Sunday, December 9, 2007

Advocacy does NOT need to be FORMAL

So after a recent discussion in IRC with the NJ Ubuntu LoCo gang (Congratulations again on achieving 'approved team' status), I figured I would make my feelings known to a larger audience.

There seems to be a 'lull' in user group activity recently. More and more people are becoming comfortable with technology; but this is not translating into more membership for area users groups. Hmm.

Along those same lines of thought; more and more people are trying Linux. The distribution that I am active in is Ubuntu. As a primarily grassroots endeavor, we need people to advocate it's use to others. I believe that all that is needed is the desire to share your experience with others. You don't need to be a 'guru'. I think that people will be more willing to take Linux and us seriously, if they have empathy with current users. People will feel more comfortable if it isn't seen as a clandestine, hex-counting, klingon-speaking, dvorak-typing, jedi-worshipping, card carrying group of underground hackers.

Whatever experience you can bring to the table will help us extend our reach. All are welcome. All that is needed is a desire to let everyone know. Let them know what you like, and what you don't like. What works seamlessly and what requires you to reach out to those mentioned above for assistance. I don't really care what brings you, as long as you come. Once you are here, you will see why we are here. It's fun!

Ubuntu is working, I believe, because of it's community. Both virtual and physical communities. If you don't take advantage of the physical community; meetings, events, and all the other social type things that your local groups are doing, you are only getting half of the experience. Come out, give it a try.

Many people caught up in the Ubuntu phenomenon aren't even Ubuntu users. That's great. Come out, have fun, we'll get you through osmosis. Even if we never get you; that's cool too; we enjoyed your company and I am sure that you helped us promote our cause.

Try it. If you like it; tell someone. If you can, help someone. If you can't, tell them where they can get help. Come to a meeting. Come to an event. Come to a party. Chat it up in IRC.

Come as you are, we all had to start somewhere.

Hope to see YOU soon.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

pacslinux: organized and focused

Wow. Sometimes timing just sucks. But as the Philadelphia Area Computer Society in whole, is going through some trying times, the Linux Special Interest Group, Pacslinux, is starting to get really good.

PACS is a general computer users group that has a $30.00 yearly membership. For that membership fee, once a month, the group meets at the Upper Moreland Middle School and has various SIGS (Special Interest Groups) covering many different topics. The facility is awesome and even provides cafeteria service throughout the day. Coffee and Donuts to start, and lunch offerings til 1:15. The school provides wired and wireless internet access, and various lecture halls and classrooms are utilized for the SIGS. The meetings are held on a Saturday, from 8am to 3 pm, September through June.

This is a great value for any area computer enthusiast, and I believe we all need to help get the word out of its existence. Even a casual enthusiast will find many things of interest to them. If at all curious, please check out the link above, and attend a meeting and see for yourself.

I joined a year ago, October 2006. I quickly identified the SIGS that most interested me, Security, and the Linux Sig, and began to attend and get involved. During this past year I have created valued friendships and through the connections made at PACS, branched out to other endeavors advocating Linux in the Philadelphia Area. It was at PACS that I met Kevin Valentine and found out about this thing called an Ubuntu LoCo. Checked it out and haven't looked back. As we progressed with establishing the PA Ubuntu LoCo in the Philadelphia Region, my Pacslinux group seemed to have no direction. There was a core of 5 or 6 members, but no real direction. We knew that this was a problem, but didn't address it until the summer, during the time when there were no meetings.

We knew that we had to establish a firm meeting schedule. What topics we were going to discuss, formally stated for each month. We couldn't just 'wing it'. Without formal topics it ended up being just a group of people sitting in a room having conversations. Sometimes 3 groups of people, having 3 different conversations about subjects not related at all. Very messy.

This year, with formal topics set, seems much better. Everyone has a fixed focus to prepare for, and we can, as a group, come more prepared to present a more accurate and full, presentation on the topic. So as fate would have it, as the paclinux sig is getting our act together, PACS the whole is experiencing serious difficulties. I hope that if we stay on our current path of stated presentations and good content, this will roll over and benefit the whole. I am sure that it will help.

Bottom line, as I babble, is $3.00 per month for the value at the Phila Area Computer Society is amazing. I hope that we can keep this going. Please help.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Just a blank event sign to use at events.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Grand-puppies Trick or Treat

Ok well our grand-puppies came to visit for Halloween.

JazPleia, Yoda Connor and Darth Dax. My daughter takes after my wife, costumes take after me.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Gutsy Release / Halloween Party

Zac you suck. Ok, my friend, and client, and owner of Drake Tavern, Zac blew it big time. I should have gone over it one more time with him on Sunday as I know that he is more concerned with the culinary side of things, than the organizational; but geeze. We have been planning this for a month. Him and I directly. I even stopped in Friday afternoon to re-confirm how it was going to go. Dinner at 6:00 for 27 people, followed by party and such at 7:00 pm.

My biggest failure was not making sure he knew to alert his staff, because as a virtual community, some people would not know who was involved in the event. Most of us know each other, but the goal is to get new people involved.

