Weekly Rewind #54

It’s been a while but I’m finally back with another Weekly Rewind. I missed last week because I was too busy, so I’ll try and briefly recap the last 2 weeks events now. It’s been an exciting and slightly hectic time of late. Much OggCamp business, some web development stuff, live talks and other things. On this bright Sunday afternoon I’m getting some spare time and it’s going into the much neglected blog. So let’s get into it.

There’s been a couple of Linux Outlaws releases since my last update. We’re up to episode 140 now, which I can still scarcely believe considering our expectations when we started the show. It continues to go from strength to strength and for that I’m very grateful. You can join us for the live show from 7pm GMT on Mondays. The IRC channel has been crazy during the show lately and we seem to average over 100 live listeners and viewers now. It doesn’t sound much and as a proportion of the 58,000 downloads per month I suppose it’s not, but the live interaction really makes a big difference and I’m glad people enjoy it. I also did another Rathole Radio last Sunday night which you can download at your leisure. I finally released the tickets for the live gig and so far they’ve sold ok but I need to sell a lot more to break even. Much time was spent this week licking envelopes, writing notes and posting those out. If you want to come along please buy tickets in advance from the website. Thanks! I also got a new logo for the show this week and I’m really pleased with it (see image below). It was created for me by graphic designer extraordinaire Scott Jones of Bad Format and we’ve also been doing a fair bit of website work together lately. I’m mostly hacking Drupal sites, customising modules and so on. I’ll give you more details on that when I can in future.

An image of the new Rathole Radio logo with red and black colours
New Rathole Logo

These events are all out of sequence now but let’s carry on. My 5min Ignite talk entitled “The Blaggers Guide To Linux” went really well on March 4th. There were about 50 people there and they seemed to enjoy it. Overall the night went brilliantly and I enjoyed the other talks immensely. There was quite a mix of art and cultural stuff and it fell to me to finish off the event with something geeky. I hadn’t intended to talk about Linux really, people expect that of me and I don’t want become a one trick pony (also the title of a good Paul Simon album BTW). It seemed to bring a nice balance to things though and people said they liked it. The after party at the Everyman Bistro was much fun and still continuing as I left at about 1am. The Ignite talks were filmed by a local media company so I hope I’ll be able to share that footage with you in future. It’s being edited right now I’m told. I think it will end up on the O’Reilly site somewhere.

OggCamp10 planning continues at pace. I’ve been chasing up sponsors a lot in the last 2 weeks, some of whom haven’t paid yet! I think we’re making progress though and I’ve also been inviting many interesting people from the Open Source world to join us. I had some drama with the venue and I have to confess it had me worried but it’s all sorted now. The person I was dealing with left the organisation and it seems the paperwork hadn’t been done properly, probably why they left. I had nightmare visions of 300 people stranded in Liverpool city centre with nowhere to go but thankfully that’s not going to happen. I went over for a meeting on Friday and we agreed all the details which was a major relief. I also met the lead tech at the Black-E and it turns out he’s a true Free Software beard, literally. He had the Stallman look going on and he’s a core developer on the Rivendell radio automation project. That’s really cool and it looks as though the technical requirements for the venue are all up to scratch. Sadly we won’t be able to use the historic dome at the front of the building as the main entrance now. There’s building work going on in the venue which should largely be finished by OggCamp, but they can’t open the dome because the roof may not be passed as safe for the public. I’ll be signing the venue agreement and sorting out payment in the next week. Then it’s on to writing the kit list and tech spec for the event amongst other things. I also have to do a full risk assessment which I haven’t done since I worked in theatres many years ago. I’m sure that’ll be as thrilling as it sounds. It’s usually a big bunch of paperwork to satisfy health and safety regulations where there’s a public audience.

Other things I’ve done in the last two weeks include:

  • Attend LivLUG and have fun socialising with everyone.
  • Produce another Software Freedom Law Show.
  • Rebuild my studio PC with Ubuntu Studio 9.10 and fix some hardware problems.
  • Lots of Drupal hacking and server admin stuff for various clients.
  • Learn the true power and beauty of Firebug for debugging a CSS stylesheet of over 1300 lines.
  • Get more slightly depressed about the sorry state of Liverpool Football Club.

There’s probably more stuff that I’ve forgotten but that about covers it for now, you’re pretty much up to date. I’ve had quite a quiet weekend by my standards and I’m in need of a break. A little time to unwind is appreciated right now.


It’s Sunday afternoon and I don’t have too much planned for the rest of the day. I do have to edit a new Software Freedom Law Show and I’ll continue to tinker with my studio set up. I have Skype working through JACK now which is very exciting and after the bugs on Linux Outlaws last week I’m also going to investigate Ekiga and other FOSS alternatives. Skype has always been a necessary evil for me. It’s hideously closed source but the audio quality is so much better than anything else I’ve found, and as an audio engineer sound quality trumps all other considerations to me, even software freedom I’m afraid. I hope in future experiments with Speex wideband will help fix this, but when you’re pressed for time and you have a show to do you just want to press a button and have it work. There’ll be more Linux Outlaws live tomorrow night as always. I’ll also be doing Rathole Radio next weekend but I may manage to report back before that. There’ll be a ton of OggCamp paperwork, phone calls and so on, which have become a staple part of my life in the last 2 months. It’s all good though and the event is going to be worth it, you should come and join us if you’re within travelling range and don’t forget to come to my gig the night before, tickets on sale now at http://ratholeradio.org/gig šŸ˜‰

See you soon, take care,


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