Category Archives: Friends + Family

The gang I love

Bike tails, no. 1.

With both of the kids growing quickly, it was high time to get them bigger bikes. I broke a low-weight goal this past week, and although I'm still considerably overweight (that's putting it nicely) I now weigh less than I did four years ago. Perhaps in a euphoric fit, I decided to get myself a bike too.

I haven't had a bike since high school, when I used to use it to get to friends' houses, or the community pool, in the very large subdivision where I lived. It was a large community of a couple thousand lots over maybe a few dozen square miles, so biking to a friend's house might mean a 15-30 minute ride depending on where they lived, and how the roads and hills were laid out between point A and point B. As we got older and got our drivers licenses, bikes became passe and we would pick each other up to do things over a wider geographic area.

So 25 years later, here I was at the store considering getting back into the pedaling business. I didn't want to go drop $500 on a lark, though. First I wanted to find out whether I could still enjoy biking at all. I figured that in a year or two, if I really do enjoy biking, I should be able to look into a better bike at that point. I looked at road bikes and mountain bikes, and decided that given some of our uneven roads in this area, a mountain bike with a suspension would probably work better for me. Even though they're a bit heavier, I also felt — although this may be just psychological — that a mountain bike's sturdier frame and wheels would hold up better under my weight.

Ultimately I picked out a Schwinn S25. It's nowhere near the level of bikes some of my cyclist friends probably have, but thus far it seems pretty sturdy and fun to me. I took it out around the neighborhood yesterday with Evie, after checking that the shifters and brakes seemed fairly well adjusted. And it was a lot of fun returning to riding after 25 years away. For the first couple of minutes I was just the tiniest bit shaky on balance, but it all came back very quickly.

I bought a couple accessories to go with it, like a gel padded wrapper for the seat (which by itself looked hard enough to be a torture device for someone my size), a small accessory bag that anchors to the steering and top tubes, and some padded gloves. I also stupidly bought a bottle cage so I could carry some water with me, and it totally doesn't fit the big frame of this bike. OK, I got a little carried away there, so shoot me. I definitely need to figure that out, because having hydration with me will be necessary if I'm going to ride any appreciable distance, or take my bike out to some of hte battlefield trails in the area.

The only problem I found was that although the gel seat wrapper does fine at preventing pressure and numbness on those (ahem) sensitive areas, it didn't do a darn thing for my "sitting bones." And that sucks, because I really want to go riding again today, but I'm still sore from yesterday, and I feel like if I go riding again today, I won't be able to sit down to work tomorrow.

I'm hoping some of my biking friends can recommend more comfortable seating, but unfortunately a lot of them are skinny guys so they may not be that helpful. There's a bike shop in town, although I'm sure it's geared more toward serious cyclists. Is it worth the potential embarrassment for me to visit them and ask about making my posterior a little more comfortable?

LinuxTag starts tomorrow!

Sorry I’ve been away from the blog for a bit. Open Source Bridge was totally hectic and I failed to get a report out in time. I’ll try to remedy that later this week with a summary of what happened there, because it really was a great conference for practitioners in open source, and very different from the equally successful Southeast Linux Fest which I attended the weekend before.

But on to the present — I’m here in Berlin and tomorrow LinuxTag begins, bringing with it thousands of free software fans, advocates, developers, and contributors. Max has already written about the magnificent booth being set up by Fedora Ambassadors for the festivities, and I plan to be there as much as possible myself. From what I understand, some space was made in our booth schedule where a willing volunteer could help out — this is me raising my hand! 🙂

On Friday we start the big FUDCon event which should be fantastic. There will be a huge assemblage of Fedora contributors, mostly from the EU but from a few other places as well. I am very much looking forward to hearing the talks, and reporting on the many cool hackfests that will happen at this event. I believe we will have session tracks in both German and English and I hope many of the LinuxTag visitors will attend to assuage their curiosity about how the Fedora community works, and how our work might be important or compelling to them as FOSS participants.

Today, Jesse Keating and I fought off our jet lag by exercising — essentially walking as much of Berlin as we could manage before our feet cried for mercy. Before the day was up we visited Potsdamer Platz, Checkpoint Charlie, the Holocaust Memorial, and the Brandenburger Tor, among others. Thanks to my failed sense of direction, we missed out on seeing the Schloss Charlottenburg, a beautiful palace designed after that at Versailles, but thanks to all the other cool stuff we saw I think he forgave me. 🙂 Lest anyone thinnk we just goofed off all day, when we got back to the hotel I caught up on a bunch of email; had a three-hour meeting with Max, Gerold, Fabian, and Jeroen; had another hour or so meeting with Max; and proceeded to work on even more email and other tasks for the next several hours, on top of this post.

Yikes! Conferences are busy. But they are absolutely fantastic because I get to catch up with good friends from around the globe who are doing awesome work as contributors in Fedora and to free software in general. You guys are inspiring and I look forward to seeing you at LinuxTag and FUDCon, and having a beverage with you at the FUDPub event.

Get your goggles on.

Tomorrow is the day — Fedora 11 roars into action! Make sure that you fire up your BitTorrent client and seed for others; help to spread the love!

I want to take a moment to thank each and every person who supported this release — whether it was by writing code, filing a bug, triaging said bug, translating text, working with press, writing or editing the wiki and other docs, testing packages or releases, spreading media and message, organizing events or release parties, helping users, or any of the other activities that make Fedora an incredible and vibrant community.

Thank you for everything you do to make Fedora wonderful. We’re happy and lucky to have you with us on this journey. If you enjoy the release only a tenth as much as I enjoy working with all of you, I have no doubt this will be our most popular release yet.

