Glasgow, United Kingdom

Interested in computers, science, writing and er, well, um, humans I suppose.

  • 3 years

    Greg Grossmeier at 2014-12-11T18:10:49Z

    As of 2 hours ago, it has been 3 years since Rowan was born into my hands (unplanned homebirth, I can tell you the story later).

    He's been the best thing in my life since then.

    He's strong willed, opinionated, and best of all, loving. He truly loves everyone and wants everyone to be happy.

    I love you, too, Rowan.

    jpope,, mcnalu, Stephen Sekula and 4 others likes this.

    Happy birthday to Rowan, then =)

    JanKusanagi @i at 2014-12-11T19:44:16Z likes this.

  • Problem solved

    at 2014-11-04T01:35:59Z

    It's easy!

    mcnalu, sazius, jpope, and 3 others likes this.

    Luis Davila, victorhck, Douglas Perkins, Douglas Perkins shared this.

  • Evan Prodromou at 2014-09-24T02:26:39Z

    I've wanted to write up a blog post about #xoxofest, so I'm going to try to collect my thoughts here.

    I went to XOXO in 2013 on the "Festival" pass, which gives you access to the parties but not the talks during the day. I didn't like it; among other things, the Festival pass was only given to people who weren't accepted for the main pass. It felt like a big "SECOND RATER" sticker, which made me feel pretty bad, and made me think darkly competitive thoughts about the other people who were given conference badges. ("What's that guy done? I'm way more interesting than him! And her? She hasn't done anything!") It's a bad headspace to be in.

    So I was glad to see that there were more badges available overall this year and that the "festival" badges were optional rather than given as consolation prizes. I got a conference badge (maybe not all the attendees are happy about this, now that I think of it), and I was really looking forward to it, since people had been so enthusiastic about the talks in 2013.

    Like last year, I collected the Twitter handles of people I know who are going to attend, and contacted them directly. I invited people to come meet me for pre-event beers -- both XOXO attendees and just friends from Portland -- as a way to make sure I spent some time with everyone I wanted to see. I got ~15 people together, which I'll say is a grand success. I'm going to try this trick again in the future; it can be really hard engineering 1-on-1 get-togethers with people.

    The event itself was great. The talks were as good as I had heard, maybe more so. There was a definite tendency to go deep into personal territory in the talks -- Kevin Kelly, Justin Hall, Gina Trapani, Paul Ford all dug into their personal lives to give real meaning to the work they were describing on stage. I think, also, that the speakers really respected the audience -- these were their peers and they wanted to provide good value. It really showed.

    But a lot of the value of XOXO is in the interstitials. There are a lot of breaks and a long lunch during the day, and I got to spend time with some pretty great people that I don't always get to see -- Kevin Marks, Alex Payne, and Blaine Cook stand out.

    There's also a collegial atmosphere that makes it feel really OK to approach strangers and talk to them about their work. I found myself falling into heavy conversations with people I hadn't met before -- intoxicated by the air of passionate interest and self-investigation that the conference generated.

    The night events were excellent. I watched some of my favourite podcasts recorded live, and I got to play some pretty excellent games (including a little too much of Two Rooms and Boom). The two Andys that organize the conference do a good job highlighting Portland's great culinary and drinks scene, so there is a lot of great food and drink during the conference.

    There are a few things that I'd change if I could. The event is so well-planned that it doesn't leave a ton of room for spontaneous participation by the attendees. There's nothing stopping you, but there's also not a lot of room to bring your own art or robots or games or whatever. It's just not part of the culture. I don't think that's wrong, per se, but it's a notable difference from other events I went to this summer (YXYY and Burning Man).

    Another is that there's not a clear year-round place on-line for XOXOers to congregate or organize other meetings. I think the community is largely coalesced around the #xoxofest hashtag on Twitter, which is great, but it's a pretty tenuous link, without much private space to, say, invite XOXOers to your house for dinner.

