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My First Novel, Upcoming Events and Procrastination

It’s easy to be motivated with a deadline looming.  I was able to finish up my Chapter 6 hw because it is due tomorrow, however, Chapter 7 and the take home test being due a week from tomorrow…well, it’s slow going.  It is going though.  In one of my many breaks, I figured I would tell you (I’m not sure who “you” is these days) about National Novel Writing Month and how I’m going to participate.  Actually, there’s not a lot to say other than that I’m doing it.  I have thought about the plot a bit, but I can’t tell you that!  I do know that I’ll be dedicating the book to The Linux Outlaws and the title will be The Linux Outlaw (though the singularity/plurality of this is subject to change).  I have not decided if I will release the Chapters on the blog, but I’m guessing not in case I want to go back and change things as the idea forms in my mind from start to finish.  As usual, if there is outcry, I will do it…but there’s never been an outcry about anything on the blog.

The ever present Upcoming Events section!

Tuesday, October 20th, 7pm: MadLUG presentation on Nagios and SNMP.  The one is probably not one you need to be a desktop Linux user to gain from.  Nagios and SNMP are networking/sysadmin tools.  If you’ve been to meetings in the past, please note that this event will be in Van Vleck, not Chamberlain.  Details are on the link.

Saturday, November 7th, 7pm: MilwaukeeDevHouse4. DevHouses are essentially parties where people hack.  I’m planning on writing a substantial portion of the aforementioned novel that night.  If you’d like to carpool from Madison, please see this thread on the Web608 Google Group.

Halloween is coming up and I’ve been invited to three different parties.  None of them are super-public, but if you’re looking for something to do, definitely hit me up.

I don’t talk about sports here too much.  It’s supposed to be a technology blog (though the novel thing doesn’t really count either…).  I do want to mention that “It was Kentucky’s first win over Auburn since 1966.” At Auburn.  As a dual UK-Bama fan, it doesn’t get any better than this.  UK really needs to exorcise the demons against UT too though.  I couldn’t find the streak length of the Volunteers of the Wildcats but I wouldn’t be surprised if The Bear wasn’t the last UK coach to beat UT.

Ok, I’m done procrastinating.

1008 words as to why I should be the BCMKE4 Openness Czar.

Let’s start off with two things.

1) duh

2) Aren’t you from Madison?

Define “from” and define “Madison”.  I live in Dane County, not Madison (and none of that weird city vs. town of Madison stuff…I don’t live in Madison).  I’ve lived here for over a year.  Is that “from”?  Well, if it is, I’m “from” four different states.

2.1) Ok smart-ass, you’re still not from Milwaukee.

Which is why I’m a perfect figurehead for openness.  If I can do part of my job simply by existing, I think I’m the right man for the job.

Now, let’s get down to business.

I’m the president of the Madison Linux User Group, a lead on Open Everything Madison and previously president of the Carolina Open Source Initiative.  I’m also already the czar of Linux laptops where I work.  Before the FSF trolls start talking about how Linux isn’t libre, there certainly is a version of Linux that is libre and BSD folks, well, I’m well aware there are versions of freedom. I’m going into the lions den of Mac users here. Let’s not let our differences get in the way of the big picture.

Now I’ll pause for a few simple points.

identi.ca (and specifically statusnet) > twitter

android > iPhone

OOo (or NeoOffice, if you like) > MS Office

GIMP > Photoshop

Firefox (I’m not going to bother linking, you know what this is) > IE

Python > .NET (seriously, .NET?…get off my site)


Ok, I’ll stop, but I could go on.

