Wednesday, December 30, 2009

UbuCon at SCaLE 8X

So it's official there will be an UbuCon at SCaLE 8x. (February 19-21, 2010 in Southern California) There will be approximately 7 hours of Ubuntu related topics on the 19th of February. (Working on getting it added to the special events page on the SCaLE website, stay tuned). What is an UbuCon you might ask.. In this case it will be 7 hours of talks, demos, etc all based on a connection to Ubuntu. Here's what UbuCon Atlanta had to offer at the Atlanta Linux Fest last Sept and you can find more information on the UbuCon wiki as well. There is also an group for Ubucon's as well.

The awesome California LoCo team will be taking the reins and running with the UbuCon. Now comes the fun part, what do people want to hear about? What Ubuntu related talks would you like to hear about. Are you attending SCaLE 8x and would like to present a talk at the UbuCon? Maybe you aren't attending SCaLE but you have ideas for topics you would like to see covered at an UbuCon as there are more being planned for other events in 2010.

Like I mentioned the California LoCo team will be gathering these suggestions, ideas and submissions. Please send click here to sent them to Nathan Haines (nhaines), who make sure the UbuCon team can review them. Please include a summary of what your session/talk would include. Also if submitting an idea for a session please include as much information as possible. All submissions must be in by the 15th of January and a decision on the UbuCon Schedule will be finalized and all speakers/contributors will be notified by January 22, 2010.

Again special thanks to the California LoCo team and their awesome leadership and to Gareth and the other SCaLE planners for working together to make an UbuCon at SCaLE possible Community events and those who make this stuff happen are awesome! Thank y'all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ubuntu Women Leadership Nominees - Call for Testimoninals

Just wanted to take a moment and remind folks of the Ubuntu Women Leadership Appointment process and the milestones we are now approaching in this process.

- The Open Call For Nominations opened on 10 Dec 2009, but nominations close today, 23 Dec, 2009. (If you haven't added yourself then today is the last day today so)

- Though some folks have already started adding Testimonials for the nominees and that is GREAT the deadline for all testimonials is 8 Jan, 2010. These testimonials are for the Community Council to help make their decision. The testimonials will paint a picture that the person wikis and launchpad don't, they round out the picture of the person and show the support of the community. This is not only important in this Ubuntu Women leadership process but anytime you are asked to give a testimonial for others. 8 Jan, 2010, is when the Community Council will start reviewing the wiki's and consider who they will appoint for the position of Ubuntu Women Leader.

- Here is the really exciting date, 15 Jan, 2010, this is when the Community Council will have their decision made and issued to the Ubuntu Women Team and the Ubuntu Community.

In full disclosure though, the process is self nominations and I have nominated myself, and am enjoying participating in the process and the friendly rivalry. So if you haven't had a chance to add a testimonial to my wiki yet and you think I'm a good fit for the leadership role then please do so before the 8th. - This is all very exciting and it is an exciting time for the Ubuntu Women Project as a whole.

Even more exciting than that is the energy that has risen in the group the ideas that came out of UDS, seeing people get more involved and feel good about being part of what I think is going to be a great year for Ubuntu Women and Women in Open Source as a whole.

I've had the opportunity to write about Ubuntu Women over the past few weeks with:

Ubuntu Women Meeting: A Brief Summary and a Few Thoughts
UDS and Ubuntu Women

We have blueprints we are working on, roadmaps that are being looked at with fresh eyes, revisions and new ideas being added to our resources pages, and of course adding governance and working on the team channel(s), just to name a few, all this by team members who are energized, enthusiastic and encouraged about the project and everything we want to accomplish in 2010. Amazing stuff!

We now have Ubuntu Women Team members on the LoCo Council (Laura Czajkowski) and on the Community Council (Elizabeth Krumbach). Now with formal leadership coming into the Ubuntu Women Project - and all the new ideas and initiatives that are being discussed for what the Project, Team, and Team Members can all do to make not only the Ubuntu Women Project better, but the Ubuntu Community as well. Take a moment read over the notes and let's hear your comments, suggestions, even concerns and most of all don't forget all testimonials need to be in by Jan 8th, 2009.

