{April 27, 2009}   LinuxFest NorthWest

this weekend me and pete rode down to bellingham for LFNW. :) it was a lot of fun. I was kinda nervous about riding my bicycle to the conference, but it turned out well… we took the bus to white rock, and getting to the border from there probably only took half an hour. once we were through, it was mostly country roads, with more birds than cars. :) there was a bit of confusion in ferndale because google maps was out of date – but we asked directions from some locals and got back on track quickly. it took nearly 3 hours to get from the border to the hotel, and it was dark by then, so we were quite ready for bed.

saturday morning I was sore from friday’s ride, but still managed to cycle the two miles to the conference. bellingham is lovely and flat – it was a nice easy ride. :) at the conference we found our table easily, and there were two monitors on it… but nothing else. jeff, blauzahl and the others were still at the hotel. I set up my laptop, we talked to one of the organizers and got the box of booth stuff, and started setting up. I think the rest of the gang showed up not long after we had that done.

I didn’t get to see much of the presentations on saturday because I spent nearly all my time at the booth – first answering questions, then trying to finish my presentation. :) it was frustrating to listen to people who came to the booth to vent about 4.0/4.1, but it was nice to hear from people who were enjoying 4.2 or interested in hearing more about this linux thing. when I went around to all the distro booths to see if they had cds we could give out, one of the ubuntu guys said he’d just switched to kde, and had it set up on hte monitor at their booth – sadly he hadn’t brought kubuntu cds, though.

at lunchtime I started trying to ignore the world and focus on fighting kpresenter and openoffice impress – I hate office software in general, and presentations especially. there was a talk I was interested in right before mine, but of course I wasn’t done in time to go see it. :/ my talk went surprisingly well, though. :) I explained the scripting plasmoid stuff, answered some questions, then we all rushed back to the other building for the raffle. :)

after the raffle was over it was time to head to the after-party… nobody knew if there would actually be vegetarian food there, so we stopped at a nice co-op grocery store first and had some yummy dinner. oh, but getting there wasn’t trivial – the intersection I’d wanted to turn at turned out to be a bridge, so we had to ask some passing cyclists how to get down to the road we wanted to be on. once we got on it, however, it was a lovely quiet road. :) and the weather was just wonderful.

the after-party was fun – and had vegetarian pizza after all – although the entertainment was a bit of a faux pas: bellydancers. I heard quite a lot of people complaining about this sending the wrong message (they want women to write code, not just dance for their entertainment). at the end, some guy decided to run on stage in BSD underwear to entertain the ladies – that was nice. :)

much beer and pizza and beer later, we headed back to the hotel. apparently there was a bit of an after-after-party in hte lobby, but I was probably asleep then. sunday morning we had to check out before heading back to the conference… there were very few people there that morning, so I decided to leave with pete (he had to head out at noon to get home for his brother’s bday dinner). I didn’t really want to cycle home alone anyways. I did get to see some portions of some presentations before I left, though. :)

the ride home was beautiful. the weather continued being perfect, there was a nice cool breeze, and time was passing quite easily. unfortunately there was a detour at the border which fdelayed us, then eight blocks downhill from the bus stop I realized I hadn’t eaten in far too long… but somehow made it there, and got on hte bus, and then we had a delicious birthday dinner to end the day. :)

I’m still exhausted from all that cycling. it was fun, though.
oh, and it seems there are photos up now. I completely forgot to bring my own camera…

I’m starting in ten minutes. oh boy. my slides are here

there’s an extra bit added to the victory calendar for the presentation – dataengines. I might poke at that code some more and maybe blog about it later…

update: one thing I forgot to put in the slides is that the key value in main.xml must match the widget in the .ui file that you want to control it. if you have key=”foo” you need the widget’s name to be kcfg_foo

update 2: plasmoidviewer is now easier to use thanks to aaron :)

{April 23, 2009}   exams and birthdays

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. No more assignments, but suddenly there were a million little things to get done, travel arrangements and so on that i’d been too busy to deal with. And there were those pesky exams, too. ;) monday evening i thought i was finally really done… Then found out the TA who was so behind on marking assignments had actually lost a bunch of them somehow (good thing they were digital), but we weren’t told which ones were lost and which just weren’t marked, so i had to re-email a bunch of my stuff, and then there were more problems… I spent most of tuesday emailing him and checking for replies, so i couldn’t get any code written.

By tuesday evening that was finally over. I thought i’d finally get to sit and hack on wednesday, but suddenly i had to book flights, and found a decently priced wii. Good things, but distracting. In the evening i went to a friend’s place for a crafting night, but ended up hacking instead of sewing :) i just couldn’t leave the code alone any longer.

