Category Archives: General Nonsense

How awesome is my wife?

Emily is finally back from her trip to China, and she brought me the one thing that she knew I’d be almost as excited to see as her… BEER!

On Dreams and Dietary Mishaps

Last night I had a dream in which I was waiting in line to get into a club when I saw Bill Pullman being attacked by a vampire. I immediately sprang to his rescue, but when I killed the vampire Mr. Pullman became my friend Ted, who was sad that I’d killed a vampire he was rather fond of.

Next thing I knew I was at an open grave where MacGyver’s (not Richard Dean Anderson’s) frozen corpse had been split in half, with the bottom half missing. As the corpse began to thaw his gore spilled out and formed new skeletal legs. Then he got up and started walking toward me and I could tell that the look he was going for was that his whole body apart from his head was a skeleton, but it just looked like a really bad prosthetic (I could see his real arms behind the skeletal ones, etc.)

So my question to you, gentle reader, is what the hell did I eat last night?

Le Beehive

Really sad about what The Beehive has become. What was once a refuge from the drunken hordes on Carson where you could have a quiet drink and maybe play a board game has become just another place for cheap shots and loud music.

As I (gracefully) exit my 20s I find fewer and fewer reasons to go to the South Side after dark.

Stand Up Say Yeah!

I’ve been working my new job for about seven months now, and going from biking five miles and/or walking several every day to barely leaving the house has started taking its toll. Plus, I’ve been reading articles left and right about how sitting for eight hours a day will kill you. In other words, as good as this has been to me:

It was time for a standing desk!

I was looking for something that would let me work standing up, but not lose all the storage of a traditional desk. After trolling the web a bit looking for ideas, I found a promising design where else but at

The Expedit standing desk looked to be exactly what I needed, so Emily and I headed off to IKEA to pick up the parts:

I went with the brown-black color rather than the “birch” and used the legs rather than laying the top shelf on some blocks of wood.

After an epic struggle to fit all of this stuff in Emily’s Honda Civic (in the rain!) we got it all home with only mild discomfort (I had to lean so far forward that the steering wheel knows what I had for lunch).

After gathering all the parts in the living room it was time to start building.

After two nights of assembling furniture and a quick trip to Lowe’s for some brackets to hold the whole mess together I ended up with a pretty sweet setup:

I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now and after adding some anti-fatigue mats from Costco I’m officially in love with working upright.

UDS-P Orlando Day 2

Tuesday began with a session on how to improve Quickly, which is a tool to help Free as in...beginner programmers “quickly” get started on a new project. Most of the discussion revolved around porting to the new Python 3 hotness, including moving to PyGI from PyGTK. There was some talk of automatically converting users’ projects, but that seemed pretty high-risk so it’s more likely that the tool will advise the user to run 2to3 on their code if they wish to upgrade. There was also some discussion (again) of new project templates for Qt Quick, Vala, and Unity Lenses. (blueprint, notes)

Next was an introduction and Q&A session with the Ubuntu Desktop Design Team. Lots of things were discussed including how users can get involved and collaborate on designs, the settings that were removed from GNOME 3 which we need to add again (like choosing fonts, icon themes, etc.), and features for advanced users like multi-monitor support and focus-follows-mouse support. (blueprint, notes)

After that I was supposed to go to a session on improving the collaboration between Ubuntu and Linaro, but that seemed a lost cause as nobody from Ubuntu showed up (I don’t count since I don’t work on the distro). The meeting was postponed until they could convince someone to come. In the meantime I had a nice hallway discussion with Alex and Michael about personal backup solutions.

Last session before lunch was on infrastructure improvements for development release maintenance. The main thrust was that we have lots of tools to help find problems in the archive but they are all disconnected from each other and don’t provide a good overall picture of the problems that need to be addressed at any given time. Ideas included extending Harvest to be a more general place to assign/take tasks and setting up some automated upgrade testing. (blueprint, notes)

After lunch was a set of short talks. First up was a couple of guys from OpenStack talking about automated testing of code before allowing that code to be merged into their main tree. For functional and integration testing they have a slick tool which automatically sets up an Ubuntu machine with the software needed to run OpenStack and fires it up with the code to be tested.

Next was another OpenStack talk about DevStack, which is a script which allows you to quickly set up an OpenStack development environment.

Following that talk was the Steve George, the VP of Business Development for Canonical, talking about the need to bring consumer applications into Ubuntu if we want to reach a critical mass of users. The talk largely centered on and similar efforts to make it easy and attractive for developers to get their software into Ubuntu.

The final talk of the series was by a gentleman from Nokia discussing the Qt ecosystem. He mentioned that Qt is run by the Qt Project rather than Nokia itself, and that it’s already being used in many products including home media devices (I found out later that the PS3 Netflix application is written in Qt). He also talked about the features we can expect in Qt 5.0, due out in 2012.

Back to regular sessions, I attended the one on performance tuning and optimization for ARM servers. General consensus was that we shouldn’t turn on options just because certain websites say we should and that each candidate (kernel options, for example) should be investigated individually comparing real-world performance with and without before any decision is made. (blueprint, notes)

Next was a session on U-Boot improvements in Linaro. Lots of talk about what’s currently supported in U-Boot versus potential improvements that would be helpful to both Linaro and Ubuntu. Let me just say that I have never been to a discussion about bootloaders that was not terribly dry, and I’m typing this after having attended this one. (blueprint, notes)

My last session of the day was a demo put on by the Qt guys showing off some of their work in the embedded space. They demoed Qt Quick on Ubuntu core running on both a PandaBoard and a Tegra 2 board. They also had a hilarious interactive demo of a working calculator which spins in 3D and turns into a scene with a wheeled robot cruising around.

In the evening we had a happy hour with plenty of beer but a dearth of food, so a bunch of guys from my group ordered pizza and downed it in the hotel lobby (near the bar of course). I got to meet two new recruits to the group, both of whom started this week. I was happy to discover both that I am not the only person that got thrown into UDS on their first day of work, and that I am no longer the “new guy”.