Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Ubuntu Chronicles: Amber's Adventures in the Community :)

Part 39

Indicator, Notifier and Ubuntu Open Week

Ubuntu Open Week is great!

I am learning so much. I have to admit that Open Week has let me glimpse into so many areas of Ubuntu. For the less than "super-user" like me all the facilitators of each session are patient, knowledgeable, and promote Ubuntu in a way that all users can understand. There is so much information and everyone can contribute and help each other out. I asked a few questions in the #ubuntu-classroom-chat and anyone who had knowledge on the subject chimed in (well maybe not everyone, but those who were comfortable in doing so). I wasn't able to participate in the 1st day, and I almost missed the question and answer (Q&A) with Mark Shuttleworth, founder of the Ubuntu Project, however; the part of the Q&A that I did get to be part of (and the logs that I went back and read), Mr. Shuttleworth demonstrated those same qualities of the other facilitators. I guess I was surprised that the tone in the Q&A is the same tone across all the sessions so far. It was refreshing and nice. Like I said in part 38, the personalities of the Ubuntu communities are really encouraging and take the time to explain things 3 different ways if that's what it takes. Thanks everyone!

There is one day left of Ubuntu's Open Week and if you haven't had a chance to stop in please do. However, if time constraints don't allow please check out the logs there is a wide range of topics and they have a ton of references in each session.

Ken VanDine, of the Ubuntu Desktop Team gave a great session on the difference between the indicator applet and the notifier. (A topic I couldn't wait to hear, as I was so disappointed when the orange indicator applet that was on the panel just went away.)

Ken did a great job of explaining the difference. I liked when he explained to the session a notifier was just that, something that notifies the user and doesn't wait for an action. However, I pause, because in full disclosure I still use the old notifier because I know if a notifier just pops up and goes away then I will forget. I need something in front of me. I like to install all the updates on the day they show up. Each evening I install whatever updates are glowing on my panel. Maybe as each day passes and I become more proficient in using Ubuntu, I might be able to do without all the stuff on the panels, but for now I like the panels and the stuff I put on them. :)

The indicator applet as it was explained (if I understand it correctly) is something that lets you know you have stuff to take action on. For example if you are logged into Evolution (I don't use evolution, I am a die hard gmail user at the moment, but I am told this is what it is supposed to do), Pidgin, and Gwibber etc.. then as people show up you can decide to act on it. If someone Instant Message's you, emails you, etc, then it is a one stop indicator to let you know how many emails, messages and stuff you have. There is a great wiki on it. There is also information here.

So the difference (again if I understand it correctly) is one lets you know you have stuff to do and take action on; the other notifies you that you can do something, if you want, but you don't have to. The indicator has to with communications (email, IM etc) and the notifier has to do with updating your Operating System (OS). I sure hope I got that right.

I realized that halfway through the Session with Ken VanDine, that Ubuntu (Linux as a whole), gives the power to the user, in that; if I want to have the old notifier I can have it. If I want panels I can have panels. If I want a gazillion applets on the panels because it works for me, then I have the *power* and *freedom* to put them there. I think that therein lies the beauty of using open source, the user is in control of their desktop, customization of their OS, and much more. I think I am beginning to see just the tip of the iceberg, and what using the Linux OS of your choice over a proprietary OS is all about. I still have a ton to learn, and I am sure there are those who have forgotten more than I will ever learn, but I am not giving up yet! I always thought people liked Linux because it was free, but I am now understanding that it is more than that. :)

Whew, I hope I didn't ramble too much! :) Enjoy, more tomorrow I hope.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Ubuntu Chronicles: Amber's Adventures in the Community :)

Part 38

Release Party and Reflection

It's been almost 3 months (May 12 will be 3 months), since I began this journey in the world of Ubuntu. Guess what? Ubuntu is for human beings, I am learning new things every day, and every day I come across something new that makes me want to learn more. It could be something as simple as a "hey check this out" or as complex as Bazaar, that makes me want to dig a little deeper. However, truth be told, I think it is the personalities of the Ubuntu Community that I really enjoy. My Mac was just a computer that allowed me to do the things I wanted to. It was a machine that I used. When I installed Ubuntu it seemed to take on a life of it's own. Not only was there an operating system for the machine of my choice, but with a closer look, I found there is a whole community dedicated to making Ubuntu better for all users. It is lively and open to the world. I think it is like so many other things in life, you get out of it what you put into it. I never thought about investing my time into what makes an Open Source community work, or what makes my computer work, but I find myself lost in conversations about both now, and to think it all started with a T-shirt and an installation CD for Intrepid. WOW! I wonder where I will be a year from now.

The NC LoCo Team held two parties on April 23rd, 2009. The party I attended was held at The Flying Saucer in Raleigh, NC. There was also a party in Winston Salem NC.

The party in Raleigh started at 6pm and lasted until...I had to leave about 9:45pm but I was told some people stayed until after 11pm.

There was about 15 to 20 people and putting faces with IRC nicks was a fun part of the evening. I was happy to see such a great turnout. It was awesome to see smiles, hear the laughter, and learn what things people liked about the world of Open Source and Ubuntu. I got a chance learn about the TriLUG in the area as there were so many things to learn from everyone. I hope we can all get together again soon.

The Flying Saucer is using Ubuntu pens we gave them the night of the release party. I have even gotten some text msgs from various people who told me they have gone to The Flying Saucer since our release party and they have been trying to snatch the pens. I think a few people have succeeded and it is becoming a neat little game in the Open Source Community around the area to swap out the pens with other Linux distro's. I think it's great. Keeps the conversation flowing about Linux and Ubuntu in particular.

There were some new people that signed up for the NC LoCo Mailing List and have popped in on the #ubuntu-us-nc Channel in Freenode as well. Hope to see them at our next LoCo Meeting on May 7, 2009 at 7pm EST.

It was great to see everyone hanging out and coming together under the common theme of Jaunty! Can't wait to see what Karmic Koala brings to the table.

There were a couple of Canonical folks who came to the release party. Ken VanDine and Brad Crittenden . It was great having them there and talking about all the cool things they are working on - Desktop, Gwibber, Launchpad and more! Thanks Ken and Brad!

Ken and I had a great talk about Gwibber and the new notifier. I told him I deleted it because it looked like an email notification, and I didn't like it. However, after talking to Ken about it I reinstalled it (it even has a new look) and I thought I would try it out. I am not sure what is so special about it. I'll keep using it and seeing what about it I just can't live without. :) I like Gwibber but this applet I am not so sure about. Maybe I just need to get used to it. However, it is still there and I am still using it. Side note I still have the other notifier there as well.

I am also reading up on Ayatana. Jono Bacon has a neat write up on Ayatana on his blog which is where I first read about it. There is plenty read and learn about before Karmic comes along.

What else has been happening since the release party?

Let's see Ubuntu Open Week is currently underway. There is 3 days left of it. You can see the schedule here and the logs here. I am so new to this, I only logged into #ubuntu-classroom, thank goodness someone was kind enough to remind me that I needed to log into #ubuntu-classroom-chat to participate in the discussion (Thanks Jorge!). One day I may get it right but for now I am learning as I go. Sometimes it's sunshine and roses other days it is a painful exploration of what is out there. I think it's great how much stuff you can learn in an hour. Take a look and see if there is anything that you want to know about in what's left of the line up, or if there was something you missed take a look at the logs. Enjoy!

I am reading about Bazaar now. It kinda' makes sense to me, but not totally yet :) Before now I heard my husband talk about "trees" and "branches" and it was Greek to me. At least I can point someone to the right web page to learn about it and I did at least get it installed so that is a good thing. (I think?) So much to learn...:) (Thanks emmajane for the class)

Oh and one last thing I was wondering about, "Is it too early to ask for a Koala on the Wallpaper?" :P ;)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Ubuntu Chronicles: Amber's Adventures in the Community :)

Part 37

Jaunty Jackalope, Ubuntu 9.04 has arrived...