Despite all the craziness it’s been a fun time, though. Having more control over my own schedule again is pretty nice. When classes ended i was a little worried because i didn’t feel motivated to work on kde much, but that’s gone now – it seems i’m still quite addicted. ;) The trip to boston will probably be a lot of fun, and just in time for my birthday too :)

it kinda seems like one big long birthday in some ways – my mum gave me bday money last week, and yesterday i spent it on the wii. pete got me a microsdhc card with adaptors, and took me clothes shopping, and is generally spoiling me rotten ;) i think we’re both glad my classes are over and i’m more relaxed. This weekend is LFNW (i really need to plan my presentation) and in two weeks i’m off to boston! :) :) Even the weather is being awesome, it’s a lovely sunny day again…

I doubt i’ll have much hacking time today – planning for LFNW takes priority now – but pretty soon i’ll be back in action, trying to get as much as possible done before the feature freeze :)

mmmmm, food. :) I just finished dinner. it was yummy.

for the last few months here, everyone in the house has been cooking dinner once a week. it works out pretty well. when we started this in january I was quite nervous – I’ve had hardly any experience cooking, and there were lots of basic things I didn’t know, the kinds of things that recipes always assume everyone knows. by now, I’m really enjoying it, and I feel quite confident. :) with some help from friends and google I’ve been learning a lot, and cooking’s not so scary any more. figuring out new delicious things to try is kinda fun, even.

the dinners here are all vegan (sometimes with optional dairy products – I like cheese). sometimes I’m frustrated by this, sometimes it’s an interesting challenge. :) I’m quite surprised at how well soy milk replaces milk in stuff like mushroom soup. the other challenge is cooking for 6-7 people; everything has to scale up well. some stuff that works for 2-3 people would take far too long when cooking for six. anyways, I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve been making – especially since I’m starting to wander away from recipes now, and I don’t want to forget how I made these yummy things. :)

tonight I did baked potatoes with chili. the potatoes are easy – explains that quite well. I didn’t go for the wrapped-in-foil method because I had eight of them, so this way scales better. I also didn’t bother with putting the potatoes directly on the oven rack. I just lined them up on a tray and shoved it in the oven, checking them halfway through.

as for the chili, I had a bunch of spinach that needed eating, and I was craving mushrooms (ok, I’m *always* craving mushrooms), so I looked up some chili recipes, especially ones with mushrooms in. there was a lotof variation in chili recipes, so I ended up asking aaron to explain what makes chili chili. :) (answer: chili powder, cumin, lots of beans, a fair amount of tomatoes, and whatever other veggies you like. and apparently molasses is good, but I didn’t have any.)

I ended up kinda making it up as I went along, based on aaron’s advice and several online recipes. I chopped two small onions and a half dozen cloves of garlic (almost every recipe starts with onions and garlic) and tossed them in a large pot with a dash of oil. (yes, I’m explaining things that will be obvious to anyone with cooking experience. it’s hard to learn this stuff when everyone assumes you already know it.) I chopped up three tomatoes while that was heating up, then tossed in the spices… a lot of chili powder (the bag slipped, so I’m guessing there was well over a tablespoon in there), and nearly as much cumin. then I chopped up some old chili peppers that were conveniently sitting beside the garlic, and one… um.. I think it was a jalapeno pepper. it was green and small and pete wanted me to put it in. :) I tossed those it with the tomatoes, and a couple of teaspoons of tomato paste. I think next time I’d use a fourth tomato, I’d like a more tomatoey flavour.

next I chopped up a few small carrots, and two bags of mushrooms. according to the receipt, two bags is 1.26lb. I added the carrots first (secretly hoping they’d dissolve; I don’t care much for chunks of carrot but I like the flavour ;) and the mushroom stems, turned the stove down to about 3 and covered the pot to not lose too much liquid, then went and dealt with the potatoes.

once the potatoes were in the oven I tossed the rest of the mushrooms into the pot. I added two 540ml cans of kidney beans and one of black beans. there wasn’t much left to do by then… pete chopped up some peppers for me, but said they shouldn’t go in until 15 minutes before the end. I chopped the stems off the spinach and rinsed it, but that hardly needs to cook at all. I grated some cheese, cleaned some dishes, checked on the potatoes, and waited…

almost an hour after the potatoes first went into the oven, I added the peppers to the chili. it was actually looking, and smelling, like chili by then. :) ten minutes later I added the spinach, took the potatoes out of the oven, and took the fake sour cream out of the fridge (tofutti- it’s a pretty good fake). another 5 minutes and dinner was ready. :) baked potato, cheddar cheese (for some of us), chili and sour cream. yumm. I’m quite happy with how it turned out, especially since I had no idea how chili was made 12 hours ago. :)

…and I’m really tired and have another exam tomorrow, so last week’s awesome dinner will have to wait for another blog post.

et cetera