About LinuxChix Live

LinuxChix Live is a collection of weblog entries by members of LinuxChix.

LinuxChix Live is automatically generated from the RSS/Atom feeds of contributor's weblogs and includes personal, political and technical writing as they choose. All entries remain the copyright of the individual contributors.

If you would like your entries included, please contact us and tell us the URL of your RSS or Atom feed. Please use the Feed Validator to check your feed before sending it in.

Back from PyCon

Akkana Peck - Thu, 2014-04-17 16:20

I'm back from Montreal, settling back in.

The PiDoorbell tutorial went well, in the end. Of course just about everything that could go wrong, did. The hard-wired ethernet connection we'd been promised didn't materialize, and there was no way to get the Raspberry Pis onto the conference wi-fi because it used browser authentication (it still baffles me why anyone still uses that! Browser authentication made sense in 2007 when lots of people only had 801.11g and couldn't do WPA; it makes absolutely zero sense now).

Anyway, lacking a sensible way to get everyone's Pis on the net, Deepa stepped as network engineer for the tutorial and hooked up the router she had brought to her laptop's wi-fi connection so the Pis could route through that.

Then we found we had too few SD cards. We didn't realize why until afterward: when we compared the attendee count to the sign-up list we'd gotten, we had quite a few more attendees than we'd planned for. We had a few extra SD cards, but not enough, so I and a couple of the other instructors/TAs had to loan out SD cards we'd brought for our own Pis. ("Now edit /etc/network/interfaces ... okay, pretend you didn't see that, that's the password for my home router, now delete that and change it to ...")

Then some of the SD cards turned out not to have been updated with the latest packages, Mac users couldn't find the drivers to run the serial cable, Windows users (or was it Macs?) had trouble setting static ethernet addresses so they could ssh to the Pi, all the problems we'd expected and a few we hadn't.

But despite all the problems, the TAs: Deepa (who was more like a co-presenter than a TA), Serpil, Lyz and Stuart, plus Rupa and I, were able to get everyone working. All the attendees got their LEDs blinking, their sonar rangefinders rangefinding, and the PiDoorbell script running. Many people brought cameras and got their Pis snapping pictures when the sensor registered someone in front of it. Time restrictions and network problems meant that most people didn't get the Dropbox and Twilio registration finished to get notifications sent to their phones, but that's okay -- we knew that was a long shot, and everybody got far enough that they can add the network notifications later if they want.

And the most important thing is that everybody looked like they were having a good time. We haven't seen the reviews (I'm not sure if PyCon shares reviews with the tutorial instructors; I hope so, but a lot of conferences don't) but I hope everybody had fun and felt like they got something out of it.

The rest of PyCon was excellent, too. I went to some great talks, got lots of ideas for new projects and packages I want to try, had fun meeting new people, and got to see a little of Montreal. And ate a lot of good food.

Now I'm back in the land of enchantment, with its crazy weather -- we've gone from snow to sun to cold breezes to HOT to threatening thunderstorm in the couple of days I've been back. Never a dull moment! I confess I'm missing those chocolate croissants for breakfast just a little bit. We still don't have internet: it's nearly 9 weeks since Comcast's first visit, and their latest prediction (which changes every time I talk to them) is a week from today.

But it's warm and sunny this morning, there's a white-crowned sparrow singing outside the window, and I've just seen our first hummingbird (a male -- I think it's a broad-tailed, but it'll take a while to be confident of IDs on all these new-to-me birds). PyCon was fun -- but it's nice to be home.

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Finding a Tahr (or two!)

Elizabeth Krumbach - Wed, 2014-04-16 22:16

Tomorrow the next Ubuntu Long Term Support (LTS) release comes out, 14.04, development code name Trusty Tahr. In preparation, I was putting together some materials for our release event next week and found myself looking for the Tahr artwork when I remembered that it was included in the installer. So now I’ll share it with you as well!

If you go to this source page you will see a “download file” link which will allow you to download a .png of the tahr artwork.

