Tag Archives | GNHLUG

ManchLUG, 25-Jan-2011, Marc Nozell and Sheeva Plug, Kenta Koga with Boxee and Kinect

Seventeen people attended last night’s meeting, held at Wings Your Way on Elm Street in Manchester. A good time was had by all. There was no dearth of conversation, whether on-topic or dissing Perl.
Marc Nozell brought a Sheeva Plug to show us the tiny computer. Marc has owned it for a couple of years and uses it as his in-house file sharing server. The Sheeva came with an older Ubuntu installed, he has used a couple of different Debian installations. It’s an ARM-based processor, has 512 Kb Flash and 512 Kb RAM. It has an MMC slot that supports Compact Flash, and that’s typically where Marc keeps his OS. The box also has USB and Ethernet connections, so it can host external drives via a powered USB hub and have a network presence. Marc passed it around and there were a fair number of questions on installation and configuration and file system choices.
Kenta brought his Mac to show Boxee, an application based on XBMC (originally, XBox Media Center, but its evolved to be more hardware-generic). Kenta talked and demonstrated how Boxee could show his social media feeds, NetFlix, Hulu, YouTube and more. It’s a pretty slick application for the next generation of media centers. We talked about some of the hardware available, proprietary and not, and the evolution of the media space.
Kenta also brought a Microsoft Kinect and showed how he had hacked it to work on his Mac. We talked about some of the new immersive and interactive technologies out there.
Thanks to Kenta (and Chip Marshall) for organizing and announcing the meeting, to Wings Your Way for the fine facilities, and to Marc for his presentation, and to all for attending and participating!

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Notes from NH Ruby/Rails, 17-Jan-2011: Brian Turnbull, OmniAuth, Nick Plante, Mirah

Seven members attended the New Hampshire Ruby / Rails group meeting held on 17-January-2011 at the New Hampshire Innovation Commercialization Center (NH-ICC). We had two presentations: Brian Turnbull talked about OmniAuth and Nick Plante showed a project he’s doing with Mirah on the Android platform.
Brian Turnbull is an engineer working for ARRIS and injects Ruby into his build tools whenever he gets the chance. A recent project required authentication against multiple providers and he did some research on OmniAuth. Brian presented a slideshow explaining the basic concepts of authentication and how they’re implemented in OmniAuth. Apparently, OmniAuth was the authentication method of choice during the most recent RailsRumble, used by most of the contestants. Brian outlined the process needed for working with an existing provider and demonstrated it with clear and simple code. He followed that up by showing how to build your own custom provider and authentication strategy. Brian’s sample code can be found on his github account.
Nick Plante has been working on an Android rich client app as part of a web-based social application that’s soon to launch. Nick told us that working on Java for Android has reinforced his love of Ruby. There’s not yet a good port of Ruby to the Android platform, but he has been impressed with the Mirah language, a hybrid solution that compiles to bytecode and runs natively on the JVM. He has developed a Ruby generator called protoform to construct the skeletons of a Mirah app. He gave us a tour of the components and built a simple “Hello, World” app, deployed and ran it on his Android VM.
Thanks to Brian for organizing the meeting and for the OmniAuth presentation, to Nick for talking about his Mirah project and to the NH-ICC for providing the fine facilities.

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CentraLUG, 6-Dec-2010, David Berube, MySQL Operations

The December meeting of the Central NH Linux User Group will be held as usual in Room 146 of the NHTI Library – details and directions can be found at http://www.centralug.org – and will feature David Berube presenting “Real World Experience with Large MySQL Deployments”

David recently attend the Percona Operations Day training covering real world howto’s on big MySQL deployments and will share what he’s learned.

