Free *software* training, *free* software training, or just GNOME Training!

We are holding GNOME Training at GUADEC this year!

The title says “Free software training, free software training, or just GNOME Training!” because a couple of our most popular Google Adwords for it are free software training and free software class. Since none of those clicks have resulted in sales, I’ve been wondering if the clickers were looking for free training or free software training. I supposed I’ll never know. But we have GNOME training!

It’s taught by GNOME experts Fernando Herrera, Alberto Garcia, Claudio Saavedra and Dave Neary. (Dave is teaching and making the whole thing happen.)

The training is for developers and it’s split into four modules. You can sign up for the whole thing or for just the modules you are interested in.

  1. Developer tools and development environments. Source control, autotools, dependencies, compliation environments, debuggers, etc.
  2. The GNOME Platform. Glib, GObject, GTK+, Clutter, Glade, GtkBuilder, DBus, GConf, GStreamer, Telepathy, etc.
  3. A hands-on practical workshop. Set up a GNOME development environment, write a complete GNOME application in Python and integrate with the GNOME desktop.
  4. Community development. Community communication forums, effective community participation, getting changes upstream, getting to maintainer and building a vibrant community

As for cost … it’s not free. (But it is free software!) The trainers and organizers need to eat. And the GNOME Foundation hopes to be able to expand where we offer training to places like … Cambodia. (We did get pinged about someone in Cambodia interested in attending.)

This training should grow the GNOME developer community and the use of GNOME within organizations.

Check out the brochure (pdf), ask questions or just sign up!

How to make a password protected WordPress blog

There are lots of posts on how to make a password protected WordPress blog. I followed quite a few unsuccessfully (like this one).

Then I found a very simple way to password protect your self hosted WordPress blog:

Install the Absolute Privacy plugin.

The Absolute Privacy plugin lets only registered users of your blog view your blog posts. You can either create a login for each individual or you can create one generic login and hand out that login and password to everyone.

The disadvantage is that if people don’t have a login, it doesn’t send them to a place to request an account. You can however redirect them to any page you wish. So you could make a page that let’s people know how to contact you for a login.

Books to read if you liked How to Train Your Dragon

Photo by wili_hybrid. Taken in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

I watched How to Train Your Dragon yesterday and I really enjoyed it. I plan on reading the How to Train Your Dragon book series. I started thinking of all the dragon books I’ve read … and realized that while I know a few really good series, I know fewer than I thought. (I must be forgetting some …)

Here’s the ones I’d recommend. Which ones would you add that I could read?

  1. Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series. This is my favorite series. Pern is a world settled by humans who have lost technology and discovered dragons. I really liked the Mellony series which started with Dragonsong. A young girl runs away runs away from home and discovers little dragons and a whole horde adopt her.
  2. Dragon’s Blood by Jane Yolen. Another series about a boy, Jakkin, who is forced to work in the dragon pits where they train dragons to fight. He steals a dragon egg to train his own dragon.
  3. Eragon. Most people know of this one from the movie. Eragon, a farm boy, finds a dragon egg and ends up bonding with the dragon. When his family is killed, he goes to war as the last dragon rider. My nine year old read the whole series. I have to admit I only read the first one. It’s written in a some what Tolkien style with a lot of history and names.

Others that have been recommended to me:

  1. Dragon’s Milk by Susan Fletcher. This is about a girl who needs some dragon milk to save her sister’s life. She has to negotiate with the dragons.

What dragon books would you add to the list?

We need a business card substitute

Photo by jaaron,

Either we need a business card substitute or I need a better way to remember who I met.

I see fewer and fewer people handing out business cards at conferences. That’s fine by me. But some times it’s really hard to remember the name of the person I talked to. I used to flip through my pile of business cards and I could figure out who it was. Now I have a hard time. I know what they look like, where we were standing and what we talked about. And I want to follow up. But I don’t know their name. So I end up using details and google and friends to try to find them. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Ideally, I’d have a picture,  name and email for everyone I talked to at a conference. With location and a few notes. People might think I’m weird, but I could start just taking a picture of everyone I talked to at a conference. But I’d have to remember to do that and I’m often in a hurry to get to the next talk or conversation.

Thoughts? Ideas?

P.S. I’m not sure if fewer business cards are the trend or if I’m going to different conferences. I’ll let you know after OSCON.

Just like Rice: Keble College

I’m staying at Keble College in Oxford, attending the Transfer Summit. It reminds me a lot of Rice University. (But not of Texas!) Rice University’s colleges were obviously modeled after Oxford University’s colleges with buildings around a quad of grass. This is Keble College. It’s gorgeous.

Unfortunately, my room also resembles my dorm room at Rice. (But with a private bathroom.)

This is what I see from my window. The buildings form a square around the quad.

Why do you have to pay employees to do the right thing?

