World’s First Pavlova Western

Family, Films, JamieSelkirk, John Psathas, Kiwi, LoTR, Movie, NewZealand, Western, Weta 3 Comments

Many months ago, I was lucky to be involved in the shooting of a western film – more appropriately, the world’s first Pavlova Western. Most people will be familiar with the concept of a Spaghetti Western, but now Mike Wallis (my brother in law) and his fiancée Inge Rademeyer from Mi Films have extended that concept to New Zealand.

They are currently in post-production mode bringing all the pieces together, including an incredible music score from John Psathas (recently awarded Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his Athens Olympics work). Jamie Selkirk (who received an Academy Award for his work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy) has also come on board to give them financial support to put the film through the final stages at Weta’s Park Road Post Production studios.

And to top it all off, last week they appeared on TV One’s Close Up. Check out the following video -

[http://www.youtube.com/v/Bhx9NiG9uhs]

You can check their progress on the Facebook Pavlova Western group and the Pavlova Western blog.

Final Days before LCA2010

FOSS, LCA2010, NewZealand, OpenSolaris 2 Comments

Over the last 9 months, Jayne and I have been involved in helping to organize linux.conf.au here in Wellington, New Zealand. For those who aren’t familiar with the conference, it is by far one of the best free and open source conferences in the southern hemisphere and attracts an absolutely awesome line up of speakers and since registrations began in October we’ve now reached close to 600 delegates. If you happen to be in New Zealand I’d strongly urge you to register and join us for what we be a great week!

After organizing GUADEC in Dublin back in 2003, I swore to myself I’d never be involved in another conference. GUADEC was a pretty stressful experience, though incredibly rewarding. As it turns out, LCA2010 is pretty similar. Fortunately this time, we have a brilliant team behind us led by the excellent Andrew and Susanne and things are coming together really well. We’re all looking forward to the conference next week, and we hope all the delegates will enjoy it as much as we’ve enjoyed planning it.

So, which sessions am I looking forward not to see?

From a work point of view, like most other conferences, it’s a great chance to see what the Linux community is up to, including challenges they face and features they’re developing. There’s even some OpenSolaris related content scattered across the conference – ZFS in Data Storage and Retrieval miniconf, pkgbuild and Source Juicer in the Distro miniconf, and an OpenSolaris booth at Open Day. It will be great to see how far we’ve come with the project, and get a feeling of general awareness that OpenSolaris really has changed significantly in the last couple of years.

Not to late to GO REGISTER!

Software Freedom Day :: Wellington, Sept 20th

FOSS, NewZealand 4 Comments

One of the fun events I’m involved in is Software Freedom Day Wellington, as part of the wider SFD effort. We’re planning a really fun day, with a whole bunch of things going on, as Brett’s excellent poster suggests -

Barcamp
At a barcamp attendees govern the agenda. We provide rooms and a flipchart and a schedule of times – the attendees decide on the discussions to be held around a variety of topics (from Education to Government, Communities to Business) that interest them at the start of the day. You can check the list of attendees on the registration page to see who else is attending with similar interests to you.
Tech Talks
This year there will be a separate room for tech talks. Rather than a discussion-based format like the barcamp sessions, the talks give attendees the opportunity to present a technical presentation about free and open source software. The tech talk schedule will be decided on the day, with each session broken into shorter timeslots, if needed.
Hackfest
A hackfest will be organised by SuperHappyDevHouse, One Laptop Per Child, and DigitalNZ – a chance to put the DigitalNZ APIs into action! Come hang out all day on our sofas, drink large amounts of coffee and work on your favourite piece of free and open source software. You can also learn about the work of the amazing team from One Laptop Per Child who will be showcasing their machines, and participate by helping to test them.
Installfest
The installfest is being organised by WellyLUG, the Wellington Linux User Group, for those wishing to install free and open source software on their laptops, or home computers. Bring your own machines/laptops along and get advice and support from a team of experts, while you install software. Copies of some popular free and open source software will be available to take away as well.
Makerspace
Wellington has a growing community of makers who share a lot of the same principles as FOSS, using open source technology to create craft, sharing tools and skills when working on solutions to technical projects. We will have a room set aside for makers, so come along and showcase your creations, whether they are gadgets or open source crafts, or work on something you’ve been dreaming up for months.
Kids Programme
A kids programme for primary school aged children will embrace all that’s going on at Software Freedom Day, giving them the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities – taking the first steps into programming at the installfest, testing OLPC laptops at the hackfest, a barcamp brainstorming session about where they think the future of computing is going, and more! Games, prizes and a treasure hunt included.

As part of the kids programme Nat Torkington will be running an hour long ‘Introduction to programming’ session for parents and kids as part of the installfest. Parents – it would be great if you can prepare for the session by downloading scratch from scratch.mit.edu onto your laptops/machines before you come along.
Students Programme
Students (secondary and tertiary) are encouraged to attend Software Freedom Day. Showcase technology you are interested in by registering to do a techtalk and bring your projects along to the makerspace. Hear from tech heros who will be there to address students about working in the industry and learn about how understanding open source solutions can enhance your job prospects. Bring along your laptop and get experts to help you to install open source software and operating systems on your laptop at the installfest, and learn about the work of One Laptop per Child and DigitalNZ how you could contribute to their projects at the hackfest.

So if you’re coming along, make sure you register for the event – we’ll have free wifi, free coffee and a bunch of great prizes to give away! Thanks heaps to our ever growing list of sponsors.

LCA 2010 – Call for Miniconfs now open!

Conference, NewZealand 2 Comments

We just announced the Call for Miniconfs for LCA 2010 in Wellington, New Zealand next year! Miniconfs are an excellent way of having a full day of great sessions for a specific topic – examples of previous miniconfs are Debian, MythTV and of course near and dear to my own heart, GNOME.

For LCA 2010, we will have twelve Miniconfs over the course of 2 days, 6 per day. While you wait for the call for papers to open later this month, start your braincells and Submit a Miniconf Proposal! Read the announcement for more details.

New Zealand OpenSolaris User Group

NewZealand, OpenSolaris 2 Comments

After many months of procrastination on my part, it’s time to launch the New Zealand OpenSolaris User Group. Organizing an active user group that meets on a regular basis is hard, regardless of technology interest, so I’ve decided firstly that NZOSUG will be just a virtual group for now with a mailing list to join – we’ll see how interest grows over time, and might have an occasional meet up with a presentation or several pints of beer.

Of course folks outside the country are most welcome to join. First up, we need to get cracking on a fun logo for the group – If you’re an artist and keen to draw something up, please do! I’ll make sure you get something from the OpenSolaris swag bag in MPK for your troubles.

Boycott DB Brewery

Brewing, NewZealand 13 Comments

If you had seen Campbell Live last night, or followed the NZ beer and brewing forums you know about DB Brewery’s bulling tactics against Green Man Brewery, a small organic brewery in Dunedin.

Unfortunately a while ago DB successfully claimed ‘Radler’ as a Trademark with the Intellectual Property Office, IPONZ. As many will know, the term ‘radler’ (defined in Wikipedia) is actually a beer style, much like lager, pilsner, or IPA. However, having wrongly claimed the trademark (and IPONZ are to blame here), they also wrongly defended use of their trademark against Green Man’s Radler beer and forced the company, after a short fight due to the costs involved to Green Man, to re-label their product to ‘Cyclist’. DB also have tried to register other beer styles as trademarks to mixed successes.

Fortunately a renowned law firm are getting involved on a pro-bono basis to fight the case, James and Wells, as announced recently, helping the cause of both Green Man Brewery and SOBA (Society of Beer Advocates). Other local businesses likes Rumbles are getting on board.

Now you can too! Here’s how – Simply boycott all DB products – Tiger, Heineken, Amstel, Tui, Export Gold, Monteiths and Budvar. It’s that simple. Help support the NZ craft beer industry by buying NZ craft beer, a set of great brewerys brewing for the love of beer, the availability of great beer, and the choice and freedom of all recognized beer styles.

#blackedout – appeal against S92A

NewZealand 2 Comments

7 Things You May (or May Not) Know About Me

Brewing, Climbing, Family, FOSS, Friends, General, GNOME, Indiana, Ireland, NewZealand, OpenSolaris, Sun 2 Comments

Wow, it’s grown from 5 to 7, but since I’ve been tagged many moons ago by Sara and now by Patrick. Where should I start?

