Wednesday, January 24, 2007

opal in sydney, ruby (on rail) in seattle?

i've learned a thing or two about taihitian black perl when vacationing in taihiti/bora bora a few years back, and learned a thing or two about opal while in sydney for lca2007; i like boulder opal and black opal for the dark & deep blueness more than the white shiney opal of other kinds, i learned.

back in seattle, i got a chance to have somewhat not-so-in-depth(mainly due to my lack of knowledge) discussion about ruby on rail and ajax. I, of course, googled ruby on rail and got forwarded to o'reilly's site to read up on ruby, the language, and rail, the framework to house ruby and mysql on windows. hmm... ruby seem very high level language, and mysql on windows with all the odbc crap being taken care of by rail seem interesting.

of course i just got back from lca2007 where i saw someone like dave jones giving a demo on how many useless cycles of application/user layer system calls there are, and i bet making things easier for the developers on rail would create more of these extra system calls. heh. shrug...

i googled again and found watir, web application testing in ruby, or something like that? pronounced water, is what the web page says. i should try to play with both ruby on rail and watir. i also found this rather interesting website called, listing many automation tools, like sourceforge.

something new everyday, i guess.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

sneezing w/ sunburn?

hope it's not lca tradition.
as of tuesday morning i have slight sore throat, and as of wednesday afternoon i have sniffling and light headedness.

last year in dunedin, new zealand, there was some bad stomache flu sort of virus that someone picked up from christchurch and i heard it was nasty; many toilet drivers...

not sure if vigorous tour schedule on sunday, i got like 4 band-aids on my poor toes after 10hr walking, or if it's that fabulous speaker dinner on captain cook cruise that lasted late well past 11pm on monday, but sad truth is i got a cold. *cough* *cough*...

mmm... funny part of this is that walking around saturday and sunday, with rigorous application of sun block lotion every 15minutes, gave me much sun burn, on face, on scalp, on shoulder and on legs and the sun burn started peeling already.

laugh or cry? the cold is mild, and sun burn doesn't hurt (just itches). so i guess i can laugh it off? a cold in the hot summer of january in sydney! sun burn in january when it actually snows back at home!



Wednesday, January 17, 2007 sessions so far -- 2

okay, it's thursday, almost noon. and i crashed and burned badly. "The Hao of testing" had a homework section and I didn't know and when I was supposed to start download gmp and its patch to follow along, i should've quitted. Some one whole lot more advanced and clueful next to me, however , was coaching me to go to ubuntu patch download site to get the package, apply the patch, and also to apply Hao patches from the homework wiki site,, and I couldn't say no. So I sat through for about 40minutes, downloading, compiling and frentically looking for the source that the tutorial session speaker was going over, and I heard Quantas, United and even KAL fly over my head, and I had to admit my ignorance and bail out. A big ouch! but then again, so many more have walked out before me, that maybe ... mmm... maybe it was more stupid to be sitting in on something I got no clue whatsoever. Nothing wrong with the course, just that I was clueless other than the session description mentioning that it's a tutorial on how to test kernel. Heh.

I sat through Davem's Netchannel talk and Simon's Kexec talk, about as clueless, but less in pain of being and looking every bit stupid as I was. heh.

back to tuesday's kernel mini-confs. Through Peter Chubb's session I also took notes to checkout some source control tools like cogito, Mercurial and quilt. Never knew of quilt to go w/ CVS, and never knew cogito to go with git, so something to search on wiki.

he also talked about debugging, with magic sysRQ key, kernel debugger and 'wolf fence' technique, of which I ony know the last, put lots of 'print' statement before and after. :)

After lunch was divided between linuxchix track, "Demystifying PCI" with Kristin Carlson Accardi, Rusty's "Wesnoth for Kernel Hackers (and everyone else)", and kernel hacker's panel. Heh, from PCI session I got out the basic concept for what 'driver' and 'bus' means, and thanks to Peter's session earlier I did read through /usr/src/linux-2.6/Documentation for PCI, so things made more sense. And, of course I now use lspci. heh.

i didn't go to sleep that late, yet i missed Dr. Andrew S. Tanenbaum's 9am session in auditorium on wednesday. shame on me! how do these geeks who drink 'til the whee hour of the night wake up promptly to go to these 9am session? i dunno.

