Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Videos & New Opportunities

Flatpak 1.0 has released which is a great milestone for the Linux Desktop. I was asked at GUADEC whether a release video could be in place. In response, I spontaneously arranged to produce a voice-over with Sam during the GUADEC Video Editing BoF. Since then, I have been storyboarding, animating and editing the project in Blender. The music and soundscape has been produced by Simon-Claudius who has done an amazing job. Britt edited the voice-over and has lended me a great load of rendering power (thanks Britt!).

The Flatpak Video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDVCITRWGgs

The GNOME 3.30 Release Video is also on its way, with release due at September the 5th. The video will be the 10th release video I have been involved since i started (time flies!).

Future

From 2019 I’ll be looking for full-time opportunities to continue working with UX, User Onboarding and Motion Graphics in FOSS (see also my website). This summer I graduated as MSc. Medialogy at Aalborg University in Denmark. Since then, I have been working for Aalborg University over the summer to design Learning Analytics UI. In parallel I have enrolled in The Drawing Academy to engage full-time in the visualization craft until 2019.

My past six years of world-wide remote collaboration to GNOME have been greatly rewarding. Apart from the release videos, I have designed the GNOME Newcomer Guide with Carlos, working on Polari UX in Google Summer of Code and most recently engaged in the Developer Center Initiative.

I am on the lookout for short-term or long-term occupation which allow me to continue my contributions in the GNOME and FOSS ecosphere.  Don’t be afraid to get in touch! :-)

Re: GUADEC Report

Hi Sébastien,

I am truly sorry if the discussion we had on developer documentation has upset you and contributed to your negative experience at GUADEC.

1. From my point of view there was nothing going wrong between you and me.

I remember we had a productive discussion at GUADEC. We found out that we have different opinions. For example, I you told me that you prefer books and written tutorials. I remember telling you that I like video tutorials. I think that in a future developer center, there can be space for both (See [1]).

2. I have not reported you to the code of conduct committee.

I remember an evening we sat at a café outside Civitas and you told me there was negative talk about you. When I heard this I got really confused because it came out of nowhere for me. I did not recall anyone saying “..asshole developers” in my presence at any point during GUADEC. I was being honest back then when I told you this.

I do remember that we went out to eat together on the evenings after our developer documentation discussion. We did not have so much to talk about but I thought it was natural. I am not are really the type of person who naturally can “set the line of conversation”. :-)

If you have any further doubts or questions about my behavior, please let me know.
If you had the impression that I was attacking or avoiding you, I really apologize deeply, this was never my intention.

-Bastian

[1] https://gitlab.gnome.org/Community/DeveloperPortal/issues/12

GUADEC 2018: BoF Days

Birds of a feather flock together..

Monday went with engagement BoF. I worked with Rosanna to finalize the annual report. Please help us proofread it! I have also started collecting information for the GNOME 3.30 release video. If you are  a developer and you have exciting features for GNOME 3.30, please add them to the wiki. The sooner you do it, the happier I am.

Tuesday went by with the GUADEC BoF where we reflected on the conference as a whole and identified pain points and how we might improve them. Afterwards, glorious sandcastles were made at the Sandcastle BoF.

Wednesday morning I hosted the Developer Center BoF. It was a productive session where we identified what the developer experience currently consists of, the possible audiences, the variables coming into play, challenges, stakeholders who might be interested in its development and developers centers by other projects equally sized like GNOME. I’ll write a blog post summarizing the BoF soon.

In the afternoon me and Sam recorded audio in preparation for a possible Flatpak Release Video and Britt helped mastering it. I also helped the GUADEC Video Editing BoF with generating intros and outtros for this year’s GUADEC videos.

GUADEC is over and I am going home tomorrow. But there is a lot of stuff coming up in July for me. The GNOME annual report needs final review and publishing. We plan to have a developer center call in the by end of July (if you are interested in participating, please  mark your availability here.) We also expect to make a Hackfest for the Developer Center after FOSDEM. And I have the GNOME release video and Flatpak release video on my to do list.  GUADEC has been productive and I hope I can work on some of these projects in my free time (help is welcome!).

Thanks to the local team and all volunteers at GUADEC for a great conference!

 

 

GUADEC 2018 Day 3

Day 2 ended with a guided tour inside the Alcazaba of Almería.

Surprisingly, the castle tour featured an exciting belly dance and a bonus theater show starring GNOME’s legendary actors.

