Month: July 2009
Taking the IELTS
As I said some time ago, I had to do an IELTS test in order to apply at the DCU. I do already have kind of a language test which I made for the DAAD, but it’s not good enough for the DCU… So I bit the bullet and paid the Euros to take the IELTS.
I decided to go for IELTS, instead for the TOEFL, because I was told that it’s friendlier and even more comfortable to do. The TOEFL seems to be a computer based test which can be very annoying.
The IELTS was held in a friendly but formal atmosphere. Everything, and I mean everything, had a rule you and the supervisors had to stick to. I wasn’t even allowed to take my keys inside the examination room. Not to mention my wallet.
The test itself went pretty well, especially the listening and reading part. I didn’t manage to perform equally well on the writing part. These tests took a couple of hours and I was pretty happy to get some fresh air afterwards. I had three hours sparetime before the speaking test should begin. Actually, I was really nervous. I don’t know why, because there was nothing I should be afraid of. I mean, even if I failed pretty hard, I always could redo the test. At least, I managed to speak and the results are not that bad.
So I a better result than I actually needed 🙂 One step closer to my application at the DCU.
My University decided to publish some videos using an DivX Codec. These videos are part of some Software Engineering class and serves as a replacement for real customer interaction.
Anyway, I decided to transcode those videos using a free codec and I boldly announced, that I’ll do that without actually knowing how much work that’d be. In fact, I feared kilobytes of arguments to mencoder or ffmpeg. I also didn’t want to use new and awesome stuff like Transmageddon or Arista, because I wanted a really simple solution, like any2wav. I imagined something like any2theora which simply does what I want.
It turns out, that ffmpeg2theora exists and it does exactly what I want. It is really simple to use, no command line argument whatsoever to produce a well working Theora encoded video with Vorbis encoded sound.
Gran Canaria Desktop Summit
The GCDS has just finished and I think it was a great and successful conference. It was the first joint aKademy + GUADEC conference and I feel it turned out quite well. We could have had more explicit collaboration or more attention on the “other” talks, but I think the people have to get used to the fact that there are people with different approaches who you can talk to. Let’s hope it’ll be a joint convention next year as well (I always wanted to spend a week or two in Finland…).
The registration process was a bit weird, because the organizers wanted to know private data without even trying to make clear what they are used for. In fact, the only thing I could see (even from a retro perspective) is to collect the data. As I’ve stated in a mail buried in this thread, I don’t really like that for several reasons and I hope that the next organization committee will not collect absolutely necessary data.
The first day began with a RMS keynote for me. I expected it to be really bad because for some reason the people say that RMS’ talks are boring, stubborn and repetitive. I’ve never heard a RMS talk before and I couldn’t apply any of these critics onto his talk. In fact, I really liked and enjoyed it, although it was not necessarily pleasant to listen because he disagrees with our decisions: He doesn’t like to see new applications to be written in C# because the Software Freedom Law Center doesn’t think that the Community Promise guarantees that Microsoft will not charge patent fees. I am not into that topic but I believe that the SFLC does a good job. And I also trust the SFLC more than I trust Microsoft. So it’s not about patents in general (which should be abolished anyway) but rather about not putting too many weight onto our Desktop so that we can get rid of C# apps easily in case of fire^W ugly patent stuff. And I don’t know what’s not clear about that: As the risk seems to be there and we want to have a free desktop in the future, we have to watch out now to not fall into a Bitkeeper trap.
I also don’t agree with travis or lefty who think the reference to an EMACS virgin is sexist or mixing different topics (software freedom and religion in this case) is unhealthy. RMS clearly referred to the Christian church and it’s habits, so if there is anything bad, it’s to be search in these circles. Also, virtually everyone has cheered after RMS’ performance. And I wouldn’t go that far and call all the audience sexist. Actually, I dislike the idea of (computer) engineers answering sociologists questions for the same reason I don’t ask a sociologist in case of computer trouble (I like it, when they think, talk and discuss about it though). From an intersectional point of view, I’d ask whether the strong focus on women is actually sexist, because there is clearly more than one domain we have minorities in. Take Blacks, Jews, Disabled or Queers or people with an inside out belly button for example. By constantly reciting that women are a minority, we could actually harden this situation instead of making it disappear. I could actually write a paper about it, as I need one for university anyway to finish my Gender Studies.
The parties were all awesome, thanks to Canonical, Nokia, Igalia and Collabora who really know how to throw a good party. I wonder why Google didn’t show up though.
I also have to thank the GNOME foundation for sponsoring my trip to Gran Canaria! It’s really good to see that my contributions are valued and that I can improve them by attending various talks and sessions. This year was especially useful because we could attend the KDE peoples sessions. I especially enjoyed being at the KDE bugsquad sessions to share and improve ideas.