About David: David is a principal at Berube Consulting. David Berube is a software developer, consultant, speaker, and writer. He is constantly researching, perfecting, and practicing his trade. He is a prolific writer, appearing in places such as Dr Dobbs Journal, Linux Magazine, IBM DeveloperWorks, PHP International Magazine, and many others. He speaks frequently, notably including his seminar series, “Making Money Using Open Source Software”. He authored the books “Practical Rails Gems” and “Practical Reporting with Ruby and Rails”, and co-authored the book “Practical Rails Plugins.” He is also a leader in the Open Source community. He was involved with the AmphetaDesk project, developing much of its Win32 GUI code.

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Notes from the Python Special Interest Group, 18-Nov-2010

Four members attended the November meeting of the Python Special Interest Group, held a week early due to the Thanksgiving holiday (anticipate a similar schedule for December). The Amoskeag Business Incubator was kind enough to allow us to use their smaller meeting room, which worked out perfectly for the smaller crowd.

It was an open Q&A evening, and boy, did we have Qs and As! Topics covered included:

  • Getting scanners working on Ubuntu 10.10
  • sharing printers in Ubuntu
  • Why DSL isn’t always at its rated speed
  • what a CO and a DSLAM is
  • Win7 Starter Edition blue-screening on an Asus Aspire One
  • the New Microsoft/Verizon KinONEm KinTWOm
  • the disaster that was the Microsoft-Danger hiptop acquisition
  • Microsoft’s announcement of Java as a “first class citizen” of their Azure cloud
  • Microsoft’s “Embrace, Enhance, Extend, Extinguish” history
  • Maybe they’ll call it IronJava? And, hey, where did IronPython go?
  • Oracle and Java and licensing and FUD
  • Oracle and MySQL and licensing and FUD
  • A public library looking for a Linux-based solution to reserving PC use
  • A great suggestion to consider Gnome Nanny
  • generating PDF Forms out of a LAMP app using pdftk
  • OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice
  • Generating PDF fill-in forums out of OpenOffice.org, courtesy of Solveig Haugland
  • the difference between “business class” and “consumer grade” machines
  • Dell and HP, Linux support, HPLIP Open Source project
  • printing to PDF in Ubuntu only worked when App Armor was removed
  • the ease of hooking up a projector to Fedora 14 with the new video subsystem and Noveau drivers
  • installing NetworkManager on Debian Lenny (there’s python in there!)
  • a quick tour of NetworkManager on Fedora 14
  • a demo of using Elementree to parse and modify an XML file used to manage installs of Atlassian Jira
  • using BeautifulSoup to parse an HTML file and generate an INI file
  • the Venus software for generating an RSS aggregator page
  • hacking WSDLs for SOAP using suds

Those were the Qs. You needed to be there for the As. And the awesome gingerbread cookies and frosted cake.

Thanks to Janet for the desserts, to Bill for organizing the meeting, to the Amoskeag Business Incubator for the facilities, and to all who attended and participated. Look for the December meeting announcement with the date tentatively planned for the 16th.

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Notes from CentraLUG, 4-Oct-2010: Patent Absurdity

Five people attended the October meeting of the Central NH Linux User Group, an affiliated chapter of the Greater New Hampshire Linux User Group. We met at the NHTI Library, Room 146.

We had an attendee with a tech support question we weren’t able to answer on the spot, but gave him some resources to pursue. He was plugging his camera into his Ubuntu machine, and he wanted to set the mount point to be a fixed mount point rather that something dynamically created by dbus. He made some changes, but wasn’t sure of exactly what he had changed, and the device no longer appears when he plugs it in. It does appear on other machines, Linux Mint and Windows, so the device is unlikely to be broken. No one present was sure where the settings might be stored for this. We suggested joining the gnhlug-discuss list as well as the support forums provided by Ubuntu Linux. I look forward to some of our experts helping our friend out.

