Blaise Alleyne

Toronto, Canada

Technologist, musician, writer, theology student, free culture/software advocate.

  • GNOME 3 and chat

    2015-11-24T14:43:48Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Any GNOME 3 users out there have recommendations for handling chat programs and notifications?

    With a few extensions, I've come to really enjoy GNOME 3, but the one experience that's still lousy is chat (XMPP or IRC). With Empathy, Pidgin, or Hexchat, I feel like the messaging menu doesn't work the same way that the old system tray style notifications used to work. It's so easy to miss notifications if you're not watching the screen. I find that I'm either compulsively checking the open applications, or more often I just simply don't use chat programs frequently any more because that compulsive checking is too distracting.

    I'd love to be able to leave the programs open and have confidence that I'll see if there are messages waiting without having to check. Any suggestions for applications or extensions or ways of handling those notifications for XMPP / IRC in GNOME 3?

    Christopher Allan Webber likes this.

    I'm no Gnome user, but maybe you could try a client that's not integrated into Gnome3, and uses its own notification methods. Just an idea.

    Kyosuke at 2015-11-24T14:51:21Z

    Yeah, that's why I've used Pidgin more than Empathy. But the system tray icon just gets stashed in the messaging area, which isn't visible on the screen. And since there's no application list at the bottom GNOME 2 / Windows style, you don't see a flashing window or something when there's a message waiting. You still have to flip to the window, or open the messaging area to check if there are any messages that might be waiting if you didn't catch them when they came in. =\

    Blaise Alleyne at 2015-11-24T15:26:08Z

    I'm trying out this extension now:

    Maybe a bit overkill, but going to experiment with that, as well as Empathy again (more GNOME integration), possibly Pidgin GNOME Integration too.

    Blaise Alleyne at 2015-11-24T16:58:16Z

    Maybe have a look at Polari (gome IRC client)?

    mray at 2015-11-24T19:54:54Z

    Blaise Alleyne likes this.

  • 2015-11-24T14:39:47Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    A few days ago, in the car, Noah [4 years born] does a little bit of sarcastic parenting.

    I gave Mara [2 years born] a timbit (for the uninitiated, tiny donut hole).

    • Mara: ma-moe! [more]
    • Me: If you eat some real food, you can have another.
    • Mara: Oh! [no!] Ma-moe! [more!]
    • Me: Nope, sorry.
    • Mara: MAH-MOE!!!! MAH-MOE!!!! AHHHH!!!!
    • Me: ...
    • Mara: cries Mah-Moe! shriek Ma-Moe Ma-Moe!!!
    • Noah: Mara, do you... do you... do you tink dat... dat yelling is going to get a timbit into your hand? Do you? Do you have a timbit in your hand now

    Charles Stanhope , B. Ross Ashley like this.

  • 2015-11-21T03:52:08Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Jeff Buckley: Dido's Lament. Just, wow.

    Greg Grossmeier likes this.

    One of my favorite voices.

    Greg Grossmeier at 2015-11-21T04:08:50Z

  • Submitted a presentation proposal to Libre Planet

    2015-11-10T21:17:37Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I've submitted to Libre Planet in March to haul my gear out from Toronto and demo my free software multi-instrumental live music rig. If my presentation is accepted, crossing the border will be fun!

    Christopher Allan Webber , George Standish like this.

  • Friday I perform live music powered by free software at FSOSS in Toronto!

    2015-10-28T23:07:57Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I'm super excited for my talk/performance at FSOSS on Friday: Building a Free Software Multi-Instrumental Live Music Rig.

    Just like I did at Software Freedom Day in Toronto, I'm planning to perform three songs, and in between talk about all the software I'm using under Debian and KXStudio from software synths to SooperLooper to guitar sound processors, etc. I'll be bringing my violin, bass guitar, electric guitar, and acoustic guitar, and using Fabla to button mash some drums. Just bought a USB class compliant Keith McMillen SoftStep 2 foot controller to be able to manage SooperLooper with my feet instead of through clicks.

    This will be a big milestone on my new journey to bring libre tech into my music.

  • Google snuck surveillance code into Chromium?

    2015-10-27T19:11:51Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    How did I miss this in June...

    And to Chromium, not Chrome...

