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The two books

Seth Godin - 9 hours 10 min ago
...I get the most email about are Linchpin and The Dip. I love how persistent books can be, always teaching us something. Linchpin was just chosen as one of four books on the recommended reading list from the Air Force's...        Seth Godin
Categories: thinktime

Telling the truth with charts

Seth Godin - Tue 05th May 2015 18:05
A chart tells a story. Explain what's happening in a way that's understood, in a useful, clear presentation that's true. But too many charts fail at this simple but difficult task. Consider this chart of the frightening decline in reading...        Seth Godin
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Andrew Pollock: [life] Zoe at 5

Planet Linux Australia - Tue 05th May 2015 07:05

Zoe celebrated her 5th birthday a day early with a lovely party at Sarah's house, with a bunch of her friends from Kindergarten, Prep and beyond. This birthday also means she's been living in two homes for as much of her life as she's lived in one. On that front, mercifully, she seems to be doing as well as one could possibly hope for. This is her normal, as much as it breaks my heart.

She's doing fabulously well on all fronts, really. She's grown into a lovely little girl that I always enjoy spending time with. She's finally figured out how to ride a bike, so I've bought her a bigger bike for her birthday. I believe her swimming is going really well (I haven't seen her in action for a while because she does her swim classes via after-school care, but I'm fortunate to have one of my Thermomix consultant team members be her swim teacher, so I get some feedback from time to time).

We had parent-teacher interviews at the end of last term, and from all reports there, Zoe seemed to be doing well in Prep. Her sight-words are going pretty well. She's got the hang of phonics. She can write her name. She seems to have made friends with lots of the kids in her class. We've had a few of them over for dinner. I feel very connected with the school community.

I'm really grateful that I got about 5 weeks at the start of Prep before I returned to work. I got to be really involved with school for a little bit. I helped out with her school swim classes. I helped out with a literacy group. I did Tuckshop a couple of times. It was lovely. I wish I could be a stay at home parent so I could do that sort of thing all the time, but that's just not possible (at the moment, anyway). The school clearly relies quite heavily on parent helpers.

Five (and the lead up to it) seems to be a pretty fantastic age. I'm loving being her Dad now just as much as any other time.

Categories: thinktime

Janet Hawtin: lucy

Planet Linux Australia - Mon 04th May 2015 19:05
we walk to the river to collect buckets of leaf litter for the garden.

a gradual taming of the red earth for zucchinis and beans.

she keeps close to my side

a honey coloured dark eyed shadow

we share the quiet society of insects, lizards and garden life

until evening when he returns.

Categories: thinktime

Janet Hawtin: catching the sun

Planet Linux Australia - Mon 04th May 2015 19:05
on the edge of the porch they stand

close, like people huddled on a train platform

hailing the morning sun with relief and green vitality

a small distance above the chill

night air still lurks in the shadows

finding the lowest ground with the lowest temperature

not quite frozen this time.
Categories: thinktime

Are you certain that you're trapped?

Seth Godin - Mon 04th May 2015 19:05
To be actually trapped is to have no options, no choices, no possible outcomes other than the one you fear. Most of the time, when we think we're trapped, we're actually unhappy with the short-term consequences of making a choice....        Seth Godin
Categories: thinktime

James Purser: On Super Hero Movies and worthiness

Planet Linux Australia - Mon 04th May 2015 14:05

This was originally going to be a comment on this post over at the Guardian

Yeah so here's the thing. Hollywood isn't about worthy (in the academic sense), has never been about worthy as a business model.

Rather it's about bums on seats. From the time before they invented talkies the whole business is about making sure that people spend their hard earned cash watching the studios movie rather than someone elses.

I also think that Wilson is conflating two different phenomena. He blames the lack of "worthiness" for the fact that Directors and "auteurs" are moving away from film and towards the internet as a distribution model. This is what's known as bollocks.  This has nothing to do with Super Hero Films and everything to do with the fact that the market for entertainment itself is breaking up, meaning that people who fill a niche can now better connect with their target market.

Hollywood in twenty years time will be a completely different beast than it is today. And it's not because Super Hero Films with eventually die out (and they will). It's because the world has changed, and honestly, I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who will mourne the passing.

As I mentioned earlier, indie film isn't dying because of the rash of Super Hero Films, it's changing its focus. If you're an indie film maker, why would you ignore the worlds biggest market place for entertainment? if you've got a choice between an extremely limited run in an extremely limited number of cinemas with zero marketing budget, and the internet, with services like iTunes, Netflix or Google Play, I think the choice is obvious.