luckily, i made it to Jonathan Corbet's "The Kernel Report" in full, and wide awake too.
After much internal debate, I decide to be a good gal and crashed another session before lunch. "Electronics with Linux" with James Cameron. Yup, he began w/ self introductory of no I'm not a director of Titanic bits. funny funny... I liked his demo of how he worked on night light and door bell that he designed and made himself. I particularly liked the idea of the door bell having 'how many rings you missed while you were out' idea, and the fact that i might play with pcb myself one day; hmm... maybe not at home, even with a full insurance. ;p
but the poor visitor w/ no clue as to the fact that he's used fire alarm to incorporate into his door bell? heehee. that gave me many many silly ideas while seated.

his main topic was on testing network bandwidth for OLPC, the cute old mac like white sub-laptop with green rabbit ear for antenna and hand-held. :) cute! It's pretty funny to see a big man like James holding it up to his ear to show how he tested the ping sound while walking away from the other laptop. like a giant in fairy tale, with big bearded and all. huhu. Anyways, he made it look rather simple and fun project to volunteer for a thing like that and people asked some silly and some naughty questions. someone asked if the wireless coverage had any differences day time and night time and he made a face as if he'd been too afraid in the night to go out. lol. in any case, he demonstrated that he could just run a ping on one machine, walk away or drive away from it while holding the other one, to get the idea as to how this wireless coverage would work, sometimes having a tree or other objects in between, and sometimes leaving it on the car and sometimes taping the access point to the ladder. I had much fun, and I see how this conference is encouraging for hobbists alike the professionals.

Google sessions so far

this year's conf runs from monday 'til friday, ending promptly with the penguin dinner.
meaning, there'll be no circus of shaving, ^^ for poor Rusty who's just allowed to grow his facial hair again.

weather on sunday was up to it's reputation, giving me sun burn with all that sunblock lotion. heh, a sun burn in january. had breakfast in coogee beach, took ferry to the zoo for a few hours, and hung out in downtown/chinatown for the rest of the afternoon until we met up with Kay's sunday party at the Opera House Bar. Took off early around 9:30pm to make it to the monday/tuesday adventure at 6am, but obviously didn't wake up for it.

monday and tuesday were mostly miniconfs, each of conference room setup as a track for one topic. there were debian, GNOME, education, embedded, mySQL, research for monday and debian, GNOME, Education, gaming, kernel, postgreSQL, openoffice and linuxchix for tuesday. Hmm... one too many tracks for a single person to go to. And, wednesday is when the full session began.

i like the bag for 2007, it fits my laptop perfectly fine and is a size of a purse.

i began monday with Jonathan Oxer's "Escaping Image Storage Hell", and learned immediately one of more popular topics of the conference this year, virtualization!

his slides should be available at and started with a brief description of storage options and how the virtualization oes work in current models. he used some humour describing the name xim(xen image manager) that it rhymes with vim, to state 'xim with vim', haha. His xim works for build and clean removal and other basic fuctions and he's still working on synchronization of virtual machine images and is still researching with rsync and unison, and on things like configuration.
unlike me many of the attendees were active player in the fields, or have been paying enough attention to come up with all sort of comments and suggestions. what a lively panel for the first session of the conference, and a mini-conf session it was too.

then, i thought i might checkout this "A solar powered blue-tooth enabled, embedded video capture device" by Jamie Honan, mainly because I'm a sucker for this 'solar power' bits and 'embedded' another keyword that buzzed my attention. it was more of a demo and sharing session and i enjoyed immensely. Jamie is an active bee watcher it seems, so he was trying to come up with a way he could monitor and study his bees and bee hives. He began a session with a thing or two about bees and went on to describe each of the parts and generations of progress as he surveyed and added different devices. I've seen a few solar-powered devices for home appliance at Fry's but was still a little too timid to do anything with any yet; solar-powered lights for lawn or solar panels to charge up the car and things like that. Jamie had brought a few of his devices and let people discover his bluetooth device, and also showed the small solar panel mounted to the steel pipe and described what gave him difficulties and such. it was a quite motivating session.

university cafe were pretty nice and inexpensive, and were open to feed us, some 600+ attendees at the conference.

there was no question and no arguments about skipping Keith's 2pm session, even as it was titled 'TBA'. Unlike last year, I'm not surprised that he gets to work on the slides 3 days before coming to the conference, and yet come up with topics that everybody cramms the room to come hear about.

Jetlag finally hit me, and I don't really remember anything from 3pm until I was hungry waiting for the speakers dinner bus to transport us all to Captain Cook's cruise. It wasn't until 8pm that we got on, but there were ice cream shops and pie shops at the pier, so ...

