You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. -Inigo Montoya
Having worked in full-time management positions for some years now, I am increasingly convinced that management is widely misunderstood as a role, as a discipline and as a field, and that this makes a lot of lives more difficult and stressful than necessary. It is the subject of much speculation and misbelief, and I’ve chosen a few of my favorite examples to deconstruct here.Misbelief #1: management is what managers do
I’ve noticed a trend among a certain class of companies, whose employees will tell anyone who will listen that there is no “management” in their organization, they never plan to have any, and neither should you. I think these statements are respectively a lie, a naïve belief, and a piece of bad advice. Usually, these companies are just a few years old and relatively small, most of the people in the company have been there for less than a year, and the speaker is trying to persuade us what a unique and innovative company they work for because nobody there is a “manager”. They invariably have not read The Tyranny of Structurelessness.
Management is the practice of enabling people to effectively cooperate. A manager is someone whose job is to do that. It’s that simple. It usually involves tasks such as sharing information, agreeing on a course of action, dividing up work, and figuring out what to do when there’s a problem. They’re things that every team needs to do, whether anyone is designated a “manager” or not. Teams can function without managers, but they can’t function properly without management. Someone (or everyone) has to do the work to make cooperation possible.
Modern management is a specialized discipline, which draws on a broad range of skills in communication, psychology, empathy, problem-solving, leadership, and more. These skills aren’t unique to managers, but it often makes sense to designate certain people to do more of the management work, on behalf of the team. By devoting more of their time and attention to it, they free other members of the team to focus on other tasks. They can act as a coordinator to help the team stay in sync, and by focusing on this job, they may be able to do a better job of it, and acquire a higher level of skill through practice and study. But it remains an inherently collaborative practice.Misbelief #2: management is about telling people what to do
There are many different varieties of management, each of which is oriented toward a particular type of team or organization. Factories are managed differently from design studios, large companies are managed differently from small companies, and every team has its own distinct management style which arises from the unique group of people involved. Some managers are specialists in a particular type of management, while others are more generalists.
The “telling people what to do” style of management is called “command and control”. It’s characterized by authority, hierarchy, and strict adherence to protocol. It’s widely employed by military organizations, and by the managers we see in television and film. It has some advantages and disadvantages, which I won’t discuss here. My point is that it is just one example, but this example is used to represent the general concept of management. Self-organization, where no one in particular is responsible for group decisions, is another, quite different, style of management.
Small, self-organizing teams are capable of amazing feats of productivity. They’re less difficult to manage because they’re comparatively simple, and so simple tools and techniques work well. Everyone can be fully aware of what everyone else is doing, and new information propagates quickly throughout the team. But as the team or organization grows, it will often outgrow this way of working, and needs to adapt. There is no single management approach which works universally well.Misbelief #3: management is a promotion
You know the story. When an employee is successful within their area of expertise, someone will eventually offer them a management role as a “reward” for their good work. This is utter nonsense. Management is not a promotion: it’s a career change. It means starting over as a beginner in a new discipline and learning from the ground up. Domain expertise is important, as a manager needs to understand the work of the other people on their team, but it is no longer paramount. The team, the human system, becomes their focus.
When organizations fail to provide career advancement within a discipline, people may turn to management as “the only way to get promoted”, only to discover that they are completely unprepared for this new field, and often their new job when they realize what they’ve gotten into.
If someone were “promoted” from a position as a financial analyst to a new job as a biochemist with no training or expertise, we would probably find this bizarre. But this is analogous to what happens to new managers all the time, and has become almost standard practice in many organizations and industries.So what?
Management is misunderstood. So are science, engineering, and many other fields. What does it matter?
“People leave managers not companies…in the end, turnover is mostly a manager issue,”
- Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman, First, Break All the Rules
This mythology leads to massive organizational dysfunction, making it harder for everyone to do their jobs. It virtually guarantees incompetent management, which is a scourge on anyone who is exposed to it. It ruins days, weeks, jobs and careers. It leads talented people to leave companies, and it drives them out of their chosen professions.
I recommend that we stop denigrating and ignoring management, and start doing a better job of it.
In this week’s show:-
- We also take a look at what’s been happening in the news:
- Bill Lowe, the IBM manager who was behind the first ever PC has died aged 72.
- Owncloud has announced version 6 including Owncloud Documents, with real time google docs-style collaboration.
- Cisco is releasing a BSD-licensed implementation of the h.264 video codec and a reaction from Monty.
- Debian has changed the default desktop for Jessie (the next release) to XFCE.
- AOL has threatened legal action against Pro Populi, a company who produce an app called People+ which uses data from AOL-owned CrunchBase.
- NSA & GCHQ sniffing *inside* Google network (SSL no good to you now!)
- The Verve and The Washington Post have published hands-on reviews of Valve’s linux-based Steam console
- We catch up with what’s been happening in the Ubuntu community:
- Terence Simpson has posted an open letter to the Ubuntu-IRC mailing list regarding conduct on the community’s IRC channels
- The Ubuntu GNOME project is seeking additional maintainers, without which it won’t be able to provide long-term support for its 14.04 release (already found them!)
- Bacon and Langridge of LugRadio fame have started a new podast, Bad Voltage, with Brian Lunduke (ex-Linux Action Show) and Jeremy Garcia (founder of LinuxQuestions.org).