Day 3 had plenty of talks like the other days – but I decided to spent it working with Britt on the annual report.

Lastly, lightning talks took place by the end of the day, I spoke about my experience starting Open Source Aalborg (Download PDF Slideshow).

(all picture are CC-BY-SA 4.0, by me)

GUADEC 2018 Day 2

Yesterday ended with a cozy party at the beach with opportunity for swimming in the ocean and in ice cream. Today, GUADEC Registration and one conference room moved to a new building.

I volunteered as chair conference room all day and saw many exciting talks with many topics such as System76, GJS, Translation and testing.

We had breaks with tea, coffee and delicious eaties sponsored by Slimbook and Codethink.

GUADEC was also in today’s local newspaper – we finally made it to mass media folks!

The conference day ended off with GNOME’s Annual General Meeting which is a great opportunity to reflect on GNOME vision and the amazing progress we are making to achieve it.

(All pictures are CC-BY-SA 4.0 and taken by me)

GUADEC 2018 Day 1

At 8.30 i took off Thursday morning to start my journey to Almería. I took the plane to Madrid and had 1 hour to get hold of a taxi and reach a train taking me to Almería. There I was fortunate to meet Julian and Tobias who were hacking on Fractal and making mockups.

We arrived 10.30 in the evening at Civitas for pre-registration. I met up with my roommate Niclas, who is also from Open Source Aalborg  (Denmark) like myself. The day after started with tomato spread on bread.

Everyone gathered to get with the bus and we arrived to the university.

GUADEC was kicked off in a big hall with Nuritzi, the GNOME Foundation president on stage.

After watching a couple of talks I had volunteered for the infodesk and helped giving attendees lunch tickets.

Of course, I also brought the socks and the GUADEC team had this year’s GUADEC t-shirts for sale.

This wraps up todays’ events for me. I’ve already managed to chat with many GNOMEies again and I’m looking very forward to the next days!

(All pictures are CC-BY-SA 4.0 by me).

Coming Up: GUADEC 2018, Annual Report 2017 & Release Video 3.30

Now that my master’s thesis is over,  I finally have time to make some noise in here again!

GUADEC 2018

GUADEC is coming up and I’m super excited for it! My hand luggage will be packed with socks and I plan on becoming a red shirt again this year, as is tradition. I can recommend volunteering to anyone who has tried attending GUADEC before, it is an excellent way to get to know some fellow conference attendees.

This GUADEC I also plan helping with the newcomer initiatives, very possibly including a newcomer workshop. I have also volunteered to help making intros and outtros for the recorded talks.

Annual Report

The Engagement team delivers an annual report every year and this year it will cover what happened from October 2016 to September 2017. I have volunteered to do the layout and you can follow it’s progress in the Annual Report 2017 Finalization Gitlab issue. Any help on fixing the last few TODO items in there would be appreciated!

Release Video for GNOME 3.30

GNOME 3.30 is scheduled to release on the 5th September 2018. With GUADEC coming up I want to shift focus onto the release video and collect as much information about new features as possible while I have the opportunity to talk to our awesome GNOME developers face-to-face.

If you could be interested in helping me prepare the 3.30 release video, please follow this gitlab issue for updates. I will continuously update the issue as I and others make progress. With this issue, I hope it is easier for everyone to track the release video development and participate! Let me know if you are interested in helping. Thanks!

GNOME at FOSS North

FOSS North is a nordic free software conference happening annually in Gothenburg, Sweden. I have attended most of them since it started. It is no more than a ferry ride away from me and I also enjoy the conference size. Bastien and Kat coordinated that the event box was sent to my address in good time. Additionally, Nuritzi and Carlos sent additional GNOME stickers which I packed down along with some 20 pairs of GNOME Socks in various sizes.

The Stenaline Ferry. (CC-BY-SA 4.0)

During the conference I was staying with Andreas and had a great time. The first day at FOSS North was just half a day, but on the second day we set up the GNOME booth. As per tradition, we had booth right next to KDE which is always a great opportunity to chat and make jokes on social media. I’m really happy to help GNOME being present even at events which have smaller scale than FOSDEM and I’m looking forward to the next FOSS North already.