I let folks know that I’ve reserved the room for November and December. After that, we’ll likely start meeting with the ManchLUG group, unless someone else wants to keep running meetings in Concord. We reviewed the GNHLUG wiki for upcoming meetings. Especially noted were the upcoming DLSLUG meeting “About Lisp -or- Lambda, the Ultimate Lecture, presented by Yoni Rabkin” and the New Hampshire High Tech Council‘s TechWorld 2010 conference ($25 – $210) coming up next Thursday and Friday. We discussed the idea that a nicer-looking forum software, like Drupal, would be nice to implement on the GNHLUG site, and talked about the past efforts to do that, and some of the challenged past projects have run into.

We mentioned that there’s a effort to create a community-driven site to support and distribute a new fork to OpenOffice.org named LibreOffice. Some of the other projects involved in the MySQL – Sun – Oracle mergers have been making interesting news as well.

Thanks to Dave Rose for providing the projector. We used a Live USB version of Fedora 14 beta which shipped last week and saw a pretty remarkable “It Just Works” effect: plugging in the running ThinkPad (a T61, 1680×1050, with an nVidia controller), the open source nouveau driver recognized the Sharp projector and automatically reconfigured the display (1400×1050) for side-by-side (“twinview”) layout with the internal screen. No xrandr, no rebooting of the machine! Wow. We brought up the Gnome display properties dialog and moved them around and finally settled on a mirrored display for the main presentation. This is a huge time saver and convenience for doing presentations!

Our main presentation was a viewing of the documentary, “Patent Absurdity, How software patents broke the system” and a discussion afterwards on what you can do (contact your Congress-person, contribute to organizations, etc.). Everyone learned something from the show, and perhaps from the discussion afterwards.

Thanks to all for attending to Dave for providing the projector, and to NHTI for providing the facilities!

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Notes from ManchLUG, 28-Sept-2010, maddog, Project Cauã

Eighteen people attended the second ManchLUG (wiki, twitter) meeting, held at “Wings Your Way” on Elm Street in Manchester. Early attendees to the meeting enjoyed good food, beverages and camaraderie.

It’s never easy to summarize a maddog presentation :). Maddog had a lot of interesting materials to cover, and provided a lot of depth and background to his main thesis. Briefly, Project Cauã is based in Brazil as the center of its first pilot and rollout, but intends to be worldwide. There’s a strong ethos of openness and transparency in hopes the project will be duplicated elsewhere. It is an effort to distribute computing power and internet connectivity to as many people as possible as cheaply as possibly, but using the power of capitalism and business to drive the project, rather than some completely free charitable model that would be trying to fight the entrenched interests. There seemed to be an emphasis on sustainability, both for the project and the world, and the principles of Open Software.

The infrastructure would consist of very-low-power (10-12 watts) mini-machines, a small fanless thin-client box with USB3 and gigabit ethernet connectivity, wired into large servers centralized in neighborhoods or apartment building basements. The machines would be manufactured as greenly as possible and built for long term service (6-10 years). Small businesses would be established and trained (cheaply over the internet and/or with DVDs) to service the machines. The thin clients would rent/lease for a target price of $6/month. To avoid vendor lockin or obsolescence, the thin client design would be open, designed by the University of São Paulo and distributed/licensed freely to the many SMT (Surface Mount Technology) assembly facilities available within Brazil (import duties of 100% on finished goods, versus a 6% surcharge on raw components, means that in-country assembly is economically feasible, driving local employment). The project intends to use the network to provide free metro-wide Wifi. Some vendors have expressed an interest in providing free internet band width in exchange for idle CPU power. There’s lots more to the project of course: finding the proper motivations to financial institutions to provide the seed money the many small startups will need, certifying and bonding the local computer experts, designing and integrating the hardware, software, networking, etc., but maddog only had a little over an hour to present. More can be learned at http://www.projectcaua.org and maddog promised he’d be further updating the site soon.

Thanks to maddog for the presentation, to Kenta Koga and Chip Marshall for coordinating the meeting, to Wings Your Way for the facilities and good food, and to all for attending and participating!

