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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

Buttons!

Terri - Tue, 2014-10-21 17:01
This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Buttons buttons, rah rah rah


The first time I got to use a button machine, I was a kid. It was at the Ex (a fair with livestock, music, and a midway, not unlike state fairs in the US only with fewer deep-fried things), and I was kind of astounded by this giant button press because I’d never really thought about how a button was put together, let alone that this might be done by a human-powered machine.


Fast forward, years later, and one day it just occurs to me that as an adult with some income (not much; I was still a student) there was absolutely no reason I couldn’t just buy a button machine and make silly one-off buttons whenever I wanted.


Buttons! (Push button; receive bacon)


I’ve used them for costumes, for befriending random people off the internet who like snarky kitten commentary, for hanging out at abq maker faire and helping people make their own, and for anything else that might amuse me.


Since I sometimes bring the whole machine with me to places like quelab or abq mini maker faire, I often get asked about where I got it and how much it costs, so I figured I’d make myself a post that contained all the info so I can find it easily. This is that post!


The button machine

Here’s what my personal machine looks like:


The button machine


I have a 1.5 inch button machine. It has a visible “top” area of around 1.37 inches, with a bit more visible space wrapping around the edge of the button. The circles I cut are 1.87 inches wide.


Although I realize this listing won’t stay live forever, here’s a current listing equivalent package I bought. It’s the Tecre model 150 1.5inch button machine with 1000 button blanks, and as of this writing it costs $264 (although I think it might have been a bit less when I got it).


For when that link no longer works: The vendor is called “button boy” and goes by the username “politicsstinks” on ebay. Here’s a link to the ButtonBoy ebay store. The latest stuff I bought from them also recommended the ButtonBoy etsy store.


It’s a small machine although very heavy, but I did a lot of research and the Tecre machine seemed to be the best type of machine for my needs: It’s physically easy to use, hard to damage, reasonably well designed so that with a bit of adult supervision kids can make their own buttons. I went with the 1.5 inch size because it was large enough to have reasonably legible text or enough space to colour, but small enough to be cuter and easy to fit on a bag strap.


If I were to buy a second machine I’d probably go with the 1″ because I’d love to try the magnetic jewelery stuff they have now, but I expect I’d still want my 1.5 inch because visible text is important a lot of the time!


Recommended Accessories
Button punch

My number one recommendation is that if you’re going to do any larger runs of buttons, it’s worth investing in one of the button hole punches. Especially if you’re letting people colour their own buttons, it’s annoying to colour a teensy piece of paper, so I find it’s more pleasant to punch things out on the spot after the colouring is done rather than cutting the circles in advance. The punch is also great for using magazines or wrapping paper, like I did for these Christmas buttons (although I didn’t have the punch at the time so these were done by tracing circles with the mylar and cutting them out with scissors):


Christmas Buttons


Alternatives:


Scissors work just fine. Invest in a comfortable pair rather than doing like my sister and I did on our first big button run where we gave ourselves bruises cutting out 200 buttons by hand, though.


I do *not* recommend trying to use a a cheaper adjustable circular cutter from the craft store. I have one, and there’s a couple of problems with it:


1. The center has a point, which makes a teensy but noticeable hole in your design. I can feel this through the mylar cover on the finished button and it annoys me. I stuck a piece of rubber on it to compensate, but that just makes it more finicky.


2. It’s very hard to line up the design nicely (at least compared to a hole punch or scissors)


Basically, it turned out to be more annoying than drawing circles and cutting them out with scissors. The punch, however, is way better.


Some folk at my former hackerspace have pointed out that a cricut machine would be excellent for this, and probably the laser cutter would work as well. Both of these are a lot more expensive than a punch, but if you’ve got them, why not? The only downside is that neither is as convenient for on-the-fly button making using magazines or quite as convenient for maker faire purposes.


Paper Guillotine

If you’re printing 8.5×11 sheets of buttons to cut out, you may also want to invest in a paper guillotine. This is handy if you want to hand out smaller segments for kids to colour, and great if you’re using a button punch that can’t punch holes in the middle of a piece of paper.