We missed at least two people, and they missed us. I hope there weren't anymore. I deeply apologize. I really wanted to meet the Ubuntero guys and they were the ones we missed. DOH! No excuses.

But, even with all that, as usual, when we get together, for whatever reason, it turns out to be a great event. And we did get new people!!

NJ was there in full support; Joe, Christina, Dave, Bryan and his guest. As always, glad
you crossed the Delaware. Plug was in full force with Lyz, Matthew, Brian, and Alex.
The rowdy young crowd (you guys aren't rowdy). Oh, and Stitch. PACS was there with Me and my wife, Randy and Teddy, Norm, Rodney, Rich G, Kevin, Jaime, Zoie and Ben. A new PACS member stopped by and picked up a Gutsy disk but couldn't stay. MALT was in the house!! That was sweet. Nate, who we met at the LoCo's MALT CVG classroom was at the event. (I think he's hooked). There were the Crowleys; Jack, Molly, and Molly's boyfriend; another awesome catch. And there was another couple who I still don't know, other than the guy had difficulty with the KDE desktop and upgrading. (Funny the stuff we remember) Larry and Marilyn came to support Ubuntu. Larry is an OS/2 user. He recently took the plunge into Ubuntu and has been attending the NTR Monday Classrooms. Larry great to have your experience with the team!

Alex advocated to a regular bar patron. We got Randy's Dell Ubuntu laptop all upgraded and good to go after issues with his Nvidia card after the upgrade (Hmm, zero xorg config). Blame automatix.

Next event: Note to self: Hang the BANNER. Give Lyz fiber optic cable.

Now to what everyone really wants to see; the photos.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Farmers Market Promotion in NJ

Saturday September 22nd, 2007 - Event - NJ Ubuntu LoCo Farmers Market SFD FOSS Promotion.

After supporting the PA LoCo's SFD event, the NJ LoCo decided to have a public information event at the Columbus Market in New Jersey.

The one thing that I have learned in my LoCo experience is how large PA and NJ are. The NJ LoCo is trying to attract more active members from regions other than South Jersey, and specifically the Cherry Hill area. Like any organization, getting active members, to give freely (and not so freely) of their time and resources is the biggest obstacle. It is tricky to be active and not burn out your active membership. Support is vital and needed.

Anytime I can get together with other people interested in Linux I am pretty stoked. So after going to the office and making sure everything was ok, I headed over to Columbus to give a hand.

Dave was already there, had a table and was all setup. I pulled the van near the table so that power would be available if needed. (Note to self: Disconnect the outlet strip in the van and use all the power for the extension cord.)

Dave and I had time to chat, solve all the important issues surrounding open source, and prepare for the market's opening. We had Ubuntu Live cd's, the OpenCd, and FSuite (osX FOSS) leftover from the PA SFD event to distribute.

A little later Joe, Christina, and Bryan arrived and joined us. It was very nice. Juggling, socializing, discussing and promoting.

I had to leave at noon, and the morning went very quickly.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Software Freedom, PACS Drama, and Linux Community

Saturday, September 15th, 2007, Software Freedom Day. Probably not Hallmark ready yet, but real important to a certain segment of the population. It is important to me. Even though, I am not as philosophically connected as some people in the movement, I value the community relationships that the movement helps to build and promote.

The timing of the day, the third Saturday in September, makes the day and PACS (Phila Area Computer Society) new season start a no-brainer for a recurring event. I hope that this is the first of many. PACS itself is a group that is trying to find itself. Maybe redefine itself, may be a better phrasing. The grand-daddy of users groups in the Philadelphia Area is starting to look and feel like a Kevorkian patient waiting for Dr. Jack. But hope was on the way. A new President, some new board members, and a new direction. Unfortunately, the new president had to step down, and now hope is on hold. I know that at least myself, and a couple of my friends, that are also members, know the value of the organization, and will do everything possible to keep it viable.

But now to the event. The good stuff. The stuff that is why the organization is too vital a resource to let bureaucracy and ego destroy.

Again, 4:00 am, can't sleep. Nervous and anxious. Chris, the network engineer for the organization, has an immediate family illness to deal with. He says he'll stop by for a few hours and help setup. I try to let him know that he has to take care of his family first; I am sure he knows this; but I just wanted to let him know that everyone would understand if he couldn't make it. Chris and his son are there at 7:30am, with 2 new awesome banners. One for the PA Ubuntu LoCo, and one for PACS. Amazing. Thank you Chris and Jason. Hope everything gets back to normal soon. Ronn Homer, the new and former President was there at 7:30am also. Let the games begin.

Start setting up, and Randy and Teddy show up with the TTCS cd's and more OpenCd's too. Wireless is setup, banners are flying, and my stuff is in the cafe. 8:00am and the Security Sig gets started, and there seems to be an issue at the membership table. Let me see if I can help.

Apparently the Commodore Sig that was discontinued wanted to return the PACS funded equipment that they had accumulated throughout the years. I could feel the tension, and rather than have it escalate, I offered to take the stuff and offer it to people; and get rid of it if no one wanted it. Not a good start, but what the heck. Better than a geek brawl. Three handtruck loads later, a complete Commodore 128 system, software, peripherals and a Commodore 64 Color computer were taking up space on two tables in the cafe. Well at least that is done. Commodore Sig guy leaves, all seems well; back to the membership table for some new member schmoozing and map assistance. OK, some people arrive to help with the membership table, now to setup some of my stuff. Not so quick, a quick question, maybe you can help with....(Insert any stupid topic here). Then Scott, my new neighbor, who I told about the event shows up. Nice. Get him a Sig list and a map, unfortunately, no time to chat, have some stuff I would like to setup, and actually wanted to get to Security Sig. No such luck. Oh well, that's the price of fame.

Back to the table to setup, wait, a quick question, maybe you can help with ....(Insert any stupid topic here); not this time, sorry, I really have to get setup; come back a little later, and I'll see if I can help you. Geeze, this is getting ridiculous. Matt shows up. Awesome. Met Matt and his family at the PA Ubuntu LoCo Bar-B-Que. He offered to do a MythTv demo and we took him up on it. Then James and Matt from PLUG arrived to setup their Kiosk Demo. Nice, everything moving along. Crowd seems like a normal PACS crowd, no throngs of new people. That's alright, it's still early. Sort of. Elevenish, hmm, where are the Jersey people, Joe, Christina, Bryan, and main presenter Dave. They have my phone number, and Joe and Christina have been here before; relax. They're here.

Lyz and Mike arrive, with loads of equipment and start to setup Michael's Audacity Demo.
Ronn Homer resigns as President. Dave does the main presentation. 70 people. Nice. While Dave is presenting, I finish the setup for afterwards and try to eat something. Oh yeah, and of course, coffee, cigarettes, and Red Bull.

Randy mans the free cd table after the presentation, and gives out 62 TTCS cd's and 62 OpenCd's. Lyz and Michael handle the Ubuntu cd's. The Mac Fsuite cd's that Cindy, my wife burnt, are over by my PPC setup. Actually, only the iBook was setup, which isn't really a setup, just turned on, I never had the opportunity to setup the Blue & White G3. Doesn't even matter, that's what's great about Macs, they just look so damn good people don't even know or care if they work. For reference its a G3 with Xubuntu installed that did work in May. Alex shows up and starts to help with the crowd. Of course Norm and Rich, the Pacslinux guys were helping and Kevin and family show up. Nice. And Kevin has the Sony 200 cd changer with him. Everybody has been wanting to see that. Joe T, Bryan, Dave and Mike B check the Sony out. I know they like it. A good hour and a half of demos and such. Great job again. Let them eat cake.

Out to the van, and bring in the 'Thank You' cakes for all the volunteers from outside groups who came and did awesome demos for the PACS crowd. Probably the best part of the day. The Linux community, coming together, to show off their systems and what they can do. All different groups freely giving their time and talents. WOW. PLUG, PA Ubuntu LoCo, NJ Ubuntu LoCo, and PacsLinux all supporting this event. A little discussion of the future for all of the different groups and their various agendas, such as the PA & NJ Ubuntu LoCo's Gutsy Release Party Plans, Matts MythTv Installfest Phase One, the aKaDEmy Convention, and the possibility of having it in Philadelphia, and the NJ Ubuntu LoCo's Farmers Market Outing.

All in all a good day. Despite the efforts of Randy and his massive flyering, we did not get throngs of new visitors. But I am sure that his work was not in vain. I am an advocate of advertising and promotion, anytime your name is out there and seen, it is a good thing. Sowing the seeds is the only way that a harvest can happen. Great job planting seeds Randy, I am sure this year's PACS crop will show that your efforts were worthwhile.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The family that FOSS's together....

Well, we did it. Yesterday, my wife Cindy and I went around posting Software Freedom Day flyers at local colleges and universities.

After yesterday morning's discussion about the state of women in Ubuntu, we both thought it very appropriate to place a flyer on that bulletin board at La Salle University.

It was a nice way to spend some time together on a Saturday. We posted flyers at La Salle, then Arcadia. At Arcadia, where our oldest daughter Lisa is going for her Master's Degree in English Lit. Education, we took some time to check out the campus and its magnificent buildings.

After those two, we took a break for dinner at the Inn Flight in Abington and headed down to Penn State Abington campus. From there to Blockbuster to return some DVD's and pick up "Pirates of Silicon Valley". Not that good, but interesting none-the-less. After Blockbuster we headed to Temple Ambler Campus and posted more flyers.

Nice day. 50 flyers posted. We then headed home so Cindy could complete burning the Mac 'Freesmug' Fsuite cd and get started on burning 50 more OpenCds. I worked on my 'email the local colleges' project and watched the dvd.

Finished the emails earlier today. Now dealing with work issues.