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PySIG Notes, 23-Sept-2010, Bill Freeman and Django

Seven folks attended the September meeting of the Python Special Interest Group of the Greater New Hampshire Linux User Group held as usual on the 4th Thursday of the month at the Amoskeag Business Incubator in Manchester. Bill Sconce, PySIG’s organizer, supplied milk and Janet supplied (excellent!) chocolate chip cookies.

Bill Freeman was the presenter for the night, and spoke about Django. Django is a web framework written in Python. It supports the WSGI web server gateway interface specification which allows a standard way of connecting to web servers and provides facilities to “stack” additional WSGI-compliant applications to act as filters, caches, security modules, etc. between the web server and your application. Bill walked through the flow of data through the application’s architecture from http request, through parsing, views and the template language, processing in the ORM and out as the http response. There are hooks galore where you can add your own code, modifying the flow of data and responses. Django is a world-class web framework, with facilities to plug in additional “engines” — mini-applications — and add your own template tags, customize the automated generate of the data schema, and of course, write your own application logic. It’s Open Source, it’s Python, and the code is there for you to mess with. Django’s most popular add-on provdes an administrative function that provides developers (and, optionally, their customers) with simple add/edit/delete forms. Django seems to be a platform well worth considering if you’re interested in web apps in Python. Bill’s slides are available on the GNHLUG wiki.

Thanks to Bill Freeman for a great presentation, to Bill Sconce for organizing the meeting, to Janet for the awesome cookies, and to the Amoskeag Business Incubator for providing the fine facilities.

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Notes from ManchLUG’s Launch Meeting

Twenty-seven people attended the first meeting of the Manchester Linux User Group, held on August 24, 2010 at Wings Your Way, Elm Street, in Manchester, NH. Congrats to organizers Kenta Koga and Chip Marshall for taking the initiative to start a group, finding a location and publicizing the meeting!

The meeting was primarily a meet-up, more focused on finding out if people would come out than running a training session. Kenta and Chip made a few announcements at the beginning of the meeting, including mentioning the GNHLUG calendar at http://gnhlug.org (on a Mac!), Leslie Poston’s efforts to bring together a lot of local tech and social media calendars on Google, activities happening at Float Left Labs and their Archimedes Space in Manchester, Jellies at Studio99 in Nashua.

Conversations were pretty local at that point, with a lot of people in a small space with good food and beers and apparently lots to say. What a joyous noise!

Thanks to Kenta and Chip for organizing the event, to Wings Your Way in Manchester for providing the space and to all who attended!

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Notes from Ruby SIG, 16-Aug-2010

The New Hampshire Ruby/Rails group met as usual on the 3rd Monday of the month. We met at the New Hampshire Innovation Commercialization Center, a new space near the Pease airfield. Mark Galvin, NHICC’s Managing Director, was kind enough to offer the space for our meeting and tell us about the ICC. Eleven members attended the meeting.

As we often do, we started with a round of introductions. It’s always interesting to find out who’s there and what they’re up to. I mentioned the GNHLUG calendar and Nick plugged the upcoming Rails Rumble. Near the end of the meeting, we plugged the NorthEast RailsCamp, coming up on it’s third meeting, this one in Stowe, VT. 5 alums from previous camps were there, and all loved it. There may still be a ticket or two left, even though the site says zero – you’d better hurry!

We were lucky enough to have two presentations tonight.

Brian Turnbull presented “Interfacing Ruby with C.” He explained he needed to do some automation with a “black box” his company was using, and their documentation consisted of a C API and a DLL. Rather than developing an entire application in C, he used Ruby to interface to the C API and then could develop an easy-to-modify Ruby app. That turned out to be a good idea, as the final product he delivered turned out to be very different from the initial request, and having the ability to rapidly re-develop in Ruby was a success. To show us how to use C to access Ruby and vice-versa, Brian used a simple example of a “leaky bucket stack,” a fixed-length stack that would lose the oldest item as the stack was pushed. It was a great example in that it had enough complex behavior to be useful, while simple enough to explain and translate into C without too much effort. First, we reviewed the pure Ruby implementation. Brian proceeded to build up the equivalent code in C, calling Ruby array functionality and data types where appropriate. He then showed how to configure the C extension from from Ruby, build, compile, debug and run from the ruby command line.

