On the 4th September I picked Richard Stallman up from the airport and we went to dinner with a number of people that had helped organise the event at Brass Bell, Kalk Bay.Around Cape Town
He stayed with me and my friend Lerato in Muizenberg, and he is a gracious and accommodating guest. I took the Thursday off work, and we had lunch at a little local restaurant in Marina da Gama, and I then took him for a drive around the peninsula on a beautiful Cape day.A Free Digital Society
The talk was at the Leslie Social Sciences building at University of Cape Town, but as we arrived Richard realised he had left behind a Gnu fluffy toy he wanted to auction, so I had to dash back to Muizenberg to pick it up.Gnu Public Licence
The other organisers delayed the start of the talk by ten minutes so I could do the introductions, thank you. He talked for about two hours on a range of topics, dwelling on the GNU Public Licence, his 30 year old prescription for how developers should set about writing code that will become a living part of a commonly-owned set of tools and procedures that other people can build upon and improve.Tracking
He outlined his suspicions regarding the trackability of cellphones, and the vast amounts of information that is stored by cellphone companies - mostly metadata (number called, duration, cellphone location) and the implications for privacy. He does not own one.Education
He touched on software used in schools, exhorting educators to think about the larger consequences of software usage, and putting students on the right track - to empower them to realise they are in control of the software, and not just treat it as a purchased item that remains the property of the software company.Voting Software
He highlighted the many dangers and pitfalls of computerising the counting of votes, from the closed nature of the software, the possibility of bugs or deliberate malware in the code, the difficulty of knowing if the software that was verified is indeed the software that is running on the machine for the duration of the vote, and the difficulty of a recount, or even what that means.E-Tolling
Bringing a South African flavour to his talk, he discussed eTolling - which he objected to because of the potential for abuse for surveillance purposes. He also pointed out that if proper attention was paid to anonymising the data, he would no longer object.
He let me keep a South African music CD in his collection, which was very nice of him, and I like it very much. In short, we had a capacity audience from diverse backgrounds, no glitches, and he very much enjoyed his trip, saying he would look forward to coming again. We are certainly blessed to live in such a beautiful part of the world, that people like Richard want to visit.Other commentary
A couple of other posts :-
I’ve been really quiet on the blogging front the last few months. There’s been a lot happening in my life. In short, I moved back to South Africa and started working for another company. I have around 10 blog drafts that I will probably never finish, so I’m just declaring post bankruptcy and starting from scratch (who wants read my old notes from Ubuntu VUDS from March anyway?)
For what it’s worth, I’m still alive and doing very well, possibly better than ever. Over the next few months I want to focus my free software time on the Edubuntu project, my Debian ITPs (which I’ve neglected so badly they’ve been turned into RFPs) and Flashback. Once I’ve caught up there’s plenty of other projects where I’d like to focus some energy as well (LTSP, Debian-Edu, just to name a few).
Thanks for reading! More updates coming soon.
2012 was one of those years that was not that bad (well the world did not end) at all but I cannot say that it was great either. So what happened during the year:
I am looking forward to 2013 and make it the year where I spend more time on myself and what is important to me. I do not make new year resolutions since we break them in any case. I just want it to be a year of happiness and prosperity. Oh and hopefully will get some time to take out my golf clubs and get on the course again. This is something I realy neglected in 2012.
To all my friends, family and whomever read this, I wish you all the best for 2013 and may it be a great year.
Who can use these laptop and netbook touchpads, trackpads, whatever you call the thing you-accidentally-tap and lose-focus-and-type-into-the-wrong-spot.
Specialized layout keyboard navigation is the way to go!
Customized Conky to a top horizontal bar, always visible by setting my desktop margins. Installed Pytyle to organize my windows running on top of Openbox, with vi-like keybindings relying on the Super key, And then hacked in a few Openbox global shortcuts for easy volume management and frequently used applications.
Crash course in navigation
So far I can manage 99% of tasks using the keyboard layout I set out below.
The Super is also known as the Winkey
cycle the focused window, Super-J/K
move the active window between panels on the screen, Super-Ctrl-J/K
move the active windows to another desktop, Super-Shift-J/K
switch desktops, Super-Alt-J/K
Change master tile size, Super-H/L
Add/remove master tiles, Super-./,
Ctrl-Ins, up volume
Ctrl-Del, down volume
Ctrl-Backspace, pause/play music
Super-V, alsa volume mixer
Super-M, mocp music player
When it comes to flash in websites that steals your focus, I feel like screaming. Due to bandwidth limits I use the text-mode CLI browser Elinks, and the CLI mail client Alpine.
I rebound many Elinks shortcuts for a vi-like experience to scrolling the page, within the page, browsing history, selecting links and so forth.
These books were a present to our Loco from Heather Fox and Debra Williams-Cauley see for more details.
Problem with this is that the idea behind these books is they were supposed to be shared among the Loco and every one was supposed to have a chance. Our loco Ubuntu-ZA is spread all around and way way across the county. So sharing doesn’t seem like a realistic option. So I am looking for suggestions as to what we can do with these snazzy new books.
Before I requested them Maia suggested we will decide when we get them so now it is time. Possible options are
Any how I am never very good at these type of things so for now I will keep them safe until we can decide what to do with them.