Big week ahead. Hope to see everyone at Software Freedom Day at PACS!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

If you can't beat them, JOIN them!

Wow. Advocacy by osmosis. My wife, Cindy, who claims not to be computer literate, has taken interest in my computer activities.

Her spider senses may have thought that this new obsession was not of pure motive.

Haha. No I am not having a cyber sexual affair. I am actually trying to help people, and at the same time help myself. The more I get involved, the more I learn, and the more relaxed and less work obsessed I become.

Well this morning, she decided to join the fold. She needs to do community service as part of an education class that she is taking and has been in a quandary as to how to fulfill this requirement.

After our morning discussion of gender bashing, precipitated by Lyz's anguish the night before, and while I was burning Mac FOSS cd's for Software Freedom Day, she realized that she could help me with promoting SFD and get her required community service requirements fulfilled at the same time. I am not sensitive, but I am really loyal. When one of my teammates is affected, I will try to help them; even if I don't understand. I don't understand the women issues, I am not a woman. That doesn't mean that I shouldn't try. It is understood in our household, that all matters of right and wrong are arbitrated by my wife, Cindy. I can talk openly and freely with her and get her insight. She knows me, and accepts me the way I am, and I value her insight into the things I just don't get. We complement each other well.

She then asked me what all this Software Freedom Day stuff was that I had been doing, and how it applied to people like her, her fellow workers at the daycare center, and her classmates.
She represents our target audience well. She doesn't really know, or want to how the computers work, she just wants it to work. I explained to her that she is using FOSS software, albeit Windows software. But she realized, on her own, what about people that didn't have "Power Point" or a husband like me, knowledgeable about FOSS; how would they be able to complete their class assignments that require "Power Point"?

After a half-hour dissertation about free vs. proprietary, and the proclivity of bootlegging as a result; she now understands the argument and the need for FOSS. She also made me promise to assist her co-workers, who are also classmates, with any technical issues they may have.

So, now, this afternoon, we are going out and promoting SFD at PACS together. And maybe, just maybe, if we can line everything up, she will be joining me at the event next week.

I really hope so.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

BBQ was HOT - MALT on Fire - NTR Rekindling

August; supposed to be slow because of the time of the year and vacations and such.

NOT with the PA Ubuntu LoCo.

BBQ - Socialize - Two uncommon sounding things in our little world; except if BBQ means microwaved hot dogs, or at most Forman Grill; and socialize is our irc chat room (relationship is pm). But Saturday August 11th at Norristown Farm Park all the stigmas were shattered. Armed with food, snacks, beverages, desserts, salads, plush toys and teddy bear treats, the PA Ubuntu Loco and invited guests from other groups and mailing lists descended upon the park and got our BBQ on. It was a great time! Met a whole bunch of new people and for me personally got to meet another of my local philly linux heroes; Michael Toren. As a Linux user who has been in the shadows for many years, because of business, family, and lack of time to commit to anything more than lurking websites and mailing lists; it was a pleasure to actually meet Michael. Plug's website, and members bios exploration has been my only contact with the Linux community for many years until recently. We could have gone on longer, and at the end, I don't think I was really ready for it to end; but, hopefully, it was the first of many to come. I think that having such a positive first experience will lead to more and even better summer get-togethers. I am already psyched for next year.

MALT - The Mt Airy Learning Tree CVG Computer Volunteer Group Project that Kevin has been working on/with for about a year is starting to shape up into a steady ongoing advocacy outlet. We recently partnered with MALT and Girls, Inc. for a project and have been trying to establish a LTSP classroom in their lab. The group meets weekly, but also has their own projects that need to be completed.

We have established the last Wednesday of the month as "The Linux Meeting" at MALT from 7pm to 9pm. Every Month, this meeting will be focused on allowing the volunteers to experience, administer, and play with Linux. The LTSP setup will be used to accomplish this. Hopefully, we will be able to get enough permanent thin clients to have it set up full-time so that even when we are not around anyone can have the Linux experience. More people; Randy and Brian, have shown up recently. The project is starting to take off; great work Kev, thanks for hanging in there when the going got tough.

NTR, the site of our first installfest, has reached out to us based upon the success of the installfest and the recent public interest in Linux and all things Ubuntu. Stan, the director has asked if we could train his staff at NTR on the installation of Ubuntu. We are actively working on this project and first meeting is scheduled for Wednesday August 22nd for 10am to 2pm.

August 22nd - NTR Install Training

August 29th - the
First Official MALT Linux Meeting

Software Freedom Day
Saturday September 15th at PACS,

and work on Offensive-Security 101 class.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

August is now FULL of EVENTS

Wow. I am involved with some very active groups. PACS, PA LoCo, and the NJ LoCo.

At PACS we are actively promoting the Software Freedom Day coming up Saturday September 15th. This is an important event for an organization that is at a crossroads. When it was started, in 1976, PACS was the only game in town, and reigned supreme as the place to be if you were into computers in the Philadelphia area. But things that don't change; die. Everything is always in motion and failure to recognize and react is the downfall of many organizations, businesses and relationships.

