Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'fun'

Louis

Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Ok, the title shows my age. But a facebook post from a colleague (oh, yeah, who happens to be my boss), writing his thoughts on a train to Québec city made me think of my own experience of today, sitting in a plane for 8 hours on my way to Montréal.

Not because we were late leaving by one hour, wait that was only enlightened by the pilot’s humour in describing in almost real time the reasons for us being late (mixup in the baggage loading, then nobody to remove the boarding gate, then the guy who’s supposed to move the plane out of the  boarding area just left without notice). But because this plane was taking me from he country I elected to live from the country were I was born, the city where I spent some of my best time.

Flying for me is rarely a burden, once I’m in the plane.  Actually, once I’ve cleared security and am waiting to board.  Then the calm reaches me; all I need to do is sit and be taken care of. Even when, while watching the beginning of « The Fight Club » on the onboard video system, I watch an « in flight collision », three days after dreaming of experiencing an airline crash on take off.  I am not a frequent flyer by any measure, but air travelling is not a problem for me.

But every now and then, I get to fly back home from home.  I get to return to Montréal, Québec, from Le Chesnay France.  This does often put me in curious positions. Like an hour ago when, in the hotel’s elevator, I meet two people from France. I recognise the accent, then automatically switch to my « France » accent and behave just like any other person from France visiting.  But earlier, coming back from the airport, I talked to the taxi driver as any other quebéquois would have done.  I do like this situation. Makes me think that I have taken out the best of both worlds. I also remember this big map of France that I put up on my appartment wall, back when going to France was not even a possibility yet.  Back then it was a wish.

It also take me away from my family, my two beloved daughter and Nathalie, the woman I love. And bring me back to my family, my two other brothers and my parents who still live here.  Even though I am briefly far away from the family I have participated to build, I am also briefly closer to the family who saw me grow up.  Airplanes get me to go from one to another in only a few hours.

Automobiles will not see me much here. This may be a proof that I am only a visitor here nowadays.  I used to drive the streets of Montréal daily, without hesitation, knowing where to go.  I have this feeling driving in the Paris area nowadays.  I’m much more familiar with Versailles and Paris than I would be in Laval or the east end of Montréal.  But if I was to come back here, it would all come back very quickly.

Planes, trains & Automobiles take us to our lives at the speed at which they evolve, or at the distances where they happen.

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Daniel Holbach

On 4th October everyone on our team at Canonical will work for a solid 24 hours period and stream it live to the internet. It will be hard, but it will also be lots of fun and we do it to raise money for charities. We all picked different ones and you can get more info about each of us on the Marathon page.

So a few friends already asked me: “Why Oxfam?” and there are obviously many many fantastic charities to choose from, but I thought I’d go into a bit more detail about why I love the work they’re doing.

Oxfam’s mission statement is “We believe we can end poverty and injustice, as part of a global movement for change.”, which is something I very much identify with.

I have very early memories of my life in which I had seen reports of injustice, poverty or hunger in the news and asked my mom why we let something like that happen. I was appalled, why isn’t everyone having a good life as I did? Even nowadays I find it hard to explain this to kids, which in my mind is the best way to test how much sense you are making.

Learning about organisations which helped to solve some of these problems reinstated my hope in humanity and I’m glad it did, because you’d probably all know a much less cheerful Daniel if that hope wasn’t reinstated back in my early days.

Oxfam makes long-term commitments to areas, so even when the reporters are gone, they stay and help to make these region less prone to catastrophes. They form local partnerships because they know that locals often know best how to address issues – there is no self-righteous sense of mission involved here.

A common garden

A common garden

Watershed in Balandougou, Mali

Watershed in Balandougou, Mali

Take the Sahel region for example. Life is hard there, rainfall is minimal and with climate change life gets a lot harder. Infrastructure and the medical situation can be problems too. So when there’s a drought hunger relief is important, but it’s not everything. You need to invest into education, you need to make sure people can sustain themselves and can find other venues of supporting themselves and others.

Oxfam’s help and support comes in all the forms mentioned above and many more, which is what I love about them. Sometimes it is seemingly small things like “an oven which needs less wood”, which in turn leads to less deforestation (which is a huge problem anyway) and girls (who do most of the wood collecting) having more time for their studies.

While this is all great work already, Oxfam doesn’t stop there. They deeply understand that some of the world’s problems are not made locally, but globally. So they campaign for policy change in lots of relevant areas, be it related to climate change, speculation on food prices, saving energy, issues related to biofuel and many other issues. Demonstrating against a coal power plant in Germany is connected to problems in the Sahel region. Oxfam get this. We’re in this world together.

Oxfam is also creative and fun. Their Unwrapped Store is a great opportunity to give presents and also make the world a better place. What I love most is the pair of goats (picture below) – there were a few weddings where this was part of my gift.

Pair of goats

Pair of goats

Also have Oxfam been around since 1942 and they picked two very important points: poverty and injustice, which if granted to everyone would put them into a position where they can “exercise their human rights, assert their dignity as full citizens and take control of their lives.”

This got more lengthy than I expected, but as you can see I really like what they’re doing. I have been supporting them for a while, getting their quarterly reports and a few of my friends volunteered from them. I’m quite sure you don’t do anything wrong if you support them.

If you want to support Oxfam and think working for 24h for Oxfam is a good idea, please donate here. Thanks in advance, you’re a hero!

See you all on http://marathon.ubuntuonair.com/ on 4th October.

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caribou

Live from my phone

The fun of being a geek is to find silly things to do, like to try to blog from an Android phone.

Well, using the power of the open source (wordpress & Android) looks like it will be easier then expected (aside from the virtual keyboard that makes typing a bit tedious).

Kind of nice…

 

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Colin Ian King

cowsay and cowthink fun

Time for me to lighten up a little. I stumbled upon the cowsay and cowthink commands today while reading the Wikipedia entry about Tux. Cowsay prints an ASCII art picture of a cow and a speach bubble around some provided text, and cowthink puts the text in a think bubble.

cowsay "Well this is all very amusing."

 ________________________________
< Well this is all very amusing. >
--------------------------------
\ ^__^
\ (oo)\_______
(__)\ )\/\
||----w |
|| ||

The -f flag allows one to specify different picture, for example -f tux draws Tux instead of a cow.

cowthink -f tux "Why is my kernel building so slowly today?"
 _____________________________________
( Why is my kernel building so slowly )
( today? )
-------------------------------------
o
o
.--.
|o_o |
|:_/ |
// \ \
(| | )
/'\_ _/`\
\___)=(___/

There are over 50 pictures to chose from, use cowsay -l to list them all.

To install, use: sudo apt-get install cowsay

Enjoy!


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Colin Ian King

Makerbot - an open source 3D printer

This week I'm attending a Ubuntu Kernel Sprint and my colleague Steve Conklin brought along a fantastic gizmo - the Makerbot 3D printer. It is most fascinating watching it print 3D objects by extruding a thin ABS plastic trail of plastic in layers. It can print objects up to 4" x 4" x 6" - the imagination is the limiting factor to what it can print. Steve already demo'd it printing a variety of objects, the most impressive being a working whistle including a moving ball inside the whistle. It's not too slow either - it took about 25 minutes to print the whistle, which isn't bad considering the complexity and size of the object.













It's a cool piece of kit - doubly so because it's completely open sourced.


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Colin Ian King

Ubuntu Release Party reaches 1000 users!


W00t - the Ubuntu Release Party for Karmic Koala reaches 1000 users!



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