This weekend was a double bill of lasts – I photographed my last wedding of the year on Saturday, a fun and intimate day at Hill Place in Swanmore. Then on Sunday I went to the last of the BFI’s 50th anniversary Doctor Who screenings. It was the turn of Matt Smith, his era represented by “The Eleventh Hour” and “The Name of the Doctor”. The episodes are almost bookends on Smith’s tenure, and it’s the first time that we’ve had anything other than a complete story shown at these screenings.
“The Eleventh Hour” is a perfect introduction to the way that Moffat wants to tell the story of Doctor Who, so different from what preceded it. Smith is full of energy, he goes from zero to sixty in a split second, never walking when he can run. Amelia Pond is an excellent character right from the start, the little girl let down by the Doctor grown into a distrusting woman.
By the time “The Name of the Doctor” comes around, Amy and Rory are memories and the Doctor travels with Clara, the impossible girl. This episode is full of little moments to excite long term fans and ends with stunning revelation that John Hurt is The Doctor. It was strange watching it so soon after it’s been on TV and I don’t think I got anything new from it, probably the only time it’s happened during this season of screenings.
As ever the hosts from the BFI, Dick Fiddy and Justin Johnson, put on a great show. They have become quite the double act over the year, and I was pleased that the crowd have eventually picked up on my cue to “whoop” them when they enter. The day wrapped up with a panel, with director Saul Metzstein, Mark Gatiss, Dan Starkey and Steven Moffat. It was lively, particular when Steven got going on his pet subject of spoilers.
I’ve been lucky enough to have tickets for all of the BFI 50th anniversary screenings, and “An Adventure in Space and Time” and “The Day of the Doctor” (although sadly work commitments kept me away from a couple of them). (A big thank you to James from the Doctor Who Podcast for getting those early tickets.) The little gang who have met up at the screenings have become friends over the year, and I will miss the opportunity to watch Doctor Who and discuss it with other fans regularly. Doctor Who fans really are very nice people.Pin It
Link to video for people in planets.
"She developed the first compiler for a computer programming language. She conceptualized the idea of machine-independent programming languages, which led to the development of COBOL, one of the first modern programming languages. She is credited with popularizing the term "debugging" for fixing computer glitches (inspired by an actual moth removed from the computer)." Wikipedia
By the way, for anybody wondering why the COBOL in the Google Doodle for her today:
"SUBTRACT CurrentYear from BirthYear GIVING Age
doesn't return a negative value, it is because age is defined unsigned in the data division. Since ages can't be negative, and COBOL handles this negative return to an unsigned value Gracefully.
A prime minister fled police protection.
A financial wire notes on their Twitter feed that the Army chief won’t step in to stop the political unrest.
Protesters even sought the removal of barriers to police headquarters and Government House as part of the plan to seize the police headquarters.
A truce was effectively called to respect the King’s birthday.
The nation’s parliament was dissolved with a call for a fresh elections except that the leader of the opposition protesters said forcing a snap election was not the goal while getting an unelected body of picked “good people” to run the country was.
One could hope these were scenes from some new dystopian novel or film. Sadly, they’re what we found after we learned that Ubuntu Thailand had its website go offline when protesters knocked out the data center where it was hosted. Ubuntu Thailand handles their own web and forum hosting on their own server which unfortunately has non-technical issues at the moment.
With the civil unrest in Thailand now entering a third week, LoCo Council has decided to postpone further consideration of their Verification application until matters become more settled. In keeping with normal policy, Ubuntu Thailand will remain in Verified status until we conclude our handling of the application. The priority now must be preservation of the safety of life and the protection of property for those affected by this situation in Thailand. In the grand scheme, we come in a bit lower in priority when there is talk of civil unrest and insurrection being thrown about.
We’re keeping the Thai community in our thoughts as things have the potential to get very interesting very quickly. Hopefully you will remember them too.
This week's first episode brings a "DJ Read" of Profile America followed by an excerpt of a Christmas special from the World War 2-era Armed Forces Radio Service program Command Performance. A second episode will be released this week on Wednesday.