I spent time last night in the #ubuntu-release-party channel on Freenode waiting and watching for the official message that 9.04 had arrived. I wanted to know what the hype is all about on a release day. It was funny and fun. People in all the #ubuntu channels were talking about what they heard, expected, wanted, all that good stuff. There were moments that the giddiness hit some harder than others. People seemed to think midnight UTC was the release time, others thought midnight in their time zones and still others had all kinds of differing ideas on the the subject of release times. There were so many opinions on the release time, the date wasn't a question, but, oh boy, did the time invoke some interesting discussions and one liners. It was great seeing the excitement build.

I could tell as each time zone crossed over into release day. The excitement, the buzz, and people's sense of humor grew for the most part. I could see messages appear with someone asking "is it out yet" almost every second at times. There was this bot called partybot in the #ubuntu-release-party channel that people were having fun abusing. It was lighthearted and enjoyable for the most part.

Speaking of humor, there are some funny people out there and the fact that I understood some of the tech humor was great. People's wit and quick thinking was evident throughout the night. Also evident was the lack of humor as well but thankfully it didn't last too long. I also think there were some pranksters playing joyfully in the channels as well. :)

It's was really fun to watch the last 18 hours or so...Seeing people's excitement building and seeing the responses to Jaunty. I had no idea that 1000's of people would be in the channels waiting and chatting it up for that long while they waited for a new release of their chosen OS..WOW!!

Now I am getting ready for our Release Party in Raleigh. Looking forward to meeting some new people, putting faces and names together, and continue building the excitement over Jaunty.

I am glad I took time to use BitTorrent back in February. I used BitTorrent and made some CD's for some folks too. It took less than an hour to get 3 different iso's at the same time. I used Brasero to burn the CD images after I got them in. Now I have a few to bring with me to the party. Oh I am enjoying all this...

I'll have to write all about later...

I also installed Gwibber: an open source micro blogging client for GNOME. I just used add/remove then set up all the accounts for it. It was easy. If you are like me and use Facebook, Twitter,, pidgin, etc..Gwibber is should be pretty easy for you too. Check it out.

Hope you all are enjoying Jaunty, I am...:)

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Ubuntu Chronicles: Amber's Adventures in the Community :)

Part 36

Where's the Jackalope?

I got the word yesterday, 4-16-09, that the Release Candidate, RC for short, of Jaunty Jackalope, Ubuntu 9.04 was complete. I noticed my notifier was bright orange about the time the word came across the IRC channels. I downloaded the latest updates and prepared to reboot my computer. :)

I then rebooted and was surprised when Jaunty came back up there was *no* Jackalope. I had been asking pgraner for over a week, "What's the Jackalope going to look like?" He would always reply with "I don't know". When a Jackalope didn't show up I asked him, "Are you sure I have all the updates?" He said, "Yes." Then he asked, "Why are you bothering me?". I then put my computer in his face and said, "If I have all the updates, then where is the Jackalope?" He told me, "I am not the desktop guy(s), go ask them."

I went to the ubuntu-us-nc channel, to ask one of the Canonical guys who works on both the desktop and desktop experience team where was the Jackalope and was told he didn't think there was going to be one. I sighed heavily. I asked in the channel why wasn't there going to be one and who made those decisions? He wasn't sure. So I went to Ubuntu-devel to ask.

I asked in the ubuntu-devel channel where was the Jackalope? I was asked, "why did you expected a Jackalope to show up?" I answered, "there was a Heron and an Ibex so why wouldn't I expect a Jackalope?" I said, "I just expected the last *pop* would be that a Jackalope would show up once I rebooted after the final updates and I was just disappointed. That's all." I also asked, "Did I miss an announcement or discussion on this subject of dropping the animal from the desktop wallpaper." Nope I did not miss anything. There was no public discussion.

However, I felt like I did when the notifier didn't show back up, well the orange one that just popped up when there were updates. I was disappointed. However, just like Maco passed along the command to get the notifier back RobbieW, was kind enough to point me to a great website. and I got my Jackalope after all.

Just like I wish I had known about the notifier, I wish I had known about the Jackalope or lack there of, I was just disappointed. :(

I know it seems like a small thing considering all the pieces of the puzzle called Ubuntu that go together, but it was part of the Ubuntu puzzle I enjoyed: The graphical presentation of the animal theme.

