Planet Linux Australia
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
"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.
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
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; A quick walk through Curtin; Narrabundah trig and 16 geocaches
- 40 Maps that Explain World War One – A bunch of maps from all sorts of sources that explain different aspects of the origins and path of WW1. Huge rang of stuff.
- On Interviewing as a Junior Dev – Liz Rush kept a record of her hunt for a job. Lots of anecdotes, advice and data.
- The Little-Known Story of How The Shawshank Redemption Became One of the Most Beloved Films of All Time – Good long article about the making of the movie with quotes from those involved.
- State of the Art in Microservices by Adrian Cockcroft (video 38min) – A good intro to Microservices and an overview of what is currently happening in the area. Slides are here
While watching another disappointing day in Australian political life unfold, I wondered: How long has it been since Tony Abbott declared, “good government starts today“?
It’s such a great example of Abbott’s hopelessness: He survived as Prime Minister after a failed party room spill motion only to deliver another classic clanger. Good job, Tony.
Then I checked the date and realised it had only been 38 days since the attempted spill. It seems much longer because barely a day goes by without a spectacular cock-up or gaffe by Abbott or one of his ministers.
Laura Tingle wrote yesterday that “we are being governed by idiots and fools“, excoriating the Abbott government for recklessness and incompetence, hinting at a deeper problem in our political system. Jonathan Green picked up where Tingle left off, suggesting Australia’s next great reforms “will be of this stagnant polity itself”. We can only hope.
I don’t want to juggle the date arithmetic next time I ponder how long we’ve been blessed with “good government”. The obvious* solution is a Twitter account to remind everyone*, right?
Thus, an automated, single-serving Twitter account that tweets the number of days since the spill, with a topical news item and photo, neither of which tend to reflect well on the Prime Minister.
— Good job, Tony (@goodjobtony) March 19, 2015Violence Against Women
Late yesterday evening, a wise voice caught me off guard: There’s a lot of men making a lot of noise about data retention today. Where’s that noise when a woman is killed every week by a partner or ex-partner?
If central Sydney can undergo substantial social and commercial upheaval after the deaths of two young men in “king hit” attacks, surely 8 intimate partner homicides (and 22 total suspicious deaths) of women so far this year would elicit some response? History suggests otherwise.
So we must make more noise.
My meagre contribution today is, yes, a single-serving Twitter account. I know it’s silly and practically meaningless, but hopefully people will see it, share it, and support women like Rosie Batty who are doing the really important work.
It will tweet updated figures from two sources:
First, Guardian Australia has a page for women who have died “where police have later laid charges against their partners or ex-partners”. (It’s a mouthful of legalese because they have to be careful about affecting trials.)
Second, Destroy the Joint’s Counting Dead Women Australia team maintains a Facebook post that documents every woman who has died violently, and follows what happens after. It’s based on a UK project of the same name.
38 days since “good government” began. 22 women violently killed in Australia this year. Two very different numbers.
— Counting Dead Women (@WomenKilledAus) March 19, 2015
Shortly after I published the first post on a simple VHF SDR, Brady KC9TPA started making suggestions about optimising the code. So I encouraged him to have a look into the transmit side. How can we take a baseband modem signal (like GMSK) and convert it up to a HF IF frequency like 10.7 MHz using the STM32F4 DAC?
After a busy month (and not much sleep) Brady has done it! The following figures explain how it works:
Normally we would use a baseband DAC, mixer, LO, and crystal filter to generate a signal at HF (top). However Brady has shown it is possible to use a much simpler architecture (bottom).
So with the STM32F4, some clever software, and a buffer amplifier, he has generated a 10.7MHz HF signal. The DAC runs at 2MHz, which creates images (aliases) spaced every 1 MHz. The Band Pass Filter (BPF) selects just the image you want, e.g. 10.7 MHz in our case. The BPF doesn’t have to be very demanding like an Xtal filter, as the other images are 1MHz away. It is possible to tune the exact frequency a few hundred kHz in software.
Compared to a baseband IQ design this architecture doesn’t need two DACs, and doesn’t have have any IQ balance issues.
He used a GMSK modem signal as the baseband signal, however it could have easily been SSB, analog FM, or FreeDV. This is basically a baseband to HF SSB exciter. With a suitable BPF it could easily be tuned to anywhere on the lower HF bands. Software could then be used to tune the tx frequency within that band.
