Just one geek's opinions and epiphanies

#hackUTOS June 2010

[caption id="attachment_488" align="alignleft" width="320" caption="Ceiling Cat"]Ceiling Cat[/caption]

Ceiling Cat announces:

#hackUTOS is is happening tomorrow, Friday June 4th, at CoffeeConnection!

Here's how it works. #hackUTOS is a gathering of the hacking inclined. There is a main project (ConMan) that is being hacked on for the purpose of volunteering for Utah Open Source Conference 2010. More details on ConMan in a minute.

If you are looking to generally gather with geeks then this is the premier event in June for your geekiness! We will be gathering at CoffeeConnection who has great caffeinated beverages for sale (as well as food) and we will be getting our Geek on.

Want to get your geek on, but can't make it in person... we are going to be on IRC too! Find us on Freenode at #hackUTOS

If you are not interested in hacking on ConMan, we still encourage you to come on down! We want all geeks to come by and share in the glory of #hackUTOS. That means you can even bring your own project. Think of #hackUTOS as a Jelly or CoWork (for 1 night). Come share your project and your ideas, find people, network, and generally have a good time.

Now some details on ConMan!

ConMan is the Conference Management software used by UTOS for the UTOS Conference. It is written in Python, using the Django framework. It is hosted at GitHub and it is open to the public. If you don't hack python do not turn and run just yet. We are in need of things besides python coding. We need folks who are willing to conceptualize, we need graphic designers to help make the app look pretty, we need people to help with bug reporting, and more. If you are reading this blog post you are more than qualified to come help us tomorrow (and at any other #hackUTOS event).

Alright... I am tired of typing, and Ceiling cat is starting to freak me out... see you at #hackUTOS

Review: Making it Big is Software

I'd like to first thank the team at InformIT for making books like Making it Big in Software. I love these titles!

Making it Big in Software is a great read, it is something I think that every software developer would have loved to have had when they were breaking into the software world. I know I would have loved to have had it.

Sam Lightstone has put together what could easily be called the blueprint to a successful career in software. He covers college, post-college pre-career, interviewing, resumes, fitting into the work environment, salary discussions, and more, much more.

The book is broken into three parts each covering an aspect of the flow of becoming big player in software, or at least a medium sized player in software.

The book is spattered with great interviews with some of the greatest minds of our time, including:

  • Marissa Mayer, Google VP, Search Products and User Experience
  • Linus Torvalds, Creator, Linux operating system kernel
  • Steve Wozniak, Inventor, Apple computer
  • John Schwarz, CEO, Business Objects
  • James Gosling, Inventor, Java programming language
  • Bjarne Stroustrup, Inventor, C++ programming language

Sam keeps the tone of the book very light, and I found it quite entertaining.

The chapters are broken into sections and each section is only a page or two long, which makes this a great short reader.

I have praised the writers of interview books before, and I will do it again, I think you can learn a lot from the old dogs (and some new dogs). I think that hearing the war stories and the victories and defeats are important in knowing where you are going, and where you are coming from. I love books like this one.

So again thanks to the team at InformIT and Sam Lightsone for taking the time to write Making it Big in Software.

Who do you think you are?!

Steve Jobs was recently quoted saying:

we do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone. Folks who want porn can buy and [sic] Android phone.

Who does he think he is?!

This statement really gets me started for a few reasons. First, since when do we believe that the hardware and OS manufacturer should control every piece of software available to our device? If anyone should be calling the shots here it should be AT&T as it is their network that is controlling the flow of data. Apple shouldn't have a single say in anything other than how the OS and hardware will play together.

Second, who is Steve Jobs to tell me (or anyone) what content is appropriate on my phone, computer, iPod, etc.? I mean seriously would anyone accept this statement from Steve Jobs if he were talking about an iPod, or iPad, or Macbook Pro? Honestly, why is it then that we accept this for the iPhone?