    Finally, the two organizers, Andy Baio and Andy McMillan, are pretty far stretched. Their personal touch is what gives the conference its warm feel, but they clearly are running way over their manufacturer's recommended parameters. I hope they're able to scale the event to keep themselves from burning out without losing their important personal connection. It's going to be a real tight-rope walk for them.

    I guess there are two main things that I worry about for XOXO. The first is community-oriented: the danger of groupthink. If you talk to people who attend, they'll tell you that the event is inspiring, the people are great, the whole experience is life-changing. When I hear this over and over, from the same people, it throws up a red flag for me. There's a danger, when we're telling each other this, of reconfirming each other and not paying attention to details. I think there's some value in keeping a sober and critical eye on the event and not snowjobbing ourselves. (I don't see any glaring issues right now, but I see the danger of not seeing them.)

    The second is more personal. The theme of XOXO is independents building great stuff with the Internet. I found the chance to think more about, and talk about, my next project, really worthwhile. But I also wonder if hearing great talks about inspiring projects can actually keep you from building new stuff. Like, hearing about brave efforts gives you a sense of second-hand bravery and accomplishment, which satisfies your desire for personal action.

    As of right now, I don't think that's a big problem, but I've made a mental note to check next year how many of the projects I heard about actually get made. I had a great dinner with Crystal Beasley and Mike Caprio on the night I left, and we all talked about our inspiration and plans for new projects. Having an on-line place to stay in touch might help people keep the torch going until they finish what they've started.

    Most of all, though, I'm really grateful for the opportunity to be there. I caught Andy McMillan backstage at one point, and gave him a handshake and a hug and a thank you. He said, "I'm glad you stopped me; we do this all for you." We'd never met before, but everything they do for this conference really does make me feel like it's a personal gift to me, and it's what makes it a special event.

    Georg Portenkirchner, Nathan Willis, Matthew Gregg, Christopher Allan Webber and 5 others likes this.

    Mike Linksvayer shared this.

    There are a lot of things I didn't get into this blog post that I wish I had.
    • I was pretty touched that the organizers dedicated the event (with a shot of whiskey) to Chloe Weill, a member of the community who committed suicide earlier this year. I've been really concerned about the danger of depression and suicide to the worldwide community of hackers and makers and it was good to have it addressed in such a visible way.
    • There was something a little unsettling about the venue the event was held in -- a closed-down steel mill. It felt funny to be in a place where real stuff was really made at one point, talking about making virtual objects like games and software and e-books. Maybe like children playing in their parents' closet, but not quite as optimistically. And, with few exceptions, the attendees weren't children.

    Evan Prodromou at 2014-09-24T02:49:48Z

    ostfriesenmärz likes this.

    Great write up. Thank you for sharing it. I also worry about the following, and I don't think you even need to attend cool conferences for it to happen:

    "But I also wonder if hearing great talks about inspiring projects can actually keep you from building new stuff. Like, hearing about brave efforts gives you a sense of second-hand bravery and accomplishment, which satisfies your desire for personal action."

    Charles Stanhope at 2014-09-24T03:22:34Z

    Christopher Allan Webber, Evan Prodromou likes this.

    Looking fwd to hearing about the brave effort of!

    Mike Linksvayer at 2014-09-24T15:31:36Z

    Evan Prodromou, Christopher Allan Webber likes this.

  • Indy Ref

    Luke at 2014-09-19T08:23:39Z

    The Scottish Independance Referendum results are in. They voted No! Let's crack open the Irn Bru to celebrate!

    mcnalu likes this.

    At least they were able to vote about it...

    JanKusanagi @i at 2014-09-19T10:38:41Z

    Luke, Matt Molyneaux likes this.

    The electorate were scared just enough to make sure they voted the right way. An important aspect of the poll was how the vote was largely split allong affluence lines, we are heading in britain for the sort of viciously divided society they have in USIA which will require ever more repression. Again, our politicians have forgotten the lessons of the 19th century crazy wealth dispasrity and no social security leads to non incremental change

    satipera at 2014-09-19T13:00:14Z

    Luke likes this.

