Thu, 1970-01-01 00:00

Testing A11y in Plasma 5

Valorie Zimmerman 2 - Mon, 2014-10-27 07:09
I made the jump on all available computers, and am now running Plasma5 on the foundation of Kubuntu 14.10 everywhere. Once the upgrade work was done, I filed a few bugs, and then wanted to test accessibility (often abbreviated a11y), since Qt5 has a11y built-in.

Jpwhiting in #kde-accessibility found Frederik's blog: http://blogs.fsfe.org/gladhorn/, where I found that the key was setting up the environment to expose KDE software to the mostly-GNOME a11y applications. For now this must be done via the commandline:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.a11y.applications screen-reader-enabled true

It is a work-around, but it works!

Once orca is installed, and the environment is set up, you will hear each letter as you type, and when you open menus, they are read aloud. I understand it will read IRC channels aloud, but I don't want this! Some people use this method to study while they do something else, which sounds cool.

KDE developers, please test your ported code for accessibility. If you don't have time, please ask for testers to file bugs.

Distro testers, please test your install screens and upgrade paths for, at the very least, successful screen reading. There is really is now no excuse to keep blind users from using our wonderful software.

Qt 5 is accessible! Are we using it to serve our blind users?
Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Partial solar eclipse, with amazing sunspots

Akkana Peck - Fri, 2014-10-24 15:15

[Partial solar eclipse, with sunspots] We had perfect weather for the partial solar eclipse yesterday. I invited some friends over for an eclipse party -- we set up a couple of scopes with solar filters, put out food and drink and had an enjoyable afternoon.

And what views! The sunspot group right on the center of the sun's disk was the most large and complex I'd ever seen, and there were some much smaller, more subtle spots in the path of the eclipse. Meanwhile, the moon's limb gave us a nice show of mountains and crater rims silhouetted against the sun.

I didn't do much photography, but I did hold the point-and-shoot up to the eyepiece for a few shots about twenty minutes before maximum eclipse, and was quite pleased with the result.

An excellent afternoon. And I made too much blueberry bread and far too many oatmeal cookies ... so I'll have sweet eclipse memories for quite some time.

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

3 weeks at home

Elizabeth Krumbach - Wed, 2014-10-22 23:17

I am sitting in a hotel room in Raleigh where I’m staying for a conference, but prior to this I had a full 3 weeks at home! I was the longest stretch I’ve had in months, even my gallbladder removal surgery didn’t afford me a full 3 weeks. Unfortunately during this blessed 3 weeks home MJ was out of town for a full 2 weeks of it. It also decided to be summer time in San Francisco (typical of early October) with temperatures rising to 90F for several days and our condo not cooling off. Some days it made work a challenge as I sometimes fled to coffee shops. The cats didn’t seem amused by this either.

The time at home alone did give me a chance to chill out at home and listen to the Giants playoff games on the little AM radio I had set up in our living room. As any good pseudo-fan does I only loosely keep up with the team during the actual season, going to actual games only here and there as I have the opportunity, which I didn’t this year (too much travel + gallbladder). It felt nice to sit and listen to the games as I got some work done in the evenings. I did learn how much modern technology gets in the way of AM reception though, as I listened to the quality tank when I turned on the track lighting in my living room or random times when my highrise neighbors must have been doing something.

Fleet week also came to San Francisco while I was home. I think I’ve only actually been in town for it twice, so it was a nice treat. To add to the fun I was meeting up with a friend to work on some OpenStack stuff on Sunday when they were doing their final show and her office offers amazing floor to ceiling windows with a stunning view of the bay. Perfect for watching the show!

I also did manage to get out for some non-work social time with a couple friends, and finally made it out to Off the Grid in the Marina for some street food adventuring. I hadn’t been before because I’m not the biggest fan of food trucks, the food is fine but you end up standing while eating, making a mess, and not getting a meal for all that cheaper than you would if you just went to a proper restaurant with tables. Maybe I’m just a giant snob, but it was an interesting experience, and I got to take the cable car home, so that’s always fun.