Tuesday morning was a bit tough, I wanted to crash Kernel track and also wanted to checkout linuxchix track, not to mention gaming. I started the morning with Peter Chubb's "Speeding up Kernel Development" where I got reminded to go back to the basic, read /usr/src/linux-2.6/Documentation for things, and other neat tips like -> google for LXR on other online documents, -> use distcc and ccache to help speed up the compilation, and tune the machine for faster compilation (use SMP, better than multi-core) and things like that. He also mentioned to use ccache -C to compile if there's any assembly code changes to be picked up during the compilation.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

a few perks of 16+ hours flying

Haven't yet grown wings, and am not a fool enough to consider myself neither Peter Pan nor Superman.

With much of disadvantages health-wise, I do like flying, do like going to airport, even if it's to the other side of hemisphere, half world around, with much time zone changes.

To my surprise, time rolled fast enough so that lca2007 which I thought would never come and didn't think I'd ever see has yet come again. Week of Jan 15, 2007.

After much rains and much sunshines, the snow began wednesday afternoon and continued 'til much later through the night, leaving a few inches of snow on my lawn. My previous experiences in SF and in Busan leaves me with much wonder and awe at this sight. Also leaves me with a bit of worry, as I've seen what it does to traffics and power systems, from christmas' blizzard.

We left little after noon, to catch 4:30pm flight, getting to the airport by 2pm, with all the precautions taken; toilleteries in clear bag, pack everything into carry-on bag and cookies for 2 hrs at Sea-tac and another 2hrs at LAX. Some research saved us fees as monorail to the airport isn't quite there yet, not until 2009, and left us with airport shuttle, bus, taxi or airport parking as options and we got this $5.95/day option for this place in sea-tac, less than a mile away from airport with free shuttle to the airport.

As much as I hate to admit, upgrade to business class is worth every single dime, for that long 14hour flight. A quick lunch at Sea-tac's newly renovated food court area, watching planes take off and land, and chatting with some stranger(s), a Horizon mechanic with much tales to tell for this time, kills 2 hours easily, and premium status due to much of flights in 2006 saves me the long wait line at TSA X-ray station. Getting to LAX, getting upgrades, getting food and all is just fine, with an unexpected surprise, seeing Comet McNaught with bare eyes.

Maybe I've not caught up with current events lately, though I'm sure I did. And, maybe I'm no astronomy geek, but I'd no idea about it, and it made the flight to LAX a lot more unique and cool, even without any upgrades to first class. I was lucky to be sitting on the right side of the plane, getting a full view. How tiny it looks. Would I have been able to see it on the ground? I doubt, seeing how tiny it is hundreds and thousands feet up in the air. above the cloud, the sunset looks glowing red, and there are a few stars visible in a size of dots way way above the sky, and in the midst of red glowingness is a small dot with a long tail, about an half inch long to the dot-to-blob size comet. Thanks to the flight attend distributing newspaper article xeroxes and pilots exlpaining, and thanks to be sitting on the right side of the plane, I got to see and learn much about McNaught, a pretty cool event.

LAX to Sydney, the 14hour flight to start at 9pm, of course got delayed 30min before boarding and another 30min-1hr after seating. How did I survive all this? And, 14hours of flying? Heh, service for business class and the leg space is pretty phenominal. I can arrane the seat and the leg supporter extension to make it almost vertical, maybe about 5-10 degrees off?, position to rest my leg and lay my head to sleeping position. 2-3 meals they serve are better than some of fine restaurant meals I've had, and definitely nothing to compare to the economy class meal. I got orange juice served upon seating, dinner composed of appetizer, warm roll, and steak dinner, along with dessert. warm nuts were also served for snacks and hot drinks were served in a real tea cup, and napkings were not paper but cloth, and warm towel also a real towel not paper one. I did sleep through midnight snack, but I knew to be better prepared for breakfast, from the experience I had with the dinner before. It's a pretty big meal, all tasty, thus don't eat appetizer as if it's a meal itself! Flight attendants are pleasant, and movie access and individual reading light, with things like toothbrush and toothpaste, not to mention all the special toilettery stuffs from H2O(facial cleanser and water sprayer).

Having had some bad flight experiences before, including that one time for 12hour flight from London where the guy in front of me in regular economy class having pushed his seat backward for the entire flight while the little girl behind me screamed, cried and kicked my seat, this is about as close to heaven as it gets.

McNaught and upgrade! Maybe it's a sign how much fun lca2007 would be. ^^