The PA Ubuntu LoCo is having our BBQ, August 11th, at Norristown Farm Park. This will be nice, to get together with the people that we are normally online with.
What's even better is that we can hang out without having to 'do' an event. My previous meetings with Alex and Lyz were so short. We were in the same place for a long time, but the event(s) took precedence and didn't really allow any time for social interaction. The BBQ will change that, the whole event is about us being social. Cool.
The MALT CVG LTSP Project is finally taking off. Kevin has worked his ass off. Spent months lobbying, trash picking the server and setting it up. I have provided moral support and been a cheerleader. I am happy to see all of his hard work payoff and now the actual project can begin.

And finally, the NJ Ubuntu LoCo is having their BBQ on August 11th also. Due to my commitments in PA I won't be able to attend, but will provide items for their event also. I will miss not being able to attend. I have only met some of the people, other then Joe and Christina, one time, at their Installfest. They were passionate and fascinating. Hell, I've only met Joe and Christina twice, but they feel like family. Joe is a surrogate PA LoCo guy and Christina is a Christian Brothers' Girl with PA roots.

Just wasted an hour and a half trying to promote SFD at the Hatboro Auto Show. Made 900 business card size announcements and planned on handing them out to the crowd. Didn't really work. Actually, didn't work at all. Wish I would have flyered the town before the show and just let the flyers do the work. Didn't have time to do it. Lost an opportunity. Saw some nice cars though!

Gave out 10 announcements to Geek Boy Press, an artist with a shop (gallery) in Hatboro. Anime/Cartoon Type characters.

890 announcements and 60 flyers left to post. Emails to send out to all the local colleges, radio, tv and cable outlets. I will do a little promotion each day until Sept 15th. Slow and steady wins the race.

I do wish some people would help with promotion, get out to Mom and Pop computer stores, post flyers, send some emails. Thanks Randy, keep up the flyering!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Hey, It's summertime - Time for NJ

Well, I finally did it. I joined the NJ Ubuntu Loco. I have been lurking around the Loco, following Joe Terranova, and trying to help as much, as he has helped us, in PA. I do what I can.

I have felt an allegiance to this LoCo because at least half of my life is spent in NJ, and many of my business contacts are there. But, initially I joined the PA LoCo where I live. Joe Terranova through his involvement with PA and NJ, has shown me that both is possible.

The whole LoCo experience, has been a positive experience for me. Blood pressure is down, and I am not as work obsessed. So I am going to run with it.

I attended the NJ Installfest, after taking care of a bread emergency which brought me into NJ. After meeting the membership of the Loco, I decided to officially join the NJ LoCo; if they will have me.

This does not alter my status with the PA Loco, as I will stay as involved with them as I have been. This is merely a further commitment for myself, to assist the NJ LoCo, with all my efforts when I am in NJ.

I don't want either of us, the NJ LoCo or myself, to look at the help I give as coming from PA anymore. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
I want to be a part of this team also, independent of what we are doing in PA.

For all intents and purposes, I have dual-residency; I sometimes sleep and shower in my office; so now I have dual-LoCo membership as well. It is complete. My life, my work, and my Loco's are all intertwined. There is harmony in the Force.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

LoCo - PACS - PacsLinux - All Coming Together

Wow. I have been busy. Posting flyers to help the NJ Ubuntu LoCo with their upcoming INSTALLFEST, Saturday June 30 at the Cherry Hill Library.

Flyers are posted, but still need to post more this week, hopefully will get to Rutgers - Camden, and some locations in Marlton and Haddonfield.

Trying to get a speaker for the PACS meeting September 15, 2007. Working with the new and former president has been very productive so far. Ronn Homer, son of one of my talk radio heroes, Evil Irv Homer, is the PACS president for the upcoming year. Ronn is dedicated and wants to promote and try to revitalize the organization which has lost some membership recently.

Thanks to Joe Terranova, Kevin, Lyz, Alex, and the whole PacsLinux gang, and the recent presentation, PACS is very interested in working with the Ubuntu-Pennsylvania LoCo on a full-time basis. Hopefully, in the Monday night IRC chat, PacsLinux will approve David Harding as a potential speaker for the Software Freedom Day event, Saturday September 15, 2007.

Ronn has given me the go ahead to book the speaker for the PACS event for SFD, but since I brought it up to the group first, I think a consensus is the right way to go. Someone else may have found a speaker also.

I have been a voyeur of David's stuff for awhile now. I enjoy the CHLUG mailing list immensely. Dave is very active in the mailing list and CHLUG, and the recaps of their meetings and presentations are great. I just wish that they weren't so late on Friday night. I am actually content with the recaps after the fact. I really don't have a choice, actually I do have a choice, but I don't want a divorce, so I will continue to be a voyeur.

And to add to all of this, The Ubuntu Community Council finally set a date for their next meeting. I had been waiting for this date to support Joe Terranova, who added himself to the agenda for membership.

+1 Terranova

And now the Ubuntu-Pennsylvania LoCo is up for approval on the same date.