Scandinavia is close to Russia and while I’m part Swedish and not part Finnish, Finland was once under Russian rule.  Actually, since Finland was once under Swedish rule, it’s possible my ancestors lived where Finland is now, but were Swedish.  Russia and Sweden have both also controlled parts of Poland in the past.  Going further back, before the Brett Favre controversy, the Vikings definitely went into Russia, at least as far as Holmgard (Veliky Novgorod for my Russian readers).  We’ll go with that.  I’m part Russian, sorta.  If you’re Serbian or Bulgarian, I don’t want to here it.  We all know *real* czars are Russian.  Plus I was in Malmö when the former lost in the UEFA U21 championships to the home team. That has to count for something, right? (yes, extra words)  Now, in Wisconsin it’s not that uncommon for people to have Scandinavian heritage, but how many of them have been there?  And of those with Scandinavian heritage (or Russian, because we’re talking czars) that have also been there, how many of those will be at BarCampMKE4? I’m guessing not many.  And look people, don’t question my Swedish heritage.  I have a freakin’ Swedish tattoo.  I was born and breed for this job.

Let’s go back to this “you’re from Madison” thing.  I was at last year’s BCMKE4, have been to a Web414 meeting and a MLUG (Milwaukee Linux User Group) as well as PhotoCampMKE and a DevHouse at Bucketworks.  I’ve also been to a Bucks game.

I’ve owned a Mac and run Windows at work, making me able to speak to FOSS apps on both platforms.  While Fink is a good package manager for Mac from what I’ve heard, I’ve yet to find a package manager I like for Windows.  I’ve dabbled in video both production and editing (and some film too) so I can speak to that side of things a bit.  I’ve also worked in science and my parents and an aunt are professional musicians, so I know a bit about that as well.  I am a jack of all trades.  I am, however, a master of ruthlessness, a needed mastery for a czarship.  I also have a sweet beard, like this guy (never mind that he was a crap tsar, I took his beard, not his strategies).

Since I posted about Creative Commons music, I’ve actually listened to more.  Severed Fifth is now 295 and all the others have gone up; Holy Pain and Predator (430), NIN (57), Gråsuggorna (248) and No Se (269).  As a new addition, Lorenzo’s Music is now 479.  Let’s not forget the local flavor either; Lorenzo’s Music and Misery Signals (415).  Remember, I’ve only been here a year, so that number is certain to go up.  And, just in case you are too lazy to check out my blog post, you can connect to me on Last.fm.


Shut your trap.  Did you honestly think I wasn’t going to mention Libre.fm?  Libre.fm has only been around a few months and since it doesn’t have historical data (chill, I know there is a merge, but I have over 191k listens. That’s going to take a while to import and it’s just not important to me) so discussing my open music there doesn’t really give a full picture.  But, since you brought it up, NIN is #2 and Lorenzo’s Music is #12.  After that Libre.fm doesn’t number them, just gives the amount of listens.  If you really want to know more about Libre.fm, put it on the BarCamp session board or comment here.

So, you just do open source?

Well, I like as much open source as possible (I prefer the term FOSS [Free and Open Source Software] to include the free software people…libre is a much better word enough though it’s not technically English…yet), but I already mentioned that in addition to experience with OpenSolaris, BSD and Linux I’ve used Macs and Windows.  Open standards are great.  In fact, I’d love to see Web414 or Web608 get behind One Web Day.

Not everything at BCMKE4 will be digital.

O RLLY?  While most things certainly will be, I see your point.  I know a bit about open hardware, though I’m no expert.  As a powerful czar however, I certainly have connections and Open Everything can deal with a lot of things that are not digital.

I just need to put out a few more words and I will be done.



Short blog before GeekDinner: MICROS and PhotoCampMilwaukee

Sorry it’s been a while.  I owe you all an OpenCamp recap.  Don’t hold your breath.  It may happen, but I’m already focusing on September’s Software Freedom Day, OE’s in other cities and other exciting things.

I feel like I’ve written about the MICROS Point-of-Sale before, but I’ve still not found any good resources on learning about the system.  Does anybody have any?

I’ll be at PhotoCampMilwaukee this Saturday (May 2nd) defending freedom and Creative Commons.  Any good articles I should read to educate myself about the issue (as it pertains to photography specifically) before the event?  If you’re from MKE and want to talk Linux, hockey (after the Canes beat the Devils tonight) or anything else on Saturday, hit me up!

I hope to see many of you at the Madison Geek Dinner in 29 minutes! Time to jump in the car!