Trusty Tahr

I haven’t found an svg version of this logo, but I’ll be sure to update this post if I do.

Looking for something slightly different? The Xubuntu team also included a tahr in our installer, created by Simon Steinbeiß:


This png has transparency, which make it show grey on white, but you can flavor it with any color you wish!

You can grab it at this source page where you will see the “download file” link. I’ve also uploaded the svg: art_tahr.svg

Enjoy! And happy release everyone!

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

PyCon 2014 wrap-up

Elizabeth Krumbach - Mon, 2014-04-14 00:48

As I mentioned in my post about the PiDoorbell workshop, this past week I attended my first PyCon in beautiful (if chilly) Montreal, QC. I did some touristing, but I’ll write about that once I have all my photos up…

But now, the conference!

It was the first conference I’ve attended where I volunteered to help out with the HP booth. I was worried that my role as an engineer on the OpenStack project would leave me completely unprepared to answer questions about HP specifically, but I was instead greeted with kinship among most folks who I spoke with as they could appreciate HP’s investment in open source (and Python). I was also pleased to learn that the guys from the local HP office who came to help out with the booth were also all engineers, focused on either network or printing. Having the actual engineers to helped design the hardware we had on display at the booth was really cool.

Plus, I’m sure it helped that we have a bunch of open Python, OpenStack and other cloud jobs, so plenty of folks were eager to hear about those.

I wasn’t at the booth all weekend, I attended all the keynotes and several talks throughout the event. I think my favorite talks ended up being Track memory leaks in Python by Victor Stinner, Subprocess to FFI: Memory, Performance, and Why You Shouldn’t Shell Out by Christine Spang and In Depth PDB by Nathan Yergler. Upon reflection this makes sense given my work in ops, I’m much more likely to be debugging Python code in my typical day than writing something, so the talks about tracking down problems and performance issues are right up my alley.

The keynotes all three days were great. On Sunday I was particularly struck by the conference gender diversity. In addition to having a reported 1/3 female speakers and attendees, all the leadership in the Python community seem genuinely dedicated to the issue. I’m so used to projects that are still arguing over whether a problem exists let alone taking solid, unapologetic steps to correct the cultural bias. So thank you Python community, for giving us an opportunity to catch up, it’s working!

And finally, since I can’t go anywhere anymore without getting pulled into an OpenStack event, I finally met Dana Bauer from Rackspace this week and she invited me to come help out with a short OpenStack workshop for women on Sunday morning from 10 until noon. The lab they had set up didn’t quite work out, but it gave attendees the opportunity to go in the direction they wanted to. I was able to help a bit here and there, and James E. Blair gave a mini-presentation to a few folks on how to get going with DevStack.

At lunch I was able to meet up with Tatiana Al-Chueyr to chat some about the contribution workflow for OpenStack, which is always a lot of fun for me.

I’m pretty much exhausted from all the socializing, but as always with these conferences it was great to meet up with and chat with friends I haven’t seen in a long time. Thanks to everyone for such a fun week!

Tonight the weather started to turn chilly again, time to head home.

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

San Francisco 14.04 Release Party on April 24th

Elizabeth Krumbach - Sun, 2014-04-13 21:25

The release of Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty Tahr) LTS is coming up on Thursday, April 17th!

To celebrate, the Ubuntu California team in San Francisco will be hosting an Ubuntu release party at AdRoll! Huge thanks to them for offering us space for this event.

AdRoll

AdRoll is located at 972 Mission Street in San Francisco. It’s within easy walking distance of the Powell Street BART and MUNI stations, which we recommend since parking can be expensive downtown.

Our party will be very casual with free pizza and drinks for attendees. But we do have planned…

  • Mini presentation highlighting Ubuntu 14.04 features
  • Laptops running various flavors of 14.04
  • Tablets and phones running the latest Ubuntu build
  • Ubuntu quiz, with prizes!

