Well, I've tried blogging before, running the backend server software myself. Maybe not having to maintain the software/hardware will actually let me think about posting to the blog!


Fedora Talk troubleshooting page complete

I think I've finished putting the finishing touches on the Fedora Talk troubleshooting page - the last change I made was pretty simple, just to include a link at the bottom to IRC for more help, and remove the "under construction" notice at the top of the page. You can see the new version (with some other changes, notably, Paul Frields made a new page on setting up a generic client - i.e. a hardphone) here. Let me know if anything more needs work!


Fedora Talk FAD: Alarm clock fail

When I woke up this morning, I kept on hitting snooze on the alarm clock in the hotel room (the bad habit that I'm in on any other day, which is why I set my alarm clock for 30 minutes before I have to be up). Or at least I think I do. When I finally get up, I stretch my legs, get ready to check some mail as normal, and get ready to hop in the shower. According to the alarm clock in the hotel room, all of this is occurring an hour before Paul is supposed to come pick us up. --- Cue ringing cell phone --- "Oh, hi Paul! , oh %#!@, the alarm clock in the hotel room is an hour off! I'll be down in a few minutes" I have not a clue how this happened, when I went to bed I think that the alarm clock was correct. Oh well......


Fedora Talk FAD: Day 1+2

The last two days of my life have been some of the most pro I've spent the last two days at Business Playce, a local coworking establishment in Fredericksburg, VA with Paul Frields, John Poelstra, Ian Weller, Jared Smith, and Jeff Ollie. We also had several remote attendees, including Mike McGrath, Clint Savage, Bruno Wolff, and Darren VanBuren. I arrived in Fredericksburg on Thursday afternoon, when Paul Frields picked me up at the Amtrak station and took me to check in at the brand new Hilton Garden Inn, where the front desk clerk actually knew what Fedora was, though he's using Arch at the moment :). After checking in at the hotel, Paul took me back to his house where I meet SupaWife and his two really cute kids. After we had dinner, we played some Beatles Rock Band with his daughter. While I'm absolutely no good at Rock Band, it was great fun nonetheless. After that, we went to pick up Ian, Jeff and John at the also very new-looking Richmond airport which Paul can't keep saying great things about. On to the work end of it, it was an incredibly productive few days, some of the most productive time that I've spent in my time in Fedora in fact. Some highlights:
  • Conference recording now works in a pre-beta type of setup - an admin has to use scripts on the command line of the Asterisk box in order to start the recording, but it won't be that way for long, because.....
  • A mockup exists of a Fedora Community app to do all of this in a self-service fashion!
  • The talk.fedoraproject.org website has gotten pretty much a complete overhaul. This will be going live very soon, for now, you can see it here.
  • All of the admin, facilitator, and user use cases that we had on the wiki prior to the FAD were either marked as complete, meaning there was documentation of how to do them, they technically worked, and people should now be able to use them, or there are tickets filed that are assigned to specific people.
Specifically to a few people at the FAD:
  • We taught John Poelstra how to use git (even though he kept wanting to refer to it as CVS!)
  • I learned how to hack on Fedora's websites - it really isn't that hard, trust me!
  • Jared brought his "telco in a box", which we would have been lost without.
  • A special shout out goes to the owner of Business Playce, Paul Delagrange, who was extremely accommodating in letting us 1) use a larger room than we had originally reserved, and 2) allowing us to come in on Saturday when the place is normally closed.
Throughout the time, we organized into 45 minute - 1 hour sprints, where we all had a specific set of tasks to accomplish. Whatever could be accomplished in that time was considered as "done' - there was no going back to it if it couldn't be accomplished. This provided several benefits, the most notable of which is breaking the work up into small manageable chunks rather than one huge project, and providing the feeling that we accomplished something during each hour, and being able to look back on the time that we spent and qualitatively saying that we accomplished X number of things. We found that this worked incredibly well in the morning, however, towards the afternoon it seemed to have broken down, probably because of the external distraction of the FESCo meeting which took Paul and I very much away from our happy place, and it was sort of difficult to regain momentum after that, but it eventually did happen. On Friday night, Jared Smith took us out to dinner, compliments of Digium, in exchange for doing a case study on Fedora Talk (thanks Digium!). We went out to Capital Ale House, a good restaurant/bar in downtown Fredericksburg. On Saturday, we modified the methodology to allow us an hour between checkins instead of 45 minutes, and with no distractions, it seemed to work much better. On Saturday night, SupaWife cooked us an excellent dinner once again, which was very well received by everyone, and as I write this, John, Ian and Paul are playing Rock Band and doing pretty darn well!


More Josh Woodward - new album "Breadcrumbs"

Well, Josh Woodward has done it again and put out a great new album, Breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs has something for everyone on every end of the musical spectrum, from hard rock to really soft guitar work, with some songs building up from one end of the spectrum to the other (Private Hurricane comes to mind immediately, and is what I'm listening to as I write this).
Josh's music runs the range in general, as well - from folk/country, to poppy, to hard rock. His lyrics are equally varied - he's an excellent lyricist. I figured that I wouldn't review this album until I'd listened to it all the way through about 10 times, because the music grows on you and you notice things that you hadn't noticed before. I'm just about there, so here goes :)
As most of my readers know, I'm really heavily into the free software community, and that's more recently been extended into free culture. This brings me to the next great point - all of this music is free (as in both beer and speech), and Josh has licensed Breadcrumbs (and relicensed all of his previous work) under CC-BY (Creative Commons Attribution, meaning basically that you can use the music for anything you like, you simply have to give him credit - in the free software world, a "permissive" license - such as BSD). This is a change from his previous license of CC-BY-SA, which meant that any work that was derived from his music had to be shared under the same license (in the free software world, we call this a "strong copyleft" license -the most well known example being the GNU GPL). From his website on the relicensing:

Want to use and abuse my tunes?