Honestly, there's a level of misguided snobbery around the original post. "Why does Hollywood make films about men in tights?" seems to be tone, when in fact it's not Hollywood that is "threatening" the authors idea of what is good, but the internet.

Blog Catagories: mediafilms
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Sridhar Dhanapalan: Twitter posts: 2015-04-27 to 2015-05-03

Planet Linux Australia - Mon 04th May 2015 00:05
Categories: thinktime


Seth Godin - Sun 03rd May 2015 19:05
At the congregation down the street, they're doing things the way they've done them for the last few hundred years. Every week, people come, attracted by familiarity, by the family and friends around them, part of a tribe. And just...        Seth Godin
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David Rowe: SM1000 Part 13 – Shipping!

Planet Linux Australia - Sun 03rd May 2015 08:05

The enclosure has arrived from the new manufacturer! Edwin and team at Dragino are now assembling, testing, and shipping the first batch of 100 SM1000s. We plan to ship all Aliexpress pre-orders in week starting 3 May, Australian orders the week starting 10 May.

We have sold almost all of the first batch just in pre-orders! Rick and Edwin have already started work on the next batch of 100, making some small changes to help production.

It is remarkable just how long the “little details” take to work out when putting a product into production. I had the prototype SM1000 working in September, and the first revision of the case was ready before Christmas. Things always take longer than you expect. Oh well, we have made it in the end. We are shipping about 14 months after Rick and I started work on the project, which is not bad for any product I guess. Thanks so much Rick and Edwin!

SM1000 Support

For SM1000 support please post to the Codec 2 mailing list, that way we can all share the information. We’ll publish some SM1000 user guide information over the next few weeks. Maybe a wiki, so you can all join in. I really want this to be a community project.

FreeDV News

In other FreeDV news I’ve been working hard on a new “negative SNR” FreeDV mode that will find it’s way into the SM1000 and other FreeDV platforms later this year. So far I’ve developed a prototype 650 bit/s version of Codec 2 and Octave/C versions of a new coherent PSK HF modem with frequency diversity which greatly helps HF fading channel performance. I am currently being frustrated by HF modem frequency offset estimation (yet again!) but I’ll get there eventually. Other parts of the new coherent PSK HF modem are working really well.

In the VHF space, Brady KC9TPA, has been working hard on a design and PCB layout for a prototype VHF radio that can run FreeDV and demonstrate our advanced new ideas for VHF Digital Voice. Wish I was building radios too but I’m knee deep in DSP code!

Dayton 2015

Rick will be attending the Dayton Hamfest and presenting a talk on the SM1000, and will have a bunch of SM1000s for you to play with. Mel, Bruce and team will have a booth at Dayton with FreeDV and the SM1000 on display – thanks guys for all your efforts and kind support.

Categories: thinktime

The angry teenager (your customer?, your boss?)

Seth Godin - Sat 02nd May 2015 18:05
You’ve probably met one. You might have a boss who is one, or customers who act that way. Someone doesn’t have to be in high school to act like a teenager. (Teenagers are supposed to act like that, it's their...        Seth Godin
Categories: thinktime

Clinton Roy: clintonroy

Planet Linux Australia - Sat 02nd May 2015 17:05

Under a week to go – closes Friday 8th May

With just under a week to go until the PyCon Australia 2015 Call for Proposals closes, we thought it would be a good idea to give everyone an update and a reminder. We’re very happy with the proposals we’ve already received, but we’re eager to receive more! We hope our proposal writing working bees in Brisbane have been of help, and hope to roll them out to more cities next year. If you’ve got any questions please get in touch (numerous contact details are up on We would like to give a special shout out for the Education MiniConf, which is new this year: if you know people teaching and using computing in the education realm, please forward this CFP on.

The deadline for proposal submission is Friday 8th May, 2015.


The conference this year will be held on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd August 2015 in Brisbane. PyCon Australia attracts professional developers from all walks of life, including industry, government, and science, as well as enthusiast and student developers. We’re looking for proposals for presentations and tutorials on any aspect of Python programming, at all skill levels from novice to advanced.

Presentation subjects may range from reports on open source, academic or commercial projects; or even tutorials and case studies. If a presentation is interesting and useful to the Python community, it will be considered for inclusion in the program.

We’re especially interested in short presentations that will teach conference-goers something new and useful. Can you show attendees how to use a module? Explore a Python language feature? Package an application?


