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.

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.

Jamming in Massachusetts

I want to give a big thank you to all the people who came to our Massachusetts Bug Jam today. That’s mterry, |lizzie, doctormo, Wesley, Felicia, Dave Hunt, Michael, Al and Tim. You all did great work reporting bugs, experiencing crashes and having fun with the new release.

A big thank you goes to Canonical for letting us use their Lexington office to hold the event and mterry again for being Canonical office chaperone.

Special mention for Al and Dave who are both seeing impaired; we all got to hear some of the issues with accessibility with Ubuntu. I hope our bug reports can help fix some of those issues; for example, did you know that there is no good screen reader accessible IRC client for Linux? That really hurts participation in chat channels when blind people can’t join IRC. Interestingly I think Dave mentioned he thought Unity might be better for accessibility than classic gnome overall, which was interesting to hear.

My issues focused around the nvidia drivers, the experimental drivers turned Ubuntu ‘classic’ from gnome-theme-less grey into something with a theme and the proprietary driver turned it into a black screen of death, basically a horrible user experience. So possibly issues with nvidia there, certainly unlikely I’ll be enjoying Unity any time soon on my machine.

Tim and Liz reported issues with the installer and the LiveCD desktop, firefox crashes, missing network icon, problems with boot loader installation. Wesley and Michael had some interesting issues with the alternate installer, but we figured that was a faulty usb stick, installed on an EeePC and some other fancy geekery. Finally Felicia brought cupcakes, gingerbread and did some bug hunting and also helped getting in pizza and soda.

Once again, big shout out to you all for being amazing.

Picture to come tomorrow hopefully.

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:

DebConf Next Week

I’m starting to get ready to go to DebConf in New York next week and I’m certainly excited to be given the opportunity to meet more of the Debian community. Because I don’t do much packaging I’ve not managed to get to know enough Debian people and I feel like projects such as http://art.debian.org/ are interesting and I would love to find others who are involved in similar things in that section of our extended community.

Anyone have any suggestions of what I should keep my eyes open for next week?

Anime Boston Well on Our Way

Thanks to everyone who has been helping the Ubuntu MA team and Danny Piccirillo, Myself and Michael Dexter of the Linux fund with the Ubuntu @ Anime Boston event. We’ve got most of the money and most of the resources too, so a big thank you goes out to:

  • Canonical Ltd for a timely conference pack with t-shrits, pens, caps and 300 Karmic CDs.
  • Go Promotional for their printing of flyers.
  • Arturo Silva for his Art, Money and general outstanding kindness.
  • Everyone who has been very kind to our project and donated or helped with materials.

So to keep everyone up to date this is where we are as of today: We have money to get things made, manga, flyers, posters and a new team banner (lost the old one doh!) We have materials, cds, canonical flyers, this how-to-make Anime in ubuntu flyer and some lovely pens.

What we’re working on producing is: Designs for flyers (which I’ll post as they’re done), we want to get in touch with that new anime project that seeks to produce an anime using FOSS tools, maybe even the Blender project to get some information from those projects made available.

We’ll need to start getting a roster together of people who are going to be able to come to the event, there are 2 spots that come with the booth we’ve gotten and we can buy more. People who are going to Anime Boston anyway and wouldn’t mind manning the table for an hour over the weekend can also apply to us by email. We’d also like to know who’ll be coming so we can spot you and have some time to chat with people from out of state who might already be involved in FOSS/Ubuntu.