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This week's sponsor: Inbound.org

a list apart - Thu 26th Mar 2015 03:03

Thanks to Inbound.org for sponsoring A List Apart this week! Check out their community where inbound designers, developers, and marketers come together to connect, learn, and grow.

Categories: thinktime

Francois Marier: Keeping up with noisy blog aggregators using PlanetFilter

Planet Linux Australia - Wed 25th Mar 2015 20:03

I follow a few blog aggregators (or "planets") and it's always a struggle to keep up with the amount of posts that some of these get. The best strategy I have found so far to is to filter them so that I remove the blogs I am not interested in, which is why I wrote PlanetFilter.

Other options

In my opinion, the first step in starting a new free software project should be to look for a reason not to do it So I started by looking for another approach and by asking people around me how they dealt with the firehoses that are Planet Debian and Planet Mozilla.

It seems like a lot of people choose to "randomly sample" planet feeds and only read a fraction of the posts that are sent through there. Personally however, I find there are a lot of authors whose posts I never want to miss so this option doesn't work for me.

A better option that other people have suggested is to avoid subscribing to the planet feeds, but rather to subscribe to each of the author feeds separately and prune them as you go. Unfortunately, this whitelist approach is a high maintenance one since planets constantly add and remove feeds. I decided that I wanted to follow a blacklist approach instead.

PlanetFilter

PlanetFilter is a local application that you can configure to fetch your favorite planets and filter the posts you see.

If you get it via Debian or Ubuntu, it comes with a cronjob that looks at all configuration files in /etc/planetfilter.d/ and outputs filtered feeds in /var/cache/planetfilter/.

You can either:

  • add file:///var/cache/planetfilter/planetname.xml to your local feed reader
  • serve it locally (e.g. http://localhost/planetname.xml) using a webserver, or
  • host it on a server somewhere on the Internet.

The software will fetch new posts every hour and overwrite the local copy of each feed.

A basic configuration file looks like this:

[feed] url = http://planet.debian.org/atom.xml [blacklist] Filters

There are currently two ways of filtering posts out. The main one is by author name:

[blacklist] authors = Alice Jones John Doe

and the other one is by title:

[blacklist] titles = This week in review Wednesday meeting for

In both cases, if a blog entry contains one of the blacklisted authors or titles, it will be discarded from the generated feed.

Tor support

Since blog updates happen asynchronously in the background, they can work very well over Tor.

In order to set that up in the Debian version of planetfilter:

  1. Install the tor and polipo packages.
  2. Set the following in /etc/polipo/config:

    proxyAddress = "127.0.0.1" proxyPort = 8008 allowedClients = 127.0.0.1 allowedPorts = 1-65535 proxyName = "localhost" cacheIsShared = false socksParentProxy = "localhost:9050" socksProxyType = socks5 chunkHighMark = 67108864 diskCacheRoot = "" localDocumentRoot = "" disableLocalInterface = true disableConfiguration = true dnsQueryIPv6 = no dnsUseGethostbyname = yes disableVia = true censoredHeaders = from,accept-language,x-pad,link censorReferer = maybe
  3. Tell planetfilter to use the polipo proxy by adding the following to /etc/default/planetfilter:

    export http_proxy="localhost:8008" export https_proxy="localhost:8008"
Bugs and suggestions

The source code is available on repo.or.cz.

I've been using this for over a month and it's been working quite well for me. If you give it a go and run into any problems, please file a bug!

I'm also interested in any suggestions you may have.

Categories: thinktime

What is customer service for?

Seth Godin - Wed 25th Mar 2015 20:03
Customer service is difficult, expensive and unpredictable. But it's a mistake to assume that any particular example is automatically either good or bad. A company might spend almost nothing on customer service but still succeed in reaching its goals. Customer...         Seth Godin
Categories: thinktime

Sonia Hamilton: Devops and Old Git Branches

Planet Linux Australia - Wed 25th Mar 2015 11:03

A guest blog post I wrote on managing git branches when doing devops.

When doing Devops we all know that using source code control is a “good thing” — indeed it would be hard to imagine doing Devops without it. But if you’re using Puppet and R10K for your configuration management you can end up having hundreds of old branches lying around — branches like XYZ-123, XYZ-123.fixed, XYZ-123.fixed.old and so on. Which branches to cleanup, which to keep? How to easily cleanup the old branches? This article demonstrates some git configurations and scripts  that make working with hundreds of git branches easier…

Go to Devops and Old Git Branches to read the full article.

Categories: thinktime

Lev Lafayette: Skill Improvements versus Interface Designs for eResarchers

Planet Linux Australia - Wed 25th Mar 2015 10:03

The increasing size of datasets acts a critical issue for eResearch, especially given that they are expanding at a rate greater than improvements in desktop application speed, suggesting that HPC knowledge is requisite. However knowledge of such systems is not common.

read more

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Of course it's difficult...

Seth Godin - Tue 24th Mar 2015 20:03
Students choose to attend expensive colleges but don't major in engineering because the courses are killer. Doing more than the customary amount of customer service is expensive, time-consuming and hard to sustain. Raising money for short-term urgent projects is easier...         Seth Godin
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Global Health Information Infrastructure: $100m Philanthropic Grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies

Teaser:  Professor Alan Lopez leads team of experts to establish global health information infrastructure.

This article originally appeared on the 

read more

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Michael Still: A quick walk through Curtin

Planet Linux Australia - Tue 24th Mar 2015 08:03
What do you do when you accidentally engaged a troll on twitter? You go for a walk of course.



I didn't realize there had been a flash flood in Canberra in 1971 that killed seven people, probably because I wasn't born then. However, when I ask people who were around then, they don't remember without prompting either, which I think is sad. I only learnt about the flood because of the geocache I found hidden at the (not very well advertised) memorial today.



       



Interactive map for this route.



Tags for this post: blog pictures 20150323-curtin photo canberra bushwalk

Related posts: Goodwin trig; Big Monks; Geocaching; Confessions of a middle aged orienteering marker; Narrabundah trig and 16 geocaches; Cooleman and Arawang Trigs



Comment
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Binh Nguyen: Mee (noodle) and Nasi (rice) Goreng Recipe/s

Planet Linux Australia - Mon 23rd Mar 2015 22:03
This is based on recipes online and an interpretation by a local restaurants that I used to frequent. While there are other alternative recipes that possibly taste better, I find that this is the quickest and easiest version.

- sugar

- curry powder

- chilli sauce

- soy sauce

- tomato sauce

- eggs

- chicken, prawns, and/or seafood mix

- egg noodles (any kind)

- lemon juice (optional)

- oyster sauce (optional)

- garlic (optional)

- ginger (optional)

- onion (optional)

- tomatoes (optional)

- tofu (optional)

- vegetables (optional, type is your choice)

Coat chicken with bicarbonate soda if desired (meat tenderiser. This step is not required at all if chicken is diced into small enough pieces and cooked well) and then wash off in cold water. Marinade chicken in fish sauce, sugar, garlic, pepper (optional step). Fry off chicken, tofu, onion, garlic, ginger, etc... in pan. Create sauce by using tomato sauce, soy sauce, chill sauce, curry powder, sugar, etc... Cook sauce and add noodles/rice when ready. Garnish everything with chopped lettuce and fried shallots if desired.



The following is what it looks like.

http://indaily.com.au/food-and-wine/2014/09/23/adam-liaws-mee-goreng/
Categories: thinktime

Things we don't see that much any more

Seth Godin - Mon 23rd Mar 2015 20:03
Wine coolers, Julia Roberts movies, fondue, Geocities pages, baby on board signs, a line at the Krispy Kreme... Ubiquitous doesn't mean forever, and popular isn't permanent. Someone is going to fade, and someone is going to be next to take...         Seth Godin
Categories: thinktime

Sridhar Dhanapalan: Twitter posts: 2015-03-16 to 2015-03-22

Planet Linux Australia - Mon 23rd Mar 2015 01:03
Categories: thinktime

The tyranny of random numbers

Seth Godin - Sun 22nd Mar 2015 20:03
Is that iPhone game really conspiring to put blue squares up at the last minute, just to foil your attempt at a perfect score? Human beings are story-making engines, and when we're confronted with randomness, we make up an egocentric...         Seth Godin
Categories: thinktime

Michael Still: Narrabundah trig and 16 geocaches

Planet Linux Australia - Sun 22nd Mar 2015 09:03
I walked to the Narrabundah trig yesterday, along the way collecting 15 of the 16 NRL themed caches in the area. It would have been all 16, except I can't find the last one for the life of me. I'm going to have to come back.



I really like this area. Its scenic, has nice trails, and you can't tell you're in Canberra unless you really look for it. It seemed lightly used to be honest, I think I saw three other people the entire time I was there. I encountered more dogs off lead than people.



 



Interactive map for this route.



Tags for this post: blog pictures 20150321-narrabundah photo canberra bushwalk

Related posts: Goodwin trig; Big Monks; Geocaching; Confessions of a middle aged orienteering marker; Cooleman and Arawang Trigs; Point Hut Cross to Pine Island



Comment
Categories: thinktime

Donna Benjamin: A more accessible online world will benefit everyone.

Planet Linux Australia - Sun 22nd Mar 2015 09:03
Sunday, March 22, 2015 - 08:37

PSA: If you are a web professional, work in a digital agency or build mobile apps, please read this article now: Taking the social model of disability online

Done? Great.

