Just one geek's opinions and epiphanies

Greenworks 20 Inch Reel Mower; how I spent the first 20 minutes of my evening

Let's play a little game of catch up for those just joining, or not in my little circle of people I actually talk to. I live in Daybreak, a great community in South Jordan, Utah. Daybreak is known for it's amazing master plan including a lake, parks and trails, and much more. It is also known locally for having notoriously small yards, if any at all. My house is the epitome of that, having a yard that is about 200sq.ft. total. I didn't want to waste a lot of time mowing grass each week, instead I wanted to get out and live it up on the lake, or poolside. Under 200 sq.ft. of grass is perfect.

I looked into having a lawn service, and they were just too expensive for such a small yard. Plan B was a mower. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on maintenance or gas and oil for a conventional mower, so I opted for a push (or reel) mower. A quick search on Amazon.com found a great deal on a Greenworks 20 inch Reel Mower. Snagged it up with Amazon Prime (so shipping was cheap).

It arrived yesterday, and I put it together today. Assembly probably took 20 minutes, simple assembling of the handle and then snapping it into place on the mower. The mower also comes with the grass catcher, so I had to put that on too, but it just hooks right on.

2 minutes later, my lawn was mowed (I am not kidding, less than 2 minutes to be honest). The reel mower was smooth, and whistled along as I went. It was amazing to think I was cutting grass for the first time in my 31 years without gas or oil in the mix. Me, nature, and the reel mower. It was blissful. When I was done I detached the catcher, and dumped the grass in my garbage can (I will probably get a compost turner soon).

Overall the Greenworks mower was perfect! I had a slight hiccup when the wheels jammed, still not sure why, but all seems to be ok now. With a 4 year warranty I am not really worried about the mower locking up just a little.

The only real complaint I have is that the grass catcher wasn't as effective as I would have liked, I bet it caught 50% of the grass I cut. Still it was a great experience and I would recommend the Greenworks 20" Reel Mower to anyone.

Utah Open Source Conference: Call for Papers

The Utah Open Source Conference 2010, like the object in the rear view mirror, running October 7th through the 9th 2010, is closer then it appears!!

The Call for Papers for UTOSC 2010 is officially open! Paper submission deadline is July 15th, 2010 at Midnight and can be submitted through theUtah Open Source Conference website at http://2010.utosc.com.

If you’ve got something to share, something to tell, something to introduce or something to show, please take the time and submit a presentation to the Utah Open Source Conference 2010. We’d love to see your presentation!!

Some people are natural public speakers and presenters while others are reluctant to imagine themselves in front of a group of people at a conference. Nobody should feel unqualified or inexperienced to present. We want presenters who can share information at all levels.

And now, some tough questions

What should I talk about?

You should talk about Open Source software, philosophy, technology, etc. The theme for this year’s conference centers around being “free“, so your topic can be targeted at beginners, experts, or someone in between. Don’t forget that there are plenty of “free” applications out there as well!

It may help to see what topics were presented last year. Go to for information about 2009’s conference sessions.

Several sessions will be targeted at beginning or “newbie” users including those who are family members of an Open Source geek. Basic sessions around Linux, The GIMP, or WordPress are good examples of these types of sessions.

We have expanded our categories offerings this year and you can select multiple audiences as well. If there is a category you do not see listed, please let us know by emailing our program coordinator, atprogram@utos.org.

What does a response to a call for papers look like?

You should come up with a brief outline, or abstract, of your presentation and who would be interested. You should also provide some information about you, your
experience with open source software and the specific aspects you’re proposing to speak about.

Here’s an example of an abstract:

Title: Open source home security
This presentation will outline how I have used a Linux server,
IP cameras, and open source software, to provide around-the-clock
video and image surveillance of my home which is archived for
later viewing and is available for viewing via the Web when
I’m not at home.
The presentation will describe how to set up a system similar to
mine and what alternatives are available for software and hardware
in the system.

What’s in it for me?

There are lots of perks reserved for people chosen to present at the Utah Open Source Conference!

Resumé material
Having presented on a topic at a conference is a great thing to add to your resumé and could make the difference the next time you apply for a job.

Free admission
If you’re chosen as a speaker, we’ll let you — and your family — into the conference for FREE!

A picture and a paragraph
Speakers are asked to submit a digital photo and a paragraph of biographical information which will be seen by those viewing the UTOSC website and those reading the conference program.

Warm fuzzies
Being involved in the Utah Open Source Conference is a great experience. Just ask anyone who was involved in UTOSC 2007, UTOSC 2008 or UTOSC 2009.

What’s that URL again?

Go to http://2010.utosc.com and get yourself an account. Then you can submit as many presentation ideas as you wish!!

Utah Open Source Conference 2010: It's better when it's free

2010 is here and moving along at a good clip, can you believe it is already May?! Well the good folks at the Utah Open Source Conference have just announced their plans for this year's conference, including dates, theme and location!

Here are the details:

The Utah Open Source Foundation is pleased to announce its 2010 Conference: October 7th-9th, 2010 at the Salt Lake Community CollegeMiller Free Enterprise Center in Sandy, Utah.
The Utah Open Source Conference 2010 will explore the theme “It’s better when it’s free*”. The conference, now in its fourth year, is designed for all users, developers and administrators of Free and Open Source Software of any skill level.

You can see the official press release a Free Press Release: Utah Open Source Conference 2010 Announcement

For more information about the conference and to keep up with Open Source technology in Utah check out the foundations websites: