Feb 08

Nifty Things for Week Ending 7 February 2016

Fun Stuff

fez

Programming

Cloud

Pi

Feb 01

Nifty Things for Week Ending 31 January 2016

I realized I’d missed doing this, so… here we go again 😉

Tools

Frameworks

Code

Learning

Algorithms

Data

Nifty Things

Jan 30

Eight Free and Open Source Art Software Tools

This list was originally compiled for Art & Design Explorer Post 407.

Name Platform URL Image Type Uses Notes License
Blender Linux, Windows, Mac http://blender.org 3D Animation Renderer, Animations, and Game Creation GPL
Gimp Linux, Windows, Mac http://gimp.org Bitmap Drawing, Photomanipulation, Graphic Design Photoshop workalike GPLv3
Inkscape Linux, Windows, Mac http://inkscape.org Vector Drawing, Graphic Design Adobe Illustrator workalike GPL
Krita Linux, Windows, Mac http://krita.org Bitmap Drawing Very nice paint software GPL
Pencil2D Linux, Windows, Mac http://www.pencil2d.org/ 2D, Bitmap Animation Mimics traditional 2D animation GPL
Pivot Animator Windows http://pivotanimator.net/ Other Animation Stick figure animation; AVI & GIF Free (other)
Stykx Linux, Windows, Mac http://stykz.net Other Animation Like Pivot, but multiplatform & more features. Exports animated GIF & MOV Free (other)
Synfig Linux, Windows, Mac http://synfig.org Vector, Bitmap, 2D Animation Like Flash or Anime Studio GPLv2.0

Jan 28

Cloudera Manager, Embedded DB and Docker

If you ever see a message like:

on startup and the Cloudera manager won’t start, it’s because you did not start the container in privileged mode:

Jan 13

Tech Conferences and Political Statements

While at CodeMash last week I was surprised to see an extremely political t-shirt being worn by someone at one of the Sponsor’s booths. I am a firm believer in Free Speech, however the sight was disconcerting — to my mind CodeMash is a place for technical sharing and discourse. Their Code of Conduct states:

CodeMash is dedicated to providing an outstanding conference experience for all our attendees, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, financial status, hair color (or hair amount), platform preference, or text editor of choice.

We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form, and we would like to take this opportunity to remind all attendees of the basic premise CodeMash was founded on: passionate, but respectful dialog between our attendees. Please treat your fellow attendees with respect, regardless of the context you’re interacting with each other.

Arguments regarding the merits of vi over emacs I would expect; in fact I participated in one. Discussions of .Net or Java, ember or angular, peanut butter or chocolate (or peanut butter in chocolate). Even if some of these can be called ‘Holy Wars’, all of these are to be expected and welcomed as they promote dialog and understanding. Sometimes the “arguments” have even degraded to the state of jest or loyal opposition and it’s perfectly acceptable to agree to disagree respectfully.

The shirt, in question, espoused a rather partisan viewpoint which I perceived as inflammatory in nature. I have asked myself whether my reaction is, in part, a reflection of my own political views. It’s part of why I’ve taken as long as I have to put my thoughts together on this topic. After much consideration, I would say it is not — I believe that political statements on either side of the spectrum are not appropriate.

I’ve come to the conclusion that politics are a very divisive topic and as such they can distract from the atmosphere of an organization — whether it be workplace or a conference. The place at which I work has a policy against political discussions; I think that there’s a good bit of wisdom in such. Moreover, were I to be in a position to represent my employer, I would not want to espouse any political views — unless I work for a political organization. It is just too divisive. Additionally it provides the impression that my employer tacitly approves of my political statement — whether they do or not, that is the impression given by such publicly visible statements by representatives of a company.

I’ve spoken, generally, with others about this — not mentioning any names — and received some interesting feedback. In general, the majority were in agreement with me. Some people said that they knew which sponsor I was alluding to and that they’d chosen not speak with them based upon the message of the shirt. Others, who were not present, said that they’d rather see such statements — it tells them from the beginning whether or not they will feel comfortable interacting with the company.

For me, the bottom line is that I’m a firm believer in Free Speech. However, the right of Free Speech does have limits. Certain types of speech are not appropriate in certain situations or environments, such as when creating safe space or a learning environment. Likewise, the responsibility of representing an organization limits what I may or may not say. So, while the person was within their rights to do so, I don’t think it was an appropriate venue for doing so. Nor can I say whether or not the message would have been one condoned by their company.

