Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Penguicon 6.0

Monday, February 18th, 2008

Today, I registered for Penguicon 6.0, which is an annual science fiction and open source software convention held in Troy, Michigan. Last year was the first time that I had attend Penguicon, and I was very impressed by the conference. Penguicon may not be the most technical conference, but it is a good time and the guest speakers are outstanding. I didn’t attend any of the scifi talks, but all of the presentations I went to on open source were good last.

This year some of the big names that will be there are: Jono Bacon, Eric Raymond, Chris DiBonna, Benjamin Mako Hill, and Dr. Peter Salus. This is a unique and extremely good time. I would recommend this conference to anyone in the Mid-west area. Besides Penguicon, this year I would also like to attend HOPE and the Ohio Linux Fest.

One Laptop Per Child Persentation at the MUG Meeting

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

At first I was skeptical about attending a presentation about the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project at the /Michigan!/usr/group (MUG). So initially, I wasn’t going to go to this months MUG meeting. I figured the meeting wouldn’t be very technical and would only be about the benefit of the program. At the last minute, I decided to go, and I’m glad I went to the meeting. Ivan Krstić from the OLPC project put on a excellent presentation.

One thing I found interesting is the OLPC motivation for the project. Krstić explained that before children reach school they are inquisitive and want to know how everything works. It very similar to the hacker mindset. But once children reach school, their education becomes authoritarian based. It is no longer acceptable to question how and why things work the way they do. I had never thought about the education system in the United States this way. This is probably one of the reasons that I disliked school. I didn’t like school until college where I was able to take the basic knowledge I gained and further explore it and research the topics I found interesting. So from what I was able to gain from the presentation, the main reason the OLPC project was started was to empower the youth in developing countries and give them the tools to conduct their own research.

After giving the motivation for the project, Krstić explained the technical details of the laptops. I had no idea of the innovations involved in making this project a reality. To begin, the laptops had to be extremely cheap to manufacture. Next, the power consumption of the laptop had to be much lower than the average laptop. These constraints seemed very similar to those that exist in the field of sensor networks. One thing I found impressive is almost all of the programs on the laptop were ported to Python. So for the curious students, they can modify the source code of their application to see the effect of their changes. The laptop also had a show source button. This button would display the source code in an IDE for the application that is currently running on the laptop. Krstić also went on to explain his part of the project, which is creating a security model for years olds. This problems is more difficult than it appears at first because it can’t be assumed that a five year old can read.

After seeing the presentation, I was very impressed with the direction of the OLPC project. If I had a small child, I would try to get them one of these laptops through the “Give One Get One” program.

OLPC

New Blog

Saturday, October 6th, 2007

For a while, I was using the Google service Blogger to maintain my blog. I let some time elapse between posts to the blog. When I attempted to add a new post, I was disappointed to learn that I could no longer access the account. I’m not quite sure what the actual problem was with accessing the blog. All I know is that I could no longer access the blog and all my attempts to recover the password failed.

For the past year, I have done very little blogging because I couldn’t access my account. Today, I finally took some time to set up some blogging software. I was happy to find it was a painless experience.

Since I am able to make posts again, I am going to try to add new content to this blog regularly.