Brady received and sampled the 10.7MHz signal using an off the shelf SDR and it demodulated perfectly. Here are few photos showing his experimental set up, just a STM32F4 Discovery board and a buffer amplifier connected to the DAC. Note the sharp edges on the scope plot – this indicates lots of juicy HF content that we can tune to. He hasn’t added a BPF yet. The last plot is the GMSK signal as received by our demodulator running in Octave.
Our next step will be to mix this signal to VHF and add a PA to produce a 1 Watt 2M signal, to support our VHF FreeDV work. Please contact us if you can help us with a VHF PA design!
This design and the previous post that demonstrated the HF rx side suggests that the SM1000 could be modified to be a HF SDR transceiver. It already has a microphone and speaker amplifier, and even runs FreeDV out of the box! We would need to add a BPF, PA, and some gain on the rx side.
There is still a question over the STM32F4 internal ADC, e.g. it’s inter-modulation performance when used in over-sampled mode (thanks Glen English for pointing this out). Some more work required there. However this architecture is not limited to the STM32F4 – any uC connected to a few M-sample/s DAC and ADC (internal or external) will do. That’s the great thing about radios based on gcc C code and nearly no hardware!
- chicken (purchase diced for quicker preparation time. This recipe also works very well with prawns if you're more keen on seafood.)
- tomato sauce
- soy sauce
- chilli sauce
- tomatoes (fresh or canned and diced, optional)
- egg (optional)
- cornflour (optional)
- garlic (optional)
- ginger (optional)
- spring onion (optional)
- lemon juice (optional)
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 corn flour, egg, salt, pepper (optional step). Fry off chicken in pan. Create sauce by using tomato sauce, soy sauce, chill sauce add add to pan (add water to mixture if it reduces too far over time). Add onion and capsicum to pan as well to cook through. Add garlic, ginger, lemon juice, etc... to taste... Goes well with rice or crusty bread.
The following is what it looks like.
Interactive map for this route.
Tags for this post: blog pictures 20150318-goodwin photo canberra bushwalk trig_point belconnen
Related posts: Harcourt and Rogers Trigs; Big Monks; Narrabundah trig and 16 geocaches; Cooleman and Arawang Trigs; One Tree and Painter; A walk around Mount Stranger
Linux Users of Victoria (LUV) Announce: LUV Beginners March Meeting: An Introduction to High Performance Computing Using Linux
RMIT Building 91, 110 Victoria Street, Carlton SouthLink: http://luv.asn.au/meetings/map
Of the top five hundred computers in the world today, 97% of them run Linux. This is no accident, as Linux offers the best platform for efficient and scalable code. In this introductory session, LUV members will be introduced to the core concepts and architecture behind supercomputing, high-performance computing, and parallel processing, along with an introductory session on an actual HPC system.
Linux Users of Victoria Inc., is an incorporated association, registration number A0040056C.March 21, 2015 - 12:30
Walter, K5WH has one of the 3 pre-beta SM1000 units. He writes:
Here’s a pic of the operations setup of the SM1000 on the air today from Houston Texas, into my HPSDR radio. With average Power down to 3 watts even. Made successful contacts to Mel-K0PFX and Gerry-N4DV. After working the audio levels a little, had reports of nice transmitted audio, and the received audio was very clean sounding as well. We were even fortunate enough to have a station breaking in with us from Benin West Africa, TY2BP Pat.
So not only working a couple stateside stations, but first DX as well. Great success with the SM1000! Walter has used the SM1000 with his HSPDR and TS-480 radios at power levels between 4 and 75W.
A warning light is pulsing on the control panel in front of you, but it can wait. You’ll get to it in a moment. So many things to do.
A polite, persistent bleeping began at some point. You weren’t paying enough attention to recall when. It’s ever so slightly out of phase with the warning light.
You feel a dull rumbling through the seat, the floor, between your joints. The room shifts on its axis, as if it’s falling away from under you.
Darkness. A klaxon splutters and honks. Rotating beacons cut the room into contorted still images. Orange, blue, orange, blue.
You watch a wall puncture, crack, and tear. The air around you whistles out into silence.
Metal grinds through metal. It would sound like two trains carving through each other, but for the vacuum.
