Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Trash bag accident after BARcamp Chicago 2007

My fellow BARcamp Chicago organizers decide the best way to get the trash bags down six flights of stairs is with a ropeline.

Welcome, friends around the world

I know where you are.

Friday, June 22, 2007

BARcamp Chicago this weekend

I'm one of the organizers for...

What? BARcamp Chicago
When? 12:00 noon Saturday June 23 - 20:00 (8:00pm) Sunday June 24
Where? 1464 N Milwaukee, Chicago (Wicker Park) (
Who? You and an expected 200 others (

Amongst our topics are such elements as:
  • Advanced Photography On Linux
  • Mass Customization: The Next Revolution in Software is Hardware (Ziad Hussain)
  • Old Technology: Not a formal talk, but a discussion of all things Low Tech, from steam engines to dripping water clocks. I just want to see how many other people are fascinated by this. Look for the guy with the Ballista. (TimSaylor)
  • Kirix: Strata Code Sprint -- building dynamic web mash-ups with RSS and a data browser (Aaron Williams)
  • Cleversafe, Inc.: Global Data Dispersal (John Quigley)
  • Chicago Linux: Brewing Beer at Home (Tristan Sloughter)
  • Chicago Lisp: Anatomy of Lisp (John Quigley)
  • Developing cross-platform applications using wxWidgets (Dave Williams)
  • Ruby on rails deep dive (ActiveRecord internals) (Mike Mangino)
  • Rich applications with Groovy and Swing (James Williams)
  • A.I.: Learning coding libraries through operator learning and representation. Practical methods of extending complex systems (FRDCSA).
  • Getting started in bug work in F/OSS software projects. (Freddy Martinez)
  • Mobile Web 2.0 ideas and brainstorming session
  • Mobile Web 2.0 MobHackaThon (go live by the end of the day)
  • Entrepreneur's Circle Of Progress - what are you getting done?
  • Web App Security analytics for session management - Jason Rexilius
  • Foresight Linux, don't you want your desktop to be cool and intro to Conary packaging Ken VanDine
  • Domainer's Swap Meet. Buy/sell/trade with other domainers. One man's trash is another man's $100/day AdSense play. Michael Carruth
  • Conary packaging and a demo of a MythTV Appliance Ken VanDine
  • Chicago Gnome User Group Meeting
  • Jason Jacobsohn - Discussion of Business Resources for Entrepreneurs: Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, 12A Investment Fund, and The Big Idea Forum
  • Humanized - Tales from developing Enso
  • Gizmometer: Keeping Tabs On Your System When You've Got Other Things To Do (Conrad Albrecht Buehler)
And that's just the planned stuff. Lots of unplanned stuff is also planned.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Life is good because I got a banjo for my birthday.

Lessons to follow. Then? Fame and glory!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Hitting the canvas

I ran across the <canvas> tag today (while reading about iPhone's lack of support for 3rd party apps).

Basically, <canvas> allows you to do 2D drawing inside a browser. It's supported by Firefox, Safari and Opera.

Here's what Mozilla Development Center says about <canvas>:
<canvas> is a new HTML element which can be used to draw graphics using scripting (usually JavaScript). It can for instance be used to draw graphs, make photo compositions or do simple (and not so simple) animations.

<canvas> was first introduced by Apple for the Mac OS X Dashboard and later implemented in Safari. Gecko-based applications support this new element starting with Gecko 1.8 (i.e. Firefox 1.5 and later). Opera 9 supports <canvas> as well.

The <canvas> element is part of the WhatWG Web applications 1.0 specification also known as HTML 5.
Some <canvas> links:

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

BARcamp Chicago - Mark your calendar

BARcamp Chicago is the local 32-hour-long BarCamp that will be held from noon on Saturday June 23rd through 8pm on Sunday June 24th in Wicker Park.

Obligatory definition from
A BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from participants. The name BarCamp was inspired as a complement to FooCamp.

Two videos capture the essence of BarCamp. Take a look at video summaries from BarCamp SF, What is a BarCamp and BarCamp Austin.
I'll be there, along with some other AgileTek folks. You should be there, too.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Virtual machine performance checklist

When my life slows down a little and I get back to my Subversion-on-a-virtual-machine stuff I'm going to want to remember this link:

The article has some very good advice. And its URL is a good (though rather long) example of a meaningful URL

(Thanks, Andrew, for the link.)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Surfing with J.R.