Again, scissors work just as well, but when you’re spending all day making buttons, little things that make life easier like that are worth it. So once again, I recommend it if you find you’re doing a lot of buttons, but it’s not needed for small runs.


Inkscape

I’ve found inkscape to be the most consistently good tool for making buttons because it’s so easy to whip up a template (1.85in circle with inner 1.375in circle) and import things into it. It lets you do things like fit text to a path, trace bitmaps so they can be converted to fewer, easier to read colours, etc. It’s fast for duplicating buttons and laying them out as a sheet for printing, too. And it’s free software that runs on linux, mac, and windows, all of which I occasionally use to make buttons. http://inkscape.org/


Really, any drawing program will do, but I think Inkscape is particularly nice for letting you set sizes and fix alignments quickly and easily, so although I’m also reasonably capable a few other art tools (I use photoshop, for example, to do photography work), Inkscape is my tool of choice for buttons.


DSC_6775.JPG


Non-button things!

If you look through the Tecre catalog, you’ll notice that depending on the size of machine you have, you can make a few things that aren’t buttons. Not all of them are available for my size of machine; for example, some of the larger machines can be used for small hand mirrors and some of the smaller machines can be used for jewelery-buttons.


I’ve thus far tried the flat-backed magnets (the magnet goes inside the button) and the smaller split-ring keychains. Unfortunately, neither came with instructions so here’s some notes on what did and didn’t work for me:


Flat-backed Magnet instructions

The way the button machine works, you crimp the top half together, then you crimp the top onto the bottom. In the case of these magnet blanks, the magnet part goes with the bottom half (because the machine doesn’t have space for it in the top half die). It’s a nice strong magnet… which unfortunately means that it can pull the top half down if you’re too slow when you flip the machine around and crimp it the second time, and if it gets pulled out of alignment you get a messed up button. I messed up two before I figured out what was going on, and since then it’s been pretty easy to avoid the problem, but hopefully I can save someone else some annoyance.


I don’t know if this is true with other magnet backs, which may have less strong magnets, but if you’re having trouble it’s worth trying to go faster and see if it helps!


I am *very* pleased with the feel of the flat-backed magnets. They’re smooth and strangely pleasant to hold in a way that I was not expecting.


Short split key-ring instructions

In this case, the bottom half of the blank has a small hole in one side. You crimp the top and bottom together, then insert the keychain clip into this hole (note to self: take some pictures of this later).


Things to note:

1. The instructions I found online implied that you had to be super careful about how much you crimp. It seems like the version I have is pretty well designed to avoid this problem, because the bottom half has a slightly raised edge over where the hole is, and clamping the machine all the way down does not seem to squash the hole, so don’t be *too* nervous about getting it right.


2. While the clip can be inserted either way, if you insert it so the sticking up part of the clip faces the front of the bottom, the piece sits more flat relative to the back of the button.


All in all, I found the magnets harder than expected and the keychains easier.


Button jars, overflowing


Conclusion

When I bought the button machine, I really wasn’t sure how much I’d use it, but it’s turned out to be even more fun than I hoped. The highlight was probably that first big giveaway my sister and I did at the Cute With Chris show. When we walked down to the front to give out buttons before the show started, people actually cheered for us! And then we went around talking to each person at the show while they chose their designs, which was pretty neat.


But there’s been lots of fun stuff since then. In the past year alone, I’ve made buttons for open source projects (real and most desirable), given out slightly subversive buttons at defcon, made silly buttons for one-off jokes and IRC bots, watched literally hundreds of kids and adults make buttons with my machine, even wound up making some blank ones to serve as a temporary whiteboard-style expression-changing doll face for a friend’s guerrilla photography and crafting project!


It’s a bit of a weird hobby, but each button is so cheap that it’s one you can share with a lot of people! (At the current rate of blanks, each button costs me under 10 cents) And as someone who always enjoyed getting free stuff, it’s fun to be on the side of designing and giving! :)



comment count unavailable comments

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

ACCE Reply to Review of the Australian Curriculum (Press Release)

KatteKrab - Tue, 2014-10-14 22:13
curriculum logo

Peak education body concerned with Curriculum Review
For immediate release

Australian Council for Computers in Education has deep concerns with inconsistent support for school computing in the governments response to the Review of the Australian Curriculum.