The GNOME Booth at FOSS North (CC-BY-SA 4.0)
GNOME Merchandise at FOSS North (CC-BY-SA 4.0)

After FOSS North we went to a User Experience event focusing on people’s attitude towards technologies of the future. I was particularly caught by Sara’s talk where she showed her use of collages to dive into users’ tacit knowledge and desires.

UX Meetup (CC-BY-SA 4.0)

All in all a great trip. It seems that I am carrying lots of GNOME merchandise currently (event box, posters, stickers, leftover shirts, socks..) so if there is any conference where you think it would nice to have GNOME present, let me know and we can look into it!

Reflections on Distractions in Work, Productivity and Time Usage

For the past year or so I have mostly worked at home or remote in my daily life. Currently I’m engaged in my master thesis and need to manage my daily time and energy to work on it. It is no surprise to many of us that working using your internet-connected personal computer at home can make you prone to many distractions. However, managing your own time is not just about whipping and self-discipline. It is about setting yourself up in a structure which rewards you for hard work and gives your mind the breaks it needs. Based on reflections and experimentation with many scheduling systems and tools I finally felt I have achieved a set of principles I really like and that’s what I’ll be sharing with you today.

Identifying the distractions

Here’s a typical scenario I used to experience: I would wake up and often the first thing I do is turn on my computer, check my e-mail, check social media, check the news. I then go eat my breakfast and start working. After a while I would find myself returning to check mail and social media. Not that much important necessarily happened. But it’s fairly easy for me to press “Super” and type “Gea” and press “Enter” (and Geary will show my e-mail inbox). It’s also fairly easy to press “Ctrl+L” to focus the address bar in Firefox and write “f” (and Facebook.com is autocompleted). Firefox is by default so (ironically) helpful to suggest facebook.com. At other times, a distraction can simply be an innocent line of thought that hits you fx. “oh it would be so cool if I started sorting my pictures folder, let me just start on that quickly before I continue my work“.

From speaking with friends I am fairly sure this type of behavior is not uncommon at all. The first step in trying to combat it myself was to identify the scope of it. I don’t blame anyone else for dealing with this – I see this more as an unfortunate design consequence of the way our personal computers are “universal” and isn’t context-aware enough. Afterall, GNOME Shell was just trying to be helpful, Firefox was also just trying to be helpful, although they are also in some aspects making it easier for me to distract myself like that.

Weapons against distractions

Let me start with a few practical suggestions, which helped me initially break the worst patterns (using big hammers).

  • Stylish: using Inspection tools and CSS hacks I remove endless scrolling news feeds, and news content from websites that I might otherwise on reflex open up and read when in a distracted scenario. The CSS hacks are easy to turn off again of course, but it adds an extra step and makes it purposely less appealing for me to do unless it’s for something important.

  • BlockSite: I use BlockSite in “Whitelist mode” and turn it on while I work. This is a big hammer which essentially blocks all of internet except for whitelisted websites I use for work. Knowing that you can’t access anything really had a positive initial psychological effect for me.
  • Minimizing shell notifications: While I don’t have the same big hammer to “block access to my e-mail” here, I decided to change the order of my e-mail inboxes in Geary so my more relevant (and far less activity prone) student e-mail inbox appears first. I also turned off the background e-mail daemon and turned off notification banners in GNOME Shell.
  • Putting Phone in Ultra Battery Saving Mode: I restrict my phone to calls and SMS so that I don’t receive notifications from various chat apps which are irrelevant whilst working. This also saves the battery nicely.

My final weapon is The Work Schedule.This doesn’t sound new or surprising and we probably all tried it, however with more or less success.

..Schedules can be terrible.

I’m actually not that big a fan of putting microscheduling my life usually. Traditional time schedules are too focused around doing things from timestamp X to timestamp Y. They require that you “judge” how fast you are in working and their structure just feels super inflexible. The truth in real life is that my day never look like how I planned it to be. In fact, I found myself sometimes even more demotivated (and distracted) because I was failing to live up to my own schedule and by the end of the day never really managed to complete that “ideal day”. The traditional time schedule ended up completely missing up what it was supposed to fix and help against.

But on the other hand, working without a schedule often results in:

  • Forgetting to take breaks from work which is unhealthy and kills my productivity later.
  • No sense of progress except from the work itself but if the work is ongoing for longer time this will feel endless and exhausting.
  • Lack of work duration meant that my productivity continued to fluctate between overwork and underwork since it is hard to judge when it is okay to stop.