Any who....:) Have a great day! More later :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Ubuntu Chronicles: Amber's Adventures in the Community :)

Part 35

Streaming Video, Loco's and a hunting expedition for a Jackalope.

Yesterday was fun!

Jono Bacon, Canonical's Community Manager, used UstreamTV to give a little talk about the community, his book Art of Community (due out this summer), and field questions from the 60+ people who were watching the broadcast. I didn't have any questions, maybe I should come better prepared for the next broadcast? Which as of last evening is still to be announced. There was information on what things to take into account when planning Loco meetings. Jono was kind enough to relate a story that will be in the book about conflict resolution within community. If you missed it and want to view it the clip is available now. I would suggest you get a ustream account - which you can do one many ways, its free - you can use your gmail or open ID to sign in or you can create a new account - this way you can interact with Jono as he speaks to the masses...:) It was interesting; a lot of fun personalities were in the channel there and the information presented made me want to mark my calendar for the next broadcast. How do you find out about the broadcasts? Follow Jono on his micro blogging sites (Twitter,, etc) , The Art of Community Site, or Facebook (again I love twitter and Facebook but hey that's just me), as well as ustream. There are probably a dozen other ways too. I just don't know them (so just check out Jono's Website)

As of my last post you saw the NC Loco had organized one party in Raleigh. Now the folks over in Winston-Salem are getting together a release party there as well, and we are seeing what we can do in Charlotte for an install fest. It was a great meeting last night or at least I thought so. :) I think it's a great bunch of folks now if we just need some more members. *If you live in NC (or have a connection to NC, maybe you just like the mountains) and use Ubuntu, want to use it, know someone who does, or just want to get your "toes wet" and see how community works on a smaller scale, consider becoming a member of the NC Loco.* We really want to get the group re-energized and excited about all the possibilities for advocacy, support, and seeing where Ubuntu can work within the State. All ya'll (going Southern on ya. :) bear with while I get it out of my system) who have these awesome Loco's I was looking at please feel free to send some advice our way. We are really wanting to target schools, starting with homeschooling and private schools, since most don't rely of Federal Funding. Then we need some short term goals and some annual events. So later today there will be emails flying to the NC mailing lists, Forum Threads started, FaceBook and Orkut threads updated and I am sure something on Twitter and other micro blogging sites as well, stay tuned.

I also had a go at using Mootbot for a meeting last night. Awesome! Talk about being able to remember who is supposed to do what and the time lines etc. If you haven't requested mootbot for your channel you should it's a great tool, (well if you hold your meetings in a channel other than ubuntu-meetings (mootbot is already there in ubuntu-meetings that is)). I am sure I didn't utilize it to it's full capacity but I am learning. :)

Back to our Raleigh party, my hunting trip I mentioned in title. One of the members of the NC LoCo and I are going over to one of the restaurants in the area to see if we can't borrow their Jackalope for the release party. I doubt they will give it to us but maybe they will let us borrow it, but thanks to some great suggestions in the ubuntu-women channel I am going armed with a ton of suggestions. If we are able to get it for the release party I will be shamelessly be telling you to go eat there. :)

I can't think of much more that's on my radar for today except: Update LoCo Wiki, get the minutes of the meeting and the log linked, the agenda and date of next meeting, and emails to the group to remind each person of their action items. Hmmm, oh yes gotta clean the house, do some laundry, head to Physical Therapy, hang out with the family, and maybe watch the kids play the Wii, and sometime during all this walk the dawg (dog for all the non-southerns). Is that enough. My new class starts Sunday, so I do have some free time :)

Just a day in the life of Just Me, Amber, exploring the Ubuntu Community.

Have a great day! Hope to see more people joining the NC group, and welcome any suggestions. Thanks in advance...:)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Ubuntu Chronicles: The Saga of Amber and Ubuntu

Part 34

I (ok the updates) broke it (my MacAir)! and where's my Jackalope? and Release Party in Raleigh..:)

1st - I found out that my Mac Air had Ubuntu on it. Hmm I think why would pgraner neglect to inform me of this? I've been using it forever and never knew it. Once I figured out it had Ubuntu on it, I wanted to upgrade it to Jaunty.

I used the "update-manager -d" command and thought it worked. Looked like it did, but.... now I only get the the Usplash start-up screen then it dies.

So had to call in pgraner (I really wanted to fix it myself but I couldn't).

well the USB is crippled (can't boot from stick USB on MacAir)
No CD drive or external USB handy...
and can't get to the network..hmmmm

Once it's fixed I'll make sure I write up what happened, and how it got fixed, however, for now...I sigh and just used my Dell. :)

2nd - Now for the last 10 days I've been updating my computer with each cycle of updates and I keep waiting to see a Jackalope appear. Where's my Jackalope? Does anyone one know when it's going to show up? I think part of the charm for me is seeing what artwork the graphic design people will incorporate into the theme for each release. I keep waiting for my notifier (which I had to add back) to pop up with it's orange indicator letting me know, this just might be the update that brings a smile to my face and a Jackalope to my desktop.

3 - Release Party Planned for Jaunty in Downtown Raleigh

What: Jaunty Jackalope Release Party

Where: Flying Saucer
328 West Morgan Street@Harrington
Raleigh, NC 27601
919-821-PINT (7468)

When: Thursday, April 23, 2009
Time: 6-9pm (however was told we could stay until)

Please RSVP to akgraner [at] gmail [dot] com so I can let the Saucer know if they need rope off more space or not.

Thanks everyone and if your in the area and can make it please do! Hope to see you there...:)

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Ubuntu Chronicles: The Saga of Amber and Ubuntu

Part 33

Becoming involved. Where can I fit in?

I didn't think I was part of anything, but as I list these things, I realize that I am beginning to become involved. I am enjoying getting to know and be a part of another community bigger than me. I still feel like I'm crawling, but at least I am moving forward.

#ubuntu-women - great place to start - great people Ubuntu Women Wiki
Reading Wiki pages - overwhelming source of Ubuntu information
Registering an OpenID and a Launchpad account - so I can file bug reports.
Brainstorm Team - so can be part of a team and help somehow
NC Loco Team - I signed up and I hope I can be part of this team as well.

I was recently approved to be an idea-reviewer for the Brainstorm Sandbox. It's fun. I have to research more than most of the seasoned moderators because I am not familiar with things like they are (stuff developers understand but researching the ideas helps me learn). The Brainstorm team is very welcoming. Team members said, "Ask questions, email us, etc, if you need help and or have any questions let us know". Ziroday and tgm4883 in #Ubuntu-brainstorm are great mentors and are very patient with me as I learn the process. As mentioned before the whole team is helpful and wealth of knowledge. I am looking forward, as my skills progress, to interacting with more people over time.

I found Brainstorm so frustrating in the beginning, because I didn't get it, I couldn't see the flow. However, now I am seeing the flow, and watching how it all works. Becoming familiar with the big picture and how the pieces fit together. This is a good thing. (or at least I think so).

What I personally like about being involved in Brainstorm now is, it is a place for people regardless of skill set to be able to contribute to Ubuntu. For me the non-technical end user this is where I get to see an idea suggested and learn about it and be part of a team that helps move it along it's path. I don't feel like I am just visiting anymore in the community. I feel like I've been invited to stay. :) Thanks!! Here's the link to the QA Team Blog, please take a look and see if there is something you feel you could help out with. They don't byte..:), but seriously take a look.

Since pgraner somehow ended up with all the USB sticks in the house and he has been traveling for the last two weeks, I needed to figure out how to set up my test machines. (Again, you don't have to, I just think its cool that I can.) I installed Intrepid. Then I read a blog post by about 3 ways to upgrade to Jaunty. I saw the command and went to my trusted #ubuntu-woman channel and asked what the command was to upgrade from Intrepid to Jaunty and james_w confirmed the command "update-manger -d" (without the quotes) would in fact update Intrepid to Jaunty. It was up and running in less that an hour. Thanks everyone! Read the article mentioned above to get the explaination and more details about the command.

Also, Rikki Kite, Managing Editor of Linux Pro Magazine sent me a copy of the Ubuntu 8.1O Special,Edition. It comes with a DVD with Intrepid on it and full of helpful articles. Sections included Welcome (introducing you to the Intrepid Ibex.) Getting Started, Office, Desktop and Tips and Tricks section.