Here's to 2010 and Ubuntu Women - Onward and Upward!

Friday, December 18, 2009

To Renewed Friendships and Tomorrows

I am sitting down today with a heart of gratitude, graciousness, and just plan old happiness!

Back in June I wrote about moving back home after being away for 20 years and with the exception of 2 people I had not had the opportunity to reconnect with my friends from High School.

Last night I had what some would say was an opportunity, but I have to call it a gift, and one I didn't even know I wanted - I got to sit down, slow down, reconnect, and renew friendships with 4 of the most special people in my life. These friends are the ones that you just own all the stuff you did in school with. These are the ones you cry with. These are the ones whose sentences you answer before they finish and end with "yeah about that". We owned our pasts, and opened up to one another as if no time had passed. I needed that. It was like stepping back in a moment, and then going forward to present day.

It was important. I had felt very off balance after moving home questioning at times had I made the right decision. YES! From the moment we moved back I felt like a weight had been lifted, but I had no idea the burdens I carried were heavier than I ever imagined. Last night those rolled away as well. I can't say I regret things in my past as they have made me the person I am today, I am stronger, wiser, more compassionate, loving, caring, because of those things, the bitter things of my yesterdays, make my today's sweeter, and my tomorrow's more fragrant.

There are those moments, like last night, when you just know, that someone greater than yourself had a hand in the planning, the coming together of a single moment in time. I can't speak for the whole group of us, but to me, God gave me a gift last night, a gift where time stood still for a few hours, and I found time never changed my place in their hearts, the hearts of true friends, old friends, good friends, and the window in my heart once again open, and a fresh sense of purpose and being blew in. Sometimes it's not the homily (preaching) from the ambo (altar) that are the best - sometimes it the simple yet sincere words of others that make all the difference in the world.

We cried, we laughed, we pondered, we shared, we remembered and renewed something we didn't even know we had lost - each other.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Another Craft project - I love my hobbies

Shawl and Hat that I made. Various colors of purples, and very soft but heavy enough to keep you warm. - Cozy!

I think it's cool to keep some balance and work on other things other than Ubuntu. I had some friends ask me what about the other stuff you work on. So I thought I would show them some of the other stuff I work on during my quiet times.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Ubuntu Hour - Fun in Winston Salem, NC

An Ubuntu hour was held in Winston Salem, NC on Saturday. It was a lot of fun as discussions were held between the 6 that ranged from kernel issues to what to I need to do to become and Ubuntu member. Mark, and Dewey were from Winston Salem, Jeremy, Daniel, and I drove about 3 hours to get there, and Adam drove about and hour and a half to get there. We had a great time. Here's some pics of the hour.

Tux found a quiet spot to enjoy the coffee and listen to everyone gab. But as you will soon see he got in on the meeting as well.

Left to right - the person who is cut off in the pic is Daniel, the Dewey, Mark, and Adam. The conversation looked intense but I am not sure what was really being discussed in this shot.

As you can see Tux joined the conversation and before long smiles were everywhere.

Daniel was showing off the reading material available to the group.

Tux Up close and personal - I pause for a moment because this particular Tux is one that my friend, Laura, from the Ireland LoCo team gave me at UDS. I hope to see Tux travel to some more places during 2010 and tell some stories. (He said the coffee was good but the Ubuntu LoCo members were the real entertainment.

Tux was giving Daniel some kernel advice since Daniel was trying to help Dewey with some kernel issues during the ubuntu hour. See Ubuntu people have either a TUX on their shoulder or a the Ubuntu Logo (Circle of Friends) still haven't figured out which is meant to be the angel or the devel (pun intended).

Mark and I talking about who knows what. I think membership or one of the NC LoCo Team projects - who knows it was all fun.

Jeremy in the corner I think hiding from all the people.. No really he was working on kernel bugs but that is a whole other story.

Tux again supporting Dewey's laptop and sharing the Linux Pro Mag stuff with everyone.