And now Raleigh. I’m here for All Things Open which I’ll be blogging about soon. This kicked off about 3 weeks away from home, so I had to pack accordingly:

After Raleigh I’ll be flying to Miami for a cousin’s wedding, then staying several extra days in a beach hotel where I’ll be working (and taking breaks to visit the ocean!). At the end of the week I’m flying to Paris for the OpenStack Summit for a week. I’ve never been to Paris before so I’m really looking forward to that. When the conference wraps up I’m flying back stateside for another wedding for a family member, this time in Philadelphia. So during this time I’ll get to see MJ twice, as we meet in cities for weddings. Thankfully I head home after that, but then we’re off for a proper vacation a few days later – to Jamaica! Then maybe I’ll spend all of December in a stay-at-home coma, but I’ll probably end up going somewhere because apparently I really like airplanes. Plus December would be the only month I didn’t fly, and I can’t have that.

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Session notes/research for Linux Unplugged 63

Valorie Zimmerman 2 - Wed, 2014-10-22 05:56
Interview today for Linux Unplugged 63 which was fun! However we never discussed Kubuntu, which I understood was the subject. I had gotten together facts and links in case they were needed, so I thought I would post them in case anybody needs the information.

Created and supported by community: http://www.kubuntu.org/support
Professional support for users: http://kubuntu.emerge-open.com/buy
Support by Blue Systems to some developers & projects:
Infrastructure support by Ubuntu, KDE, Blue Systems and Debian
Governance: Kubuntu Council https://launchpad.net/~kubuntu-council

How to contact us: kubuntu.org, freenode irc: #kubuntu (-devel), kubuntu-user list, kubuntu-devel list, kubuntuforum
  - Documentation on KDE userbase: http://userbase.kde.org/Kubuntu
  - Kubuntu in the news: http://wire.kubuntu.org/

* our "upstream" KDE is also making big changes, starting by splitting kdelibs into the Frameworks, and basing them on Qt5
  - that work is largely done, although of course each library is being improved as time goes along. Releases monthly.
  - We're writing a KDE Frameworks book; more about that at books.kde.org
  - Developers: apidox at api.kde.org

* KDE has now released Plasma 5, based on those new frameworks
  - that is nearly done, and 5.1 was released 15 Oct.
  - lots of excitement around that, because it looks and works really elegant, smooth and modern
  - Riddell: 14.12 release of KDE Applications will be in December with a mix of Qt 4 and Qt 5 apps, they should both work equally well on your Plasma 4 or 5 desktop and look the same with the classic Oxygen or lovely new Breeze themes

*  so our upstream is up to lots of new wonderful stuff, including using CI too (CI: continuous integration with automated testing)

* meanwhile, bugfixes continue on KDE4:

* Our base for 14.10 (codename Utopic Unicorn) is that stable KDE platform.
* At the same time, we are releasing weekly ISOs of Plasma 5, to make
it easy for people to test
 - Riddell: We're releasing a tech preview of Kubuntu Plasma 5 as part of 14.10 for people to test. I'm using it daily and it's working great but expect testers to be competent enough to check for and report beasties

* we're following along to KDE's CI effort, and doing that with our packages
  - see #kubuntu-ci IRC channel for the reports as they are generated
 - Riddell: gory details at http://kci.pangea.pub/
 - packages built constantly to check for any updates that need changed

* Our new packaging is now in Debian git, so we can share packaging work
  - as time goes on, all our packaging files will be there
  - tooling such as packaging scripts are being updated
  - Debian and Kubuntu packagers will both save time which they can use to improve quality

* moving from LightDM to SDDM (Simple Desktop Display Manager), KDE/Qt default
graphical login program

* moving to systemd replacing upstart along with Debian and Ubuntu at some point in the future

* moving to Wayland when it is ready along with KDE (Kwin); now on xorg windowing system. We do not plan to use Ubuntu's Mir

* Testing until release (please!) on the 23rd:

* Testing Plasma 5:
(fresh install)

* Another way we stay close to KDE is that since Ubuntu stopped inviting community members to participate in face-to-face meetings, we have a Kubuntu Day with Akademy, KDE's annual meeting. Thanks to the Ubuntu Contributors who paid the travel costs for some of us to attend


--
Thanks to Jonathan Riddell for his clarifications and corrections
Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

A surprise in the mousetrap

Akkana Peck - Wed, 2014-10-22 01:37

I went out this morning to check the traps, and found the mousetrap full ... of something large and not at all mouse-like.

