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Using strace to find configuration file locations

Akkana Peck - Tue, 2014-09-02 19:06

I was using strace to figure out how to set up a program, lftp, and a friend commented that he didn't know how to use it and would like to learn. I don't use strace often, but when I do, it's indispensible -- and it's easy to use. So here's a little tutorial.

My problem, in this case, was that I needed to find out what configuration file I needed to modify in order to set up an alias in lftp. The lftp man page tells you how to define an alias, but doesn't tell you how to save it for future sessions; apparently you have to edit the configuration file yourself.

But where? The man page suggested a couple of possible config file locations -- ~/.lftprc and ~/.config/lftp/rc -- but neither of those existed. I wanted to use the one that already existed. I had already set up bookmarks in lftp and it remembered them, so it must have a config file already, somewhere. I wanted to find that file and use it.

So the question was, what files does lftp read when it starts up? strace lets you snoop on a program and see what it's doing.

strace shows you all system calls being used by a program. What's a system call? Well, it's anything in section 2 of the Unix manual. You can get a complete list by typing: man 2 syscalls (you may have to install developer man pages first -- on Debian that's the manpages-dev package). But the important thing is that most file access calls -- open, read, chmod, rename, unlink (that's how you remove a file), and so on -- are system calls.

You can run a program under strace directly: $ strace lftp sitename Interrupt it with Ctrl-C when you've seen what you need to see. Pruning the output

And of course, you'll see tons of crap you're not interested in, like rt_sigaction(SIGTTOU) and fcntl64(0, F_GETFL). So let's get rid of that first. The easiest way is to use grep. Let's say I want to know every file that lftp opens. I can do it like this: $ strace lftp sitename |& grep open

I have to use |& instead of just | because strace prints its output on stderr instead of stdout.

That's pretty useful, but it's still too much. I really don't care to know about strace opening a bazillion files in /usr/share/locale/en_US/LC_MESSAGES, or libraries like /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/libp11-kit.so.0.

In this case, I'm looking for config files, so I really only want to know which files it opens in my home directory. Like this: $ strace lftp sitename |& grep 'open.*/home/akkana'

In other words, show me just the lines that have either the word "open" or "read" followed later by the string "/home/akkana". Digression: grep pipelines

Now, you might think that you could use a simpler pipeline with two greps: $ strace lftp sitename |& grep open | grep /home/akkana

But that doesn't work -- nothing prints out. Why? Because grep, under certain circumstances that aren't clear to me, buffers its output, so in some cases when you pipe grep | grep, the second grep will wait until it has collected quite a lot of output before it prints anything. (This comes up a lot with tail -f as well.) You can avoid that with $ strace lftp sitename |& grep --line-buffered open | grep /home/akkana but that's too much to type, if you ask me. Back to that strace | grep

Okay, whichever way you grep for open and your home directory, it gives: open("/home/akkana/.local/share/lftp/bookmarks", O_RDONLY|O_LARGEFILE) = 5 open("/home/akkana/.netrc", O_RDONLY|O_LARGEFILE) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory) open("/home/akkana/.local/share/lftp/rl_history", O_RDONLY|O_LARGEFILE) = 5 open("/home/akkana/.inputrc", O_RDONLY|O_LARGEFILE) = 5 Now we're getting somewhere! The file where it's getting its bookmarks is ~/.local/share/lftp/bookmarks -- and I probably can't use that to set my alias.

But wait, why doesn't it show lftp trying to open those other config files? Using script to save the output

At this point, you might be sick of running those grep pipelines over and over. Most of the time, when I run strace, instead of piping it through grep I run it under script to save the whole output.

script is one of those poorly named, ungoogleable commands, but it's incredibly useful. It runs a subshell and saves everything that appears in that subshell, both what you type and all the output, in a file.

Start script, then run lftp inside it: $ script /tmp/lftp.strace Script started on Tue 26 Aug 2014 12:58:30 PM MDT $ strace lftp sitename

After the flood of output stops, I type Ctrl-D or Ctrl-C to exit lftp, then another Ctrl-D to exit the subshell script is using. Now all the strace output was in /tmp/lftp.strace and I can grep in it, view it in an editor or anything I want.

So, what files is it looking for in my home directory and why don't they show up as open attemps? $ grep /home/akkana /tmp/lftp.strace

Ah, there it is! A bunch of lines like this: access("/home/akkana/.lftprc", R_OK) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory) stat64("/home/akkana/.lftp", 0xbff821a0) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory) mkdir("/home/akkana/.config", 0755) = -1 EEXIST (File exists) mkdir("/home/akkana/.config/lftp", 0755) = -1 EEXIST (File exists) access("/home/akkana/.config/lftp/rc", R_OK) = 0

So I should have looked for access and stat as well as open. Now I have the list of files it's looking for. And, curiously, it creates ~/.config/lftp if it doesn't exist already, even though it's not going to write anything there.

So I created ~/.config/lftp/rc and put my alias there. Worked fine. And I was able to edit my bookmark in ~/.local/share/lftp/bookmarks later when I had a need for that. All thanks to strace.

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

CI, Validation and more at DebConf14

Elizabeth Krumbach - Mon, 2014-09-01 18:54

I’ve been a Debian user since 2002 and got my first package into Debian in 2006. Though I continued to maintain a couple packages through the years, my open source interests (and career) have expanded significantly so that I now spend much more time with Ubuntu and OpenStack than anything else. Still, I do still host Bay Area Debian events in San Francisco and when I learned that DebConf14 would only be quick plane flight away from home I was eager for the opportunity to attend.

Given my other obligations, I decided to come in halfway through the conference, arriving Wednesday evening. Thursday was particularly interesting to me because they were doing most of the Debian Validation & CI discussions then. Given my day job on the OpenStack Infrastructure team, it seemed to be a great place to meet other folks who are interested in CI and see where our team could support Debian’s initiatives.

First up was the Validation and Continuous Integration BoF led by Neil Williams.

It was interesting to learn the current validation methods being used in Debian, including:

From there talk moved into what kinds of integration tests people wanted, where various ideas were covered, including package sets (collections of related packages) and how to inject “dirty” data into systems to test in more real world like situations. Someone also mentioned doing tests on more real systems rather than in chrooted environments.

Discussion touched upon having a Gerrit-like workflow that had packages submitted for review and testing prior to landing in the archive. This led to my having some interesting conversations with the drivers of Gerrit efforts in Debian after the session (nice to meet you, mika!). There was also discussion about notification to developers when their packages run afoul of the testing infrastructure, either themselves or as part of a dependency chain (who wants notifications? how to make them useful and not overwhelming?).

I’ve uploaded the gobby notes from the session here: validation-bof and the video of the session is available on the meetings-archive.

Next up on the schedule was debci and the Debian Continuous Integration project presented by Antonio Terceiro. He gave a tour of the Debian Continuous Integration system and talked about how packages can take advantage of the system by having their own test suites. He also discussed some about the current architecture for handling tests and optimizations they want to make in the future. Documentation for debci can be found here: ci.debian.net/doc/. Video of the session is also available on the meetings-archive.

The final CI talk I went to of the day was Automated Validation in Debian using LAVA where Neil Williams gave a tour of the expanded LAVA (Linaro Automated Validation Architecture). I heard about it back when it was a more simple ARM-only testing infrastructure, but it’s grown beyond that to now test distribution kernel images, package combinations and installer images and has been encouraging folks to write tests. He also talked about some of the work they’re doing to bring along LAVA demo stations to conferences, nice! Slides from this talk are available on the debconf annex site, here: http://annex.debconf.org/debconf-share/debconf14/slides/lava/

On Friday I also bumped into a testing-related talk by Paul Wise during a series of Live Demos, he showed off check-all-the-things which runs a pile of tools against your project to check… all the things, detecting what it needs to do automatically. Check out the README for rationale, and for a taste of things it checks and future plans, have a peek at some of the data files, like this one.

It’s really exciting to see more effort being spent on testing in Debian, and open source projects in general. This has long been the space of companies doing private, internal testing of open source products they use and reporting results back to projects in the form of patches and bug reports. Having the projects themselves provide QA is a huge step for the maturity of open source, and I believe will lead to even more success for projects as we move into the future.

The rest of DebConf for me was following my more personal interests in Debian. I also have to admit that my lack of involvement lately made me feel like a bit of an outsider and I’m quite shy anyway, so I was thankful to know a few Debian folks who I could hang out with and join for meals.

On Thursday evening I attended A glimpse into a systemd future by Josh Triplett. I haven’t really been keeping up with systemd news or features, so I learned a lot. I have to say, it would be great to see things like session management, screen brightness and other user settings be controlled by something lower level than the desktop environment. Friday I attended Thomas Goirand’s OpenStack update & packaging experience sharing. I’ve been loosely tracking this, but it was good to learn that Jessie will come with Icehouse and that install docs exist for Wheezy (here).

I also attended Outsourcing your webapp maintenance to Debian with Francois Marier. The rationale for his talk was that one should build their application with the mature versions of web frameworks included with Debian in mind, making it so you don’t have the burden of, say, managing Django along with your Django-based app, since Debian handles that. I continue to have mixed feelings when it comes to webapps in the main Debian repository, while some developers who are interested in reducing maintenance burden are ok with using older versions shipped with Debian, most developers I’ve worked with are very much not in this camp and I’m better off trying to support what they want than fighting with them about versions. Then it was off to Docker + Debian = ♥ with Paul Tagliamonte where he talked about some of his best practices for using Docker on Debian and ideas for leveraging it more in development (having multiple versions of services running on one host, exporting docker images to help with replication of tests and development environments).

Friday night Linus Torvalds joined us for a Q&A session. As someone who has put a lot of work into making friendly environments for new open source contributors, I can’t say I’m thrilled with his abrasive conduct in the Linux kernel project. I do worry that he sets a tone that impressionable kernel hackers then go on to emulate, perpetuating the caustic environment that spills out beyond just the kernel, but he has no interest in changing. That aside, it was interesting to hear him talk about other aspects of his work, his thoughts on systemd, a rant about compiling against specific libraries for every distro and versions (companies won’t do it, they’ll just ship their own statically linked ones) and his continued comments in support of Google Chrome.

DebConf wrapped up on Sunday. I spent the morning in one of the HackLabs catching up on some work, and at 1:30 headed up to the Plenary room for the last few talks of the event, starting with a series of lightning talks. A few of the talks stood out for me, including Geoffrey Thomas’ talk on being a bit of an outsider at DebConf and how difficult it is to be running a non-Debian/Linux system at the event. I’ve long been disappointed when people bring along their proprietary OSes to Linux events, but he made good points about people being able to contribute without fully “buying in” to having free software everywhere, including their laptop. He’s right. Margarita Manterola shared some stats from the Mini-DebConf Barcelona which focused on having only female speakers, it was great to hear such positive statistics, particularly since DebConf14 itself had a pretty poor ratio, there were several talks I attended (particularly around CI) where I was the only woman in the room. It was also interesting to learn about safe-rm to save us from ourselves and non-free.org to help make a distinction between what is Debian and what is not.

There was also a great talk by Vagrant Cascadian about his work on packages that he saw needed help but he didn’t necessarily know everything about, and encouraged others to take the same leap to work on things that may be outside their comfort zone. To help he listed several resources people could use to find work in Debian:

Next up for the afternoon was the Bits from the Release Team where they fleshed out what the next few months leading up to the freeze would look like and sharing the Jessie Freeze Policy.

DebConf wrapped up with a thank you to the volunteers (thank you!) and peek at the next DebConf, to be held in Heidelberg, Germany the 15th-22nd of August 2015.

Then it was off to the airport for me!

The rest of my photos from DebConf14 here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/sets/72157646626186269/

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Ask Erica: “Why Did You Decide to Coach Full-Time?”

Erica Douglass - Mon, 2014-09-01 10:23

In mid-July, I announced my new direction: coaching successful entrepreneurs full-time.

By far, the most popular question I’ve gotten is “Why did you decide to coach full-time?”

The answer, while simple, took me a while to get to. If you’re feeling stuck on your current path, keep reading, as the conclusion I came to (and how I figured it out) may help you, as well!

The Question That Changed Everything

The most motivating factor in my new career path as a CEO coach is contained within my answer to this question: “What’s the most exciting moment you’ve ever had?”

When I opened up and looked back honestly, my most exciting moments were watching people go through breakthroughs, like the story I told about my dinner with Ramit Sethi in my July post. Watching people right in front of me have a powerful emotional transformation–those were the moments I remembered, the moments I lived for as a person.

There were other signs, too. When I first met Jason Seats at Techstars, for instance, I had no intention of going through the Techstars program as a founder (though now I’m very glad I said yes to that and went through the program!) I wanted to be a mentor. I wanted to help other founders.

Then, there was the fact that I just couldn’t seem to stop helping people. Even when I didn’t feel like I had much time, I would always drop what I was doing to help someone out. Especially the rising stars like Ramit–I knew these folks were going places, and it was always so fun to help them get where they were going.

Digging Deep Into Myself

To go from “I like helping people” to coaching full-time, though–that was a transformation! Through the past three months, as I went through the sale of my business, took over a month off, and then spent another 5 weeks in solidarity with the question “What do I really want to do most?”, I dug deep to find out how I really wanted to make an impact on the world.

I’m here to coach because I have been through it all. In the past 13 years, I’ve run several bootstrapped companies and one funded company. In all, I’ve sold three technology companies. I have personally made over $3 million online–all of that being sales from companies I’ve created from nothing.

I’ve hired some of the greatest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing–and hired the worst people I’ve ever dealt with! (All of which I take full responsibility for.) I’ve worked every side of a business from software development/programming to hardware to operations to management to technical support.

Whatever crisis founders of six-figure and seven-figure-a-year businesses are going through–I’ve pretty much been there. I’m not perfect, and as a seasoned entrepreneur, I know you aren’t either. That’s why I became a coach–to help you work through whatever barriers come up as you make the transformation from successful business owner to the huge next level that is waiting for you.

Struggling to Find a Mentor

When I get interviewed by the media, interviewers always love to ask: “Who is your mentor?” I’ve often struggled with that question.

Nearly 10 years ago, I desperately asked on Web Hosting Talk if anyone else knew another woman running a web hosting company that was about to hit 7 figures in annual revenue–and there was silence.

I couldn’t believe I was the only one–but back then there were probably only a handful of female founders of web hosting companies at all, let alone ones making 7 figures a year. I was a pioneer, and for that I was grateful–but it was a searing, raw, emotional experience to feel all alone in that role. I will never forget that experience–calling out, “Where is my mentor?” and hearing only silence.

Today, of course, there are many people who add “Mentor” or “Coach” to their resumes or LinkedIn profiles. But there are scarce few who have actually made millions of dollars online running real businesses–who are now coaching. I know, because I have looked for them! I have begged to be coached by people who are where I want to be, and the answer is often: “No.”

Why Most Successful Entrepreneurs Don’t Coach

Why? Successful entrepreneurs will tell you the answer: There is no leverage in coaching. They don’t have time for it. They are busy running successful companies.

I can tell you, truthfully, that that was the biggest block I had to get over as a coach. I knew that to be a successful coach, I’d have to commit to it full-time. That commitment meant I would not be focused on growing a scalable business (at least for the time being.)

I had a lot of fear around that. Was I basically tying bricks to my feet by creating a business where my income didn’t scale with more products sold?

To really get over the fear, I had to go back to what fulfilled me the most. Did I want to have a little impact on a lot of people (for instance, by writing a book) or did I want to have a huge impact on a few people?

I remembered the feeling I got when I saw people transform and their barriers break down. I decided I wanted more of that–and that was the answer for me. Coach full-time. Make the commitment. Enable the transformations to happen.

Making the commitment was scary for me, but I did it publicly so I couldn’t turn back. And it’s paid off–now, not only do I have amazing paying clients, but I’m excited every day to get up and start working. My coaching calls are transformative for my clients–and they are also transformative for me. In that way, I consider myself deeply blessed.

Who Are Your Customers?

My other huge fear came from the coaching I’ve done in the past. Previously, I’d worked with entrepreneurs who were just getting started, and I hadn’t charged much for coaching. They couldn’t afford it, and I didn’t have the self-confidence at that time to charge more.

Some clients went far. But with others, I’d spend an entire hour 1:1 and we’d never be able to dig deep into their real problems–because we were too busy grappling with “What idea should I work on?” or “How can I get this WordPress theme set up?” It wasn’t fulfilling for me or for my clients!

It was with this concern in mind that I read The Prosperous Coach, a fantastic book written by my friend and successful coach Rich Litvin. In the book, he described clearly the clients he was going after–successful, high-powered women.

While reading his book, I had a complete epiphany. It’s one of those epiphanies that seem so obvious afterward. It went something like, “OH! I can define who I want as a client!”

Becoming a Better Coach by Defining Who I Want as a Customer

I don’t know why that hadn’t occurred to me in the context of coaching before. In the marketing world, defining your customer avatar is an integral part of setting up a marketing plan. But I hadn’t thought to apply that concept here.

I thought deeply about who I’d had the best results with, and a pattern quickly emerged, with Ramit circa 2008 being my defining avatar. Someone whom I know is going to be successful. They’ve already set up a website. They have a product with customers. They’re making well into 6 figures or 7 figures and they’re facing a huge pivot point in their business–do I sell the company? Who do I hire to help me out? How do I raise my next round of capital?

That’s the point at which hiring a coach delivers huge results, and where my expertise becomes most valuable. Selling your company? I’d be happy to help you navigate those tricky waters; I’ve sold three. Raising a round of funding? I’ve seen hundreds of pitch decks, raised $640,000 for my own company, and won a pitch competition. Hiring or firing the right person? We could spend hours on that alone!

Those are the inflection points where having someone to talk to who’s been there are most critical in your business. How much equity do you give your new COO to make sure he or she sticks around but you’re not “giving up the house”? What’s the best process to find a buyer for your company? Which investors should you talk to and how much should you raise (or should you even raise at all)? Or: You’re working 70 hours a week and you feel like you’re drowning, but you don’t know who to hire or where to outsource first. These are all scenarios for which the answer may mean a 7-figure swing in your business either way. And it’s those areas where I deliver the most impact as a coach.

Why Only Four People?

In my July blog post, I mentioned I would be taking 4 clients. Why only 4 clients? (Another popular question!) I always smile when I give the answer: Because, for the first time in my life, I’m undercommitting myself so I can serve those 4 people with my full attention. With only 4 clients, I have time to look over paying clients’ pitch decks, make intros, and help guide them through selling and/or financing companies. I doubt it will surprise you to read: It’s been the best decision I’ve made so far!

I currently have 30 applications in, and I’ve already filled 2 of my 4 available slots with paying clients. I’m continuing to do coaching with applicants over the next few weeks, and I expect the other 2 slots will fill quickly. If you meet the criteria (6-figure or 7-figure business at a pivot point; looking for your next steps) and would like to be considered, please apply here.

Going full-time into coaching was a gutsy move, and an unexpected one. But, in a way I haven’t felt in a long time, it feels right. I got off my coaching call recently with a new client and told my roommate, “I can’t believe I get paid to do this!”

I help create miracles in successful entrepreneurs’ lives, and at this time, there’s nothing I’d rather be doing.

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The post Ask Erica: “Why Did You Decide to Coach Full-Time?” appeared first on Starting Your Own Business with Erica Douglass.

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

Valorie Zimmerman 2 - Mon, 2014-09-01 08:03
Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

Interesting, engaging, and sometimes challenging. My only criticism of the book is that he dwells a bit on fads in academia which are fading, but since he's been extensively challenged by that crowd, I suppose it is forgivable.

I'll quote extensively from the last chapter, but first, Emily Dickinson (quoted in that final chapter):
The Brain--is wider than the Sky--
For--put them side to side--
The one the other will contain
With ease--and you--beside-- 
The Brain is deeper than the sea--
For--hold them--Blue to Blue--
The one the other will absorb--
As Sponges--Buckets--do-- 
The Brain is just the weight of God--
For--Heft them--Pound for Pound--
And they will differ--if they do--
As Syllable from Sound--
And the beginning of the final chapter:
The Blank Slate was an attractive vision. It promised to make racism, sexism, and class prejudice factually untenable. It appeared to be a bulwark against the kind of thinking that led to ethnic genocide. It aimed to prevent people from slipping into a premature fatalism about preventable social ills. It put the spotlight on the treatment of children, indigenous peoples, and the underclass. The Blank Slate thus became part of secular faith and appeared to constitute the common decency of our age.  
But the Blank Slate had, and has, a dark side. The vacuum that was posited in human nature was eagerly filled by totalitarian regimes, and it did nothing to prevent their genocides. It perverts education, child-rearing, and the arts into forms of social engineering. It torments mothers who work outside the home and parents whose children did not turn out as they would have liked. It threatens to outlaw biomedical research that could alleviate human suffering. Its corollary, the Noble Savage, invites contempt for the principles of democracy and of "a government of laws not of men." It blinds us to our cognitive and moral shortcomings. And in matters of policy it has elevated sappy dogmas above the search for workable solutions. 
The Blank Slate is not some ideal that we should all hope and pray is true. No, it is anti-life, anti-human theoretical abstraction that denies our common humanity, our inherent interests, and our individual preferences. Though it has pretensions of celebrating our potential, it does the opposite, because our potential comes from the combinatorial interplay of wonderfully complex faculties, not from the passive blankness of an empty tablet. 
Regardless of its good and bad effects, the Blank Slate is an empirical hypothesis about the functioning of the brain and must be evaluated in terms of whether or not it is true. The modern sciences of mind, brain, genes, and evolution are increasingly showing that it is not true. The result is a rearguard effort to salvage the Blank Slate by disfiguring science and intellectual life: denying the possibility of objectivity and truth, dumbing down issues into dichotomies, replacing facts and logic with intellectual posturing. 
The Blank Slate became so deeply entrenched in intellectual life that the prospect of doing without it can be deeply unsettling. ...Is science leading to a place where prejudice is right, where children may be neglected, where Machiavellianism is accepted, where inequality and violence are met with resignation, where people are treated like machines? 
Not at all! By unhandcuffing widely shared values from moribund factual dogmas, the rationale for these values can only become clearer. We understand *why* we condemn prejudice, cruelty to children, and violence against women, and can focus our efforts on how to implement the goals we value most. ... 
... Acknowledging human nature does not mean overturning our personal world views... It means only taking intellectual life out of its parallel universe and reuniting it with science and, when it is borne out by science, by common sense.
This book was published in 2002, and I think Pinker and his fellow scientists who investigate human nature are beginning to make headway. This book was a good reminder of some of the nonsense we are now sweeping into the dustbin of history, and new understanding of human nature now coming to light.
Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Debugging a mysterious terminal setting

Akkana Peck - Thu, 2014-08-28 21:41

For the last several months, I repeatedly find myself in a mode where my terminal isn't working quite right. In particular, Ctrl-C doesn't work to interrupt a running program. It's always in a terminal where I've been doing web work. The site I'm working on sadly has only ftp access, so I've been using ncftp to upload files to the site, and git and meld to do local version control on the copy of the site I keep on my local machine. I was pretty sure the problem was coming from either git, meld, or ncftp, but I couldn't reproduce it.

Running reset fixed the problem. But since I didn't know what program was causing the problem, I didn't know when I needed to type reset.

