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Filed under: Belgium,Conference,GNOME,GStreamer,Life,Spain — Thomas @ 11:59 am

2008-6-24
11:59 am

Looks like I caught part of the flu my Barcelonan flat mate was having. It started – as these things usually do – on Friday evening. My psyche knows when it’s the weekend and when I want to relax, and schedules diseases breaking out accordingly. I’d feel guilty about getting ill on working days, I’m sure.

We had a BBQ planned on Sunday with our old sport club – our yearly meeting. A simple flu wouldn’t stop me from having it, even though we took over organizing it from the original instigator (and used Doodle to do so – do yourself a favor and use it every time you’re planning something with friends to avoid fifteen thousand mails going “I can’t on that date, how about that date” – I wish I had thought of that site)

BBQ was excellent, save for the fact that the ten-year-old-but-still-in-a-box-deluxe-barbecook was missing a whole bag of nuts and bolts. Peter to the rescue by going to the hardware store and getting some basics to at least allow us to have the BBQ itself working. And affected as I was by the flu apparently I didn’t bring home charcoal but vineyard branches – not a good fit for the barbecook.

But all was well after a short wait and the meat was excellent, as was the company. And we even got some sports done.

Today being San Joan in Barcelona – my least favourite holiday, 6 year old kids running around at night shooting off fireworks without regards for their own or my life – I decided to stay home this week. I’m happy I decided to stay here because it’s no fun travelling while ill. This also allows me to focus on setting up our new virtualized development platform at work, because we’re working on a near-seamless migration from our old platform code to the new version. Flipping the big red switch just isn’t a responsible way of migrating customers anymore.

Kristien took advantage of me staying to work from home this week and went out yesterday to get a new kitten. His name’s Tonie (staying with the cat meme we started with Lunya), he’s mostly black but with white paws, a white jaw, and a bit of white across his face. As far as kittens go, this is one of the more active I’ve seen – up and about and trying to break free from his temporary “get-used-to-a-new-place” area in two hours. Usually a kitten takes about a day hiding behind some couch in a corner to adjust. Also, this kitten hardly made a peep while Kristien drove him home – an hour car ride and only six meows. Lunya would wail like a baby the whole drive.

Anyway, I’m sure you all know kittens are cute and heartbreaking. This one’s up and about and alternating between discovering this new place and resting on my lap.

In the end I’ve decided not to go to GUADEC this year, and go to Europython instead. It’s not really a very calculated or well-thought out decision – I was hung up on deciding ever since I realized they were on at the same time. I probably would have booked for both months ago if they had been separate.

It’s not that I don’t want to go to Istanbul – I do, but holy shit, is it expensive – and it’s not that I don’t want to see all my GNOME friends again. I’m interested in the debate our dear rabble rouser has started, though I doubt people will get anywhere on that.

Maybe it’s simply fatigue – I have to agree with some people that there isn’t that much variety compared to other years looking at the schedule. Possibly it’s also the fact that I haven’t contributed much of anything at all to GNOME over the last year. I’m sure that’s largely due to my focus having changed a lot. My involvement in GStreamer as well has waned over the last year, for various reasons I’ll save for a possible other post.

Europython was fun last year, it’s nice to see a different community interact once in a while. Breaks the entrenchment one gets into. It’s also more work-related – we’re looking for people with Python skills, so it makes more sense to go to Europython.

In the end, it wasn’t a single thing that made me decide, it’s really just a flip of a coin decision, and I’m sure I’ll regret it somewhere down the line. Chosing is losing.

So, with my birthday coming up (and now having decided to have it in Vilnius) I’ve cleaned up my Amazon wish lists and ordered myself some goodies off of it already. Which leads me to wonder two things related to Amazon.

First of all, why does Amazon even *have* different frontend sites for different regions ? And why do these sites not interact in any way at all ? Every link on the web to an amazon item are always to the US version, so I always end up having a US wish list, though it is weird to order stuff from the US if it’s also available on any of their regional sites.

Which leads me to point two – how is it still possible that ordering the same stuff from the US just comes out huge chunks cheaper than ordering it from the .uk or .fr sites ? And that’s even when I choose priority air shipping. Shouldn’t it be a hell of a lot cheaper to ship from their European warehouses ? Is this just the weak dollar ? Should I delete my UK wish list entirely anyway (which I only started for DVD’s because of region coding and PAL vs NTSC) ?