Then the walls peel away.
Floating. Alone. Adrift. Bewildered.
In depression, no one can hear you scream.
Late last year, I had another crash. (Episode is a silly word.) I should’ve seen it coming. Or, I did see it coming, but pretty much anything else short of anchovies is more pleasant than actually dealing with it.
I have no right or reason to be depressed. There are contributing factors, for sure, but no root cause. In every other respect, life is grand. But that’s not how depression works. It’s a parasite, sucking out every feeling until you’re a dead-eyed husk… except guilt. That one it nurtures.
What’s weird is having a graphical representation of the fall. Check it out: Metadata! The quantified self!
This is a collectd chart of the RAM utilisation in my desktop computer. SLIVER has two big monitors, a nice video card, proper headphones, and so on. It’s where the work gets done, and it’s a dead zone from late November to mid February. My GitHub activity chart looks much the same.
Things improved in February, but I’m still taking a break from work. I need to get my shit together, and don’t want to disappoint anyone if I hit another wall. See that gap in March? Another wall!
But I’m out of the dead zone.
On good days, I’ve been seeing friends, doing personal projects, science experiments, and learning new things. On bad days, sleeping, watching television, reloading web pages. I’m still trading the occasional people-heavy event for a couple of bad days to “recover”. Pfft. That’ll get better.
It sucks being away from work. Lots of big changes and exciting things going on. But I’m grateful for the support, understanding, and time away. Back soon.
– — –
The big difference this time around is hope. Psychologically, I know I can beat depression a hundred times worse, because I did. Financially, I can survive a siege of non-functional depression because I’ve had three years to build a war chest to outlast it. Personally and professionally, I’m more confident because I know where I fit, and what I need to learn.
So, it’s been a shitty few months. But it’s going to be okay.
I recently updated FontForge's use of breakpad to use a small server on localhost to report the bug. The application dmg file for fontforge will soon also include the extracted symbols for the build. By telling breakpad to use a local server, that server can lookup the symbols that are shipped and generate a human readable backtrace with line number information. Because its also a web interface and running locally, it can spawn a browser on itself. So instead of getting the Mac dialog supplied by the osx crash reporter app telling you that there was a crash, you get a web page telling you the same thing. But the web page can use jQuery/Bootstrap (or $ui tool of choice) and ask what the user was doing and offer many ways to proceed from there depending on how the user wants to report things. The https://gist.github.com/ site can be used to report without any login or user accounts. It's also rather handy as a place to checking larger backtraces that might be, maybe, 50-100kb.
But once you can upload to gist, you can get a http and other URL links to the new gist. So it makes sense from there to offer to make a new github issue for the user too. And in that new issue include the link to the gist page so that developers can get at the full backtrace. It turns out that you can do this last part, which requires user login to github, by redirecting to github/.../issues/new and passing title and body GET parameters. While there is a github API, to report a new issue using it you would need to do OAuth first. But in the libre world it's not so simple to have a location to store the OAuth secure token for next time around. So the GET redirect trick nicely gets around that situation.
For those interested in this, the gist upload and callback to subsequently make a github issue are both available. The Google Breakpad hands over the minidump to a POST method which then massages the minidump into the backtrace and spawns a browser on itself. The GET serves up all the html, css, js, and other assets to the browser and that served html/js is what I link to at the start of the paragraph which is where the actual upload/reporting of the backtrace takes place.
The only thing left to do is to respond to the backtraces that come in and everybody gets a more stable FontForge out of the deal. It might be interesting to send off reports to a Socorro server too so that statistics month on month can be easily available.
Today I emailed Julie Collins MP, and senators Catryna Bilyk, Carol Brown, Jacqui Lambie, Helen Polley, Lisa Singh and Anne Urquhart concerning data retention. For the record, and in case it helps anyone else who wants to contact their representatives and senators, here’s what I wrote:
I am writing regarding the Telecommunications (Interception and Access)
Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014. As I am sure you are very busy,
I will be as brief as I can.
The distinction the bill makes between metadata (so-called “non-content
data”) and content is grossly misleading; once you have enough of it,
metadata is just as privacy invasive, if not more so, than the actual
content of communications, and as such should only be collected with
proper judicial oversight, i.e. after a warrant is obtained.