The first step was to find out which of the three programs was at fault. Most of the time when this happened, I wouldn't notice until hours later, the next time I needed to stop a program with Ctrl-C. I speculated that there was probably some way to make zsh run a check after every command ... if I could just figure out what to check. Terminal modes and stty -a

It seemed like my terminal was getting put into raw mode. In programming lingo, a terminal is in raw mode when characters from it are processed one at a time, and special characters like Ctrl-C, which would normally interrupt whatever program is running, are just passed like any other character.

You can list your terminal modes with stty -a: $ stty -a speed 38400 baud; rows 32; columns 80; line = 0; intr = ^C; quit = ^\; erase = ^?; kill = ^U; eof = ^D; eol = ; eol2 = ; swtch = ; start = ^Q; stop = ^S; susp = ^Z; rprnt = ^R; werase = ^W; lnext = ^V; flush = ^O; min = 1; time = 0; -parenb -parodd cs8 -hupcl -cstopb cread -clocal -crtscts ignbrk -brkint ignpar -parmrk -inpck -istrip -inlcr -igncr icrnl -ixon -ixoff -iuclc -ixany -imaxbel iutf8 opost -olcuc -ocrnl onlcr -onocr -onlret -ofill -ofdel nl0 cr0 tab0 bs0 vt0 ff0 -isig icanon -iexten echo echoe echok -echonl -noflsh -xcase -tostop -echoprt echoctl echoke

But that's a lot of information. Unfortunately there's no single flag for raw mode; it's a collection of a lot of flags. I checked the interrupt character: yep, intr = ^C, just like it should be. So what was the problem?

I saved the output with stty -a >/tmp/stty.bad, then I started up a new xterm and made a copy of what it should look like with stty -a >/tmp/stty.good. Then I looked for differences: meld /tmp/stty.good /tmp/stty.bad. I saw these flags differing in the bad one: ignbrk ignpar -iexten -ixon, while the good one had -ignbrk -ignpar iexten ixon. So I should be able to run: $ stty -ignbrk -ignpar iexten ixon and that would fix the problem. But it didn't. Ctrl-C still didn't work. Setting a trap, with precmd

However, knowing some things that differed did give me something to test for in the shell, so I could test after every command and find out exactly when this happened. In zsh, you do that by defining a precmd function, so here's what I did: precmd() { stty -a | fgrep -- -ignbrk > /dev/null if [ $? -ne 0 ]; then echo echo "STTY SETTINGS HAVE CHANGED \!\!\!\!\!\!\!\!\!\!\!\!\!\!\!\!" echo fi } Pardon all the exclams. I wanted to make sure I saw the notice when it happened.

And this fairly quickly found the problem: it happened when I suspended ncftp with Ctrl-Z. stty sane and isig

Okay, now I knew the culprit, and that if I switched to a different ftp client the problem would probably go away. But I still wanted to know why my stty command didn't work, and what the actual terminal difference was.

Somewhere in my web searching I'd stumbled upon some pages suggesting stty sane as an alternative to reset. I tried it, and it worked.

According to man stty, stty sane is equivalent to $ stty cread -ignbrk brkint -inlcr -igncr icrnl -iutf8 -ixoff -iuclc -ixany imaxbel opost -olcuc -ocrnl onlcr -onocr -onlret -ofill -ofdel nl0 cr0 tab0 bs0 vt0 ff0 isig icanon iexten echo echoe echok -echonl -noflsh -xcase -tostop -echoprt echoctl echoke

Eek! But actually that's helpful. All I had to do was get a bad terminal (easy now that I knew ncftp was the culprit), then try: $ stty cread $ stty -ignbrk $ stty brkint ... and so on, trying Ctrl-C each time to see if things were back to normal. Or I could speed up the process by grouping them: $ stty cread -ignbrk brkint $ stty -inlcr -igncr icrnl -iutf8 -ixoff ... and so forth. Which is what I did. And that quickly narrowed it down to isig. I ran reset, then ncftp again to get the terminal in "bad" mode, and tried: $ stty isig and sure enough, that was the difference.

I'm still not sure why meld didn't show me the isig difference. But if nothing else, I learned a bit about debugging stty settings, and about stty sane, which is a much nicer way of resetting the terminal than reset since it doesn't clear the screen.

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

Experiments in Starry Sky Photography

Terri - Wed, 2014-08-27 16:15
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.

I’m not much of a night photographer for a variety of reasons, such as “wandering around in dark, isolated places with expensive gear and when you are a smallish woman is not recommended” and “I never carry my tripod because it’s awkward and extra weight” but thankfully I have friends who mitigate the first and cars that mitigate the second, so then it all works out.


My photographer excursion to Crater Lake is one of those rare times it worked out. We had a “wait, it’s too nice to go to bed” bit of folly, given that our plan was to get up at 4am to catch the sunrise. Alas, the lake was in cloud at sunrise, so those photos never happened, but the night ones totally did.


Here they are before editing:

The view from our "hotel" at Crater Lake (original)Our "hotel" at crater lake (original)


This was 30s exposure at ISO 3200, which is still rather noisy for my tastes, even with some post-processing to clean it up a bit. I think in future I might have to try cranking that down a fair bit.


Below is my first attempt at processing the photos base on what I knew to do off the top of my head. They’re not bad, but as I said, I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to practice night photography, and that includes processing as well as the physical taking of photos. You can definitely see some more colour and definition even in the small versions I’ve put here so you can see them all at once:


The view from our "hotel" at Crater LakeOur "hotel" at crater lake


So I read through a night photography tutorial and these are the images that resulted:


Our "hotel" at crater lake


The view from our "hotel" at Crater Lake


The first one’s maybe not that different from my own attempt, but the second one really pops, no? I guess I need to spend more time reading photo processing tutorials. Processing has been my weak point in terms of just getting it done, but it’s pretty impressive to see how much more I got out of that last image with a little help, I think.


[Note: I somehow failed to schedule this post when I was written, so that's why you're getting it so late after the photos were uploaded, in case anyone who follows my flickr stream was wondering, but I doubt anyone actually pays that much attention.]



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[Book Reviews] Dueling Australian librarians, magical Japanese sheep, hackers with djinns

Raven - Wed, 2014-08-27 07:00
Still working my way through the review backlog! But I got most of the books I didn't like out of the way in my post of a few days ago, so these are all but one books I would lend someone I liked. [grin]

After having enjoyed Ramez Naam's debut "Nexus" some months back, I was interested enough to go read the sequel, "Crux". I think I had enough carryover from the first book to stop going "brains don't work that way!" and maintain more of a suspension of disbelief for his head-hacking posits. "Crux" focuses on the ways in which governments and human systems of control seek to exploit the usability of Nexus, and how that conflicts with the peaceful sharing intentions of the technology's pioneers. In that way, it's kinda like a Bourne plot... "secret government agents are after you!" has driven many an action genre piece. But there's also a lot of Singularity-flavored thinking in there, with an explicit cyborg/"posthuman" plot. (I am biased by really hating the phrase "posthuman". Humanity isn't something one just gets over one day. But I didn't hate the characters or the way Naam handles it; that's all my peeve vs. the implications of the phrase.) While I was pretty displeased at his handling of one character near the end, that's not enough to sour me on the book entirely, and I really want to see where he goes with Ling Shu. Like its predecessor, three and a half personality uploads out of five. (It would have been four, but ooooh that thing he did with that character!)

justbeast gave me the turned-out-to-be-fantastic recommendation of "Souls in the Great Machine", the first of Australian author Sean McMullen's far-future trilogy. ("The Miocene Arrow" is the second. Still waiting on the third to arrive.) In this world, humanity's terrible war in our modern day had far-reaching effects. Any mechanized vehicle longer than 30 meters, sizable use of electricity, or anything like an internal combustion engine gets shot down from space. In addition, most lands are subject to varying sweeps of the Call, where any animal larger than about 30 lbs will walk mindlessly in the direction of the Call until either it dies, is stopped by a wall or something that impedes progress, or the Call passes over it. As you might imagine, these worldbuilding strictures make the far-future civilizations interestingly different. Australia is sort of desert-steampunk, ruled by a plurality of ambitious dueling librarians and engaged in a series of revolutions in technology. North America has small havens in the mountains, and rather than being driven by wind-powered trains, has diesel compression engines and aircraft just under the limits permitted. Separate fiefs are held by chivalric airlords. And then the wars over genetic engineering start. [grin] They're the best sci-fi I've read recently for having innovative and interesting worlds, I liked the hat-tip to the early days of computing, the characters are well fleshed out and generally likable, and the plots were pleasingly unpredictable. I was also delighted that many of the world-moving, planet-changing characters were women; if they made movies out of these books they'd pass the Bechdel test easily and often. A pure delight despite some of the premise being a bit far-fetched; four Spock flashbacks out of five.

The one book I didn't like (and was warned that I wouldn't, but I read it anyway) was G. Willow Wilson's "Alif the Unseen". I *wanted* to like it; I was pretty excited about the author's reimagining of Miss Marvel and have been following some of her writing there with pleasure. But with a lead character who's allegedly an amazing hacker, nothing he did made any kind of technical sense, and the constant flow of "computers don't work like that!" was really disruptive to me. I recognize that it's fantasy, but I think it's fantasy for the nontechnical person. I did enjoy the setting and the code switching between cultures that went on, but between not believing in his skills and feeling like the protagonist was rather more dense and self-centered than I liked, I just didn't find a lot to love in the book. I want a book about Dina instead. Two cups of mint tea out of five.

In contrast, I very much enjoyed Murakami's early work "A Wild Sheep Chase". Fantastic, lyrical, hilarious, it was just the kind of absurdity that I particularly appreciate. I regret that my Japanese is not better; I would have loved to read it in the original and see how many of the bits I particularly appreciated were the same in nuance. (I am totally adding this to my list of future goals, though!) I also enjoyed the little glimpse at Hokkaido; I don't know that much about the history of that region of Japan and have a couple nonfiction books of the sort on my reading list. I might read through all of Murakami in chronological order, but I think it more likely that I'll just skip to his running book next. Four mysterious ovine spirits out of five.

When I discovered "Mountain Weather: Backcountry Forecasting and Weather Safety for Hikers, Campers, Climbers, Skiers, and Snowboarders" at REI, picking it up was a no-brainer. I'm out there pretty often; I will happily take any knowledge or improvements in how I should make my go/no-go decisions. Meteorologist and avid outdoorsman Jeff Renner does a pretty good job of outlining the basics of how storms and problematic weather forms (most of which I already knew), and then tries to lay out some simple rules for figuring out what's going on. It's a challenging set of problems to make simple rules for, though -- I've definitely had experiences where I had a day-old forecast that was clearly insufficient and yet better than nothing, cases where I could tell that the weather had changed but I wasn't sure what to expect next, and a whole lot of looking at snow slopes and trying to figure out how bad things were from what I knew about recent weather. The guidelines (and weather forecasting in general) are a lot more actionable if you're spending several days in the same place so you can get that continuity of "and then what happened?" so essential to avalanche forecasting. But if you're a day hiker and itinerant like me, you're basically never going to have that. ("Did it rain here yesterday?" "Well... it rained in Seattle, 60 miles away and with some mountains in between... and the system came from the south... but we're on the east face of this mountain... which is southeast of Seattle... aaaaaagh!") Sometimes historical local data is available, but often it isn't, and that does make things riskier. That's not the fault of this book, of course... the author is aiming for a more informed and better readership, even if the results of being more informed are to feel surrounded by risk and depressed at all the things you don't know and probably can't find out. So, useful but kinda discouraging because it is a hard problem; four mixed front enlightenments out of five.

The bestselling authors of "Thinking Strategically" revised their work and produced "The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist's Guide to Success in Business and Life", aimed at a popular audience. It's a good introduction if you're not familiar with the field, but it also brings out a number of things that I find frustrating about the field. Even in explicit discussions of non-zero-sum games, there's an underlying assumption that you are an individual actor out to win the game for you. If your best outcome also comes from helping other people do well, great, but if you do better long term by cooperating until the very last round and then cutthroat, well, that's what's best for you! (But like Vizzini, a rational actor would know that, so they cooperate until the second to last round, but your opponent would know that you know that, so they cooperate until the third to last round.... and so on.) It's interesting if you're a programmer, but it gets frustrating if you're a neurologist or a behaviourist or an ethicist. So despite being a widely spanning introduction to a good number of fundamental concepts of game theory, I was left with the sense that people who read this book and only this book will be like the pickup artists of strategy... they'll have a few tricks that will allow them to feel like they've "won" and that they know the secrets of successful negotiation now. So I want to recommend this book, but only to people who will also read other books which do not presume Homo economicus. Hardly the fault of the authors, they do point out where peoples' actual experimental behaviour deviates from what a good programmer/mathematician/strategist would optimize for... like the weather book, it's just a hard problem to bookify. Three and a half "and also read something else"s out of five.

I bought Dave Egger's "The Circle" because I hadn't read any good cyberpunk in a while, and I had hoped from the description that it would be a modern day social media novel in that genre. (Naam for bioengineering, Egger for social engingeering?) Given my political tendencies, I expected this book to be a thoughtful exploration of what we as a society are doing by sharing so much about ourselves, how it shapes our interactions, and how irrevocable that is. I didn't expect to do most of the reading with my shoulders around my ears; the culture of the Circle company felt like it was written to give me personally the heebie-jeebies. I suspect many other privacy geeks would feel the same way. Aaaaaah! One of the people I normally push books upon when I am done with them... I actually asked him, as much as I could without giving away spoilers, if this was something he would even want to read. (He's like me but more so there.) It's trenchant social commentary, but it wasn't the revolutionary thinking many of the critics are lauding him for... it's more like "aaaand here are the consequences that my friends have been wargaming for twenty years". So good on him if he gets more people thinking about that, but it feels very arrogant to think that there aren't already tons of people thinking about that. Three unsettling heebies out of jeebie.

Back to things I straightforwardly loved, John McPhee's "The Control of Nature" had me at Atchafalaya. [grin] Everyone recommends him and I can't think why I didn't try him long ago. ("You're one of today's lucky ten thousand!") After "The Emerald Mile" from last batch, I thought I was on a dam kick -- I knew something about the Old River Control, but not with the personal touch that McPhee brings to it. (I also want him to write a post-Katrina update now, and I want to go find my friend who was with the Army Corps of Engineers down there and ask him about his time serving.) I also wanted to get this book read before my trip, given McPhee's coverage of Iceland's attempt to save a town from being overrun by lava with high pressure hoses and seawater. I now appear to be on a volcano kick. [grin] Your recommendations for good volcano books gleefully accepted. I will certainly go look up the rest of McPhee's work; four and a half submerging islands out of five.

This entry was originally posted at http://ivy.dreamwidth.org/406812.html and has comment count unavailable comments there. Please feel free to comment on either site; comments rock.
Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

OpenStack Infrastructure August 2014 Bug Day

Elizabeth Krumbach - Wed, 2014-08-27 00:08

The OpenStack Infrastructure team has a pretty big bug collection.

1855 collection
Well, not literal bugs

We’ve slowly been moving new bugs for some projects over to StoryBoard in order to kick the tires on that new system, but today we focused back on our Launchpad Bugs to par down our list.

Interested in running a bug day? The steps we have for running a bug day can be a bit tedious, but it’s not hard, here’s the rundown:

  1. I create our etherpad: cibugreview-august2014 (see etherpad from past bug days on the wiki at: InfraTeam#Bugs)
  2. I run my simple infra_bugday.py script and populate the etherpad.
  3. Grab the bug stats from launchpad and copy them into the pad so we (hopefully) have inspiring statistics at the end of the day.
  4. Then comes the real work. I open up the old etherpad and go through all the bugs, copying over comments from the old etherpad where applicable and making my own comments as necessary about obvious updates I see (and updating my own bugs).
  5. Let the rest of the team dive in on the etherpad and bugs!

Throughout the day we chat in #openstack-infra about bug statuses, whether we should continue pursuing certain strategies outlined in bugs, reaching out to folks who have outstanding bugs in the tracker that we’d like to see movement on but haven’t in a while. Plus, we get to triage a whole pile of New bugs (thanks Clark) and close others we may have lost track of (thanks everyone).

As we wrap up, here are the stats from today:

Starting bug day count: 270

31 New bugs
39 In-progress bugs
6 Critical bugs
15 High importance bugs
8 Incomplete bugs

Ending bug day count: 233

0 New bugs
37 In-progress bugs
3 Critical bugs
10 High importance bugs
14 Incomplete bugs

Full disclosure, 4 of the bugs we “closed” were actually moved to the Zuul project on Launchpad so we can import them into StoryBoard at a later date. The rest were legitimate though!

It was a busy day, thanks to everyone who participated.

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

The WTF necklace

Terri - Mon, 2014-08-25 16:02
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.

This one barely counts as a maker-y thing, in that all I really did was string some letters onto a faux-leather strap, but I think it’s hilarious and needed to be shared:


Necklace with the letters WTF on it. WTF Necklace


Actually, this was much harder than it should have been. The necklace strap came pre-assembled and had to be disassembled so I could thread the letters on, which normally wouldn’t be too hard but I can’t find the relevant jewelry pliers so I wound up using these round ones which were totally unsuited. And then once I got it off, it turns out the darned letters have holes that aren’t quite big enough to easily thread the pleather through (or equally, the pleather was a bit too sticky for the length of threading required), so then I had to MacGyver this threading implement with a piece of wire that had been originally used to hold the bead in the package. My original plan of wrapping the wire around the pleather didn’t work because the wire was too thick, and then I wound up accidentally stripping half the wire inside the bead when I tried, and finally I had to find a needle and poke a hole in the end of the pleather and convince the wire to get into this much smaller hole so that I could hook it around and finally get the darned beads on the strap.


So, um, yeah. Totally easy, of course!


I can’t really take credit for the idea exactly: I saw a gal at defcon with a beautiful monogrammed purse that said WTF all classy-like (in as much as one can) and then beads were on sale when I went in to get stuff at the craft store and I was going to get my initials (which are funny enough in and of themselves) but then I decided I needed this too, because I am such a classy individual.


The instagram-clone filters prove it:


Necklace with the letters WTF on it. WTF Necklace


The thing that bugs me about this is that the holes in the beads aren’t exactly at the same height, so my necklace has a kerning problem. Can you see it? I really can, but I suppose I don’t actually have to look at my own necklace all day, and everyone at work is much too polite to stare randomly at someone else’s chest, so I figure it’s only the font geeks who’ll catch it.



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Market Street Railway Exploratorium Charter

Elizabeth Krumbach - Mon, 2014-08-25 03:43

Last month I learned about an Exploratorium Charter being put on by Market Street Railway. I’m a member of the organization and they do charters throughout the year, but my schedule rarely syncs up with when charters or other events are happening, so I was delighted when I firmed up my DebConf schedule and knew I’d be in town for this one!

It was a 2 hour planned charter, which would pick is up at the railway museum near Ferry building and take us down to Muni Metro East, “the current home of the historic streetcar fleet and not usually open to the public.” Sign me up.

The car taking us on our journey was the 1050, which was originally a Philadelphia street car (built in 1948, given No. 2119) which had been painted in Muni livery. MJ’s best friend is in town this weekend, so I had both Matti and MJ to join me on this excursion.

The route began by going down what will become the E line next year, and we stopped at the AT&T ballpark for some photo ops. The conductor (not the driver) of the event posed for photos.

Throughout the ride various volunteers from Market Street Railway passed around photos and historic pieces from street cars to demonstrate how they worked and some of the historic routes where they ran. Of particular interest was learning just how busy Ferry Building was at it’s height in the 1930s, not only serving as a busy passenger ferry port, but also with lots of street cars and other transit stopping at the building pretty much non-stop.

From the E-line there the street car went down Third street through Dogpatch and finally arrived at our first destination, the Muni Metro East Light Rail Vehicle Maintenance & Operations Facility. We all had to bright vests in order to enter the working facility.


Obligatory “Me with streetcar” photo

The facility is a huge warehouse where repairs are done on both the street cars and the Metro coaches. We had quite a bit of time to look around and peek under the cars and see some of the ones that were under repair or getting phased into usage.

I think my favorite part of the visit was getting to go outside and see the several cars outside. Some of them were just coming in for scheduled maintenance, and others like the cream colored 1056 that are going to be sent off for restoration (hooray!).

The tour concluded by taking us back up the Embarcadero and dropping us off at the Exploratorium science museum, skipping a loop around Pier 39 due to being a bit behind schedule. We spent about an hour at the museum, which was a nice visit as MJ and I had just been several months earlier.

Lots more photos from our day here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/sets/72157646412090817/

Huge thanks to Market Street Railway for putting on such a fun and accessible event!

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

One of them Los Alamos liberals

Akkana Peck - Sun, 2014-08-24 16:50

 One of them Los Alamos liberals] I love this Adopt-a-Highway sign on Highway 4 on the way back down from the Jemez.

I have no idea who it is (I hope to find out, some day), but it gives me a laugh every time I see it.

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

August 2014 miscellany

Elizabeth Krumbach - Sun, 2014-08-24 04:52

It’s been about a month since my surgery. I feel like I’ve taken it easy, but looking at my schedule (which included a conference on the other side of the continent) I think it’s pretty safe to say I’m not very good at that. I’m happy to say I’m pretty much recovered though, so my activities don’t seem to have caused problems.

Although, going to the 4th birthday party for OpenStack just 6 days after my surgery was probably pushing it. I thoroughly rationalized it due to the proximity of the event to my home (a block), but I only lasted about an hour. At least I got a cool t-shirt and got to see the awesome OpenStack ice sculpture. Also, didn’t die, so all is good right?

Fast forward a week and a half and we were wrapping up our quick trip to Philadelphia for Fosscon. We had some time on Sunday so decided to visit the National Museum of American Jewish History right by Independence Mall. In addition to a fun special exhibit about minorities in baseball, the museum boasts 3 floors of permanent exhibits that trace the history of Jews in America from the first settlement until today. We made it through much of the museum before our flight time crept up, and even managed to swing by the gift shop where we found a beautiful glass menorah to bring home.

Safely back in San Francisco, I met up with a few of my local Ubuntu and Debian friends on the 13th for an Ubuntu Hour and a Debian dinner. The Ubuntu Hour was pretty standard, I was able to bring along my Nexus 7 with Ubuntu on it to show off the latest features in the development channel for the tablet version. I also received several copies of The Official Ubuntu Book so I was able to bring one along to give away to an attendee, hooray!

From there, we made it over to 21st Amendment Brewery where we’d be celebrating Debian’s 21st birthday (which was coming up on the 16th). It took some time to get a table, but had lots of time to chat while we were waiting. At the dinner we signed a card to send off to a donation to SPI on behalf of Debian.

In other excitement, our car needed some work last week and MJ has been putting a lot of work into getting a sound system set up to go along with a new TV. Since I’ve been feeling better this week my energy has finally returned and I’ve been able to get caught up on a lot of projects I had pushed aside during my recovery. I also signed up for a new gym this week, it’s not as beautiful as the club I used to go to, but it has comparable facilities (including pool!) and is about half of what I was paying before. I’m thinking as I ease back into a routine I’ll use my time there for swimming and strength exercises. I sure need it, being these past few months really did a number on my fitness.

Today I met up with my friend Steve for Chinese lunch and then a visit over to the Asian Art Museum to see the Gorgeous exhibit. I’m really glad we went, it was an unusual collection that I really enjoyed. While we were there we also browsed the rest of the galleries in the museum, making it the first time that I’d actually walked through the whole museum on an excursion there.

