Live from OSCON

freesoftware, gnome, maemo, marketing, running 1 Comment

OSCON has been pretty cool this year so far. It’s been really weird, since I haven’t been in North America too often in the past, and this is my first ORA conference, to be meeting people I’ve exchanged email with for years in the corridors, and bumping into people that I’ve been hearing about for ages. There’s also a decent scattering of people I already knew, too. Far too many to name individually without leaving people out & insulting somebody…

I arrived on Friday, and to help get over jet-lag, I decided to go out for an hour-long run. After losing all sense of orientation, and going North when I thought I was going East, that ended up being a 2 hour run.  Which was nice.

Over the weekend, the FLOSS Foundations group met, and we talked about lots of stuff – accounting, membership, CRM & donor management software that non-profits can use (there isn’t any that works well enough), merging foundations, and how umbrella foundations work (targeted funding, etc), best practices for dealing with donors (big and small), merchandising, CLAs, trademark policies, and a really interesting discussion on university outreach, the creation, aggregation & distribution of open course materials and university outreach.

All in all, a very valuable 2 days.

On Monday, I attended OMX, the first edition of the Open Mobile Exchange. Myself & Paul Cooper stepped in at the last minute to give a tag-team presentation on GNOME Mobile which went, to my mind, very well. Having 2 people was great, because it meant that all of the things we wanted to say got said (usually I end up being quite non-linear and saying “oh, earlier, I forgot to mention…”, with Paul that didn’t happen). There was a decent amount of GNOME Mobile presence in any case – Jim Zemlin had nice things to say about us, and Jenny Minor from Vernier and Lefty Schlessinger from Access gave presentations from the perspective of a device manufacturer and a platform developer.

Tuesday was a quiet day for me – finally got to have quality phone time with Anne, and attended the Maemo sprint meeting on IRC before eating with Stormy – we talked about a couple of cool things I’ve been working on for the past two days that I hope to be able to announce in the next few days.

All in all, a great conference, social & work merged, mixed, mashed, and with a spot of early-morning running & Tour de Francing.Happy happy joy joy.

Tonight: RedMonk beer tastes Good.

Malt Appreciation Society

gnome, guadec, running 1 Comment

So when’s the Malt Appreciation Society meeting this year? I have a bottle of cask strength 12yo Glengoyne I picked up today & was planning to bring along – no idea if it’s any good. So… when do I get to find out???

Also, anyone interested in going for an early morning run (not the day after the Malt Appreciation Society meeting) drop me a line, especially if you’re in or near the Golden Horn Sirkeci… we can do some early morning tourism at about 12km/h.

Live from LinuxTag

freesoftware, gnome, maemo, running, work 1 Comment

I arrived in Berlin on Tuesday for three days in LinuxTag 2008 to meet up with some members of the maemo.org community, see old friends, and generally chat with as many people as possible.

After arriving, I managed to  get out for a run, which was surprisingly pleasant – ourhotel is quite near the Tiergarten behind the zoological gardens, so while running around I accidentally went past some lovely landmarks, and managed to scout out a nice beer-garden beside the Neuen See where we had some nice Weisswurst last night.

It’s been fun so far – I met up with Quim and Marcell on Tuesday, and Kate, Peter, Niels and Marius yesterday. I spent a lot of time wandering around playing “spot the familiar face” – it was great catching up with Jochen Topf from Open Street Map (formerly FOSTEL organiser), Vincent Untz and Joe Brockmeister who are here for OpenSuse, Nils and Florian from OpenEmbedded and GPE.

I ran into Anne Oestergaard too, and it was great chatting with MaryBeth and Rob from OpenMedia Now, Knut Yrvin from Trolltech, and most of the KDE eV board who are here this week too – I met Aaron Seigo for the first time, after years of email conversations, and Sebastian and Cornelius are here too.

