I Visited the UK LoCo

May I just say, I have a fantastic time with the UK LoCo this evening attending the interesting Dans LaNoir. This is a restaurant which is completely pitch black, where you’re served by blind waiters and lead in and out.

Part of the appeal of going through this kind of blind experience was seeing if I could cope with not having sight. But part of it was a good old fashioned dare with friends. I found myself using some of the techniques I’d observed two of my blind friends in the US use as well as noticing how much the eyes fake information which you can see when you can’t see, if you see what I mean.

The conversation is also a good laugh. With Alan Pope in the gang it felt like I was invited to eat inside the UK Podcast; where all there is food and the sound of stuff happening with much frivolity.

Many thanks to the UK LoCo leader Alan Bell for making me feel very welcome and for all the gang for being such awesome geeks.

Shared Bookmarks, do they exist?

I’m after a system where by users of my community computer labs can enjoy a new entry in their bookmark bar of items which are of particular interest and use.

Our system we use requires each user to have their own username and password and thus their own firefox profile, so we can’t do what the windows 7 labs would do which is just to add the bookmarks to the Internet Explorer session as the ‘User’ user.

So I had a look at social bookmarking services like delicious, but none of them provide a way to specify bookmarks or tags (which work) in a way that allows bookmarks to be populated.

I also looked for some scripts that perhaps might be able to open the firefox profile bookmarks html and edit it and sync one particular part of it up with a master file. But I haven’t been able to find such a thing.

So I turn to you dear reader; do you know of anything like this? Please comment below.

Inner City Boston Ubuntu Hour 2

Today was the second Inner City Ubuntu Hour, myself, Dave Hunt and Ralph DeGenero met at Winter Street and Tremont on this beautiful july forth weekend to talk geek about Ubuntu.

First stop we went to Starbucks to get some drinks and use up Rio’s free drink card. Then onwards to have some food at Pho Pasture in Boston’s China Town. We talked about the etymology of language and lots of various geeky subjects. The main event followed:

We took the T (train) to Andrew Sq. and walked over to the Mary Ellen Community Center. I showed off the computer lab with full Ubuntu machines and how the network was administered and kept in sync. Particularly interesting was the way the package syncing worked and the new user registration gdm. You can see a video of me demonstrating the user registration system here.

I also have a set of scripts to notify users and track their session times using libnotify and app-indicators. You can check out the client and server scripts here and the session manager here (unfinished).

We tested the Orca screen reader and attempted to upgrade it for the lab to 3.1, but the new versions are having trouble with Maverick at the moment. So they were quickly downgraded.

With that, we ended to Ubuntu Hour which was extended into over time to show off some really cool stuff.

Ubuntu Global Jam in Lexinton, Massachusetts

The Ubuntu Massachusetts Local Community team will be hosting a global jam event at the Canonical Lexington office on the 3rd April 2011. We have some car-pooling from Watertown and Alewife for those who are restricted to public transport and lament the cancellation of the Lexington bus on Sundays.

If the weather is good enough, I will cycle up to Lexington along the nice cycle path. You’re also welcome to join me and you should email me directly for details: doctormo@gmail.com; For everyone else, check out the loco page:

5Pi-Con – Ubuntu MA+CT

This weekend we were attending PiCon once again, a wonderfully smaller SciFi and geeky event in the middle of CT near the MA border. I’d like to thank Jonathan Prigot and Penelopy (Pendulum) for personing our desk with me and proving excellent help and support to all that came seeking out Ubuntu.

Here are some Photos:

We didn’t have enough 10.04 disks so we were pushing to get rid of some 9.10s we had left over. Our LoCo isn’t official any more so I don’t know how easy it will be to get more. But it should be simple enough to sort out for our next event, esp since it’s an LTS.

Reaction was very positive, we had people we saw last time who wanted an upgrade, some people who wanted to try it out and lots of questions. The thing that is always interesting to me is how much more geeks need to be convinced of something before they’ll take the plunge. Interestingly I think this points to the responsibility we have in our authoritative positions as keepers of know-how on Ubuntu how e look to non-geeks who maybe trust what we say implicitly.

I guess that’s why we have Martin Guidelines which state to not over-play features and down-play gaps in functionality.

LoCo Team Calendars!

Ever wanted to not have to fill in your team’s calendars in multiple places? Well now you don’t have to!

Just enter your team’s events as usual in the loco directory and subscribe your calendar software to the new per team >ical interface.