    The affluence / class aspect of the vote was definitely there, yeah. For myself it was frustrating that valid, more important issues, like the Bedroom Tax and other social security attacks were set aside / subsumed by "Vote yes for red unicorns" from people I know who really should know better. It'll be interesting to see how the anticapitalist left reacts. I'm hoping the links made and lessons learned are applied to useful campaigns.

    SombreKnave at 2014-09-19T19:33:45Z

    Luke likes this.

  • Charles Roth at 2014-02-09T23:12:19Z

    I'm taking a much needed break from reality for the next few days.

    If you need to reach me send a telegram to me:

    c/o Lord Emsworth
    Blandings Castle
    Shropshire, England

    PS - code here at is up to date as of now.


    mcnalu, Daniel likes this.

    I hear the weather forecast is heavy.

    mcnalu at 2014-02-10T10:22:56Z

    We need a break.

    X11R5 at 2014-02-10T17:13:52Z in Hawthorne, Nevada

    Charles Roth likes this.

    Shall we go away together @x11r5 or do you mean we need a break from each other?

    Charles Roth at 2014-02-11T00:59:58Z

  • Charles Roth at 2014-02-03T23:57:22Z

    Bragging Rights

    I've read the entirety of Moby-Dick & War and Peace (and loved them), I've seen all of Shakespeare's plays performed live (including Henry VIII & The Two Noble Kinsmen), followed on Twitter by the Oxford English Dictionary and Encyclopedia Britannica.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), mcnalu likes this.

    I'm forced to live. It is frequently in its entirety.

    X11R5 at 2014-02-04T07:38:56Z in Hawthorne, Nevada

    maiki, Evan Prodromou, Charles Roth, Susan Pinochet and 1 others likes this.

  • Evan Prodromou at 2014-01-30T20:18:42Z

    Naoki Hiroshima: I've got @n on waiting for you. Email me at evan -at- .

    Cyber Killer, Olivier Mehani, ostfriesenmärz, Blaise Alleyne and 7 others likes this.

    Olivier Mehani, a(n) person, Doug Whitfield shared this.

  • There you go again … (GPL Violation Reporting Angst)

    Bradley M. Kuhn at 2014-01-29T14:24:59Z

    aether, Jason Self, mcnalu, Nathan Smith and 1 others likes this.

    Olivier Mehani, Gustav Hartvigsson shared this.

    That's actually quite tame and at least somewhat reasoned :) Teehee, Did you know there are people going around saying the FSF is hypocritical and that any software licensed GFDL is non-free/a violation  because they assert documentation is software and invariant sections (ignoring of course they're optional) are contrary to the GPL. I'm not kidding :)

    aether at 2014-01-29T20:13:57Z

    @bkuhn the CEO of Tuxera occasionally shows up at Linux Foundation events and is a pleasant fellow to talk to, FWIW

    Richard Fontana at 2014-01-30T04:42:26Z

    Sean Tilley likes this.

  • at 2014-01-26T16:21:23Z

    Colocated Raspberry Pi Computers

    I think I'd love this. Maybe I would use it to host a single-user XMPP service. Or replace the VPN service I use with one hosted on the RPi.

    mcnalu, Evan Prodromou likes this.

    You realize a free openshift gear has about the same resources as a raspberry pi, right? at 2014-01-26T16:32:51Z

    No, I did not. Back when I looked at Openshift, gears did not seem very useful yet. at 2014-01-26T16:46:14Z

  • GCC, LLVM, Copyleft, Companies, and Non-Profits

    Bradley M. Kuhn at 2014-01-26T17:23:35Z

    Charles Stanhope, Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), David Thompson, Jason Self and 10 others likes this.

    Scorpio20, Scorpio20, Stefano Zacchiroli, sazius and 3 others shared this.

    @bkuhn Very interesting blog post.

