doing it.
- Panel: The State of Android Development in India – I’m on this panel as an international voice amongst a table of locals. It’ll be interesting to see how my perspective gels with the other panelists.
- Making Mobile Web Services That Don’t Suck – A talk that covers everything a mobile dev needs to know to understand how mobile networks work, and how to work with their back-end team to make an API that doesn’t suck.
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
A few weeks back I posted ‘I’m Jack Scott, IT Consultant, And This Is How I Work‘, pretending I was famous and answering LifeHacker’s standard interview questions for famous tech entrepreneurs. In the post I suggested that I’d like to see Chris answer the same questions.
And so Chris did.
He asked Jethro Carr to answer the questions.
And so Jethro did.
Jethro asked Hamzah Khan to answer them. The peer pressure built.
And so Hamzah did.
Hamzah asked Jamie Bailey. So far Jamie hasn’t blogged, but given personal circumstances at the moment it is quite understandable.
This has been quite an interesting exercise. Mostly about peer pressure – nobody seems to want to break the chain. It is also worth noting that there are a heap of people who should be answering these questions who don’t have blogs (Michael Wheeler, I’m looking at you). I truly believe more people should blog (and that I should blog more often). The act of putting finger to keyboard for more than 140 characters actually makes you start thinking about things a bit more (I only realised my prowess with search engines halfway through writing the blog post).
If anybody else feels like answering the questions, let me know and I’ll update this post with links.
Update: Jamie has now answered and tagged Michael Wheeler.
November 25, 2013 11:10 AM
November 17, 2013
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:
(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
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?
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.
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
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
November 15, 2013
I love Apple’s presentation tool, Keynote. In fact, if I had to nominate a single piece of software that was keeping me using Mac OS X, Keynote would be it. I haven’t yet found another tool that lets me throw together great-looking slides as quickly as keynote does.
On the other hand, I also really like using Android. And this is a problem, because Apple’s Keynote Remote app only works on iOS. Keynote Remote is an app that allows you to remote control Keynote from your phone. It also sends down a screen preview, presenter notes, and it also allows you to peek ahead to your next slide. Basically, it’s a killer app for people who want to step out from behind the lectern, and still have their notes and be aware of where they’re up to in their presentation.
And it only runs on iOS.
So this is where I introduce my new project: KAAS, or “Keynote-as-a-Service” is a Python-based HTTP server that lives on the same laptop as you’re presenting from, and exposes a JSON API for doing everything that Keynote Remote does, and potentially more. It’s Apache 2.0-licensed, and it already has a reasonable amount of documentation (though it could use a whole lot more).
I’ve thrown together a basic HTML front-end, with a really bad UI, just so you can see it in action.
In parallel, I’m developing an Android-based keynote remote, called Keymote. Once I release the app, I’ll be selling it for a nominal fee through the Play Store. It’s currently in Alpha testing, but if you want to try it out, let me know, and I’ll grant you access.
So how does KAAS work?
Keynote 5.x (iWork 2009) offers a reasonably comprehensive AppleScript interface* to creating and controlling slideshows with Keynote. It also has a remarkable HTML & JSON export format that, with some basic understanding of the JSON format, allows you to reconstruct how the slideshow will look at each stage of build.
Even better, it tells you when builds will be skipped, or when they’ll be auto-played. In concert, you can use this to determine where Keynote will be after you advance the slideshow, and you can build up build previews (lol) based on the commands in the JSON.
What’s best is that exporting such a HTML & JSON package is exposed through the AppleScript bridge, so it’s easy to do automagically.
In combination, you can use these to replicate the back-end functionality of Keynote remote.
So, if you’re interested in testing out Keymote, or if you want to contribute to KAAS, let me know. I’d be grateful for help and happy testers in any form.
(*Yup, this doesn’t work with Keynote 6.0. It’s apparently a substantial re-write, and Apple have removed the AppleScript interface to the new version. According to this support note, AppleScript support will come back. Hopefully there’ll be something resembling the Export format too.)
November 15, 2013 11:06 PM
November 07, 2013
Lifehacker regularly features a segment where they interview famous people and ask them how they work (such as this). Since I’ll never be famous enough to be asked by Lifehacker directly (though you never know, they
might get are desperate for content one day). So here are my answers. Hope you enjoy.
Location: Hobart, AU
Current gig: Software Engineer at Workzerk
Current mobile device: Samsung Galaxy SIII Mini. I hate it so much and would love to get rid of my mobile phone and never get another one.
Current computer: Cool people don’t have brand names on their computer. They also have more than one computer.
One word that best describes how you work: Hungrily.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
I can’t live without Outlook. I use it to manage my entire life, business and personal. I know Google Apps cover a lot of the same use scenarios, but Outlook is so much friendlier and more efficient – it really has been a killer app for the last fifteen years and will continue to be for as long as people want to actually get work done on computers instead of watching YouTube videos of kittens. Because the world really needs more work and less youtubeing kittens. As much as we all love them.
I happily pay for my own Active Directory installation and Exchange server. For one person. It just benefits me that much. Plus it sounds cool.
What’s your workplace like?
My completed home desk, with racks, as I’m putting everything back on it.
I have two. The first one, “at work”, is grey and white and very clean. I have two monitors and an Aeron chair. I recently bought two pot plants.
The second one, my home office, is a lot more fun. I have a desk I built myself (with a lot of help from my great Dad) which has 6RU of 19″ rack space built in (every desk should have this). The rack forms a monitor stand for three mismatched monitors (one for chat and social media and Outlook, one for Firefox, and one for everything else (which includes everything from Visual Studio to OpenTTD).
What’s your best time-saving trick/life hack?
Only watch television that’s been recommended to you by more than five people. If you do watch something, download it to your computer, use VLC to play it, and have the speed set to 1.2x. The speech is still understandable and doesn’t sound at all chipmunky (if it does occasionally I set the speed to 1.1x) and I save minutes an episode.
What’s your favourite to-do list manager?
For general to-do lists, Asana. It’s awesome. It manages to-do lists with gusto.
For software development I’d pick JIRA or Redmine because of their integration with source control systems.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
My collection of vegetable peelers. I joked to my Mum once that I didn’t have a good vegetable peeler and ever since I’ve been receiving them as gifts. This might sound like a curse, but it’s really not. It’s awesome. You know how everybody always recommends you peel and cut away from you to avoid injury, but nobody ever does it? You just need sharper instruments, then you can. All but one of my peelers can cut through pumpkins. Most people’s knives can’t do that. If I’m just cutting up vegetables for dinner, I don’t use a knife sometimes, just for a challenge. I just use a peeler.
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else? What’s your secret?
I’ve been thinking of answering these questions for a long time. Up until recently my answer would have been shelling boiled eggs. I didn’t know my secret, I was just better at it than anybody else I know. Recently though it dawned on me that there is one every day thing I am very good at that most people aren’t: I know how to know anything.
You see, most people never learned how to use Google. For a skill that is possibly the most important business skill of the early 21st century, we have spent very little time teaching it to people. Even when I was in school nobody taught me (since, I guess, the teachers didn’t know how). So I taught myself. + to combine words, – to leave them out. “quotation marks” will search for something literally. And so on! But nobody knows this. So I have an edge.
A lot of people assume I know everything there is to know about a computer. That’s not true. I actually know very little. I can just find out the answer to a computer related problem quicker than anybody else.
What do you listen to while you work?
1970′s rock music, Triple J hottest 100s from 2003-2010, and classical music for the organ.
What are you currently reading?
Right now I’m reading this blog post, looking for the spelling and grammatical errors which will undoubtedly sneak in. Normally though, if I’m reading, it’s Wikipedia. I love reading Wikipedia because it can take you anywhere. Though for some reason, leave me long enough and I will always end up reading about the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.
Are you more of an introvert or extrovert?
What’s your sleep routine like?
I go to bed around 10 to 10:30 and talk to my partner (she’s awesome!) for an hour before sleep. I wake up (I hate that bit) around 8.
Fill in the blank. I’d love to see _____ answer these same questions.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Not advice as such, but it can be taken that way: “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” It’s a quote from either Mark Twain or Grant Allen, depending who you believe.
Is there anything else you want to add for readers?
apt-get has been deprecated by aptitude. Please use the latter in tutorials and IRC jokes from now on.
November 07, 2013 10:16 AM
November 06, 2013
Recently my parents converted an old VHS tape of train videos to DVD. The video tape was an old tape from my parent’s neighbour who spent quite a lot of time making videos of trains. Since the Internet never loses anything, I thought I’d take advantage of the NSA’s backup capabilities to make sure this three-hour gem isn’t lost forever.
The majority of the tape features M and H class steam locomotives, as well as X and Y class diesel-electric locomotives.
As well as uploading to Youtube, I’ve also created a far bigger than necessary torrent of it: here. If there are ever no seeders, poke me via email or IM and I’ll make sure to start seeding it again.
November 06, 2013 01:21 AM
October 27, 2013
(Wooo, catch-up blog time!)
I was one of the invited presenters at the second PyCon Canada in Toronto.
My talk, “Android: The Land that Python Forgot?” looked at the state of Python development on the Android platform, and how we can improve things.
The recording of the talk is available on YouTube and annotated slides are available at SpeakerDeck.
As for PyCon Canada itself? Well the conference itself was fantastic — a friendly, enthusiastic organising team, really good talks, and a beautiful host city. I’m really looking forward to returning to Canada next year when the US PyCon moves to Montréal in April.
A Toronto Sunset down Queen Street, very close to the conference venue.
October 27, 2013 08:11 AM
August 01, 2013
I’ve recently installed Linux Mint on my laptop, replacing a horribly broken install of Windows 8.1 Preview. There have been good and bad things:
- The Windows 8.1 Preview broke the wireless connectivity on my laptop horribly. Every time the laptop booted up or awoke from sleep, I would have to uninstall the wireless card from the device manager and then scan for new hardware to add it again. I would then have to key back in all the wireless keys for the networks I used before I could connect again. This got a bit annoying after a while. Installing Linux Mint, I had no issues with drivers or network connectivity, even with sound drivers, which is something that has plagued the Linux desktop world for years. It just works, and that is truly great.
- With all the attention being given recently to the NSA’s spying on the citizens of the world, it’s nice using an operating system that gives you a little more protection (even if it isn’t very much more) from the spooks. I am still using many cloud services (including accounts with Facebook, Google, Twitter, Microsoft and Apple) so I still have a long way to go, but I can now PGP encrypt my mail with little effort, and should the need arise I can inspect every line of code on my system for back doors (though, it might take a while).
- The GUI can actually be described as beautiful. While I’m a big fan of the classic Windows look (circa 2000 and XP) and I’m also a big fan of the Windows 8 Metro theming, the horrible combination of the two that most Windows 8 apps seem to have leaves much to be desired. In addition, most GNU/Linux distributions (looking at you especially, Ubuntu) have completely unusable GUIs. Linux Mint takes a beautiful looking GTK+ theme and marries it with a window manager (called Cinnamon) that is just stunning. It’s what Linux should have been like for years. And no Unity in sight.
- Steam now works on Linux, and I can play Counter-Strike: Source again. This is a big deal, and it’s a great benefit to “Linux on the desktop”.
- It uses Ubuntu’s package repositories, which use in turn use Debian’s awesome apt-based package management system. This gives you access to all of Ubuntu’s packages (which is a massive collection) and it uses familiar Debian configuration files. It’s a rock-solid (less stable than Debian Stable, but so are most nuclear reactors) core system.