- Ubuntu’s cloud offering is going to include the CloudFoundry platform-as-a-service running on top of OpenStack
- There’s an indiegogo project to build a Raspberry Pi compile cluster, allowing Ubuntu to be built for the ‘Pi.
- Fedora is 10!
- And we mention an event:
- FLOSS UK – Spring 2014 – 18th – 20th March 2014 – Brighton, UK
We’ll be back next week, when we’ll interview Alan Bell about his Raspberry Pi cluster Indigogo campaign.
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I recently attended my first cloud sprint meeting held in San Francisco, and it turned out to be a great experience. It’s been 10 years since I last visited, so as well as working hard, it was nice to have the opportunity to see the city again.
Whilst there we worked on the UX and visual design for two of our cloud products, which we’ll be able to share with you soon. It was also a great opportunity to spend time with colleagues from around the world, working together during the day and having a few beers in the evening.
In terms of design, we are working to extend the cloud visual language that is being established through the Juju GUI, with a view to having a consistent suite of cloud products.
A post with some cloud designs will follow soon. For now, here’s some pictures from our week in San Francisco.
Watch this space!
Many congratulations to my friends in the Fedora community for your 10th anniversary!
Fedora is such an important part of the wider Open Source and Free Software community and filled with many, many good people doing great work. I hope you all take at least a little time away from the coalface to celebrate today!
Many warm and happy congratulations!
Melany WordPress Theme now has its own website!
That’s a huge goal for this project and represents only one step to the proper outlining of it. Before proceeding to the 1.1 release cycle, I wanted to give Melany its own space that can’t be bundled to my own personal blog. I’ll continue to write about it here, but all official communications will be published on the official website.
What do you find on the Melany Official Website?
Along with buttons to the page on WordPress.org and the GitHub repository, you can find some informations about the features included in Melany, enriched by a number of screenshots.
As I said before, in that website you can find also the official communications: release notes and other announcements (you can already see some examples).
What you’ll find?
That’s not completely outlined, but Melany 1.1 will come with a documentation that now is missing, but I think becomes to be required because of the number of features included. Documentation will likely be included in the theme’s package, but also be published on the official website.
I hope you like it and find it useful to have such a reference.
With the launch of Ubuntu Touch v1.0, the OS now ships its own QtWebKit based browser which will be replaced by Oxide a Chromium-powered webview by 14.04. There has been a lot of discussions arround the user-agent because many large sites(Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo etc..) are sniffing the UA(for iPhone or Android tokens) to serve the mobile version of the site.
Adding an Android or iPhone token will lead to unwanted behaviours, like showing ads for the Android app or even trying to open the Google Play app or the Youtube app. The browser now reports it in the following formats, depending on whether the device is a phone or a tablet, with the addition of an override mechanism that will override the UA on the fly and the site will serve us a proper mobile content.PhoneMozilla/5.0 (Ubuntu; Mobile) WebKit/537.21 TabletMozilla/5.0 (Ubuntu; Tablet) WebKit/537.21 PatternMozilla/5.0 (Ubuntu; $FormFactor) WebKit/$WebKitRev
So if you are doing UA sniffing it's really better to look for "Mobile" rather than looking the OS identifier.
We live in a disconnected & battery powered world.
Build apps which assume that any server they need might not be there. Mobile apps which don’t start being unreliable when you’ve got dodgy connectivity. Save everything locally and then sync it.
The key word here is “sync”. To build a proper modern app, which not only copes with inconsistent connectivity but doesn’t bother the user about it, you have to save your data locally and then sync it up to the backing store, wherever that is (whether it’s a server provided by the app maker, or your Google account, or remoteStorage, or some personal thing like a PogoPlug). This means that the backing store, and your app, has to be able to cope with inconsistent and conflicting data. This is a hard problem to deal with; when I was working on Ubuntu One, we spent a lot of time with it. So… don’t try and roll your own solution. Really. Use something that’s already out there to handle data with syncing. Hood.ie can do this for web apps you build, or use Pouch; Parse or Firebase are similar public commercial services. The Ubuntu SDK has U1DB. Apple stuff has iCloud. Android has the backup API. Building an app for offline first means dealing with inconsistent data, but there’s no reason to not have an existing framework take on some of that load for you.
The offlinefirst people are starting a conversation about the user experience here. After a few years of working on this, the technology is mostly worked out (as you’ll see above), but we’ve hardly brushed the surface of how to present this to the people using your apps. In my heart I believe that there should be no presentation of it: that your app should just look and work exactly the same as it does in a world with infinite always-on bandwidth. That the “user experience” of offline first is that people like your app more not because it’s better, but because it’s not worse: because it never breaks even when you’re in a train tunnel. It’s not something you’d notice, unless you sat down and thought about it, in exactly the same way that no-one gives out credit because your app doesn’t crash much, unless all its competitors crash more. And I fear that exposing this stuff to the user interface is a way of saying “look, we had to do tons of really hard technical work to make things this smooth; we deserve a little bit of the UI which shows that this really hard technical stuff is working away in the background”, which is not a good argument.