I fail at the Internet; GLUE, OEMKE, etc

There are a few points of failure here.  No Internet at LOPSA or GLUE and then just my lack of time.

From the 6th, never posted: “Things have been super-busy lately, as I mentioned in the last blog post.

Yesterday, at the LUG meeting we determined to to have meetings….

Thursday night at LOPSA there was no wifi.  This is a major fail for a tech event, but in the end wasn’t really a big deal.”

This past week was an odd one at work.  Things should get mostly back to normal Monday, except for the monthly staff meeting.

Today I was at GLUE (Great Lakes Urban Exchange), completely a week of screwed up sleep, I plan to get back on track tonight.  I will post my GLUE notes in the near future. Usually, when I go to tech events (which GLUE isn’t) I am re-energized to get stuff done.  GLUE had no such effect on me.  Perhaps it’s lack of sleep?  Perhaps it’s because I already have enough going on?  I guess I’ll find out tomorrow after I finish some of my to-do list.  Right now (as soon as I hit publish), I am going to get some much needed sleep.

Also, I spent time with the leaders of MadTech, Web608 and the Madison Drupal User Group tonight (as well as a couple other Madison techies) at “Not at SxSW”.

In between those to events, I met with Jenn of Bucketworks.  Aside from learning a bit about Milwaukee and Bucketworks, the meeting was productive in that we picked a tentative date for Open Everything Milwaukee.  I don’t want to say when yet, because I haven’t spoken to the others involved, but if you joing the mailing list you’ll find out tomorrow instead of whenever I decide to put it here.

Open Everything Madison & Sweden news

My posts are often reflective and questioning, but nearly as often informative.  The “Where are we going?” question is much more interesting to me than the “Where have we been?” question.  I am, however, tasked with writing about Open Everything Madison on Saturday (as well as Berlin and Hong Kong), so I’ll try to post something substantial about that.  Of course, I’m already much more interested in the next Open Everything Madison.  You can see the planning for the next OEMad at http://openeverything.us

OEMad 2008

Aside from our poor job with documentation and the functional, but less than ideal, handoff from Berlin, I’d say the day was an overwhelming success.

Some of our documentation can be found at various twitter accounts.  Search for oemad and you should find them.  There’s also the Google search for oemadDebriefing notes are found on the main site as well as Articles and Resources.  Some pictures are at Flickr but as of posting Non-Profit Tech’s photos are not being indexed.

I’m both saddened and elated when I tell interested people about Creative Commons, Free Schools and Really, Really Free Markets.  Of course I’m saddened that these are more ubiquitous terms in our language, but mostly it’s a positive feeling.  I’m always scared that my political leanings (which I think free schools and RRFMs show) will feed the “open source is communism” argument.  As companies like OpenNMS, Red Hat and MindTouch clearly show, that’s a bunch of bunk.  As a technology person first, I fear that the benefits of open source code are lost to the politicized “freedom”.  Clearly I’m a fan of both.  At the moment I’m having trouble finding a succint list of the benefits of FOSS, so if you’re up for a longer read, check out Albion, one of the oldest sites on the Web.

It’s also incredibly disheartening to see people interested in free culture being down on Creative Commons liscensed music.  I listen to plenty of non-CC music, but I think at an event promoting openness, CC music should be played.  Or maybe other bands that promote openness that might not license CC.  I don’t know much about Radiohead, because that’s not the type of music to which I listen, but I think I’d be ok with their music playing.

We pretty much stuck to the schedule.  It wasn’t exact, but close.

We broke up into two groups for the 1:30pm-2:30pm Open Knowledge section and I (along with the other organizers) went with the Education and Libraries group.  Having a professor there was very beneficial.  As I mentioned above, I introduced a lot of people to the idea of free schools.  If you think free schools are weird, just remember that’s the only diploma former USC professor Cory Doctorow has.

The 2:30-3:30 Creativity, Innovation, and Economic Opportunity section was a lot of fun.  We had a small group to discuss Art, Content and Property and we mostly discussed music; Radiohead, Girl Talk, Creative Commons, Nine Inch Nails and Jamendo.

