Thu, 1970-01-01 00:00

A couple of Derby Photos.

Melanie Rhianna Lewis - Fri, 2014-12-19 16:53

Not been doing much lately other than skating and working. Here’s a couple of photos.

Firstly a random shot of me at training. As you can see I’m somewhat thinner than I used to be. But I still have a lot of size to lose. That’s next year’s work!

Derby practice Oct 2014.

This photo shows some “Derby Kisses”. I like to backward block but some of my team mates have very pointy shoulders and I seem to bruise easily around my shoulders.

Some of my team mates have pointy shoulders!

Some of my team mates have pointy shoulders!

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Firefox deprecates flash -- temporarily

Akkana Peck - Thu, 2014-12-18 22:14

Recently Firefox started refusing to run flash, including youtube videos (about the only flash I run). A bar would appear at the top of the page saying "This plug-in is vulnerable and should be upgraded". Apparently Adobe had another security bug. There's an "Update now" button in the Firefox bar, but it's a chimera: Firefox has never known how to install plug-ins for Linux (there are longstanding bugs filed on why it claims to be able to but can't), and it certainly doesn't know how to update a Debian package.

I use a Firefox downloaded from Mozilla.org, but flash from Debian's flashplugin-nonfree package. So I figured updating Debian -- apt-get update; apt-get dist-upgrade -- would fix it. Nope. I still got the same message.

A little googling found several pages recommending update-flashplugin-nonfree --install; I tried that but it didn't help either. It seemed to download a tarball, but as far as I could tell it never unpacked or installed the tarball it downloaded.

What finally did the trick was apt-get install --reinstall flashplugin-nonfree That downloaded a new tarball, AND unpacked and installed it. After restarting Firefox, I was able to view the video I'd been trying to watch.

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Changing Degrees

CU-WISE blog - Wed, 2014-12-17 00:08
Most students applying to university don’t really know what they want to do later in life. Students sometimes take gap years to learn more about themselves, or take a general first year at university to see what different fields exist. All of this is normal, and you should not feel ashamed if this happens to you. My journey to where I am now was long and I wished I talked to more people about it so that I could make an informed decision.

I have always been good at math and science, so I was told that I should be in engineering or a related field. I didn't really bother researching what engineering was, and decided to apply for the most difficult sounding engineering there was, Aerospace Engineering (do not do this, always do research).

During my first semester of engineering, I hated it. It wasn't what I expected, so I decided that I would switch my major. At first I thought I would go into a different type of engineering and Sustainable Renewable Energy Engineering sounded intriguing, as I always had a passion for helping the environment. As the year went on, I decided  to leave engineering altogether. So, again without researching or consulting any of my friends or professors I switched into business for my second year.

During my year in business, I felt many different emotions. It was quite a change from engineering, and I didn't know how I felt about that. The classes, for the most part seemed easier, which was not as challenging as I had wanted. The one reason I chose engineering is I didn't like group projects or presentations. Guess what business is full of? Group projects and presentations. I couldn't stand it. I also had a hard time making friends; most of my friends were in engineering, so we had differing workloads. I knew business was not right for me.

At this point I had a difficult decision to make. I knew I would be really behind if I switched again not to mention the additional financial strain. I decided to go to the Student Academic Success Center, which has career counselors, and they really helped me. If you are thinking of changing your  major, I would highly recommend talking to as many people as possible before you do so. You could just be having a rough time and you don’t want to make any rash decisions... like I did.

After lots of contemplating and weighing benefits, I decided to switch back into engineering but in a different stream. I am now in Software Engineering and am loving it! It isn't the same as other types as engineering, which fits me perfectly. Software Engineering has a wide range of opportunities, which I am really attracted to. I find it fascinating that you can make your own tic-tac-toe game with the computer playing the opponent! I find the main differences (so far) between aerospace and software engineering, is the lack of Mechanics and related courses. I remember taking that in my first year of engineering, and I realized that being in aerospace, I would typically be doing work related to that. I enjoy that I can still be in engineering, and that my lack of interest in mechanics doesn't change that.

It took a lot of time to find where I belong and I still have lots of decisions to make such as, what parts of software engineering I am most interested in, but what's important is that I am now sure of my choice of major.


If you aren't happy in your current major or are looking to make the right choice the first time around my advice to you is this: talk to as many people as you can, go see a guidance counselor, talk to professors and students that are in the fields that you are interested in, do research and gather as much information as you can. You may have misconceptions about certain fields but you won't know until you investigate. If you want to do something but are worried that it will be a set back, go for it anyways! You decide what you want to do and no one else. It may take some time to find out where you belong but time doesn't matter, do whatever makes you happy! Most importantly, don’t let people tell you what you would be good in, make the decision that is best for you.

Bronwyn is a second year Software Engineering student. When she isn't studying, she is either reading books or playing video games. She loves Star Wars.


Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Recent time between travel

Elizabeth Krumbach - Tue, 2014-12-16 05:24

This year has pretty much been consumed by travel and events. I’ll dive into that more in a wrap-up post in a couple weeks, but for now I’ll just note that it’s been tiring and I’ve worked to value my time at home as much as possible.

It’s been uncharacteristically wet here in San Francisco since coming home from Jamaica. We’re fortunate to have the rain since we’re currently undergoing a pretty massive drought here in California, but I would have been happier if it didn’t come at once! There was some flooding in our basement garage at the beginning (fortunately a leak was found and fixed) and we had possibly the first power outage since I moved here almost five years ago. Internet has had outages too, which could be a bit tedious work-wise even with a back up connection. All because of a few inches of rain that we’d not think anything of back in Pennsylvania, let alone during the kinds of winter storms I grew up with in Maine.

On Thanksgiving I got ambitious about my time at home and decided to actually make a full dinner. We’d typically either gone out or picked up prepared food somewhere, so this was quite a change from the norm. I skipped the full turkey and went with cutlets I prepared in a pan, the rest of the menu included the usual suspects: gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans and rolls. I had leftovers for days. I also made MJ suffer with me through a Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day marathon, hah!

I’ve spent a lot of time catching up with project work in the past few weeks. Following up on a number of my Xubuntu tasks and working through my Partimus backlog. Xubuntu-wise we’re working on a few contributor incentives, so I’m receiving a box of Xubuntu stickers in the mail soon, courtesy of UnixStickers.com, which I’ll be sending out to select QA contributors in the coming months. We’re also working on a couple of polls that can give us a better idea of who are user base is and how to serve them better. I also spent an afternoon in Alameda recently to meet with an organization that Partimus may partner with and met up with the Executive Director this past weekend for a board meeting where we identified some organizational work for the next quarter.

At home I’ve been organizing the condo and I’m happy to report that the boxes have gone, even working from home means I still have too much stuff around all the time. MJ took some time to set up our shiny new PlayStation 4 and several antennas so our TV now has channels and we can get AM and FM radio. I’ll finally be able to watch baseball at home! I also got holiday cards sent out and some Hanukkah lights put up, so it’s feeling quite comfortable here.

Having time at home has also meant I’ve been able to make time for friends who’ve come into town to visit lately. Laura Czajkowski, who I’ve worked with for years in the Ubuntu community, was recently in town and we met up for dinner. I also recently had dinner with my friend BJ, who I know from the Linux scene back in Philadelphia, though we’ve both moved since. Now I just need to make more time for my local friends.

The holiday season has afforded us some time to dress up and go out, like to a recent holiday party by MJ’s employer.

Plus I’ve had the typical things to keep me busy outside of work, an Ubuntu Hour and Debian Dinner last week and the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter which will hit issue 400 early next year. Plus, I have work on my book, which I wish were going faster, but is coming along.

I have one more trip coming this year, off to St. Louis late next week. I’ll be spending few days visiting with friends and traveling around a city I’ve never been to! This trip will put me over 100k miles for the calendar year, which is a pretty big milestone for me, and one I’m not sure I’ll reach again. Plans are still firming up for how my travel schedule will look next year, but I do have a couple big international trips on the horizon that I’m excited about.

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Useful Study Tips for Exams

CU-WISE blog - Mon, 2014-12-15 17:51
It's that time of the year again ….. caffeine filled nights getting ready for exams. I know that this subject may be overdone, but I've decided to summarize a few tips to make this month a bit easier for you.

The first piece of advice that anyone will tell you is to pay attention in class, take great notes and start studying really early in the semester, and not at the last minute. If you are anything like me, that is never going to happen... so, I'll move onto some more useful ideas (If my mother is reading this, I am clearly lying and do all of the above).

I'll start off with my six general steps and then a few specifics tricks that may prove to be helpful. Overall, stress is the worst thing for exams so positive thinking, lots of sunlight and chocolate are a great way to start.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/dr-mike-hart/
8-reasons-to-sleep-more_b_3641933.html
 1. SLEEPFirst thing first, sleep! I know, I know, everyone tells you this but I bet you ignore this every year. Two hours of studying when you're exhausted will do more harm than good! This is  because  you'll be even more tired the next day, and will remember very little of what you studied. Studies show that students should get 8-10 hours of sleep every night. But, if that's not possible, I'd recommend at least 6 hours of sleep. On that note, don't take this as an excuse to sleep the day away (I have been guilty of this).


http://wejungo.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/organize.gif
2. CLEAN AND ORGANIZE
I'm well aware that this can be both a foreign notion to some of you and a way to procrastinate for others, but it is important! Before you start the never-ending studying session, clean your work area. Declutter, hide the distractions (including your phone), remove any dirty dishes, and give it a quick wipe down and vacuum. This won't take long but it can make all the difference. Please, do not turn this into a three hour cleaning session (or a three hour session of thinking about cleaning). Something else that I find useful, is making lists (I might be addicted) and plans. Make a quick outline of a study plan for the 2-3 weeks of you have left (or more if you're lucky) before exams. Separate the days into hours for specific course subjects, rest, work, etc. You should also make a quick plan for each day of study right before you start that day (ex. get through ch.3-5 of mechanics for today). This will give you a goal to achieve and make it easier to stay on track. Note: DO NOT be like me and spend hours doing this while achieving nothing on the lists.


