News from November 2005

Day of the Dead Party

Occurred November 06, 2005 (Permalink)

Today, I threw a Day of the Dead party at my house. I invited all the neighbors and various East Side friends and treated them all to the most delicious spread of dim sum from Legin restaurant. Roast chicken, squab cups, shrimp, beef, chicken, chicken chow fun, rice noodles--we had it all! Ann and Pete brought over a vast quantity of wine, and a merry time was had by all. Can't wait for the Thanksgiving party!

500 Days in Oregon

Occurred November 10, 2005 (Permalink)

Woohoo! Today is my five hundredth day living in Oregon!

Doesn't Oregon rule? I'm jealous...

YES! Too bad it's too cold for hiking and too dry for snow shoeing...just you wait for January, and I can go hog-wild in the snow.


Occurred November 18, 2005 (Permalink)

This month's Friday Night Supper Club was at Bluehour in the Pearl district. Quite a blessing for it to be right off the 20-Burnside, though I missed the last one going home and ended up riding the MAX and walking up the hill. Discovered that east of NE 69th is where one really gets blasted by the winds from the Gorge.

Thanksgiving Party

Occurred November 26, 2005 (Permalink)

Ooof. The third dinner is now over; I had Dave, Lara, Rick, Ana, Justin, Eliza, CJ and Cheryl over for Thanksgiving dinner tonight. We had mashed potatoes, yams, liquor-and-apple roasted turkey, salad ... and a lot of wine. I can't remember the rest. Oh, and there were a lot of pies: pecan as baked by Lara and Rick, apple from Eliza, and pumpkin by me. I also made corn bread.

Badger Badger Badger in Portland

Occurred November 29, 2005 (Permalink)

Jeff Waugh of the Ubuntu Linux (offsite) project gave a talk for the PLUG at Portland State tonight. Hot on the heels of the release of the October '05 "Breezy Badger" Ubuntu release, Jeff spent six weeks travelling the world to tell people about where GNOME has gone, to showcase various cool features that will (some day) end up in GNOME, and to extoll the virtues of all thing Ubuntu.

Mr. Waugh's talk began with the age-old explanation of the dumbing-down that has been going on in GNOME since the 1.4 days--the usual straw-man dialog box overburdened with options, most of whch the user will never touch. Contrast that pokey mess with a modern GNOME app, where all options that can be taken care of with the mandate "Do the right thing(tm)." suffices. Way cool, though I think that some things (metacity mouse button assignments and screen-edge snapping) ought to be at the least tuned and/or turned into gconf preferences. The next part of the GNOME presentation dealt with new features that they hope will end up in a proper release some time in the future--Beagle's search capabilities (way cool, but a bit of a memory hog), various applications of GStreamer: a videoconferencing system that was quite cool, and various AV timing improvements, and a bunch of other things that I don't remember. If anyone wants to see the presentation, look up "Running with Scissors"; it was presented at OSCON in Portland last summer.

Next came the Ubuntu presentation. Waugh covered the fact that Breezy Badger had just been released (and the PLUG people stated that there were thousands of CD packs, courtesy of; he also talked a bit about some of the community that has sprung up around Ubuntu (including the way cool but outdated Ubuntu Guide (offsite)) and the enormous amount of awards and commendations from people who use it. As a heavy Ubuntu user myself, I heartily attest to the fact that Ubuntu really does "just work" as promised! It's great on my laptops--no more messing with pbbuttons or acpid; everything functions right off the CD. I do wish that they had an "expert" install that would pull in the dev tools too, but oh well. Towards the end (Waugh was running *way* late), he touched on some of the upcoming goals for Dapper Drake, which will be out in April '06.

At this point, we were getting kicked out of the room. Suddenly, Mark Shuttleworth (offsite) popped out of nowhere, and he and Waugh did a badger dance in the front of the room! Mark, for those who don't know who he is, made billions from selling off Thawte (offsite), a security certificate authority, in the late 90s. In 2002, he paid megabucks to be one of very few civilians to have the priviledge of going into space; apparently the only thing to do after that is to start a Linux distribution and give it to anyone who wants it, free of restrictions and free of charge. Very cool! Amusingly enough, he was in town to meet with Dan Frye (of the IBM LTC) and just happened to see a notice that Waugh was in town too.

After the meeting was over, I introduced myself to Mr. Shuttleworth. We chatted for a long time in the halls of PSU about Ubuntu--mostly me gushing about how well it was put together, how it was fabulous that everything would simply work without a lot of effort, and how I've managed to convince at least a few friends to adopt it. I brought up the subject of the Dapper release, and the conversation flowed into the desire to get Ubuntu working for servers and how that was great because the Mainline Testing Rig (only coworkers will know what that is) runs on Ubuntu. I followed the rest of the group out to the Lucky Lab pub on SE Hawthorne, and spent the evening talking to the rest of the Ubunteros who were part of Shuttleworth's posse. I met a guy (Eric?) who showed off his Nokia 770, which is a small handheld device that apparently runs on gtk+ on Linux. I think he won the geek toy competition for that night. :)

What a night. I got to meet some of my heroes, and they even gave me business cards. These are the days that I love what I do.

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