By the time we got to the technology part of the day (a little later than 3:30) everyone was starting to get tired.  But technology and openness are so easy, the discussion was still good.  One of my friends that attended most of the event said that keeping it a cohesive event and him not coming just for the technology portion certainly made it more interesting.

After the event and cleanup, four of us went out to get Sushi on State Street and of course the conversation continued.  After that, I headed to DevMadHouse at Extra Bold Portfolio Studio on Pickney St and 4 of the 6 people there had also been at OEMad, so the conversation continued and being a hack fest, centered more upon technology.  At DevMadHouse there was no schedule to adhere to and we had the venue all night so conversation was even more fluid.  There was some good conversation about FOSS in industry and whether Google is to be trusted with their Microsoft-like “embrace and extend” of OpenIDPhotis always makes sure I don’t live in a FOSS bubble, which I suppose is a good thing.  Also of note that weekend was MadXmasAbe and Jonathan went, leaving the rest of us behind at DevMadHouse and then returned. Photis came to DevMadHouse after MadXmas.

OEMad 2009

As mentioned above, there are complete and changing notes on OEMad09 on the wiki.  As much as I’d like to rehash all my ideas on that site so you have a single source of info, I don’t think that’s a good use of my time.  Please check out the site. However, here are some of my biggest ideas: open gaming (actually either playing games on Linux or FOSS games on other platforms), open food (we could make it!), open hardware (building!) and live music.  Getting a local documentary film maker to do a documentary on the process of making an open event happen would be totally cool too.  Please, please, please share your ideas for the next event either here or especially at http://openeverything.us.

Calling it OEMad first off might be a misnomer as I think there’s a good possibility it will be in Milwaukee.  Nothing is set in stone though.  Potential names would be Open Everything Wisconsin or Open Everything MidWest.  If there is any traction from Minneapolis or Chicago groups, we may not be able to claim OEMidWest.  Time will only tell.

Yesterday at work I asked a non-attendie what we would have to do to get him to come to the next one.  This is really the person in which I’m interested.  Linux needs a critical mass.  I’m ok admitting that part of why I support FOSS are selfish reasons.  I support universal healthcare for much of the same pseudo-altruistic reasons.  It’s not just for me, but also the institutions and people I care about. For instance, I hate to see my alma mater’s (NCSSM and UNC) throw money away at proprietary software.  Still, I’d say that’s a somewhat selfish motive.

Back to the point, he said “Open Strippers” half joking but we did have an interesting conversation then about Creative Commons and the idea of a performance.  A conversation that easily applies to live music performances and theatre.  I also mentioned the Girls and Geeks discussions at BarCampMilwaukee. Of course, there’s also open source sex.  So, I wonder what we could really make happen in this regard.  Not just the sex regard, but bringing people in the door who are lazy, unmotivated or simply uninterested in openness (or just don’t know it yet).  Of course, it’s the “just don’t know it yet” crowd in which I am really interested.


I bought a Flickr Pro account in anticipation of the Sweden trip this summer.  I figure this way I can post Christmas photos too.  I get a new camera for Christmas, so I suspect I’ll be taking a lot of pictures!  The Sweden trip will be 7-9 days.  My travel partner is wanting a shorter trip and I’m wanting a longer one, so I think keeping it at 9 days includes two weekends if you leave on the right days.  It will depend on what sort of deal AAA can help me with.  She is interested in dancing, the outdoors and visiting the cities.  I am interested in fotboll, ishockey and metall (probably any English speakers can make those out…especially if you know me).  So, I’m definitely looking for suggestions, both for her and for me.  We’ll also probably be visiting Helsinki, Finland.  I don’t know if we’ll have time to visit Copenhagen.  It’s so close, but we don’t want to feel rushed.  I’d kinda like to go north of the artic circle just for the experience.  That might make it so Siberia doesn’t interest me as much.

Well, typing all of that with a broken arm wasn’t entirely pleasant, but I’m glad I did it and I hope you enjoy.  If I had the time, I’d re-read for typoes, but whatever, release early, release often.  If you stop by, please leave a comment!

