Weekly Rewind #106

Ahoy hoy! As Mr Burns and my good friend Mr Bradley Kuhn would say. By all accounts it was the preferred greeting of telephone pioneer Alexander Graham Bell but has now been supplanted by the simpler “hello”, or perhaps “wasssup?” if you remember those Budweiser ads from the 90’s. It’s been a little while since my last update but thankfully not the month long absence of last time. Life has continued apace and there’s much to tell. I’ll pick out the highlights from the last fortnight and share them with you now. I’ll also look ahead to exciting events due in the week or two. So let’s do this…

March has given way to April and spring should be on the way. You wouldn’t know it from the recent weather though. Last week it was over 20 degrees Celsius and now we’re back near zero. Snow in some parts of the UK and ice on the roads. I knew I shouldn’t have put my shorts on last week, it was only tempting fate. Anyway, I’m sure Al Gore has some thoughts on this. If he’s not too busy jetting around the world warning people about their carbon footprints. The little tinker. But I digress. I last reported back in mid-March and since then I’ve posted about my planned changes to this very site. Those are still ongoing but should be completed in the next week. I’m migrating a lot of stuff from Drupal to WordPress. Not because I have anything against Drupal of course, it just seems silly to use both on one site when I don’t need to. I’ve transferred most of the content and got the new site structure sorted. I just need to find (or knock together) a decent theme and then I’ll switch them over. I don’t want to break the RSS feeds or current URL structure if possible so it’s a delicate process. Stay tuned.

Monty Burns laughing maniacally

What else have I been up to? Well, I finally got myself a new phone. An all singing, all dancing, Galaxy Nexus, running the shiny new Android 4.0. I’ve only had it a week but I’m settling in already. I unlocked the bootloader straight away and got it hooked up to the Android developer kit on Ubuntu with the help of Andy (Oscillik) from LivLUG. He’s had the phone a bit longer and he’s my go to expert on these matters. I let the phone restore all it’s setting from “the cloud” as the kids like to call it, and it seems this was a mixed blessing. It was cool that it knew all my wifi networks, installed all my apps and updated so easily. But I have been seeing some stability issues with the Android browser and suffering app crashes. The browser is embedded into so many other apps that I think this is the culprit. I have a plan to reflash the phone and not restore anything this time but set it up manually. I’ll let you know how that goes. Minor niggles aside I’m enjoying Ice Cream Sandwich very much. It’s slick and seems a big advance from the Android 2.3 I was running before. I’m still waiting to see what CyanogenMod 9 brings to the table when it’s finally released. This phone is so powerful it feels more and more like they’re starting to be our main computers. I’m reminded of Quantum Leap in a strange way but it feels like we’re heading there. Not time travel, but ever more sophisticated handheld computers at least. I eagerly await the day my phone will remark – “Ziggy says there’s a 90% probability you’ll enjoy this fart app Dan”. I can dream.

In other news we announced the long awaited details of the next OggCamp, and decided to keep the name after all the renaming drama. It will be called OggCamp 12, to the relief of many. It’s happening on the weekend of 18th & 19th of August in Liverpool again. Yeah, you can blame me for that. It may be a bit further for all you Southerners but it’s a lot nearer for those coming from Scotland and other places. So it cuts both ways. We have an amazing venue in LJMU Art & Design Academy and I have to thank my wonderful friends at Open Labs for all their help. They’re sponsoring all the venue costs for us and taking care of a massive chunk of the hassle. We have an official hotel which is in sight of the venue and 5mins walk if you’re slow. So no paying for taxis to and from the venue this year. I’ll let you all know the hotel details as soon as we release them. If you want to keep up to date you should follow OggCamp on Twitter, Identi.ca, Google+, Lanyard or Facebook. You can also keep an eye on oggcamp.org where more details will be posted soon.

I seem to be rambling a fair bit so I’ll summarise some of the other recent events more quickly. I presented FLOSS Weekly with Randal last night and our guest project was Chamilo. It made a fascinating show and I really recommend you have a listen. I didn’t realise the size of this project and if there’s one area where free and open tools matter most it’s in schools. Rather dramatically a sound proofing panel fell out of my studio window and hit me on the back of the head during the show. It was only light so didn’t really hurt, but left me pretty dazed. You’ll hear a loud noise in the background at the start of the interview, that was it. Luckily I wasn’t on camera at the time but it would have made a hilarious blooper. I also attended Liverpool LUG last night where we had a great talk from Bob Ham on IPv6. Not a subject I know a massive amount about but I felt more confident after it.

My band 20lb Sounds are on a short sabbatical right now while our drummer follows England’s cricket team out in Sri Lanka. Alright for some hey? He’s back after the weekend and then we’ll crack on with training for our upcoming gigs. We have 3 in a week which is a first for us. Starting with the Rathole Radio live event at LEAF on Friday May 11th, we’ll continue with a gig at The Cavern Club the following Tuesday as part of the International Pop Overthrow Festival we played last year. Finally there’s another gig at The Cavern Pub on the following Friday. It should be fun and I’m looking forward to it. In the meantime I’ve stalled on completing my long threatened solo album but it is getting somewhere I promise. I hope to have that ready in the next few weeks. That just about brings us up to date. So let’s talk about what’s coming up.


First up is Easter weekend obviously. Linux Outlaws may be pushed back a bit from Monday night but will happen early in the week. I may well be co-hosting FLOSS again on Wednesday but I don’t know for certain yet. Then there’ll be another Rathole Radio on the following Sunday, April 16th. I’m also in the process of completing a slightly overdue article about digital development in Liverpool and Internet access for my Seven Streets technical column. I’ll let you know about that as soon as I can. In the meantime stay tuned for website changes, more music, more writing and a lot more podcasting. I hope you all have a great Easter Holiday and take care of yourselves.

Over and out,


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