Retaining this data for the entire Australian population is mass
surveillance, nothing more, nothing less, and is completely
inappropriate in a modern democratic society.
Tinkering around the edges as Labor is suggesting with amendments to
protect journalists’ sources is misguided at best; the only way to
protect such sources effectively would be to not retain the sources’
data either, and given that you can’t know who they are, the only way
to achieve this would be to not retain anyone’s data at all.
Finally, mandatory data retention won’t help to catch any criminal with
even a shred of intelligence, as it can be trivially circumvented by
the use of overseas communications providers, virtual private networks
and the like.
In summary, I am completely opposed to mandatory data retention in
Australia. As my representative, I’m asking you to reject this bill.
- The rise of soft skills: Why top marks no longer get the best jobs http://t.co/WSsY0ClXbO 11:20:00, 2015-03-15
- Nature gives fossil fuels the finger http://t.co/ZVqYlRteDp 17:27:06, 2015-03-14
- Tony Abbott’s 10 biggest gaffes, clangers and cringeworthy moments http://t.co/KYvqUDFuBE #auspol 15:33:01, 2015-03-12
- Are Abbott’s “lifestyle choice” comments part of a larger strategy to extinguish native title claims? http://t.co/5vdcCkm6Q2 #auspol 13:19:15, 2015-03-12
- Five more mysteries for the Large Hadron Collider to solve http://t.co/hA80ROXUug 19:32:16, 2015-03-11
- Vlad Putin describes secret operation to conquer Ukraine http://t.co/enShF8Zl8E 17:27:07, 2015-03-11
- Getting plucked: the history of hair removal. Lots of parallels with today’s ‘fashion’ trends. http://t.co/dbdOcf8voq 15:33:06, 2015-03-11
- The creative power of saying no: why focus is the key to innovation http://t.co/fiIe345loJ 19:32:14, 2015-03-10
- Why you must park your ego to drive your idea global: Shark Tank’s Steve Baxter http://t.co/LUyPXNkxYP 17:27:09, 2015-03-10
Some diners even falsely believe that by eating a cat's spine they will gain the feline's agility.
Although no official statistics are available, eating cat meat in Vietnam is by all accounts almost as popular as eating dog meat, something of a tradition in the South-east Asian nation, despite the import of both meats being illegal.
Animal rights groups say cats and dogs are smuggled across the border from China, Thailand and Laos to feed the Vietnamese trade.
Residents of Hanoi say they see few cats and dogs roaming the streets.
- Dog vs. Cat
In this gastronomic sampling of Chinese food, I'd have to go with dog. The meat was much more tender with a pleasant flavor. Cat on the other hand was average and not something to really look forward to eating.
- "My life is rather full. I have a full time job and numerous hobbies in addition to copy editing Wikipedia."...
- Statistics: you can sensationalise anything with the right statistics. Case in point being the ad for the TV program about what really happens in Bali: "one Australian dies every 9 days in Bali". With the number of Australians visiting Bali that is probably unsurprising. So if they stayed in Australia they were more of a chance to die as one Australian dies every 3 1/2 minutes in Australia.
- A 'notorious molester' at Knox Grammar School had memorial gates erected in his honour with the inscription 'He touched us all', an inquiry has been told.
- If you use a search engine, you will discover a wealth of material and, after reading and attmepting to apply some of it to your situation, you will enjoy a sense of satisfaction and achievement that I would in no way wish to deprive you of...
- @fruit: To quote the great Homer Simpson, "Aw, you can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent. Forty percent of all people know that.
- "It's like watching a truck jack-knife on a road," Oliver says, clearly relishing the suspense. "It's like, 'It didn't crash this time. Let's give it five minutes, then it's going into a ditch'."
Oliver, host of Last Week Tonight, the satirical take on the world's news and current affairs that is fast becoming one of the world's most popular programs of its type, describes Abbott as "a car crash of a human being", albeit terrific fodder for comedy.
"Tony Abbott is an objectively fascinating man," Oliver insists. "The fact he's the leader of a country is in itself appealing as a comic. What's nice is being able to present someone who people have not seen here [in the US] and just to give them a glimpse into other people's pain, as well as their own."
- "This paint job sends a direct message back to perpetrators that their wild urinating on this wall is not welcome," said Julia Staron of the St. Pauli's Community of Interest group to Reuters. "The paint protects the buildings and the residents and most importantly it sends a signal this behaviour is not on."
- Work on the embassy was stopped in 1985, after it was determined that the building was so riddled with listening devices implanted by Soviet workers that the structure was in effect a multistory microphone. Washington and Moscow, as well as the Administration and Congress, have been haggling over what to do with the building ever since.
- The Prime Minister has once again left onlookers shocked, and probably a little confused, but for once it wasn't what was coming out of his mouth, rather what was going into it.
While on a tour of a produce farm in Tasmania, Tony Abbott was seen to be munching on a raw onion - skin and all.
"Better than any other onions I've eaten in a long time," Mr Abbott was reported as saying.
Images of the odd onion-fest immediately began doing the rounds online, with one media outlet labelling Mr Abbott "The Minister for Onions."
Mr Abbott was touring Charlton Farm Produce near Devonport in Tasmania on Friday when all of a sudden, he picked up the onion and ate it skin-on merely commenting that it was delicious and not shedding a single tear.
The PM, who appeared to be grimacing slightly, but otherwise may as well have been eating an apple, took the onion in his hand, and casually chomped into it while watching the grading of the vegetable.
I saw this on Twitter today:
— Kelly Ellis (@justkelly_ok) March 13, 2015
I’m going to leave aside the possibility that this is a plot by someone else to ruin Justin D’Agostino’s life by forging an email to Kelly Ellis, as I’ve seen similar sentiments posted too many times (i.e. more than never), and I’m fucking sick of it.
Assuming for a moment that the egg-donor hypothesis is correct, if you are insufficiently evolved to control your urges (or if you share any of the opinions stated in the email above), then you are insufficiently evolved to warrant employment. Please leave and make room for someone else.
I’m doing a book clean-out. The following are all for sale. Remainders will be given away to charity or something. Pickup is from either my house (Dominion Rd/Balmoral, Auckland) or my I can meet during the week near my work in Wyndham Street in the Auckland CBD.
Prices as mark, discount if you want to by more than 5 or so. Links may not match the exact edition I am selling.
If you are interested in any please contact me via email ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) or over twitter ( @slyall ). Sale will run to end of April or so.
See Part 1 for more books
- Business @ The Speed of Stupid: Building Companies after the technology Shakeout by Dan Burke – $5
- Fortune Strategy by Ean Higgins & Arun Abey – $2
- What Management is : How it works and why it is everyone’s business (200 edition) Joan Magretta $10
- The Company of the Future – Frances Caincross – $10
- The mind of the CEO – Jeffrey Garten – $5
Commentary / Opinion / Speculation / Politics
- The Pentagon’s New Map – Thomas P. M. Barnett – $5
- Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman – $10
- Radical Evolution by Joel Garreau – $10
- Super Crunches by Ian Ayres – $10
- The Waste makers by Vance Packard (1963 edition) – $4
- The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard (1961 edition) – $4
- Illiberal Education: The politics of race and Sex on Campus by Dinesh D’Souza – $10
- Colossus: The rise and fall of the American Empire by Niall Ferguson $10
- Antifragile: Things that gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb – $10
- Voices from the Sky: Previews of the coming Space age (1966) by Arthur C Clarke – $8
- Flight into Space: The facts about space exploration (1957) by John Norton Leonard – $4
- Teach Yourself Physics by David Bryant – $4
- The Subatomic Monster: Essays on Science by Isaac Asimov – $5
- Building Service Provider Networks by Howard Berkowitz – $10
- Homepage Usability: 50 websites Deconstructed by Jacob Neilsen – $10
- Permissions A survival Guide: Blunt talk about Art as Intellectual Property – Susan Bielstein – $20
- Who Owns Culture? Appropriation and Authenticity in American law by Susan Scafidi – $10
Travel / Misc
- London Orbital : A walk around the M25 by Iain Sinclair – $10
- Simon’s Cat (hardback) by Simon Tofield – $10
- Hotel Babylon: Inside the Extravagance and Mayhem of a Luxury Fire-Star Hotel – Anonymous and Imogen Edward-Jones – $5
- Raggle-taggle: Adventures with a fiddle in Hungary and Roumania (Hardcover 1935) – Walter Starkie – $20