Older blog entries for tonyyarusso (starting at number 36)

17 Aug 2007 (updated 30 Aug 2007 at 16:05 UTC) »

So I just decided to see what the Ubuntu home page was up to lately, and noticed a link for a Store that I hadn’t seen before - the apparently new Canonical Store. Sounds pretty exciting. I know there’s been some stuff available before from CafePress, but I’ve heard mixed reviews of the quality from there, so would be more comfortable getting something direct from the Canonical site (please don’t disappoint - if any admin types are reading, I really hope the shirts are such are sturdy and nice).

Items I wouldn’t mind having: (I’m usually a small-to-medium, depending on the manufacturer - medium is probably safest) ;)

The ability to buy CDs and DVDs in bulk is also very cool, and been talked about far longer, but somewhat quietly sometimes, so I’ll plug it again for anyone who wasn’t aware.

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Following the Dugg Fridge article about US LoCo Teams, a number of places have started to receive attention. Among those getting started is Minnesota, which is now established:
On Launchpad
On the Wiki
On IRC at #ubuntu-minnesota on Freenode
and has applied for a mailing list, to be available shortly at https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-us-mn.

So, if you use Ubuntu in Minnesota, apply to the Launchpad team and add yourself to the wiki page so we know who else is around!

In addition, other teams who got started and added some yellow to the map include:
North Carolina
Rhode Island
Michigan
Oregon
Texas
Wisconsin
New Hampshire
Mississippi
Louisiana

States rumored to be about to join that list are:
Vermont
West Virginia
Idaho
with others soon to follow hopefully!

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So I had a thought recently, which seems like it may actually be useful. You may have heard the stories about ISPs inserting ads into every page their users load, as a (quite despicable) way of making extra revenue. (If you haven’t, read about it here and here.) While that has no place whatsoever, the same process could potentially be used for more productive things, such as Amber Alerts. Those are already covered by radio, television, and highway signs, but imagine the response level of the Digg and Slashdot effect for that sort of thing. Simply put, the internet has a lot of users. Of course, it would be silly to get an alert for a missing child in Florida if you’re in Alaska or something, so the system would need to be configured to specify it’s behavior based on IP geolocation, which should be trivial to implement. So, if someone went missing in Ames, Iowa, and the timing of reports filed with police indicated that it could have happened as much as 8 hours ago, then every internet user within an 8-hour driving radius could immediately begin seeing an Amber Alert notice on pages they load. The affected IP range would increase as the time “in the wild” increased. Additionally, to minimize the annoyance factor, the alert could load only on the first couple of pages for any given computer, then go away, reappear once after one hour, three hours, six hours, and twelve hours briefly as a reminder, becoming less frequent. The same sort of thing could be used for high-profile criminals who have gotten loose.

Brilliant or useless/impractical - what do you think?

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I had a chance to chat with Kazé again today for the first time in a few months, and got some updates on how the KompoZer project is coming along (unofficial continuation of the Nvu codebase). There was a code update a few days ago on the SourceForge project page, which he considers a “developer snapshot” (ie, not really stable, but getting close to it). The current plan is to release an official, stable 0.7.10 in the near future (next week or two hopefully), which will be the end of the line that’s just minor fixes to Nvu. After that a 0.8 version is planned with which KompoZer will be departing more significantly from the old codebase. The first beta of 0.8 should come out mid-August. Most additions in 0.8 should be available as extensions for 0.7 as well.

Remaining issues to be worked on include syncing with FireFTP, handling of locales/langpacks, interface changes, and testing on PPC/PPC64 (as the dev doesn’t have direct access to one). If you’d like to help out, swing by the development forum on WysiFreeAuthoring. For Ubuntu users, I’m planning to package it once we get the next full version, and you can sign up to be notified by adding yourself to this wiki page. In the meantime, follow these instructions.