I’ve subscribed using google calendars and evolution to make sure it works, now we have the opportunity to clean up wiki’s full of event dates and customised google team calendars.

Also available is a global events ical feed so you can keep up to date on what’s going on as well as a an all teams feed for keeping up to date with everyone’s activities.

There is a bit of a bug in Ubuntu where it doesn’t recognise the ical mime type and open it up in evolution, so remember to copy the url and paste it in when you go to add a new calendar in evolution or google calendar.

LoCo Derivitive Works

I’ve just been looking through Spread Ubuntu, that bastion of advertising media for Ubuntu LoCo teams which allows us to share designs and such.

I noticed something which made me smile, a long time ago I made a poster for the Massachusetts 8.10 party and it was commissioned from Mimloy a Thai artist from deviantArt. She kindly made it and released it under CC-BY-SA for me. So I made modifications and did my editing and produced this. (see left)

So checking art I was glad to see this work by Leogg, a Spanish Ubuntu person who designed/released some great Ubuntu CD covers for 9.10 (1 year later) and some of them clearly show a derivative of the original Ubuntu girl from the above poster. Changed, made better, made to fit, given a body and split into a number of personalities.

Isn’t it great? Score another point for creative commons freedom. Now on an interesting note technically each derivative work should attribute all the people who’ve worked on it so far, but that’s actually hard to do because you may not know everyone who did (I doubt leogg knew Mimloy was the original artist) and it could ruin the artwork to have a million names printed on it each time. I’ve not yet come up with a good answer for how to solve these problems.

LoCo: Keep Things Open

Recently I learned that an event we’d tentatively been expecting to attend as a group, didn’t happen. But all was quiet and as leader I’d assumed that the organisers has decided that the event couldn’t be run properly so had dropped the idea. but the problem was that we didn’t know.

The problem it turned out was a series of private emails between the two principle organisers who had managed to cross wires and misunderstand each other. Add in complexities of personal histories and the fact that they’ve never met in person and we ended up will a killed event.

So my thoughts were, should the organisation communication have been held in public, on the mailing list? Should that be a standard part of the procedure?

At least if it’s going on in the light of the list’s mailing list we can identify potential conflicts and attempt to defuse problems. If things do explode, then we’d be on hand to help pick up the pieces and salave what we could.

Thoughts?

Ubuntu @ Anime Boston 2010

Hey guys, as you’ve probably read in DPic’s blog post, the Ubuntu Massachusetts LoCo will be getting together with the Linux Fund to run an advocacy project at the up and coming Anime Boston. This event I feel is big enough and will have just the right kind of people, to make a push with Ubuntu demonstrations and CDs really worth it.

We’ll have the Ubunchu Manga to give away and some flyers/guides explaining how people can use Free Software to create artworks or replace their current programs. The idea is to reach out to Anime lovers and show them that they can watch all their anime on Ubuntu just as well as they can on any other kind of machine.

I’ll be there myself to help out with handing out things and I’m really looking forward to being able to participate with other MA LoCo people. But here is where we need the help of the community, these events are pretty pricey and that’s where the Linux Fund comes in to help us cover costs by getting the Ubuntu community to join us in support of the event.

Funding will be done in stages, so we have a minimum goal to reach which sets us up with a booth, then we have other stages that allow us to make the manga, flyers etc. CDs we hope can be brought in from Canonical’s Shipit (these will be Karmic CDs as the event is only a week or so before the new Lucid)

Press Release: On Website
DPic’s Blog: More Details

Global Jam – Boston and Cambridge

ugj09_banner_195x500_red_ENThe Ubuntu Massachusetts LoCo will be having a Global Jam event:

* What: Massachusetts Local Community Global Jam
* Organiser: Evan Broder (MIT)
* When: October 3rd from 14:00 to ~21:00
* Where: Room 32-144, Stata Center at 32 Vassar St. (MIT)
* Why: To have fun doing Ubuntu Bugs, Documentation and helping the next release of Ubuntu.
* Who: You and anyone you know in Massachusetts, come down and have some fun.

We’ll also be having an evening event every week on Wednesdays:

* What: Massachusetts Local Community Advocacy Jam
* Organiser: Martin Owens
* When: October and November 2009, every Wednesday 17:30 – 20:30
* Where: South End Tech Center, 359 Columbus Ave, Boston.
* Why: Get together and work on various local Ubuntu projects and have fun.
* Who: Anyone interested in spreading Ubuntu in Massachusetts

If any of you can make it to any of our events, do come, we love to see as many faces as possible.