[young bullsnake] It was a young bullsnake. Now slender and maybe a bit over two feet long, it will eventually grow into a larger relative of the gopher snakes that I used to see back in California. (I had a gopher snake as a pet when I was in high school -- they're harmless, non-poisonous and quite docile.)

The snake watched me alertly as I peered in, but it didn't seem especially perturbed to be trapped. In fact, it was so non-perturbed that when I opened the trap, the snake stayed right where it was. It had found a nice comfortable resting place, and it wasn't very interested in moving on a cold morning.

I had to poke it gently through the bars, hold the trap vertically and shake for a while before the snake grudgingly let go and slithered out onto the ground.

I wondered if it had found its way into the trap by chasing a mouse, but I didn't see any swellings that looked like it had eaten recently. I'm fairly sure it wasn't interested in the peanut butter bait.

I released the snake in a spot near the shed where the mousetrap is set up. There are certainly plenty of mice there for it to eat, and gophers when it gets a little larger, and there are lots of nice black basalt boulders to use for warming up in the morning, and gopher holes to hide in. I hope it sticks around -- gopher/bullsnakes are good neighbors.

[young bullsnake caught in mousetrap]

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Start your Season of KDE engines!

Valorie Zimmerman 2 - Mon, 2014-10-20 06:28
Season of KDE (#SoK2014) was delayed a bit, but we're in business now:

http://heenamahour.blogspot.in/2014/10/season-of-kde-2014.html

Please stop by the ideas page if you need an idea. Otherwise, contact a KDE devel you've worked with before, and propose a project idea.

Once you have something, please head over to the Season of KDE website: https://season.kde.org and jump in. You can begin work as soon as you have a mentor sign off on your plan.

Student application deadline: Oct 31 2014, 12:00 am UTC - so spread the word! #SoK2014

Go go go!
Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Aspens are turning the mountains gold

Akkana Peck - Thu, 2014-10-16 19:37

Last week both of the local mountain ranges turned gold simultaneously as the aspens turned. Here are the Sangre de Cristos on a stormy day:

[Sangre de Cristos gold with aspens]

And then over the weekend, a windstorm blew a lot of those leaves away, and a lot of the gold is gone now. But the aspen groves are still beautiful up close ... here's one from Pajarito Mountain yesterday.

[Sangre de Cristos gold with aspens]

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

Railroading exponentially

Akkana Peck - Sat, 2014-10-11 18:54
or: Smart communities can still be stupid

I attended my first Los Alamos County Council meeting yesterday. What a railroad job!

The controversial issue of the day was the town's "branding". Currently, as you drive into Los Alamos on highway 502, you pass a tasteful rock sign proclaiming "LOS ALAMOS: WHERE DISCOVERIES ARE MADE". But back in May, the county council announced the unanimous approval of a new slogan, for which they'd paid an ad agency some $55,000: "LIVE EXPONENTIALLY".

As you might expect in a town full of scientists, the announcement was greeted with much dismay. What is it supposed to mean, anyway? Is it a reference to exponential population growth? Malignant tumor growth? Gaining lots of weight as we age?

The local online daily, tired of printing the flood of letters protesting the stupid new slogan, ran a survey about the "Live Exponentially" slogan. The results were that 8.24% liked it, 72.61% didn't, and 19.16% didn't like it and offered alternatives or comments. My favorites were Dave's suggestion of "It's Da Bomb!", and a suggestion from another reader, "Discover Our Secrets"; but many of the alternate suggestions were excellent, or hilarious, or both -- follow the link to read them all.

For further giggles, try a web search on the term. If you search without quotes, Ebola tops the list. With quotes, you get mostly religious tracts and motivational speakers. The Council Meeting (The rest of this is probably only of interest to Los Alamos folk.)

Dave read somewhere -- it wasn't widely announced -- that Friday's council meeting included an agenda item to approve spending $225,000 -- yes, nearly a quarter of a million dollars -- on "brand implementation". Of course, we had to go.

In the council discussion leading up to the call for public comment, everyone spoke vaguely of "branding" without mentioning the slogan. Maybe they hoped no one would realize what they were really voting for. But in the call for public comment, Dave raised the issue and urged them to reconsider the slogan.