- Over recent months I’ve done a lot of software development in Visual Studio. VS 2012 is a great IDE. And it has nothing that comes even close on Linux. Netbeans (my preference on Linux) is a pretty powerful IDE, but VS still blows it out of the water in every way. Similar to Evolution vs. Outlook, there are still a few killer applications on Windows that make it the default choice for getting things done.
- Firefox and Thunderbird look ugly as sin on Linux Mint compared to Windows. I’m really disappointed as everything else is so good looking in comparison.
- There’s no good replacement for MetroTwit. I’ve tried most of the Twitter clients for Linux, and they all suck in various ways. MetroTwit, as far as I’m concerned, is pretty much where it’s at with Twitter clients. It’s awesome.
Overall, I’m very impressed with Linux Mint. If you haven’t tried a GNU/Linux distribution in a while, give it a go. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
August 01, 2013 11:26 AM
July 07, 2013
The weather during a good moment.
This weekend has been a great one. I spent it at PyConAU, the premier conference for Python in Australia. Two days filled with all of my favourite things: great open source software, lots of friends, great food, interesting talks by interesting people – and the weather has been “interesting” too.
Conferences like these (PyConAU and linux.conf.au) are a really great chance for me to catch up with some of my friends that live interstate or overseas, as well as make new friends and meet new people. There’s always an interesting discussion going on, and nobody minds if you just stand there and listen in – you learn so much just by standing around!
Of course, the whole point of a conference is the talks, and here were some of my highlights:
- Luke Miller’s talk on making a point-and-click indie game for gay men. This talk really covered the entire breadth of the game making process, both generally and specific to his game. He showed us the engine he built, discussed the story and graphics, discussed packaging and marketing the game, as well as some of the feedback he has got back from the gaming press – both positive and negative. Anybody who wants to make their own game should definitely check out this talk when it is available online.
- Ed Leafe‘s demo of creating OpenStack deployments using Python. He showed simply using the pyrax library to create VMs and provision databases and DNS entries, but of course you could extend this by using python scripts to set up applications on the VMs afterwards, naturally. I’m almost convinced to move everything that I have in Amazon AWS to Rackspace’s cloud. OpenStack is pretty much awesome.
- The Saturday morning keynote from Alex Gaynor on trying to narrow down what exactly programmers “do” and how they do it… by drawing in parallels from other fields like science, engineering and art. Really, it seems programming and software engineering is the intersection of the three. Also, software engineering is a very young field, really only 40 or 50 years old, compared to science which has hundreds of years to mature, and art which has had tens of thousands.
- I also enjoyed the many (I think I went to about 5) talks I went to regarding software testing (unit testing, mostly). I actually learned a few tips from these that I plan to use in my day job, even though we use C# and not Python. Things like writing tests before adding any new feature – which of course is best practise that I knew, but “forgot” (i.e., was lazy). Food for thought.
Jack Greene – loving the decor.
Speaking of food, the conference venue, the Wrest Point Casino, provided a good spread of food right throughout the conference, with morning and afternoon teas being very well catered, as well as lunches (lots of options for my vegetarian friends, and lots of tasty meat those such inclined). The peak, of course, was the conference dinner held on Saturday night, where we ate ourselves into an absolute stupor with the finest Tasmanian produce. A truly terrible burden, but one we accepted with vigour.
Naturally, the conference had to come to an end, but not before a trip to a local pub (and despite being a local, one I hadn’t been to before). Jack Greene in Salamanca Place hosted our after-party, and I’ll definitely be going back. I’ll also definitely be attending the next PyConAU, in Brisbane next year.
Thanks to Chris, Josh, and the rest of the organising team for a great weekend!
July 07, 2013 10:41 AM
April 30, 2013
I send this report off to Linux Australia detailing our activities for the past few months. I’m posting it here for posterity, because we had a pretty good couple of months:
- Registrations have been open for a month now, we’re about to equal our record for Early Bird registrations,
and should reach our limit of 80 Early Bird tickets this week (we actually sold our last 20 early bird tickets in one day. oops )
- Our CFP closed in early April, presentation submissions were up 25% — a record haul by quite some amount. International interest has increased a lot too, benefiting from on-the-ground promotion I did at PyCon US in March (many thanks to the Python Software Foundation for funding my trip).
- We’ve announced our first keynote speaker, Alex Gaynor (core Django, PyPy and CPython board member; PSF & DSF board member); our second keynote presenter is confirmed, and we’ll be announcing that in due course.
- Our programme committee met on Friday, we’ve selected our programme in its entirety. We have a great selection of local and international speakers lined up. Speaker acceptances will go out shortly.
- We’re finalising the details of our financial aid scheme. We hope that this will make PyCon Australia more accessible to people who could not otherwise afford to attend.
For those of you reading along at home, registrations are still open, and we really want you to come along. This is going to be the biggest PyCon Australia yet, and is going to feature one of the strongest programmes of any regional PyCon anywhere — all the details are up at http://2013.pycon-au.org/register/prices
April 30, 2013 11:38 AM
April 28, 2013
We’re down to just over 20 early bird registrations left of our original quota of 80. That means that we’ll probably run out of Early Bird tickets before our deadline of Friday.
The big announcement to every mailing list I can think of will happen tomorrow, so today’s a great chance to to get in before the tickets suddenly disappear.
Early Bird Registrations start at $165 for individuals, with discount registration available for students at $44. All the details are at the PyCon Australia 2013 web site.
April 28, 2013 04:58 AM
April 12, 2013
So, lately I’ve been investigating buying new routing and networking equipment for home, as the NBN (Australia’s FTTH roll-out) is coming closer and my old ADSL2+ modem/router (a Billion 7800NL, one of the first consumer routers capable of IPv6) was getting a bit long in the tooth; the configuration is not retained across reboots and the web interface crashes with HTTP 500 errors more often than not.
So, out with the old an in with the new. There were a few choices:
- A new consumer-grade router, such as one of the newer models from Billion (which are quite good, but have low tinkerability).
- A Mikrotik-based solution. This was a close call, as I’m a fan of Mikrotik and my friend Jamie is even more of one (he loves them). However, I want to get more experience with Cisco products as I want to be able to put that on my résumé. Hence, I wanted a Cisco solution.
- I also considered the Cisco 2801, as they are not much more than an 1841, but have four HWIC slots instead of two, so I wouldn’t have to spend time deciding which HWICs to get, I could just have them all! However, the fans are apparently very loud (as professional rackmount gear tends to be) which would not suit the living room locale very well at all.
- So in the end I settled on a Cisco 1841. Lower fan noise, still supports HWICs for swap-out fun and excitement, and has the full features of the IOS software available.
My new Cisco 1841
You may have noticed I didn’t go for a Cisco 1801 which has ADSL support built in. This is deliberate, as the NBN is closing in on my street and I don’t want to be left with a router that supports old technologies – all I will need for a fibre connection is an ethernet port, which the 1841 has two of out of the box. I can also add in 3G backup connections (which is more of a want than a need) as well as things like WIC-1AM or WIC-2T modules (i.e. utterly useless but kind of cool).
For wireless, I’m undecided as to what direction to go in. I definitely want something dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) as my laptop supports dual band and I want to invest in technology that will last at least a couple of years. This rules out most consumer gear quite quickly. A Mikrotik solution is another option and is probably the front-runner. The second option is a UniFi AP Pro, which supports a whole host of cool features like multiple VLANs and SSIDs etc; it’s a little cheaper than a Mikrotik solution but also a lot less flexible. Finally, the most expensive option is to buy a wireless card for the 1841. There are many problems with this approach: I’ll use up an HWIC slot, the modules are incredibly expensive, it’s not even 802.11n, likely to be a complete pain in the neck to configure, and not dual-band. The only benefit is that it keeps everything in one box.
I’ve only received the router in the last week or so, and the eBay auctions for WIC modules haven’t yet finished. There’s a long way to go yet. So wish me luck on my path to routing enlightenment!
April 12, 2013 12:09 PM
April 11, 2013
There’s been a lot of debate recently on the subject of abortion, both within the general Tasmanian community and within my circle of twitter friends (Anna and Michael especially). The following are my almost incomprehensible thoughts on the subject. This post is in response to this and this, and also to the vastness of the entire Internet.
Before paying me too much attention, know this: I’ve never been involved in abortion first hand, so I really have no idea what I’m talking about. This is important.
I think that the only thing most sensible people can decide on in regards to the abortion debate is that the subject is enormously complex. Unfortunately, everybody seems to have a different reaction to this fact. Some people decide to simply say that a blanket decision can apply (such as the pro-life movement takes, where abortion is always wrong, no matter the context). I, on the other hand, believe that because this subject is so complex, there are so many ifs and buts, so many different combinations of life story, there will almost certainly be a situation where abortion is the correct choice. It’s unfortunate, but it is true. Sometimes abortion is just the right thing to do (at least, that is my opinion).
I think because of this fact, it makes no sense to have a legal framework in which abortion is illegal, because if a certain set of circumstances requires it, then nobody should have to go through the pain of abortion and the pain of breaking the law at the same time – women (and men, but it is the woman getting the abortion after all) should be given all the support they need.
It makes no sense to deny this based simply on the fact that abortion does not sit comfortably in some people’s world view (specifically, their religion). I’m not a fan of abortion, but it is one of those things that we just have to accept. Firstly, people will get abortions anyway. Fact of life. Secondly, there will be pain caused to people. Because they have to go through illegal trauma. Because of your world view. Not a fact (I have no proof), but it’s not hard to imagine. Now imagine: you either cause pain and suffering to other people (which is bad, according to your own religion) or you allow abortion and other people get on with their lives – and you are in the same position as everybody else, you simply accept abortion for what it is and get on with your life.
The other thing I would like to say at this time is that I think men can certainly have a valid opinion on abortion – this blog post stands as a testament to that. However, women do have a final say here… simply because it is their body. Another fact. I’d certainly hope that if I was ever in the situation where considerations were being made, that I would be consulted. However I would always be aware that the final decision does not rest with me. Comfortable or uncomfortable as I might be with that, I have to accept it.
And here ends the rambling incomprehensibility. We now return to regularly scheduled silence.
April 11, 2013 01:12 PM
April 07, 2013
- 5 Things You Should Be Doing If You’re Unemployed – I’m not unemployed (far from it, this week has reminded me of that), but it is always important to keep in mind that even the things that seem most certain can still surprise you. With the possible exception of number 4, you should be doing these things even when you’re fully employed. So I am, and so I will be.
- I’m sure everybody has seen this by now. If you haven’t, don’t click on the link before making sure you have nowhere to be in the next hour or so.
- Paul Graham’s ‘How to Do What You Love‘ was certainly an interesting read. It made me think about what I enjoy doing in my spare time (playing around with servers and programming), and what I do at work (playing around with servers and programming). The two match up, so I must be doing OK, right?
- R&D-I-Y certainly looks like an interesting concept. Like the open-source cola of many moons ago, this seems like another good attempt to use the FOSS methodology to create real physical products. And the idea they’re working on, to create farms that will fit in a small apartment so that individual people can grow food! I found out about this through a pretty cool TED talk.
- Speaking of indoor farming, I thought these instructions to grow celery from its leftover base is pretty cool – and could probably be applied to a lot of vegetables, if we were creative.
- And one of my favourite ways to waste time on the Internet: reading about time management.
April 07, 2013 04:35 AM
I spent two and a half weeks in the Philippines in March 2013 for work (upgrading the network infrastructure in our office over there). As a country, there are a lot of things both similar to and different from Australia. Here are some of my thoughts:
- It’s a coffee country, not a tea country. You can find coffee everywhere, but tea is hard to come by, and good tea is almost impossible. I’ve discovered the horror that is American-style creamer, and I don’t like the world quite as much any more.