It was a great morning and well worth our 6 hour round trip drive to be there to support the team. GO NC LOCO TEAM ( I see an Ubuntu Hour closer to my house next time). :-) Thanks MagicFab for the suggestion of Ubuntu Hours - :-)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

HICKTech: Increasing Web Traffic Class

I had the great fortune of being about to participate in another wonderful and educational HICKTech tele-class give by Emma Jane Hogbin. This time the classes were about Increasing Web Traffic.

How did I get to participate in this class - simple - I signed up for her eZine newsletter. In her newsletter Emma offers great ideas and advice.

This class offered me ideas about tags, how to increase traffic to my blog, though this class talked about getting information out about services or a product - the same information can be applied to other sites that aren't selling anything.

Do you want increase traffic to your site? Wanna get more mileage out of your blogs and websites then HICKTech and Emma's classes are just want you need. She offers these classes at reasonable rates, common sense and down to earth approach make it perfect for "mortal" bloggers and website owners. What are you waiting for? Check out HICKTech for yourself. There is something for every technical skill level. Emma teaches to all levels and her wealth of knowledge is taught in a way where no one will leave the class "not getting it". She will explain each concept until there are no more questions or until the concept is understood to the satisfaction of the person who asked the question.

Whether it's a conversation about wood stoves, conferences, or in one of her classes I always walk away from the chats or classes a little better than when we started them. Emma is one of those rare personalities and friends that if you want an honest conversation and answers presented in ways that will make you feel good even when you disagree then Emma is is that person! I count myself very lucky to have met Emma at the Community Leadership Summit and to continue the conversation and friendship that was started there. Thanks Emma!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Ubuntu Women Meeting: A Brief Summary and a Few Thoughts

The Ubuntu Women Project meet on Wednesday Dec 9, 2009. The meeting was full of excitement, energy, tension, and progress as you can read about in the logs . 29 people participated in the meeting and it was AWESOME!!!

The call for self nominations for the Ubuntu Women Project Leadership position is now open. These nominations will go before the Community Council (CC) as the 1st leader of the group will be appointed by the CC. This leader will be in place for 6 months then there will be a 6 month review by the team and it will be decided to extend the term or call for elections from the team at that point. If there are any members who you feel would be great for the leadership position encourage them to complete their wiki and add it to the list, there is some really great talent in the group and the more options the CC has means the more variety group will have. This is so cool. More information about that can be found in the Logs or the Notes.

There is a long list of items that will be done over the next month and into January. The leadership and governance part was decided on and the procedure to put formal leadership in place has started. This is really great news. As the leader will have a council (for lack of a better word) to support them and work with them on getting projects and action items completed.

The Channel discussions (on if a second channel is needed, which channel will be logged and the policies, procedures, and documentation) and Vote were postponed as the team members felt more time was needed to research options and come up with procedures. Between now and January the Project members will be documenting and suggesting what these procedures will be. Again this is really great news as the team comes together to make the decisions and suggestions and write the documentation that surrounds the channel(s) guidelines. Should lead to some really good conversations and discussions.

I think the thing that excites me the most about the Project is seeing how the people, women especially, of different backgrounds, experiences, technical skill sets and opinions can come together, acknowledging and accepting those differences while still keeping the team moving forward. I am so glad no-one thinks anyone needs to be a "cookie cutter" mold of anyone else. It's just great. We have a really great team and more women are joining all the time not that it is limited to women, but we are all about encouraging women. It is a wonderful project to be part of and an exciting time in the Ubuntu Community as we as a project have grown to the point were formal leadership and governance is needed.

I am really optimistic about what is going to happen in 2010 and am looking forward to seeing where the Project goes from here. Onward and Upward!!

Ubuntu Hour in Winston Salem, NC

Who: NC LoCo team but everyone who wants to attend is invited.

What: Ubuntu Hour

Where: Krankies Coffee,
211 East Third Street, Winston-Salem, NC

When: Saturday, December 12, 2009

Time: 11:00am-12:00pm EST

This will be the first Ubuntu Hour in NC - I am so excited and hope more people will start planning an hour with coffee and LoCo team members just to get together and talk about all things Ubuntu or just hang out because everyone has an interest in Ubuntu.