The Open Office 3.0 section is very informative as it covered all the areas of the Open Office suite, with writing tips, shortcut keys and more. Also, if anyone remembers reading about me, F-spot, Gimp and the troubles I had early on making my hackergotchi, then you can image how excited I was to read about F-spot and Gimp in this issue. It's going with my reference material. Linux Pro Magazine to find out more. If you are new to Ubuntu, running 8.10 or you want to try it, this issue comes with the DVD and the literature you need to get started.

Never in a million years would I have thought I would be reading a Linux Magazine, understanding any of it, much less *enjoying* it. :) I'm not giving up my Good Housekeeping, or Southern Living just yet. (It's the suzy home-maker side of me.:) Though according to the Facebook quiz "which TV mom are you?" I am more Sharon Ozbourne than June Cleaver) Hmmm I hope I'm not going to need a 12 step program for this seemingly growing addiction to all things Ubuntu and Linuxie. (That's not a bad thing though)

Just a reminder there is another Packaging Class this Thursday. Even though I only watched and followed along I still learned a process. One day I will be able to implement the process - have just have to learn the commands 1st. :)

The Saga is now the experience and it continues. :)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Ubuntu Chronicles: The Saga of Amber and Ubuntu

Part 32

WOW! Brainstorm, Classroom, and MOTU...

(It's been a few days, I haven't stopped learning, it's just mom stuff, and my University Classes needed some attention.)

OK - I attended my very 1st Ubuntu-Classroom session this morning. It was a session on packaging. I am so new to all this, the links explain it better than I can. I didn't ask any questions I just watched to see how it all works, but I am fascinated. I am looking forward to the next class in the series of Packaging Classes. Check it out and mark your calendars.

Even though I didn't understand all the terms it gave me a better idea about what goes into making sure things (the OS) work, and how it gets put together. Amazing. I feel like I am learning a new language. Great stuff. Even for the very novice user, the people in the channel are very patient and welcoming.

The Logs from the Class are available if you missed the class this morning. You might find this interesting and just what you've been looking for to add your Ubuntu knowledge base.

I'm even setting up a second machine to test my knowledge and understanding. Please don't think you *have* to do that. I like my machine that I use everyday the way it is and I know it's only going to get better, however, I know my knowledge is limited right now and I have the potential to break something, that I can't fix. (the likely hood of that is high right now, but I want to learn more, and the best way is to just do) I think that goes with anything, I have to pick a starting point and go for it.

As I mentioned before in an earlier post, I was having a hard time with the Ubuntu Brainstorm pages (not getting to them just making sense of them). I am going to try to get involved more with this and learn the process from an idea to implementation (or not and why). There are mentors for this area too. There is also a great blog there, that is full of things to do, participate in, etc. I have been reading through the ideas, and becoming more familiar with the Brainstorm section this time with a fresh approach. Maybe I was just a bit overwhelmed the first time through. I like the idea of the Brainstorm, it's a great start, I just don't know enough about it to use it as it is meant to be, so I'm going to learn! :)

There is also another great area I learned about: MOTU. "Masters of the Universe (MOTUs) are the brave souls who keep the Universe and Multiverse components of Ubuntu in shape. They are community members who spend their time adding, maintaining, and supporting as much as possible the software found in Universe." - from the MOTU - wiki page. Doesn't that sound exciting? I'm not there yet. I'm just reading about it, but I am sure there are more experienced seasoned community people that have awesome skills and can start on the road to becoming a MOTU. (I have to say, I love the term, I was a He-Man and the Masters of the Universe junky as a kid.:) I know I'm showing my age, I was an '80's kid)

I have said it before, but it is absolutely AMAZING how much "stuff" gets accomplished in the Ubuntu IRC channels on Freednode. I bet the same goes for the other distro communities as well.

I think great people, with great personalities, make a great product, with a great price. Linux :) Ubuntu in my case. However, the Universe that makes up the Open Source community and all of the distro's are full of really incredible people.

What are you waiting for? - Try it, become involved, and help make it better, leave a bit (or byte) of your personality in the Ubuntu world so others can benefit.

Enjoy! More as I learn...