But that’s a naïve thought. Ideally that’d be the case but clearly it isn’t. There is a difference between “this is offline” and “this is online”, even if only in the edge cases: if I’m typing my shopping list on my laptop before I pick up my phone and run out the door to the supermarket, I need to know if that shopping list has actually made it to my phone before I turn the laptop off. If the synced status of your data is entirely invisible — that is, we pretend that it’s all synced, all the time — then you get bitten on the one time when it wasn’t synced but you needed it to be. This sort of thing is what I think the offlinefirst.org conversation will be about, and it’s going to be fascinating to be a part of it.
So I am stretching the metaphor a bit, but I think it accurately explains my experience of the recent cloud sprint in San Francisco.
The week starts with some presentations and talks about where we are now and where we want to be from a company, marketplace and product perspective. This lasts about two hours, then all 115 of us are set free to figure out what we can do to help best achieve these visions. Things are more organised than at an unconference , there are tracks and rooms and sessions planned, but it is all very fluid. Each day reveals itself and the week gathers its own momentum.
Some people are here to finish off some work and coordinate releases. Some people are trying to plan the next six month cycle with team-mates they only see a few times a year. Some people have just joined the company and some people are trying to design for the next year or more. That’s us.
While most here are looking at April, we are brainstorming, paper prototyping, grabbing stakeholders, talking to users, meeting with developers and trying to build that shared vision for a set of products and where they might go in the future — inspiring, chaotic, impossible, crazy, amazing.
But we are also trying to finish things off from the last cycle, pay some technical debt, polish up a few things. We are trying to listen to what else is happening, it all moves so fast. We also sign-up to get at least four other smaller things done in the next month.
At the end of the week, a few things are finished. Even better, a few more big things are planned. Dozens of drawings, hundreds of post-it notes are photographed. We shake hands with friends and colleagues that we will only talk to online for a few months and head home to get building.
“You know, it seems very hard here. Harsh. All the time, work, work, work, money, money, money.” She turned to Andreno. “You are retired, no? You have this pension. Yet, you travel hundreds of kilometers to work on a job with no future. Why is this?”
“Better than sitting on my ass,” Andreno said.
She nodded. “This is the thing. In the rest of the world — maybe not Japan, I have not been there — people enjoy sitting on their asses and talking, dancing, playing games. Here, there is no time. You are all too busy making signs.”
— John Sandford, Hidden Prey
A few weeks ago, I went to a business “networking” meeting. One of these things where you spend time talking to other people who run their own business, in the hope of making “connections” and getting more work.
A breakfast meeting, I should note.
Anyway, we’d had something to eat, and were in the middle of a very earnest discussion about how you can increase your client base by networking or something similar, and… my phone alarm went off.
Oops. I’d put the phone on silent — important breakfast meeting, after all — but alarms ignore silence, as they should.
Anyway, I got an exceedingly fishy look from half of the room. I thought at first that this was because I was gauche enough to disturb the power networking flow with a mobile phone noise, but then I took a question from the meeting leader.
“Is that your alarm?”, she asked.
I nodded, mildly embarrassed.
She checked her watch. “At twenty past eight in the morning?”
And I nodded, again. “Yep.”
There was disgruntlement evident in the room. As if the whole audience were suddenly the word “harrumph!” made flesh. I waved my hand dismissively, and the outpouring of business networking tips continued as if no interruption had ever occurred. But this conversation came up again, and again, and a third time once the gathering of minds was over.
This got me to thinking. There was a distinct odour of displeasure. Of my getting up at half eight being clear evidence of my lack of moral fibre, of some upstanding characteristic that I lack by not forcing myself out of bed early on, of how being unprepared to work from before the sun rises demonstrates some missing yet vital backbone.
Now, let’s be clear here. I run my own business. Most people reading this aren’t in so lucky a position: you have bosses, and HR departments, and core hours, and so on. But those of you who work for yourselves… why would you not take time to enjoy your life? I don’t think anybody lay on their deathbed and ended their lives with a gasp that they wish they’d spent more time at the office. Spend time with your kids. Read books. Poke around the local market. Buy dates. Go on dates. Get up late. Stay up late when you have a project that interests you, or that you can’t get out of your mind. And when you don’t, go to the library. To the pub. To the museum. Take your kids. Your boyfriend. Your parents. Eat things you haven’t eaten. Or don’t: eat things you like, and be happy doing it. Watch films. Pick flowers. Cook steak. Whatever.
You only get one life.
You really, really don’t need to have it be occupied by stress and hassle and drama if you don’t want it to be.
Stop reading /r/linux, or the comments on YouTube videos, or Ayn Rand books. Stop worrying about whether someone might read your tweets and dislike you because of them. Stop stressing about the advance of jQuery, or the lack of advance of jQuery, or the inevitable triumph of corporatism. You don’t get to do this again. Dividing up your life so that not all of it is work or thoughts about work is not evidence of lack of moral fibre, it really isn’t. Do fun things. Enjoy sitting on your ass, talking, dancing, playing games.
But trust me on the sunscreen.
I've been spending a good amount of my spare time recently configuring NTP, reading the documentation, setting up both a stratum 1 and stratum 2 NTP server, and in general, just playing around with NTP. This post is meant to be a set of notes of what I've learned in the process, and hopefully, it can benefit you. It's not meant to be an exhaustive, or authoritative set of instructions on how you should configure your own NTP installation.