There will be a group of us from Western NC driving to Winston to support this event. How AWESOME that we are supporting each other in this really cool get together. It will be about a 2 hour drive but we are all looking forward to it. If you are in and about the Winston Salem, NC area and you want to join in on the fun please do.

See you there on Saturday! Thanks Mark for organizing the event. Daniel, Mike, and Jeremy thanks for agreeing to head to Winston with me for the event. Road Trip!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Progress on Personal Goals! \0/ Go ME! :-D

A week or so ago I posted a blog an entry about personal goals. I am happy to say I am making progress on those goals.

- Lost 10 pounds since UDS - GO ME!
- Walking 2 plus miles several times a week - GO ME!
x Didn't make it to Mass - :-( (not happy about this one) - needs improvement
- Not ready for a 5k yet, but each step I am getting closer. - GO ME!
- Signed up for a class after the 1st of the year - GO ME!
- Committed to one day/night a month to spend with Pete, just to two us - no computers, no ubuntu, (it's harder than you think - I can't be quiet about it (Pete can and does) you'd think it would be the other way around - right?) - DATE NIGHT - GO US!
- Committed to one night a week (usually Friday) Family Fun Night (we used to do this every week but once we moved it got added to the sidelines for some reason) - The kids still enjoy hanging out with us (we think that is cool). We want them to pick what they want to do and who they want to have over. This usually involves music, board games, rock band, or real instruments, junk food, and lots of laughs (usually at the expense of mom :-/). - GO US!

Contacted some areas in the community where I might be able to volunteer a day a week? but to be honest - there are some commitments on my own doorstep I have to take care of 1st.

* Namely taking care of my family and home
* Making sure to Put the Computer down when the kids come in the door from school and concentrating on them. Other stuff can be worked on after they go to bed and quality family time is over.
* Finish projects around the house as we are still in the process of remodeling and getting things in order.

(this above "*" items are things Pete and I work on together, we are a team to support, help each other, motivate, encourage, and challenge each other to make the team better and stronger - 17 years of marriage and it's still a work in progress!)

Volunteering is a great thing, but balance is so much better. And as I was telling a friend yesterday, contributing (in the case of this conversation to UBUNTU, but works for any volunteer contribution that you are working on) is not a competition, nor it should be. That is the beauty of volunteering, you do what you can when you can and you stay in contact with the others you volunteer with so they know who and when to ask others who are waiting to help out as well to do so. I was telling her this in the context of I will do what I can, but I won't feel guilty for putting my family first. Some days I have to remind myself of this. Like many moms (or women in general) who have a lot on our plates we often feel guilty because we can't do it all, when we want to in the way we would like. Some would argue I should not put as much on the plate, nope I just gotta know the right serving size that works for me and which menu items work the best together at during what part of the day. Some days breakfast gets all the attention and Lunch is a shake and dinner is a leftovers.. Depends on the day but in the end it all balances out - in theory it should. :-D!

I am now using both a google calendar a good ole paper calendar! So I write in my Calendar as there are times when my phone doesn't have coverage and I need to add an appointment, or I don't have my computer with me. Then I highlight the appointment as I add it to the google calendar. I am not sure I can ever be completely paperless but I'm a little closer - GO ME!

So progress personal progress is coming alone.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Alan Bell: On Becoming an Ubuntu Member

I had the opportunity to meet Alan at the Karmic release party in London. He is a wonderful addition to the Ubuntu Membership but also just an awesome Community Contributor. He recently sent an email to the Ubuntu Women mailing list outlining his thoughts on the process of becoming a member. I had a chance to speak with Alan about it and asked him if I could publish the email in full on my blog. To my delight he said yes! Also included is the archive link so you can see the awesome discussion that came from his email. Thanks Alan and I hope everyone else can appreciate his time and effort on this email as I and members from the Ubuntu Women team did as well.

