My 2015 in pictures

2015 was a really busy year for me, I’m sure I’ll forget lots in doing this run down, but I’ll try to do one anyway. The year started pretty shittily, with Laurel being ill, but we soldiered on and enjoyed some cricket anyway

 

The Catalyst Open Source Academy again went well, with the group working on Koha getting a lot done.

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Photo by Catalyst Media CC-BY-SA

The boys and I went on a trip to the Hawkes Bay at the end of January which was a ton of fun, splash planet is great fun with kids. One of the highlights for Te Pō Atarau was getting to feed a lamb.

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In February we went to watch the Jousting at Harcourt park and the kids got to try archery.

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In April, Te Pō Atarau invented which might be the most complicated game I have ever tried to play

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And I presented at the Open Source Open Society conference.

OSOS conference
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – April 17: OSOS conference April 17, 2015 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Mark Tantrum/ mark tantrum.com)

I turned 42 in May and Te Pō Atarau turned 6. I also went up the coast to participate in the Digital Nati sessions, which was great.

The highlight of June for me was the kid’s disco which I live tweeted.

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July was busy with Matariki, and my favourite Kaumatua kapa haka, as well as Armageddon and Māori language week.

August was about the quietest month of the year, but then in September we went to Fiji and the US.

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We got back in October, and 4 days later I flew out to Kohacon15 in Nigeria, which was a totally amazing trip

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November was the LIANZA conference.

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Kahurangi turned 9.

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And we had Island food O’clock for one of our beer o’clocks at work.

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And December was Kiwicon and of course Christmas

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Gatekeepers or Gatecrashers

This post is a collection of not fully formed thoughts, ideas that I have been mulling over since my VALA boot camp on epublishing. Take them with a grain of salt please.

Traditionally information professionals, be they Archivists, Librarians, Curators or the rest of the cultural heritage sector, have been seen (rightly or wrongly) as gatekeepers of knowledge and information. These days as information becomes more and more locked down (DMCA, DRM, never expiring copyright, etc) the term gatekeeper becomes more and more accurate.

Every DRM encumbered book a library lends makes DRM one little bit more accepted. Every borrower who is helped to jump through the ridiculous hoops that DRM puts in front them is one more step in normalising it. When we make gallery exhibition apps that work only on ‘I’ devices we encourage our users to use proprietary software. In essence I contend that we are actually providing a disservice when we do these things.

Luckily at the same time this increased lock in is occurring, the Open Access movement is also increasing. I say Open Access not Open Data, because data is just 1s and 0s it is useless without software. And if the software I need to access the data isn’t Open, then I don’t have Open Access.

So I think we need to become gatecrashers, we should at the very least be pointing out the gates are there, and who put them there, at best we should be busting them open. Let’s promote Open Access, that’s Open Data and Open Software, at every opportunity we get. Let’s push back against those who would put knowledge in a walled garden. Let’s storm the gates and send them crashing open.

How to avoid burn out

One of the great advantages of working on Free Software is the openness and transparency, not only of the code but of the processes around creating the code.  Weirdly (or perhaps not weirdly) this can also be a disadvantage. We can see all the bugs … we know we can fix them, but also sometimes  we can’t fix them as fast as we want. Or  we can see the bugs but don’t have the time, or the permission, to fix them. This can be hugely frustrating, and can cause us to feel like we are not making any progress. What can exacerbate this is the fact we can see all the process, if our patch gets stuck at QA, or signoff, we can see this, it’s all open.

How do we get around this? I don’t really have the answer, but what works for me is mini breaks. Take a week off, or even a day or two off every time you begin to feel a little burnt out. Work on another project, read a book, knit a scarf .. do anything except work on patches in your evenings :) This works for me, a few days off and I’m excited and ready to go again, what never works for me is trying to slog on through it.

International FOSS developer cooperation

A few weeks ago my laptop died so I needed to buy a new one.  As I am heading off to Atlanta for the  Supporting Cultural Heritage Open Source Software Symposium, I thought hmm, I could get a System76 laptop and pick it up when I’m there.

Equinox Software  support both Evergreen and Koha and are based in Atlanta, even though I have never met most of them, they agreed to have the laptop  delivered there. So when I get to Atlanta, I will go pick it up, exchange some beers, then go back to my hotel and check out my presentation out of git ready for the next day.

So thanks to a company that specialises in Linux laptops, and another that specialises in FOSS library software, I will have a brand new laptop running Linux in 3 days time.

Update: Here it is, so far I love it.

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2013 – WTF Happened?

With still 9 days to go I’ve decided to do a bit of a wrap up for the year.

It was a pretty massive year in a lot of ways starting with

Koha

  • This year we had the highest number of commits ever, as of today 2619 commits
  • 82 different people had code committed into Koha
  • 32 were new developers
  • At least (probably about 4 times this many really) 167 libraries liberated themselves by moving to Koha
  • 3.12 and 3.14 were released on time and with no major issues
  • Kohacon in Reno was a great time.
  • The NZ trademark issue was finally settled with the Community winning it’s challenge to Liblime/PTFS’s application.
  • I wrote 50 patches, signed off 182 patches, did QA on 72 and when doing release maintenance pushed 248.

Personal Stuff

  • Maui came to the 4th birthday party of Te Po Atarau.
  • Kahurangi turned 7 and had a space party.
  • I turned 40
  • Laurel had ankle reconstruction surgery, that resulted in a bunch of complications that meant I did the school run for most of the year.
  • I gave 11 presentations. (It would have been 12 but I bailed on one)
  • I survived 3 Whisky O’Clocks
  • I travelled 36,577 km

The presentation I was going to do at NDF

Unfortunately I had to pull out of doing my lightning talk at NDF, I simply didn’t have the time to be able finish what I was going to present. I felt it was better to pull out than do something that wasn’t up to scratch, not really fair on the conference attendees otherwise.

But I still think the idea has some merit, so here is a snippet of the unfinished, rough edged, cut down for youtube, thing I was going to present

Massive thanks to Andrew Caudwell who writes Gource, without which this would not be possible.

It’s running circulation data with 1 minute = 1 day, but it’s equally interesting running a bit slower. There is a lot more I wanted to do, like using the actual book covers, visualising more data, like acquisition, and cataloguing .. tracking an item throughout its life. All of which is easily doable, just with more time.

Anyway, I hope people get something out of it.