The Joys of Open Source

Last weekend the FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Developers European Meeting) was held in Brussels. Check out FOSDEM 2013

Hosted at the Brussels Free University campus, year after year it is getting more and more busy with more and more people attending and showing their part of the Free and Open Source world.

As can be expected there is a definite “we against the corporate world” atmosphere, a bit of an anarchistic feeling, yes almost a “sixties” feeling there. Of course most of the attendants were not even born in the sixties yet, but you get the idea.

Perl, my beloved programming language, had a little stand there, thanks to Wendy and Liz. Once more they brought out their toy camel and the world’s largest Perl library. Not to mention the tons of goodies they gave away. And books, did I already mention books? I bought the 4th edition of the “Camel Book” and the 2nd edition of the “Modern Perl” book at bargain basement prices.

Although the Perl group applied to have a DevRoom too (“developer room”, a place where you can hold talks and such), there seem to have been too many applicants so Perl did not get choosen. Perhaps the organisers were thinking “Perl is a crufty old language, it is practically dead, so why does it need a DevRoom”? Oh well, Perlers are used to hear that kind of nonsense. So the room was given to some other “hot” language or group and then it turned out they could not fill it and barely two weeks before the meeting, Perl was asked if we could fill the room. “Please, please, pretty please”? In no time Wendy assembled 14 confirmed speakers (and 4 more as back-up) and a few lightning talks as well.

I got a small 20 minutes slot almost at the end of the day and I gave a non-technical talk about an application I wrote in 7 days automating some boring tasks normally done by our admin girls. Judging by some comments, people seem to have enjoyed it. For those interested, the presentation is available here.

I think next year Perl will have no problem getting a DevRoom. Not bad for a crufty old dead language.

Keep on learning to blog!

This week I gave the second lesson about blogging with wordpress.com in our local computerclub C&T.

English: Ubuntu USB lanyard

Ubuntu USB lanyard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first lesson must have been not half bad since all students returned for the second lesson. At the start of the evening there was some panic as it appeared that my laptop had lost the files I prepared. One reset (and 10 minutes) later, the filesystem recovered and my presentation file was back on-line. Note to self: put the files you need also on a USB-stick for  back-up and don’t forget to take it with you.

And speaking of USB-sticks. I recently bought a 64 GB USB-flash-drive and filled it with MP3 music files (about 300 hours) to play in my car. Priaaw! The silly USB music system in my car only reads the first 7 or so albums (=folders) on the stick. I have really no idea why. It seems an arbitrary limit. I will transfer my music to a smaller USB-drive and use the big one to install a bootable Ubuntu Linux system, so in case of trouble I can by-pass all Windoze silliness and get some real work done.

The unlucky “Section 13”

Yesterday in the office, I was reviewing a slew of contracts made by and for US companies.

To my surprise I read the following in the Table of Contents:  “SECTION 13.  [INTENTIONALLY OMITTED]”.

The missing Section 13

The missing Section 13

Now I could start a whole rant about the silliness of lawyers of major US corporations who blatantly show their superstition. I could point out that in many, some even say the majority of US sky-scrapers, there is no 13th floor (of course there is a 13th floor, it is just not so numbered) and that for sure superstition and religion march hand in hand, yeah one is not different from the other at all.

But I will not do so.

Have a look again at the picture. By “intentionally omitting” the unlucky section 13, they have actually included it. And not only in the Table of Contents, but in the contract text also.

And to add insult to injury: This unlucky and intentionally omitted “Section 13”, finds itself on page 13!

It seems one cannot escape one’s destiny and superstition will come back to haunt those who believe in it.

Now excuse me while I go out and walk under ladders, hug a black cat and step on the cracks in the pavement.

Expanding the site

Finally I managed to add the web-page about “Web Design“. Far too long it has lived as a draft on the server (and even longer as a concept in my mind), but I think it is OK now. I will have a look at it again in a few days and I can still edit the parts I don’t like. “The perfect is the enemy of the good”, as Voltaire once said.

Next page to write: Perl!

This blog

OK. The week is finished and the week-end is near.

An ideal time to spend some energy on arranging this web-site.

I started with the more-or-less standard Twenty-Eleven theme that comes pre-installed. It is nice and user-friendly, has tons of options, but it gets bo-o-o-o-o-ring fast. I guess there must be thousands of blogs based upon this theme.

So I tried something a bit more “flashy”: the Esquire theme. At the very least it is colorful and has a certain je ne sais quoi feel to it. A bit of a sixties look and feel perhaps too. Yes, I show my age by this statement.

I don’t know how long I will keep this theme. Let me know if you like it or not.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

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