    The part about the GCC RTL exception is of particular personal interest for me since I was still at SFLC during the early stages, though it was not too long before I left SFLC to join Red Hat. Of all my 'late', post-GPLv3 SFLC work the GCC RTL exception was probably my favorite and I suppose I wish I could have stayed to work with you and Karen on the completion of the drafting.

    I hadn't known you'd've preferred to see the GCC RTL exception done and released in time to go with GPLv3. It might have been a better idea to do that. The only thing I can say in the other direction is that the GCC RTL exception (the early versions that I was helping you with) benefited from the experience of drafting GPLv3, AGPLv3 and LGPLv3. I think I remember telling you at some point 'this is the first draft of GPLv4'. Which in retrospect may have been a silly thing to say but it captured something of what I was thinking at the time.

    Finally, I found it disturbing to hear you say that "a prominent corporate lawyer with an interest in LLVM told me to my face that his company would continue spreading false rumors that I'd use LLVM's membership in Conservancy to push the LLVM developers toward copyleft".

    Richard Fontana at 2014-01-28T03:05:32Z

  • Charles Roth at 2014-01-14T12:19:29Z

    I may never have been paid a higher compliment.

    I am described on a friend's blogroll as:

    Cultural Investigator. Country Gentleman. Scholar. Bibliophile. Future Cygniculturist. Devotee of excruciatingly obscure open-source arcana...

    As for Cygniculturist, I think it means I'll raise swans.

    mcnalu, Daniel likes this.

  • Charles Roth at 2014-01-13T04:01:22Z

    This week I intend to attempt to construct a Red Matrix at the domain.

    The mighty parlementum lives!


    mcnalu likes this.

  • Charles Roth at 2013-12-20T02:00:37Z

    I always miss my grandma around this time of the year. Her house was always full of homemade food & treats. I'm making one of her dinners tonight: ham, potatoes & gravy, green beans.

    Though the gravy might have been from a mix, and the beans from a can what I remember most about her cooking was all the love she poured into it.

    0xAFFE, mcnalu, n2t likes this.

    That sounds awesome. I hope it was as delicious as it sounds in print.

    Stephen Sekula at 2013-12-20T03:05:35Z

    Charles Roth likes this.

  • at 2013-11-19T09:08:26Z

    When Doris Lessing, who died y'day, was offered a Dame of the British Empire she responded with 'there is no empire & dames exist only in pantomimes'.

    boneidol, mcnalu likes this.

  • Free Software Foundation at 2013-09-12T19:14:35Z

    GNU-a-Day action #9: Have an Android phone? Install F-Droid, a repository with hundreds of free software apps.

    mcnalu, 0xAFFE, Daniel, B. Ross Ashley likes this.

    Daniel, Douglas Perkins, sazius old account shared this.

  • Stefano Zacchiroli at 2013-09-11T07:44:58Z

    «We can't imagine a more hostile reaction to the wave of privacy concerns sweeping the world right now than debuting a proprietary, network-accessible fingerprint scanner as your new 'feature'», Stefano Costa, latchkeyed, Jakukyo Friel and 16 others likes this.

    Roman Mindalev, Roman Mindalev, Roman Mindalev, latchkeyed and 12 others shared this.

    Show all 9 replies
    Putting the privacy concerns aside for a moment - I can't think of a single device where fingerprint recognition is a more appropriate unlock method.

    Owen Shepherd at 2013-09-11T18:48:33Z

    Fingerprint scanning technology on their phones seems great to Apple buyers now -- until it gets cracked and sold to the highest bidder or worse used by governments for whatever they want. It's a technology begging to be abused.

    I know most govts already have most of our fingerprints but it also exposes people who have reasons to be anonymous (dissidents, whistleblowers, witnesses, minors, etc.).

    blackomegarey at 2013-09-12T00:00:32Z

    @Hugo it looks like Queball is a troller. LOLZ.

    blackomegarey at 2013-09-12T00:03:46Z

    @George: regarding criminals using the fringerprint technology on their iPhones--I think Darwin's law applies here.

    blackomegarey at 2013-09-12T00:18:38Z