Kristin Henderson seemed to have quite a speech prepared. She acknowledged that "people who work with math" universally thought the slogan was stupid, but she said that people from a liberal arts background, like herself, use the term to mean hiking, living close to nature, listening to great music, having smart friends and all the other things that make this such a great place to live. (I confess to being skeptical -- I can't say I've ever heard "exponential" used in that way.)

Henderson also stressed the research and effort that had already gone into choosing the current slogan, and dismissed the idea that spending another $50,000 on top of the $55k already spent would be "throwing money after bad." She added that showing the community some images to go with the slogan might change people's minds.

David Izraelevitz admitted that being an engineer, he initially didn't like "Live Exponentially". But he compared it to Apple's "Think Different": though some might think it ungrammatical, it turned out to be a highly successful brand because it was coupled with pictures of Gandhi and Einstein. (Hmm, maybe that slogan should be "Live Exponential".)

Izraelevitz described how he convinced a local business owner by showing him the ad agency's full presentation, with pictures as well as the slogan, and said that we wouldn't know how effective the slogan was until we'd spent the $50k for logo design and an implementation plan. If the council didn't like the results they could choose not to go forward with the remaining $175,000 for "brand implementation". (Councilor Fran Berting had previously gotten clarification that those two parts of the proposal were separate.)

Rick Reiss said that what really mattered was getting business owners to approve the new branding -- "the people who would have to use it." It wasn't so important what people in the community thought, since they didn't have logos or ads that might incorporate the new branding.

Pete Sheehey spoke up as the sole dissenter. He pointed out that most of the community input on the slogan has been negative, and that should be taken into account. The proposed slogan might have a positive impact on some people but it would have a negative impact on others, and he couldn't support the proposal.

Fran Berting said she was "not all that taken" with the slogan, but agreed with Izraelevitz that we wouldn't know if it was any good without spending the $50k. She echoed the "so much work has already gone into it" argument. Reiss also echoed "so much work", and that he liked the slogan because he saw it in print with a picture.

But further discussion was cut off. It was 1:30, the fixed end time for the meeting, and chairman Geoff Rodgers (who had pretty much stayed out of the discussion to this point) called for a vote. When the roll call got to Sheehey, he objected to the forced vote while they were still in the middle of a discussion. But after a brief consultation on Robert's Rules of Order, chairman Rogers declared the discussion over and said the vote would continue. The motion was approved 5-1. The Exponential Railroad

Quite a railroading. One could almost think it had been planned that way.

First, the item was listed as one of two in the "Consent Agenda" -- items which were expected to be approved all together in one vote with no discussion or public comment. It was moved at the last minute into "Business"; but that put it last on the agenda.

Normally that wouldn't have mattered. But although the council more often meets in the evenings and goes as long as it needs to, Friday's meeting had a fixed time of noon to 1:30. Even I could see that wasn't much time for all the items on the agenda.

And that mid-day timing meant that working folk weren't likely to be able to listen or comment. Further, the branding issue didn't come up until 1 pm, after some of the audience had already left to go back to work. As a result, there were only two public comments. Logic deficit

I heard three main arguments repeated by every council member who spoke in favor:

  1. the slogan makes much more sense when viewed with pictures -- they all voted for it because they'd seen it presented with visuals;
  2. a lot of time, effort and money has already gone into this slogan, so it didn't make sense to drop it now; and
  3. if they didn't like the logo after spending the first $50k, they didn't have to approve the other $175k.

The first argument doesn't make any sense. If the pictures the council saw were so convincing, why weren't they showing those images to the public? Why spend an additional $50,000 for different pictures? I guess $50k is just pocket change, and anyone who thinks it's a lot of money is just being silly.

As for the second and third, they contradict each other. If most of the board thinks now that the initial $50k contract was so much work that we have to go forward with the next $50k, what are the chances that they'll decide not to continue after they've already invested $100k?

Exponentially low, I'd say.

I was glad of one thing, though. As a newcomer to the area faced with a ballot next month, it was good to see the council members in action, seeing their attitudes toward spending and how much they care about community input. That will be helpful come ballot time.

If you're in the same boat but couldn't make the meeting, catch the October 10, 2014 County Council Meeting video.

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

Wikimania London

Finne Boonen - Sun, 2014-09-28 12:56

Wikimania in London this year was huge, bigger then any of the previous Wikimania’s I’ve been too. (So, excluding DC & Hong Kong). The amount of people made it easy to get lost but it also meant there was a lot of options in content which is a big plus if you’re not big on GLAM or (gender) diversity.

