December 16, 2006

Introducing Laszlo Valentino DiBona

At 10:38am today Laszlo Valentino DiBona was born.

Chirstine and He both are happy and healthy. The vitals:

7lbs 8oz
20.5 inches long.


December 14, 2006

Thinkpad Laser Etching Photos

Someone in the comments asked for pictures of my laser etched laptop. The Thinkpad T43p has a black magnesium finish and takes a laser in a very subtle way. Phillip Torrone from make is going to be making the epilogue laser available to folks to burn their fun things onto their slabs. Anyhow here's a bit of what I remember from my sessions lasering different objects:

1) Thinkpads: 100% laser power. 150 dpi up to the limit of the image resolution.
2) iMacs: 100% laser, 150 dpi, takes the laser really nicely.
3) Nintendo DS and other soft plastics (blackberries, psps, etc) 60-70% laser, 75 dpi.

The first DS I did at 100% got a little bubbly and the laser browned the white plastic. The guy was happy about the results but I preferred a non-bubbly image.

More than 150 dpi and the epilogue laser would jam, I did some at 300 , but then had to cycle the equipment. I did about 30 laptops and 10 or so other items. The smallest being a tiny cell phone.

December 7, 2006

The OLPC in Person

At the Google Media party on Monday, there was an olpc on display. I had noodled with the board level electronics but I had not until then gotten the chance to mess with the hardware. I think it's pretty neat.

You'll notice a couple of things, The cool wireless ears, the nice display. It weights a little more than a thickish O'Reilly book (Tim, not Bill) , the keys are softish and water resistant. There are 3 ports, and the screen rotates around so it can be read like a book. There are 3 mousepads that you can use either for mousing or for a signature pad.

The whole things can be gamey, with the dpad and direction buttons on the screen. There are speaker/headphone and microphone jacks and there is a built in handle. It was pretty neat. I want to try to give one next year to the students and mentors in the summer of code to help bootstrap cool apps for it. It wouldn't add a significant amount of money to the SoC program, and would be really neat for everyone involved.

December 5, 2006


In my ongoing mission to keep myself typing so I don't look like an utter fool in print, I bring you a inter-blog mash note about Watchismo. Watchismo is a fun blog about watches that are weird, cool, normal and dysfunctional. People who know me might say "But, Chris, you don't even wear a watch. Are you some kind of watch poseur?" I assure you, dear readers that I am not going for some kind of watch duplicity, some temporally oriented deceit at all. I like watches, but I can't manage to wear them for longer than a month or so before I find them kind of redundant with the other clocks on my person and I leave them behind in a NASA style reduction in weight before going on a long flight.

That said, I find some watches, like the tumbler one, marvels of physical engineering in a way that cell phones and laptops and such aren't. I get more excitement out of the Sidekicks hinge than the entire software suite on my blackberry. Mind you, the berry is a fine machine, it just fails to excite me in the same way that durable, very very rad, machinery does. Rad in fact is the word I'd most like to have apply to things I work on. I don't know if I've achieved this, but I've certainly tried for the rad-ness. Google is a pretty rad place. I'm just saying.

December 2, 2006

Writing On the Wii

So I've not been writing enough as it seems my narrative style has gone stilted and my brain's vocabulary selection mechanism has come up short as of late, so I have to write a bit more to get back into the groove of things. You, my friends, will be the victims of this. Speaking professionally and Writing are very similar for me in that if I don't do enough of them, I am not as good at them. The last sentence as a case in point, how tortured is that?

Could I have written it better? For sure, here's a pass...

If I don't write, or give speeches for that matter, I get worse at it.

Ugh, too choppy, how about:

Speaking professionally and Writing are very similar for me in that if I don't do enough of them, I get worse over time.

Well, it's factual, but not very fun to read. How about...

I've found that if I don't speak before crowds, I get worse at it. The same is true of writing.

Not awful, and leads well into future sentences, I'll stick with the last form. Let's continue, shall we?

I've found that if I don't speak before crowds, I get worse at it. The same is true of writing. Accordingly, I'll now subject you to an essay about the Wii.

I think the Wii is nintendo's attempt to 'DSify' the home console. What do I mean by that? Well, if you look at the long history of the Game Boy, you'll see a steady , iterative advance of the handheld through Game Boy, to GB Color, GB Advance, Micro through to modern DS and DS Lite. This iterative approach maintains a certain amount of backwards compatibility, but not much of it, maybe 3 iterations or so depending. Comparing against the NES, SuperNES, N64, WII, you'll see a third of the offerings and it seems an interesting analogy might be comparing Nintendo's handheld offerings to web development while the consoles are more like packaged software, with long vistaesque release times and a concomitant expenditure on marketing and years of sunk costs.

As such, I think we'll see a DVD playing WII, an HD WII, multiple WII colors (Like my Blue one, above) , a super small WII, a stereo cabinet friendly WII, and a WII that will play DS games. I think they'll come out every year or so, and Nintendo will leave the big money iteration game to MS and Sony, to what end, I'm not sure anyone can predict, no matter how keen the various game blogs seem to enjoy slamming the two companies.

November 29, 2006

Everything old is new again..

Remember Question Exchange ? It was a little site set up by Hector Gonzalez that was bought by (which was bought by VA) back in the late 90s. You don't? It too was an unsuccessful question/answer service that had a non-free model. Yahoo's works because it is both well executed and free, and believe me when I say good for them. Seriously, it's a fun site, but sites that charge for this kind of authoritative generic question answering don't seem to work. Had you heard of Question exchange before?

November 24, 2006

Google Master Plan

As was noted by some folks online, we erased the old master plan. It was a year or more old, and I thought it was becoming crufty, so I proposed we erase it. People asked if we could take some photos before doing so, but everyone thought it was time, provided we had some food/champagne. We ordered the food and had an erasing party. Enjoy it on picasaweb or on flickr. I don't have a flickr pro account, so the highres images are mostly on picasaweb.

59 miles an hour.

Some time ago, I was invited to speak at Linuxworld UK and while I don't speak at the US based Linuxworld's anymore (too businessy, I prefer developer shows), I decided this one was okay as it attracts a more hackery crowd. Once it was known that I was going to be in Europe, a group in Finland asked if I'd give a speech at the Openmind conference in Tampere, I's all really close to each other. And then, the ACM Reflections group at UIUC asked me if I wanted to speak at their conference, 3 days or so before the Finnish one, so I figured....I could visit the team in Chicago so what the heck.

My itinerary then looked like this:

SJC to Chicago, Chicago to Urbana, Urbana to Chicago, Chicago to Finland by way of Stockholm, Finland to London by way of Stockholm, London to San Francisco. For a total of about 14,000 miles.

It was a lot of fun, I had never been to Finland before, and I thought that it possessed a kind of melancholy beauty (it was pretty rainy while I was there) that I found peaceful. The foreignness of it was exciting in the exciting-but-not-too-strange way that European countries strike me. (I know that makes me sound provincial) Stockholm was nothing more than a quick stopover, so I didn't learn much about that country at all.

One thing that was quite interesting was that Nokia invited a few other speakers and myself to the Nokia Manor, which was a treat, where we noshed on reindeer and talked about GPLv3. The organizers (Hi Petri and Marjut!) were kind enough to arrange a short tour of Tampere and I had a great time.

London was weirder this time than in the past, for some reason I kept running into a lot of drunks. Drunks falling against a pub wall, loud drunks on the street. I don't think this was a function of the neighborhood I was staying in (Belgravia), but more of some cosmic intersection of me, liquor and those predisposed to consume it. I'm not much of a drinker, honestly.

Linuxworld UK was a decent venue and since I was in town, I found my friends at Nature with whom I worked to run the Science Foo Camp and gave a speech at Macmillan's London HQ which became a discussion about Google Book Search. This is slightly tricky as you know, Book search is a fairly controversial topic in the publishing world, but it was a great visit.

So what's this '59 miles an hour' stuff about? Well, if you divide the 14k by the week and a half or so I was gone, I was traveling on average approximately 59 miles per hour the whole trip. Jet lag was hell this trip.

November 20, 2006

Karim Lakhani on Open Source Science

In which my friend Karim presents some information on his research on open source science. Neat stuff. Gotta have him out for science foo camp, I think.

November 5, 2006

Century Cinema Joins AMC in being a place that sucks.

So guess who's showing commercials before the movie now. Yep, Century Cinemas has joined AMC (think bad parking lots and blaring media tie-in music outside) in abusing its audience with 5 minutes of commercials before the , uh, previews (also commercials). I guess the $9.25 we're spending isn't enough anymore to inure us from the extra revenue opportunity.

Well, honestly, I was cutting down on going to the movies anyhow for all but those that deserved a big screen, and even those I can watch at home now that I have a largish lcd tv. Also, those Coke student films that they also run as a commercial after the commercial but before the preview commercials? I'll just say this: If these are the winning entries I'd hate to see the losers.

I honestly used to go to the Century 16 instead of the newer, better designed, AMC theatres because of the annoyance of pre-movie commercials and blaring speakers outside the AMC that bugged me, now Century is no different. Too bad, movies used to be fun to go to.

Also, I make -much- better popcorn.

November 4, 2006

Me on Crankygeeks.

Me Me Me: Crankygeeks, Episode 34 wherein we discuss weighty tech matters. It was pretty fun to do, I have to admit.

A short post on the Microsot/Novell deal.

I've been giving some thought about the implications of the recent Microsoft Novell deal, and while I'm not going to go into a long diatribe about how I do not agree that I need Microsoft permission via Novell to use Samba or much of any free software, I will say this to my open source developer friends at Novell:

The Google Engineering Staff and Open Source teams are hiring.

Email me.

October 21, 2006

Posting from 30k feet.

I know, this sort of thing is pretty boring, but I get a huge charge out of posting on this blog while on a plane. Tres' magnifique! Too bad connexion by boeing is going away. I wonder if anyone else will pick up the service. In the meantime, since they are in the process of deprecating the service, it's free as they cannot guarantee service! Excellent!

Strange Flying Tales

So over the last two months I've seen two people basically flip out at airports. I have a theory why these happened, but let me tell them first.

Number 1:

I was pulling myself together post security and an older fellow sits down next to me, tieing his shoes, and then, while looking around, says "Damn those guys, make me take off my belt. Surprised I didn't leave anything behind."

Since I'm the font of all jokey wisom, I say "Ah, but I think we both left behind our dignity."

This is the part where you remind me not to talk to strangers at the airport.

"I'll tell you boy, I left behind my dignity when my incompentent gosh-darn son-of-a-gun butcher of a doctor jammed a thing up my bleep and my bleep like he was digging for f-word gold."

I'm obviously sugar coating his language, as this is a family blog, but I'll tell you. He didn't stop there. As I stood to walk down the concourse, he followed me, regaling me with stories of his medical condition, the different ways doctors had violated him in the course of his treatment, and other things that clearly, undoubtably fall into the 'too much information' pile.

Don't get me wrong, I have a -lot- of sympathy for folks who suffer cancer in those most painful to treat of places, but jeez, is an airport the place to share?

Second story: Just minutes ago a guy turned to his family and screamed, almost to the point of a red-faced falsetto. "Well screw all of you, I'm not going anywhere with any of you people." and then he storms off. Now, I actually am totally okay with him not going with his family anywhere, but jeez, it was quite the scene.

So: moral of the story.....

I think that people are getting to the point where the mild, ever growing repression of the airport is grating on people who find the whole experience absurd.

UIUC Was Really Neat

So I spoke at the UIUC Reflections/Projections conference (known as 'conference' in these parts to the computer enthusiasts) last night and I -killed-. Totally -killed-. I tell ya. I was in rare form. It was a talk later at night than I normally do things, at 8:45pm, but it came off well. I'm on a multi-city speaking tour (sort of, that sounds fancy, though, doesn't it?) from uiuc to finland to london than back home. Something like 5 total sessions that I'm giving.

UIUC, which you'll remember as being the birthplace of NCSA Mosaic, Mathematica and HAL from 2001, is quite a good CS school and they have a wicked active ACM group there that throws a solid conference every year. They also have an event called 'mechmania' that is a programming conference that pits peoples programs against each other in a game area. It's pretty neat.

I have to admit when I visit schools like UIUC, I sich I had gone to a better school, I mean, mason wasn't the worst experience, but it wasn't anything like UIUC was.

O'Hare Intl Terminal Racial Profiling

So I'm sitting waiting for the SAS ticket counter to open so I can get my boarding pass and I'm watching people while doodling around with my laptop (it's almost 100% charged) and I've started to get a feel for who is looking for which terminal. I'm sitting in front of SAS, BMI, Alitalia, Taca, ANA and two flag airlines (Korea and Turkey). As people come up the escalator from the people mover, I'm getting good at figuring out which line they'll make a beeline for.

I say racial profiling, a loaded term for sure, because the Alitalia folks are Alitalian, the Taca people are hispanic (Tacan?) and the SAS people are that kind of white with pink highlights that make you think of the more northern latitudes.

Anyhow...hi from Chicago.

October 7, 2006

BSG, PSP and Del

So, first off: Bang up job on the BSG premiere. Seriously good stuff, I find myself being sympathetic with the Baltar's Vichy viceroy. Yes, he's awful and a puppet, but the toasters would clearly plug him if he didn't do what they said. Should be interesting. Sometimes the picture of Baltar sitting upon his cylon throne come back to me from the original, crappy ,series, like an unwanted hot flash and I think "Will Baltar start hating his fellow humans as an answer to his guilt" or "Will his love for six cause him to embrace a cylon/hybrid future for humanity and see pure humans as a pointless evolutionary dead end?"

Clearly, I've been thinking too much about this.

Also, my PSP is fixed thanks to my friend Jon Webb just in time for my long trip to europe. 10k+ miles on planes! I wish EA Replay was out Right this second

Not surprisingly, I find this story about Joshua's -fascinating-. Imagine if all of Yahoo decides to block google's crawlers. I think that would hurt them more than Google (my employer) but this is really the kind of thing that Matt writes about more authoritatively than I. I will say this, if you have a site that is create by your users, you should be -really- careful when restricting who can see the information that your users think they are creating for the public. We're all competitive, for sure, but I think restricting non-abusive robots for is a little sketchy.

September 30, 2006

HP, Pretexting, Phone Tapping and the Senate

So I can't be the only one who thinks it deeply hypocritical that the same congress that approved the wiretap know this one...

    "The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill this month that would allow, but not require, the administration to submit its warrantless wiretapping program to a secret national security court for constitutional review." - From MSNBC

...Is the same congress that is giving HP so much crap for doing it's deeply stupid, vastly crazy, investigation that is far and below way not-as-bad as what they want to authorize the administration to continue doing.

I'm not the only one, right? Right?

September 28, 2006

Heroes, a potentially very bad show.

"They say that we only use 10% of the cliches."

"Did you ever felt, you know, like you were meant for something else, something special?"

"I'm a zany japanese guy. Look pretty girls!"

"My life is over, I want to be normal and go to the prom like every mildly Texas accented rural cheerleader!"

So, yeah, I watched the premier of Heroes, a show that wants to.....oh who cares. Bunch of 20ish somethings with powers. Look, they're going to save New York from nukes and bad stereotype government agents who are hunting them down....oh who cares. Take a fine show and network it up.

I mean, who is the hack that uses the "we only use 10% of our brains" line? Who? I'll tell you who, the same idiot who would have a the cheerleaders mom be a show dog person. Who's mommy's little non-creative puddle of mediocrity! You are! Yes! You are!

You want a good superheros story? Go read flipping powers. I mean...cripes.

Your Battery is Not Affected by the Recall

Yay. My batteries are not set to explode. I've printed out the lenovo 'your batteries are cool' page for my upcoming trips to the airport. 3 for 3!

This is a huge black mark on sony, I have to say, all those recalls. Lithium Ion is not something you want to screw up. So much energy stored in these batteries.

September 27, 2006

Good Charlotte....or....the EFF?

So, as you might have read on Shellen's blog, Good Charlotte came by to give a concert at work today. That's pretty neat.....but...oh...wait....EFF is giving a talk on some annoying WIPO initiatives that will make us all slaves to the content people.......hmm..choices....choices....

Guess which one I chose to attend? I oughta have someone from the EFF on Floss Weekly sometime.

September 26, 2006

Floss 13, Eben Moglen, up on TWiT

Floss 13 is up. On this weeks FLOSS: Freedom Fighter Eben Moglen. Enjoy!

Open Source/Linux people in Tampere, Finland?

Just idly wondering if there are any linux/oss people in Tampere. I'll be heading up there late october and wondered if any of my people are there :-) Email me! (chris at dibona dot com)

September 25, 2006


A friend of mine here at work noticed that my Gylph was from Fallout and that meandered our conversation over to my old project, Rekonstruction. I have to say, it's been gnawing at me. Maybe someday I'll revisit the was hardly a secret that I was going for an online mmorpg version of fallout...

September 18, 2006

Find me at Ohio Linux Festival!

Hello everyone. I'll be speaking at the Ohio Linux festival at the end of this month. In October I'll be speaking at the University of Texas, the Finnish Open Mind Conference and LinuxWorld UK. I've never spoken at any of these conferences, so it should be interesting.

Also, before you ask, we're recording a whole whack of FLOSS Weeklies this week. My apologies for the slow down. I have been slack.

September 11, 2006

August 31, 2006

Everything that is wrong with Windows

Is expressed handily in this article on Robert Scoble's blog, titled "The Startup sound in Vista", or should I say "The sound that will drive you nuts, simply nuts, for decades" Whoever heard of not being able to kill the startup sound, it seems so damn uncool to require that the user listens to your audio bug. I know macs did it on boot, and it stunk up the joint then. I wonder if they'll play that intel "doop doop do doop" and get a quarter for every boot up?

Nah that'd be stupid, as would the inability to silence the sound if a user so chooses. So, logically, they can't possibly be planning this. No one could be that stupid. Right? There you go, the world is saved, my work is done.

Chris DiBona, Roadie..

So I was joking with one of the other subjects of a recent article in Information Week that he (Douglas) looked like a rock star, and me, his roadie. I'm all dark and broody. I need to trim the beard, methinks...don't get me wrong, it's a great picture, but man, I look angry. Or something. Great hair though! :-)

August 30, 2006

Golden Penguin Bowl.

My pal Jeremy does an amazing job running this little game show at Linuxworld. I used to do it, but he rescued me from the duty. Anyhow, he is -brilliant- at it and Linuxworld has posted a video of the bowl . It is a scream.

Laser fun...

One thing I found myself doing -way- more of than was healthy at Foo Camp was laser etching things. I lost count of the number of laptops I etched, but I think I passed 30 sometime around 2am saturday morning. All kinds of logos, too, including my little friend there, who I enscribed on my OQO, my notepad and in the corner of my Thinkpad. Why only in the corner? Because the majority of the T43p was taken over by a really large, very beautiful and subtle image of a Cylon Raider.

So very cool! Anyhow, it was a blast to do and now, as I was telling my wife, I have a skill to fall back on after we all decide that computers were nothing more than a passing fad. Instructables did an article about the tool, which can be found on the Make site.

20 Years of Linux Panel...caught on tape!

My friend Larry Augustin invited me to sit on a panel with some other Linux old timers at the recent Linuxworld (yes, the title is a joke), and it was taped. Go ahead and check it out, if that is your kind of thing. There are so many things I have not posted about, including Sci Foo, Regular Foo and the rest. I will, maybe, and in the meantime, posts by Jane and Erik will more than suffice. Foo camp was quite the spicy meatball.

August 9, 2006

Cat, that's the bag's exit...

So here's something my group has been working on for the last few months, and it is something I've been looking forward to big time. Anyhow, read all about Science Foo Camp on the Nature Blog.

-So- looking forward to this.

July 13, 2006

From Annoyance, Rudeness and Guilt to Absolution in 5 Seconds the DiBona way...

So...I'm in the middle of a heated discussion about the merits of dual or non-dual licensing with Stein and DannyB. The door is closed, we're going on around a really tricky problem with license intermingling and whether or not we should advocate this approach or that and for what reasons when a dude throws open my door and says something along the lines of "Oh my god, you have the mysql Cookbook, can I read it, I've been looking for it all over and I really need it..."

So I say something along the lines of "we're in the middle of a flipping meeting here! Get out!" and he says "No, I ..." and I realize he's just excited that someone magically has the book he needs.... which I guess I understand... and now I'm feeling guilty for hollering at him, so I say "Wait...which book"

MySQL Cookbook

"Here take it! I'll get another" and I toss it at him... "Keep it, seriously."

"Thanks!" and he darts off...

So there you go.

July 8, 2006

Floss 9? 10?

Both are in the can... Randal Schwartz and Jeremy Allison, respectively. In theory. Sorry for the break, well...kind of...

Oh Lazyweb...

I need two things:

A person at ESMAS-TV who can put me in touch with whomever keeps your archvies. A show was on a few years ago that I cannot find anywhere and must get my hands on.

Email for Battlestar Galactica's Ron Moore or David Eick. It's for a google thing, kinda.

Anyhow, shoot me an email if you have this info. Please feel free to speculate why I'd need such things in the comments.

Thanks in advance, oh wily web.

July 4, 2006

Jabber Hackery...

Hi all,

Whenever I dive into a new bit of coding, I look for an example. A simple to use, doesn't do much example. From the example here, which is too complex to show the basics, I derived this simple python xmpp program.

import xmpp, os, sys

cl.send(xmpp.protocol.Message("","I am a test message, you sly dog, you."))

Indeed it is missing everything but I was able to im myself without worrying too much about other junk. Instant gratification is -very- important in programming. It doesn't even take responses, but it works well enough. To use it, replace my username and such with yours. Magic!

Yes, I'm writing another bot. Yes, I have some genetic need to write bots for all mediums. (last one was an IRC bot for the game studio I cofounded and augered into the ground) You'll need to apt-get python-xmpp before this will work.

June 29, 2006

RIP: Jim Baen

Jim Baen is a man that seemed to have had a good life, and certainly made a real difference in publishing.

June 28, 2006

Snowbird Pictures

Snowbird in summer. I travel, you see, so that you don't have to!

While I was at Snowbird, I hopped on the Tram to the top of the mountain to see what it looked like in summer. I hadn't been up there except in winter.

June 25, 2006

Snowbird and declining CS rolls in Universities

I'm in Utah, staying at the Cliff Lodge at Snowbird. It is quite beautiful here. I spent a fair number of my formative years in Utah, and I spent a fair number of them at Alta, just up the road from here. I feel a strange kind of nostalgia coming back to Utah, I don't really know anyone here anymore, but seeing how the area has changed...what's the same, what's different, is interesting.

As with every trip back to Salt Lake, it comes down to the Mountains. It's like they're imprinted on me. Really, the horizon along the wasatch front, not so much from climbing or anything, just by having it as the long running parallax scrolling backdrop leading into my early high school years. I'm hoping to take the tram up to the top of the mountain on Tuesday.

But why, you ask, am I in Utah again? I'm attending the CRA annual conference. I'm running a panel tomorrow with some folks from CMU and PSU. This is a funny kind of show for me. I'm used to interacting with developers directly, and not so much with academia. You see, at Google the Open Source Programs Office (which I help to run, as you might have guessed) funds a variety of projects in Universities and we fund the development of open source software and run other projects that impact students like the Summer of Code, and that's kind of why I'm here.

One thing that I've been hearing much about here is the slackening supply of students who want to become computer scientists. I had heard a bit about this before coming, but I didn't realize that if you compare 1999 and now, the number has been cut in -half-. Why? People have theories....the dot-com collapse, the fear of having one's profession outsourced, etc, but it's a little disheartening.

June 21, 2006

XGL is Hawt.

I finally bit the bullet and installed Xgl on the laptop. It's -amazing-. So hot. The screenshot on the right (click on it) is a shot during mid turn. I use mine in a cube, but you can have as many virtual desktops as you want.

It is -very- flash. What you are seeing in the shot is xmms with a number of plugins, ppracer, a browser and some other bits running. What you aren't seeing is the raindrop effect, which is a trip, but silly, the wobbly window thing, the switcher that runs real's exceptionally lively. Linux users should definitely check it out.

June 17, 2006

Damn you, Shostakovich.

So I'm adding Shostakovich to my list of composers not to listen to while studying, writing or working as his work is too damn engaging. I'm going to go find some Passacaglia's and see if I can study with one of those running. It is that or back I'll go to Vangelis' Blade Runner soundtrack.

Speaking of which, it seems there are some albums I never get away from. The BSG Miniseries and Season One soundtracks have been pretty on heavy rotation lately. It's like my brain is keyed to get stuff done while listening to them. The odd thing is that I've listened to them so much that when I watch the show, I'm practically vibrating with track info.

June 16, 2006

Floss 8 up. Ryan Gordon...

This week on Floss Weekly, we interview Ryan C. Gordon, porter extraordinaire, about his life porting games to Linux. It was one that I wish could run for at least an hour more than it did. We also decided to run some of our more technical podcasts with a sort of "Floss Extras" that are way more technical and maybe not for the average listener, so look for those now and then.

June 14, 2006

My Trip to JPL on Google's new Web Album Service

Shortly after we launched, Vint Cerf asked my friend Michael and I to come with him on a trip to JPL to talk with some of the folks there. I took pictures. Be sure to zoom in on some of them. Pretty neat stuff: My Trip to JPL.

We got to see a lot of cool things and talk to some very neat people. This is also my inaugural use of my employers new web photo hosting service. I like the zoom and drag stuff probably best of all.

I know people will compare it to Flickr, which is of course expected. Flickr is a great service, and I have an account there as well but...semper company and all that, I try to use the services Google creates. If nothing else, I can file bugs and feature requests directly :-) But so far, I like it.

The picture to the right is Vint Cerf wearing 3D shutter glasses. He's the father of the internet.....wearing 3D shutter glasses!

June 12, 2006

Romeo (Thinkpad T41p) and Juliet (Blackberry 7290), entwined perpetually unto death.

Ugh. It seems that if you have tried to call me on my cell, you have gotten a message that says, simply "This person doesn't exist". This is not true. Cingular simply has screwed up. Anyhow, this is a problem that is being addressed, but is super annoying. I, in my infinite lack of wisdom, decide to call Cingular, who suggest I wipe the phone to get it to start taking calls. I was dubious but did what the person asked.

Oh, if I knew the pain I'd be inflicting upon myself. So we use a program to sync our calendars wirelessly and that program is pretty finicky, to fix and or install, you must give up your laptop to the folks at the tech stop and they perform their magic. However, I, dear readers, am special. Standard Blackberry syncing died on me and so I was on an alternative syncing software regime whose name shall not be spoken herein. The first magician, a patient fellow, wasn't fully versed in the magical lore of the blackberry and the syncing program whose name shall not be mentioned, but the second magician was able to handle re-setting up the phone. It took from when I arrived at work until about 6pm.

I used a powerbook that I had in my stable and it performed fine, if not annoyingly slow. Its a good thing the macbooks are out, because if I had to regularly use the powerbook I think I'd smash it with a hammer.


So my PSP is a deader. Doesn't appear to like UMDs anymore. Still boots up and such, but no go on the games that I have. I can read from the memory stick, but who cares, really? I don't need a massive device to play mp3s or movies, I have a laptop and ipod for that.

I only got this thing in January. What about the warranty, you ask? 3 months. So, yeah, that's no good.

My plan: Wait until the psp 2 or whatever comes out and pick up a psp super cheap on ebay or something. Or not at all. I'm pretty disappointed in this, I might put it in for servicing, but come on, 3 months warranty? Makes me not want to keep the thing at all. I have a good number of games for the platform, which are now worthless. It's not even homebrewable as I can't load the GTA cartridge to load a hack off the umd. The PSP is no more. It is an Ex-PSP. It is a brick.

June 5, 2006

Well, spam is officially annoying.

As you know, dear reader, I don't delete my spam, allowing gmail to instead keep a 30 day running total of spam in my folder, autodeleting everything over 30 days old. Today is the first day it is above 20,000 messages. Isn't that something? Sigh.

June 4, 2006

Holy Crow! Slashdot puts up new CSS!

Go check it out...I've been following this pretty closely but it is a little jarring: Slashdot. It isn't that I fear change, but gosh...looks great though.

May 31, 2006

I've got a future as a spokesmodel

The second one in a few weeks! Check out the picture attached to PC's That Are a Lot Smaller Than a Breadbox - New York Times. That's right, you're looking at my future as a hand model.

I should consider a manicure.

May 20, 2006

My one word review of the DaVinci Code.....


Okay, why?

So Google was nice enough to take us all out to the movies, which is fun regardless of the movie we choose, but this movie was kind of a dud. It was laughably bad at parts, with Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon doing his best South Park imitation of Jeff Goldblum. It was all tell and no show.

Redeeming factors:

Ian McKellen: He could make a yogurt commercial enjoyable.
Audrey Tautou: She was radiant, but even she emailed in this performance.

Other bits:

Lord I was bored. I was also too close to the screen, headache city. Maybe if I had been further back, maybe, say, at my sisters house in San Jose where I would've watched a good movie, I would have enjoyed it. What did you think, oh blog readers?

How do you take these actors and make a cruddy film? Who knows. It'll probably pass a billion in receipts.

May 14, 2006

Lost World. (new video found)

So one of the really great things about Lost is how they've been using the internet to spread around the story and engage people. I was surfing today on Google Video and found a heretofore unseen (by me anyway) video detail the function of the different Dharma Stations on the island. Which made me look for other things, and I found this Valenzetti video and then this gem collecting the Phone Messages that you can find when you call their number. The Hanso Foundation is a corporation in the game.

All in all, an awesome presentation. When I was running a game company, way back when, we tried to do things like this, but never to this degree. the only thing I would have done differently was smudge the valenzetti video a little, it looks a little too much like a vectron.

May 12, 2006

Fluxx Variations #1: Passive Agressive Flux

For the very fun game of Fluxx, here's a new way of playing it that my daughter came up with and that my wife named: Passive Agressive Fluxx. Here's what you do: You play the game normally except that..

a) All keepers are played immediately.
b) The player never gets to play his or her own cards.
c) During a turn, the player will draw, then the plays are made by the player to the persons right, then that persons right and so on and so on (always skipping the person whose turn it is)

That's it!

My daughter came up with some cool new card ideas too:




Happy kitten: Kitten & Milk
Napping Kitten: Kitten and Sun
Catfight: Kitten and War

Etc, etc...

May 10, 2006

Whose beautiful hand was that?

So the homebrew mobile club met at Google the other week, and the sjmn's photographer asked me to hold some stuff for a picture of the technology: | 05/10/2006 | New can-do club wants to build better cell phone

Click on "more photos". I know! Very exciting. Also, speaking at the CC Salon tonight in about ..oh..10 minutes. Come check it out?

May 7, 2006

Coming this week....

2 Podcasts featuring moi. I graced Twit 53 with my presence and we have an awesome Floss coming out with Miguel De Icaza. So lucky, your ears will be! Anyhow, keep an eye on Twit for more info about that.

The Summer of Code application process is coming to a close. We have less apps this year but the apps are hugely better. This year was probably a bit more intimidating for people, more projects, more ideas, more FAQs and real work waiting for them. Last year we had maybe 1000 applications I thought had a chance of being selected, this year we probably passed at least 1600 of them with 24 hours to go. Anyhow, it's amazing to watch it all happen, for sure.

Also, bought new shows. Yay me. My feet are still getting used to them.

May 2, 2006

Mentos and Diet Coke ... For Science!

Just when you thought all the Mentos had been dropped in all the Diet Cokes in the world, we thought that a certain discipline was needed that was missing from the current offerings.

For instance:

Does the size of the Diet Coke influence the reaction?
Can you use Sugarless Mentos? Fruit flavored?
Does it work with Caffeine Free Diet Coke? C2? Regular Coke?
Can you do it twice with the same Diet Coke?
Does using more Mentos change anything?

Anyhow, these and other amazing questions answered, in our video:

For Science!

May 1, 2006

Quickies all about me :-)

1) Floss 4 should be out soon...I chatted with Chromatic about perl 6. Which is awesome.
2) My allergies have kicked up. Which sucks.
3) Student applications are now being accepted for Summer of Code. Which is awesome.
4) I was a guest of honor at Penguicon in Michigan this year. It was awesome.
5) I spoke at Irvine's ISR. It was a good gig.
6) At Penguicon, Rob Landley dropped some Liquid Nitrogen into the pool. It was cool.

April 24, 2006

Go play Dubloons!

John Laird's Senior Computer Game Design class is required to create a final game at the end of their semesters work, he was kind enough to show me some of the winners this morning. They can be found here: 494 Showcase Games. The ones you want are Dubloons, a quickie ship attacks ship game. You basically order your dudes to fight, pump or defend. It's great stuff. Strife is a sort of star-controlesque inspired tank game.

April 22, 2006

Floss 3 is up!

This time I interview my pal Rob Malda, I'm pretty happy with how it went. Go check it out:

April 20, 2006

A note to our friends in the spam trade...and a note about Floss Weekly 3

I don't speak:


And a variety of other languages.

What also baffles me is why, pray tell, do they think I'll buy their pump and dump otc stocks?

Sigh. 2:22am and spam as far as the eye can see.

More picking me up in an hour, heading to Michigan. Floss weekly will be a little late this week, going to interview some pals down there, re-enact a little Geeks in Space or something :-)

April 15, 2006

Open Sources 2.0 is up on!

This is very exciting! My second book is up on the Internet Archive. I'm sure you'll buy it, but now you can make sure you want it first: Internet Archive:Open Sources 2.0: the continuing evolution.

April 12, 2006

Second(ish) PodCast recorded.

The second Floss Weekly should be up on and iTunes on Friday. Check it out. For this show, I brought along Ben Goodger. Next week I want to have Jeremy Allison as my guest. (He reads the blog :-), Hi Jeremy. )

Something like 14,000 people listened (or downloaded, anyhow) to the debut show and Apple chose it as a New and Notable technology podcast, which was really neat. Thanks Apple! Anyhow, go ahead and subscribe to the podcast and be sure to listen.

April 8, 2006

Podcast is up!

Check it out: Let me know if you like it.

April 7, 2006

See Ya Nelson

We'll Miss Ya

All hail open source clustering..

Neat google map of OSCAR: Registered OSCAR clusters around the world. Oscar took part in the Summer of Code and posted this cool map of available clusters.

April 1, 2006

April Fool

So I love all the April foolishness, but something caught my eye, and so I went back to last year and double checked out my alma mater, I think that there are less people getting modded up to 5 on April 1st. I could postulate as to why, but that would be boring, and, you know, OMG PONIES!!!! But it was interesting to me. And, since, you know, Egofood is about -my- ego....I posted about it. And thus, the needs of my narcissism are served.

March 27, 2006

March 26, 2006

Podcast Delayed is not Podcast Denied

Hello citizens, I regret to inform you that the FLOSS weekly (with Chris DiBona) podcast got, um, screwed up, so we need to rerecord the first two episodes. Leo had problems and I couldn't quite get a good recording on my end. This time around, I will have proper backup (or even primary) recordings done. Extra bonus: I bought a second mic, so that'll make impromptu guest thingys even easier for me.

It's been fun buying the gear for this, I have to admit. I wish I could well, have own aquire caress lovingly, one of these baroque beauties, but 5k for a mic is , um, well, insane for a podcast. I might pick up their USB Snowball, as it would make for a super handy portable rig, but lets see if people actually listen first.

So it'll likely be two weeks+ till the first one comes out. Apologies!

March 20, 2006

Please don't take it personally.

So this is my auto-answer for two common emails and phone calls I get:

1) Recruiters (both executive and other):

Hi there, thanks for thinking of me, but if I don't get back to you, it is likely because a) I don't know anyone for the job, b) am very happy in my own job or c) am looking for the very same kind of people and thus can't help you. Also consider that if I know some great person who is the recognized leader in x, y or z, I'll likely try to get them into Google myself, so emailing me to source high end folks at this point is not a great use of your time.

2) Grad Students doing research on Open Source or Google (or both):

Hi there, thanks for thinking of me, but if I don't get back to you, it is because I (a) have already funded the masters students/PhD research that I want to have done anyway, (b) don't agree with your thesis as I am a cranky fellow but most likely (c) I don't really have time to help all of you. This is not personal, I assure you, but right now research on open source is super-hot and I just can't spare the cycles for your effort. Best of luck to you!

3) Financial Analysts:

For those of you looking for some insight into the vaunted Google this or that, sorry, I'm just not the right guy to chat with. I give speeches at conferences about my group's work and around other aspects of open source stuff at work, so find me at these venues and ask questions then. I'm also putting up some podcasts with Leo over on TWiT soon, so you can listen to those in the event you think I have some amazing insight into open source :-)

So there you go. Consider this post a long term apology (of sorts) for me not being able to help you and sometimes not getting back to you (a rarity). The true function of this is as a post that I can refer to and link to when I do reply to similar queries.

Now, back to our regular scheduled blogging....


March 17, 2006

Where have you gone, Geoff 'Mandrake' Harrison.

Hey geoff, long time no hear, and your website is horked. Drop me an email!

March 10, 2006

First Podcast in the Can

And by that, I think I mean that the podcast has been recorded and will be up on TWiT and iTunes soon. My pal Jeremy Allison stopped by. I also interviewed my pal Fitz from the Subversion team for next weeks show. Anyhow, Leo is chopping out the boringer parts and after that it should be up. First time was pretty fun, I'll likely post again when it goes up. We decided to call it "Floss Weekly with Chris DiBona", which is kind of a dental joke, don't cha know.

I hope some of you have long enough commutes to enjoy it!

March 9, 2006

Guy was Only half right...

I read Guy Kawasaki's rules (via my pal Don) for panel moderators and he missed a whole lot of things. First, go read it:

Bona tempora volvantur--by Guy Kawasaki: How To Be a Great Moderator

Now, here's the things he didn't say:

1) Panels are an audience rip off. They distill any valuable information out of the system. Very few panels are worth attending. No one on a panel does any real work leading up to it because anyone with any experience talking can bs through 10 minutes and questions from an audience or moderator with no preperation.

2) Panels are a sponsor perk. Conferences, to give their sponsors promised slots, will fill panels.

3) Any show that has more than 1 panel per ten conference sessions that is -not- a science fiction convention or similar hobby oriented thing, isn't worth going to. Period. And at most it isn't worth paying for. Okay, unless you are the one selling stuff. But even then.

4) Any panel with more then 4 panelists is worthless. Too many people to present anything cogently.

5) Any panel with more than 3 panelists is likely worthless.

6) Panels are a great opportunity to check email, if the conference has wireless.

That is all. I was in a panel recently, run by Apache's Susie Wu that didn't suck, and there was a minimum of laptops open (surfers) and such, so yay us.

March 7, 2006

Culling IM like a wraith...

I've been cleaning up my im accounts lately, clearing it out of people who I've either not talked to in the last x months or can't remember which im alias matches who. Likely, I'll delete someone I don't want to, but if that's the still works for re-establishing such things.

March 5, 2006

Podcasting? TWiOS

So I was recently approached by my old TSS pal Leo Laporte about doing a weekly half hour podcast about Open Source. Leo has been doing a pretty fun podcast called This Week in Tech that is pretty good. We are planning on starting This Week in Open Source this week on Wednesday and if you stay tuned I'll put up the link to the feed when it is ready to ship. It'll mostly be me yammering, but some of my pals in open source have told me they're willing to be my victims. I'll also take questions.

You can help me by posting them in the comments here, think of some sticky or basic questions about open source, or, if you already know the answer but have an open source topic you'd like to hear me yammer about, post em in the comments.

Also this week: Next certificate in my masters starts at school and my team at work is really firing on all cylinders, so should be a busy time.

February 26, 2006

Search and Destroy:..or...Ted Rall has a blog.

Actually, Ted Rall has had a blog for a while, but his feed wasn't activated, now it is: Search and Destroy As you know, I'm not a political person online or even all that much off of it. I came across Ted Rall not because of his political comics but because of his brilliant graphic novels 2024 and The Worst Thing I've Ever Done two terrific works. Anyhow, check him out, if you like. It is worth pointing out that if you are even slightly conservative/republican, you and Ted aren't likely to be pals, so head's up.

February 22, 2006

Silverlit X-UFO's Gyro 'issues'

I recently picked up a x-ufo from thinkgeek, which I've taken a picture of for your enjoyment. These are very fun, cheapish (180$) 4 axis helicopters. Thier construction is fascinating. You might remember a previous, weird, post I did about gyros. I complained that mechanical gyros stink and should be replaced. Well, I was talking about this one. I had a minor (my fault, I assure you) crash that resulted in the gyro, well, shattering, and without a gyro these things are impossible to fly. I ordered two new ones from an outfit in Utah and recieved them last week. Installed the new one and got a good look at the damage I did to the old one.

Some interesting things about the X-UFO. Its construction is pretty labor intensive. Lots of little parts, screws, multiple circuit boards, it is a testament to just how cheap Chinese labor can be. If you were designing it for local contract manufacturing, you might have opted for a single board solution with a mems or piezo gyro. Things to note include the cheap plastic gimbal housing, the super fine copper power wires to the internal motorized flywheel. The weird thing about this gyro is that it doesn't really work all that well past about 30° and the electronics assumes that you are inverted and tries to right the copter.

Of course, this is how I ended up driving the x-ufo into the ground from about a 25 foot hover. Oops. Anyhow, its a really cool toy, but I think if you buy one, you should try to pick one up with an electronic gyro. Click on the pictures for more fine details. Note that the gyro boards piggyback on the actual board and thus might be replacable with a different system, in theory. In practice, there is a reason I bought two replacement gyros.

Anyhow, check out the pics, the person who designed the copter really was quite the hacker. Note the washer as a flywheel.