Although I took some photos, I won’t upload them to flicker, but the people seem to tag their photos with “gcds” or “guadec”. I have looked through a couple of them and they seem to be all good. But I couldn’t make it through all of them as there are way too many.
Two major drawbacks were the relocation of the conference and the Internet connectivity during the event: We moved from the rather central Alfredo Kraus Auditorium to the suburban University on the fourth day or so. That was inconvenient because it took ages to get there. The Internet thing is totally unrelated to the organizers, but left a bad taste anyway. The uplink was totally broken with a packet loss with up to 75% in “So6-0-0-0-grtmadno1.red.telefonica-wholesale.net”.
I’m looking forward to next years GUADEC or maybe “TDS”… 🙂
Bugsquadding Talk on GCDS
I just had my talk with Pedro and I think it went quite well.
We talked about how to do QA in GNOME and how to use our tools properly. There were about 30 people listening and discussing with us. It was a great honour to meet the bugsquad heros like Philip, Akhil and guenther. Thanks to Andre to look over our slides.
Besides telling about our infrastructure, we slightly discussed alternative ways to access our bug database: There seems to be DeskZilla and Mylyn to work with bugzilla through the XML-RPC API. I haven’t tried Deskzilla yet (the GNOME key link is broken atm), but Cosimo says it doesn’t work with the GNOME bugzilla probably because it’s heavily patched. I wonder when we’ll migrate to Bugzilla-3…
I tried Mylin but it unfortunately doesn’t work either 🙁 You can query and show the bugs but you can’t update them. It’s a pity because I think that webinterfaces suck in general and our GNOME bugzilla in special.
Although the intended target group wasn’t there, we managed to recruit triagers 🙂 Let’s hope they’ll stay with us for a while. You can find the bugsquad-slides.
I followed the KDE Bugsquad BoF and we discussed several things. They seem to have more fundamental problems than we do, especially getting the bugzilla used by the developers. I collected a couple of ideas: Given that you can’t edit bugs right away if you just have created an account, would it be good to automatically set editing right once a user has commit permissions on the VCS? What about a bugsquad (micro) blog to keep the community informed and involved? It could be a good idea to have kind of a monthly digest which will be sent around. I also envy the KDE Bugdays which apparently are a lot of work, but also potentially recruits new bug triagers. Maybe one could write an webapp for managing the work involved…
mrmcd0x8 – Call for Participation
Die MetaRheinMain ChaosDays gehen in eine neue Runde *yay*! Ich werd’ wohl dieses Jahr nicht koennen, aber ich war ja nun auch schon oft genug dort 😉 Wenn du einen Vortrag oder einen Workshop einreichen willst, benutze bitte das Pentabarf. Ein Grund, etwas einzureichen (oder um einfach nur hinzugehen) ist das Pornophonique Konzert! Wirklich empfehlenswert.
c&p von der offiziellen Seite:
Der CCCMZ, C3F2M, CCC Mannheim, oqlt, der IT Stammtisch Darmstadt und CDA laden zu den achten MetaRheinMain ChaosDays ein.
Die MetaRheinMain Chaosdays 0x8 sind ein jährlich stattfindender Kongress, der dieses Jahr unter dem Motto “Zurueck zum Thema” mit den Themenschwerpunkten Journalismus, Gesellschaft und Technik vom c3f2m Frankfurt, CCCmz (Mainz/Wiesbaden), der Hochschulgruppe Chaos Darmstadt, dem AK Vorrat und weiteren regionalen Gruppen im Rhein-Main-Neckargebiet organisiert wird. Die MRMCDs finden dieses Jahr vom 04.09-06.09.2009 an der Technischen Universität Darmstadt statt. Drei Tage lang werden Vorträge, Diskussionen und ein Hackcenter geboten.
Die Vorträge und Workshops richten sich mit Themen sowohl an die breite Öffentlichkeit, als auch an spezialisierte Interessen. Auf diese Weise soll die wissenschaftliche Anbindung und der Bezug zum aktuellen öffentlichen Diskurs gewahrt werden. Folgende Schwerpunkte bilden das Rückgrat der Veranstaltung:
Darunter fallen z. B.: Wahlmaschinen, Überwachung, Kryptographie, IT-Sicherheit, Biometrie, Vorratsdatenspeicherung, BKA-Gesetz, Elektronische Gesundheitskarte, Auswirkung der Weiterentwicklung von Technik auf die Gesellschaft, Chaos Kultur, Projekt- und Selbstmanagement.