Tuesday June 26 at 9:00 am til about 11:00 am is going to be insane.

That's what I have been doing, and looks like I will continue to do.

1) NJ installfest (Last week to promote)

2) PACS Software Freedom Day -
a) Speaker
b) Promotion (More Flyers)
c) Mailing Lists - ntr - malt - have to tap kev as a resource

3) Pacs Linux Software Freedom Day - Demos

4) Offensive Security 101 - Great Course

5) Malt + CVG Project(s) - thank god, a two week reprieve for construction.

Gotta go, I am already behind in my projects.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Welcome All New Ubunteros!

Welcome to the Ubuntu Community to all of the people who allowed us to install Ubuntu on their computers.

    Please take the time to review all the resources available here :
    We need your support. If you feel this have been beneficial to you :

    1) Join the LoCo
    2) Get Involved
    3) Tell friends and family about Ubuntu and the community.

A big thanks to everyone at NTR for all their help and for allowing us to use their establishment for this event.

A big thanks to all the volunteers who came out and freely gave their time to make this event a success.

Thank you to all of the LoCo members who could not attend, but whose work leading up to the event made it possible to achieve the results we achieved.


  • Sunday, June 3, 2007

    Amazing Installfest

    First of all, I would like to thank NTR. Without Stan and the whole crew at NTR the installfest would not have been the great success that it was. Thanks Stan, Chuck, James, Marcel, and the thrift store lady.

    It's 7:30 am the Yoda Van is loaded and ready to go. Time to go to Wawa and Dunkin' Donuts and grab the cream cheese and coffee. Fire up irc chat - bam - Lyz must have been waiting for someone to arise - Lyz explains that she would not be able to attend. Bummer. Totally understand. All the preparation that Lyz performed was vital to the success of the event, it is truly a shame that she could not attend. I hope that all the blogs, mailing list, forum entries, and hopefully photos, give her and everyone who could not attend a glimpse of what they missed.

    Grab Randy (aka Teddy D Bear) and Teddy and head down Broad st. Alex and Gabby arrive, followed by Stan and Kevin. Its ON.

    James, one of the NTR employees that I had met on a previous visit arrives. He's excited. After 120 hours of work all NTR employees get a computer. When I had met James, he had just purchased a Red Hat Administration guide because of previous talks with Kevin, and looked forward to attending the installfest to watch. Well today Stan would be giving James his computer; a g4 Power Mac. He was truly excited.

    Stan opens up the workshop and the preparation begins; the only thing that we really had to do was setup the greeting table (great job Gabby and Alex) and verify that all the tables had a working network connection. Everything was perfect - 10 tables setup. It seems that as soon as we were setup, people started to arrive.

    (Please forgive me with the names, I remember faces and computers and setups, and there was a point in the day when; bam; there were people everywhere coming from all directions. As I try to recreate the goings on, I apologize if I miss you, your computer, or the setup)

    Owen was the first arrival I remember. He heard about us via PACS and came on down. He didn't bring his computer. No problem, he lives in NE Philly and thankfully had enough time to go home, get the box and return.

    Musa arrives with his uncle. Musa has two laptops, his and his fathers. I begin to work with Musa, as kevin takes his uncle. His uncle has a legacy laptop (very similar to an Acernote that I had) and kevin goes to work with a puppy install. This was a tricky install, no cd, pop the hard drive, put it in a desktop with a 2.5 to 3.5 converter and install os. Pop out and put the hard drive back in the laptop and pray. Sometimes it just doesn't work, but the uncle was cool with it and checked out the NTR laptops and was going to get one of those as soon as possible.

    Rich G shows up with his linux box that has a sound problem and Randy gets to work on that.

    Dave from PACS shows up with a laptop and Alex goes to work.

    Ben shows up after the SAT's followed closely by Chris F. The troops have arrived. Another gentleman shows to help - don't know him at all but he was great.

    I am about to finish with Musa's install and he's on the cell phone telling his wife to bring down the desktop and call people and tell them to bring their boxes. WOW.

    Marcel, one of the NTR employees, comes in with a box. Young kid, very interested, so we start on his install. Smart kid, young and interested. He basically does his own install; Ubuntu is a little too overwhelming for his box, so I switch him to Xubu and he does his own. Install completes, and he spends the rest of the day theme-ing up his install, setting it up the way he wants, and helping me with installs. We created an Ubuntero!

    Joe T and Christina arrive and get busy helping.

    I see a bunch of people I recognize, the 2 mac brothers, and the beryl concrete driver with the disco HP from PACS. A lady from MALT ( I think) and Owen returns with a HUGE desktop (got enough room for expansion, Owen?)

    Musa's wife arrives with the desktop. She has a Mary Kay cosmetic business, so I get her setup and show her that Ubuntu has all the software that she needs to run, manage and promote her business. She calls her sister-in-law and another friend and tells them to get down here. Her nephew Christian is with her and I tell him that when his mother and friend arrive that he's going to do those installs. He's ready for the challenge! Nice family. Their daughter was there all day and was amazingly well behaved.

