As most people know, I live in NYC. Park Slope or Prospect Heights (depending on which map you follow), Brooklyn to be more precise, and I don't own a car. This means that I take either a taxi or a subway (mostly the latter) to get where I want to go.

When I do decide that I need a taxi, it's probably because I am feeling lazy about going to the subway after a night out drinking, or it's too late and I don't want to run the risk of it taking me an hour to get home. Whatever the reason, I decide that a taxi is the order of the night. Most of the time when this happens, I'm in the East Village (a neighborhood in Manhattan) where cabs are plentiful. I go to the street and hold up my arm to an available taxi (I hate people who just stick their arms pointlessly in the air. Pro tip: if the medallion number is lit up, the taxi is available. If not, it's not - don't hold your arm out, no matter how vigorously you wave it, that cab isn't stopping for you). Then I tell them I want to go to Brooklyn. Instantly, one of three things happens:

  • The cab immediately proceeds to Brooklyn without further comment.
  • The driver yells and curses at you, but still goes to Brooklyn.
  • The driver refuses to go there (this is illegal, and has only happened to me once)
If the driver seems conversational after taking the first option, I'll apologize for taking him "all the way" to Brooklyn. Most of the time, they're just like "no big deal, we have to do it". But something that a driver said to me a few days ago got me thinking.

"You know, all of the business at this time of night is south of 14th St anyways. So me taking you to where you're going in Brooklyn is very much like taking someone to the Upper West Side - I'm coming back empty either way, and the distance is the same, so there's zero use in complaining".

This was well after midnight, probably around 2AM or so. I was thinking "you know, that's probably right!". If all taxi drivers were as enlightened as this gentleman, the world world be a better place indeed.
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FESCo townhall tomorrow

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I just got suckered into volunteered to moderate the FESCo townhall tomorrow, Nov 27 at noon Eastern (17:00UTC). So if you're interested in hearing from the candidates (all of whom are awesome), show up on Freenode in #fedora-townhall-public (where you get to ask questions) and #fedora-townhall (where the candidates answer questions). Also note that at the previous link there are questionnaires that the candidates have taken a lot of time answering, make sure to read them!

Minutes and a IRC transcript will be posted afterwards, so if you can't make it, please at least read the transcripts!

Event Report: CPOSC 2012

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Well, I'm writing this on the train on my way back from CPOSC 2012, another great year for the regional Central PA conference - it's small enough that you can really spend lots of time with someone, but big enough that it's worth my while to come from NYC for it and run a Fedora booth. I took a few photos of the booth that I was sadly alone at the booth for the first time this year, so I didn't attend any of the talks, but hopefully the slides will be posted for a few of them (I particularly wanted to go to "Why we love Git")

The event itself was a success, I got into a lively debate with someone from Perl Mongers about why he wouldn't even consider Python - he had the number one complaint that I hear about Python that folks tend to get over quickly (I know that I did) - the syntactical significance of whitespace. I personally think that this is one of the great features of Python since it enforces coding in a style that can be maintained. We agreed to disagree on this point, but it was a productive conversation.

There was also the requisite person that had no clue what Fedora was, and a few conversations about "selling people on moving to Fedora from Ubuntu". It's there that I think we have a particularly strong story, with the extremely anti-community announcements coming out of Canonical in the past few weeks - saying that there were developing some features of Ubuntu out of sight of the community until they were ready. I pointed out some stickers on my laptop (projects for which Fedora is either heavily involved or upstream), and particularly Katello - explaining how it is next-gen systems management that you can actually see and use today, no matter how immature it might be. 

I also had a conversation with the organizer of FOSScon, which is another FOSS event in Philadelphia which takes place in August, and he'd love to have a Fedora table there! I told him to send me the details, and we can make that happen! All in all, a very successful event, and I can't wait for CPOSC 2013!