3. STUDY GROUPAs an antisocial and extremely awkward person, this is a hard concept for me to grasp but it really is worth it ; join a STUDY GROUP. Study groups will give you a bit more structure, motivation and focus while you study. It's also great because you can ask your peers for help when you need it and you can help them when they need it. Teaching other people is a great way to cement the knowledge in your brain and ensure that you understand the material. Try to ask some friends or people in your tutorial classes to form a group. In the case that you cannot find a group, remember you always have your TAs and professors that you can go to ask any questions. Also, give yourself or a group of invisible people (I know it sounds silly) a presentation on a topic that you just finished studying. Go full out; diagrams, talking out loud, writing down notes, etc. This will honestly help in the long run.
http://www.pak101.com/c/funnypictures/view/12410/Funny/Group_Studies 


4. BREAKSBreaks are very important to take or you'll burn out and you will not retain as much information. Taking breaks will improve performance, relieve stress and increase your overall well-being. The research differs in terms of the agreed length, frequency, and number of intervals a person should take a break for that will be most beneficial. I personally like to study for long periods of time (roughly two hours) and then take a 30 minute break. In reality a thirty minute break every two hours may be too long of a break, but it’s what has worked best for me. Another great idea which has been instrumental in my studies has been to create a study music playlist. Create the playlist for the length of time you intend to study for and turn it on shuffle. When the playlist ends, you know that it's time for a break without ever having to look at the clock (try not to spend time watching the time on the clock). Also, try not to pick music that will distract you. Ideally, choose music that is instrumental or calming, but make sure to pick something you like. I personally love classical music, orchestra music and soundtracks (they're not necessarily calm but at least you don't get distracted by the music too much).

5. DANCE PARTYThis brings me onto my next subject; what to do during those breaks. Have a dance party! Put on some fun music and just start dancing (don't worry if you can't dance, this is why you do this in private). You may think I'm joking but I'm very serious and expect to see a lot of dancing students once this trend catches. It's a great stress reliever; a quick way to loosen up your stiff joints and a great way to have your endorphins released. Doing some exercise and going outdoors are another way to achieve the same benefits. Unfortunately, in the real world (in Canada), there's already snow on the ground, and no one in their right mind wants to go freeze their behinds off for fun. If you do, good for you; but for the other lazy and winter hating people like me, just dance! It's the best workout to quickly get your heartbeat going (I may be lying) but don't worry about technique since you're not getting in shape or showing off your dance moves, you are just shaking some stress off.
Napolean Dynamite(2004) 

  6. CAFFEINEDepending who you ask, this can be a good thing or a bad thing. On a realistic note, it's impossible to get through this without caffeine (if you can, I hate you) and it really should just be accepted. My only note of advice is to try and avoid it at night since sleep is more important and cut down on the caffeine when you start getting the shakes. Honestly, what you eat and drink is purely up to you and I know it is hard but eating healthy can go a long way for your energy levels and retention abilities. So remember moderation and even though caffeine may be one of my food groups, I don't have a drastic increase in my intake. Plus, remember to drink plenty of water.


 Ok, now that you've actually read through the six steps (or scrolled pass), you deserve to know the true secret of my success during exam period (not really a secret).

PRACTICE 
All subjects are different and need to be studied in a different way but in general, science and engineering courses are all about practice. Reading through your notes isn't very helpful once you get to the exams. The only way to prepare is to actually solve or work through the questions (over and over again) until you truly understand how to get to the answer and what to do in all possible scenarios.
HINT#1: My solids II professor gave me this particular word of advice: once you've done a question, do it backwards. Professors like to be sneaky; they won't give you a question in the same format that they've shown you in class. If they always give you A and B to get to C, make sure you can get to A with B and C. It adds more work but is probably the best advice I've ever received; you'll get more comfortable (and therefore confident) about the theories and equations. 

VISUAL, AUDITORY, PHYSICAL
We all learn in different ways and you should concentrate on which way is best for you. So you can rewrite your notes, or read your notes out loud, or do some sort of 'short experiment' to demonstrate a concept. Anything that helps is great; rereading your notes at a high speed in your head is only useful to a small percentage of people. Try to make studying an interactive activity. Note: Even if you learn primarily through one method, I'd advise you to use a combination of all three methods.
HINT#2: You will get annoyed, tired and sore after all the studying. Documentaries are a great way to change it up a bit while still learning the material. The documentary won't cover everything you need to know but it is still covering the same topic from a different point of view. Even better, it allows you to take a break from writing and sit on a comfy couch. Remember that it doesn't need to be a documentary (Aircraft Investigations for engineer students, A Beautiful Mind for neuroscience students, etc.). 

CHANGE IT UP
Do not get stuck on the same material for too long. Your mind will start blurring all the information together and you'll end up making mistakes and forgetting the material. Do a few hours on one subject and then take a big break (work, school, eating, etc.), when you get back start a different subject or at least study a different section of that subject that is completely different. It will do wonders for you in the end. If you find this hard (I do), switch it up between theory and practical (or books and films, etc.) and you will achieve the same results.
HINT#3: This may not occur to most people but changing where you study is important as well. Do not study everything all at the same desk; move to the kitchen for a bit, go to the library, sit on the floor. Avoid your bed if possible though studying right before bed and after you wake up has been proven to be helpful at retaining more information * only successful when you're not exhausted*. 

UNIVERSITIES WANT YOU TO PASS
Remember that you're not the only person who wants you to pass the exam. The professors will be available for extra help, and will often provide you a good idea of what to expect on the exam. The university will also help by giving you access to old exams, PASS sessions, workshops, tutors, etc. Utilize the resources available to you because there's a lot more than you may realize. If you don't know where to look on your school's website, don't be afraid to ask.
Hint #4: Humans, including professors, are creatures of habit. Complete all the old exams (not just one) you can find (especially those by the same professor) because I can almost guarantee that your exam will be similar. The old exams should be used as a tool, and you should not purely rely on them. Do keep in mind that certain subjects haven't changed in a very long time (ex. calculus) but some subjects change relatively often (ex. computers). 


TECHNOLOGY
 My final note of advice is a few ways to use technology to your advantage during study periods. We live in a world where technology proves to be one of our greatest distractions but can also be our biggest help.

Google
First and foremost, GOOGLE. Never underestimate the power of Google search when you need help. You can find almost everything you'll need but remember to take it with a grain of salt depending on which sites you use. For engineer and science students, you'll find hundreds of videos online with example of questions and demonstrations.

Self Control
It's hard not to procrastinate and get distracted but there are apps out there that will help. There are a few versions of this idea but one of them is called 'SelfControl', it will block certain sites completely for a set period of time and you will never be able to access them (even if you turn off your computer). Check it out:

Sleep If U Can
Try some of these alarms clocks if you have trouble getting out of bed. The first one forces you to do a math problem to turn it off and the second one forces you to take a photo of a specified object (ideally not in your bedroom). There's many more like it; find one that works for you. 

Exam Time 
My personal discovery of the year that I'm excited for is “ExamTime”! “ExamTime” is an app that will help you study using mind maps, flashcards, notes and quizzes. The reason why it's so great is that it's shared online which means you can look at other people's quizzes and notes as well. As a study group, you can all make quizzes separately (which really does help with your memory) and you can test yourself with their quizzes. Depending on the subject, you can find hundreds (I might be exaggerating) of quizzes/flashcards/etc., that are already completed.

My point is that there's help if you need it, I just listed a few free apps that I know of but there are many others out there that may suit you. Of course, don't let the app be a distraction and don't spend hours looking for the perfect app/site either.


I hope you can utilize my six steps and tricks when studying for exams, but keep in mind that there are different ways of studying for different formats of exam. So remember to study using different techniques depending on the exam format (ie. Multiple choice versus essay exams).

Good luck to everyone and enjoy your well-deserved holiday vacation after exams!
-Gabrielle
http://florawhite.deviantart.com/art/Exams-Here-I-come-348346856

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

[Book Reviews] Werewolf Marines

Raven - Mon, 2014-12-15 10:32
Still way behind on book reviews (I have an entire list open in another tab), but these two books were so unusual that they deserve their own post. I spent a lot of last week babysitting *nix installs, which has long periods of waiting in it. I learned through Sherwood Smith's blog that her co-author on their recent book, the "Yes Gay YA" one, had written a bunch of other things too under different pen names. Among those were two romances about werewolf Marines. I cracked up at the premise; it's such a trope collision that it's got to be glorious. But despite not being a big fan of romance (I particularly dislike the stock Harlequin het scripts, ugh) and not being a big fan of werewolves (so much werewolf stuff is either straight-up horror, which I dislike, or stupid fights for dominance which make me roll my eyes), I went for it. Basically, I trusted the author to do a good job despite the typical conventions of the genres... and she did. Werewolf Marines! [grin] During the writing of this post, I discovered that she talks about the books here. Things that made me like the books enough to buy the second one after having read the first one:

Likable characters. I'm totally a character driver reader, I don't enjoy a book unless there's at least one character in it whom I can root for. Most of the time I end up hating werewolf characters because they're uncontrollably violent jerks. That wasn't the case here (or, at least, wasn't necessarily the case -- there are bad wolves and good wolves), and all four book protagonists are sympathetic, likable people. I was rooting for them. They're well fleshed out, they have interests and families and things that happen offscreen, they're not cardboard cutouts, and most happy-making-ily, they're not stereotypes. One of the female leads is a voluptuous woman, she's a little insecure about her body, and her super-ripped werewolf Marine love interest thinks she is GORGEOUS. Yeah! I cheered. I can't tell you how many times I have had to convince my partners that I thought they were super attractive when I did... many people I have dated have been hung up on "you're so athletic and I'm kind of fat and you must be just putting up with me". They get those cultural messages so much that it's hard for them to believe that someone with a gym-stereotype body could think that theirs is super hot. So I was delighted to see a relationship modeled where that type of dynamic is represented well, and she accepts that he thinks so, and they go on to be happy together. Pompoms!

Off-script romances. Both male leads are strong characters not threatened by female strength. Instead, they appreciate it. The ways in which the romance dynamic works out are different between the two books, but both were things very much not like the boundary-violating creepiness of many bodice-rippers. The female characters are smart and capable and have goals of their own. In one case, the male character is totally happy to play support staff to the female lead, and to help her accomplish her goals. In the other, their interests are kept at cross-purposes by a third party, and they have to work together to subvert Big Obvious Story Evil without it being clear that they're doing so. But there was no point in either book where I yelled "WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT AUGH" at any protagonist, heh. The story was blissfully free of those irritating moments where an otherwise intelligent character decides to do the most boneheaded thing possible because something something advance the plot. So, not only were the characters likable in themselves, but their motivations and interactions with their love interests were also satisfying. I'm not a big fan of how monogamous het romance usually gets written, but both versions of it were trope-subverting enough to delight me. This was love without being love at anyone's expense; there was no denigration of other types of relationships. Good job, author!

Diverse characters. This universe contains GLBT people who aren't just there to be the sassy friend, non-white protagonists, people who are gender-stereotypical and people who are not, smart strong empowered characters from all kinds of different backgrounds, protagonists with learning disabilities, male characters who are emotionally mature, characters who learn through the story arc to ask for help, loving families, oh yeah, and also clones and motorcycles and a Marine's duty to escape from captivity and fights against evil. Yeah!

Thoughtful treatment of PTSD. It's a major theme in both books, and the author's background as a PTSD therapist equips her particularly to write about it.

Neat-sounding new music to go look up (one of the characters is a DJ).

The books aren't perfect... if you're the kind of reader who wants a scientific explanation for how everything works (aka the folks who read fantasy as science fiction), you will be driven mad by the handwavy swiftness of "and then she shimmered and turned into a wolf and....". I'm perfectly willing to accept that as a conceit of the worldbuilding, but not everyone is. The opening "so my buddy was going to die so I had to turn him into a werewolf and bite him" may be similarly, er, hard to swallow... again, I just went with it as a framing of the world. The way the werewolf characters perceive each other by scent and pack-sense may not be to everyone's taste... I liked it mostly because of a really surprising overlap with my personal taste. (With men in particular, I am ridiculously pheromone-based. If you don't smell right to me, it's never going to work. A week or so before I read these books, I had a conversation with a female friend of mine about what "attractive" and "unattractive" smell like -- she's also strongly scent-based for attraction, but what she likes differs. For me, the match pheromone is sort of salt and pine and woodsmoke... kind of like clean sweat, in a forest. The run-away pheromone is super musky; ugh. Deer in rut is the total opposite of attractive. So I was surprised and highly amused when one protagonist had his scent described as "a campfire on salt flats" or some such. Heh! Someone shares my taste! That's such a weird super-particular thing; what are the odds of that?) But overall, I was surprised to like the books so much given that basically everything in the one-sentence genre description suggested that I'd hate them. I'm glad I decided to trust the author! Like haikujaguar's romances, maybe I don't dislike romance, I just dislike the mainstream formulas for same. With sympathetic awesome characters who don't run around being inexplicable jerks to each other the whole time, I kind of appreciate the happy endings. (Also, I have had fun blowing the minds of all of my friends this week telling them that I'm reading romance novels about werewolf Marines. [grin] It just rolls off the tongue; it's fun to say.)

This entry was originally posted at http://ivy.dreamwidth.org/436829.html and has comment count unavailable comments there. Please feel free to comment on either site; comments rock.
Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Not exponential after all

Akkana Peck - Wed, 2014-12-10 23:27

We're saved! From the embarrassing slogan "Live exponentially", that is.