Anyway, enough influenced posting for today. Time to do some non-work work.

Europython

Filed under: Conference,Python — Thomas @ 11:02 pm

2007-7-10
11:02 pm

Europython is turning out to be quite interesting. It takes some effort to start talking to people given that I know relatively few here, but I’m learning lots of new stuff. But I’ll save more for some other post.

Right now I want to focus on the more amusing combination of Linux and hotels. So here’s the thing. The guys from Tuxdroid are here, selling their little Tux robots. For those who don’t know, this is a small robot with text-to-speech that can flap its wings, make its eyes glow blue, and run around, as well as serve as speaker. I’m sure there’s other stuff I’m missing. They’re selling these babies for 79 euros, and the company is Belgian. They have a bunch of code available to program the thing (radio-controlled with a USB dongle), and it has a bunch of stuff in python. So far, so cool.

So here’s the thing. I plug Tux into the power socket to charge him. When you start charging it, it says “Hello” and flaps its wings. In the hotel room, when I leave the room, I have to take the card out of that socket that controls whether there is power at all in the room (which is annoying in hotel rooms, because it means you can’t leave your laptop charging while you are away.)

So, what happens when I come back to the room at night, get in, and put the card in the socket ?

A little bird flapping its wings and shouting “Hello” because it’s getting fresh power juice. Too cute.

I’m wondering how I’m going to lug this thing around in my backpack for the next set of flights…

bits and pieces

Filed under: Conference — Thomas @ 11:35 pm

2007-7-7
11:35 pm

xkcd author uses gnome ! Check out that awesome terminal screenshot.

Lugradio is crude, in a delightful sort of way.  Today saw Matt doing an hour-long gong-a-thon… in a thong.  Not a pretty sight.

The Everybody loves Eric Raymond guy is here as well, so I finally bought a “Knuth is my homeboy” shirt.  He did a nice gong talk about his characters with facts that were probably true.  Too bad he was cut short, he didn’t even get to Eric.

Lugradio has a completely different vibe than any other conference I’ve ever been to, for better or for worse.  I had to improvise a little on my talk given that the projector screen was maybe two meters across, and with the sun it wasn’t very visible anyway, but still got a good amount of questions, which I like.  On the other hand I will be happy to give a less technical/freeer talk at GUADEC.  I’m surprised to see the party being rather mellow though, no ruffians in this country at all! Just as well, I need to seriously catch up on sleep….

GUADEC

Filed under: Conference — Thomas @ 12:14 am

2007-7-6
12:14 am

Being the usual dorkwad that I am I only just now managed to book my flights.

That also means I haven’t booked accomodation of any kind yet.  Anyone still looking to share a room at ETAP or Formula 1 from Monday 16th until Friday 20th inclusive ? If not, given that bmibaby has lots of hidden costs, I may actually prefer to go all dormy and save on the overpriced accomodation anyway.

back in super-zero

Filed under: Conference,Fedora,Life — Thomas @ 10:01 pm

2007-2-6
10:01 pm

Got off a plane this morning after a scant 5 hours of sleep. This after repeated days of waking up at 6 in the morning. I think I will catch up tonight. Happy to be back at +12 C instead of -12 C. Although I must say a frozen Charles river had its charm.

Meanwhile, I was goaded by daniels into making myself a southpark hackergotchi for Freedesktop.

I will keep it short for now, and just drop in a reminder about things to write about later.

I am liking my Nokia 800 a lot – thank you Nokia for considering me. Surprised there is still no Vorbis support, so that will be my number one task for this thing.

The past weekend has made my TODO list grow even more. Among other things, clean up pirut’s autotools setup (because the pirutspin guys made me take a look at their verbatim search-and-replace copy) and submit a patch for that, update some Fedora packages, do a release of Savon soon, set up an SELinux-stops-a-known-exploit example, build ppc gstreamer packages, finish off a local patch that adds help links to the Flumotion UI messages, create GStreamer/Flumotion/Elisa live CD’s, look at the OLPC camera kernel driver to turn off auto-balancing of hue/saturation for the space invaders game, and find a Barcelona bagel store with cream cheese.

Now excuse me while I go home and vegetate watching a possibly good new series called “Heroes”…

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