"The social model of disability reframes discussion of disability as a problem of the world, rather than of the individual. The stairs at the train station are the problem, rather than using a wheelchair."

El Gibbs has reminded me of question time during Gian Wild's keynote at Drupal Downunder in 2012. Gian asserts that accessibility guidelines are a legal requirement for everyone, not just Government. There was an audible gasp from the audience.

It's true that our physical environment needs to include ramps, lifts, accessible toilets, reserved parking spaces, etc in order to accommodate those with mobility needs. Multi-lingual societies require multi-lingual signage. There are hearing loops - but for some reason, this "social model" of accessibility doesn't seem to have extended online.

Making the digital world accessible, and counteracting the systemic discriminatory impact of failing to do so is something we must take seriously. We must build this in during planning and design, we must make it easy for content editors to maintain WCAG compliance AFTER a site or app is delivered.

Building accessibility features in from the beginning also means it costs less to implement, and delivers a double win of making the whole team more mindful of these issues to begin with. It should be part of the acceptance criteria, it should be part of the definition of done.

I'd like to see us tackle these issues directly in Drupal core. If you're interested in keeping track of accessibility issues in Drupal, you might like to follow drupala11y on twitter, and check out issues on drupal.org that have been tagged with "accessibility"

Accessibility traps might not affect you now, but they will. This is probably affecting people you know right now. People who silently struggle with small font sizes, poor contrast, cognitive load, keyboard traps, video without captions. 

My own eyesight and hearing is not what it was.  My once able parents now require mobility aids. My cousin requires an electric wheelchair. A friend uses a braille reader, and yet I still forget.  It's not front and centre for me, but it should be. Let's all take a moment to think about how we can focus on making our online and digital world more accessible for everyone. It really does benefit us all.

Categories: thinktime

Companies don't care about you

Seth Godin - Sat 21st Mar 2015 20:03
Brands don't care about you... Institutions don't care about you either. The only people who are able to care about you are people. The question, then, is this institution owned and organized and run by people who will allow the...         Seth Godin
Categories: thinktime

Lev Lafayette: An Introduction to Supercomputers

Planet Linux Australia - Sat 21st Mar 2015 11:03

Very much a minor update to the presentation I gave in 2013, this talk provides a definition of supercomputers, high performance computing, and parallel programming, their use and current metrics, the importance and dominance of the Linux operating system in these areas, as well as some practical hands-on examples.

An Introduction to Supercomputers. Presentation to Linux Users of Victoria Beginners Workshop, 21st March, 2015

Categories: thinktime

How long is your long term?

Seth Godin - Fri 20th Mar 2015 20:03
A simple question with an answer that's difficult to embrace. What are you willing to give up today in exchange for something better tomorrow? Next week? In ten years? Your long term is not the sum of your short terms.         Seth Godin
Categories: thinktime

Arjen Lentz: 2015 Arctic Sea Ice Maximum Annual Extent Is Lowest On Record | NASA

Planet Linux Australia - Fri 20th Mar 2015 17:03
The sea ice cap of the Arctic appeared to reach its annual maximum winter extent on Feb. 25, 2015, according to data from the NSIDC. […] this year’s maximum extent was the smallest on the satellite record and also one of the earliest.
Categories: thinktime

Michael Still: A quick trip to Namadgi

Planet Linux Australia - Fri 20th Mar 2015 14:03
I thought I'd drop down to the Namadgi visitors centre to have a look during lunch because I hadn't been there since being a teenager. I did a short walk to Gudgenby Hut, and on the way back discovered this original border blaze tree. Its stacked on pallets at the moment, but is apparently intended for display one day. This is how much of the ACT's boarder was marked originally -- blazes cut on trees.



 



Interactive map for this route.



Tags for this post: blog pictures 20150320-namadgi photo canberra bushwalk namadgi border

Related posts: Goodwin trig; Big Monks; Geocaching; Confessions of a middle aged orienteering marker; Cooleman and Arawang Trigs; Point Hut Cross to Pine Island



Comment
Categories: thinktime

Arjen Lentz: Our privacy is about to be serially infringed – ABC The Drum

Planet Linux Australia - Fri 20th Mar 2015 13:03
Michael Bradley summarises the situation on meta-data collection very well in his article for ABC’s The Drum. […] nobody has put up a rationally argued case for what is in reality a mass government surveillance program. […] You’d think that, before we decided as a society to allow our privacy to be serially infringed in this most intimate and comprehensive way, we’d want to be absolutely sure it was necessary. We didn’t get that chance, and our Government and Opposition have let us down in the worst way in their joint unseemly haste to look strong. This is one of those moments upon which we will look back and wonder, how on earth…
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