The Music Of Ignite Liverpool 17

Ignite Liverpool logo

Ignite Liverpool

Hello folks, my last post here was building up to a regular event in Liverpool we like call Ignite. No, it’s nothing to do with setting fires (that joke just never gets old does it?). It’s actually a great night of 5 minute talks about all kinds of interesting topics. They tend to be pretty random but they’re always fun and entertaining. For my part as the resident sound man and techie I like to pick music that I feel matches each talk and play it for the audience. I could look up the list of talk topics beforehand and prepare, know what I’m doing and yada yada yada. Whatever… Read more ›

Posted in Event, Music

Iginite Liverpool – Feb 13th – Igniting Your Imagination

A group of people sat at tables and in theatre rows clapping, laughing and enjoying Ignite.

Some of the revellers at Ignite 14

Today I’d like to talk to you about an upcoming event called Ignite Liverpool. Ignite has been going for around 4 years now and I’ve been involved since the start. It’s one of the my favourite events and a source of great pride. In case you don’t know Ignite events are nothing to do with petrol and matches, sorry. Instead they’re supposed to help people share ideas in a quick format and fire up discussion. Each presenter gets a strict 5 minutes and 20 slides. They prepare the slide deck themselves but slides auto advance every 15 seconds. When the last one is done you’ve had your 5 mins and a long shepherd’s crook comes out from behind a curtain to hook your leg and drag you off stage. Ok, so I might have made up last bit but nevertheless your time is over! You’re outta here! As American baseball referees seem to love to shout. Read more ›

Posted in Event

Jim Zemlin’s TED Talk on Linux

The advert for the original linuxcon event in 2009

Just a quick post today. I wanted to share an interesting video with you all. It’s a TED talk by the executive director of the Linux Foundation, Jim Zemlin. Apparently it’s been out for a while, the YouTube post says 3 or 4 months, but I’d never seen it until a Linux Outlaws listener recently sent it our way. It’s about 16mins long and well worth watching. The talk is titled “What The Tech Industry Has Learned From Linus Torvalds”. Jim’s a great speaker and I think the talk is a good introduction to what Linux is and how it came to be for the novice. He’s a little fuzzy around terms like “free software” at times which I know will anger some people, but I think he deserves a break. Getting into a detailed discussion of the 4 freedoms wouldn’t exactly draw in those who’ve never considered Linux. There isn’t much time in a slot like this either. See what you think and share this with others who might be interested.

Now that you’ve seen this video this also gives me a chance for some gratuitous name dropping. I met Jim Zemlin at the first ever LinuxCon event back in 2009 in Portland, Oregon. He seemed like a really nice guy and while I couldn’t say we’re friends he is close to some respected friends of mine. I’m not surprised he did this talk but I’m glad he did. Incidentally while I’m name dropping I also met Linus Torvalds at the same event. He also seemed like a nice guy, despite his spiky reputation. During our short 5 minute conversation he didn’t call me an idiot or swear once. I can see why he doesn’t like being harassed by fans at events, but he did a good job of fielding questions and much attention from star struck geeks. He’s an engineer, he wants to be in his basement writing code and not on a stage doing PR. I can understand that. Seems Jim has the PR side of things covered anyway.

Hope you enjoyed the video, ciao,


Posted in Video

Some Random Thoughts

The box art for GTA V
The box art for GTA V

GTA V Artwork

I talked a little while ago about my excitement over the upcoming release of Grand Theft Auto 5. It’s only two tantalizing days away as I write this and I’ve had it on pre-order for about 6 months. It’s fair to say I’m ready, but I almost wasn’t. My old PS3 died after 5 years of honourable service. It didn’t owe me anything but it did leave me with a dilemma. The PS4 isn’t that far away and I didn’t want to spend a load of cash on a new PS3 at this stage. So what to do? Buy a new PS3, borrow one, wait for the imminent arrival of the PS4?

My old PS3 was the bread bin shaped one and these are known to commonly overheat and stop booting after a lot of use. You can fix them by resetting the temperature sensor or repairing the thermal compound on the CPU. I didn’t fancy open console surgery much, I’d done it before unsuccessfully with a friend’s machine. Luckily I’d seen some guides to melting the paste without opening the case using a hair drier and a cardboard box to trap the hot air. I used to watch a bit of MacGuyver and I fancy myself a hacker so I had to give it a go. My first problem was that being a mostly bald man these days I don’t own a hair drier, I realised this after opening the bathroom cupboard and not being able to find one. I managed to borrow a hair drier though and I gave it my best shot. It didn’t work, in hindsight I’m not that surprised. So I searched some electronics exchange stores around town for a decent second hand model. Read more ›

Posted in Opinions, Update

CampFireManager on FLOSS Weekly

FLOSS Weekly cover art. Tux penguin and BSD logo.

FLOSS Weekly cover art. Tux penguin and BSD logo.I love getting the chance to host FLOSS Weekly and I mentioned in a recent post how many cool projects I’ve discovered through it. This past week though I got to interview an old friend about a project I definitely already knew plenty about. FLOSS Weekly 264 features lead developer Jon Spriggs talking about a project called CampFireManager or CFM for short.

One of the big problems we’ve had in organising OggCamp is making good use of rooms and resources for the barcamp element. We started purely as a barcamp and then in the second year adapted to also include some pre-sheduled sessions. Even so the core of the event is a barcamp, where attendees come and share ideas, give talks, and create the schedule as we go along. That’s great, and having been to many barcamps I can say the format works. There is one problem that crops up though. What happens when you end up with a talk 2 people want to see in a large auditorium and a talk EVERYONE wants to see in a tiny room? What happens is a big empty room with 3 people in it and 200 people trying to cram into a tiny space. Any hacker would have to admit that is suboptimal. Traditionally the “free for all” nature of room booking can create this situation, and often does.

Read more ›

Posted in Event, Podcast

Running Like Clockwork

Close up image of some machinery, cogs and so on.

On occasion I have the privilege of hosting a show called FLOSS Weekly on the TWIT Network. It’s a weekly show (the clue’s in the name) about “Free Libre Open Source Software”. You might already know this if you’ve been around these parts for a while. I learn a lot from doing it, I discover new tools and sometimes end up going on to use the very projects we’ve had as guests. A good example of that would be recent guest Kaltura, the Open Source video platform. I’ve been looking at it for a couple of Drupal projects because their integration is so good, and it’s all licensed under AGPLv3. Check out episode 261 for more on that.

I just thought I’d take a moment to point you in the direction of the last episode, number 263. Our guest project was Clockwork, no not the Clockwork Recovery Mod for Android. Clockwork is a language which helps with machine automation for all kinds of tasks. Aaron Newcomb and I had a great discussion with the developers Martin Leadbeater and Mike O’Connor. Both calling in all the way from Australia. They’ve been developing Clockwork on their own for quite a while but now it’s ready for the world. It allows you to define models to represent real world machinery and control actions, check results and iterate. You’ll see from some of the examples on the website that you can do this in a surprisingly small amount of code too. It’s probably best if I let the guys who really understand all this explain it though. So click play on the video below and listen to what Mike and Martin have to say. I just wanted to highlight a project  I think some of my IoT loving friends will appreciate.

Ciao for now,


Posted in Podcast
November 2015
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