Before getting into the client configuration, we need to understand how NTP serves time to clients. We need to understand the concept of "strata" or "stratum". An authoritative time source, such as GPS satellites, cesium atomic fountains, WWVB radio waves, and so forth, are referred to as "stratum 0" clocks. They are authoritative, because they have some way of maintaining extremely accurate timekeeping. Any time source will suffice, including a standard quartz oscillating clock. However, knowing that quartz based clocks can gain or lose up to 15 seconds per month, we don't generally use them as time sources. Instead, we're interested in time sources that don't gain or lose a second in 300,000 years, as an example.
Computers that connect to these accurate time sources to set their local time are referred to as "stratum 1" time sources. Because there is some inherent latencies involved with connecting to the stratum 0 time source, and the latencies involved with setting the time, as well as the drift that the stratum 1 clocks will exhibit, these stratum 1 computers will not be as accurate as their stratum 0 neighbors. In real life, the clocks on good stratum 1 computers will probably drift enough that their time will be off by a couple microseconds, compared to the stratum 0 source that their are getting their time.
Computers that connect to stratum 1 computers to synchronize their clocks are referred to as "stratum 2" time sources. Again, due to many latencies involved, stratum 2 clocks will not be as accurate as their stratum 1 neighbors, and even worse compared to the further upstream stratum 0 time sources. In practice, your stratum 2 server will probably be off from its stratum 1 upstream server by anywhere from a few microseconds to a few milliseconds. Many factors come into play in how this is calculated, but realize that stratum 2 computers, in practice, are probably the furthest time source from stratum 0 that you want to synchronize your clocks with.
As you would expect, stratum 3 clocks are connected upstream to stratum 2 clocks. Stratum 4 clocks are connected upstream to stratum 3 clocks, and so forth. Once you reach the lowest level of stratum 16, the clock is now considered to be unsynchronized. So again, in practice, you probably don't want to sync your computers clock with any strata lower than 2, thus making your computer a stratum 3. At this point, you're far enough away from the true time source, that your computer could exhibit time offsets anywhere from a few milliseconds to several hundred milliseconds.
If your clock is off by 1000 seconds, NTP will refuse to synchronize your clock, and it will require manual intervention. If the upstream stratum from which you are synchronizing your clock is off by 1000 milliseconds, or 1 full second, that time source will not be used in synchronizing your clock, and others will be picked instead (this is to help weed out bad time sources).
Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, CentOS, and most operating system vendors, don't package NTP into client and server packages separately. When you install NTP, you've made your computer both a server, and a client simultaneously. If you don't want to serve NTP to the network, then don't open the port in your firewall. In this section, we'll assume that you're not going to use NTP as a server, but wish to use it as a client instead.
I'm not going to cover everything in the /etc/ntp.conf configuration file, which is generally the standard installation path. However, there are a few things I do want to cover. First, the "server" lines. You can have multiple server lines in for configuration file. NTP will actively use up to 10. However, how many do you add? Consider the following:
- If you only have one server configured, and that server begins to drift, then you will blindly follow the drift. If that server consistently gained 5 seconds every month, so would you.
- If you only have two servers configured, then both will be automatically assigned as "false tickers" by NTP. If one of the servers began to drift, NTP would not be able to tell which upstream server is correct, as there would not be a quorum.
- If you have three or more servers configured, then you can support "false tickers", and still have an agreement on the exact time. If you have five or six servers, then you can support two false tickers. If you have seven or eight servers, you can support three false tickers, and if you have nine or ten servers configured, then you can support up to four false tickers.
NTP Pool Project
As a client, rather than pointing your servers to static IP addresses, you may want to consider using the NTP pool project. Various people all over the world have donated their stratum 1 and stratum 2 servers to the pool, Microsoft, XMission, and even myself have offered their servers to the project. As such, clients can point their NTP configuration to the pool, which will round robin and load balance which server you will be connecting to.
There are a number of different domains that you can use for the round robin. For example, if you live in the United States, you could use:
There are round robin domains for each continent, minus Antarctica, and for many countries in each of those continents. There are also round robin servers for projects, such as Ubuntu and Debian:
NTP ships with a good client utility for querying NTP; it's the ntpq(1) utility. However, understanding the output of this utility, as well as its many subcommands, can be daunting. I'll let you read its manpage and documentation online. I do want to discuss its peering output in this blog post though.
On my public NTP stratum 2 server, I run the following command to see its status:$ ntpq -pn remote refid st t when poll reach delay offset jitter ============================================================================== *188.8.131.52 .GPS. 1 u 912 1024 377 0.488 -0.016 0.098 +184.108.40.206 .GPS. 1 u 88 1024 377 0.966 0.014 1.379 -220.127.116.11 .GPS. 1 u 74 1024 377 2.782 0.296 0.158 -18.104.22.168 .GPS. 1 u 1020 1024 377 5.248 0.194 0.371 -22.214.171.124 .DCFp. 1 u 952 1024 377 147.806 -3.160 0.198 -126.96.36.199 .LFa. 1 u 885 1024 377 161.499 -8.044 5.839 -188.8.131.52 .WWVB. 1 u 167 1024 377 65.175 -8.151 0.131 +184.108.40.206 .CDMA. 1 u 66 1024 377 39.293 0.003 0.121 -220.127.116.11 .ACTS. 1 u 62 1024 377 16.606 4.206 0.216
We need to understand each of the columns, so we understand what this is saying:
- remote- The remote server you wish to synchronize your clock with
- refid- The upstream stratum to the remote server. For stratum 1 servers, this will be the stratum 0 source.