Download here (MP3) (Ogg Vorbis) (Free Lossless Audio Codec) (Speex), or subscribe to the podcast (MP3) to have episodes delivered to your media player. We suggest subscribing by way of a service like gpodder.net.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/.
This probably describes a lot of the folks reading this post. Do you have the time and desire to love and polish Kaffeine? Please join the Kaffeine-devel mail list and step forward. https://lists.sourceforge.net/lists/listinfo/kaffeine-devel
If you know of any other projects needing more love and care, please write the Community Working Group, Communityfirstname.lastname@example.org. Another good list to connect to is the new general Community list: KDE-Community@kde.org.
Good cheer to all this holiday season!
I started this blog three and a half years ago with the headline "Amplify the Signal". In general, that sentence has served me well. But recently, I've been thinking if there's a clearer statement I can make to state my intent.
Then on Friday, a close Ubuntu friend asked me, "Why are you so passionate about Ubuntu?"
In a nearly automatic way, it all "clicked" at that moment. I blurted out "I believe the most important battle to fight is the one against ignorance, and Ubuntu is the best way to do it." Let me explain...
People mostly have their attention siphoned to the crappiest and most caustic drivel the web has to offer. I don't need to name sites and content. You know the places. Littered with ads, useless trivia, minutia, stuff that is so far from mattering that it's brutally painful. Meanwhile the world rots.
To quote Lessig, "We need to get to the root of the problem." (He thinks it's political funding, but he's wrong.) The real root of the problem is the world's diet of "junk information". Like junk food, "junk information" is toxic, it causes mental diabetes, and it's everywhere. It is hoisted upon people as soon as they fire up their browsers. It's a predetermined path. The second people power on their devices their proprietary systems take them to the "properties" they are supposed to see. You know, the ones that fund the mansions of the predatory 1%. The sociopaths.
So, today, I'm declaring the "War on Ignorance", and I'm adding that tagline to my blog. It is unacceptable to prey on other people through the use of technology that breeds ignorance, and the war is hereby declared.
Enter our weapon: Ubuntu. It's ours. It's free. It's a clear channel that obeys our wishes, and more importantly our Mom's wishes, and takes us to places on the web where *we* want to go. Places that can teach us what's really going on and how to make the world a better place. Places that respect us.
There's only one catch. (Relatively) no one knows about Ubuntu. And this my friends is the first thing we must fix. We can't win the war until Ubuntu is front and foremost in the minds of everyone we know. Ubuntu not only needs to be top of mind, but it needs to be the spotlight that makes it obvious that every proprietary system is predatory and socially unacceptable. In fact let's not even use the term proprietary any more. Let's just call these systems what they are: *predatory*.
Will you help me win the war? Will you help me end the ignorance of Ubuntu and thereby end ignorance. Let's make this our top priority. Let's attack the root of the problem.
> Fighting the "War on Ignorance".
Image cc-by-nc 2.0 http://www.flickr.com/photos/nataliejohnson/2051377206/
One more post before the holidays. I reviewed the first volume in this series just about a year ago in a post that covered three LEGO-related books.
The LEGO Adventure Book, Volume 2 is another hardcover book. This time, the volume includes a series of about 40 step-by-step building guides that are similar to what is provided when you buy a LEGO kit and pictures of many more built models for further inspiration. What I said about the first book in the series also applies here, so I’ll start off by quoting myself:
The illustrations in this book are stellar and the models are outstanding. Anyone looking to be inspired to build more interesting and more beautiful things will find this book thrilling. The book follows a loose story line focused on an adventure, a quest to learn how to build interesting and complicated things with LEGO. The story line is neither vital nor distracting, it just gives an fun excuse to move from idea to idea. This is [another] book that I expect my kids to enjoy most (ages 8, 10, and 11).