- Tasmanian drivers really are terrible. Drivers in the Philippines have a huge amount of skill, able to squeeze two cars past each other in ways that I figured should be impossible. It’s terrifying if you’re not used to it though. On arrival in Manila, I spent two hours in a taxi for a 8km trip from the airport to my hotel, and the traffic was abysmal (a later airport->hotel run took 10 minutes). People would drive down the wrong side of the road at full speed, with both drivers only moving out of the way at the last minute – making the most of the limited space on roads. In terms of condition, width, and congestion, roads in Manila are very similar to Sydney – or at least my experiences within the CBD areas of both cities.
- In terms of how expensive (or rather, cheap) the country is to live in, there are two ways of thinking about it. The first is “oh wow, I can live like a king!” I found frequently that apart from electronic goods (which had the same price tag, once currency conversion was done, as in Australia) that I could afford pretty much anything I liked. An hour massage cost me less than $5, including a generous tip. I took ten people out to lunch at a fancy restaurant and ordered everything we liked, total was $100. It’s simply amazing – and the thought was constantly with me: what if I could earn at Australian rates and spend at Filipino rates? How awesome would that be!
But there is a second way of looking at the country: “The contents of my backpack are worth more than everything these people own in their entire lives!” This way of looking at things becomes incredibly confronting when in the country areas, as I found (in my limited experience) that they were much poorer than metropolitan Manila, especially CBD Makati where I was 90% of the time). People had houses built out of coconuts leaves and corrugated iron sheeting. The “rich” houses were made out of unpainted concrete blocks. You start to feel guilty for even owning your own computer, let alone the three or four that I have. I’m also certain that there are a lot of locals (especially in metropolitan Manila) who are insanely rich – the dealerships for BMW and Mercedes will attest to this fact. It seems the country is owned by the very rich, who really control things (like in Australia) and then the poor are very poor. Maybe there is a parallel to be made with Victorian-era Britain here?
- Cabling contractors are fabulously useless. Something that would take a contractor 4 hours in Australia takes 4 people 3 days each in Manila. I’m not sure whether it was the contractors we were using, but I wasn’t impressed. While I’m not a licensed cabler in Australia, I do know vaguely what I’m doing with network cabling, and I could have done the job myself in Manila had I not been doing a million other things – about twice as fast as it took 4 people to do it. We also went through three sets of cabling contractors within two weeks, as the first two contractors just stopped showing up. Surely I can’t be that hard to work for?
- Some of the food is amazing, but generally Tasmanian food is much better. In particular, fresh seafood is fresher in the Philippines than it is here, and therefore tastes absolutely amazing. Mango shakes were another favourite of mine. Because mangoes are a tropical fruit, they grow easily there, and as such are very cheap (along with most other vegetables and fruit, I guess due to the labour prices). A mango shake (mango and ice in a blender, sometimes mango and icecream in a blender) costs between $0.50 and $2, and they are the perfect way to refresh yourself after being the intense heat. With that said, there is a lot of terrible food in the Philippines, especially Manila with it’s plethora of takeaway restaurants (which were welcome the first day or two, but quickly grew tiresome). Local food is good, and very cheap, but without a heap of variation – most Filipino food is curries and stews of various sorts.
All in all, it’s a country I’d really like to go back to – there’s a lot more of the country that I would like to see. I wouldn’t want to live there (the pollution is terrible) but the really friendly people make it a pleasure to visit.
April 07, 2013 03:59 AM
April 05, 2013
At the recent PyCon North America, I presented my lightning talk on coding in Python in a way that is sure to keep you employed.
This was my first time presenting in front of an audience of thousands (2500, I believe), but I’m pretty happy with how it went.
It’s embedded below, or it’s available over at YouTube.
April 05, 2013 10:48 PM
March 27, 2013
Just a friendly reminder that PyCon Australia – running this year on July 5–7 in Hobart – has just opened Early Bird registrations. All details are on our website: http://2013.pycon-au.org/register/prices
Can’t wait to see you all register!
March 27, 2013 11:14 PM
March 25, 2013
Another update on my trip to Manila. I spent Saturday morning at the birthday party for a one-year old child. It seems to be celebrated much the same as in Australia. It was held at Jolibees, which is a local version of McDonalds in their party room. First there were the usual games involving what I thought was pass the parcel – but was actually a clever ruse to “randomly” pick the foreigner out and get them up to the front of the room so they could dance for everybody…
There is a video, somewhere, out there on the Internet, of me dancing badly to Gangnam Style in front of a six-foot tall poster of Barbie. No, I am not giving you the link.
Saturday was very hot during the middle of the day, and the dancing wore me out a little, so I slept through most of Saturday afternoon. In the evening I went out and did some shopping (I needed more clean clothes) and had dinner. For dinner I had stir-fry broccoli and mushrooms with rice. I’ve been making more of a concerted effort over the last few days to eat more fresh food, especially vegetables. I think it is why I had been feeling so terrible late last week – bad nutrition and bad sleep do not go well together.
On Sunday I went to the Manila Ocean Park, a combination aquarium and theme park. I had a great time, mostly because tourist attractions are designed so that you don’t have to use your brain, which was exactly what I was after. I saw quite a few eagles and so on, as well as my first view of the ocean in a week, which was great! The other interesting thing in the aquarium was the “snow village”, which looked suspiciously like somebody had copied it right out of a book on Santa Claus! The cold felt just like Tasmania in winter, and I loved it!
At work I’ve been playing with a lot of cool stuff. I’ve been particularly impressed by the Aerohive Enterprise-class wireless network equipment I’ve been setting up. The Private PSK feature is very handy – basically you can have a single SSID with multiple passwords, so you can revoke an individual’s password without having to go around and change everybody’s stored password on their machine. Such a simple idea, it’s a wonder nobody thought of it earlier. I’ve also been spending a lot of time setting up VLANs on semi-managed switches. Last time I ever recommend Netgear switches, I’ve discovered the VLAN support on them, while it works fine, is very annoying to manage due to an abysmal user interface.
March 25, 2013 01:57 PM
March 22, 2013
So… a week in Manila. I’ve been working very hard on the job I’m doing here (network infrastructure upgrades) which is both very challenging and very rewarding. I just hope I can get it all done before I go home.
My work colleagues are a really great bunch of people. In fact, in general, people here in the Philippines are just amazingly nice. Tomorrow I’m going to the birthday party of the child of one of my colleagues, who is turning one. It’ll be nice to spend some time socially with people.
My boss (from Australia) has left the country now, so the next week will be more challenging as I won’t have him for support – but at the same time my life will be a lot easier because of it (he’s very intense). I’ve spent a few evenings with him, the most memorable of which was one where we went to the barber together. We went in and I just said ‘yes’ to everything – which resulted in a shave, a haircut, manicure, pedicure, scalp treatment (not sure what the treatment was for, but whatever), foot scrub, and a facial with the cucumbers and stuff. Happy to try everything once, but I have honestly no idea why people bother with that. The shave was also a disappointment, the razor was a bit blunt and they used chemical goo instead of traditional lather, so I now have terrible razor burn.
I’ve also, naturally, been eating a lot of food. There are two things that I have found incredibly difficult to find. Tea is the first. Being a former US colony (so I am told, haven’t fact checked that) they have little tea to be found. I have been surviving on Starbucks chai lattes (about three or four a day). Today I found a shop that sells tea leaves retail, but it is the most expensive tea shop I’ve ever seen in my life. One of my work colleagues is going to get some at a suburban supermarket and bring it to work on Monday, which will be a godsend. The other thing which is surprisingly hard to find is traditional Filipino food. I have seen exactly one Filipino-style restaurant (amazing food, but the service was terrible) in the time I’ve been here, and I had to really search for it. Most restaurants serve everything but Filipino food, as they all seem to have a theme. Japanese, Korean, Italian, Persian, etc. I ate in an Italian restaurant the other day which had foods named after actors and characters from movies and TV shows. I could have had a “Joey Tribbiani Four Cheese Pizza” but decided against it and had a carbonara (sadly I can’t remember the actor it was named for) underneath a poster of Frank Sinatra. As far as the lower end of the food spectrum goes, Filipino stuff becomes easier to find at lunchtime on weekdays as carts with street food appear and open up offering all kinds of good things. The vendors don’t speak brilliant English, and as I am not fluent in Tagalog I couldn’t tell you what they were – but most of them revolved around the concept of frying dead things and putting them on sticks. I have also had a Balut, which is fertilised duck egg. While there is nothing wrong with it, it’s a bit like black pudding – if you know what it is you don’t feel like eating it. Unfortunately I’ve also eaten my share of takeaway food. There are US food chains everywhere. EVERYWHERE. There are probably seven Starbucks and three McDonalds, as well as numerous other chains, within a 100m radius of the office. When people say they are going down to Starbucks (and there is no other choice for coffee here, weirdly), they actually have to qualify which one.
Unfortunately due to the fact that I’ve been working all week I haven’t done as much as I would have liked. This weekend I’m hoping to make it to a couple of museums etc, as well as go to the Makati Ocean Park, which is a combination aquarium and theme park.
There are armed guards everywhere. If you are in a public place, and turn around 360 degrees, you will see at least two of them. They are at the entrance to every major building. They are in the parks, and there is one at each end of the underpasses under major streets. All of them are armed. Most have pistols, but some have machine pistols or machine guns (probably 1% of guards have automatic weapons). They check the bags of all the Filipino people who enter buildings, but as a westerner they give my bags only a passing look – it’s weird to be the recipient of reverse racism. I’m not a fan. The reason for the armed guards, so I’m told, is because of religious tensions between the Catholic majority and a minority of Muslims who live in the south of the country, and they are scared of terrorist attacks.
Neither my phone nor the work iPhone I was given work properly here (due to different 3G bands) so I have bought a new phone, a Samsung Galaxy S3 mini. It’s quite nice. Still getting used to a different keyboard layout though. 3G here is generally very reliable, much better than Hobart. The wifi in the hotel I’m staying at is slow as anything, but at least it works. I was expecting much worse in this regard.
On Sundays there are Catholic masses everywhere. There is a chapel in a shopping mall near where I am staying. They have mass in the foyer of a McDonalds. They have mass in an ATM vestibule in a bank. With that said, I’m yet to see an actual church, so it may simply be out of necessity – there are no other spaces.
That’s all I can think of now. See you later.
March 22, 2013 01:05 PM
March 17, 2013
First impressions of Manila: Everything is either really clean and shiny, or old and dirty. Very obvious that a lot of cash has come into the country in the last decade or so. Apart from airport taxi drivers that have no idea where they are going, everything here is very safe and comfortable.
Everything is broadly similar to Australia in that it is fairly westernised (in the city, at least) but the culture is very different. Because labour is so cheap, everybody works really hard to compete because if they don’t… no food on the table. I was surprised also at how much like Sydney it is. Smoggy, all the drivers are insane (in Hobart the least used part of a vehicle is the horn, here it is the most used), and there are 7-Elevens everywhere. Some of the poles carrying electricity and phone cables are amazing – there must be junctions of 100 cables onto one pole in some places.
I haven’t forgotten to pack anything really important, but I did need to go out and buy toothpaste. Very glad I won’t have to cart 40kg of computer equipment back with me though, that was insanely heavy (and I was stressing out when it took an hour to get through to the carousel). The flight over, while smooth and on-time, was the most mind-numbing experience I’ve had in a long time. If I can afford it, seriously considering upgrading to business on the way back – just for something different.
The heat here is very different to Hobart (duh?), it’s only 8:30 in the morning and already at least thirty degrees. Not sure what I’m going to get up to today – probably just walk around a lot and see what’s what (I’ve never been one for tourist things, and my boss says there aren’t really many anyway).
March 17, 2013 01:27 PM
December 22, 2012
linux.conf.au (my favourite tech conference, and one of the best in Australia/NZ) is on again next year, in Canberra from the 28th of January to the 2nd of February. I’m excited! I love being so immersed in enthusiastic talks on every sphere of open-source technology, from the deepest bowels of the Linux kernel to the talks on legal and social issues. The week is also a great opportunity to catch up with some of my Internet friends, most of whom I don’t see between LCA events.
I’ll be travelling to Canberra on Sunday the 27th of January, on Virgin Australia flights DJ1533 (HBA -> SYD) and DJ654 (SYD -> CBR). One more airport than strictly necessary, but I like that – I’m a fan of airports, aeroplanes, and public transportation in general. During the week I’ll be staying in the John XXIII student accomodation; mainly because it’s closer to the breakfast venue than the other location. I’ll be travelling back to Hobart on Sunday the 4th on DJ1205 (a direct flight, because I suspect I’ll be quite tired by then – LCA has a habit of finding energy and destroying it in a haze of excited geeky exhaustion).
You may have noticed this leaves Saturday the 3rd with no plans at all. I’ve never been to Canberra before, so I thought I would stay around on the Saturday and Sunday to explore Canberra a bit. I might go to the War Memorial, Old Parliament House, the National Museum, and maybe the Black Mountain Tower (logistics depending, I won’t have a car). It should be a fun trip!
December 22, 2012 10:43 PM
December 16, 2012
In July this year I embarked on a business venture with a few friends (something I’ll talk about more in a later blog post). All businesses need good accounting software – it’s how you know if you’re actually making money (and how you keep the tax office happy). I’ve used Quicken/QuickBooks and MYOB (both the desktop Accounting and FirstAccounts, as well as the online LiveAccounts) and they all leave a few things to be desired. The desktop versions of MYOB, and the versions of Quicken software that I’ve tried all have a very 1995 feel to them… and no surprise too, I don’t think the software has had a major overhaul since then. LiveAccounts worked ok for me, but it just wasn’t polished enough.
Enter Xero, a New Zealand-based company that specialises in online accounting software. I have to say, I’m impressed. We’ve been using their business product since July, and it’s great. The interface is really easy to use, I had no trouble with it at all and I’m certainly not experienced in business accounting. It hides all the details you usually don’t want, but makes them available when you do (as opposed to MYOB, which just throws every single detail ever at you and expects you to cope). The bank feeds are super reliable, updating with the latest data every night and presenting it ready to reconcile (and if a transaction doesn’t already exist, creating it is trivial). To top it all off, the Android app is incredibly polished, with a lot of thought (an example: logging in with email and password takes forever on a phone keyboard, but you don’t want to be logged in all the time, so it prompts you to create and use a 4-digit PIN).
Recently they announced automatic bank feed support for their personal product, which I had tried previously but given up on because it takes too much effort to manually transfer the data over. I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks, and while I’m impressed with the product generally, there are a few things that I find disappointing:
- Bank feeds aren’t as reliable as in the business product. For some reason they don’t use the same functionality. This (instead of talking to the bank through an API) appears to log in to you Internet banking portal using your username and password (points off for that) and downloads the information by manually parsing the HTML. Which only seems to work about 50% of the time, and is usually three days behind what Internet banking shows you when you visit in your browser. The bank feeds work great in the business product, why not leverage on that for the personal product?
- It’s not double-entry. This annoys me. For 90% of people single entry is ok, but it doesn’t give you the detail that double-entry does. When I transfer money from one account to another, it doesn’t appear as a transfer; it appears as a withdrawal from one and a deposit in the other. Minor, but annoying.
- When entering values of assets and liabilities to calculate net worth, it doesn’t show you history of those items, so it’s difficult to track the value of a single item over time.
Basically, I’d love Xero Personal to be like a browser version of Quicken Personal Plus, but I think that may be a dream too far.
December 16, 2012 04:55 AM
October 03, 2012
tl;dr: Grab our 2013 Sponsorship Prospectus, and direct sponsorship queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s less than two months since the generally excellent time we had at PyCon Australia 2012, but we’re already on the lookout for new sponsors to join us for our 2013 conference, which will also be held in Hobart.
As a community-driven conference, the generosity of our sponsors is what makes it possible for our conference to be as successful as it is.
To give you all an idea of how important sponsorship is for us, I thought it might be a good idea to explain what we put our sponsorship money towards.
Keeps our registration costs low
While Python is growing as a language used in industry and government work, the roots of the Python community are in science, research and the Open Source community. There are plenty of people who are active in the Python community and benefit from events like PyCon Australia.
For our two-day conference this year, we were able to charge less than $200 for enthusiast delegates, and less than $50 for Student Delegates.
In raw budgetary terms, our Enthusiast rate covers the extra costs involved with them attending the conference (the extra catering, a t-shirt, a dinner ticket). The Student rate actually loses us money.
Having a wide array of sponsors means that we don’t need to pass fixed costs such as venue hire, A/V equipment, and video recording onto our registration costs. This means that we can put registration for PyCon Australia into reach for more people who want it.
Chances are that students who benefited from our low costs will be back contributing to the Python community, and to our conference in years to come. It’s this sort of community building that PyCons are all about.
Attract international speakers
In the grand scheme of things, Australia’s pretty isolated. If you want to get here from Europe, you need to spend the best part of a day to fly here, and it’s not much better if you’re from the US.
A big role of holding a PyCon in Australia is to help connect the Australian Python community with the best Python developers around the world. Having extra budget to offset the travel costs for international speakers is one of the biggest benefits we derive from sponsorship.
Run more events
Having an excellent schedule of presentations and tutorials is a huge part of our conference, but having the opportunity to meet other delegates, and to chat with them in a less structured atmosphere is also really important.
In 2011, we introduced two days of sprints to the end of the conference, and in 2012, we folded the CodeWars programming tournament into the organisation of the conference itself. We’ve done our best to keep these events free of charge for all comers, and we couldn’t do that without our sponsors.
Help bring people to the conference
In past years, with our diversity programme partner, Google, we’ve run a grants scheme to help bring more women to PyCon Australia. In 2012, we helped to bring 5 enthusiastic women along to PyCon Australia, and by all accounts, it was an invaluable experience for them.
Next year, we want to make this programme even more wide-reaching. We know that there are many people, especially students, or people living further afield who can’t afford the trip down to Hobart. We want to put the conference firmly into their reach.
So you want to help out?
Great! I’d love to hear from you. Our 2013 Sponsorship Prospectus is online now, and any queries can be directed to me at email@example.com.
October 03, 2012 01:14 AM
September 16, 2012
TL;DR — submit a proposal at http://tinyurl.com/opm2013-cfp before the first round closes on Monday 29 October 2012.
I’m pleased to announce that The Open Programming Miniconf — a fixture for application developers attending Linux.conf.au since 2010 — is returning as part of Linux.conf.au 2013, to be held in January at the Australian National University in Canberra. The Miniconf is an opportunity for presenters of all experience levels to share their experiences in in application development using free and open source development tools.
The 2013 Open Programming Miniconf invites proposals for 25-minute presentations on topics relating to the development of excellent Free and Open Source Software applications. In particular, the Miniconf invites presentations that focus on sharing techniques, best practices and values which are applicable to developers of all Open Source programming languages.
In the past, topics have included:
- Recent developments in Open Source programming languages (“State of the language”-type talks)
- Tools that support application development
- Coding applications with cool new libraries, languages, and frameworks
- Demonstrating the use of novel programming
If you want an idea of what sort of presentations we have included in the past, take a look at our past programmes:
To submit a proposal, visit http://tinyurl.com/opm2013-cfp and fill out the form as required. The CFP will remain open indefinitely, but the first round of acceptances will not be sent until Monday 29 October 2012.
OPM2013 is part of Linux.conf.au 2013, being held at the Australian National University, Canberra in January 2013. Further enquiries can be directed to Christopher Neugebauer via e-mail ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) or via twitter ( @chrisjrn ).
September 16, 2012 11:52 PM
August 31, 2012
In my BSc(Hons) thesis, which I submitted in 2010, I commenced the acknowledgements as follows:
“First, a hearty thanks to people whom I do not know: The developers of Python, Numpy, Scipy, the Python Imaging Library, Matplotlib, Weka, and OpenCV; you have collectively saved me much boring work throughout this past year, for which I am truly grateful.”
So to hear of the sudden death of John Hunter, creator and maintainer of Matplotlib was truly saddening. Matplotlib is one of those pieces of software absolutely instrumental in Python’s takeup as a language in the fields of maths, the sciences and engineering. When I was a student, I’d find myself using Matplotlib very often — it was the best there is.
Tragically, John Hunter was in his mid-forties, and left behind a wife, and three young daughters. Numfocus has created a memorial fund to care for and educate his daughters. I’ll be contributing to this fund as a way of thanking the Hunter family for John’s contribution to my own work.
Fernando Perez of IPython fame has written up a substantial post about John’s contribution to the community. PSF member, and PyCon US chair, Jesse Noller has also written a tribute to John.
It’s a somewhat strange feeling — coming to realise the contribution of one person only after he died. Such is the way of Open Source — the impact of the tools we use and develop become more important than the people who develop them. And sometimes, developers are just happy to let things be that way.
August 31, 2012 01:47 AM
August 30, 2012
We interrupt your regularly-scheduled Python community discussion for something completely different.
The Same-Sex Marriage Bill 2012 passed the lower house of the Tasmanian Parliament today. As a passionate supporter of marriage equality, it would be wrong to not let this moment go unnoticed.
I read the bill in full this week (you can find the text of it from the Tasmanian Parliament web site), and was quite disappointed by it. Basically, the bill defines an institution called a “Same-Sex Marriage” under Tasmanian Law. “Same-Sex Marriages” are defined as follows:
“the lawful union of two people of the same sex, to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”
That is to say, it defines a union, available exclusively to same-sex couples. There are many provisions of the bill that I personally hold grave concerns about, and I feel that celebrating the passage of this law as a victory is counterproductive to those fighting for marriage equality at a Federal Level.
My friend, Michael Cordover, who’s more deeply versed in the law than I am, posted the following to his Facebook feed this evening, and I asked him to reproduce it on this blog so that it might reach a greater audience.
I don’t necessarily agree with everything he’s written (I’m not going to be drawn on the constitutionality of the bill), but his words have encapsulated most of my thoughts, but with the added gravitas of someone who actually knows what he’s talking about.
I am a deeply passionate supporter of marraige equality. I think there is no rationally based oposition to permitting same-sex marriage which is not homophobic. But I do not support what the lower house of Tasmanian Parliament has done today. Here’s why.
Because I support equality
The Tasmanian bill, by necessity, produces “same sex marriages” which are a different institution to that which we know as marriage in Australia. The entire basis of the argument as to its validity under the constitution (and we’ll get to that in a second) is that it covers something different to the Commonwealth Marriage Act. I want homosexual marriages to be recognised. These are civil unions with a misleading name. It is a separate and lesser institution. It’s not even the separate-but-equal, which I maintain is not equal at all.