- st- The stratum level, 0 through 16.
- t- The type of connection. Can be "u" for unicast or manycast, "b" for broadcast or multicast, "l" for local reference clock, "s" for symmetric peer, "A" for a manycast server, "B" for a broadcast server, or "M" for a multicast server
- when- The last time when the server was queried for the time. Default is seconds, or "m" will be displayed for minutes, "h" for hours and "d" for days.
- poll- How often the server is queried for the time, with a minimum of 16 seconds to a maximum of 36 hours. It's also displayed as a value from a power of two. Typically, it's between 64 seconds and 1024 seconds.
- reach- This is an 8-bit left shift octal value that shows the success and failure rate of communicating with the remote server. Success means the bit is set, failure means the bit is not set. 377 is the highest value.
- delay- This value is displayed in milliseconds, and shows the round trip time (RTT) of your computer communicating with the remote server.
- offset- This value is displayed in milliseconds, using root mean squares, and shows how far off your clock is from the reported time the server gave you. It can be positive or negative.
- jitter- This number is an absolute value in milliseconds, showing the root mean squared deviation of your offsets.
Next to the remote server, you'll notice a single character. This character is referred to as the "tally code", and indicates whether or not NTP is or will be using that remote server in order to synchronize your clock. Here are the possible values:
- " " Discarded as not valid. Could be that you cannot communicate with the remote machine (it's not online), this time source is a ".LOCL." refid time source, it's a high stratum server, or the remote server is using this computer as an NTP server.
- "x" Discarded by the intersection algorithm.
- "." Discarded by table overflow (not used).
- "-" Discarded by the cluster algorithm.
- "+" Included in the combine algorithm. This is a good candidate if the current server we are synchronizing with is discarded for any reason.
- "#" Good remote server to be used as an alternative backup. This is only shown if you have more than 10 remote servers.
- "*" The current system peer. The computer is using this remote server as its time source to synchronize the clock
- "o" Pulse per second (PPS) peer. This is generally used with GPS time sources, although any time source delivering a PPS will do. This tally code and the previous tally code "*" will not be displayed simultaneously.
Lastly, in understanding the output, we need to understand the what is being used as a reference clock in the "refid" column.
- IP address- The IP address of the remote peer or server.
- .ACST.- NTP manycast server.
- .ACTS.- Automated Computer Time Service clock reference from the American National Institute of Standards and Technology.
- .AUTH.- Authentication error.
- .AUTO.- Autokey sequence error.
- .BCST.- NTP broadcast server.
- .CHU.- Shortwave radio receiver from station CHU operating out of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
- .CRYPT.- Autokey protocol error
- .DCFx.- LF radio receiver from station DCF77 operating out of Mainflingen, Germany.
- .DENY.- Access denied by server.
- .GAL.- European Galileo satellite receiver.
- .GOES.- American Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite receiver.
- .GPS.- American Global Positioning System receiver.
- .HBG.- LF radio receiver from station HBG operating out of Prangins, Switzerland.
- .INIT.- Peer association initialized.
- .IRIG.- Inter Range Instrumentation Group time code.
- .JJY.- LF radio receiver from station JJY operating out of Mount Otakadoya, near Fukushima, and also on Mount Hagane, located on Kyushu Island, Japan.
- .LFx.- Generic LF radio receiver.
- .LOCL.- The local clock on the host.
- .LORC.- LF radio receiver from Long Range Navigation (LORAN-C) radio beacons.
- .MCST.- NTP multicast server.
- .MSF.- National clock reference from Anthorn Radio Station near Anthorn, Cumbria.
- .NIST.- American National Institute of Standards and Technology clock reference.
- .PPS.- Pulse per second clock discipline.
- .PTB.- Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt clock reference operating out of Brunswick and Berlin, Germany.
- .RATE.- NTP polling rate exceeded.
- .STEP.- NTP step time change. The offset is less than 1000 millisecends but more than 125 milliseconds.
- .TDF.- LF radio receiver from station TéléDiffusion de France operating out of Allouis, France.
- .TIME.- NTP association timeout.
- .USNO.- United States Naval Observatory clock reference.
- .WWV.- HF radio receiver from station WWV operating out of Fort Collins, Colorado, United States.
- .WWVB.- LF radio receiver from station WWVB operating out of Fort Collins, Colorado, United States.
- .WWVH.- HF radio receiver from station WWVH operating out of Kekaha, on the island of Kauai in the state of Hawaii, United States.
Client Best Practice
There seem to be a couple long standing myths out there about NTP configuration. The first is that you should only use stratum 1 NTP servers, because they are closest to the true time source. Well, this isn't always the case. Connecting to stratum 1 time servers that have high RTT latencies could exhibit large jitter and large offsets. Rather, you should find stratum 1 servers that are physically close to your client. Also, many stratum 1 servers might be overloaded, and finding less stressed stratum 2 servers might deliver more accurate results.
The other myth out there is that you should only connect to physically close NTP servers. This isn't necessarily true either. If the closest NTP servers to you only have one physical link, and that link goes down, you're sunk. Further, if the closest NTP servers to you are stratum 4 or 5 servers, you may exhibit high offsets from the upstream stratum 0 sources. There is a reason why the NTP Pool Project only lists public stratum 1 and stratum 2 servers, and there's a reason why stratum 16 is considered unsynchronized.
