links for 2007-01-12

Three sleeps to go!

Earlier this afternoon, I waved goodbye to a very heavily packed three tonne truck carrying pretty much all of our 2007 gear to UNSW, a striking image marking the end of our planning and preparation phase. Now it’s for real!

Over this weekend the Seven Team and our merry band of helpers will be bumping in and cranking over to conference mode. To those of you already here in Sydney, have a fantastic and restful weekend. If you’re still travelling or yet to leave, have a safe and comfortable journey. We’ll have everything ready for you when you get here. :-)

See you all bright and early on Monday morning for the official conference opening.


Canon EOS 400D

John Ferlito, Seven Tech Guru

With a bit of expert advice from The Internet’s Larry Ewing, Pia and I bought a Canon EOS 400D today. What a delightful piece of hardware! This photo of John Ferlito is the best of today’s bunch.

It’s going to take a while to get back into the swing of using a real camera, but luckily I have all of during which I can experiment. Rock on!

Business Cards + Hackergotchi = Awesome

I was looking for something zesty to personalise our 2007 business cards, and stumbled on the idea of putting hackergotchis on them. At first I thought it would suck pretty badly, but on changing the effective DPI of the image (meaning no interpolation or lossy scaling), I discovered that the average hackergotchi will be about 8mm² at 300dpi. Perfect!

Has anyone made hackergotchi-powered business cards before?

My ugly mug…

Waugh Partners Business Card 2007 - Jeff

… and Pia’s beautiful wedding hackergotchi:

Waugh Partners Business Card 2007 - Pia

… and someone asked if we put anything on the back…

Waugh Partners Business Card 2007 - Back

New name for in 2007

This year, will be renamed. After lengthy debate on the Linux Australia mailing list, the Seven team has decided that the only way to make any progress on the issue without the community being crippled by consensus gridlock is to simply make a decision and move on. Ask for forgiveness, not permission, as they say.

Thus, as of the opening of the conference on January 15th, will henceforth be known as linux.con


Ubuntu Videogram Screentest

Some amusing Ubuntu history for you…

A few weeks back, Matt Zimmerman — who must be aiming for a world record in “dude, you so need a blog” demands — reminded me about a bizaare video created early last year as a test for a potential Ubuntu feature, so I thought I’d share one of the stranger historical footnotes in Ubuntu’s grand repertoire of… strange historical footnotes.

In early 2005, Mark decided that he wanted to deliver a surprise, three-minute video message in the upcoming Ubuntu 5.04 “hoary hedgehog” release, so tasked me with figuring out the details. It had to be small, so it would fit on the CD, but could be delivered in any format we could play out of the box… a great opportunity to make a statement about Free formats.

To test the entire production, we needed a few minutes of test material from a DV camera to encode into Ogg Theora/Vorbis… which resulted in the aforementioned bizaare video, starring Pia and I:

While the test was mostly successful (we still had some problems with playback reliability), I don’t think Mark ever recorded the final videogram message, so we didn’t ship it with Ubuntu 5.04 “hoary hedgehog”. If it does happen to exist, it might be amusing to publish it for the interest of Ubuntu history geeks.

The idea resurfaced in May 2006, when Mark published the mysterious “Plan M” for Canonical-internal testing. You’ll know Plan M as the video included with Ubuntu 6.06 LTS, in which Nelson Mandela describes the meaning and spirit of ubuntu, the concept that inspired the project’s very name… But I might leave that story until next time. :-)