Check out the Speed Demon Photography contest at Cre:source (via Chaos Digest). To the left is a bursting water balloon. To the right is a racing dog that you've just got to zoom in on.

"Security Now!" is one of my must-listen podcasts. Their latest series on authentication (#90: "Multifactor Authentication", #94: "The Fourth Factor" and #95: "OpenID") is especially good. I listen to the weekly episodes in the car, but if you like text better you can read the transcripts at The show is one of several TWiT shows produced by Leo Laporte for his network. I like "Security Now!" so much that I figured I'd love Leo's other shows, but after a few weeks of listening I've found "Windows Weekly" to be too slow-moving for my tastes. Perhaps I should try "net@nite" or "FLOSS Weekly".

I followed a 43Folders link and I think I've found a new favorite blog: Marc Andreessen's (Yes, that Marc Andreessen.) Some of the posts that won me over:Of course, Marc's blog is only eight days old so it (and my opinion) may change. But right now, I'm lovin' it.

Good to know I'm not the only person who perennially suffers from Windows rot. I'm a little disappointed to find that I'm not the first person to use the term, though.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Bluegrass screen of death

I was just listening to Sirius bluegrass and I caught Tim O'Brien's Runnin' Out Of Memory. It's a great mixup of Windows, bluegrass and love. Some of the lyrics:
I opened up my PC casing
I thought I knew just what I'd do
But it was all for naught
There were no expansion slots
And I'm a runnin out of memory for you

My color screen won't even function
It's one big solid field of blue
My hard drive it went soft
My application coughed
And I'm a runnin out of memory for you

You can hear a sample at Amazon; track 8 of the Cornbread Nation album.

On a related note: The Top 10 Reasons Why Tim O'Brien Hasn't Won a Grammy Until Now (from 2006).

Monday, June 4, 2007

Here he comes, here comes Speed Racer!

Ever had one of those days where Speed Racer follows you everywhere?

First I learn, via Boing Boing, that Andy and Larry Wachowski (yes, the The Matrix guys) will be directing a live-action Speed Racer film. USA Today has an article with a pic of the movie's Mach-5 in all its awesomeness.

Second, I was driving past a currency exchange and I saw a woman dressed as the Mach-5.

I stopped to ask her about the costume. She'd gotten it from the main office as part of their promote for renewing Chicago city stickers. So I spoke with people until someone tracked down the box that the costume came in. (Obsess much, J.R.?) It's part of costume #4100 by Rasta Imposta. #4104 is Racer X and #4106 is Trixey. Not sure what the missing numbers in the sequence are. Discontinued Spritle, maybe?

Third, I've been sorting through DVDs and I found the Speed Racer volume 2 - Episodes 12-23 (1967) DVD that my brother's family gave me for Christmas. (Hint to family: I still need volumes 1, 3, 4 and 5.) The box makes noise! Listen:

I'm really looking forward to the Speed Racer film. The acting line-up, so far:

1960s Original

2008 Film


Christina Ricci

Racer X

Matthew Fox

Speed Racer

Emile Hirsch

Mom Racer

Susan Sarandon

Pops Racer

John Goodman


Kick Gurry

Spritle and Chim Chim




Sunday, June 3, 2007

Linus hates all SCM except Git

Linus Torvald's recent comments on SCM (Source Control Management) kicked off an interesting discussion at Slashdot comparing different SCM packages. Linus trashes every SCM tool I've ever used (CVS, Subversion [SVN], ClearCase, Perforce and Visual Source Safe [VSS]) and presents Git as the be-all and end-all of SCM software.

Some points (and some of my own comments) from the ensuing Slashdot discussion:
  • Internally, Microsoft has used Source Depot, their own specially-modified version of Perforce. (I understand that Microsoft is now pushing its internal developers to eat their own dog food and use Hatteras, which is the SCM portion of Team Foundation Server. AgileTek is about to kick off a project that uses Hatteras and I'm eager to see how well it works.)
  • General agreement that CVS sux. (I use it heavily and can heartily agree. We've in the process of moving from CVS to Subversion. I've personally been using Subversion for some time and I really like it.)
  • Mixed agreement on whether Subversion sux. (Heh.)
  • Total agreement that Visual SourceSafe sux. (In other news: water is wet.)
As I was searching for more information on the above issues I ran across a 2005 controversy surrounding Microsoft's implementation of test-driven development in their tools. Curious? Several relevant links have been lost to time, but you can find the story here, thanks to the Internet Archive WayBackMachine.