After two-three years of pretty much anything *wiki* hiatus the WMN scholarship that I got and the geographic proximity tipped the balance towards going to Wikimania once more. As a result of the hiatus Wikimania this Wikimania was about the most non-committed one I’ve been too since Frankfurt. Which made for an interesting contrast. For me this Wikimania compared most to Boston, many non-incrowd people and many people on the fringes of the wider Wiki world but who are interested because it’s Wikipedia (and it’s close by).

Luckily there were several people that I’d met before who introduced me to near-future project that would catch my interest (Next years European hackathon, November Amsterdam hackathon). But in some ways it felt like the first Wikimania I ever attended where I felt lost and very confused on how I could get involved with anything beyond editing articles.

I’m going to hang out in irc://freenode.org/#wikimedia-research and work on some pet projects (editor retention) once I hand in my masters thesis so that’s at least one personal goal for Wikimania achieved.

I managed to miss Lieven Scheire’s act but I hope to catch him at the Dutch wikiconference on nov 1st.

 

 

 

 

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Bash Arrays

Renata - Wed, 2014-08-27 17:47

Arrays are helpful, and I’ll give some examples for reference. They can be a little bit confusing, but once you get used to them, it’s easy!

First you initialize the arrays

cat[1]="Bub"
cat[2]="Grumpy"
cat[3]="Luna"

feat[1]="cute"
feat[2]="terrible"
feat[3]="fashion"

Then you use them as you wish. You can, at first, just list them individually

echo "${cat[3]} is ${feat[1]}"

or list all of the items in a specific array
echo “Cats I like: ${cat[@]}”

Something like that would also work:

for i in {1..3}
do
echo "${cat[i]} is ${feat[i]}!"
done

That opens many possibilities. Life is not only about internet cats (although it sometimes seems so).

Make good use of your arrays, they’re great!

(I takes me 8 months to update the site and I write a silly post about bash arrays, I know. Sorry, I was thinking about them.)

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Ditch Agile, Go With Common Sense

L J Laubenheimer (Iconoclast Blast) - Tue, 2014-07-15 17:40
I am so sick of Agile I could puke. Agile "methods" and "processes" are often used as a bludgeon to enforce the great speedup, doing more, faster, with fewer resources. I see estimations forced into the PM or manager's demanded hard deadline, hours getting longer because of wasted time in meetings, and "rapid" deployment of garbage code that needs to be rolled back because no integration testing was done (eliminating QA does that to you.)
Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

How To ***REALLY*** Advocate for the Customer

L J Laubenheimer (Iconoclast Blast) - Tue, 2014-07-15 17:32
I occasionally see job ads for "customer advocates" or "customer evangelists". They all turn out to be sales and marketing, that is, advocating or evangelizing stuff to the would-be user. That is so ass-backwards that it makes me foam at the mouth.
Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

SCaLE 12x Pics From Around the Web!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Los Angeles Chapter - Fri, 2014-03-14 23:14
The Tres Chix rocked it @ SCaLE 12x!!!!

The Tres Chix rocked it @ SCaLE 12x!!!!
Picture From the SCALE 12x Official Pics Site
https://www.flickr.com/search/?q=scale12x&s=rec

We won!!!! by Phillip Banks!

We won “Biggest SCaLE Spirit” and “Best Crowd Pleaser” Awards @ SCaLE 12x!  We won!  We won!!  We won!!!
Picture by Phillip Banks

And we got our own hashtag on Instagram thanks to TrueAbility!

Thomas Stocking ‏@ThomasStocking Feb 22 Expo has plenty of life for open source software geeks like me at #scale12x pic.twitter.com/3pXObnsF6p

Thomas Stocking ‏@ThomasStocking Feb 22
Expo has plenty of life for open source software geeks like me at #scale12x pic.twitter.com/3pXObnsF6p

 

A penguin on the loose at #scale12x pic.twitter.com/1Djo0ckPy3

A penguin on the loose at #scale12x pic.twitter.com/1Djo0ckPy3

 

randalschwartz 3 weeks ago · SCaLE 12x Audience for my talk at #scale12x

Audience for my talk at #scale12x
randal-schwartz

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers
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