Last night the Los Alamos city council voted to bow to public opinion and reconsider the contract to spend $50,000 on a logo and brand strategy based around the slogan "Live Exponentially." Though nearly all the councilors (besides Pete Sheehey) said they still liked the slogan, and made it clear that the slogan isn't for residents but for people in distant states who might consider visiting as tourists, they now felt that basing a campaign around a theme nearly of the residents revile was not the best idea.

There were quite a few public comments (mine included); everyone was civil and sensible and stuck well under the recommended 3-minute time limit.

Instead, the plan is to go ahead with the contract, but ask the ad agency (Atlas Services) to choose two of the alternate straplines from the initial list of eight that North Star Research had originally provided.

Wait -- eight options? How come none of the previous press or the previous meeting mentioned that there were options? Even in the 364 page Agenda Packets PDF provided for this meeting, there was no hint of that report or of any alternate strap lines.

But when they displayed the list of eight on the board, it became a little clearer why they didn't want to make the report public: they were embarrassed to have paid for work of this quality. Check out the list:

  • Where Everything is Elevated
  • High Intelligence in the High Desert
  • Think Bigger. Live Brighter.
  • Great. Beyond.
  • Live Exponentially
  • Absolutely Brilliant
  • Get to a Higher Plane
  • Never Stop Questioning What's Possible

I mean, really. Great Beyond? Are we're all dead? High Intelligence in the High Desert? That'll certainly help with people who think this might be a bunch of snobbish intellectuals.

It was also revealed that at no point during the plan was there ever any sort of focus group study or other tests to see how anyone reacted to any of these slogans.

Anyway, after a complex series of motions and amendments and counter-motions and amendments and amendments to the amendments, they finally decided to ask Atlas to take the above list, minus "Live Exponentially"; add the slogan currently displayed on the rocks as you drive into town, "Where Discoveries are Made" (which came out of a community contest years ago and is very popular among residents); and ask Atlas to choose two from the list to make logos, plus one logo that has no slogan at all attached to it.

If we're lucky, Atlas will pick Discoveries as one of the slogans, or maybe even come up with something decent of their own.

The chicken ordinance discussion went well, too. They amended the ordinance to allow ten chickens (instead of six) and to try to allow people in duplexes and quads to keep chickens if there's enough space between the chickens and their neighbors. One commenter asked for the "non-commercial' clause to be struck because his kids sell eggs from a stand, like lemonade, which sounded like a very reasonable request (nobody's going to run a large commercial egg ranch with ten chickens); but it turned out there's a state law requiring permits and inspections to sell eggs.

So, folks can have chickens, and we won't have to live exponentially. I'm sure everyone's breathing a little more easily now.

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Institutions in KDE?

Valorie Zimmerman 2 - Mon, 2014-12-08 10:24
The Randa Meetings are becoming an institution in KDE. Really? And is that a good thing, or not. When I complimented Mario Fux on the excellent on-going work he is doing on the Randa Meetings, he was surprised and maybe offended that I called it an institution.

I've been thinking about this since reading The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution by Francis Fukuyama. The basis of my comment is that in some ways, our KDE community is like a state.
Modern political order ...consists of ...[first] a modern state, with competent and honest officials, not prone to nepotism, corruption, and clientelism. Second is the rule of law, or binding constraints upon the rulers as well as the ruled. Third is accountability, usually via elections but also via a sense of responsibility towards the people, a sense of ruling for the common good.
 - from http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/1261, a review of the book.

What supports and keeps a state alive are institutions. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia, social institutions are ... sets of rules and norms that organise human activities within a society. These rules and norms aren't just written law, such as our Code of Conduct and Manifesto, but also the unwritten "way we do things here." We have our habit of collaboration, our e.V., Akademy, our infrastructure, our coding style, APIs, documentation, and so forth.

And what is cool is to see that we continue to adapt to a changing world. I see the Frameworks effort as leap forward in our ability to adapt. The Plasma 5 work has flexibility written into it from the beginning, especially important as new form factors come onto the market. And we seem to be doing this within our community as well as in our code.

Fukuyama spoke not only about the development of the major institutions: the state, the rule of law, and accountability, but also of political decay, which happens when institutions grow rigid, and don't change with the times. I see the opposite with KDE.

Randa Meetings are a beautiful example of how one great idea has grown into something people look forward to, plan for, and support in many ways. We've had sprints for a long time, but now the year's calendar feels empty if there is no Randa meeting planned. The teams there not only do a sprint as usual, but also feed on the energy of the other teams around them, and collaborate on the fly. The Randa Meetings, like Akademy, have become indispensable; a norm. And that's a good thing.
Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

My father passed away 10 years ago

Elizabeth Krumbach - Mon, 2014-12-08 01:49

It’s December 7th, which marks 10 years since my father passed away. In the past decade I’ve had much to reflect on about his life.