If you liked the first volume, you will like this one. Along with the abundance of new ideas and building guides, there are some subtle refinements to the presentation that make this sequel even more enjoyable than the first volume. For one, there is a new focus on imagination with a limited palette, such as when a builder has only a few LEGO parts to work with rather than a limitless supply. This is a nice touch as it helps with a positive “I can do it” attitude rather than the common sales tactic that starts by building a sad “I don’t have the parts they have” feeling in the builder. To be sure, there are plenty of LEGO pieces in the examples that the reader may not already have, but they are not to focus; the focus is being creative and inspiring the reader. I like that.
The examples and projects are fun, diverse, colorful, and just all-around cool. In addition to the step-by-step instructions for specific projects, like Havoc: A Viper Fighter, where the reader learns how to build one form of space fighter, there are also follow-up pages that break the idea down to the important bits like A LEGO Viper should have… and a list. Then, there are lots of pictures of variations on this theme that use the same basic set of foundational parts to create a wide set of options and variations. This builds on the theme I mentioned above of avoiding the marketing evil of creating discontent and instead using simple basic things to get builders started and then building creativity.
The book contains large projects and small ones. There are space-based builds, earth-based, fantastic and realistic, futuristic and nods to the past. You will build cars, boats, planes, spaceships, homes, businesses, furniture, island getaways, castles, gardens, movie sets, kitchens, and some things I don’t even have words to describe or categories to name. The variety is great.
I have reviewed a lot of LEGO books this year. This is one of my favorites. It just came out, the copyright date says 2014, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this at the local bookstore. It is worth a look if you have a LEGO builder on your shopping list.
from datetime import date
while True: # Yes, infinite feeling
todo('Don\'t search in LP. Search in Google by Ubuntu Trusty bugs and not by Ubuntu 14.04 bugs')
todo('Just click in Report a bug')
todo('Read an awesome page over 4.000 words about how to fill bugs')
if date.today() == date(2014, 04, 17): # It was not really infinite :)
todo('Do something else!')
I'm sorry, but it is frustrating not being able to help by an infinite loop :)
A couple of times recently, my Lenovo U300s Ideapad has thrown hard drive errors. The first one happened when I suspended the machine and then left it in my bag for three days, during which the battery clearly ran out. We leave aside that this shouldn’t happen because the machine ought to have turned that sleep into a hibernate when the battery ran down, because I don’t know whether Ubuntu supports doing that on this hardware. I don’t mind that I lost my session. However, I do mind that when I started the machine up again (with power plugged in), it wouldn’t even boot. Horrible grub error.
That’s not a good sign. I had to go and find another laptop from my laptop graveyard, use it to download an Ubuntu ISO, find a USB stick, create an Ubuntu USB stick with the Startup Disk Manager, boot my U300s off the USB stick, go into the live session, mount the existing drive, fix it, and restart. I didn’t know how to do half of this stuff, and I didn’t know a bunch of things like “how do I know which format the drive is formatted in“; thank you to the #ubuntu-uk IRC crew for helping me out there. (You can read my terrible thrashing-about and their attempts to help at http://irclogs.ubuntu.com/2013/11/20/%23ubuntu-uk.html#t10:48.) Anyway, that got fixed eventually, but I was sternly informed that Disk Failure Is A Warning Sign and I should think about replacing the drive.
Speed forward a few weeks, and… I discover that I can’t save anything. Looking in the system log, the drive had thrown some sort of error and Ubuntu, rescuing me from screwing things up, had remounted the drive read-only. So I crossed my fingers and rebooted and everything came back up OK, and I haven’t had any problems since.
But. Once is chance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action. That’s twice the drive has done something weird. So clearly I should look at replacing it. New drives are not all that expensive, and that sounds a worthwhile investment. So, I thought: it’ll just be some sort of nice standard SSD, and I’ll just buy a replacement from Crucial or something.