The resulting system

For the past couple of weeks I have been using a system which is a bit like a “semi-structured time schedule”. To you it might just seem like a list of checkboxes and in some sense it is! However, the simplicity in this system has some important principles behind it I have learned along the way:

  • Checking the checkboxes give a sense of progress as I work throughout my day.
  • The schedule supports adding breaks in-between work sessions and puts my day in an order.
  • The schedule makes no assumptions about “What work” I will be doing or reaching that day. Instead it specifies that I work for 1 hour and this enables me to funnel my energy. I use GNOME Clock’s Timer function and let it count down for 1 hour until there’s a nice simple “ding” to be heard when it finishes. It’s up to you whether you then take the break or continue a bit longer.
  • The schedule makes no assumptions about “When” I will do work and only approximates for how long. In reality I might wake up at 7:00, 8:00 or 9:00 AM and it doesn’t really matter. What’s important is that I do as listed and take my breaks in the order presented.
  • If there are aspects of the order I end up changing, the schedule permits it – It is possible to tick off tasks independent of the order.
  • If I get ideas for additional things I need to do (banking, sending an important e-mail, etc) I can add them to the bottom of the list.
  • The list is made the day before. This makes it easier to follow it straight after waking up.
  • I always use the breaks for something which does not involve computers. I use dancing, going for a walk or various house duties (Interestingly house duties become more exciting for me to do as work break items, than as items I do in my free time).
  • In the start you won’t have much feeling for how much work you can manage to make and it is easy to overestimate and get out of breath or unable to complete everything. It works much better for me to underestimate my performance (fx 2 hours of focused work before lunch instead of 3 hours) and feel rewarded that I did everything I had planned and perhaps even more than that.
  • I insert items I want to do in my free time into my scheduling after I finish work. These items are purely there to give additional incentive and motivation to finish.
  • The system is analog on purpose because I’m interested in keeping the list visually present on my desk at all times. I also think it is an advantage that making changes to the list doesn’t interfere with the work context I maintain on the computer.

Lastly, I want to give two additional tips. If you like listening to music while working, consider whether it might affect your productivity. For example, I found music with vocals to be distracting me if I try to immerse myself in reading difficult litterature. I can really recommend Doctor Turtle’s acoustic instrumental music while working though (all free). Secondly, I find that different types of tasks requires different postures. For abstract, high-level or vaguely formulated tasks (fx formulating goals, reviewing something or reflecting), I find interacting with the computer whilst standing up and walking around to really help gather my thoughts. On the other hand with practical tasks or tasks which require immersion (fx programming tasks), I find sitting down to be much more comfortable.

Hopefully my experiences here might be useful or interesting for some of you. Let me know!

Behind the GNOME Booth, FOSDEM 2018

I did catch a cold, but I had a great time at FOSDEM this year! Friday was spent reviewing a branch with Florian which adds a disconnect entry to the context popover in Polari. It has now landed.

Saturday was spent selling lots and lots of socks. I choose this year not to go to any talks and instead hangout with fellow GNOMEies in the booth and have a chat with bypassing users. I’m accumulating many advertising arguments for buying socks including that it allows you to have feet on your feet and that you have an excuse to say “GNOME Socks!” as much as you want, once you own a pair. ;-) Kat brought the awesome hoodies and then we had a big load of leftover t-shirts from GUADEC 2017 which we more or less sold (I think there’s still some 20 left in small). In the end we sold a 160 pairs of socks which is almost half the enormous stock of socks I purchased. When the evening came by and the booth had to close, we went to the GNOME Beer Event in La Bécasse, where I had my annual taste of Lambic Blanc, which is one of the few beers I really enjoy drinking.


420 pairs of lovely GNOME socks ready to warm your feet. (CC-BY-SA 4.0)

Sunday went by with more booth-standing and then a GNOME Newcomer Workshop. We tried a new format which involved me matchmaking newcomers with existing GNOME developers from projects each newcomer was interested in. Instead of going big classroom style, the idea is to get more 1-on-1 and pair programming going during workshops. Thanks to Elias, Xaviju, Gwan and Florian for attending the workshop! I hope I’ll get to chat with you in the chatrooms, or who knows maybe meet again at GUADEC 2018?

In the evening me, Tobias, David and Julian hung out in the apartment I had arranged where I cooked an oriental lentil soup with flatbread. Coming to GNOME Recipes soon™!


Photos by Julian Sparber, food by me.