When he passed away I was 23 and had bought a house in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I had just transitioned from doing web development contract work to working various temp jobs to pay the bills. It was one of those temp jobs that I went to the morning after I learned my father had passed, because I didn’t know what else to do, I learned quickly that people tend to take a few days off when they have such a loss and why. The distance from home made it challenging to work through the loss, as is seen in my blog post from the week it happened, I felt pretty rutterless.

My father had been an inspiration for me. He was always making things, had a wood workshop where he’d build dollhouses, model planes, and even a stable for my My Little Ponies. He was also a devout Tolkien fan, making The Hobbit a more familiar story for me growing up than Noah’s Ark. I first saw and fell in love with Star Wars because he was a big scifi fan. My passion for technology was sparked when his brother at IBM shipped us our first computer and he told me stories about talking to people from around the world on his HAM radios. He was also an artist, with his drawings of horses being among my favorites growing up. Quite the Renaissance man. Just this year, when my grandmother passed, I was honored received several of his favorite things that she had kept, including a painting that hung in our house growing up, a video of his time at college and photos that highlighted his love of travel.

He was also very hard on me. Every time I excelled, he pushed harder. Unfortunately it felt like “I could never do good enough” when in fact I now believe he pushed me for my own good, I could usually take it and I’m ultimately better for it. I know he was also supremely disappointed that I never went to college, something that was very important to him. This all took me some time to reconcile, but deep down I know my father loved my sisters and I very much, and regardless of what we accomplished I’m sure he’d be proud of all of us.

And he struggled with alcoholism. It’s something I’ve tended to gloss over in most public discussions about him because it’s so painful. It’s had a major impact on my life, I’m pretty much as text book example of “eldest child of an alcoholic” as you can get. It also tore apart my family and inevitably lead to my father’s death from cirrhosis of the liver. For a long time I was angry with him. Why couldn’t he give it up for his family? Not even to save his own life? I’ve since come to understand that alcoholism is a terrible, destructive thing and for many people it’s a lifelong battle that requires a tremendous amount of support from family and community. While I may have gotten genetic fun bag of dyslexia, migraines and seizures from my father, I’m routinely thankful I didn’t inherit the predisposition toward alcoholism.

And so, on this sad anniversary, I won’t be having an drink to his life. Instead I think I’ll honor his memory by spending the evening working on one of the many projects that his legacy inspired and brings me so much joy. I love you, Daddy.

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

My Letter to the Editor: Make Your Voice Heard On 'Live Exponentially'

Akkana Peck - Mon, 2014-12-08 01:05

More on the Los Alamos "Live Exponentially" slogan saga: There's been a flurry of letters, all opposed to the proposed slogan, in the Los Alamos Daily Post these last few weeks.

And now the issue is back on the council agenda; apparently they're willing to reconsider the October vote to spend another $50,000 on the slogan.

But considering that only two people showed up to that October meeting, I wrote a letter to the Post urging people to speak before the council: Letter to the Editor: Attend Tuesday's Council Meeting To Make Your Voice Heard On 'Live Exponentially'.

I'll be there. I've never actually spoken at a council meeting before, but hey, confidence in public speaking situations is what Toastmasters is all about, right?

(Even though it means I'll have to miss an interesting sounding talk on bats that conflicts with the council meeting. Darn it!)

A few followup details that I had no easy way to put into the Post letter:

The page with the links to Council meeting agendas and packets is here: Los Alamos County Calendar.

There, you can get the short Agenda for Tuesday's meeting, or the full 364 page Agenda Packets PDF.

[Breathtaking raised to the power of you] The branding section covers pages 93 - 287. But the graphics the council apparently found so compelling, which swayed several of them from initially not liking the slogan to deciding to spend a quarter million dollars on it, are in the final presentation from the marketing company, starting on page p. 221 of the PDF.

In particular, a series of images like this one, with the snappy slogan:

Breathtaking raised to the power of you
LIVE EXPONENTIALLY

That's right: the advertising graphics that were so compelling they swayed most of the council are even dumber than the slogan by itself. Love the superscript on the you that makes it into an exponent. Get it ... exponentially? Oh, now it all makes sense!

There's also a sadly funny "Written Concept" section just before the graphics (pages 242- in the PDF) where they bend over backward to work in scientific-sounding words, in bold each time.

But there you go. Hopefully some of those Post letter writers will come to the meeting and let the council know what they think.

The council will also be discussing the much debated proposed chicken ordinance; that discussion runs from page 57 to 92 of the PDF. It's a non-issue for Dave and me since we're in a rural zone that already allows chickens, but I hope they vote to allow them everywhere.

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

December 2014 OpenStack Infrastructure User Manual Sprint

Elizabeth Krumbach - Wed, 2014-12-03 16:30

Back in April, the OpenStack Infrastructure project create the Infrastructure User Manual. This manual sought consolidate our existing documentation for Developers, Core Reviewers and Project Drivers, which was spread across wiki pages, project-specific documentation files and general institutional knowledge that was mostly just in our brains.