See the example code and slides (I’ll update the URL when available). Also http://github.com/bturnbull/padpaws for his more advanced C example.

Brian Cardarella, @bcardarella, http://bcardarella.com, presented his gem, client-side validation, which he developed while working on the “Raise Your Vote” site for the Democratic National Committee. The Raise Your Vote site is intended to assist in voter registration by collecting data online and generating matching PDFs of the voter application. Naturally, 50 states have fifty different forms, with different requirements. He wanted to avoid duplicating the server-side validations with hand-maintained client side code, as the regular changing of requirements and the difficulty of keeping business rules in synch across the two languages would doom the project. He wrote client-cisde_validations to use the declarative validations within the entity models to generate the equivalent Javascript code. Client-side_validations has remarkable depth and breadth, handling nearly all of the common and exceptional types of valiation (Brian notes the few difficult cases in his slides). You can find the code on GitHub (gem code, examples) and the slides here: client_side_validations.pdf

Thanks to Brian Cardarella for travelling all the way to Portsmouth and thanks to both Brians for their fine presentations. Thanks to Nick Plante and Brian Turnbull for organizing and promoting the meeting and the group. And thanks to Mark Galvin and the New Hampshire Innovation Commercialization Center for providing the fine facilities!

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Notes from CentraLUG: Joseph Smith and the Coreboot project

Nine people attended the August meeting of the Central New Hampshire Linux User Group, held at the Hopkinton Town Library on August 2nd. We announce our meetings in advance on the GNHLUG-announce mailing list, a very low traffic list we encourage everyone to subscribe to. Joseph Smith presented some information on the Coreboot project, had some hardware to show off, and had a lot of insights into the workings not only of the machines but of the vendors in the space.

We had a couple of announcements, mentioning upcoming meetings on the gnhlug.org web site. We had a round of introductions. We then asked for questions, announcements, job searches or job postings, etc. One attendee had a problem with having Ubuntu insisting it was updating grub with newer kernels, but the kernels were never appearing in the menu. The group had several very good suggestions to follow up on, including the suggestion to join the -discuss mailing list for more help and support.

I mentioned that the CentraLUG is affiliated with several publishers who offer discounts on their books, and that InformIT/Pearson Education (Addison-Wesley, Cisco Press, IBM Press, Prentice-Hall, Que, Sams) sends out a newsletter and holds a monthly user group contest/raffle for good stuff on their web site.

Finally, Joseph Smith got to do his presentation. You can find his slides here. Joe is an AS400 Administrator for a local well-known retailer’s headquarters, but had always enjoyed tinkering with hardware. It was frustrating to find that set-top boxes and other devices were restricted in what they could do (or run) due to defective or proprietary locked-in BIOSes. He was delighted to find the coreboot project and has been contributing ever since. Joe attended NHTI to polish up his software skills and earn a certificate. He brought along several boxes to show us what he was working on. He talked about the sequence of events that occur within the BIOS and how coreboot can replace them. He demonstrated booting a machine with a serial console and minicom monitoring a fully-verbose debugging session. He talked about the issues with getting coreboot running on a new machine, how vendors cooperated and contributed to the project (or not!) and the problems with turning a BIOS chip into a brick and how to recover. It was a fun and interesting presentation.

Thanks to Joe for his presentation, to Bill Sconce for supplying the projector, and to the Hopkinton Town Library for use of the great facilities. Note that CentraLUG will not have a September meeting due to the Labor Day holiday (come on up and see the Hopkinton State Fair!) but plans to meet in October, November and December at the NHTI Library. Stay tuned for announcements.

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