So if you’re in the area and would like to join us, please RSVP here:

San Francisco Trusty Release Party

Alternatively you can email me directly at lyz@ubuntu.com and I’ll get you added to the attendee list.

I'm going to the Ubuntu Release Party

San Francisco isn’t the only active part of the state this release, San Diego is also hosting an event, on April 17th, details here. If you’re near Los Angeles, Nathan Haines is collaborating with the Orange County Linux Users Group (OCLUG) to do an installfest on Saturday May 24th, learn more here.

Not in California? Events are coming together all around the world, check out the LoCo Team Portal to see if there is an event being planned in your area: 14.04 Release Parties.

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

PiDoorbell workshop at PyCon 2014 was a success!

Elizabeth Krumbach - Sun, 2014-04-13 12:16

This week I had the opportunity to attend PyCon for the first time. Since beginning to use Python in my systems work so much last year, I’ve had increasing interest in participating in this conference in some capacity, so when the opportunity came around at work to staff the HP booth here in Montreal I was happy to volunteer.

I was also brought to PyCon to be a Teaching Assistant for the Build your own PiDoorbell ! – Learn Home Automation with Python with fellow CodeChix members Rupa Dachere, Akkana Peck, Deepa Karnad Dhurka, Serpil Bayraktar and Stuart Easson.

We spent several weeks preparing for this tutorial. I made the trek down to Palo Alto twice to attend mini-sprints so we could test out the instructions in person prior to the event. We were able to add a number of improvements to both the code and documentation through these events and worked out some of the logistical issues of doing such a hardware event at a conference venue.


Workshop leads and TAs

The actual tutorial was held on Wednesday afternoon. Attendees quickly piled in and we were able to distribute our kits. Somehow we ended up with a few too many registrants but were able to scramble together a few extra pieces to make it work for everyone.

The tutorial was split into several sections, with the tutorial leads (Rupa and Akkana) giving presentations and us TAs going around and helping everyone with their setups when they got stuck. The biggest challenge for most was getting their system to talk to the Raspberry Pi, as we had folks on various operating systems with all kinds of network and USB setups.

Once we got everyone talking to the Pis, it was time for the fun stuff! Akkana gave a great presentation that was a tour of the hardware of the Raspberry Pi, including the setup of the GPIO pins configuration. For more about some cool hardware stuff she’s been doing with the Pi, I highly recommend her blog posts on the topic.

Then we had an led.py script to allow folks to make an LED blink:

As you can see, we’re using solderless breadboards so we didn’t have the complexity of soldering, thank goodness.

Then came the meat of the tutorial, wiring up the distance sensor (and camera if they had one) to actually detect when objects passed and take a photo. I brought along both my Raspberry Pi NoIR Camera Board – Infrared-sensitive Camera and my webcam from my desk at home so attendees could play around with them if they didn’t have ones of their own.

The last step was using Dropbox and Twilio to have a space to upload the photo to and then send out a notification.

Surprisingly for a hardware tutorial with such a diversity of host systems, I’m happy to report that most of the students were able to get the tutorial fully completed – at least to the point of taking pictures, if not the upload and notification portion. It was a lot of work for us TAs as we ran around helping everyone and debugging serial and networking issues, but it was worth it to see how much fun everyone had when they finally got an LED to blink or took their first picture.

All of the slides and source code is freely licensed, but the repository hasn’t been made available yet as Rupa wanted to fix some important bugs first (can’t have people frying their Pis!). But never fear, I’ll be following up to make sure it’s made available as soon as possible so others can do this too!

I’ve uploaded more photos from the event here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/sets/72157643750475463/

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

May 3rd keynote and talk at LOPSA East

Elizabeth Krumbach - Sat, 2014-04-12 15:56

I’ve had a very busy year so far talk-wise. Back in January I gave a handful of sysadmin focused talks at Linux.conf.au in Perth, Western Australia. In February I did similar at the Southern California Linux Expo. In May I’ll be drifting slightly away from a Linux-only crowd to present at LOPSA-East in New Brunswick, New Jersey on May 3rd.

