Thursday, April 17, 2014

Open Source Comes to Campus NEIU Chicago, April 26th

On Saturday, April 26th, there is going to be an Open Source Comes to Campus event at Northeastern Illinois University. It's open to all students. I've been helping a bit with organizing it and I'll be mentoring at the event. If you'd like to learn the basics and make your first contribution to FOSS, please follow the link below and sign up :)

Hope to see you then, and happy hacking.

Friday, April 4, 2014

GNOME & LUG & Flourish!

I'm going to be running a GNOME and LUG booth tomorrow at Flourish! Other members of the LUG -- Jim Campbell, Lincoln Bryant, and eviljoel -- are also going to be stopping by to help out at various points during the day. One of our group's founding members, Chris Webber (MediaGoblin*) is speaking about The Road Ahead for Network Freedom at 2 pm so I'm skipping out on booth-tending for that. If you are around, be sure to come by and say hello to us :)

* I've helpfully linked to the MediaGoblin campaign page, in case you forgot to donate :)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Hacking + Talks + February

LUG + Hack Saturday, February 22nd 
We'll be meeting on Saturday, February 22nd at Pumping Station: One (3519 N Elston, Chicago).  If you'd like to come by early and hack we should be there at around 12 pm.  
Formal talks will start at 2 pm. Lincoln Bryant of the University of Chicago will give a talk on how university sysadmins use Puppet to manage their servers. We may have an additional speaker lined-up within the next few days. You can RSVP on

Chipy Project Night
Chipy has their first monthly project night coming up on Thursday, February 27th from 6:30 pm to 9 pm at Braintree (111 N Canal St, Suite 455, Chicago). RSVP: meetup again :)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Writing about FOSS Diversity for

Today published an article I wrote about my experiences as a FOSS contributor, the strategies I've learned to promote diversity, and why I feel diversity is important. If that kind of topic interests you you can read it :)

Happy reading, and happy hacking!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Chicago LUG Meeting Saturday, January 18th at 2 pm

We'll be having the monthly Chicago LUG meeting on Saturday, January 18th, at 2 pm, at Pumping Station: One (3517 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL). Drew Fustini (Element 14) will be presenting on Beaglebone Black, a hackable development platform similar to the Raspberry Pi, but built using open hardware.

I'm planning to show up at noon to hack on GNOME stuff (you can show up too), and there will most likely be some hacking time after Drew's talk.

Videos from last month's talks are on the interwebz now: you can find Jeff Schroeder's talk "Twelve Days of Metrics: Graphite for the Masses" by simply clicking this enticing link disguised as a sentence fragment, and you can view Bonnie King's "(Red Hat) Software Collections" in basically the same way.

See you all on the 18th. Happy hacking :)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Chicagoans Hacking on GNOME, Holiday Edition

We will be meeting at Pumping Station: One (3519 N. Elston, Chicago) this coming Saturday, December 14th, at 12 pm.We're back to our earlier start time and will be hanging around and celebrating the holidays until 5 pm. Jeff Schoeder (The Graphite Project and a GNOMEr) will be doing a talk on Graphite. Graphite stores numeric time-series data, and renders graphs of the data on demand. Bonnie King (Fermilab) will be presenting on Red Hat Software Collections, and how they are packaged and used in Scientific Linux. Afterward we'll have a christmas cookie exchange (just kidding) and generally celebrate. You can RSVP on

Jim Campbell has said something about having a potluck, with details being worked out on the mailing list. There isn't going to be hacking at the meeting this time, but it's been so long since I've had any hacking time that I might sneak into a quiet corner and hack anyway :)

Erik Johnson's talk on SaltStack from last month is posted now. Thanks again to Erik for speaking, and to Carl Karsten of Next Day Video for donating his time :)

Hope to see you all Saturday :)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Unbricking the OLPC XO-1.75 B1

A really long time ago I went to the X.Org conference in Chicago. It was actually the first tech conference I went to. At one point I nervously poured cream into the coffee tray instead of my cup; at a different point I signed up for a list to receive a developer version of the XO 1.75. The OLPC did actually send me one, but it was bricked...and having just started with Linux I was pretty intimidated by the idea of disassembling a laptop and using a terminal emulator to fix the firmware.

It's the holiday weekend in Chicago and I needed some distraction from studying for finals, so I decided to see if I could finally follow through and unbrick the XO. Somehow I always manage to misplace all of my Phillips-head screwdrivers, but after a while I found one \o/ (it was in the pencil holder :/). Soon the laptop looked like this:
disassembled XO

I connected the serial adapter to the XO. The directions said to use a USB type A to type B connector to connect the serial adapter to the host computer. Unfortunately that was vague. I spent some time Googling and looking at pictures before I gave up, wandered over to my desktop computer, and started unplugging anything that looked promising. It turned out that the printer to USB cable was the right one.

The XO 1.75 booting linux

I installed the Screen package on Fedora, changed some permissions so Screen could access the new firmware that I had on a USB drive, installed the new firmware via the terminal emulator, and then I was done :)