I think the Mythical bird-man was my favorite piece of the exhibit:

And I was greatly amused when Steve used his iPhone to take a picture of the first generation iPhone on exhibit, so I captured the moment.

On Wednesday afternoon I’ll be flying up to Portland, OR to attend my first DebConf! It actually started today, but given my current commitment load I decided that 9 days away from home was a bit much and picked days later in the week where some of the discussions were most interesting to me. I’m really looking forward to seeing some of my long time Debian friends and learning more about work the teams are doing in the Continuous Integration space for Debian.

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Counting the days until Akademy!

Valorie Zimmerman 2 - Sat, 2014-08-23 02:46
It seems so soon after returning home from Randa and Geneva, but already the day of departure to Vienna and then Brno looms. So excited! For starters, both Scarlett and I got funding from Ubuntu so the e.V. is spared the cost of our travel! I've often felt guilty about how much airfare from Seattle is, for previous meetings. We're having a Kubuntu gathering on Thursday the 11th of September. Ping us if you have an issue you want discussed or worked on.

Also, Scarlett and I will be traveling together, which will be fun. And we're meeting Stefan Derkits in Vienna, to see some of his favorite places. Oh, a whole day in Vienna seems like heaven. We have a hostel booked; I hope it's nice. Now I need to figure out the bus or train from Vienna <> Brno.



Then there is the e.V. annual meeting, which I enjoy since I was admitted to membership. It is great to hear the reports personally, and meet people I usually only hear from in email or IRC.

Finally, there is Akademy, which is always a blur of excitement, learning, socializing, and interacting with the amazing speakers. My favorite part is always hearing from the GSoC students about their projects, and their experience in the KDE community. After Akademy proper, there are days of BOFs, and our Kubuntu meeting. This part is often the most energizing, as each meeting is like a small-scale sprint.

Of course we do take some time to walk through the city, and eat out, and party a bit. Face-to-face meetings are the BEST! Sometimes we return home exhausted and jetlagged, but it is always worth it. KDE is a community, and our annual gathering is one important way for us to nurture that community. This energizes the entire next year of creating amazing software.

An extra-special part of Akademy this year is that we are planning to release our new KDE Frameworks 5 Cookbook at Akademy. Get some while they're hot!
Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Learning to git

Valorie Zimmerman 2 - Fri, 2014-08-22 09:55
A few years ago, I learned from Myriam's fine blog how to build Amarok from source, which is kept in git. It sounds mysterious, but once all the dependencies are installed, PATH is defined and the environment is properly set up, it is extremely easy to refresh the source (git pull) and rebuild. In fact, I usually use the up-arrow in the konsole, which finds the previous commands, so I rarely have to even type anything! Just hit return when the proper command is in place.

Now we're using git for the KDE Frameworks book, so I learned how to not only pull the new or changed source files, but also to commit my own few or edited files locally, then push those commits to git, so others can see and use them.

To be able to write to the repository, an SSH key must be uploaded, in this case done in the KDE Identity account. If the Identity account is not a developer account, that must first be granted.

Just as in building Amarok, first the folders need to be created, and the repository cloned. Once cloned, I can see either in konsole or Dolphin the various files. It's interesting to me to poke around in most of them, but the ones I work in are markdown files, which is a type of text file. I can open them in kate (or your editor of choice) either from Dolphin or directly from the cli (for instance kate ki18n/ki18n.in.md).

Once edited, save the file, then it's time to commit. If there are a number of files to work on, they can be all committed at once. git commit -a is the command you need. Once you hit return, you will be immediately put into nano, a minimal text editor. Up at the top, you will see it is waiting for your commit message, which is a short description of the file or the changes you have made. Most of my commits have said something like "Edited for spelling and grammar." Once your message is complete, hit Control X, and y and return to save your changes.

It's a good idea to do another git pull just to be sure no one else has pushed a conflicting file while the commit message was being crafted, then git push. At this point the passphrase for the ssh key is asked for; once that is typed and you hit return, you'll get something like the following:

Counting objects: 7, done.                                                                                                                                                                              
Delta compression using up to 8 threads.                                                                                                                                                                
Compressing objects: 100% (4/4), done.                                                                                                                                                                  
Writing objects: 100% (4/4), 462 bytes | 0 bytes/s, done.                                                                                                                                                
Total 4 (delta 2), reused 1 (delta 0)                                                                                                                                                                    
remote: This commit is available for viewing at:
remote: http://commits.kde.org/kf5book/90c863e4ee2f82e4d8945ca74ae144b70b9e9b7b
To git@git.kde.org:kf5book                                                                                                                                                                              
   1d078fe..90c863e  master -> master                                                                                                                                                                    
valorie@valorie-HP-Pavilion-dv7-Notebook-PC:~/kde/book/kf5book$

In this case, the new file is now part of the KDE Frameworks 5 book repository. Git is a really nifty way to keep files of any sort organized and backed up. I'm really happy that we decided to develop the book using this powerful tool.
Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

MicroView: the bad, the good, and the awesome

Terri - Thu, 2014-08-21 07:17
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.

I backed this cute little thing on kickstarter called the Microview, which is basically a teensy arduino with an oled display attached. It was too adorable to pass up: I’ve wanted a little programmable necklace for a while, and this meant that project would be really easy to build.


My MicroView (Adorable Arduino with OLED display) My MicroView (Adorable Arduino with OLED display)


I’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the MicroView and it finally came today. So I popped open the instructions page and the first thing I see is a big apology. Uh oh…


So I check my email and sure enough, there’s an email about a big problem. Short version: they sent out a whole pile of units without bootloaders, so it runs the demo but won’t run any new code. Both of my MicroViews, it seems, are in the affected batches. More details here:


https://www.sparkfun.com/news/1575

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1516846343/microview-chip-sized-arduino-with-built-in-oled-di/posts/959475


So that’s disappointing, but they’re shipping out replacement units, and I suppose I can wait a bit longer to play. It’s not like I don’t have other toys to play with.


But here’s the super awesome news: it’s possible to dissect the unit and fix it!


So… with a bit of hacking, and assuming I don’t break anything, I may have double the number of MicroViews by the time this is done, and I’ll have had an excuse to dissect my new toys.


I’ve never been so pleased about receiving a defective product. :)


In the meantime, I guess I can play the tutorial game:


 Connect a jumper between pins 5 and 8 MicroView running the tutorial “game”: Connect a jumper between pins 5 and 8



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Mouse Release Movie

Akkana Peck - Wed, 2014-08-20 23:10

[Mouse peeking out of the trap] We caught another mouse! I shot a movie of its release.

Like the previous mouse we'd caught, it was nervous about coming out of the trap: it poked its nose out, but didn't want to come the rest of the way.

[Mouse about to fall out of the trap] Dave finally got impatient, picked up the trap and turned it opening down, so the mouse would slide out.

It turned out to be the world's scruffiest mouse, which immediately darted toward me. I had to step back and stand up to follow it on camera. (Yes, I know my camera technique needs work. Sorry.)

[scruffy mouse, just released from trap] [Mouse bounding away] Then it headed up the hill a ways before finally lapsing into the high-bounding behavior we've seen from other mice and rats we've released. I know it's hard to tell in the last picture -- the photo is so small -- but look at the distance between the mouse and its shadow on the ground.

Very entertaining! I don't understand why anyone uses killing traps -- even if you aren't bothered by killing things unnecessarily, the entertainment we get from watching the releases is worth any slight extra hassle of using the live traps.