Four Miniconfs will be held on Friday 31st July, as a prelude to the main conference. Miniconfs are run by community members and are separate to the main conference. If you are a first time speaker, or your talk is targeted to a particular field, the Miniconfs might be a better fit than the main part of the conference. If your proposal is not selected for the main part of the conference, it may be selected for one of our Miniconfs:

DjangoCon AU is the annual conference of Django users in the Southern Hemisphere. It covers all aspects of web software development, from design to deployment – and, of course, the use of the Django framework itself. It provides an excellent opportunity to discuss the state of the art of web software development with other developers and designers.

The Python in Education Miniconf aims to bring together community workshop organisers, professional Python instructors and professional educators across primary, secondary and tertiary levels to share their experiences and requirements, and identify areas of potential collaboration with each other and also with the broader Python community.

The Science and Data Miniconf is a forum for people using Python to tackle problems in science and data analysis. It aims to cover commercial and research interests in applications of science, engineering, mathematics, finance, and data analysis using Python, including AI and ‘big data’ topics.

The OpenStack Miniconf is dedicated to talks related to the OpenStack project and we welcome proposals of all kinds: technical, community, infrastructure or code talks/discussions; academic or commercial applications; or even tutorials and case studies. If a presentation is interesting and useful to the OpenStack community, it will be considered for inclusion. We also welcome talks that have been given previously in different events.

First Time Speakers

We welcome first-time speakers; we are a community conference and we are eager to hear about your experience. If you have friends or colleagues who have something valuable to contribute, twist their arms to tell us about it! Please also forward this Call for Proposals to anyone that you feel may be interested.

The most recent call for proposals information can always be found at:

See you in Brisbane in July!

Important Dates

Call for Proposals opens: Friday 27th March, 2015

Proposal submission deadline: Friday 8th May, 2015

Proposal acceptance: Monday 25 May, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: thinktime

Maxim Zakharov: Fitbit and Android Lollipop

Planet Linux Australia - Sat 02nd May 2015 10:05

If you use FitBit tracker with a smartphone which has been recently undated to Android 5.0 Lollipop, you might faced the same problem as me - the Fitbit app has stopped synching with the tracker.

Surprisingly there are a lot of people complaining online or even raging in putting one star rating to the app in Google Play. However, the solution which helped me: uninstall and reinstall the app, is mentioned on the FitBit Help web-site, and it takes around a minute to remove and reinstall the app.

Categories: thinktime

Article Update: Don’t Rely on Default `sizes`

a list apart - Sat 02nd May 2015 03:05

In “Responsive Images in Practice” I made no little hay that sizes was optional—leave it off, and browsers will substitute the default value: 100vw.

That last part is still true: browsers will still use 100vw as a last resort. While the sizes-less examples in the article still function, they no longer validate. The spec has changed, and sizes is no longer optional when using srcset and w descriptors.


Too many people were relying on the invisible default for images whose display size wasn’t even close to 100vw, resulting in inappropriate srcset selections and wasted bytes. Developers learning the new markup were also getting tripped up on how sizes affects intrinsic sizing. Absent any CSS to the contrary…

<img srcset="image.jpg 320w" />

...always displays at the full viewport width. If you don’t know about the 100vw default (and especially if you’re a little fuzzy on what intrinsic sizing is, or how sizes affects it), that’s pretty surprising.

By requiring that authors explicitly state (and with any luck, think about) a sizes value whenever they use w descriptors, the spec eliminates reliance on the invisible 100vw default. This will hopefully cut down on mistakes; at a bare minimum, it ensures that incorrect values are visible. So carry on, and if you want your markup to be valid, easier to debug, and easier to understand—don’t forget the sizes.

Categories: thinktime

Discovery fatigue

Seth Godin - Fri 01st May 2015 18:05
When Napster first hit the scene, people listened to as many different songs as they could. It was a feast of music discovery, fueled by access and curiosity. Now, the typical Spotify user listens to music inside a smaller comfort...        Seth Godin
Categories: thinktime

This week's sponsor: Squarespace

a list apart - Fri 01st May 2015 01:05

Thanks to Squarespace for sponsoring us this week! Use offer code ALISTAPART for 10% off their simple, powerful tools for creating beautiful websites.

Categories: thinktime

Rusty Russell: Some bitcoin mempool data: first look

Planet Linux Australia - Thu 30th Apr 2015 22:04

Previously I discussed the use of IBLTs (on the pettycoin blog).  Kalle and I got some interesting, but slightly different results; before I revisited them I wanted some real data to play with.