Go nuts! You're welcome to use my music, free of charge for your projects. This includes movies, ads, podcasts, YouTube videos, karaoke, background music for your grandma's 90th birthday celebration, anything. There's no problem using them for commercial purposes. You can use them as is - instrumental or regular, or you can hack them apart to use in your songs or projects.

What's the catch? Just one: you need to provide attribution. A simple mention of my name and the song title in the credits, with a bonus if you give my website URL. If for some reason this isn't practical, it's possible to arrange a paid license for my music through Jamendo.

If you do use my music, I'd love to hear about it! Drop me a line so I can take a look. It's always fun to see.

I've read another review of the album on another blog, and I had never thought of this before, but it's so accurate that I don't know why not. A WONDERFUL entry point into the world of Josh's music is his album Crawford Street. It is quite possibly one of the best albums ever made by a human :). It contains songs on absolutely every topic imaginable. I'll include brief comments on each of the songs in the list below. I feel that I'm obligated to list the songs on Crawford Street in the order of my liking of them, however, such a listing doesn't do justice to the songs on either of these albums, in fact, on Breadcrumbs, the numberings for pretty much everything beyond the top 4 should be 5. A lower "score" does not indicate that I didn't like the song, simply thatI liked some better than others - but EVERYTHING is great and deserving of a great review!
1) Big Disco Ball - a sentimental tale of romance amidst urban decay
2) The Spirit World - an excellent song about religious fundamentalism and tolerance at the same time
3) Sundown - a great little tune about the lack of progress in small towns in America
4) Hey Ruth - a song about overhearing domestic violence and falling in love with the battered woman.
5) Fight the Sea - a song about starting over with your life
6) Can't Take Our Love Away - a song about prejudices in small-town America
7) Shower Scene - an actor is dissatisfied with the way that his career has progressed to this point, and is yearning for something better
8) Twelve Monkeys - a beautiful song about animal rights, from the perspective of monkeys in a zoo.
9) Swimming to Cambodia - a great little song about depression
10) The Pawnbroker's Stepdaughter - a song about taking advantage of people
11) Thanks for Coming - the American dream being won for one person and lost for another, catching up at a reunion
12) Frannie - a ballad of a couple in old age
14) Waiting Takes Time - a song about ending a long standing relationship
But don't let the preceding review of Crawford Street diminish this album whatsoever, it's just as good if not better. Here's the same list of the 11 songs on that album:
1) Private Hurricane - a song about succumbing to failure
2) Border Blaster - a WONDERFUL song about immigration - not pretentious, and not preachy, but gets the point across very well
3) Under the Stairs - a very dark song, that's all I'll say :)
4) Grey Snow - a great song about secrets
5) Overthrown - a great tune about becoming irrelevant
6) I'm Not Dreaming - a song that about PTSD
7) Swansong - ending a relationship
8) 20/20 - reflections on the past and what could have been
9) Stars Collide - a song about withheld emotion in a relationship
10) The Voices - a great tune about hearing voices in your head
11) Once Tomorrow - a song about getting older and life passing you by with the demands of day-to-day life
Both albums are absolutely incredible pieces of work, and the world is a greater place for having these albums released in to the greater commons rather than locked up behind a major record label that criminalizes the sharing of music. If you like these albums, though, I'd strongly encourage you to buy them! Josh offers both physical CD's and FLAC downloads, whichever you'd prefer.


CPOSC, Day -1

CPOSC is finally coming together, the remaining items that I was waiting on came in today! Now I've got vertical banners, a banner for the table, and all the swag that I need (media, shirts, pens, stickers, and buttons!). I've packed it all into one monsterous suitcase that it looks like I could fit enough stuff for an entire year in it. I'm sure to look weird at the hotel tomorrow night, checking in for one night with such a large amount of stuff :) Our booth will look awesome, thanks to these wonderful vertical banners (which goes well with Harrisburg University's rules that you can't hang anything on the wall), even though I'm apparently more than a little dense and had difficulty figuring out how to setup the vertical banners (which once you get it, you smack yourself on the head for being such an idiot :D) Pictures of the booth will come when it's assembled.


Busy times ahead!

Well, my Fedora and ancillary events schedule is getting really full really quick, and it all starts next week! Next Thursday there's an event called RHCE Loopback being held in the great city that I live in, NYC :). It's practically on my doorstep (OK, so it's about 25 blocks south and a few blocks east of where I live :D), so how could I possibly pass up the opportunity? There's going to be some good cloud-related talk there, as well as just general networking, etc. from what I understand. Then the following week it's off to Harrisburg, PA for CPOSC 2009. This is a small Linux conference that Fedora has had a presence at since it's inception last year, and I'm happy to take the 3 hour train ride to Harrisburg for it. This year, it's a block away from the Amtrak station. WIN! Then the following week, I'm heading out for a FAD around Fedora Talk Oct 22-25, with two full days (Fri-Sat) reserved for hacking. Our intent there is to get all of the outstanding F-Talk tickets closed out, and bring some exciting new capabilities to the platform (conference call recording and live event streaming, namely). We'd also like to have instructions to get various softphones set up to work with F-Talk, and possibly some automated configuration scripts, etc.


Creative Commons spotlight: Josh Woodward

I can't get this song out of my head. I'm a lefty and I love it, because when I broke my right shoulder and had no use of my right arm for ~8 weeks, I was still functional. But Josh apparently hates me, which is sad, because I love his music :D.