See you on the tubez tomorrow!

Wishing I were more of a foodie.

I thought it would be nice just to talk about some delightful things we consumed over the holidays. Most of them were made by my wife because I suck at kitchen management. I just stay out of her way, or if she needs help, she’s learned to give me exact orders and I just obey. I do get credit for taking care of the Thanksgiving Day turkey — my one skill is in cooking large quantities of dead animal flesh, so as long as I take care of that part, she’s happy doing the rest. And then I clean the dishes.

Eleya made a wonderful rack of lamb, roasted with peppercorns, for Christmas Eve dinner. For some reason our oven ran strangely and forced her to serve the lamb a bit at a time, moving in form the edges as they reached the perfect stage of rare to medium rare that good lamb demands. All ended well and people were happy to come back for seconds (or thirds). She also made some fantastic green beans sauteed with shallots and vermouth, and the best garlic mashed potatoes I think I’ve ever had. Ever. Did I mention I made the salad? Yeah baby, stand back.

We had a really tasty champagne for New Year’s Eve, a de Margerie Grand Cru Brut. I think I might slightly prefer the Montaudon Classe ‘M’ that we had last year, but the de Margerie was quite good. It was very crisp with some apple notes, and probably lots of other stuff a better wine or champagne taster would be able to pinpoint.

We’d also decided, since we were spending NYE at home, to enjoy grown-up food after the kids were in bed. We ate sparingly at dinner so we could enjoy a nice basket of treats that were sent by an out-of-town friend — gourmet crackers, cheese, salami, mustard, and some nice chocolates. I think next year I may go out and hand-select these sorts of treats and pair them with the champagne we choose to ring in 2010, because it was really lovely.

Today she made some crystallized ginger which I’m really looking forward to trying when it’s fully done. It’s currently drying, after which it will be coated lightly with confectioner’s sugar. If you haven’t tried crystallized ginger, it’s wonderful — sweet and tangy but with a nice touch of spicy hotness. Despite what you might expect from the spicy heat, ginger is also quite exceptional for curing an acid stomach or heartburn — no kidding! Try it next time you have a sour tummy; you can find it at most grocers.

I also watched too many episodes of Iron Chef with my daughter on our one “couch potato” day. Her favorite subjects are science and cooking (go figure). I saw some really amazing ways to prepare buffalo and venison, and thankfully none of them involved ice cream.

Drawing to a close.

The blog’s been pretty quiet for the last week because I took some time to just relax, spend time with family and friends, and enjoy the company’s holiday shutdown period.

This has been a very eventful year for me and my family, including my moving from the public to the private sector to take a job with Red Hat, many travels (including my first trip to Germany!), family events including death and birth, and helping my mom through some tough times recuperating from her back surgery, not to mention the financial and political tumult that affected everyone over the course of the year, two big releases for the Fedora Project, and all the work that went thereto. But all in all, 2008 has actually been quite a memorable year for me, and I’m looking forward to what 2009 will bring.

Right off the bat, I’ll get to see old and new Fedora friends at our FUDCon in Boston in about a week or so. It will be a fantastic event and I’m very much looking forward to participating in it, after all the planning! There’s something very fulfilling about seeing people come together at these events to renew bonds, to create new and exciting features, and to further break down barriers to free software contribution.

There’s no doubt in my mind that, now more than ever, Fedora is the epicenter of progress in FOSS, and that progress is powered by our entire community working together with our multitudinous upstream partners. Software freedom and community don’t come free of cost; they’re endeavors built on the hard work and tenacity of hundreds of thousands of FOSS contributors. The work of those contributors calls for gratitude and respect, and they continue to be my focus in Fedora.

When I get together with contributors at FUDCon, it’s always a good reminder to me that words must be backed up by deeds. Pledges to community and freedom too easily ring hollow without the accompanying march of progress through contribution. I’m constantly heartened by the enthusiasm shown by our community members at these events for making real progress in FOSS, with constant dedication to the spirit of openness that free software provides and demands. I’ll do my best this year to meet that enthusiasm with my own, to respect your hard work with more of the same, and to help you keep creating and promoting “freedom, friends, features, first.”

Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing as you ring in the New Year, I hope 2009 brings you and your loved ones success, fulfillment, and happiness. Now let’s break out the good bubbly!

Back in play.

The Red Hat corporate help desk kindly sent me a new laptop for temporary use until I get the replacement for my XPS M1330 from Dell. The loaner was a 32-bit machine, and my old drive was 64-bit, so rather than bother with a hard disk transplant, which would mean reinstalling the system, I decided to move my data from my old laptop hard disk (which survived just fine) to the new system, and figured I might as well document it for newer folks who might not know how to do it cleanly.

Keep reading “below the fold” to find out what I did and why.

Continue reading Back in play.

In slumber, the sound of distant crowing.

There are a lot of heartbreaks you set yourself up for as a parent. Perhaps you have a while before you need to deal with some of them — the first date, going off to college and moving out, the eventual wedding — but no dagger strikes so deep yet as the odd and unforeseeable moments when you look at your young one, and realize they will never again be as young as they are right now, and comprehend the two or the ten or the twenty-nine months you’ve lost forever since the last time your heart broke when you realized this.

And if you happen to be mercifully oblivious in your distance from that place on some particular evening, there is nothing that snaps you, like an elastic band, back into that wistful reverie faster than coming in your nightly story time to the last chapter of Peter Pan, wherein the eternally young and impish boy returns after many years to the home of one Wendy Moira Angela Darling, now grown up and with a daughter of her own:

Continue reading In slumber, the sound of distant crowing.