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So I was driving behind a cement truck the other day, and noticed something. Now most people understand that the drum rotates in order to agitate the cement mixture and keep it liquid during transport to a construction site; what I’m talking about is how that is accomplished. The mechanically easiest way to make something on the back end of a truck turn presumably would be to just hook it up to the drive axle (or whatever that piece is called), since that’s exactly what it does for the rear wheels. That would make the drum turn at a rate directly related to ground speed. This clearly is a problem, as stoplights would give the mixture chances to solidify. You might think the solution would be to get away from such complications by just having a separate engine or motor running the drum, not related to that of the truck. However, my observations while following it showed this is apparently not the case. This may be due to the problems that could arise in terms of a power supply or fuel source for that, being in some ways redundant. It seems the rotation of the drum is directly related to the engine speed of the truck, keeping it moving at idle and changing as the truck accelerates from a stop and goes through its gears. That’s all quite well and good while on the road, and solves a number of other problems, but leaves one more that I have to ask about: Can cement trucks park, with the engine off ever other than at the end of the day after being cleaned out?

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We’re quite officially into the reasons I’m not as fond of summer as most people. Yes, it’s great to be out of school, and it’s nice to have the occasional sunny weather and to be warm enough for a swim and such, but there needs to be limits to such things. Nineties are not my friend. That said, mom and I got a a short bike ride in today (sort of together, part of the time) to get to a graduation party, and survived. It would seem some other people are in agreement too, as we’ve had a few bikes come in for repairs now with the reasoning being that it’s too warm to ride right now anyway, so might as well.

Meanwhile, I just had two new things suggested to me, so I’m going to check those out and you may hear about them later.

Wait, this song had a reprise too…guess that must be what August is for…

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Well, I’m doing the second portion of the ride today (and hoping some of you might get a chance to swing by the route or finish line), and after that will probably be resting as I work a full shift at Erik’s tomorrow. Therefore instead of a real post today you just get a brain teaser, which should keep you occupied until Tuesday or so I hope.

Here it is, a self-referential multiple-choice test: http://www.drunkmenworkhere.org/170

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I’m not actually here right now - I’m on the Willard Munger State Trail riding the first day of the Minnesota MS-150. In case you haven’t heard me mention it before, it’s a fundraiser ride for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, raising fund for research and support programs. This is my fourth year riding it now. It is not a race, but rather a social and fun ride for all ages and skill levels spanning two days, starting in Duluth and finishing back in the Twin Cities, with an overnight stop in Hinckley. This year we will be finishing at the National Sports Center in Blaine, with the earliest of the pack finishing around 10:30 AM and the latest at 5:30 PM on Sunday (I’m usually somewhere in the middle, being a fast rider but one who sleeps in), so feel free to come out to the finish line and cheer for the other riders as they finish. You can also set up a lawn chair anywhere else along the route if you wish, and can get the route map here.

It’s also not to late to make a donation if you wish, as I can collect them anytime until mid-June, either in person or through this secure web page, nor is it to early to register to ride next year - 2008 registration will be available at the finish line for $15 (covers tenting grounds, food, transportation of you, your bike, and gear to Duluth, snacks, first aid, etc.).

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Thanks to Aaron Toponce for pointing this out; finally something that might help some of you understand the idea behind RSS. The direct link to the video is http://www.commoncraft.com/rss_plain_english. In short, the idea of RSS is to save everyone time and energy, which is why I very much appreciate it when people have RSS feeds to follow, as both of those things are in short supply much of the time. In case you hadn’t noticed, my site has feeds that you can follow if you so choose (varies depending on which mirror you’re reading - ask if you can’t find it), in some cases both as RSS and Atom feed options.

If you don’t like the online readers mentioned in the video, I recommend the Sage plugin for Firefox for those who like extensions in their browser, Liferea for a standalone application (Linux - Gnome, remember to use repos where applicable), Mozilla Thunderbird’s built-in RSS capability if you want it in your e-mail program, and Planet if you’re either just a python geek or want to make a publicly accessible web page aggregating multiple feeds.

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