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2013 – A good year

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I thought I’d finish off the year with a bit of reflection, overall it’s been a pretty good year in both camps of my life – the geek/tech and the family side. Obvious highs of the year include:

  • Birth of my second child, Alfie.
  • OggCamp 13
  • LinuxCon Europe
  • Barcamp Blackpool
  • RossLUGs 3rd year – some fantastic meetings this year.

It certainly has been a full on year.

It’s been a really tech filled year, as since moving house last September I’ve had my own space for all my tech which is a real bonus. It’s allowed me to really get back into electronics with Arduino building the home automation system, the electric meter monitor (still to be finished) and more recently bringing a snowman christmas decoration back to life:

As part of my job heavily entails virtualisation and storage I’ve been getting heavily into oVirt, GlusterFS and Openstack (more specifically RDO). Making commits upstream too, to both code and documentation.

One of my other highs of this year tech wise was establishing a presence on GitHub I’ve uploaded most, if not all, the code I’ve worked on this year and licensed it with GPL with great reward of folks actually looking at my code. I feel like I’ve really given something back there.

On the topic of giving back, I finally became a Fedora ambassador this year. I’ve thought about it in previous years as I’ve always used the distro and given back where I can. After an experiment of using Ubuntu solely for a while I reverted back to my much cherished comfort zone, but decided to go the whole hog and really get involved in what has turned out to be a great community. Attending the events I regularly and ones I don’t, on behalf of the project has been a rewarding experience so far.

So whats in store for 2014? Well hopefully I’ll continue on this track, more open virtualisation, more Arduino, Raspberry Pi, more Fedora. But also coming in 2014 will be another track, STEM. I recently became a STEM ambassador which will allow me to impart some of my knowlege and skills and help bring a better quality of education in the tech sector to children. I’m hoping to get involved with, and also run, Arduino, Raspberry Pi coding sessions throughout 2014 so watch this space.

All in all 2013 has been an excellent year, lets hope 2014 is as good, if not better. All the very best to you all.


OggCamp and LinuxCon Europe: Part 1 OggCamp

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Although it’s been over a week since I returned from both these events I thought I better put a little something up about them and the experiences I had there.

Unfortunately Oggcamp and LinuxCon followed each other directly this year, so it meant a lot of heaving about over the course of about a week. Here’s part 1 where I will detail my time at OggCamp.


The event I look forward to all year, took a little longer to arrive this year due to it being moved to October (Oggtober?), happened over the weekend of the 19th & 20th October and much fun was to be had. As being part of the crew last year was so much fun (and hard work) I couldn’t resist doing the same this year, although I was a part timer this year due to also running a Fedora stand and a stand for our LUG (RossLUG). I arrived on the Friday evening to the guffaw of an unexpected art exhibition going off in the lobby of the John Lennon Art and Design building at John Moores University, I say unexpected as it was exactly that. The exhibition, although the building was booked for over 6 months, was arranged the week previous and we couldn’t gain access to setup much on the Friday. Even when that finished the caretaker decided enough was enough and it was home time. So off I went to find Rita’s B&B at the other side of town. Lovely place, a bit dated but very homely and Rita was lovely, I described her to various folks as looking like the oracle from the Matrix (the first one not the second). Proper tea, coffee and biscuits on the bedside table too!


With the plan of an early night in mind, ready for crew duties early Saturday morning, I jumped in a cab down to Leaf on Bold street for a few (free it turned out) beers and a natter to a few familiar faces. It got to around 11:30 and I was wandering around saying bye to folks feeling good about heading home early when I (mistakenly?) approached Pete Cannon (@dick_turpin) to say good night. Pete: “Don’t go stay for another!”
Me: “I can’t I’ve got crew duties in the morning and I don’t want to be rough like I was last year, besides I’ve ran out of money”
Pete: “Ahh don’t worry about that, I’ll get you a beer”

Who am I to refuse a free beer? Anyway several beers later I managed to get in bed at around 3am!!! I think even Felim Whitely bought me a beer at some point.

7AM breakfast I said, urgh I hate the world! The bacon was actually drying whatever was left in my mouth and there wasn’t enough coffee in the world to make me wake up and enjoy anything!