It is not. The SSD in the Lenovo U300s (note: not the U300, which is different) is a non-standard SSD…similar to a bubble gum stick, like on the X1 Carbon, and it doesn’t even look like a standard SSD. So, you can’t replace it with some random SSD you buy: you have to buy the replacement from Lenovo. That’s fine, thought I. Off to the Lenovo website. Which does not mention this stuff at all. The Lenovo support line don’t deal with the Ideapad line in the UK; you have to ring the special Lenovo Ideapad support line, at 13p a minute. When you ring them, they tell you to go to lenovo-serviceshop.com, which just redirects to the Medion website. What it should do is redirect to medion.com/lenovoserviceshop/welcome, which is where Lenovo seem to have outsourced parts replacement to Medion. Then, once you’ve changed both language and country to England rather than Germany, you can search for your U300s’s serial number and find a list of parts, including “Various boards: Flash board, SSD 128 GB” which seems to be the replacement. Only €46, too. It is available “on demand”… so you have to create an account, fill in a form, get an email (in German) saying they’re looking for it, then wait two weeks, and get another email (in German) saying “yeah, we don’t have one of those”.
Lenovo: this is appalling, dreadful customer service. I bought this machine, your flagship Ultrabook, less than two years ago, I had to run a complicated obstacle course to even find where new parts are sold from, and once I got there I discovered that I now can’t buy a fixed drive for it. You all ought to grovel in apology for this hysterical failure. I have no problem with you using non-standard parts — the laptop’s very thin, and that’s one of the reasons I bought it, and doing that requires compromise — but if you decide to use non-standard parts which only you sell, it is incumbent on you to make sure they’re still on sale 24 months later! I am properly, psychotically annoyed by this. I deliberately went for a Lenovo because they’re a big company who are not supposed to do this sort of thing. (Also see: supplying the machine with 4GB when it is rated for…4GB. So I can’t upgrade the memory either.)
There will be some of you out there saying “should have bought a Thinkpad!”. Your argument there seems to be “Lenovo are such an unreliable company that buying one of their flagship machines will lead to you being screwed two years later… so be sure and reward them by buying a different line.” Apparently, as you’ll have read above, the X1 Carbon (which is the Thinkpad I would have bought) uses a similar “bubblegum stick”-style SSD. Perhaps the Thinkpad support line is better and they keep parts around. But I am entirely uninspired to try. Besides, I hate Thinkpads. Stop recommending them to me. You go ahead and use them; I won’t judge you.
Current mood: looking at the System76 14.1″ Galago UltraPro, which is aluminium, doesn’t have pointless extra mouse buttons, has an HD screen, is thinner than their “Ultra Thin” Darter, has HDMI and miniDP, and is just generally rather lovely. And wondering where I’m going to find a spare grand, and whether I really need to spend that. Is it laptop time again…?
Symantec Endpoint Encryption (powered by PGP) has been updated to to version 3.3. For more information check out the release notes found on Symwise: http://www.symantec.com/docs/TECH201458
Several changes have been made in this release including:
Support for Windows 8 on both the 32-bit and 64-bit version
Support for Outlook 2013 on the client
Support for Red Hat Linux and CentOS 6.3 and 6.4 both 64-bit and 32-bit.
Support for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
This provides one of the missing parts of what I need to be able to run Ubuntu at my enterprise as we have a requirement to have our drives encrypted by the supported encryption product and have our keys managed centrally.
I hope things like this will see Ubuntu grow into the enterprise from a desktop point of view. Now all we need is integration into an endpoint management tool.
On my latest efforts to help the Ubuntu community at large, I have digged into the documentation area. Here’s a quick wrap-up of what I’ve done with the docs.
Earlier this year, I was approved to the Ubuntu Documentation Committers, mostly to be able to maintain the Xubuntu documentation branches and finalize the Xubuntu documentation rewriting. Alongside this big project, we set up a clear communication plan for Xubuntu documentation and marketing, defining where the user- and developer-facing communication should happen. You can see some of the results of these efforts in the Xubuntu documentation which can be found online at docs.xubuntu.org.
In a vUDS session I volunteered for a new project. My motivation to work on the project and hopefully the effect of the project is to make already existing documentation more easily and readily available for end-users. I am glad to announce that the new new landing page for the Ubuntu Community help wiki was released today. I realize that refreshing this page is only scratching the surface of what needs to be updated in the community wiki. For that reason I also applied and was approved as a member of the Ubuntu Documentation Team Wiki Administrators team.