With so many familiar faces, it can be tempting to just talk to people you know, but I do like meeting up with new people at these things too – and the number one conversation starter I’ve had this week has been  Big Buck Bunny – my kids love this cartoon, so much that Tuesday they watched it on repeat for an hour. And it goes down well with the adults too. Mad props to Ton, Sacha and the gang on the great success – they have attained their goal of an accessible cartoon to follow on from the “arty” Elephants Dream.

Already today we’ve heard Cat Allman from Google telling us about Google Summer of Code and GHOP, and  the always entertaining Knut Yrvin on QT. After Knut’s session the maemo.org track starts, and I will be reporting as much as possible. Nick Loeve (trickie) proposed having a Wiki sprint today, and if I can get critical mass (and critical internet access) for that, we’ll do that a little later.

24 hours, 181km

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This is what a man who has run 181km in 24 hours looks like.

My friend, Stéphane Viossat, with whom I run in our club the AAAL, participated in the “24 heures de Saint Fons” this weekend, along with several other members of the club. Stéphane set himself a target of 180km, and with 20 minutes left he got there. He walked another lap just to be sure, and at 181.131km, sat down to savour the last couple of minutes of the day.

Stephane Viossat

He had to go to the hospital afterwards to have two toe-nails removed and some nasty blisters disinfected.

I had the honour of running 5km with him between 101 and 106km around 11pm, after 13 hours running, when muscles started to tense and tiredness starts to set in. I hope I helped him through a tough moment.

I am in awe of achievements like this.

Buying running shoes

General, running 1 Comment

J5 had a good experience buying runners which has prompted me to pimp my own favourite running store with the story of how I bought my last pair.

I arrived in Spode after having a relatively bad experience buying runners that weren’t suitable for my feet & gait. They sponsor lots of the local races around Lyon, so I knew that they were well suited to suggest shoes for running.

On arrival, I was taken in, was asked to show my old shoes, which were examined closely, and then a couple of pairs were produced.

What happened next was the big surprise for me. The shop assistant asked me if I’d brought socks. Bemused, I said that I hadn’t, and he offered me a pair. I thanked him and said that I had running socks at home.

“You don’t want to try them out?” he asked. And suddenly I understood. Putting them on in the shop and walking around just wasn’t going to give me an idea of what it was like to run in them. So I put on a loaner pair of socks, and headed off out of the store with the new runners on my feet for a 5 minute run. Repeat with the second pair. Both excellent choices, I went with the Vomero 2 from Nike, which had excellent ankle support and really great spring in its step.

So like John, great service, expertise and products, with a surprising touch, means that I’ll be getting sports shoes there until I can’t run any more – and I’ve been telling everyone about the store that lets you test drive your runners ever since.

First half-marathon

General, running 1 Comment

Yesterday I ran the Lyon half-marathon. I was a bit disappointed with the organisation – lack of signposting at the start, and kilometre markers that were all over the place (I passed 1km at 5:50, and 2km at 8:30!). It makes it a bit hard to correct your pace if you’re going too fast or too slow.

There were the usual problems of a mass start – it took me about 1500m to see some air and start running at my rhythm. The problem was that I ended up running faster than I wanted to (around 4:15/4:20 per km) – and payed for it in the last 10km. Usually at the end of a race I have a bit of energy to accelerate & finish the last 2km pretty fast, yesterday I had to convince myself a few times to keep running in the last 5km.

Anyway – pleased with the time (1:36) and I’m on course for a sub-1:35 Marseille-Cassis next month.

links for 2007-07-10

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  • Gmaps Pedometer

    Back in training – with no pain! I’m still taking it easy, but I did a nice easy 12k run last weekend which did the morale a world of good.

    (tags: running training)

ITBS update

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I’m back running – made just over 48 minutes in the 10k run in Lyon, with a little pain, at the end of April, and I’m now able to do a 5k training session at a good speed with almost no pain at all. Just finishing up physio, and hopefully I’ll be able to ramp up to running 3 times a week for about 20km total in a few weeks. The day I run for an hour with no after effects, I’ll be a happy man.