  1. I am indeed Tim’s little brother. You wouldn’t believe how many years I got through Sun without people figuring that one out. When I joined, I had another brother in Sun, Duncan. That made 3 of us. The 3 amigos (though fortunately we never had a dance routine). I shared a bedroom for many years with Tim, and played my fair share of Top Trumps, Action Man, StarWars and Squares (and almost getting run over on my way back from the supermarket carpark across the road).
  2. I studied at Trinity College Dublin and loved my college years. I found out relatively quickly that while maths in secondary school was quite enjoyable, taking it to the next level felt like a massive step. I got through my course with a first, but I don’t think I developed a strong aptitude for what I was studying (memory monkey = results). However, I did find a love of Unix somewhere along the way. Duncan let me use his maths account to dial up to the internet, and I soon learned a love of MH, taught as many freshman classes as I could with their computing labs and generally found the computing side of my maths course a whole lot easier and enjoyable.
  3. At secondary school I learned to climb through Mr.Blackmore and Mr.Cryan. We used to head out to Dalkey on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings. It was awesome fun, and I’ve kept that going right through college and was captain of the Climbing Club for a year, along with designing their website (though it’s a bit of a mess now). You can read a bunch of the old trip reports here for much hilarity.
  4. My current passion is brewing. Tim had a strong part to play in this one having started it first in the family. I’m loving it. I have a monthly subscription to BYO, a growing collection of brewing books (including John Palmer’s “How to Brew“, and Charlie Papazian’s “Joy of Homebrewing“) and starting to put some all grain beer together. I’ve taken recently to ordering from the awesome guys at www.libertybrewing.co.nz, which conveniently means I can collect my grain just around the corner. I’m still learning the ropes, but this is definitely a career I’d change to.
  5. I’m getting married in 2 months time to Jayne. I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve lived in NZ since 2003, have residency and a screwed up accent (though apparently I now have a US twang on the phone).
  6. I was rather fortunate to fall into free software, having picked up a job in the desktop group at Sun, Ireland (yay, nepotism!). Turns out they were looking at free desktop alternatives and chose GNOME. Always shared my code at college, so working on open source was a pretty easy step, and enjoyed spending my time on the IRC channels getting to know people, and them getting to know me (that’s Jeff’s influence, of which I am entirely indebted). I’m not so active in GNOME anymore, but I still lurk in the shadows observing and proud of where the project has come and my participation in it.
  7. Sara tried to hire me over to be a product manager of a new (at that time heavily secret) distribution, OpenSolaris. It took a weekend of her convincing me that I should do it and her persistence is something I’m entirely grateful for as I’ve enjoyed every minute (and worked with some really great people), despite the occasional rough times.

That’s it. And here are the rules of engagement:

  1. Link to your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post.
  2. Share seven facts about yourself in the post.
  3. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  4. Let them know they’ve been tagged.

So, I hereby nominate: @comay, @epicbeer, @maupuia, @charliebird, @bogan, @basicbrewing and @marekkuziel as a rather eclectic bunch.

Successful Software Freedom Day in Wellington

FOSS, NewZealand 1 Comment

Although I missed most of the lead up, the Unlimited Potential team (with awesome help from Brenda, Jethro, Chris, Don and others) rocked on hosting the most excellent Software Freedom Day. There was a pretty amazing turnout, as Brenda’s photos show and I think just about everyone who attended enjoyed the conversation that resulted.

The highlights for me were seeing the OpenSolaris Student Packs for the first time that I’ve been involved in over the last couple of months, a zsh(1) demo, and an excellent discussion about on NZOSS. I’ve been wanting to get more involved in NZOSS for a while, and keen to learn where I can contribute (outside a lot of the policy work they’ve already been doing). The Wellington Convention Center was a pretty great place to host the event (if a little expensive given that this sort of event boosts the visibility of the Wellington IT scene), and the Havana coffee was wonderful. Was good to catch up with Nat and Andrew over a rather spicy curry afterwards.

Thanks to all the sponsors, helpers and, in particular, my other half for making it such a rocking event!

Software Freedom Day 08 – Wellington needs sponsors!

Conference, FOSS, NewZealand Comments Off

As time draws closer to Software Freedom Day, there’s still plenty of opportunity to register for the event.

More importantly, this event couldn’t be run without the support of sponsors. Unlimited Potential, CWA New Media, NZOSS, SuperHappyDevHouse, WellyLug, Catalyst IT and Sun have all kindly stepped forward to help in some way, but unfortunately we still need some more financial support to help run this event and provide food to our hungry barcampers and hackers! If you know of someone who would be interested, please send them my way to (glynn . foster @ sun . com).

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