Finally, a few weeks ago I ran 4 nodes for a week, logging incoming transactions and the contents of the mempools when we saw a block.  This gives us some data to chew on when tuning any fast block sync mechanism; here’s my first impressions looking a the data (which is available on github).

These graphs are my first look; in blue is the number of txs in the block, and in purple stacked on top is the number of txs which were left in the mempool after we took those away.

The good news is that all four sites are very similar; there’s small variance across these nodes (three are in Digital Ocean data centres and one is behind two NATs and a wireless network at my local coworking space).

The bad news is that there are spikes of very large mempools around block 352,800; a series of 731kb blocks which I’m guessing is some kind of soft limit for some mining software.  Our ability to handle this case will depend very much on heuristics for guessing which transactions are likely candidates to be in the block at all (I’m hoping it’s as simple as first-seen transactions are most likely, but I haven’t tested yet).

Transactions in Mempool and in Blocks: Australia (poor connection)

Transactions in Mempool and in Blocks: Singapore

Transactions in Mempool and in Blocks: San Francisco

Transactions in Mempool and in Blocks: San Francisco (using Relay Network)

Categories: thinktime

Michael Still: Coding club day one: a simple number guessing game in python

Planet Linux Australia - Thu 30th Apr 2015 18:04
I've recently become involved in a new computer programming club at my kids' school. The club runs on Friday afternoons after school and is still very new so we're still working through exactly what it will look like long term. These are my thoughts on the content from this first session. The point of this first lesson was to approach a programming problem where every child stood a reasonable chance of finishing in the allotted 90 minutes. Many of the children had never programmed before, so the program had to be kept deliberately small. Additionally, this was a chance to demonstrate how literal computers are about the instructions they're given -- there is no room for intuition on the part of the machine here, it does exactly what you ask of it.

The task: write a python program which picks a random number between zero and ten. Ask the user to guess the number the program has picked, with the program telling the user if they are high, low, or right.

We then brainstormed the things we'd need to know how to do to make this program work. We came up with:
  • How do we get a random number?
  • What is a variable?
  • What are data types?
  • What is an integer? Why does that matter?
  • How do we get user input?
  • How do we do comparisons? What is a conditional?
  • What are the possible states for the game?
  • What is an exception? Why did I get one? How do I read it?

With that done, we were ready to start programming. This was done with a series of steps that we walked through as a group -- let's all print hello work. Now let's generate a random number and print it. Ok, cool, now let's do input from a user. Now how do we compare that with the random number? Finally, how do we do a loop which keeps prompting until the user guesses the random number?

For each of these a code snippet was written on the whiteboard and explained. It was up to the students to put them together into a program which actually works.

Due to limitations in the school's operating environment (no local python installation and not working due to firewalling) we used for this exercise. The code that the kids ended up with looks like this:

    import random # Pick a random number number = random.randint(0, 10) # Now ask for guesses until the correct guess is made done = False while not done: guess = int(raw_input('What is your guess?')) print 'You guessed: %d' % guess if guess < number: print 'Higher!' elif guess > number: print 'Lower!' else: print 'Right!' done = True

The plan for next session (tomorrow, in the first week of term two) is to recap what we did at the end of last term and explore this program to make sure everyone understands how it works.

Tags for this post: coding_club teaching coding

Related posts: I'm glad I've turned on comments here; Huffman coding

Categories: thinktime

The naked corn paradox

Seth Godin - Thu 30th Apr 2015 18:04
Sometimes, the thing that's done to market something makes it worse. And so, the corn at the local supermarket is already husked, because it looks better, sells better but tastes worse. And stereo speakers are designed with extra bass, so...        Seth Godin
Categories: thinktime

Donna Benjamin: Constructive Conflict Resolution

Planet Linux Australia - Thu 30th Apr 2015 08:04
Thursday, April 30, 2015 - 08:09

I'm speaking at DrupalCon Los Angeles. 5pm, Tuesday 12 May in the 518 - Trellon room.

I first spoke about Constructive Conflict Resolution in Amsterdam at DrupalCon last year. I posted the slides, recording and speakers notes from that talk to the PreviousNext blog.

I'm reprising that talk in Los Angeles because someone else is now unable to make it, and I was asked if I could fill in. When I originally proposed the talk for LA I had planned to rework the slide and narrative - but unfortunately won't have much time to do that before the conference. However this is a conversation starter, and we'll have an opportunity in the room to discuss how we might embrace conflict as a force for good, as a force for progress. How to harness it, how to minimise it's potential for harm.

I hope to see you there!

Constructive Conflict Resolution will be in the core conversations track at DrupalCon Los Angeles.

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