Jan 11

Codemash Talk & Slides

My talk at Codemash 2.0.1.6 was pretty well received; there were just a few seats open and people standing in the back. I entertained questions throughout — and there were many! I went up to the very end of the hour and people hung around after.

The slides can be found at http://aetherical.github.io/galloping_cuckoos.

Jan 11

DevOps Talk Update

The recording of my DevOps talk at DevOps Days Ohio is available online now at Ignite Talks Day 2 -DevOpsDays Ohio 2015 – YouTube. I’m the first speaker. I repeated the talk at Codemash 2.0.1.6 during their lightning talks — the recording of that should be available at some point. It will be interesting to compare the two talks — the second did not auto-advance, so in some ways timing was a bit more critical.

Dec 04

Seven Key Ideas About Copyright and Open Source

Disclaimer: IANAL. These are specific to US Copyright Law; they may or may not apply elsewhere. Additionally, this post is written in the area of Software and Open Source. Rules may apply differently to other forms of endeavor.

The following are not meant to be exhaustive, but rather an introduction to rules of thumb to remember when using Open Source.

1. Copyright is the exclusive right to use and distribute a creation granted by law.

The copyright holder may grant rights to others, however, they still maintain exclusive rights to their creation.

2. Copyright exists on creation; no registration is required. Nor is © required. However, if you wish to sue for statutory damages, the creation must be registered with the Library of Congress.

This is according the Copyright Act of 1976 as amended. Prior to 1976 the rules were different, but it’s unlikely that one will see Open Source from prior to 1976.

Nevertheless, if you are creating software is is a good idea to include a copyright declaration. This makes it easier to trace the history of a piece of code — generally Open Source licenses require any copyright notices to be preserved.

Works made for hire automatically belong to the employer and, for the purpose of copyright, the employer is the author of the work. This means you can’t take software from a previous employer to a new one.

3. Ideas, recipes, and algorithms cannot be copyrighted, but the ways in which they are expressed may be.

The classic example here is that of a cookbook — the list of ingredients and the steps cannot be copyrighted, but the format, font, arrangement, and text may be.

4. Open Source, while copyrighted, is licensed for use with commensurate obligations which need to be fulfilled.

These obligations are specified by the license under which the code is released. The Open Source Initiative has a fairly comprehensive list of the most common licenses. Additionally, the Software Package Data Exchange (SPDX) is a good resource; SPDX is growing in popularity and

“is a standard format for communicating the components, licenses and copyrights associated with a software package.” — What is SPDX

5. Software distribution triggers most Open Source obligations.

In the past it was easier to define distribution — it typically consisted of the physical transfer of media. However, now the vast majority of distribution happens over the Internet. Javascript on a web page can be considered to be distributed.

6. If there is no declared license, it is not Open Source.

If there is not a license, then all rights are reserved to the copyright holder. Consequently…. it isn’t open source.

7. Just because you can read the source or it’s on Github, Sourceforge, Stack Overflow, or some other site doesn’t mean it is Open Source.

The vast majority of projects on Github do not have licenses. As a consequence, they aren’t Open Source. You can:

  • Read their code
  • Learn from their code
  • Ask them to declare a license
  • Not use their code

Is it stealing if they give it to you? Maybe....

Is it stealing if they give it to you?
Maybe….


Stack Overflow has its own issues. By the terms of the site, anything you post there is licensed under a Creative Commons (CC-BY-SA) license. But what if you post code which is a work for hire and belongs to your employer? You don’t have the legal right to do so and any use by anyone else is likewise a violation of your employer’s copyright.


I know this post barely scratched the surface — it’s not intended to be deep, but the start of a discussion. There’s more to follow on the topic of Open Source.

Dec 03

Why Good Algorithms Matter

It might be self evident, but I realized something today — the real reason behind choosing good algorithms to solve a problem is that the good ones either break the problem into smaller problems or are myopic; focusing only on the steps needed to reach an answer. All else is superfluous.

Nov 30

JVM Choice Matters (a lot!)

I’m one of the lucky folk who was able to obtain a Raspberry Pi Zero for $5. Originally this was going to be an article reviewing the Pi Zero to see how much of a difference the overclocking really makes. That and my impressions of the Zero will be in a later post.

TL;DR: The choice of JVM makes an enormous difference in how code runs on a machine. Oracle Java outperforms OpenJDK by a considerable margin in the following test.
Read the rest of this entry »

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