Sidenote: Technically this does hold true for the iPod Touch and iPad as they run the same OS, and thus are limited to the same apps (oh and there is no option for Third Party app stores).

What if tomorrow Steve had a revelation that we should no longer have golf games on the iPhone? What if tomorrow Steve decided that we shouldn't allow access to MySpace or Facebook on Macs?

This is where things are heading, if they aren't already there. The iPhone users have given in to the man*. They have given all the power to a single entity.

Simply because of statements like those made by Steve I am a user of Free and Open Software. I can run what I choose, when I choose, and where I choose. If I want porn on my phone (still not sure why anyone would want this) I have that option!

I think it is time for the sheep to realize they are drinking the Kool-Aid. You are letting Apple tell you what is ok and what is not ok. You are being held back by the same people you are paying to move you toward the future.

How much did you pay for your iPhone? According to ATT.com you will pay from $200-$400 depending on the phone and plan you purchase.

Let me ask this, would you ever spend $200 on a DVD player only to be told it doesn't play R rated movies, because Magnavox didn't think them appropriate? What about paying $15/month for HBO and Sunday nights the screen goes blank on HBO because Comcast doesn't like Big Love?

What I am saying is this, if you allow Apple the right to control what you can and can't have on your device, you are throwing away all the freedom and rights our forefathers have fought their entire lives to protect.

* Sorry, couldn't resist
I really wanted to name this article Apple is UnAmerican

#hackUTOS March 9th, 2010

Hey everyone, it is time to #hackUTOS again!

What is #hackUTOS?

UTOS has been sponsoring Open Source technologies in Utah for years now. This is a chance for all the members (and potential members) to come out meet some of the UTOS hackers including herlo, utahcon, and DexterTheDragon.

We will be hacking on ConMan, the Open Source Conference Management system used by UTOSC! This is a great chance for you to participate, learn,teach, and get credit toward attending the conference for a discounted price!

When is #hackUTOS?

We will be meeting Tuesday March 9th, 2010 at 7:00PM MST.

Where is #hackUTOS?


Along with meeting in person (details below) you can find us online in IRC. We are on the Freenode network in #utos-dev


Since the meeting place worked out well last time we will be meeting again at the Salt Lake Coffee Connection.

Located at:

1588 South State Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84115

The Salt Lake Coffee Connection is a really great place to meet. They have a great internet connection (provided by our good friends at Xmission), awesome drinks (check out the Dirty Chai!) and good food! The prices are good, and internet access is included with all purchases.

What Language?

ConMan is written in Python, using the Django framework. We run it on MySQL and SQLite databases.

Don't know Python, or Django? Don't worry, we are all open to helping you get started. Please realize we are here to mainly work on our project, we are happy to offer light support to get you up and running.

If you aren't interested in working on ConMan bring your own Open Source project! We would love to have you in the house for some great co-working!

Weekend Report

Things have been mighty quiet here. I have been working on getting setup with more publishers so I can read and  review more books on Open Source and Programming with you. I have also been working with friends to establish some partnerships to hopefully get a chance to write reviews for video games as well. All in all things are moving quite nicely on all fronts.

This weekend looks to be packed with a lot of fun. Tonight I am attending a party to get some free software, probably nothing OS, but hey free is free. The company hosting the party is also giving us free tickets to the Jazz game, I don't much care for basketball, but again free is free.

Gears of War 2 released today, so I will of course be getting knee deep in some Locust blood, can't wait to chainsaw in an upward fashion. You can find me on Xbox Live as "ut dragon", I hope to be changing that soon.

Finally I have a slew of books that should be hitting the PO Box this weekend. I know for sure I am getting RESTful PHP (Packt Publishing), I should also be getting Ubuntu Kung Fu (O'reilly), as well as Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship(InformIT), and PHP 6:  A Beginner's Guide (McGraw-Hill). This will make for some great reading and growth in the peronsal category.