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    The Bungee Line was an audio podcast for web developers, covering web API's, software development, and the creation of richly interactive web applications.

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Nat Friedman & the Personal Cloud: “Personal data warehouse”

Ximian co-founder and intrepid technologist with SUSE Linux, Nat Friedman recently blogged about a “Personal data warehouse,” stating:

What I want is a giant elastic bit bucket in the cloud, with a powerful search engine on top of it.

He goes on to describe several capabilities that he wants the search capabilities to have, essentially bringing together several disparate services available on the web today–such as face recognition (Polar Rose) and Optical Character Recognition  (OCR, the simplest form right now may be Evernote‘s)–in order to make his data imminently accessible and usable.

Nat describes several other aspects, all of which in my view comprise not a single service, but a data platform. This Personal Cloud concept really cannot be delivered well by a single service provider–you don’t want it to be. Once you have your personal data in the cloud, the next step is to have a selection of relevant applications to choose from for helping you to manage your Personal Cloud. That means APIs that allow developers to offer best-of-breed services, such as face recognition, as applications that you can use with your cloud-hosted personal data.

All of that reminds me that I really need to write up a post about the necessity for data owners (you and me as individuals) having ultimate control over who can access our data (and what data they can access).


Open Source for America

Open Source for America logo

If you have not yet looked into Open Source for America (OSA), the advocacy organization recently announced at OSCON, I recommend checking it out.

The recent increased focus on governmental transparency is long overdue. In the 1990’s, we saw a trend in the US toward putting public records online. The trend reversed drastically over the last decade, as new justifications for government secrecy arose. Coinciding with the new US administration, the public is expressing a renewed interest in transparency, with increased attention to Lobby Reform. (In a representative democracy, should it be permissible that elected officials should be able to make secretive backroom policy deals with lobbyists from the tobacco, health insurance or energy industries?)

In the context of open government, the transparency of government technology must also be considered. Free and Open Source Software gets used by government. But when software can be acquired and deployed at no charge, is it going through the same security and other reviews as proprietary software? Conversely, are there times when proprietary software is unacceptable? Consider electronic voting machines. If “We The People” fund the creation of the software ran on these machines, is there any way a vendor can justify not disclosing the source code? I state these observations as questions not to open a discourse about them, but to point out that there are many issues to consider about the role of Free and Open Source Software in government. The establishment of OSA may help shine light on such issues and provide help and guidance to Federal, state and local governments.

To find out what the organization plans to do, I recommend listening to the series of interviews with various OSA board members recently hosted by my good friend Erin Quill (also my former co-presenter on–and now host of–Novell Open Audio).

Google Chrome Bluescreened My Windows XP VM!

Google Chrome

…and in a sick way, it was really kind of cool.

I’ve been playing with Google Chrome for a couple days.

But because Chrome is only available (natively) for Windows right now, I have to run a Windows XP virtual machine on my Linux machine (which still runs openSUSE).

And since I hardly ever need to use Windows anymore, the VM needed several updates, see?

So, I’m a-browsin’ and a-updatin’, and really enjoying how well the browser performs–especially with AJAX–while wondering how much the snappiness will decrease when Chrome is laden with more full set of browser features…

…and then Windows Update completes its work and tells me to reboot.

So, I click the “Close” option and skip the “Restart” so that I can do a Shutdown-and-Apply-Updates instead, because that’s how I want to do it, see?

But Chrome doesn’t want to close down. In fact, it stops responding altogether. Now Google Chrome is in a stare down with Windows shutdown.

Well, you know what Windows does to programs that don’t stop. That’s right, it puts up dialog messages. This one essentially says, “He don’t wanna go, boss. Can I kill’im?”

But before I can even respond, Chrome frickin’ blue screens Windows. As the kids say these days, >Snap!<

Next thing I know, I’m watching the VMware POST process emulation, and hoping that my VM is not hopelessly corrupted.

Good old nostalgia…I haven’t seen a Blue Screen of Death on my own machine in ages.

BrainShare 2007 Friday General Session

If you would like to see the General Session that I hosted at BrainShare 2007, it is now online.

  • Nat Friedman brought out several guests (including David Reveman!) and showed some killer Linux stuff
  • Baber Amin showed an open source InfoCard implementation
  • Ken Muir showed the upcoming GroupWise release, codenamed Bonsai
  • Alan Murray showed some cool Data Center technologies

Your Host for BrainShare’s Friday General Session

It’s now official: I will be hosting the Friday General Session at BrainShare 2007!

So far, the Friday line-up is really solid. It looks like we will have some cool Linux stuff with Nat Friedman, a demo of some open source identity components with Baber Amin, a look at what is planned for the next GroupWise with Ken Muir, and some mind-bendingly cool data center automation stuff with Alan Murray.

And to top it off, we will be giving away ten–count ’em! ten!–primo AMD-powered, custom painted laptops.

It’s going to be a lot fun. Hope to see you there!

Take the openSUSE Survey

opensuse.orgMy friend Michael Loeffler who works on openSUSE informs me that the openSUSE team is conducting a survey of their end users right now. If you use openSUSE, please take a few moments to fill it out. (And of course, there is some thank-you swag involved.)

Record a Desktop Video on SLED

After posting a couple videos from my SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 system, some network admins have asked me to share how I record these. One said that he sees practical use in creating how-to videos for his end users.

So here is how I set up my SLED10 system for capturing my desktop as a video file.

The Short Version

  • Use RecordMyDesktop.
    • (Um…That’s it. You don’t need to read the rest.)

The Detailed Version


  1. Make sure you have the following packages to your SLED10 machine: gcc, make, ogg, libogg-devel, libtheora-devel, libvorbis-devel, alsa-devel, jack-devel.
    • If you find that I omitted any packages, please let me know which I need to add to the list.
  2. Download the latest version of RecordMyDesktop and gtk-RecordMyDesktop from the RecordMyDesktop project site. (These will be source code tarballs that you must build and install onto your machine.)
  3. Put the two source packages in a folder and extract them.
  4. Open a Terminal window and change to the newly-extracted RecordMyDesktop source folder.
  5. As a regular user, use the command “./configure –prefix=/usr” to configure the build environment. If the configure errors out, it’s likely because of a missing package. Add the missing package and its “-devel” accompaniment.)
  6. Now use the “make” command to build the package.
  7. Finally, use the command “sudo make install” to install the software. This will prompt you for the root user’s name.
  8. Repeat the same steps for the gtk-RecordMyDesktop source folder.


  1. Use Alt-F2 to start a Run Application window.
  2. Type “gtk-recordMyDesktop” on the command line and hit enter.
  3. Start recording!




A Few Best Practices Suggestions

  • I recommend creating a special user account for recording videos. It will help you to ensure that you always have an uncluttered desktop with a consistent background for your videos.
  • Use a simple wallpaper or background color so that viewers are not distracted from the subject of your video.
  • Turn of your instant messenger. It really blows a video to have “yt?” pop up.
  • If you have other suggestions for me to include, please post a comment.