Now off to home to prepare for a hurricane that hopefully won't disrupt my life too much! I'm seriously planning for a dud, but I'm ready for minor inconvenience.
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Minor blog issue

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I'm not sure if anyone noticed or not, but I moved the blog to a new box (still at Linode) - the old one was an F10 box (yes, it was still kiciking!) and the new one is a CentOS 6 box. In the migration, the CSS was pointing to my old server directly, rather than the CNAME blog.jds2001.org. Not sure how that happened or how it escaped my testing, but alas, it's fixed now :). My extremely limited knowledge of CSS was put to good use!!!!
If you read this story, the first thing that it says (in the gray box beneath the "Banned Too" graphic) is that a US judge has ruled that Samsung is in violation of four patents by Apple for it's Galaxy Nexus (a great phone might I add). Ignoring the validity or wisdom of software patents for a moment (that's a topic for a completely different post), let's break this down.

IANAL, but no one has decided anything, for one. The judge has granted a preliminary injunction against Samsung. The bar for a preliminary injunction in the United States is four-fold:

1) The likelihood of success on the merits of the case. Note that the ACTUAL success has not yet been decided.
2) The moving party must face the likelihood of irreparable damage if the conduct is allowed to continue.
3) The balance of harms weighs in the favor of the party seeking the injunction - i.e. the moving party (Apple) stands to harm more from the continued conduct than Samsung does by not being allowed to continue.
4) The public interest would be served by the injunction.

All that the judge has decided is that the test above is fulfilled - most importantly, Apple has demonstrated that they would suffer irreparable harm (in lost iPhone sales) if the Galaxy Nexus were allowed to be sold.

Do I agree with even the granting of a preliminary injunction? Absolutely not. This is Apple becoming SCO, and nothing more. They're arguing cases against the wrong people (going after consumers rather than the producer of the allegedly infringing product, presumably because they know that device manufacturers don't have the coffers that Google does to mount a protracted defense and are likely to settle rather than face that possibility). One can hope that the tactic will reduce them to the irrelevance of SCO in the long term - nothing more than a litigation machine of failed cases.
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For some reason, the mulitouch touchpad in my laptop doesn't seem to work very well in Fedora - particularly when I try to click and drag something, the mouse just jumps all over the screen. Not a big deal, I just have to use an external mouse in order for it to be usable. I seem to have lost the one that I was using, so at the SFO airport I picked up a Microsoft wireless optical mouse. I've had a number of Microsoft products before, and I've always been impressed with the quality of their hardware - so much so in fact that I've only had it break on me once. Unfortunately, this particular mouse that I picked up had a immediate mechanical defect - the scroll wheel didn't work right. If I apply pressure to the left of the mouse, it works - but that's really annoying and it's not a 100% solution.

So I called up Microsoft, and got the best customer service EVER. Without being placed on hold, they took down my information, informed me that they no longer made the product that I bought 2 days ago (WHAT?!?! How long has this thing been sitting on the shelf?), but would be happy to do one of two things - either refund my money if I sent the receipt in (I'd have a hard time doing that, I don't generally save those things!) or just send me a new mouse of the newer model that they DO now make, no questions asked. I obviously took the second option, and I'll have it soon enough!

Other companies should follow the lead of this great customer service!

Well, I found it!

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I wrote a previous post about not being able to find St. Louis Cardinals gear in NYC. Well, I just thought that I'd follow up that post that I've found somewhere that sells stuff locally (I got a jersey there, they had some t-shirts as well, but not in my size sadly).

Well, I'm here to tell you where to find such things! None other than the great Paragon Sports. It's quite a jungle of interconnected stores (the sales rep told me that when he first started working there, he would get lost because there's 7 interconnected buildings forming one store!).

Not only do I think that Paragon is great because of the fact that they carry (some) Cardinals gear, but rather that they carry everything else too! And by everything, I mean any possible item that you'd require for any type of sporting endeavor from skateboarding to kayaking to everything imaginable in between, either playing it or as a fan. Not a bad spot.

So why would I write this to a (primarily) non-NYC audience? Because they have all this stuff, and they also have competitive pricing and online ordering - you don't need to go to the interconnected maze of a store at 18th and Broadway, you can make them come to you!
As a lot of people know, I'm a huge baseball fan, in particular the St. Louis Cardinals. Since I'm out of market for the Cardinals, I subscribe to a wonderful service that lets me see the Redbirds here in NYC - every game, except if it's blacked out for some reason (Saturday afternoon games - don't get me started on those, games against the Mets where I have local coverage available, etc). They do this in Flash, which is all well and good - I can install Adobe's Flash on Fedora without a problem. The problem comes in that I have a great three monitor setup. I can dedicate one of them to watching the game full screen, and the other two to doing something useful. Oh wait - that feature only works in Windows!