    I use Chromium as a secondary browser, mostly as a sandbox for Google/Facebook applications. But sometimes I get lazy and start doing a lot more browsing in Chromium if I don't have IceWeasel open. This radically changes my feeling of Chromium...

    juancuyo , juancuyo , mray , jrobertson and 2 others shared this. but what is to worry about? Problem found, problem resolved. Exactly the way this process is supposed to work.

    Stephen Sekula at 2015-10-27T21:04:53Z

    Apparently Google is a front for the NSA.

    jrobertson at 2015-10-27T21:30:56Z

    I don't think this was the way the process is supposed to work. Google sneaking something nasty into the free software version that's intended for the proprietary version, and it being discovered through the Debian bug reporting process after it's already been pushed into "production" on user's computers?

    This radically changes my perspective on how Google views Chromium. While I'm not necessarily concerned about this specific problem, I'm very concerned about what this says about Google's practices with Chromium development.

    Blaise Alleyne at 2015-10-28T02:28:01Z

    jrobertson , Stephen Sekula like this.

  • FSOSS Talk Approved: Building a Free Software Multi-Instumental Live Music Rig

    2015-10-09T18:29:36Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Looks like my FSOSS talk was accepted on building a free software multi-instrumental live music rig!

    Guess that means I need to prepare...

    Congrats, and do prepare please

    Kete Foy at 2015-10-09T22:28:50Z

    I gave the same presentation at a local event last month, so preparing should just be a matter of ironing out the kinks! Just only a few weeks notice to do so...

    Blaise Alleyne at 2015-10-10T01:11:24Z

    Sounds good. That will probably help you do well

    Kete Foy at 2015-10-10T01:41:38Z

  • Thunderbird has... 1-2% Market Share?

    2015-10-05T16:10:50Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I knew Thunderbird had low market share... but for some reason I'm still pretty surprised to see only 1% from 2012 or 2% from 2015.

    I guess everyone just uses webmail anyways... it'd probably be more meaningful to ask what percentage of the desktop mail client space Thunderbird has... since that's already a minority of users.

    testbeta likes this.

    In my workplace (University Engineering School, ~300 users) we recommended Thunderbird for Windows users (although we allow them to install the one they choose) and I think we have had more than 40% share.

    Two years ago our webmail system migrated to RoundCube (yay!) and since then, many people just used webmail. Many others, unfortunately, configured their (University) account in the Gmail webmail (IMO it should be forbidden to do that, specially for teachers/researchers, but it's difficult to get those policies written, and even if yes, more difficult get people following the policy).

    This year I would say we keep at least 25% share in Windows desktops, but I have no actual figures (just estimating from the user help desk requests).

    I've never seen a Windows user that migrates from other client to Thunderbird regret that decision later (except for the migration to webmail cases).

    Laura Arjona at 2015-10-05T17:44:20Z

    Blaise Alleyne likes this.

    I wonder where mutt (or others like alpine) figures.
    Yeah webmail is defacto people don't get that email should have its own dedicated desktop application, I didn't. It's until disruption begins.
    mozilla is plummeting, be it firefox or thunderbird.
    thunderbird has rivals in claws and sylpheed, both recommended by crypto tools, like gpg and gpg4win and co.

    testbeta at 2015-10-05T19:16:14Z

    debexpert likes this.

    Yeah, that's true -- there are some communities with huge uptake, and even a small percentage of email users is still millions of people worldwide when the pie is as big as "email users."

    Blaise Alleyne at 2015-10-05T20:01:51Z

    I use Enigmail with Thunderbird, but yeah, Thunderbird has been pretty stagnant for years now...

    Blaise Alleyne at 2015-10-05T20:02:24Z

  • Innovation happens at the intersections

    2015-10-05T01:55:05Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Why some of us don't have one true calling

    Fantastic TED Talk, though I really hate the term "multipotentialite." I've been thinking for a couple years of a better term to describe a multidisciplinarian, someone with multiple specialties... and not just in an additive way, but in the sense of interdisciplinary integration... and a word that's in the same genre as "specialist."

    • Integrationist / Integrationalist?
    • Multidisciplinarian?
    • Intersectionalist
    • Jack of all trades, master of some (phrase, not name...)

