Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

FISL, Drupal and DrupalCamp in Porto Alegre, Brazil

May 27, 2013 GMT

Once again the conference season is warming up and one of the largest FOSS conferences in the world is going to be held in Porto Alegre, Brazil.The conference, called “Forum International Software Livre” or “FISL” for short is in its fourteenth year.Every year I look forward to going to FISL. In recent years this means joining a bus of university students sponsored by the Federal University of Santa Caterina (UFSC) who leave the evening before the event starts and arrive just before opening of the event. For me, this trip sets the tone for FISL, which is a healthy combination of programmers, systems administrators, university students and professors along with business and...
Happy Document Freedom Day (Belated)

Mar 31, 2013 GMT

March 27th was Document Freedom Day. In the crush of other events that day I was not paying as much attention as I should, and it took an article from a friend of mine talking about Office Suite compatibility to focus my attention.Of course compatibility between office suites is a big hindrance from a lot of people using an office suite like LibreOffice in their business. When you send a document to someone and they can not read it, or you get a document from someone and you can not read it, that is a problem. That is why it was nice that LibreOffice published a white-paper on migrating from other major office packages. While this document gave a lot of procedural steps to make...
Yahoo! A giant step backwards for man (and woman) kind!

Feb 27, 2013 GMT

Recently Yahoo! announced that they are going to require their telecommuting employees to find an office near them and report every day to that office instead of telecommuting, which had been the practice of a large number of employees for many years.The reasons given were many, ranging from “Yahoo! re-inventing itself and needing to have people in the office to share ideas 'around the water cooler'” to “improving morale”.I have worked for many companies over many years.My first "real job" in 1973 was at an insurance company where 400 people worked on each of four floors with desks lined up in rows arranged in “unit groups”. The most junior members of each group sat...
Les Misérables and Aaron Swartz

Jan 13, 2013 GMT

Last night I was about to watch the movie “Les Misérables” in my favorite movie theater when (during intermission) I flipped open my cell phone to read the news of Aaron Swartz's death. I do not recommend watching that movie after reading news of a young (26 year old) hacker and Internet activist committing suicide.***warning*** movie spoilers following:For those of you who have not seen the movie, the stage musical, or read Victor Hugo's masterpiece, “Les Misérables” (set in pre-revolution France) is about a man named Jean Valjean who stole a loaf of bread to help feed his brother's son, was caught and sentenced to nineteen years of punishment as a slave. When freed on parole...
Those Who Are Last May Later Be First: Ubuntu and the Phone

Jan 10, 2013 GMT

On January 2nd Ubuntu announced that they were going to support a phone, and the announcement has been met with both congratulations and nay-sayers.The people that congratulate Ubuntu and Canonical are talking about how manufacturers and carriers will now have a clear path to creating a highly branded interface to differentiate themselves from the other manufacturers and carriers.People that are nay-sayers usually talk about how Canonical is “late to the market” and “do not have experience dealing with carriers”.I would like to congratulate Ubuntu and Canonical, as I think this announcement has great potential.I will remind people that Mark Shuttleworth was considered a little...
Its the Night Before <Christmas>|<Hanukkah>|<Kwanzaa> and all through the house.....

Dec 24, 2012 GMT

It is the Night Before <your favorite holiday name> and all through the house, geeks are panicking because they STILL do not have some Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa presents for those they love.Do not panic. With Free Software you can fix it all in a couple of hours.First of all you need to design some nice cards for those on your list.Go to the Internet and find some appropriate images for your particular holiday. Make sure they are covered by Creative Commons licensing or otherwise are in the public domain. Photographs that you have taken in the past (perhaps of the loved one at this same time of year) are also good to use for this. Holiday scenes drawn by young hands and scanned in...
A letter to a manager about security, databases and openness

Oct 17, 2012 GMT

Recently I was talking to a high-ranking government official about the choice of using Free Software instead of closed-source proprietary software.  In this letter I mention "Microsoft" a lot, since most people know them, and they make a wide variety of products.  However, you could just as easily substitute almost any closed-source vendor and have the same message.One of the people who was copied on the letter, thought it was worth sharing with others, so here is the letter (somewhat edited) for my blog:Dear _________,Please let me apologize for not answering your questions sooner, but I have been very busy traveling, and getting time to sit down and direct a letter...

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