Point is, there is a balance in configuring NTP. If you have a large infrastructure, it would make sense for you to build and install a stratum 1 or stratum 2 source at each logically different location (geographically or VLAN'd), and have each server and workstation connect to that logically local NTP server. If it's just your personal computer, then it probably makes sense to just use the NTP Pool Project, and use the round robin domain names. You should keep efficiency and redundancy in mind.
So, you should probably consider the following best practices when configuring your NTP client:
- Use at least 3 servers, and don't statically use busy servers.
- Consider using the NTP pool project, if you will be operating as a client only.
- If statically setting IP addresses for your servers, try to keep the following in mind:
- Use servers that are physically close to your computer. These servers should have low ping latencies.
- Use servers that are geographically separated across the globe. Just in case the trans-Atlantic cable is cut, you can still communicate to other servers.
- Use servers that use different time sources. If all of your servers use GPS as their time source, and GPS goes offline, you will not have anything to synchronize your clocks against.
- Consider using all 3 of the above on a single client.
I am running a fund-raising campaign for WaterAid to provide clean and sanitary water for poorer parts of the world. Dirty water is the source of so many health problems in the world, and I hope I can help a little in the wider cause.
To this end I have written and recorded three acoustic rock songs (and a bonus fourth) that I am making available under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike Licence. I have made the songs available as MP3, Ogg Vorbis, and FLAC, and I would like to encourage you to download them and if you like them to please donate to the fund-raiser.
For those of you familiar with my metal music, these are really very different songs; they are acoustic, up-beat songs with clean vocals. I actually wrote these songs five years ago for my wife, so I re-recorded them ready for our five year anniversary and creating a fund-raiser seemed a great way to share the music with others and do some good.
You can download .zip packages of all the music:
* Download ‘Trilogy’ in MP3 format (25MB)
* Download ‘Trilogy’ in Ogg Vorbis format (29MB)
* Download ‘Trilogy’ in FLAC format (275MB)
You can also listen to four songs as MP3s in your browser here:
* Wait For Me
* One More Day
* Endless Days
If you like the music please go and donate whatever you can afford!
I defended my dissertation three months ago. Since then, it feels like everything has changed.
I’ve moved from Somerville to Seattle, moved from MIT to the University of Washington, and gone from being a graduate student to a professor. Mika and I have moved out of a multi-apartment cooperative into into a small apartment we’re calling Extraordinary Least Squares. We’ve gone from a broad and deep social network to (almost) starting from scratch in a new city.
As things settle and I develop a little extra bandwidth, I am trying to take time to get connected to my community. If you’re in Seattle and know me, drop me a line! If you’re in Seattle but don’t know me yet, do the same so we can fix that!
As things stand now Ubuntu has very limited user advocacy occurring and nobody on the community or Canonical side to do any User Advocacy. Many open source projects equal in size to Ubuntu have dedicated teams focusing on User Advocacyand I believe this is one area where Ubuntu can do better.
We constantly see all kinds of new features landing in Unity and Ubuntu but are they what the users want or need? Well we really don’t know since there is not any push for User Advocacy.
I propose we start the discussion of having a User Advocacy Team in Ubuntu and make User Advocacy a priority on the Desktop. This team can be compromised of folks from various teams, governance, and we can all come together to give the experience our users want and need.
The goals of Ubuntu User Advocacy would be:
The purpose the User Advocacy effort is:
- to advocate for better understanding and consideration of Ubuntu user needs;
- to develop features on the Desktop that allow for direct feedback from users;
- to better perform research on user practices on the desktop in order to enhance the desktop experience.
Right now Ubuntu has no feature in System Settings or any Menu that allows users to easily submit feedback on their Desktop Experience and give feedback on features. This is something we should be measuring and analyzing as a community not just in Ubuntu but ideally in the flavors too.
I’m interested to here what others think about Ubuntu being improved and more feedback driven. I’m interested to hear from folks at Canonical to see what their thoughts are on a robust User Advocacy initiative.
Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter. This is issue #341 for the week October 28 – November 3 2013, and the full version is available here.
In this issue we cover:
- Ubuntu Community Council Election
- Welcome New Members and Developers
- Ubuntu Stats
- Spur of the moment Saucy Salamander Release Party pics
- Juju Charm Ecosystem Status for the 30th of October
- Jussi Schultink: Kubuntu Polo Shirts Update
- Randall Ross: Planet Awesome! Poll #8
- Dustin Kirkland: My Linux Rigs
- Canonical Design Team: Cloud sprint: what I’ve learned about testing and code reviews
- Terence Simpson: An open letter to the Ubuntu IRC community and wider Ubuntu community
- Ubuntu GNOME: Brainstorming Team & Urgent Need for More Contributors
- Ubuntu Women: Evaluating harvest.ubuntu.com
- Hit the ground running with Ubuntu OpenStack Training
- A brief meta-tour through Ubuntu Touch 1.0
- In The Blogosphere
- Other Articles of Interest
- Featured Audio and Video
- Upcoming Meetings and Events
- Updates and Security for 10.04, 12.04, 12.10, 13.04 and 13.10
- And much more!