    Obviously, coming up with catchy names isn't one of my specialties.

    testbeta likes this.

    Reinassance person? :)

    Martin Weller talks about interdisciplinarity in "The Digital Scholar", maybe you like that chapter (I found the whole book very interesting, even when I am not a scholar).

    Laura Arjona at 2015-10-05T18:11:23Z

    testbeta likes this.

    Polymath just sounds like such a technical term. And I think most people would be confused by the "math" part. But it is an applicable term for sure.

    Blaise Alleyne at 2015-10-05T19:59:03Z

    Cool, I'll check out the book!

    Renaissance person is accurate, it just sounds like... child prodigy or genius or like something that is extraordinary and super special and inaccessible to the average person, contrasted with a commonplace word like specialist. But maybe that's my own hangup!

    Blaise Alleyne at 2015-10-05T20:00:19Z

  • WordPress and Privacy Badger

    2015-09-25T14:01:47Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Yikes. I install Privacy Badger, and the standard WordPress admin is loading a ton of stuff, like Bootstrap from a CDN, Google Fonts, etc.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) likes this.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , Olivier Mehani , Olivier Mehani , Olivier Mehani shared this.

    Show all 5 replies

    if you think wordpress is bad you should check out some of the news sites. they are really bad

    Efraim Flashner at 2015-09-25T14:13:07Z

    I guess I just expected a bit better of WordPress. =\

    Blaise Alleyne at 2015-09-25T14:16:28Z

    Try running NoScript for a while :-)

    Sazius at 2015-09-25T16:49:31Z

    Douglas Perkins , jrobertson like this.

    If a web page doesn't load properly without JavaScript then it is not a web page in my book it's a web application for viewing select information  among other things.

    jrobertson at 2015-09-26T11:26:41Z

    Douglas Perkins likes this.

  • Digital Ocean launching Toronto Data Centre

    2015-09-24T14:40:23Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Super excited that Digital Ocean is launching a Toronto Data Centre! VPS options in Canada are pretty lousy...

    Efraim Flashner likes this.

    Interesting that the ones in the US are data centers

    Efraim Flashner at 2015-09-24T15:19:39Z

    Blaise Alleyne likes this.

  • Free Software for Live Musical Performance

    2015-09-20T20:43:00Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I'm so glad I have a presentation at our small Toronto Software Freedom Day gathering yesterday, put on by LibrePlanet Ontario.

    I didn't feel ready, but the deadline forced me to get ready enough. I've been working on putting together a mulit-instrumental live music station powered by free software for about a year now, and yesterday I performed three songs with this rig for the first time! It's still very much a work in progress, but it's usable now...

    Hoping to do more of these performances in future, and to write about my set up.

    olm-e , Charles Stanhope , B. Ross Ashley , Greg Grossmeier like this.

  • 2015-09-19T02:36:00Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Last minute preparation for a presentation on software and music tomorrow. I don't feel ready... but I think I can give an interesting alpha preview to my evolving live music rig centred around live music production. We'll see how it goes...

  • My Name Is Noah

    2015-09-06T00:39:06Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    The first true jam session between me and my son (3 years born):

  • Guitar effects pedalboard 10th anniversary

    2015-09-05T15:28:01Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Bought a Digitech Whammy V, reconfigured my pedalboard on its 10th anniversary. New favourite pedal now (though waiting for the MOD Duo).

  • Parts of my job that I hate

    2015-07-15T16:45:53Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Troubleshooting a Windows 8 machine that I never wanted which now has CryptoWall on it and is suddenly my problem.

    Urgh, sounds terrible :-(

    sazius at 2015-07-15T19:49:26Z

    My condolences :\

    JanKusanagi at 2015-07-15T23:40:57Z

  • Data Roaming in the US

    2015-07-09T15:31:26Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I can't tell which is more amazing: that WIND Mobile's unlimited US roaming is only $15/month... or that its default US data rate is only $0.05/MB. o.0

    For any other Canadian carrier, the border is that magic line where a mobile computer transforms into a touch screen calculator... likes this.

    >> Blaise Alleyne:

    “[...] that magic line where a mobile computer transforms into a touch screen calculator... [...]”