Here's the movie: Mouse released from trap. [Mouse released from trap]

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

[Book Reviews] Excellent anthologies, an epic Grand Canyon run, and two awful books

Raven - Tue, 2014-08-19 21:15
Hello, Internet! I read a couple of terrible books as well as several that I liked. In an attempt to whittle down my backlog of book reviews some, have a post. Books I disliked:
I got a recommendation for "The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club" from a lady I was corresponding with; she swore that Laurie Notaro was the funniest woman alive and that everything she wrote was gold. I was expecting comedy stories about a group of women out adventuring. Instead, what I got was more like "it's soooooo hard having a Jersey Shore style life". I... had assumed that the title was self-deprecating. I didn't expect the author to genuinely be someone I thought was stupid. I should have read Powells rather than just jumping to Paperback Swap: She writes about a world of hourly-wage jobs that require absolutely no skills... and hangovers that leave her surprised that she woke up in the first place. The misadventures of Laurie and her fellow Idiot Girls (“too cool to be in the Smart Group”) unfold in a world that everyone will recognize but no one has ever described so hilariously. She delivers the goods: life as we all know it. Uh. That is not life as I know it. I didn't find it hilarious. I was torn between "wow, that is completely obnoxious and self centered", "you realize you could have trivially avoided this problem, right?", and just a complete lack of connection with the protagonist. Our priorities are so different that I disliked basically everything she decided to do, and that made it hard to find this funny. One episode of falling asleep on someone else's lawn in your own vomit out of five. :/

I know, I'm a heathen, but I hated Paul Park's "A Princess of Roumania" too. It's a portal fantasy full of characters that I don't care about, in a world where the only person I liked gets turned into a silent dog pretty much immediately. Bah. It's the first of a trilogy, and it doesn't stand alone very well, but I didn't care about the characters or the world enough to read the other two. If you liked the "mucking about in tents" part of Harry Potter 7, you will like this book... there are nontrivial similarities. Our Heroine (and her small entourage) are very lazily pursued by the bad guys, the weather is awful, there's always a vague feeling of threat, nothing feels resolved. Even when things happen, it doesn't feel like there's progress of the plot, it's more just like "and then in the winter of 1638 Such And So fell sick and died unexpectedly, also barley harvests were down but winter wheat taxes were lucrative". The younger characters whine and bicker a lot, which does not add to their likability. The adult characters all took a triple dose of Inscrutable Motives And Secret History, so they're all swanning about giving the fourth wall meaningful glances but never actually saying anything. Bah. One pointless winter march out of five.

Better books:
I was a Kickstarter backer for "Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History", and I had pretty high hopes for it. I like anthologies, I like the chance to get to discover new authors, and I was particularly looking forward to an anthology that wasn't just going to be a million Play Ren Fest With Magic stories about being a noble in medieval Europe. (Even or perhaps particularly as a Celt, the avalanche of magic medieval Ireland stories get really really old.) Favorite stories included Tananarive Due's contribution -- I'm not a horror fan but she writes so well that I grit my teeth and read through the creepy anyway. Ken Liu’s “Knotting Grass, Holding Wing” was also excellent; Green Siskin is a wonderfully well developed heroine. L.S. Johnson's “Marigolds” and Nnedi Okorafor's “It’s War” were also among my favorites. The anthology as a whole is certainly serving a market looking for its stories; about two days after I'd finished, a new book friend of mine said that she liked postcolonialist literature and speculative fiction but rarely found the two in the same works. I cackled and sent her a recommendation. For sensitive readers, a lot of the stories deal with difficult subject matter... there are plenty of cases where the plot is driven by the characters asserting themselves against an unfair world, and the harshness of their surrounding circumstances is pretty apparent. But I was regularly delighted by the narrative focus remaining on these characters as people who decided and acted... the stories were not about how hard they had it, but rather about what they did with their lives. A++ for that! Many of the stories do not end happily, which is pretty consistent with how many of the referenced periods of history used as settings went, but even when they were hard to read I still enjoyed having read them. Four and a half complex plots out of five.

"Athena's Daughters: Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy" was another Kickstarter project (and it's worth going to that page for all the associated art, but by the time I found out about it I was too late to fund it. Instead, I ended up ordering the ebook through Amazon. Pun sort of intended, it's a stellar anthology -- I found out about it through Sherwood Smith's blog, and with her story and a couple of my other favorite authors (Cleolinda Jones! Nisi Shawl!) it would be hard not to be. It was icing on the cake that astronaut and all-around badass Colonel Pam Melroy (one of only two women to command the Space Shuttle) wrote for them as well. I know I'm a sucker, but the Amelia Earhart story was my favorite. Like "Long Hidden", the included art was lovely and added to my enjoyment as a reader, even if I do always try to figure everything in the story out in advance from the art. I understand they're doing a second volume with submissions opening this summer, and I'll definitely read that one once it's out too. Four wise owls out of five.

My book friend to whom I recommended "Long Hidden" lent me Stephen King's foray into mystery/hard boiled crime fiction "The Colorado Kid". More than anything, I read it as an ethnography of Maine island life. It wasn't badly told, but if you are the kind of reader who likes all their loose ends wrapped up and everything neatly packaged, you will not like this book. It's much more "old-timers talking about a cold case" than it is a detective hurtling across the landscape trying to solve a murder before getting offed themself. Short, interesting, but not a neat fit in any genre. Three and a half ferry boat drivers out of five.

From my first trip to Third Place Books, I had to pick just one book to take home with me. (I was on a bicycle. It's a long way.) That book was "The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Though the Heart of the Grand Canyon". It's excellent outdoor writing -- lots of history, some geology, and enough background to understand the tension and opposing worldviews of the engineers who built and maintain the dams on the Colorado as well as the environmental activists who oppose their existence and management. Readers who like high context and understanding how things came to be will like this book. While it takes quite some time to get around to the Emerald Mile's record-breaking run down the river, by the time you get there you can appreciate what it was that just happened. I am still substantially astonished that nobody died... like the Powell party, heading dwarfed but undaunted into a partially known river of that scale is straddling the line between crazy and legendary. I sure wouldn't want to do it, but I enjoyed reading about people crazier than myself doing it. Four new faces of Crystal out of five.


This entry was originally posted at http://ivy.dreamwidth.org/404933.html and has comment count unavailable comments there. Please feel free to comment on either site; comments rock.
Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Wuthering Bytes 2014 Talk – SPI and I2C

Melanie Rhianna Lewis - Tue, 2014-08-19 13:22

SPIandI2CTitle

Here are the slides to the SPI and I2C talk I gave at Wuthering Bytes 2014 at Hebden Bridge, here in the UK.

http://www.cyberspice.org.uk/downloads/SPIandI2C.pdf

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Book review: Stormdancer

Terri - Tue, 2014-08-19 04:53
I haven't really kept up on reviewing much of anything lately, even though I still read lots of books and try makeup and stuff, but life is busy and I'm pretty sure I'm less likely to regret missed reviews than I will other things, so I don't feel that guilty.

That said, here's a book review:

Stormdancer (The Lotus War Book One) by Jay…
Stormdancer (The Lotus War Book One)
by Jay Kristoff

It was a snippet describing this book as "Japanese Steampunk" that made me curious enough to request this from the library. I'd personally describe it more as "feudal Japanese dystopia" than steampunk, but I seem to have a penchant dystopian young adult stuff, so that works out ok for me. There are some robot-suits and flying machines so it fits the bill if you're looking for steampunk rooted in something other than victorian England culture. Frankly, it's worth a read just for that cultural quirk, although the technical-cultural aspects are barely touched upon in this volume.

Stormdance is mostly the tale of Yukiko, daughter of the famed "Black Fox" -- a hunter whom the shogun has sent on what seems a fool's errand: he is to find and bring back a "thunder tiger" (griffon) in a land that is so polluted and poisoned that there are barely any animals left. As Yukiko accompanies the hunters on their quest, the way she sees her father, other people, and the world winds up irrevocably changed, and she soon finds herself on a quest of her own...

I admit, I found this one a bit hard to get into: it starts with lengthy descriptions and more Japanese-style pacing than I'm used to in my young adult novels, and I found having to learn terminology sent me on enough tangential trips to the glossary that I had trouble immersing myself. But once I did, it's a great story with a few great characters and a fascinating world.

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