Balloon animals

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Back at Christmas, one of the presents that Thomas got was a box of balloons and a pump, and a small book explaining how to make balloon animals.

Being a good father, I decided to have a go :)

It took me a while to get things right – a lot of balloons ended up getting burst, but I finally got some reasonable results.

I also had a few disasters – this is a mouse in progress that lost an ear, but didn’t completely burst:

And I practiced ear twists and lock twists on this one, about which Anne commented “Looks like haemerrhoids”:

But in the end, the parrot, the crocodile, the centipede, the hummingbird and the giraffe were my pride & joy.

The family


gnome 1 Comment

Some interesting stuff I’ve read recently:

  • Ari Jaaksi on collaborating on free software:

    I’ve noticed that companies are seting up different forums and clubs to standardize/promote/develop Linux/open source based technologies for mobile/consumer/embedded devices. I have my doubts… I do not fully understand how they plan to work. I’d go directly to places like the or to GNOME to get things agreed, aligned, and -the most of all- developed. These are the communities that do the actual work and I’m not sure how these additional forums add value.

  • An oldish article from Stormy Peters on free software and patents:

    I’m starting to wonder if we in the open-source community need a grass-roots effort to address patent and license issues… [the] effective and realistic means to protect the health of the open-source development model and community is to take a page from the corporate playbook.

The story continues…

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A bunch of updates since last month:


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.


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.


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?


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 recently.