For those interested, I saw a chiropractor who gave me some good training tips (don’t over-train, mix low-impact sports like swimming & cycling until you have more distance under your belt) and who thought that the root cause of my injury was probably the fact that I was wearing shoes which corrected against pronation, while it appears I don’t need them. So I also got a new pair of runners for €120 – the most expensive footwear I’ve ever bought.

The story continues…

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A bunch of updates since last month:

FOSTEL

FOSTEL went really well – attendance was over what I expected, but we still had enough food & drinks for everyone (thanks to the very generous “traiteur”) and the content of both the presentations and BOFs was pretty good. A smidgin more organisation, and a round of introductions to start off the conference (which I wanted to do, and promptly forgot) would have been perfect.

As it was, I spent all my time running around sorting out last-minute issues, although I did get to have a good chat with some people, particularly over dinner. It was particularly good to see Craig Southeren and Jochen Topf, who have been giving me help with the conference from a distance.

I am still waiting to attend a free software conference where no-one has any trouble with the projector, though.

Roll on FOSTEL 2007 in Germany.

OpenWengo

We’re still in a heavy pre-release push for OpenWengo’s next release of the WengoPhone (I know, I know, I didn’t choose the names). Marco Marongiu talked to myself and Philippe Bernery from the project to ask us a little about the project’s past, present and future on the cusp of a major release.

Tendonitis

In spite of some early optimism from my tendonitis (it’s funny now that 3 weeks ago I was still wondering whether I’d be able to run the marathon), a short 2km run and the advice of my physiotherapist put paid to any hopes I had of doing any serious running for quite a few weeks. In addition, I haven’t had the chance to do any biking for the last couple of weeks either, and I’m starting to feel some of that condition going. Hopefully I’ll still manage to be fit for a 10k in a couple of weeks so that I can at least do some running when my friend Dennis comes over.

GNOME board

As usual, lots of stuff is happening with the board, and as usual, there’s much of it that we can only allude to in the minutes. And a couple of people aren’t happy with the level of secrecy in the board.

It’s a tough problem because in the same way that a developer doesn’t necessarily want to release his code until he’s got a working first prototype, if I’m working on something through the board, I’m not going to announce it to the entire membership until it’s reasonably consequential – to boot-strap things, you get buy-in from important companies & community members and nail down important elements of whatever it is you’re working on before going public.

One example where I’ve been confronted with this was when I worked on getting a GNOME store in place by getting a preferred merchandising supplier – in the end, I went public when we were still in contract negociations with someone, which then fell through (for a number of reasons). Would it have been better to keep quiet about the project until I was certain of success?

Profile

Why anyone would want to profile me, I don’t know, but back in February, I sat down with Joe Brockmeier in SCALE and chatted to him about my free software past and more. We got a bit waylaid back then, and followed up by email. The result was the bass for a profile of me which came out on linux.com recently.

Running is bad for your health

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As some have noticed, I’ve been running for the past few months, training for a marathon at the end of April.

Since I started running, I have had a series of injuries – Achilles tendon from running uphill, a tendonitis in the groin from not stretching my hamstrings and adductors enough, and now, ITBS.

It’s another tendonitis which you get from running too long on a slanted surface, or poor posture during running, or pronation in your gait. Not sure which I did, although the doctor said I was fairly straight and he didn’t see any pronation, so it could be hip rotation, worn shoes, or just not changing footpath often enough.

The long & short of it is that whenever I run more than 10 or 15 minutes, I get knee pain. It’s nothing major, but it can take weeks to treat properly, so the chances are I’ll have to say goodbye to my marathon this time around… I am not giving up quite yet, but it’s not looking good.

Anyone reading this ever recovered from ITBS (syndrôme de l’essuie glace, ou tendinite du tenseur du fascia-lata en français) within 6 weeks of running a marathon? If so, what’s your secret?

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