It seems that the Linux version of Flash grew multi-monitor support, so that I can indeed use one screen to watch the Cardinals. The problem is that if that window loses focus for any reason (like I go do some web browsing or whatever), I go back to the windowed view (which is quite small on a 24" display). In Windows 7, this doesn't happen.

So what does this mean? For the majority of baseball season, I'm relegated to Windows on my main workstation. This makes me a sad panda.
As the election period opens for the Fedora Board, I'd just like to quickly post that I will not be seeking re-election to the Board. I informed the Board about this during our meeting today, and I figured that I'd do a quick (much overdue) blog post to let people know. There are a few reasons for this, none of them related to the work that the Board is doing, which I think is absolutely fantastic.

The Board demands a significant amount of time from its members, not just in the attendance of the weekly meetings, but keeping up on mail, taking care of action items that come up in meetings, and other such things. In these areas, I feel that I've been failing pretty badly, and failing there is not only a disservice to the Board, but to the Fedora community in general. Lots of this has to do with demands that come up from $DAYJOB. As most people know, Fedora is not my $DAYJOB, however they have been incredibly supportive of my involvement, and I know that will continue.

Secondly, I've been on the Board for 2 years. While I don't think that the Board should have term limits per se, I do believe that there's a time, and 2 years seems about right to me, where someone should step aside and allow new blood to come into leadership positions in the project. Too long with the same people there, and you get the metality of "we've always done it this way, so let's continue doing it this way" 

So exactly what am I going to do with the time that not being on the Board will give me? I plan to do two things:

1) Get more (re)-involved with Infrastructure, where I'm already established, but have taken something of an unofficial "leave of absence" :) When my phone goes bonkers as it sometimes does, I hope to be able to respond appropriately.
2) Actually get time to work on what was my Board member goal - to improve documentation for various packages on how to debug and write effective bug reports for them.

I've had a wonderful time serving the Fedora community on the Board, and wouldn't step aside if I didn't think that there were many other people that I trust and believe would be an excellent "next generation", if you will, of leaders in the Fedora Project.

FUDCon Blacksburg, day 0+1

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FUDCon Blacksburg is getting off to a great start! I got in yesterday, and by some stroke of luck, two other FUDCon participants were on my flight to Roanoke - Justin O'Brien and Dan Walsh. Dan was at the back of the airplane, and I didn't see him until we got to the hotel, and we were both complaining about prop planes - which I think is the only thing that flies into the Roanoke airport. Being stupid, I checked my bag planeside in New York, and didn't get the bag planeside in Roanoke. They didn't seem that they were going to bring them to us, and I was at the front of the plane, so I went up to the gate and asked the gate agent where to get my bag, and she said that I needed to get it planeside, but I couldn't go back, so it would come on the luggage carousel. I figured that this would take forever, since I'm used to real airports, not those that consist of approximately 10 gates :).  Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised when my back showed up pretty much right away on the baggage belt.

Then I checked into the Inn, and met several other Fedora folks - Robyn Bergeron, Spot, Matt Domsch, Ben Boeckel, Jon Steffan, and lots of other folks were at the hotel. Stayed up til about 1AM hacking on the sysadmin study group stuff with Clint Savage trying to get a boxgrinder appliance up and running. I wound up not being able to boot the appliance for some unknown reason. I eventually figured out (just now) that you can't build a boxgrinder appliance with SELinux in enforcing mode - it won't be able to execute any %post scripts, and everything will be broken. Clint insists that he can build with SELinux in enforcing mode, but I question the veracity of this :)

Then today, I went to the Fedora Infrastructure hackfest, where we were going over the current and future state of the staging environment and trying to make it useful for things. Then I went for more boxgrinder hacking, and working with upstream in Europe to figure out why my appliances weren't working, but as mentioned above, I just figured it out now - but it took the majority of my day sadly. Once I figured out how to turn on debug logging in boxgrinder it became very obvious what the problem is.

We also had a board meeting, but there will be another post forthcoming on that.

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