Weekly Rewind #86

Hello everyone and welcome to another Weekly Rewind. I can more confidently say “weekly” this time as it hasn’t been ages. Life is still good in the heart of Liverpool I’m also pleased to say. I’ve been doing lots of music, podcasting and other stuff, so there’s plenty to report on.

There was no regular Linux Outlaws last week as Fab was attending the SambaXP event in Germany, with friends of the show Bradley Kuhn and Jeremy Allison. For the benefit of any non-geeks Samba is a networking and file sharing tool used a lot on Linux. It helps non-Windows systems (Linux/Unix/MacOS/etc) talk to a Windows network and other machines. That’s a very poor explanation I’m afraid but it’s included in loads of consumer electronics these days, so you’ve probably used it without even knowing. SambaXP is their conference for all the developers to meet up and discuss what’s happening. Fab recorded some great interviews while he was there and later in the week we also recorded some bumpers to go along them. That show was edited together and later released as Linux Outlaws 207 – “SambaXP”.

This rare free (as in time) Monday night left me with the chance to watch the Fulham V Liverpool match at the pub with my mate Adrian. I’ve probably bored you before with my love of Liverpool FC but it was a good night and we scored 5 goals, I wasn’t expecting that. Ok, so we conceded 2 as well but it’s still a good win. On Tuesday I went to see my friend Ed’s play “Cocktails” at The Casa. It was a series of monologues and while the first couple didn’t grab me I thought the other 6 were very good. Ed’s acting was great and he wrote it all too, very impressive. I like to try and support friends artistic pursuits where I can. During this couple of days I’d also been negotiating with potential sponsors for OggCamp11 and trying to book a last minute guest for FLOSS Weekly. More on that in a second, let’s talk OggCamp first. I’ve had a couple of major successes that should help us cover the cover the costs and the event is looking really good. OggCamp is a 2 day event celebrating Free & Open Source software, but also culture, community and more. Whatever the attendees are interested in really. This year it will be down south at the lovely Farnham Maltings in Surry. It’s the weekend of 13th & 14th of August and registration is via Eventbrite. We’ve had lots of tickets taken (300 to date) and there’s even some people on the waiting list. If you’re interested then please sign up, we hope to release more tickets soon. I’ll let you know about that in due course.

Back to FLOSS Weekly. We didn’t have a guest lined up as I mentioned. Randal suggested host Aaron Newcomb and I could discuss recent events instead. So we broadcast at the usual time on Wednesday and had a good time chatting about Mono, the LibreOffice V OpenOffice situation and more. It turned out it wasn’t that hard to fill an hour show once we got going. I did the same with Simon Phipps a while back when a guest didn’t show. It’s a different style for FLOSS which people seem to like but I think the usual interview format also works very well. That was released as FLOSS Weekly 165 later in the week.

After that I went to Maker Night at the LJMU Art & Design Academy which is nice and close to my flat. It’s a monthly event for hardware hackers and anyone else who makes stuff really. Could be textiles, doesn’t have to use circuit boards. The workshop at ADA is really impressive I must say. I often make this joke but when I walk in there I do kind of feel like I’m in an old James Bond film. One of the classics where he would visit Q to collect gadgets and behind them would be men in lab coats blowing stuff up. “Pay attention 007!”. They have laser cutters and a 3D printer, which are probably too expensive for us to touch. It was fun though. I need to get into hardware hacking more, I’ve always been more of a 0’s ans 1’s kind of guy than someone with a soldering iron. I do own a soldering iron but I rarely use it. Maybe I can change that.

An external photo of the LJMU Art & Design Academy. With Catholic Catherdal in the background.
LJMU Art & Design Academy

On Thursday I got together with the band as we prepare for our upcoming shows. Things seem to be going really well and we have a very good set of original songs now. With a bit of promotion who knows what could happen. Don’t worry we’re not getting ahead of ourselves but it’s nice that people like the tunes. More on the gigs in a second. On Friday night I ventured into town for Light Night, a series of events across the city. There are loads of photography exhibitions and arty things happening right now. I wandered around a few galleries with my friend Neil as he tried to explain art to me, and progressively consumed more free wine. He did, not me, wine isn’t my thing. I’m not that sophisticated. There was another bonus Maker Night at ADA also, so later on I ended up there. The building was packed as loads of special events were happening. Outside they made a candlelight labyrinth which looked amazing after dark and people played live music. It was very cool actually. The guys also made great progress on their home built 3D printer project, without much help from me. I just watched and chatted mostly. Lots of students and arty types were there and I also bumped into some friends.

On Saturday I mostly prepared another Rathole Radio and on Sunday I broadcast it, after some more band practice that is. The show was probably the most eclectic I’ve done so far, and that’s saying something. There was classical music, metal, funk, nerdcore, electro, blues, country and more. All crammed into a one hour sandwich, which sounds more like something you might order in dodgy part of Amsterdam hehe. I released the show last night as Rathole Radio 52.

Right after the show I installed Ubuntu 11.04 on my main laptop and started wrestling with their new Unity interface. It’s a couple of days in now and I’m still not finding it intuitive to be honest. I’ll write a proper review in future and also talk about it on Linux Outlaws in time. I’m open minded and I give things a chance but it’s going to take me a while to get used to Unity. I spent most of Monday catching up on paperwork and other things before yet more band practice. You can see we’re taking these gigs seriously. Finally, to bring us right up to date we recorded a new Linux Outlaws this afternoon. I’ll edit that soon and it’ll be released later in the week.

That about covers it. So what’s coming up?


Tomorrow night (Wed 18th) I will do another FLOSS Weekly, this time with Randal. We’re talking to Sam Spilsbury about Compiz and also his work at Canonical. I booked the interview and didn’t actually realise he worked there at the time. Maybe he can explain Unity to me. After that I’ll play a gig at The Cavern Pub in Matthew St with 20lb Sounds. It’s all part of the International Pop Overthrow Festival and we’re playing at the unsociable time of 11:30pm. We’ll also play the main Cavern Club on the following Monday (May 23rd) though at the slightly better time of 11pm. We’re moving in the right direction, slowly but we’re moving. I had an interesting call from a friend at Red Hat last week and it looks like I may be going to Dublin for a few days in early June. It’s for an event they’re running and I can’t reveal too much yet. I’ll let you know more as and when I can. In the meantime I’m sure there’ll be lots to talk about.

Take care of yourselves until next we meet 🙂


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