    Chuck from NTR gets a chance for him and Randy to start the external drive install and James comes in with his MAC.

    While James is patiently waiting for someone to get started on his Mac, Stan gives him a desktop and a laptop to install Ubuntu on. James successfully completes the desktop, but can't get the cd to read on the laptop. Good job James.

    There is a guy, I don't know him, who installed on his laptop, and then on a new drive on a desktop. All by himself, just wanted to do it at the installfest in case he had any problems. Good job that guy, way to go; glad we could be your security blanket.

    Terri, Wes, and the young man (Michael, I think; decaf coffee drinker) from Malt arrive and Kevin and Alex start to assist them.

    Now Joe Mac aka Joe Terranova, starts to perform the install on James' G4. During this time I see Kevin and Joe muttering something about Jobs and Woz, and their hardware platform. What year is it? What time is it. Sudo. Sudo who.
    PPC, not for the feint-hearted. Joe Mac summoned all the lessons from his previous Tang Soo Do training and eventually beat the Mac. Kamsahamnida!

    Christina goes from Ubu brown to Prince purple.

    Tom the construction guy from the northeast who saw Kevin's flyer that I posted on Cottman ave at the former Coffee Tree Rest shows up. I had been wondering who took the tabs off that flier, if they registered, etc. Everyday on the way to work I pass and watch that flier. Saw tabs missing, and actually got to meet the guy who grabbed a tab.

    Vinay and his wife, the linux wife, come down from Downingtown. He is instructed by his wife to have linux installed on the Dell laptop. (good woman)
    Ben immediately starts to attack the machine.

    Rich S, Pacslinux sig leader, shows up looking for help with one of his boxes, and Chuck from Ntr starts to help Rich.

    Now to the parking lot, to release a few of the attendees. The parking lot is crammed, Musa's family is back to pickup their pc's, and people have to leave.

    Tom the construction worker is being done by the guy that I still don't know, and Ben has to go to plans b,c,d,e on the dell. The Dell proved to be a problem, and Ben had to leave. Ben passed the Dell to me. Too late in the day to struggle with a problem PC, asked Vinay to bring the dell to PACS and I will finish what we started.

    Clean up and go.

    Big thanks to Stan's wife for letting him play with us so late, and I hope we didn't mess up your date night.

    What an event! I hope that if you could not attend, this little play by play, as I can remember it, helps you get a feeling for the day we had.

    Bad Week - Bad Sign

    The week leading up to the installfest couldn't be more screwed up!

    Monday HOLIDAY - Tuesday 2 days worth of work to get caught up on, actaully 3 days if you include Saturday's work. One of my key people on vacation all week. Tuesday follow up appt with hand surgeon. Thursday another employee off for jury duty. Friday have to take my wife to montco for a test all morning.
    Phillies game Friday night.

    And to make it even worse, my security blanket, the Yoda Van, started to act up.

    My 1995 Dodge conversion van - my mobile office - laptop -printer - copier - wireless internet (cingular aircard 860 w/ external antenna) and all the peripherals you could ever need - routers - cables - wireless cards - ethernet cards - usb wireless adapters - extension cords - basically a WORKSHOP on WHEELS was giving me grief.

    The transmission was slipping. Timing couldn't be worse. But in the end, the guys at A+ transmission (Keith) came through and got the tranny done in 2 days.

    A good sign - the Yoda Van will be ready for Saturday.

    I sell bread - never baked a loaf in my life. I have people that do that for me. Very good people. Well this time I needed them to come through for ME. I wanted to bring an Italian Ring Loaf modified into the Ubuntu logo. I went to the Master Baker, Ronald, and gave him the logo, and told him exactly what I wanted. Checked on the status of the bread on Thursday. Ronald said he couldn't do it. NOT ACCEPTABLE. This was for me. I basically told him that he HAD to get it done, and that I was counting on him. In the end, Ronald earned his title of Master Baker, and came through with an excellent bread rendition of the logo. Thanks Ron.

    Friday afternoon irc chat message, or was it the mailing list, can't remember - did any one print the disclaimers? Thankfully I was in the office - bang out 60 copies.

    Home from the phillies game (they suck) check the irc-forums-mailing list : Resource pages - Bang out 50 copies. That's it lights out. Installfest tomorrow.

    Monday, May 28, 2007

    Running Out of Time

    Time flies when you are having fun. It seems to fly faster and faster as I get older and older.

    No more posting fliers this week. Now, it's time to concentrate on the actual event. I think today, Memorial day, I will burn 5 Xubuntu 7.04 PPC alternate install cd's for the installfest in case we need them for the Girls Inc. Macs.

    Busy week ahead. Tuesday afternoon follow up doctor 's appointment. The finger that was infected at the PACS presentation had to be taken care of by a hand specialist. No biggee, it was only one finger. It made typing this week interesting; especially in the yoda van.