    JanKusanagi at 2015-07-09T15:35:31Z

  • My mom the Games Doctor

    2015-07-08T14:34:42Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    Super proud of my mom, Chief Medical Officer for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Para-Pan Am Games.

    Here's an interview she did this morning on CBC Radio:

    George Standish likes this.

  • 2015-06-24T14:33:42Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    My wife just now, re: cover of LV011: "Is that Richard Stallman? Because it looks like Robert Baratheon."

    sazius likes this.

    they do both have big, wild beards

    Efraim Flashner at 2015-06-24T15:02:56Z

  • The death of a laptop (hard drive)

    2015-06-24T02:32:13Z via Pumpa To: Public CC: Followers

    I think the hard drive on my ThinkPad T61 is totally dead.

    It's a 750 GB drive that was still my primary digital home... I have my files backed up, but I'm not even sure where to put them now...

    • Do I get another large drive? I'm addicted to the speed of the SSD I've been using in my X60, and had barely been touching my T61 as a result...
    • Do I move my files to ownCloud? I'm using it more and more, but a bit wary of putting important stuff behind a web accessible login page...
    • Do I move to my living room computer / server? This is where my backups sit already... access via SFTP or something from whatever machine I'm using?
    • Do I refurbish or abandon the T61? The fan needs repair (or maybe just cleaning), and the keyboard has a few serious issues (sticky e and space bar, non-working PgUP...)... but otherwise...

    Also, kinda sentimental... that hard drive housed my first GNU/Linux install, which carried me from Ubuntu 6.06, through failed upgrades, across three physical machines, for a good 7 years. (Though, I'd stopped using it daily in favour of Debian and an SSD... so maybe it's about time.)

    This probably forces only the third time I've every reorganized my digital home base in my life... the first time from a family 386 to my own Windows machine, then the second time when switching to GNU/Linux 7 years back...

    deep breath

    One step at a time...

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) shared this.

    Show all 8 replies

    @Douglas Perkins: Right, that's kind of what I mean... I shouldn't have said "log in" in particular... it's more that I'm hesitant to expose all my personal files to a web-accessible PHP application!

    Blaise Alleyne at 2015-06-24T13:13:05Z

    Lars Wirzenius likes this.

    @Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) oh, cool, I didn't know those existed! Will check that option out for sure...

    The ThinkPad T61 has an UltraBay which has an optical drive in it now, but I can potentially use that for a second hard drive too... I was considering the dual hard drive thing before... but a combined drive might be simpler.

    Blaise Alleyne at 2015-06-24T13:15:45Z


    A 1TB hard drive will cost you about $60, and it should last for 5+ years. SSDs have lower latency, are silent, and suitable for the professional who has more cash to burn.

    The main reason I can't imagine running off a non-SSD anymore is that these laptops are also old.

    For me, spending some extra cash on an SSD for my X60 was actually a money saver because it made my X60 lightning fast and killed any immediate need for a new machine. I would avoid my T61 with the non-SSD a lot of the time because, even though they had otherwise similar specs, it'd be ~5min to logged in session versus 30 seconds, and everything else just felt so painful and slow... The SSD was the single biggest boost to performance I've ever made, and made me quite content to continue using these old 2007 machines.

    A local file server is essential if you intend to keep backups, whereas a local cloud server is more helpful if you're setting up a media library for family members etc.

    My living room computer is kinda of all of the above... it receives backups via rsync/ssh, I can connect to it via SFTP (locally or remotely) as a file server, but it's also running ownCloud (and a few other web applications). I'm somewhat tempted to make that my home base... just access it via SFTP when I need to get into long-term storage files or something, maybe even just stream my music collection... but I'm really not sure yet!

    Thanks for the feedback. :)

    Blaise Alleyne at 2015-06-24T13:22:27Z

    @Laura Arjona true, true. Maybe the first step is just to get my backup accessible so I can use my files and buy some time to think about fixing up the laptop. It's the keyboard bit that seemed a bit expensive to repair on a 2007 machine, but I only started looking into it... If the repairs aren't too expensive, I'm much more inclined to get it working well again rather than look at a new machine... (It's pretty freedom friendly hardware, aside from the wireless card...)

    Blaise Alleyne at 2015-06-24T13:26:19Z