Last Tuesday I was accepted by the EMEA regional membership board as anUbuntu Member, which is pretty cool. The reason I finally got round toputting myself forward is because I
wanted to understand the process abit better. This is some background and my current understanding of the process, and some of my previous misunderstandings.

I have been working with others on the #ubuntu-women IRC channel to gain an improved understanding of the proportion of women in Ubuntu to establish firstly if there is an
under representation that needs to be fixed. We found lots of anecdotal evidence to suggest there was, but not much hard data. I was also a little unsure of the objectives of the group, obviously to increase the numbers of women, but by how many? Measuring the number of women in a somewhat amorphous community is a difficult thing, who do you count? Someone who just uses Ubuntu? Do you count my daughters who do their homework and play Frozen Bubble on Ubuntu? Fortunately there is the Ubuntu Member process where people who have made a sustained and significant contribution to the community are recognised. Those who are accepted are added to a group on Launchpad so they are nice and easy to identify. I took the list of names from Launchpad and made a Google docs spreadsheet with the list, everyone on the #ubuntu-women IRC channel was invited to edit the sheet and help figure out who was female. Not an easy task, but by looking at profiles, wiki pages, blogs, flickr photos and asking people on IRC we completed the list. The final result was 23 women out of a total of 520 members, or 4.42%. I have subsequently done some further analysis on the dates people were made members and I started a page of interesting graphs and statistics at if anyone wants an invitation to the spreadsheets that drive the data or the python-launchpadlib script that collects it then mail me. I would quite like to not be the only maintainer of the data going forward.

So the membership process, it starts with filling out a wiki page about yourself. This is not a comfortable thing to do. I started mine quite a while ago and kept adding to it when I did something interesting - this was probably a good idea.

Anything you do can go on your wiki page, the approval board will look for stuff they want to see and ignore stuff they are not interested in - more on that later.

I made no effort to do proper wiki markup on it, it was just a list of stuff. I had no testimonials section, because I felt an empty testimonials section would look a bit sad, this was an error - if you have no section then there is nowhere for someone to add one. Laura Czajkowski helped me sort this out at the last minute, which leads me on to:

Get someone to help you well in advance. Ask them if they think your wiki page is ready. Get them to help find you testimonials (it is way easier to ask on behalf of someone else than directly)

When your wiki page is looking reasonably full of stuff you can add your name to the regional board agenda, but when you add your name to the agenda don't be first in the list, let a few other people go before you. The approval meeting goes in the order the names are added.

It is not a job interview! There is no job at stake, no money at stake, nothing of significant value in the list of member entitlements. You are probably not going to go through it for the incentive of receiving an IRC cloak. You are not doing it for the published benefits but because you are a part of the community and the procedure of the community is that we recognise those who contribute in this way.

It is not a job interview! They are not interested in your background, technical or otherwise. You are not being interviewed to decide whether you are *allowed* to join the community, you are being interviewed to see if you have *already* joined the community. This should affect the stuff you put on your wiki page and what you say in the interview. If you help people in IRC channels say so, if you are on various mailing lists then say so, if you use the forums say so. If you have written code or done some packaging that is good too, but you may be pushed towards the MOTU process (MOTU is a nested team in Ubuntu Members)

Rejection is an option, and it isn't final. Rejection doesn't mean "go away, you are full of fail" it means "contribute a bit more stuff, document it better, get some more testimonials and come back in a month or two" it is an easy option for the board to choose, they are not missing out on the opportunity to accept you, just delaying it a bit.

Attend a few approval board sessions on IRC before you put yourself forward - like I didn't. Figure out who on the board is the most harshly critical, figure out what responses they like and don't like.

Make sure you have supporters in the IRC meeting who will speak up on your behalf and mention things you have done that you have forgotten about yourself - that really helps.

In the end, despite all my errors, I got through with only minor scrapes and bruises. At the meeting on Wednesday 8PM UTC #ubuntu-women there is an agenda item to discuss the stats on Ubuntu Members and whether the group wants to influence them and what the SMART objectives should be for them.

Alan - Archive link

Thanks again Alan!