    Friday I have to take my wife to Montco Community College to take a test for her online course. She doesn't like to drive. Then Friday night, I have tickets to the Phillies game. Tickets are too good to pass up, and come with a free parking pass.

    That only leaves Wednesday and Thursday for preparation for the Installfest. I would like to get to NTR to do some preliminary setup. Also, have to get all the gear together that we may need for the event.

    Starting to get behind in my online course.Offensive Security 101 by the Backtrack crew. I have to get to work.

    In true manic fashion, started thinking about / promoting another event, before even completing the installfest June 2nd. Software Freedom Day, Saturday, September 15th. That is the kickoff weekend for the new PACS season, and the timing couldn't be better. Ubuntu and the Opencd people are sponsors and providing cd's for the event. I will see tonight on our (PACSLINUX) weekly irc chat; every Monday night on freenode in room #pacslinux starting at 8pm, if the group is as interested in an event as I am.

    Thanks to all veterans who served, or are serving this country. Thank you every day, and especially today for protecting our Freedoms and our way of life.

    Saturday, May 19, 2007

    PACS meeting SUCCESS

    Wow! What a fabulous event. I was nervous and excited Friday night as I burnt more cd's. Do we need more ppc, are we going to have enough 7.04 386 live cd's; my mind was racing. The crowd is older, would they be open enough to even consider a different os? Is the G3 going to work as well out in public as it did in my living room. Have to get some sleep, the security sig (my favorite) starts at 8:00 am. HAVE to leave the house early enough to stop at WAWA for caffeine and nicotine. Woke up at 4:00 am, too early, get more sleep. Up again at 6:00; OK lets go. Oh no, the burn on my finger is getting worse; it may be infected; too bad, this is the event of a lifetime. Triple antibiotic cream, gauze, tape it up and start to load the Yoda Van. WAWA, caffeine; thank God (Yoda). Ok fire up Xchat, nobody is talking, maybe they're still sleeping. Pleia2 - writes - YEAH someone is awake. Lamalex awakes, yes the team is coming together. I arrive at PACS. It is 7:50 am, finish coffee, have a cigarette, grab some fliers, tape and scissors, let's go.
    Nobody's here. Ok 4 people. WTF. Ok take this opportunity to get some fliers out. Finish with the security sig at 10:00 am. The security sig was very good today, good job Ben. Back to the van to get the G3.
    Start the setup in the cafe. The G3 won't boot. WTF^2. Ok relax - set up the ubu iBook and the Toshiba with the faux Satanic Ubu. Reboot the G3, nothing. Check all connections, everything's plugged in; what gives. Reboot while screwing in monitor cable - ahh - the monitor tube - crackles on - G3 boots as it had the previous 2 times except this time the monitor was connected properly. DUH!.
    People are around the table and interested! Start the sales pitch. Adrenaline, caffeine, nicotine, and an audience - ecstasy. Joe Terranova arrives with his girlfriend, loaded with pamphlets, cd's, tee-shirts (temporarily) and an Ubuntu BANNER. Sets up on another table. Lamalex arrives, followed closely by Lyz.
    I've only met Alex once before and had never met Lyz, but through the Loco interaction it was as if I had known them for awhile. Virtual community is community.
    I am very high voltage. I believe Kevin once identified it as spazzy. I am a salesman. I love human interaction, and to connect to people and grab their attention. I am very passionate about all of my endeavours. It's 5 of 12, almost time for the presentation. Kevin arrives; like a ninja, behind us calmly eating lunch. Kevin gets to play with the g3 during the presentation; I think he likes it.
    Alex and Lyz setup a table right outside the presentation auditorium and wait to grab people as they leave the auditorium. The presentation's over and the crowd flows right to Alex and Lyz's table and start to DEVOUR the cd's -pamphlets- ubuntu women fliers (mostly men today, who knows). The demo table is next stop, where Kevin, Ben, Randy (pacs member),Rich (Pacs Linux Leader) and Norm (pacs member) help to show off the ubuntu family of products and register people for the installfest. WOW, what an EVENT!
    I was talking to Chris, pacs board member, and long time pacs member, and he said HE "HAD NEVER SEEN A PRESENTATION CREATE SUCH A BUZZ".

    Great job everyone. I feel part of something that is really special.

    Thursday, May 17, 2007

    Peer Pressure

    Yes i have succumb to peer pressure. I thought this was a high school phenomena, but apparently it can resurface as a mid-life situation also.

    My recent involvement with the Ubuntu LoCo Community, specifically the PA Ubuntu LoCo, and even more specifically the Philly / Southeastern PA team,
    has truly reintroduced community into my life.

    The IRC channel has drastically reduced my productivity, but at the same time increased my sanity. I don't seem to be as work obsessed. Maybe I'll be able to strike a balance.

    Ok that's enough for now, I have to continue burning cd's for the upcoming
    PACS meeting and Joe Terranova's Main Presentation this Saturday May 19th at 12:00 pm, and the Philly Team's first INSTALLFEST June 2nd, 10:00am to 6:00 pm at NTR.