With all these memberships I hope I can be useful for the community and documentation contributors. While my main area of interest lies in Xubuntu, I will try to help with other efforts, especially if those can improve the documentation infrastructure or availibility in general.
All of you who are contributing to documentation, step up and share your experiences to motivate new people to join the documentation teams across Ubuntu. All of you who have so far been only lurking around, step up and start contributing. To get in touch with the documentation team, join the IRC channel #ubuntu-doc on the Freenode IRC network or the ubuntu-doc mailing list. Introduce yourself and get started already!
Is your Planet really awesome? Could it be made more awesome by massively growing its audience?
Please click through for Poll Question #10, which is the final poll question in this highly controversial series!
Thanks in advance for participating, and thanks all for your answers on questions 1 through 9. Once this poll closes, we'll all enjoy an analysis and summary, and maybe even a new Planet.
I was asking some basic questions in order to gauge the audience, relevance, and usefulness of Planet Ubuntu. I had my opinions, but I wanted to see what the data said.
Got an idea for an enhancement for Planet Ubuntu that hasn't been polled? Please share it! Let the world know.
Nelson Mandela passed away today. He was 95.
I am not going to pretend to know all the details about his life or the intricacies of his struggle. What I do know is that he inspired a generation around change and equality. It was not just his philosophy that inspired so many…it was his action too.
He was and will always be the purest definition of ubuntu.
Jeremy Garcia, Stuart Langridge, and myself (Bryan Lunduke is unable to make it again, although we do of course hope that he recovers from whatever horrific disease he’s contracted) bring you:
- Open Source Health: are the open source community more unhealthy than most? Perhaps the trend for health-related gadgets will save us
- Review: Stuart talks about Ender’s Game, the film, the book, and the author
- Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics, ex-editor of Wired, and author, talks about his current venture, creating pilotless autonomous “drones” and what they might mean for Amazon Prime Air, agriculture, and society at large
- How do the team actually back up their stuff? Surprisingly, we all actually do (as should you), but how do we do it?
- Your feedback: video podcasting, Bitcoin, new phone OSes, and pod love
I learned today that Nelson Mandela passed away, and this is surely a sad time for people around the globe because Mandela was a very passionate individual who had a very positive impact on so many people.
The Ubuntu Linux Project has its roots in a word he so eloquently explained in the video below and in fact Ubuntu at one point shipped with a copy of the video (Link for Planet Readers):
I think there is much for us to all learn from the life that Mandela led,and I hope this his spirit stays strong in the many people and projects he has inspired. Wouldn’t it be nice if Ubuntu 14.04 LTS shipped with a copy of the original video?
Here him explain it on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vt72ORXUlao
But we have that flame too. Ubuntu the community and Linux distribution family takes inspiration from the concept of ubuntu. To me, the world encapsulates all of what is good in the open, free, software movement, and the free culture movement too. Mandela saw himself as human, no matter how inhumanly he was treated. He knew that bitterness and hatred on his part would engender bitterness and hatred in his beloved South Africa, and he wanted instead love, understanding, forgiveness, and democracy. I hope to continue to see his ideals in the Ubuntu community, and in my Kubuntu corner in particular.
I've often thought of Mandela as the embodiment of the saying be the change you want to see. Rest in peace, Madiba.
I don’t normally write posts about issues with organizations, but as I mention later in this article, there wasn’t a good avenue to share this with Target, so I am sharing it here so Target (as well as other consumers) can be aware of some of these issues.
I like Target. They are generally a pretty good organization, and my wife and I often shop there. They usually stock good products at reasonable prices, and I have been a happy customer for many years. Recently though their good reputation has been tarnished in my eyes.
Let me explain.
Recently I have been wanting to buy a Playstation 4 for the holidays. Now the PS4 is a hotly sought-after item, and given the lack of inventory I was delighted to see that stock was available to order on the 29th November on Target.com. I entered my credit card details in rapid fire and bought my PS4 Console + Controller bundle. This was not a pre-order, this was a regular order and I was provided with an estimated delivery date from 9 – 11 Dec. That was workable.