Because it’s unconstitutional
The argument goes that because the Commonwealth Marriage Act defines marriage to mean only that which is between a man anad a woman, it is not intended to exclude marriages between same sex couples. As marriage is a concurrent power under s 51 of the Constitution, that means states can legislate for same-sex marraige. This relies on a claim that the Marriage Act was not intended, at the time of the 2004 amendment, to “cover the field” which includes same-sex marriage. I have been wrong before about High Court decisions but I think any argument that this bill is not invalid by virtue of s 109 of the Constitution is academic at best. I don’t think a High Court decision to that effect would be good law, I don’t think it would be based on a proper examination of the issues, and I certainly don’t think its likely given both the way in which the Court has interpreted s 109 in the past and the way the current Court has been dealing with questions of the division of powers.
Because it promotes complacency
The message that is coming out is that this is the end. That Tasmania has finally done what the Commonwealth refuses to do so we’re first and we’ve done the right thing. We haven’t. If one person says – and I guarantee [one] will – that we don’t need a change to the Commonwealth Marriage Act because of the passage of a Tasmanian Act, that is a harm. Does anyone think instead that people will start lobbying for change to the Commonwealth law as a result? Perhaps. Perhaps it’ll be a “well it didn’t destroy the world” argument. I mean, just because we already have that argument for Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and the United States, doesn’t mean it won’t be strengthened by adding Tasmania.
Because it’s misleading
This I think is the worst thing. If this passes the upper house, people will get married and they will expect it to stick. They will be devastated when their marriage isn’t recognised by Commonwealth law. They will be devastated when their marriage isn’t recognised in Victoria. They will be devastated when they find all the red tape they’ve gone through is ignored by everyone outside this tiny little island. And they will be most devastated when the High Court finds that the law is unconstitutional. These people will be hurt because the Tasmanian Parliament is making a promise on which it can’t deliver.
A few final thoughts
That the Commonwealth Marriage Act discriminates against same-sex couples is simply unjustifiable. That moves to amend that Act have failed is disheartening. This is my number one issue. I believe it’s a heinous form of discrimination that is easy to fix. I believe the purported political gains are meaningless. I try to convince everyone I meet of my position and because of this issue – like few, if any other issues – I will stop talking to people. I have left friendships for their failure to support same-sex marriage; I have argued for hours on the topic; I’ve pursued lines that I know I can never win; and I’ve cried when people remain unconvinced. Believe me when I say I want marriage equality. But that’s not what this is. This is a sham. This is the Tasmanian Parliament making a statement it’s made before, but now with a promise it can’t keep. So I don’t support it, and I’m not ashamed to say so.
Michael’s words are available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia licence.
August 30, 2012 10:28 AM
August 28, 2012
My current HP Microserver and ADSL gateway.
It’s pretty much impossible to use a computer these days without also using the Internet. It’s also pretty much impossible to use the Internet without using a cloud service of some kind. Most people I know depend on cloud services entirely, but not me. There are several good reasons I have my own servers, including my own home server.
It’s a learning experience. This is certainly one for the geeks, but hey, I’m a geek. By running my own servers I learn about the building blocks of the Internet. I’m a professional systems administrator, and my own home environment is a good place for me to try out things that I don’t get to try at work, or don’t have time to. Part of IT is constantly learning, and that’s what I try to do.
I can run whatever software I want. I’m not limited by whatever Google decides to put into Gmail. I can run my own Exchange server if I want (I do). It may not be free software, but it gives me huge advantages in syncing between devices. If I want to try something out, I just can.
My own privacy is assured. I don’t have to trust my email provider that they aren’t reading my emails or looking through my online backups. I only have to trust myself with my data, and if you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust? I don’t have anything to hide, but I think we should value privacy far more than most people currently do. After listening to Jacob Appelbaum at linux.conf.au in January 2012, I’m assured of this.
I run backups to my own server, and for geographic protection send self-encrypted files to the cloud. I use GPG to encrypt my data, and so should you. I know DropBox and other like services say they encrypt your data so they can’t read it, but how would you ever know?
I will admit that running a home server can be more expensive than trusting the cloud with all my data, as I have to pay for hardware (I spend about $500 a year just on server hardware, but you could spend much less), for power, for a static IP address, and for software licensing (I spend $450 a year here, but with free software I could spend much less).
All in all, running my own home server gives me great satisfaction, confidence in my own abilities, more freedom and more privacy, at the expense of some time (though now it’s up and running, I probably do 10 minutes of maintenance a month) and a bit of cash. Not a bad deal.
August 28, 2012 11:00 AM
August 24, 2012
This past weekend saw the staging of the third PyCon Australia conference. It’s been a very long time coming, and the subject of countless hours of hard work by myself (chasing sponsors, arranging to fill a programme, and ensuring delegates attended the conference), not to mention my amazing co-organisers, Joshua Hesketh, Matthew D’Orazio, and Josh Deprez.
We held the conference in Hobart, my home city, and the capital city of Tasmania – this follows two successful conferences in Sydney. Despite a lot of scepticism about Hobart as a venue for a conference, we managed to attract 240 signups (placing us somewhere in the middle of the first two Sydney conferences in terms of attendance (woo!)).
The first conference activity, the CodeWars programming tournament, started on Friday evening, with teams of up to 4 competing to solve programming problems against each other on projectors. This was a great event, which let delegates meet and greet each other before the conference started, and we’re very thankful to our event sponsor, Kogan, for helping us to make it happen.
This year, we were graced by the presence of two overseas keynote speakers –– Mark Ramm, the current engineering manager on Canonical’s Juju project, and Kenneth Reitz, the chief Python guy at Heroku.
Mark’s passionate and entertaining keynote delved into the murky waters of product management, and showed that applying the tools of testing and scientific process to product development and evaluation was something well in the reach of everyday engineers, even those with small projects. A smattering of war stories from his days leading product management at SourceForge rounded the talk off. It was a great way to start the conference, and it really helped set the informal, enthusiastic tone of the event.
Kenneth’s talk dwelled on his philosophies of designing libraries in Python. He’s the developer of the python-requests HTTP library –– a library that has taken its rightful place as the obvious way to do HTTP in Python. His keynote gave us some strong insights into places where Python can make itself more accessible to newcomers, as well as being easier to remain involved for developers who use Python in their day-to-day lives. Kenneth’s presence was a great asset to the conference –– through his keynote, and also by making himself readily available to chat with delegates in the hallway track. Hopefully we’ll be seeing him back at PyCon Australia in future years, with more of his Heroku colleagues.
Our conference dinner was held at the beautiful Peppermint Bay restaurant near Woodbridge (some 30km South of Hobart); delegates were delivered there by the fast catamaran, the MV Marana. We saw some excellent views of Hobart at twilight – the silhouettes of Mt Wellington and the Hobart Hills were quite spectacular. Unfortunately, the river got a bit choppy near the entrance to the D’Entrecasteaux channel, which left a few of our delegates feeling a bit worse for wear. Luckily for us, the dinner itself was a fantastic evening of socialising, and finding out about other delegates’ interest in Python. It was a great event, with great food, and we’re going to have a lot of difficulty topping it.
There are countless people who made an amazing effort to help improve our conference, including our volunteers, our speakers (some of whom stepped in at the very last minute to help improve our conference), Ritual Coffee (who produced their own custom blend for the conference, named “African Swallow“, no less!), the venue staff at Wrest Point (especially Kelly Glass, who’s put up with my worrying about conference rooms for several months now), our sponsors (who helped to keep the conference itself affordable), and many many more. It’s helped make my life as an organiser so much more tolerable.
Anyway, that’s it for now. I expect that I’ll have a follow-up to this post, dwelling on what we did right as an organising team, and how we can improve for next year. Incidentally, the conference will be run in Hobart again next year – if you’re in a position to help out with sponsorship, shoot me an e-mail at email@example.com, and I’ll get a prospectus to you as soon as possible!
August 24, 2012 07:15 AM
August 17, 2012
Within the last 24 hours, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been granted political asylum by Ecuador. Earlier this week, the Ecuadorian embassy in London reported that British police had threatened to storm the embassy in order to bring Julian Assange to justice. ABC News report here. Here are my thoughts on the matter:
Whoever it was that thought up the idea to storm an embassy must be completely bonkers… a single prisoner isn’t worth an act of war. To quote M in the James Bond movie Casino Royale: “You stormed into an Embassy. You violated the only absolutely inviolate rule of international relations…” I never understood why that was so until I discovered that an embassy is actually the territory of the country in question, so British police would be storming into Ecuador, pretty much. Not a good look.
It’s interesting that out of all the embassies in London that Julian Assange could have taken refuge in, he chose Ecuador. I suspect this was because Ecuador is one of the few countries that isn’t in bed with the United States… unlike Australia. Julian Assange is a citizen of Australia, and the Australian government should have offered Assange a far greater degree of assistance than they have. In essence, Assange seeking political asylum in Ecuador is basically saying that putting himself in Australia’s hands would have put him in personal danger. That’s not a thought I feel comfortable with, as the freedom from political persecution is a right I believe everybody should have.
I suspect the reason Australia haven’t given Assange more support is Geo-political in nature. Australia cannot defend itself in the case of invasion from either Indonesia or China (who I have little doubt would love to invade Australia for the sheer landmass that would afford them). We need the United States to offer us defense support, which is why they have air force bases in the Northern Territory (much as we don’t like them, they are a necessity for national security). If we support Assange against the United States, we’re basically giving a big F-you to the United States, which they won’t like very much… and on it goes.
Of course, this presupposes that Sweden has ulterior motives in it’s prosecution against Assange (that it wants to prosecute him simply to send him to the United States for further question), which is debatable. Very, very likely is that the CIA and FBI would like to question Assange, probably in a dark room somewhere.I remember reading about debate amongst academics in the US as to whether Assange had actually committed a crime (the gist is basically that he didn’t actually leak anything, just publish those leaks; not sure how legitimate those claims are) and thus whether a civilian (I guess US Supreme) court would convict would be marginal.
Basically, nobody could ever predict the outcome of what all this will be… but the way things have played out so far makes perfect sense. With that said, I believe Australia should offer Assange more support, starting now. The more teeth Australia shows in this matter, the more we can stand up and say we believe in human rights.
And then we can do something about the non-illegal “illegal asylum seekers”… but’s that for another day.
August 17, 2012 10:52 AM
Recently I’ve begun playing around with Mikrotik routers as part of my normal day job, and I’m really impressed by them! I’ve now used two different models:
- The RB2011LS-IN, which I’ve set up as an edge router on our backup SHDSL link, so that I can do more complex routing than a normal consumer router could do, and survive the high-usage scenarios that our old router (a Cisco 877 router with suspect stability) was stressed by.
- The RB751U-2HnD, which I’ve now set up two of: one as the main router in a small business, providing two virtual access points; and a secondary switch and access point to that same network.
I’m really loving both the web interface and the Windows GUI interface, but the fact you still retain the command-line interface as well (like a Cisco device) is pretty cool. The fact that it uses the same operating system across all devices is also great, as it means a nice upgrade path exists if we want it.
As far as I can see, Mikrotik routers are basically Cisco gear without the indestructible casing (though don’t get me wrong, Mikrotik stuff is still pretty well built) and a price tag that’s a fifth of what an equivalent Cisco router would cost (usually even less!).
I’m seriously considering buying a Routerboard for home; the only thing they lack as far as I can see is an ADSL2+ port. I reckon I’ll just use a simple TP-Link modem in bridge mode until my home gets provided with a fibre-to-the-premises link (hopefully) later this year. I’m not yet sure what model I’ll buy. My heart really wants a rackmount device, because rackmount is codeword for cool, but my brain says something from the RB751 series or the RB433 series would do the trick.
August 17, 2012 03:13 AM
August 14, 2012
I’m beginning to think that the only thing that can save the world that we know and love from complete and utter destruction now is a revolution.