Made it to the venue at around 7:45 and proceeded to get the Fedora and RossLUG tables setup for the day. The Fedora stand had the usual swag to be given away, stickers, badges DVDs. Where the RossLUG stand consisted of the various projects seen at the LUG mostly taken over by the home automation projects Tim (@tommybobbins) and myself have been working on. Oh and stickers!



After setup of the venue and tables folks started arriving, pleasingly when Pete arrived he was looking a similar colour to his Creative Commons T-Shirt, and not the black one 🙂


Breakfast butties arrived around 10:30 which complimented my full English nicely but unfortunately meant I couldn’t manage any of the pizza at lunch.

I wasn’t intending on going to many talks over the weekend as I prefer to chat to folks and manning the stands gave me a great opportunity to meet some fantastic people. But I did make it to Freaky Clowns (@__freakyclown__) talk which as always is brilliant but scares the shit out of me.

wpid-IMG_20131020_131334.jpg wpid-IMG_20131019_095437.jpg

The other session I made it to was the live podcast with the UUPC folks, Dan Lynch (@methoddan) from Linux Outlaws, and the Crew Chief and Full Circle Podcast host Les Pounder (@biglesp) which was entertaining, especially Dan not knowing the UUPC format… Avid listener then Dan?


By evening time we were due to head to the Raquet Club near the docks for some food and more beers but I was just broken with tiredness by this point so drove up in the car, had a few measly portions of food (sat too far away from the kitchen) and headed to bed early. Yes I made it to bed before 11!

Sunday I really enjoyed breakfast, company of a Belgian doctor and a Dutch couple during the meal was nice too. Made it to the venue around 8:45 so nice and early to make sure the stands were setup for the day. Stu and Tim turned up nice and early too excited for the day ahead. Truggles not so excited and much too ill after a night at the “Crazy House”? hmmm best leaving that alone I think.

Another fab day which seemed to be a lot more chilled than the Saturday there also seemed to be a lot of different faces wandering around. I managed to head to the live recording of the Full Circle Podcast which was entertaining. The rafflecast ended up being quite entertaining for me as I had donated a Raspberry Pi as a prize, along with some caps and mugs from Fedora. The Pi got given away along with a mystery power supply but the caps and mugs were nowhere to be seen. Afterwards I headed to the cupboard where I put the prizes on the Friday to find them in the same place. Turned out that the Pi belonged to Les Pounder and was the digital signage/campfire manager terminal for downstairs. So instead of the expected noobs installer some lucky winner will be getting some nice digital signage.

So that topped off the day nicely, all that was left for me to do was help clear up and jump in the car for Edinburgh.

Highlights of the weekend:

  • Seeing the people I only see once or twice throughout the year, whom I regard probably more as friends than people I see more regularly.
  • Meeting people with similar interests, such as the chap (I really wish I caught his name) who took a real interest in the home automation projects Tim and myself are working on.
  • Freaky Clowns talk of course.
  • The amount of technical bods it took to not get a Pi working on the WiFi and brick a router.


  • Missing the TDTRS recording, although I know I will catch the podcast.
  • Having to wait another year to do it all again.

Virtualisation talk

So this coming Monday will be the 2 year anniversary of the Rossendale Linux User Group, not too shabby really. Not marking the occasion or anything but I’m going to be running a talk/demo on virtualisation under Linux. Seems to be the pet project I’ve worked on the most so have a fairly polished setup to talk about.
But why make it easy on myself? I normally use CentOS for server builds but just for a change, as it seems to be the way I’m heading, I decided to give Ubuntu a shot.

Turned out quite well and seem to have the same polished end product.

Monday will be the part one of the talk, as i’m sure to come up with a part 3 – I’ve already decided that part 2 will be on openstack, but may change that to part 3 as the natural progression of virtualisation would have something in between. Such as heartbeat monitoring for high availability or better clustering techniques etc etc.

I guess its to see how well part 1 goes first!

Oh and if you are wondering, part 1 contains, building a server, creating vm’s, bringing online a second server, using shared storage, migrating vm’s between hosts, clustering the storage.

I guess another element to the middle part would be to automate the migrations etc…

see here http://rosslug.org.uk/doku.php?id=meetings:12_november_2012 for a fairly comprehensive run through of the talk.

If anyone reading this is from the Rossendale or East Lancs area and fancies coming along to said talk, then please do all are welcome!!!
You can find details of the location of the meetings here: http://rosslug.org.uk/doku.php?id=meetings:venue