LOSPA-East 2014

First up on the schedule I’ll be doing my Code Review for Sys Admins talk:

I’m a member of the OpenStack Infrastructure team which is a geographically distributed team of systems administrators from several different companies who work together in public to maintain the infrastructure described at http://ci.openstack.org.

To achieve this, we use a code review system that leverages Gerrit as the interface for peer review and Jenkins to run some basic configuration and code syntax checking against our submissions. This allows us to maintain for code and config file integrity and gives us a nice platform so that our fellow systems administrators can comment on and improve solutions we come up with. We also use IRC, Etherpad and more for collaboration, which I will discuss.

I love giving this talk and I’m excited to be giving it at a conference focused at sysadmin-type folks in the industry.

But it gets better, they’ve also asked me to keynote on Saturday evening!

I’ve titled my talk Universal Design for Tech: Improving Gender Diversity in our Industry (thanks to Leigh Honeywell for the title idea):

Universal Design is a principle in accessibility that accessible design makes things better for everyone. A key example of which are curb cuts and door openers which help those who are disabled but also folks with luggage and parents with strollers.

Elizabeth will discuss ideas on how to improve gender diversity in our industry, but many of the tips will help everyone beyond improvements that come through diversity. From offering formal education for systems administration to offering flexible schedules and work arrangements, there are many things that can be done to attract much-needed talent.

As someone who has made it in the industry I’m keen on preserving the environment that I’ve grown and thrived in, but also in making small changes that I know would have helped me along the way and will help others, including women.

I also took some time to chat with Tom Limoncelli about my talk, which he’s posted on the Everything Sysadmin blog: Interview with LOPSA-East Keynote: Elizabeth Krumbach Joseph

Registration is still open for the conference and I hear there might even be some space at the hotel left (but it’s filling up fast!). Hope to see you there!

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Test Sites for Heartbleed OpenSSL Vulnerability

Carla Schroder (O'Reilly articles) - Wed, 2014-04-09 19:15
[url=http://lxer.com/team.php][img]http://lxer.com/content/carla_schroder.jpg[/img][/url] [b]LXer Feature: 09-April-2014[/b]Cryptography and security expert Filippo Valsorda created a Web-based Heartbleed tester. He released the code and now multiple sites have posted the tester. I do not know how reliable it is. To us lusers out here in the real world, the Internet and the sites we visit are black boxes. We have no way to know how safely they are handling our data. The sky is always falling.
Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Replace the Retiring Windows XP with Linux

Carla Schroder (O'Reilly articles) - Tue, 2014-04-08 17:15
If you're using Windows XP, it won't stop working. All this means is you won't get security patches or technical support anymore. So what should you do? You can continue using it, as you always have. Or, you can upgrade to Windows 8.1, the newest Windows, or Windows 7. Or switch to Linux. Let's look at the pros and cons.
Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Snow-Hail while preparing for Montreal

Akkana Peck - Mon, 2014-04-07 00:55

Things have been hectic in the last few days before I leave for Montreal with last-minute preparation for our PyCon tutorial, Build your own PiDoorbell - Learn Home Automation with Python next Wednesday.

[Snow-hail coming down on the Piñons] But New Mexico came through on my next-to-last full day with some pretty interesting weather. A windstorm in the afternoon gave way to thunder (but almost no lightning -- I saw maybe one indistinct flash) which gave way to a strange fluffy hail that got gradually bigger until it eventually grew to pea-sized snowballs, big enough and snow enough to capture well in photographs as they came down on the junipers and in the garden.

Then after about twenty minutes the storm stopped the sun came out. And now I'm back to tweaking tutorial slides and thinking about packing while watching the sunset light on the Rio Grande gorge.

But tomorrow I leave it behind and fly to Montreal. See you at PyCon!

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Sparkfun's Arduino Day Sale: looking for inspriation!