The slow progress being made in our courts and parliaments will not be enough to prevent the ruin of the earth’s environment by corporate greed that has gone unchecked for too long. We need an event like the Boston Tea Party, which in 1773 spurred on the proponents of the American Revolution and simultaneously worried the pants off the British Crown. Even as a British citizen, I still think the Americans did a good job claiming independence from what was an empire in it’s fullest stride of greed, just like the corporations of today. A very strong comparison can be made between companies like McDonald’s and the British East India Company.
Even if we do not get a full revolution, the world needs something akin to the Boston Tea Party that will spur action groups on, as well as create concern and chaos within our current power structures. Something huge, something powerful, something with a very simple message.
The occupy protests were a good start. They had the first two of these things. They were huge. Mainstream media was commentating events for months. They were powerful. Common people were on the side of the protests, and almost everybody could have got behind it. Unfortunately, the message wasn’t simple: most mainstream media couldn’t comprehend the purpose, and every protester who came on board muddied the water further, claiming the protest’s message as their own. You need something simpler than “We are the 99%.” That would be a very hard task indeed.
August 14, 2012 11:50 AM
August 12, 2012
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...
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
- "GatewayPorts yes" must be set in sshd_config for the VPS listener to bind on all interfaces. If you don't do this it will only accept connections from localhost.
- You must log in as root on the VPS to create a listener on a service port (<1024).
- Yes, all connections appear to come from localhost. This has interesting ramifications for controlling abuse.
VPN AND SOURCE-BASED ROUTING
This is a little more fun. What we want is:
- Incoming connections are identifiable by their real IP address even though they are being routed via the VPS.
- Normal traffic on the home server uses the home connection but traffic related to the hosted services gets pushed out via the VPS.
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
July 30, 2012
We’ve less than three weeks until PyCon AU 2012, here in Hobart, and we’d really like to make sure that you get one of our amazingly cool conference t-shirts. I’ve just seen the final design, and I think you all are going to love it!
So, if you want a shirt along with your registration, please make sure you register and pay by midnight tonight! Likewise, if you have a friend who’s been holding off on their registration until now, make sure you nag them until they’ve registered
Details and prices, as always, are at http://2012.pycon-au.org/register/prices
July 30, 2012 11:47 PM
July 26, 2012
Twice every year, an interesting astronomical event occurs in New York: the sun aligns perfectly with the streets (vaguely east-west) of Manhattan’s grid: for two days in May, and two days in July.
I was fortunate enough to be travelling through New York for the July event, and caught this photo on 14th Street, between 2nd and 3rd avenue.
For more info on this curious event, Neil deGrasse Tyson has an interesting writeup on this phenomenon.
July 26, 2012 11:11 PM
July 18, 2012
As I’m busily sitting in the speakers’ room at OSCON 2012, I’m reminded that it’s not all that long until we kick off PyCon Australia 2012. I’m really looking forward to seeing two days of interesting, fun and informative talks from Australia’s best Python experts. I’m also really really excited about our two US-based keynote presenters: Mark Ramm (TurboGears co-BDFL, Pyramid hacker, and Engineering Manager on Juju at Canonical) and Kenneth Reitz (author of Python-Requests, various other Python open source projects, and Python Overlord at Heroku).
If you haven’t registered for the conference yet, we’d love it if you did: registrations will remain open until the week of the conference (unless we sell out); if you want T-shirts, you’ll need to register on or before July 31. More information can be found at the PyCon Australia website.
July 18, 2012 03:08 PM
June 15, 2012
I’m very glad to be able to finally release PyCon Australia’s programme for this year. It’s one of the strongest programmes we’ve put together for this conference, and it features excellent content for developers in all aspects of the Python Ecosystem.
Here’s some of the favourites that I’m looking forward to:
Of course, there’s more than 30 other talks, including our keynote presenters, Mark Ramm (who’ll be showing us why Python’s strengths in handling scientific data make Python an excellent tool for helping make product design decisions), and Kenneth Reitz (who’ll be explaining how to make APIs in Python better).
There’ll also be our regular opportunities for lightning talks at the end of each day, and plenty of other activities. So why not check out the rest of the schedule and tell me what you’re looking forward to?
June 15, 2012 05:11 AM
June 13, 2012
It’s been a very busy month for PyCon Australia organisation — not only have we selected our programme for the conference (more on that real soon now), but we’ve also announced two keynote presenters, and made some real concrete choices about our conference venue. Since as presenters and delegates, you want to know about where you’ll be presenting, it’s probably worth showing off the venue to you.
As we’ve mentioned countless times before, we’re holding the conference at the Wrest Point complex in Hobart. As well as being amazingly experienced operators of conferences, they’ve done a great job at being flexible to our needs — right down to a late venue change for us.
Locals, and people familiar with Hobart will probably be familiar with Wrest Point — it’s a very prominent tower building, right on the waterfront in Sandy Bay. Whilst there’s a quite prominent convention centre at Wrest Point, we’re forgoing that part of the complex in favour of something different. PyCon AU will be operating out of the Mezzanine section of the Wrest Point Hotel — a 1930s-era Art Deco building, which, whilst old, is amazingly well-kept, and very pretty.
The Derwent Room is our primary venue – it’s an Art Deco ballroom, and in the configuration we’ll be using, will seat around 300 delegates comfortably. It’ll be set up as our keynote venue for the first and last sessions of each day; but during morning and afternoon tea, it splits into two halls — seating 200 in the larger of the two rooms (and more than 100 in the other). We’ll also be using the Derwent Room in an open-plan configuration (with couches, an open fireplace, and views of the Derwent River) for our post-conference sprints.
The second piece of the puzzle — the room for our third stream of talks — is the Portlight Room. Located at the back of the Portlight Bar (just down the hallway from the Derwent Room), the room will be used for our extended tutorials, as well as some of our shorter talks. It’s recently been renovated to allow for more seats — we reckon it’ll seat more than 100 delegates comfortably.
The Portlight Bar itself, complete with open fireplace, will be our haven for caffeine addicts — our Espresso Bar, sponsored by Secret Lab, will be pulling shots for delegates right throughout both conference days; you’ll also find a selection of other drinks at morning and afternoon tea time. This will also be where we put our conference registration desk.
A great tech conference needs a great hallway track; and a good hallway track needs good hallways. Luckily, we have these too! There’s ample couches and space to mingle with other delegates around the conference hallways.
Finally, we’ve set aside a room for use as an open space — we’ll have couches, as well as desks available to let you hack and work on slides to your heart’s content. Or if you want to hold an impromptu talk, we’ll make sure that you can do this here too!
The final venue to look at is the Boardwalk Gallery — it’s part of the convention centre section of Wrest Point, and it’ll be where we’re holding the CodeWars tournament (which, by the way, is now being sponsored by Kogan). It’s a large, open-plan space, with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto the Derwent river, which is less than 5 metres away.
So that’s it — our venues for PyCon Australia. If you want to see the full set of venue photos, including plenty of extra angles from each of our conference spaces, you can find it on Flickr. Got any questions? Feel free to ask!
June 13, 2012 12:43 AM
May 12, 2012
Hello! Have you missed me? It’s been a while since I’ve updated you all on what’s happening in the world of PyCon Australia, so I figure it’s probably about time we did that. And it’s good that I’m doing so, because a lot of things have happened since the last time I did so!
Talks, talks, and more talks
Our Call for Proposals closed its doors on Friday 4 May, and we’ve been absolutely blown away by the level of response that we’ve got from Python developers around Australia and the rest of the world. We received 59 proposals to speak, across three categories of presentation, which is far and away the biggest response this conference has had in its short history. So, to all of you who proposed presentations, give yourselves a pat on the back.
To put this into perspective — we have approximately 30 positions that we can fit presentations into. Our review team (who are, by the way, doing an incredibly awesome job) have the mammoth task of figuring out which talks will actually make it into the conference: they’ll need to cull approximately half of the proposals that we’ve received. It’s something that we really weren’t expecting, but I think the review team are up to the task.
With this in mind, it’s going to take us a few days more than expected to sort through the proposals, and we won’t be meeting our deadline of 18 May for sending out notifications. It won’t be too much later than that, but we still apologise for the delay. If you did submit a talk, don’t worry too much about missing out on Early Bird registration rates — we’ll be extending Early Bird pricing through to June 30 for everyone who has submitted a talk. I hope this is OK by you!
We want you to come to our conference
And the best way to make sure that you can actually come to the conference is by signing up for our Early Bird registrations! These have been open for just over two weeks now; and with three weeks left to go, just over a third of our available early bird tickets have been sold. Our early bird registrations represent a substantial discount on our normal registration rates, and they also guarantee you a spot at our conference dinner (which is both space-limited, and is seriously not to be missed).
Early bird regos are available for the first 60 Enthusiast or Professional tickets sold; all the relevant info is at our website.
… and that means all of you!
We’ll be reprising the very successful gender diversity grants programme that PyCon Australia launched with Google last year; in a much-expanded form. Last year these grants helped many deserving women attend the conference with subsidised registration, and some travel allowance. This year, the grants programme will offer travel assistance to many more deserving female delegates. We’ll reveal more details later, but needless to say, we’re very excited.
Well, that’s it for now, I hope you’re as excited about the conference as I am. It’s shaping up to be really quite special, and I can’t wait to share more of our plans with you. See you in August, and get registering!
May 12, 2012 10:45 AM
April 26, 2012
For fear of spamming EVERYWHERE with the news, I include just the tl;dr:
tl;dr: PyCon Australia early bird registrations are now open! Find out more at http://2012.pycon-au.org/register/prices, including details of our accommodation programme.
The full media release on the opening of registration can be found at http://2012.pycon-au.org/media/news/15
Hope we see you all registered soon!
April 26, 2012 05:59 AM
April 19, 2012
Here’s my talk from the Hobart TasLUG meeting yesterday (18 April 2012) on the features of Android from the point of view of a Linux user — both from a technical perspective, and issues arising from Android’s unique status as an Open Source OS for cellphones. If you want to download the video, you can download it, or watch it in the embedded format later in this post… Enjoy!
April 19, 2012 07:38 AM
April 11, 2012
Since I enjoyed presenting on Android development at last year’s OSCON in Portland, it seems as though I shall be returning to do it again this year!
I’m presenting Android-Fu: Awesome apps for Ice Cream Sandwich and beyond at OSCON 2012. It’ll be on Tuesday 17 July at 9:00am, and will be a comprehensive look at things that modern Android tutorials should teach you, but tend not to.
On a related note, I’ll be travelling through the USA a bit on either side of OSCON. I’ll be in New York from (late on) Monday 9 July through Friday 13 July, and Seattle from Saturday 21 July through Monday 23 July. So if you happen to be reading this and would like to direct me at coffee whilst I’m there, let me know!
April 11, 2012 12:03 AM
April 08, 2012
This post started off as a reply to a comment (by “Alan”) on my previous post on this topic, but it got a bit long-winded, and raised a few clarifications of my own viewpoints on this matter. So it’s turned into a post of its own.
So, before I start this, nothing against the organisers or team surrounding OSCON. I loved my experience speaking, and attending the main conference event, and I’m coming back to OSCON to speak again this year. The reason why I pick on it is because it’s the one large American conference that I’ve been to, and it provides a nice contrast to the grassroots-style conferences that I’ve been involved with back home. It also exhibits some very specific examples of fostering that “culture of exclusion” that could be fixed with a few minor policy changes.
So, without further ado, here’s me addressing the points in Alan’s comment.
Could it be that this and the “brogrammer” culture is a problem that is more present at JSConf and Ruby conferences than Python?
I certainly agree that this culture does peak around various types of communities — for instance, Ryan’s post on the “Culture of Exclusion” speaks very specifically of JSConf and various Ruby groups, and in my own experience this sort of culture doesn’t seem to be prevalent at PyCons. However, to say that it’s attached to a small subset of communities is probably quite unfair — OSCON is very much a multi-community conference, but there’s still quite the drinking culture attached to it. Likewise, it seems to me that the Ruby community in Australia isn’t quite as drinking-centric as the examples that Ryan put forward.
You don’t hear anything about sexist COBOL programmers or late night binging at Java conferences from what I can tell. Even PHP seems to have grown up.
I think the likelihood of these sorts of things to occur really does depend on the level of “community” that is attached to a given language or technology. As an example here, people doing Java coding are almost certainly doing so because they work for in a corporate environment. Ruby and JS people are doing so because they work in a “startup” environment, or they’re doing it for fun. The companies that form the founding groups around a conference will often bring their culture along with them. It’s interesting to consider why this doesn’t happen so much at Python conferences. I don’t have any particular answers here — indeed, it’s quite the paradox, because I’d have considered Python to be more of a “startup” type language, and one would assume that would bring the “startup” culture into it. Perhaps it speaks of the values of those who started gatherings for Python coders?
Are these excesses a problem at conferences in general? Is this an American thing? Or even a Ruby/JS thing?
Is it a problem with conferences or communities, or is it a much more widespread cultural issue (as in e.g. American youth culture) that has just become more visible for us recently?
Excess is something that needs to be managed — it’s very easy for a conference organiser to say “yes, you can provide an open bar at this event” to a sponsor, and sponsors get quite an amount of good will from it (free alcohol doesn’t upset people, non-drinkers won’t speak up). It’s also pretty clear to me that if an open bar is offered, there’ll be a group of people who will take it up, regardless of the community that centres around the conference.
So the conferences that suffer from this sort of problem are the ones which either don’t have a policy of limitation of alcohol sponsorship, or those that actively encourage a culture of drinking (the sort of things that Ryan Funduk talks about in his article). I doubt there’d be open bars at any conference if there weren’t sponsors who were willing to fund them.
The onus is therefore on conference organisers to make sure that they don’t encourage binge drinking. In particular, this involves limiting the amount of alcohol sponsorship a conference is willing to accept — we at PyCon Australia are doing this by only providing tokens for drinks at our alcohol sponsored events (with the exception of at the dinner, where the open bar is time-limited, and comes with food and other entertainment).
What distinguishes conferences and communities that have this problem from those that do not?
Conferences can send out a message about this culture: For example, offering OSCON offers free attendance to the drinking events, but not to the main content of the conference; this can be compared with Linux.conf.au, where you have to pay extra to attend the drinking session. The contrasts between these arrangements provide quite the subtext between the values of the two conferences — intentional or not. In my view, OSCON providing such a ticket says that the “base level” experience of the conference is one where you go to all the parties, and the talks and tutorials are the “added extras”. For LCA, it’s the other way around.
So in summary, there are plenty of factors that surround the discussion of alcohol at conferences. I think it’s an important discussion to have, not least because it presents as a diversity argument in very much the same way as the gender diversity argument has presented itself over the last few years — conferences should always be looking at the messages they send out about the communities they wish to foster, and ensuring that they’re inclusive towards everyone in that culture.
April 08, 2012 02:11 AM
April 06, 2012
I spotted this interesting article by Ryan Funduk, on the culture of exclusion generated by piss-up parties at tech conferences — primarily at conferences in America, but the issue is certainly prevalent in other places.
I attended OSCON last year, and whilst OSCON is clearly not as bad as the type of events that have been highlighted in this writeup, there were still plenty of events that were promoted by the conference and their sponsors, but clearly served only as an opportunity to booze up some delegates. In fact, there was at least one such party advertised in the conference schedule each night — peaking on the Wednesday where there were three such conference parties advertised on the conference schedule, cleverly paced for two hours so that delegates could move on to each of the parties as the previous one wound up.
I personally feel as though these sorts of events have no place being actively promoted by the conference schedule. There are several good reasons for this that are all detailed in the parent article, but they all boil down to the fact that not everyone drinks. Parties where the key attraction is drinking only attracts those who drink. By advertising such events as part of the programme, they create cliques within the conference community that aren’t defined by the community that the conference serves to support.
Worse still is when such events are not run with alternatives available, because this strongly promotes the subtext that drinking is the only way to socialise at the conference. So a delegate who doesn’t drink will not fit in to any part of the conference, because there is no well-established way for non-drinkers to find each other.
As an active participant in tech conferences in Australia, it’s important to reflect on criticisms of such conferences in other countries, as well as here, to make sure that we’re providing a culture that actively encourages any delegate who chooses to attend — regardless of age, gender or lifestyle choice.
In the case of conferences run in Australia, I don’t believe that the issues of Alcohol-driven events are near as much of a problem as they are in America.
At Linux.conf.au, since the demise of the Google Party (an event very much brought over by American employees of Google), I don’t think I’ve seen a single event associated with the conference where drinking was the sole purpose of the event. One exception of this is the Professional Delegates Networking Session, however, I have always seeked to run a non-alcohol driven alternative against it. As a non-drinker for most of the LCAs I’ve been to, I don’t think I’ve lost out by not participating in the drinking.
At PyCon Australia, we’ve been careful to not offer up any events with an open tab — companies who want to sponsor alcohol have to do so in a way that ensures that the amounts provided are limited, and any foray into dangerous territory comes at the expense of the delegates. There is no conference event planned without a defined activity, and in every case, the presence of a bar at the event is clearly a distant second in terms of priorities for the organisers.
One of the great successes over the past few years in Australia has been ensuring that toxic cultures within the tech community aren’t tolerated. I think it’s imporant that we look at everything we do with a critical eye. I’m sure that our record on avoiding the fostering of an alcohol culture at our events isn’t spotless, and it’s one that we should look over with as critical an eye as we use to look over issues of gender or sexuality.
It’s definitely my intention to do this as I continue to put together PyCon — constantly looking at what we can do as Australian-based conference organisers do to ensure that the culture of alcohol doesn’t take over from the culture of the technology that we’re gathering for?
Update: I’ve written a further post on this topic. Do try it.
April 06, 2012 07:06 AM
April 01, 2012
Hark! My TUCS Tech Talk for this semester is an attempt to show the connections between Java as a programming and software technology, and the technology that followed it.
You can view it at the TUCS Blip.tv page or in the embedded player above. It even works with youtube-dl
April 01, 2012 06:24 AM
March 13, 2012
After three years in the job, I’ve finally relinquished the role of President of the University of Tasmania Computing Society (better known as TUCS). The years I spent as President spanned the last year and a half of my time at uni, and the first year and a half outside of that life — it’s something that’s been a pretty constant thread over the past few years, and it’d be a shame if I didn’t take a moment to dwell on my time in the role.
My first year representing TUCS was 2008: I’d come back to uni having attended my first Linux.conf.au in Melbourne, fresh with the knowledge that it would be held in Hobart the following January. The previous computing society at UTAS, the Internet Developers Society had elected to change its name at the previous year’s AGM, and with that new start, I decided to run for the exec of the society. I didn’t really have any aims at the time I ran, save for making the Uni computing community closer to the Open Source movement that I knew and loved at the time.
It was with that that I decided to organise the first of the TUCS Tech Talks. It was a talk by myself on introductory Python. I think I spent the best part of two weeks writing, tweaking and rehearsing that talk, and learning how to get screen recordings going. To my astonishment, the talk was amazingly well-recieved: the room was packed, lots of questions were asked. But much more than the success of my own talk, what astonished me was that people at the barbecue after the talk were telling me about how they wanted to present their own. And a few weeks later, so it was. And the following semester, we had talks every other week, on topics ranging from StarCraft strategy to iPhone development — the advent of tech talks at TUCS exposed a strong enthusiasm for sharing knowledge with others, and it brought our society into great stead with students, staff and the broader tech community in Hobart.
It was at the end of that year that I nominated as President, and happily, I was elected so. And when January rolled about, Linux.conf.au came to our home campus. Whilst TUCS wasn’t really involved with the event as much as I’d have liked, I did spot an opportunity for TUCS to contribute a small part — we ran a barbecue for student and hobbyist delegates to LCA as a way to help our members to engage with the rest of Australia’s tech community. This ended up being the first Unprofessional Delegates’ Networking Session, and it’s an event that I have continued to run at LCA ever since — for the 2012 conference in Ballarat, we brought the UnPDNS format back to the format that we ran for the first time in 2009, and the mood was as good this year as it was in 2009. It’s an event that I’m proud of starting, and the event happened because TUCS members contributed so much to getting that first UnPDNS organised in 2009.
Our Tech Talk schedule improved substantially that year, too. We had the first of our talks from then-Ph.D student, Jonathan Adamczewski on development for PS3 devices. He’s presented almost every semester since then, and his topics have been both diverse and exceedingly in-depth on whatever topic he chose to cover — my personal favourite was a talk showing how “Hello World” programs actually work on Linux systems. We also had the first of our talks by Paul Fenwick — that year, he packed out the tiny seminar room we were using for tech talks with his fascinating insight into the info you could glean from the Facebook API.
The other great discovery that arose from the talks series at TUCS was our frequent series of Lightning Talks — once per semester, students came to share three minutes of whatever insanity they decided they wanted to talk about. We’ve had talks on everything from Alex Berry’s experiments with the postal service; to self-devised esoteric programming languages; to buyers guides for headphones. These talks turned out to be a lot more fun than I could ever have hoped for, and they’ve been a great show of the minds that the society has attracted over the years.
And so it was that last year, I found myself away from Hobart on a very frequent basis, and I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t contribute to TUCS on the level that I had in previous years. Though I tried to give up the post last year, with nobody to replace me, I found myself in situ for a third year. The time I did have to contribute to the role of President last year was spent finding and preparing suitable replacements to come on board the next year. Thankfully, new members with huge amounts of drive started to appear — we ran end-of-semester events for the first time since 2009. We ran an end-of-year Quiz Night, which was a huge success for the society, and showed that the society had strength and enthusiasm to continue on for years to come.
Of course, my own contribution as President over those years did not a society make. The execs who I served with over the years made the society great. The treasurers, Michael Ford, Luke Hovington and Matt D’Orazio all helped make sure that the society was profitable every year I was involved, and keeping on top of grants from the Union. Matt, along with Tim Nugent made sure that the LAN parties that IDS had run for years before continued on well into the TUCS era. Luke Hovington, our tireless sysadmin, kept our old box alive on duck tape and twine, and is overseeing the transition to a new server box with Matt. And Eloise Ducky, who went from being the squeaky year 11 student who showed up on societies day in 2009 to being the person whipping me and the rest of the society into shape as 2011 came to a close.
And so, my term in charge of the society has come to an end — I feel that my hope of creating a community in which students could share their love of computing with others was met; along with keeping the society as bridge between students and university staff, and the IT industry more broadly. They’re goals that a Computing Society at a university should hold at the forefront of what they do, and I think it’s the reason why TUCS is held in high regard.
I hope the years that I spent in the society have changed it for the better — it’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s work I’ve enjoyed, and it’s a role that I’ve greatly relished filling. And thanks to all of the TUCS members who elected me to the role in the first place, but saw enough in me to re-elect me to the role for the following two years. I hope you think it’s been worth it.
Whilst I wasn’t the first President of the society, I was the last. The AGM last year removed the roles of President and Vice-President in favour of holding two Co-Presidents’ offices. I’m sure Eloise, along with Ben Lea will fill these roles with great enthusiasm and with the goal of making the society the best it can be for its members (take care of my baby for me, OK?). Whilst I’m staying on in the executive as a general representative for the rest of this year, it’s going to be interesting to not be in charge of the place.