The issue of The Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter is brought to you by:
- Elizabeth Krumbach Joseph
- Paul White
- Nathan Dyer
- And many others
Except where otherwise noted, content in this issue is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License BY SA Creative Commons License
I’ve been thinking about how to raise money for my Malawi Mission in aid of AMECA. Just tweeting and Facebooking the relevant links has done a pretty good job so far (I’m already at 40% of my target thanks to the wonderful people who have donated already) but I figure I’ll need to put in some extra effort to raise the rest. If you’ve any creative suggestions about how I can help raise more money for AMECA please leave a comment.
One idea I had was to inflict my culinary skills on people in exchange for money. I enjoy cooking and, although not sophisticated about it, I think I’m OK. But I’m not really a baker. This evening I set about trying to change that, and make some rather nice chocolate orange biscuits. These were a trial run, but on this evidence it might be worth pursuing!
Last week I wrote about how I’m giving away tickets to the official Doctor Who convention this month. Well, absolutely no-one has donated yet, so it’s basically an open goal if anyone wants to go for it! This week the BBC announced some extra guests for Sunday 24th, the day of these tickets:
- Maureen O’Brien (Vicki)
- Peter Purves (Steven)
- Wendy Padbury (Zoe)
- John Leeson (voice of K-9)
- Lalla Ward (Romana II)
- Mark Strickson (Turlough)
- Bonnie Langford (Mel)
- Michael Kilgarriff (Cyber Controller)
- Julian Glover (Richard I/Scaroth)
- Stephen Thorne (Omega/Azal/Kastrian Eldrad)
- David Graham (Dalek voices/Kerensky)
- Donald Tosh (script editor/writer)
- Anthony Read (script editor/writer)
- Andrew Cartmel (script editor/writer)
- Andrew Morgan (director)
That’s in addition to the various Doctors and companions already announced, including Matt Smith and Sylvester McCoy. Go enter!Donate here to enter the draw. Pin It
The game itselfThe game is about watching cartoon trains composed of a locomotive and a small number of different wagons scroll on the screen and then trying to reconstruct them from memory. There are no written or spoken instructions given. Let figuring out the rules be part of the game :)
Unlike GCompris, this clone works with touch input, the lack of availability of a touch-based railway game being the secondary motivation behind the exercise :) All sounds and most images, much like the game idea are lifted from GCompris and credited accordingly.
If you're impatient and happen to have Ubuntu running on a phone but preferably on a tablet you can install it by searching for 'railroad' in the application screen. If not, apt-get install gcompris :)
The source code with full non-rebased git history is here, GPLv3 licensed
File issues there if you find a bug or want a feature.
QML and QtQuick
This is not unusual, I understand that the idea of using QML only for the graphics and doing the rest in C++ is a popular view among developers with experience. IMHO that is very bad idea to hold onto though if you want to encourage quick prototyping and having a chance to compete with Android or FirefoxOS for developer's attention. There will always be a need for code that cannot or should not be done in QML, but that should be the exception, and even then I'd rather see Go-QML be the glue between QML and the OS. That too relies on C++ but mostly hides it along with the build system from the developer.
In order not to learn too many new things at once, and to avoid pitfalls unrelated to actual programming I decided to just use vim to edit and qmlscene to test and run the app.
The only change in vim's configuration was adding syntax highlighting for QML via this snippet in ~/.vimrc
and then running the BundleInstall vim command.
It's that easy since I started using Vundle :)
I find the Click packaging format refreshingly simple and to the point.
I used the official Qt documentation site mostly. It is comprehensive but not easy to navigate, it is a collection of rather disconnected islands covering QML, QtQuick, etc, but with quite some overlapping content. I used the in-site search functionality often, and even global googling to find me something on the site I was already on :) Regarding the Ubuntu documentation I agree with all that Stuart had already said
App building and deployment
I used the click command line tool on the development computer to build the click package.
I may have missed out on important packaging scaffolding and validation tools since I did not use the SDK. I wished I could do click newpackage and later click check (or using equivalent tools if not click itself) to get a basic skeleton working and to catch errors such as malformed developer email address, before uploading. I found out about reviewer-tools only recently.
The link I followed on the Ubuntu app developer site to publish the already built click package turned out to be the wrong one and non-working, but only after going through the 5 page wizard. I _think_ this is fixed now.
The app was let into the appstore no more than 30 minutes after it being uploaded the first time. There was a need for a second time and for the obligatory version bump in order to correct the email address typo mentioned above.
So while these steps seemed confusing it can be partly ascribed to me being new to it all.
App install and update
Since I still find the Ubuntu phone interface and navigation confusing and since there are still bugs in the implementation I spent too much time trying to get the app installed by it not showing up in search, or a stubborn on screen keyboard hiding the Install button from view when I found it.
I made a minor bugfix release of the game yesterday (0.1.2) but I am not sure how to upgrade to it on the device. Still lots of things to learn about and fix on Ubuntu for phones :)
It is with great pleasure that I open my first personal website and my first blog;
first, let me introduce myself: I’m Riccardo, 20 years old from Italy and I’m passionate about technology, which for now I contribute for passion and I hope one day can become a job.
I open a blog because I think I have something to tell: I would like to tell you how Ubuntu Touch is developed: it is a project in which I am involved and excites me a lot. In addition to Ubuntu Touch I contribute to the promotion of Ubuntu in Italy: it is therefore easy to imagine what will be the main topic of this blog :-)
Of course I’ll talk about other things, about the technology and free software in general, with some forethought on how not to be traced deeply from all companies on the web.