The Australian Council for Computers in Education (ACCE) is the national professional education body for the teaching of computing in Australian schools. It comprises representatives from all state and territory associations and the Australian Computer Society (ACS).

read more

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

WISE conversations with inspiring women

CU-WISE blog - Tue, 2014-10-14 16:46
Between chunks of cheese and slices of cake, 25 women swapped career advice at WISE-Ottawa’s opening event at Carleton University on October 1, 2014. First year students mingled with PhDs and industry experts long past 8:00 p.m.

The event began with brief presentations by Judith Lockwood, Gina Courtland and Catherine Lemay about their mentors. For the rest of the night the speakers led informal discussions. Here are their thoughts on some of the topics covered:

Gender discrimination

“Ignore it, and if it’s too much to ignore, go through it,” said Gina. She never paid attention to discrimination. If your workplace is not supportive of women, find one that is.

One of Judith’s mentors had a different view. According to him, women have an advantage because they exactly know what prejudices they will face at work, an advantage many men don’t have.

Jobs in a tough economy

Judith said that today’s job market is much like the one she faced in the 80s; few jobs in science and engineering and no job security.

For job seekers she advised making contacts in your industry, and knowing what you can bring to a company.

Mentorship

Mentorship gives life continuity and direction. Mentors can be supervisors, peers or even family. They don’t need to work in your field, and they don’t even need to be female. “Ironically, I’m coming (to this event) and I don’t have any female mentors” said Judith.

Balancing family and career

Students should consider their priorities before they start their career, advised Catherine. If you want to start a family, look carefully at a job’s benefits such as paid maternity leave and flexible work arrangements. If you value work-life balance, find an employer who does too.

Networking

Everyone knows that networking is important, but not everyone likes cocktails and conferences. Networking just means meeting people, any kind of people. Get involved activities that interest you like volunteering or recreational sports. When you do things you’re passionate about, people will see you at your best. You never know who will be able to help you get where you want to go.

Confidence

“As women, we always want to be liked” said Judith. “You don’t have to like the people you work with, you just have to work with them.”

Reflecting on a mentor who ran an interior design firm, Gina said “She was stylish, she was confident, she was herself.” Gina says women should be risk takers, and even a little bit cocky. “You are strong, so be strong.”

Student Impression
As a student, this event was a great opportunity to speak with women of all ages and interests. It also helped me think about the big picture. For example, what networking can I do at the clubs I already attend? How will children fit into my career path?

It was especially comforting to learn that ours is not the only generation to face a tough economy upon graduating. While it was good to get advice from women well into their careers, I also realized the value of networking with my peers. For example, I was able to connect a computer engineering student to a few of my friends who work in her field. It was a great night and I’m eager to attend future Ottawa WISE events.

____________________________________________________________________________
Amelia Buchanan is a journalism student at Algonquin College with a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Ottawa. She’s interested in communicating science to non-scientists. She blogs about urban wildlife at Lab Bench to Park Bench.
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

Heroes

Valorie Zimmerman 2 - Sun, 2014-10-12 09:25
Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, ages and nationalities.

The Nobel Peace Prize was inspiring to see this week. A young Pakistani girl who was already known locally for supporting the right of girls to attend school was shot by the Taliban to shut her up. Instead, she now has a world stage, and says that she is determined to work even harder for the right of girls to go to school. I really liked that Malala shares the prize. CNN:
Awarding the Peace Prize to a Pakistani Muslim and an Indian Hindu gives a message to people of love between Pakistan and India, and between different religions, Yousafzai said. The decision sends a message that all people, regardless of language and religion, should fight for the rights of women, children and every human being. - http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/10/world/europe/nobel-peace-prize/index.html

Another of my heroes spoke out this week: Kathy Sierra. Her blog is reprinted on Wired: http://www.wired.com/2014/10/trolls-will-always-win/. After the absolute horror she endured, she continues to speak out, continues to calmly state the facts, continues to lead. And yet the majority lauds her attackers, because they are Bad Boyz! I guess. I don't agree with her that trolls always win, because I can't. Kathy Sierra is still speaking out, so SHE wins, and we all win.

I just finished a lovely book by Cheryl Strayed: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. Cheryl isn't my hero, but during her journey she became her own hero, so that's OK. My husband is going to walk that trail next year, and reading her book makes me so thankful that he is preparing and training for the journey! Her honesty about the pain she endured when her mother died, and her marriage ended, brought to mind many memories about the death of my own mother, and the death of another of my heroes, my cousin Carol.

Carol died 11 years ago, and I still painfully miss her. I know that her son grieves her loss even more deeply. I hope your journey has taken you to a place of rest, my dear Carol.
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

Back from France!

Terri - Thu, 2014-10-09 07:24
I was in France last week for work, but I've been home for a few days now.

I am pleased to report that my French was adequate for basic stuff like getting directions and translating menus into English for my Polish colleagues. My French colleagues were highly amused that I spoke the language at all, since I guess no one warned them that I was moderately fluent. No one was offended by my weird accent, or even seemed to have much trouble understanding me. I couldn't handle full on eavesdropping on the train, but I could get the gist of a lot of conversations when I had some idea of the subject.

I didn't try to carry too much stuff because my ankle is still sore from hurting it after my trip to Poland, but I was able to walk quite a bit even if I had to do it carefully and a bit slowly. 100k steps! It's especially impressive given that my leg still hurts all the time. Walking, as always, is much easier than standing still, so the 30 minute walk to the office was easier than standing in line at the airport. I am sore, but it seems to be mostly the usual chronic constant thing plus some bonus knots from sleeping on planes and trains and strange beds.

They stole my knife-free Leatherman at the Charles de Gaulle airport. It was especially frustrating because several of the agents pointed out to the guy who took it that it was absolutely fine under their rules, but he decided it wasn't despite their best efforts. The thing's under $20 and I sort of assumed I'd lose it eventually, but I was still upset because it was just so unnecessary and wasteful. Have ordered a new one. I may give up on traveling with it outside north america, though, as I expect I'm going to have to fly through France again. (Amsterdam, mind, had no problem with it.)

Jetlag is hitting me hard this time, with the headaches and all. I miss when this wasn't a guaranteed thing, but at least I have Serious Painkillers and coworkers who are pretty understanding about travel miasma. I did not donate blood this week because I was not well enough and not because I am miffed at the red cross for phone harassing me all week (seriously, I think they called 7 times without ever leaving a message) and then after I told them I was unwilling to schedule an appointment because I often get sick when I travel, they gave me two days of silence then called me at 4am while I was adjusting to the time zone in France. So now they're a blocked number, and I'm not sure I'm going to unblock them, although I'll probably donate again when I'm not cranky about it.

Anyhow, recovery will go better with more sleep, so I'm going to do that now!

comment count unavailable comments

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

Haecksen organisers mailing list

Oceania Women of Open Tech - Mon, 2014-05-26 03:54

With OWOOT closing, the OWOOT list will no longer be available to volunteers organising the Haecksen miniconference at linux.conf.au.

If you're interested in helping out with Haecksen in future years, please join the new Haecksen organisers mailing list hosted by Linux Australia.

Categories: News about LinuxChix

OWOOT to close

Oceania Women of Open Tech - Mon, 2014-05-26 00:29

Unfortunately, the OWOOT list members have agreed that there is not enough interest amongst our members to continue OWOOT as an organisation. Over the next few days, this website will close.

The Haecksen miniconf will continue to run at linux.conf.au for as long as there is interest, we've requested a separate organisers be established for this.

Those interested in receiving news of open source technical events in Australia should join the Linux Australia announcement list. Those interested in in-person meetups of technical women can consider Girl Geek Sydney, Girl Geek Dinners Melbourne, Girl Geek Dinners Brisbane, Wellington Girl Geek Dinners, or Auckland Girl Geek Dinners; or look for a Girl Geek Coffees group.

OWOOT grew out of LinuxChix Sydney and Melbourne chapters founded by Julie Gibson and Alex Bayley respectively. After the founding of the LinuxChix (now Haecksen) miniconf at linux.conf.au 2007, AussieChix and New Zealand LinuxChix were founded, and both merged into OWOOT in 2011. Thank you to the many key volunteers for these groups over the years.

Categories: News about LinuxChix
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