Terri - Sat, 2014-03-29 19:45

Arduino Day 2014


Sparkfun has a bunch of Arduinos on crazy sale today, and they're allowing backorders. It's a one day sale, ending just before midnight US mountain time, so you've still got time to buy your own! Those $3 minis are amazing.

I wound up buying the maximum amount I could, since I figure if I don't use them myself, they'll make nice presents. I have plans for two of the mini ones already, as part of one of my rainy day projects that's only a little past drawing board and into "let's practice arduino coding and reading sensor data" stage. But the rest are waiting for new plans!

I feel a teensy bit guilty about buying so many arduinos when I haven't even found a good use for the Raspberry Pi I got at PyCon last year. I did buy it a pretty rainbow case and a cable, but my original plan to use it as the brains for a homemade cnc machine got scuttled when John went and bought a nice handybot cnc router.

disassembled pibow case
A pretty picture of the pibow rainbow raspberry pi case from this most excellent post about it. They're on sale today too if you order through pimoroni

I've got a few arty projects with light that might be fun, but I kind of wanted to do something a bit more useful with it. Besides, I've got some arty blinky-light etextile projects that are going to happen first and by the time I'm done those I think I'll want something different.

And then there's the Galileo, which obviously is a big deal at work right now. One of the unexpected perks of my job is the maker community -- I've been hearing all about the cool things people have tried with their dev boards and seeing cool projects, and for a while we even had a biweekly meet-up going to chat with some of the local Hillsboro makers. I joined too late to get a chance at a board from the internal program, but I'll likely be picking one up up on my own dime once I've figured out how I'm going to use it! (John already has one and the case he made for it came off the 3d printer this morning and I'm jealous!)

So... I'm looking for inspiration: what's the neatest arduino/raspberry pi/galileo/etc. project you've seen lately?

comment count unavailable comments

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

#New project problems

Brianna Laugher - Sat, 2014-02-22 23:21

I-know-how-to-program wankery (get to the content already)

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

New project: Crowdfunded Free Software (CFFSW)

Brianna Laugher - Wed, 2014-02-19 12:27

The launch of a new blog, which aims to chronicle crowdfunding campaigns for free software and related endeavours.

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Some Newsblur fangirling

Brianna Laugher - Tue, 2014-02-11 06:19

Notes on customising your Newsblur shared items page, intelligence training and the Android app.

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

An open letter to Chibuihem Amalaha

Michelle Murrain - Thu, 2013-09-26 01:59

Dear Chibuihem,

 

I'm sure this has not been the best week for you. I have no idea whether or not you'll actually read this, but I'm writing it because it just felt like the right thing to do.

 

I read your interview, where you describe that you have "proven with science that gay marriage is improper", with a fair amount of dismay. I decided, instead of greeting the article with derision and ridicule, which has, unfortunately, been the prevalent reaction, to give you a bit of un-asked-for advice. I tend not to do this sort of thing, really (ask my friends.) But I seem compelled to, so I will.

 

You say you want to be the first African to win a Nobel Prize in science. That's quite an ambition, and a laudable one. And one that will take a prodigious amount of work and drive, and you seem to be on the way, at least in that department. But in the science department... not so much. Let me tell you a little bit about science, and, more particularly, since you seem to be focused on homosexual behavior and gay marriage, a little bit about the science of sexuality. I have a Ph.D. in Neuroscience, if you're wondering about my ability to tell you about science.

 

Science is really more about asking questions, not "proving" already fully-formed ideas, like whether gay marriage is "proper". Scientists observe, measure, and form hypotheses, which are then tested. A hypothesis or theory  is proven after a long while of many scientists working together over years. Asking whether gay marriage is "proper" using science is not appropriate. What is proper, anyway, in scientific terms? What does that actually mean? And marriage is a human construction, not a biological phenomenon.