Photo by eyetoeye

Energizer Battery Company is rewarding employees for flying coach. If employees fly coach, the company splits the difference with them – up to $2,000 for trips to Europe.

This just seems really strange. Let’s put aside the fact that employees are now getting a $1,000 bonus for flying to Europe, so they may be inclined to fly more. (That’s about $50/hour to sit in an economy seat! I’d consider a job doing that.)

At first glance this seems like an awesome deal. The company saves money, employees make money, everyone’s happy.  I’d be a lot richer if I got this deal. But I fly coach without an incentive. Or rather the incentive is that I think the GNOME Foundation can do better things with that money.

That’s the key. Obviously, that business class seat isn’t worth the the $2,000 more the company was paying for it. It’s not even worth half that much to the employee! The company is counting on the employee being willing to sit in economy for $1,000.

So why were employees flying business? Because they didn’t care that the company would be $2,000 poorer. They don’t think the company will do anything more important to do with that money than fly them in business. They either don’t have enough say in how the company makes financial decisions or enough visibility into the process to feel like that money would be wisely used. Or they don’t care about what the company is trying to do.

That is what this company is missing. Employees need to know the money they are saving is going to go to good use. It’s hard to stay in a budget hotel if you know your CEO is staying in a 5 star hotel. It’s easy to stay in a budget hotel if you know your company is going to ship 10 more computers to underprivileged kids with the $2,000 you saved.

The bigger problem here is that employees are either not bought into the company’s mission or they do not trust the company’s financial decision process.

Share how you got something done in GNOME!

I am organizing the Getting Things Done in GNOME lightening talks at GUADEC. If you have gotten something done in GNOME, please come share your work! It can be something as simple as figuring out how to get a new hackergotchi to some thing as momentous as planning a new conference like GNOME Asia. If it took you some work (and some guts) to figure out how to do it, chances are others are also wondering how to do similar things.

The Getting Things Done in GNOME talks will take place on Thursday, July 29th, at GUADEC. Each talk will be 5 minutes in length. You can use slides which you will need to be sent to me ahead of time in PDF format.

If you are interested, send mail to guadec -at- stormyscorner -dot- com with the word “Getting Things Done” in the subject line, and include the following information. Please take a minute and submit your idea now!

Full Name:

Cell Phone Number:

Title of Talk:

One Line Description:

Your Blog or Website:

Other Talks I’m Giving at GUADEC:

Feel free to nominate people that you think I should invite to give a lightening talk about Getting Things Done in GNOME!

Come tell us about Freedom & Web Services at OSCON!

I am organizing the Web Services: How can open source software compete? lightening talks at the O’Reilly Open Source Conference. If you are working on a free web service, or if you’ve given some thought to what it would take to have free web services, please come share your work! Free as in freedom and free software, not free of cost.

Creating “free” web services will require more than just making web services using AGPL licensed software. We’ll need trusted providers, protections around how data can be used and all the social aspects that the current web services have. We now have several free and open web services. Come hear what people are doing to define and create “free” web services. We need you!

The Web Services lightening talks will take place on Wednesday afternoon, July 21st, at OSCON. Each talk will be 5 minutes in length. You can use slides which you will need to send to me ahead of time in PDF format.

If you are interested, send mail to oscon -at- stormyscorner -dot- com with the word “OSCON” in the subject line, and include the following information. Please take a minute and submit your idea now!

Full Name:

Cell Phone Number:

Title of Talk:

One Line Description:

Your Blog or Website:

Other Talks I’m Giving at OSCON:

Feel free to forward this to other people or communities that might have interesting opinions to share.

Stormy’s Update: Week of June 7, 2010

This is my update for work done for the GNOME Foundation. For a higher level overview for what I do as the Executive Director, see What do I do as Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation? or my earlier updates.

Attended LinuxTag. Met with many people (some much more briefly than others). Claudia Rauch and Frank Karlitschek from KDE with Vincent Untz to talk about the Desktop Summit 2011. Ivanka Majic from the Canonical design team. Andrew Savory from the LiMo Foundation. Many of the Openismus folks. Ekaterina Gerasimova. David King. The new interns. Andre Klapper. Johannes Schmid and Vincent Untz about GNOME mobile and encouraging applications. Mario Behling who planned GNOME.Asia last year – he planned a barbeque for GNOME and many other free software folks at LinuxTag. Mark Shuttleworth from Canonical. Chris DiBona from Google. Dirk Hohndel very briefly. Jos Poortvliet. Jonathan Corbet from LWN. And many, many others. We had several GNOME talks during the Desktop track. (Mine was first on Saturday morning – not the best time for a talk!) And Frank Karlischek interviwed Vincent Untz and I for RadioTux.

Worked on Annual Report letter.

Worked on proposal to get more apps on GNOME Mobile.

Attended Board of Directors meeting.

Spent a lot of time with my bottom in an airplane seat.

Voted in the GNOME Foundation Board of Directors elections!