Photo credits: Adam Harvey, various photos by myself.
March 13, 2012 10:01 AM
March 03, 2012
February was a pretty big month for PyCon Australia organisation, we finally got our new website up and running, and our Call for Proposals is finally open. We’ve even got our first keynote presenter lined up (hush hush).
Of course, opening a Call for Proposals doesn’t make a conference just happen. We need people to submit talks now. In particular, we’d like for you to submit something. Even better, our Call for Topics (which has been open since January) has turned up some great trends for what people want to see. Perhaps you have something to say on one of these topics? We want to hear from you!
In-depth techniques with common Python libraries
Have you done interesting things with Python Libraries? Perhaps you’ve solved a difficult application design using Django; or maybe you’ve done awesome hacks with SQLAlchemy? Our delegates want to know just what can be done with those libraries that are out there in the wild — help them take the next step in enhancing their skills.
Few things are more important in the application development process. Thorough testing means that you can be confident that your code works, and well-written tests ensure that things don’t break when you make changes. But talks on testing have been sorely lacking at PyCon Australia in the past. Help show our delegates how to make code that’s testable using the best tools available to Python developers.
Live Code Reviews
One of the best ways to learn about how something works is to take it apart and see what’s inside. Open source projects let us deeply study the internals of the tools and libraries that we use every day. Show our delegates just how their favourite Python tools work, suggest improvements, and perhaps find new contributors to your projects.
Forward-porting to Python 3
Currently, two incompatible versions of Python are competing for your development time — Python 2, which is the old version of Python with flaws you’ve come to know and accept; and the all-new Python 3, which is easier to code with and more consistent. The problem is that all the code you depend upon is written in Python 2. Help speed up the migration to the new version of Python by showing how to forward-port libraries to Python 3.
Now, submit something!
So, now that you know what people want to see at PyCon Australia 2012, perhaps you have an idea about what you can present. Head over to our Call for Proposals and submit a talk for us. The call closes on Friday May 4.
If you still need more ideas, PyCon Australia 2011 presenter, Daniel Greenfeld has a list of Python conference talks he’d like to see. And if you have more ideas that you’d like someone else to present, our Call for Topics is still open.
Can’t wait to see your proposals coming in!
March 03, 2012 03:21 AM
January 24, 2012
Paris Buttfield-Addison and I co-presented a talk at Linux.conf.au in Ballarat recently. The topic was on designing mobile apps that don’t suck on Android. The talk was pretty well received, the audience attentive and engaged (as evidenced by the fact that they heckled), and it was probably one of the better talks that Paris and I have co-presented.
The video of the talk is available as an ogv movie file, alternatively, the YouTube version is embedded below.
January 24, 2012 11:04 PM
January 20, 2012
This week I’m at linux.conf.au, the southern hemisphere’s premier open-source conference. This year it is being held in Ballarat, about an hour’s travel from Melbourne. I’ll be documenting the trip and conference as much as I can given the limits of my enthusiasm and awakeness.
Friday 20th January:
Friday is the last day of the conference, and everybody is starting to look tired; it’s a full-on week. But, before we all go home, there are just a few more excellent talks to attend. The first of these was Friday’s keynote, given by Jacob Appelbaum, and what an amazing keynote it was. Jacob talked about the state of surveillance states. He explained what they are doing to keep track of all of their citizens, and the special measures that have been put in place in the last few years (mostly since September 11) that significantly curtail our freedoms in the name of privacy and safety. A few choice quotes from the talk:
Free software is for freedom, open source is for business solutions.
Be the trouble you want to see in the world. [It's in my notes, but I'm pretty sure it was actually just written on his shirt]
90s Nihilism: I have nothing to hide.
The data kept about you in [server] logs around the world tells a story that is not necessarily true, but is made up of facts.
This talk flowed on nicely from Senator Ludlam’s talk at the Penguin dinner.
After morning tea, I watched the talk by Rusty Russell and Matt Evans about why UNIX has been getting bigger over time (in terms of binary bloat). It’s mostly due to new features, but also because of the infrastructure that modern systems have and the libraries that are statically linked in these days (glibc is basically just bloatware). Also in this session I attended the talk by Simon Horman on Open vSwitch. It’s really interesting content, but the presentation was a bit dry. It’s definitely something I want to check out when I get home though, as it could be quite useful for me when I have VMs set up in Linux. The support for VLANs makes it a much better choice than standard Linux network bridges.
During lunchtime there was a meeting between a group of Tasmanian delegates, and it was decided that the Hobart Linux User’s Group should be started up again. So if you’re reading this, like Linux and live in Hobart, get in touch!
After lunch was the best-of sessions. These were talks voted for by the delegates that they wanted to see again, or missed the first time around. I watched two fabulous talks. The first was on Codec2 (presented by David Rowe), an audio speech codec that uses 1400 bits/sec for transmission, which is a 500x improvement on raw 16bit 44.1kHz audio. Very impressive. The second was on the freedom box project (presented by Bdale Garbee, which is a platform for developing easy-to-use home servers oriented towards federated social networking services (such as Status.net or Diaspora). This followed on nicely from Appelbaum’s talk that morning, giving a solution to some of the problems that were outlined.
The final session of the conference was the lightning talks. The real highlight was watching Paul Fenwick jump up on stage between the lightning talks and try to give a several minute long presentation in thirty seconds. He failed, but it was funny to watch. After the lightning talks was the closing ceremony. The main reason for this is to hand out a few awards and thank some people, but also to find out where the next linux.conf.au is going to be held. Next year, it’s in Canberra!
January 20, 2012 10:59 PM
January 19, 2012
This week I’m at linux.conf.au, the southern hemisphere’s premier open-source conference. This year it is being held in Ballarat, about an hour’s travel from Melbourne. I’ll be documenting the trip and conference as much as I can given the limits of my enthusiasm and awakeness.
Thursday 19th January:
The Linux HA Tutorial
The morning started off with a keynote from Karen Sandler, Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation. This was a fascinating talk about the dangers behind having proprietary computer systems running our essential services, the things we rely on every day for our modern society. Her biggest example (and an amazingly powerful one) is the pacemaker that runs her heart (or gives it a jolt if it stops, at least). Attackers could quite easily crack into some of the modern pacemakers via the wireless signal they emit, and cause all kinds of damage (like giving a shock when it’s not needed, or failing to give one when it is). In addition, there are all other kinds of things we rely on (voting machines, car control software, etc.) that are closed source and pose a risk to us because of this. So basically it was about how we really need to move to open source systems to make the world a better place, not just because of reliability or business reasons.
The Penguin Dinner
Between morning tea and lunch I viewed included a tutorial on setting up a Linux HA cluster using pacemaker (with an example MySQL set-up) which I learned a lot from. I’m going to have to try out the techniques at home more, and see if I can apply them to my systems. I’m not sure how well these practises will work over wide-area networks though, as they’re primarily designed for LANs (as Michael Wheeler said to me, “It’s not redundant until it’s geographically redundant.”).
Michael Wheeler seems unpleased
After lunch was another tutorial, this time on the basics of computer security. There are some crazy things you can do to try and break into a computer. I finally understand how buffer overflows work, and what can be done to prevent them (quite a lot, actually). Breaking into encryption was another strong topic. You can measure how much power a CPU is using to figure out whether it’s doing add or multiply, and things like that. But basically what you really need to do is maintain a much higher consideration of security while coding than you did before, and I hope this tutorial will help me achieve that.
After afternoon tea (during which I consumed a suspiciously large quantity of fruit… I must be craving healthy food) it was time for the talk given by my friend Chris and his friend Paris, titled “Android is not vi”. It’s probably the funniest talk I’ve seen the entire conference, and several delegates have mentioned it wouldn’t be out of place in a comedy routine. The talk was mostly about making the user experience on Android better, but with a surprise ending: the general principles apply to pretty much any user experience design, because they’re all the same. Not making the user think is pretty much the key.
Then of course, Thursday night means the Penguin dinner. This is the opportunity for the speeches and the presentation of the Rusty Wrench award, named after Rusty Russell who started running the conference back in 1999. This year it was given to Mary Gardiner for her services to the Ada Initiative, amongst other things. This is very well deserved too, as there is a nearly 20% female attendance rate at LCA this year. The meal at the dinner was also excellent. I had a pork salad starter, the chicken thigh main, and then an amazing mango cake dessert (pictured). After dinner, we received a speech by Senator Scott Ludlam on the surveillance state that Australia is turning into. 250000+ people have had some sort of police surveillance performed on them in Australia last year. Scary stuff, and I think it will only become scarier once we have heard what Jacob Appelbaum has to say in his keynote tomorrow morning. All in all, a great event.
January 19, 2012 12:30 PM
January 18, 2012
This week I’m at linux.conf.au, the southern hemisphere’s premier open-source conference. This year it is being held in Ballarat, about an hour’s travel from Melbourne. I’ll be documenting the trip and conference as much as I can given the limits of my enthusiasm and awakeness.
Wednesday 18th January:
Paul Fenwick is awesome!
Quite a few more talks today; seven to be exact. The first was Paul Fenwick’s keynote address on “All Your Brains Suck”, which is about ways of hacking and exploiting the human brain. It’s fascinating stuff, even if I had seen the talk before (when he visited UTAS and gave the talk to TUCS). I now know that scary but logically safe places (like rollercoasters) are good places for dates. And that priming people with slow words (like ‘elderly’) make them walk slower. Utterly crazy stuff, just like the speaker of this talk.
After morning tea, there were two talks on filesystems. The first, on btrfs, was given by Avi Miller, who was an excellent speaker. btrfs seems like an amazing piece of kit. I had always thought that you couldn’t do much with a Linux filesystem; but I was shown to be wrong. btrfs does file-level RAID, so you can how many backup copies of a file you want on the disks. It also does copy-on-write, so you have backups into the immediate past as well. The next talk was on XFS, given by Dave Chinner, and he showed how the performance of XFS has jumped up in recent years, as good as btrfs (sometimes better) and they both far outstrip ext4 now (no surprise, ext4′s underlying technology is about two decades old).
The first talk after lunch was on Ubuntu’s ARM ports, and how development is progressing for the various ARM platforms (of which there seem to be hundreds). The most interesting thing for me was the coming-of-age of ARM servers, which consume far less power than x86 servers (a good thing for the environment) while doing a similar workload. Because most services don’t require CPU-intensive workloads, we can save even more! The second talk after lunch was on adding millions of watchpoints to a Linux system. Most Linux systems currently only support 2 or 4 watchpoints, and this isn’t enough for good security analysis. So they added a driver to Linux that steps through instructions when an out-of-memory page is accessed (via virtual memory). Clever stuff, even if most of it went over my head.
After afternoon tea, I watched two talks on bootloaders. The first, on using Linux as a bootloader (given by Peter Chubb), was interesting, though was really only useful as a method in a small number of cases. Most systems are better off sticking to something like GRUB. Speaking of GRUB, the second talk (given by Josh Triplett) was about porting Python to GRUB, and the resulting project, BITS. This seems like a fascinating thing to do, mostly because it blurs the line between what an application is and what an operating system is. This is a line that Emacs has been tiptoeing on for some time now, and it is nice to see it has a friend.
The Debian Swirl
For dinner today, I attended the unprofessional delegates networking session (UnPDNS) which is held at the same time as the event for the professionals. We had a barbecue, which gave me a great opportunity to hang out with some of the other cool people who didn’t buy expensive tickets.
January 18, 2012 08:39 PM