I got myself as a commitment to write an article every two weeks, to be published on Monday. I hope I can keep this pace: my English is poor, so it takes me a lot to write. When you notice errors, please report. The whole site is under construction, so report bugs in the comments or in the bug tracker. As well as this blog I also keep one in Italian, updated weekly, in which I will discuss, in addition to the topics mentioned above, even about Ubuntu in Italy.
All the articles I write are freely reusable and modifiable, just sue my name, because I’m a little narcissistic :-P At the end of each article, in addition to the license on the contents, you will find a link to three articles of the previous week that I liked and that I think it’s worth reading.
As said above about the tracking, on this blog you are completely safe: your details are not shared with anyone. There isn’t Google Analytics, nor Disqus, or snippets of social networks; fonts are also uploaded my server, so you do not have to send requests to Google; later I will install a service for access statistics, but it will be open-source and resting on my server. If you decide to change the language to the site will save a cookie in your browser to remember your choice. In any case, a page for privacy is in preparation.
One last thing: the blog is responsive, so you can read it easily even from your mobile phone!
Meanwhile, on the Italian blog: Ci sono anche io!
If you have not yet read them, I recommend:
‘Mappero’ Offers Native ‘Maps’ App for Ubuntu Touch by Joey-Elijah Sneddon on OMG!Ubuntu
Riddling: a puzzle game for Ubuntu phones by Stuart Langridge.
Intel Performance With Ubuntu Linux vs. Windows 8.1 Is A Mixed Bag by Michael Larabel on Phoronix
This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribuzione 3.0 Unported
This week's episode talks about voting and other issues. An approximate transcript is given below.
- Ohio Secretary of State: About this Election
- The Fridge: Ubuntu Community Council Election
- Leader E-mail sent about the Verification Application
- The Verification Application Work-in-Progress
- Verification Guidelines
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/.
It is Monday, November 4, 2013. Welcome to episode 138 of the Burning Circle.
If you are within range of the sound of my voice, please go vote Tuesday. Every voter in the state of Ohio has something to vote on this Tuesday. I will be working at a precinct as a poll judge while polls are open. If you are registered to vote you really should do so.
Speaking of voting, the Community Council Election is underway. Across Earth we have seen 764 ballots distributed to folks who are part of the "Ubuntu Member" group on Launchpad. I am not aware of any ballots going off-planet or ballots being transmitted to orbit. For the three of us in-state who have voting privileges, we will be exercising them. The poll closes on Wednesday, November 13th, and the result will be available at 7 PM local time.
Last development cycle I wanted to help shepherd folks through gaining status in the "Ubuntu Member" group. This is one of the tangible parts of empowerment that that allows. Signing the Code of Conduct is a necessary step but it is only the first step. There are currently 764 known members of the "Ubuntu Member" group as of Sunday so we have the chance to boost that number.
There is a multi-sided conflict underway between Mark Shuttleworth, Lennart Poettering, and Martin Graesslin. At that level, we cannot really intervene. It also is not our conflict to deal with let alone resolve. We should leave it alone as we have other things to consider.
Coming up we have our meeting set for November 9th. We will be considering our verification application at that time. The LoCo Council is busily considering applications and verifying communities as we go. Since I am a member of the council, we will not be handling this quietly via a closed bug. Our application will be disposed of during an open IRC meeting. I also have to abstain from voting on Ohio's application which reduces the number of votes required for unanimity to five. Please read the draft that I have posted and be ready to discuss edits at our meeting on November 9th. Please be also ready to discuss plans for the future.
Things are getting colder and the days are getting shorter. We're bringing 2013 to a close. It has been quite a year.
Thank you for joining us. This program has been brought to you over the facilities of the Internet Archive and Ubuntu Ohio by the Air Staff of Erie Looking Productions.
Until next time...we'll be seeing you...
Call for Help!
As you may know, 14.04 Cycle is an LTS (Long Term Support) Cycle. Having
that said, Ubuntu and most of the official flavours will have LTS Release.
For the moment, the lack of Manpower could keep us away from having an LTS
Release. However, after a discussion with our Developers, we’d like to
announce the urgent need for these roles:
1- Someone with Bug Control to ‘Actively Commit’ to triaging Ubuntu GNOME
2- Couple of people helping out with ‘Bug Fixing’.
3- People to help with ‘Packaging’ on the PPA’s
PLEASE NOTE: We are looking for people with experience and skills! We NEED
people to commit for 2-5 years support and not just join for few months
NO PROMISES to be made but we would be comfortable enough to submit an
application to the Technical Board in order to have an LTS Release when we
will have volunteers who can actively contribute and help us.
If you have the required experience and skills or if you know someone who
has, please contact amjjawad directly.
For the 7 available seats on the council, the following candidates are on the ballot:
- Ho Wan Chan
- Bhavani Shankar
- Philip Ballew
- Andrew Starr-Bocchichio
- Michael Hall
- Daniel Holbach (incumbent)
- Laura Czajkowski (incumbent)
- Elizabeth Krumbach Joseph (incumbent)
- Charles Profitt (incumbent)
- Scott Ritchie (incumbent)
Please contact the firstname.lastname@example.org if you are an Ubuntu Member but did not receive a ballot. Ballots were sent to the public address defined in launchpad, or your email@example.com if no public address was defined.