This morning I received an email saying the order has been delayed and now the estimated arrived is 24th Dec – 13th Jan. This is not workable.
Curious to see what the local stock situation was, I called every Target store in my local area. The Target in my local town told me they had 8 consoles in stock yesterday, and I called five other branches, each of which also had limited stock this week. All of this stock was sold quickly to general customers.
With this information my natural conclusion was: how is that I have a PS4 ordered since the 29th Nov which has been delayed until after Christmas, yet stock is made readily available to the general public locally to me (who have not already placed an order and paid for an item)? Why is my existing order not being honored before further stock is made generally available?
To resolve this I called the Target customer care line with a simple request: to have one unit of the next available local inventory be reserved for me. This seems reasonable; I have already ordered the item, and I am happy to drive over and pick it up.
In the subsequent hour, and despite always remaining polite and courteous with my request, I was hung-up on three times, one of which was by a supervisor. When I called back to speak to the supervisor I was told that no-one by that name was a supervisor (which would suggest that the person was not actually in a position of responsibility). I was placed on hold yet again and I asked to speak to the most senior ranking member of the team, who while very polite, was unable to provide any solution to the problem.
It turns out there are two causes of this problem.
Firstly, I was informed by the first supervisor that Target.com will knowingly take orders for items even though stock might not be available. Apparently if any stock exists in the warehouse at that time, multiple orders can be taken. So for the sake of example, there may be one PS4 in stock, but they may accept ten orders. He acknowledged this was a problem with Target.com.
This is unacceptable, and particularly unacceptable for highly sought-after items such as the PS4 (with potential inventory delays) around a high-demand season such as Christmas. If you want to take orders for future stock, fine, do that, but call it a pre-order like everyone else…this sets expectations clearly around delivery; again, delivery estimates are important around the holiday season.
Secondly, and as was repeated to me a number of times, Target Stores and Target.com are two entirely different organizations within the wider Target umbrella. I was assured that there is simply no way at all for Target.com to reach out to Target stores and reserve an item. It seems that the two sides of the organization are entirely fire-walled from each other.
I understand why the organization is segmented this way, but as a consumer I don’t distinguish between Target stores and Target.com…I am buying from Target. As such, there really needs to be some cross-organizational problem-solving capability.
I try to be a constructive person, and I felt like this would be good feedback to provide to Target…as I say, I like them as a company…so I asked for a number at Target Corporate and no-one could provide me with a contact number to relay this feedback. It turns out the most senior member of the customer team has zero contact at all with Target Corporate. Astonishing.
As such, I am sharing this feedback here. I hope someone at Target stumbles on this and this can provide food for thought to prevent future customer issues. In an age where Amazon is crushing all the brick-and-mortar retailers, you simply can’t compromise on customer service, particularly when the problem can be solved with a simple phone call to your brick-and-mortar stores.
In this week’s show:-
- We also take a look at what’s been happening in the news:
- We catch up with what’s been happening in the Ubuntu community:
- And not in the Ubuntu community:
- And we mention an event:
- Education Freedom Day – 18th January
We’ll be back next week, when we’ll discuss Alan’s new toy, a 3Doodler.
Please send your comments and suggestions to: email@example.com
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We have been running the app design clinic every two weeks to answer any questions from community designers and developers on the apps they are working on!
For this session we talked about the community submitted convergence designs for file manager and clock app (thanks everyone!) as well as answering some questions from our Canonical engineers submitted apps, such as:
- If your app has two equal actions- how do you provide entry points?
- What if I want to show more content, but page stack is not appropriate?
- Where should ‘About’ & ‘Settings’ go? (Not in the tabs, please)
If you missed it, or want to watch it again, here it is:
Please send your questions and screenshots to
email@example.com by 1pm UTC on a Tuesdays to be included in the following Wednesday clinic.
Watch this space for our next App Design Clinic time.