Books

In July, at our mid-cycle sprint, Anita Kuno drove a push to start getting this document populated. There was some success here, we had a couple of new contributors. Unfortunately, after the mid-cycle reviews only trickled in and vast segments of the manual remained empty.

At the summit, we had a session to plan out how to change this and announced an online sprint in the new #openstack-sprint channel (see here for scheduling: https://wiki.openstack.org/wiki/VirtualSprints). We hosted the sprint on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

Over these 2 days we collaborated on an etherpad so no one was duplicating work and we all did a lot of reviewing. Contributors worked to flesh out missing pieces of the guide and added a Project Creator’s section to the manual.

We’re now happy to report, that with the exception of the Third Party section of the manual (to be worked on collaboratively with the broader Third Party community at a later date), our manual is looking great!

The following are some stats about our sprint gleaned from Gerrit and Stackalytics:

Sprint start
  • Patches open for review: 10
  • Patches merged in total repo history: 13
Sprint end:
  • Patches open for review: 3, plus 2 WIP (source)
  • Patches merged during sprint: 30 (source)
  • Reviews: Over 200 (source)

We also have 16 patches for documentation in flight that were initiated or reviewed elsewhere in the openstack-infra project during this sprint, including the important reorganization of the git-review documentation (source)

Finally, thanks to sprint participants who joined me for this sprint, sorted chronologically by reviews: Andreas Jaeger, James E. Blair, Anita Kuno, Clark Boylan, Spencer Krum, Jeremy Stanley, Doug Hellmann, Khai Do, Antoine Musso, Stefano Maffulli, Thierry Carrez and Yolanda Robla

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

LAST CALL - Christmas Cards!

Gina Feichtinger - Wed, 2014-12-03 16:11
Since a lot of people seem to get into the mood for Christmas it might be a good time for this...
I can't promise I'll manage to write them all but I'd still like to try and send out Christmas cards again this year. The cards will possibly be of the traditional variety so if you don't care for those you can skip this post.
If you'd like to receive a card (again, no promise I'll be able to make it) please comment with your name/address (will be screened) - even if you think I got your address.
If you'd like to send us a Christmas card you're very welcome to do so but don't feel obliged! Our address is available on request via comment/e-mail if you're not sure you have the right one (if you have the ZIP code 1230 then it is)...

This entry was originally posted at http://nilasae.dreamwidth.org/199613.html.
Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

on the first day of December

Jacqueline McNally - Mon, 2014-12-01 06:06

Santa hasn’t visited for quite a few years now. Not sure whether that is because I’ve ‘grown up’ or I’ve been naughty, but I’m still a kid at heart when it comes to having an advent calendar to anticipate the 25th December.

This year, Christmas New Year close down at work is 12 noon 24th December. So my special calendar is also to count the days until the holidays.

I often buy a cardboard advent calendar with perforated doors to open to chocolates with a Christmas motif. Last year, because of the heat, the chocolates did not release from the plastic mould in which they were held. So this year, I decided to make my own advent calendar.

I remembered that I had a collection of envelopes from birthdays and previous Christmas cards, so decided to place these in the shape of a Christmas tree on the wall. The envelopes contain my/our favourite chocolates, that is, milk chocolate Baci, white chocolate Baci, and Guylian chocolate sea shells. The tinsel star is from our box of tree decorations.

advent calendar 2014

In hindsight, I perhaps should have chosen some flatter chocolates, but the flat envelopes will help to indicate that a particular day has been reached.

I don’t know whether we are going to have similar temperatures to last year, but at least I will be able to lick the chocolate off the foil wrapper this year.

The advent calendar has also assisted me to declutter my writing compendium of 24 used envelopes. But now I don’t know whether to continue to collect, or whether I will be able to reuse my reused envelopes.

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Make a Birthday Card for Mom in Linux With Scribus

Carla Schroder (O'Reilly articles) - Sun, 2014-10-12 16:15
A good project for getting familiar with Scribus is to create a cheery greeting card. Let's say we have a nice color printer and some good card stock, and we're making Mom a birthday card. Moms love photos of their kids, so find a nice one of yourself. Open Scribus, click the New Document tab, and set your page size and orientation (figure 2). My example is US Letter, landscape, two-sided.
Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Assorted Fun Linux Command Line Hacks

Carla Schroder (O'Reilly articles) - Thu, 2014-10-09 17:15
Today's fun command line festivities are inspired by Command Line Magic, who hangs out on Twitter sharing excellent Linux command line incantations for all occasions. Today's assortment includes shell rainbows, Is the Internet on Fire?, Star Wars Traceroute, and creating annoying sounds from the console.
Categories: LinuxChix bloggers
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