Live Blog from MKEDH3 (aka MilwaukeeDevHouse3)

So, I’m being slightly anti-social…a slightly impressive feat given this is a tech event with the usual geeks, nerds, whatever you want to us.

Those of you on Twitter have already heard some about the event.  I wish the music was a little more rockin’, but at least now it has more energy.

This week was the week from hell.  This is about me and my thoughts about technology and where the industry is headed and where I see myself in it.  Let me pause for a second to say WOAH.  Nothing particularly bad happened.  A server didn’t come up at work after I rebooted it last night, but I didn’t care all that much about it.  It was fixed by the time I came back to work.  I think the broken arm is really gettingto me.  Not being able to type properly or exercise is driving me nuts…and I’m not really exaggerating.  I’ve got to keep it pulled together until December 6th though.  UK and Bama both have byes this week, which should allow me to get a lot of work done.  Conversation with Jason in the car on the way to DevHouse was interesting.  Well worth the time away from work.  Despite no one responding to my last blog post, I’m leaning toward law, but still very confused about where I might want to go.  Northwestern and Marquette are both on my radar due to my current location and the going “home” for Christmas has me thinking hard about schools in KY too.  And, if I’m serious about going back to school soon, should I really be going to Sweden next summer?  I really want to go, but I also really want to go ahead and schedule it and and being 8 hours away from my potential travel partner doesn’t help.  Anyway, on to a report of MKEDH3:

There was pizza provided by http://www.paladinweb.net/.

ok, looks like the party is dieing.  Not really “done”. Whatever. Release early, release often…

BarCampMilwaukee3 and some Vista issues

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this on here, but while I’m 100% Linux at home (not even in a virtual machine), my desktop at work is Vista.  I’m working on getting a tablet going with Ubuntu and I have an Ubuntu HP 6910p, but Vista is what I am using mostly.  At 4GB RAM, I don’t have much to complain about.  If I had this bad boy, I’d even have less to complain about.  It might work as a pretty good heater in the winter too.

So, I finally have a SATA hard drive.  This is going to be so sweet.  And, it’ll finally give me a chance to get rid of my last NTFS partition, which seems to be pretty flakey.

Ok, on to Vista issues.

1) Maybe this is an issue with XP too, but when I RDP to my machine the taskbar and my icons move to the other monitor.  It’s not that big of a deal, but it is annoying.  I use a VGA splitter and while the two splits are labeled 1 and 2, RDP defaults to 2.  I haven’t been able to find much online about it.  This guy fixed his problem, and it’s the closest I can find, but it’s not the problem I am having.

2) I have a Motion Computing tablet and this thing is a royal pain to upgrade to Vista.  It must be upgraded, not a fresh image.  The fresh image doesn’t have wireless drivers and the company doesn’t really support this model with Vista.  The only problem is our only employee with one of these has Vista (he has a 1700 rather than a 1600) and I can’t reproduce the problem in Vista or XP.  He is having delay issues on digitally signed e-mails in Outlook 2007.

Ok, since I tagged this mostly as variations of BarCampMilwaukee3, I should at least say a little something about it.  There’s a pre-party tomorrow night.  I won’t be there.  I will be there at 10am on Saturday morning and plan on staying until the end.  I’m sure there will be some down time for a blog post, if we don’t have wireless issues like we did at BarCampMadison2.  Also, at BCMad2, I went home since I basically live in Madison, meaning while I slept well, I missed out on some of the night craziness.  The Saturday of BCMad2, I went to the Dillinger Escape Plan show at The Loft on Washington with some friends.  Crazy show…even crazier than the last time I saw DEP, though that concert in Raleigh was a pretty crazy night, just not as much so during DEP’s set.  So, if you’re in Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago or the surrounding area, I highly encourage you to attend BarCampMilwaukee3.  I’ll be leading a discussion on pairing FOSS with proprietary, not because I like proprietary at all, but because that is the reality of the situation at current.

EDIT: I see that I mentioned the motion computing issue back in August.  Yep, still working on it.  I need a USB CD drive that gets along with motion computing.