 

If you are going to scientifically compare something, you need to use things that are, in some intrinsic way, similar. For instance, scientists often study the brains of rats to get clues to how human brains work. Those are somewhat similar things (They are, actually quite different, but similar enough to give clues and directions.) It doesn't make sense to use what goes on inside a tree for instance, to figure out what happens in our brains. They aren't alike enough. Even though trees have cells, like brains have cells, they are too different to really make any reasonable conclusions about the human brain based on the characteristics of a tree. You might well compare a maple tree to an oak tree. 

 

You've gone even further than the tree-brain comparison. You are comparing human behavior, which very complexly influenced by biology, genetics, social context, and experience to ... a magnet? And acids and bases? Um, no. No can do. That isn't science. They share very little in common. Sure human cells have chemical reactions - that's an essential part of life. And some cells respond to magnetic charge (pigeons are thought to navigate using magnetic fields.)

 

So what would be similar? What would be a reasonable kind of comparison to make to human behavior? Well, how about the behavior of the primate genetically closest to us? Do you think that might make a reasonable comparison? Some people don't, and most of those reasons are, frankly, colored by social bias. That's the other thing about science. It is imperative (although very often ignored) that scientists look closely at their own social location and bias, and make sure that it isn't influencing the questions they ask, and the conclusions they draw. There have actually been many studies (one particular, relatively well-known example is actually in the realm of primate behavior,) where people went back to look at old studies and old conclusions, and found that they were badly influenced by the social biases that the original scientists had.

 

So what about those Bonobo chimpanzees, our closest cousins? You'd blush to read studies of their sexual behavior.  In fact, let's just talk about sexual behavior of all animals. Know what? Homosexual behavior, from the occasional dalliance, to the lifetime pair-bonding, is found in 1,500 species of animals. That's a whole lot. I think it's kinda safe to say that at least when it comes to the behavior of the animal kingdom, homosexual behavior is indeed natural, given how often it occurs.

 

So here's the real advice: stop. Think about what you really want in your life. Do you really want to be a scientist? If you really want to be a scientist, then, get yourself a boatload of books by people like Stephen J. Gould, Carl Sagan, Neil Degrass-Tyson, Diane Fossey, Stephen Hawking, Roger Penrose and Jane Goodall. Really. I'll even buy some for you, if you can't afford them.

 

And, let's get personal. Why is this such an important issue for you? Are you trying to prove something to yourself, after all? Have a look at that, will you? It will be fine. Really, it will be. You are loved exactly as you are.

 

Best Wishes,

Michelle

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

More Cloud Fallacy

L J Laubenheimer (Iconoclast Blast) - Fri, 2013-08-09 23:51
...so they outsourced, for example, to Amazon Web Services (server + network administration).
BZZZZT!!! Wrong!! You do not escape "server + network administration".
Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

new potatoes

Brenda Wallace - Sat, 2012-12-29 09:19
new potatoes by Br3nda
new potatoes, a photo by Br3nda on Flickr.

so we “dug up” some of the spuds… really we just tipped them out of the bag they were growing in.

Spuds growing in bag

worked really well – didn’t take up land (just left the bags leaning on a brick wall) and were easy to get out. Will do again

There’s something so very christmasey about new potatoes, freshly dug from your own garden.


Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

hot christmas

Brenda Wallace - Sat, 2012-12-29 09:16
gopr4381 by Br3nda
gopr4381, a photo by Br3nda on Flickr.

Christmas was stinky hot all over the place — so we spent a chunk of christmas day in a swimming pool – had some fun with the water proof camera and a gopro.


Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Tuatara

Brenda Wallace - Sat, 2012-12-29 09:15
Tuatara by Br3nda
Tuatara, a photo by Br3nda on Flickr.

check out this old lady – she was just chilling by the track in Zealandia.

Turatara are awesome because they’re dinosaurs — all their cousin are extinct but tuatara are still hanging out in the sun.

And because they have a vestigial 3rd eye in the middle of their heads… yes. THREE EYES.


Categories: LinuxChix bloggers
Syndicate content