An analysis of topics that need more amplification in a world of noise.

On Changes, Ubuntu, "Magic Spells", and Real Power

In a previous blog post, I hinted at a recent happy development in my life/career that I would like to share with you today...

Many of you know me from my involvement in building local communities that are passionate about Ubuntu. I've been at this for nearly 7 years now as a volunteer and it's something I'm very passionate about. (Note: Friends and family sometimes use different adjectives.)

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/RandallRoss

Over this time, I've had the privilege to meet and to work with many brilliant people in Vancouver BC, the community-at-large and also in the part of the community that is Canonical. (Yes, it's all community.) I've met rock stars, both literally and figuratively. They've encouraged and inspired me and finally opportunity knocked, and I answered.

I am happy to announce that I am Ubuntu's newest Community Manager.

My focus (at least initially) will be growing a large and thriving community around the architecture that powers the world's fastest computers. Think really big iron. Think Watson. Think chess. But more than that, think solving real-world problems the fastest way possible, with Power!

Ubuntu already has the beginnings of a great story on Power. I am tremendously excited about the potential of the "magic" that is Ubuntu with Juju and MaaS to launch solutions on Power hardware nearly effortlessly. I'm here to help the community that wants to change the world make that happen.

Click me: Push the button to see Power!Click me: Push the button to see Power!

Please join me. If you're a Power advocate, developer, architect, systems administrator, researcher, or anyone who's just interested in Ubuntu on Power, please send me a note and introduce yourself. Let's work together!

randall AT ubuntu DOT com

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Note: I'm not replacing Jono Bacon, As many of you know, he's moved on to solve some world problems that are "not just software" and Dave Planella and team are filling those big shoes.


image by Thom Watson
https://www.flickr.com/photos/thomwatson/
and modified by me.

Happy 10th Birthday Ubuntu!

Ubuntu is 10 today! That's reason to celebrate.

I encourage everyone who's ever enjoyed or contributed to Ubuntu to find the most fun, outrageous, and outlandish birthday photo you can and show it to three people you know who have never heard of (or tried) Ubuntu. Then post it to Planet Ubuntu (or to your favourite place if you can't post here). (If you're not a Planet Ubuntu author, please link to your post in the comments so others can find it here.)

Here's my favourite birthday photo:

Put Orange Candles on Your Head and Celebrate Ubuntu!Put Orange Candles on Your Head and Celebrate Ubuntu!

10 years may seem like an eternity in the tech world, but I like to remind people that we're only part way along the journey to create technology that respects humans, doesn't treat them as "users", and gives them a voice in the decision-making process. Look around you. Is your technology serving you, or are you part of a predatory business model? Are your friends and family enjoying Ubuntu yet?

I once heard that the path to widespread Ubuntu adoption would be a 20-year journey. I can't remember who to attribute this to, but if you're reading, please chime in, and please accept my thanks for setting realistic expectations. This is a struggle that won't be over soon, but we're well on our way.

I am honoured to be part of the Ubuntu family, and I'm looking forward to the next 10 years. When we have our 20th, the world will be a *much* better place, thanks in part to the wonderful people who make Ubuntu.

And, finally, no Happy Birthday message for Ubuntu would be complete without thanking Mark "sabdl" Shuttleworth. Thank you Mark for being the change you want to see in the world and for inspiring so many (myself included) to work on something meaningful.

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image by Bart
https://www.flickr.com/photos/cayusa/

Ubuntu Contributors' Guide

I spent a few minutes this morning writing the comprehensive Ubuntu Contributors' Guide.

Here it is in all its glory:

Yes, that's really all there is to it. It's simple.

As obvious as this seems, there are people (names withheld) that will want you to believe otherwise. I'll elaborate in a future post.

When you encounter them, please forward a copy of this flow chart. Tell them Randall sent you.

Writing About Ubuntu? Own Your Own Content

A friend of mine sent me a link from her "+" account last night, publicizing a fundraising effort...

Admittedly, I've never been impressed with "+", so I rarely (if ever) look at it. Because she was a friend, and I like to help friends, I decided to go in and see what the link was about. I ended up staying longer than I originally planned and took a look around.

What did I see? I saw a lot of people who used to make Planet Ubuntu a lively, exciting, and vibrant place writing prolifically on "+" instead. Sadly and disappointingly, they rarely post on Planet these days.

Are you one of these people?

Friends, do consider the effect of the following:

When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services ...
(Source: http://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/terms/)

Something smells wrong with this.

Friends, it's really not that difficult to host a blog and to use a more respectful service. I hope you'll consider that one small step in the sprit of not becoming the product, or even better, in the spirit of making Planet Ubuntu *the* place for Ubuntu happenings.

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image by Terry O'Fee
https://www.flickr.com/photos/tmofee/

Why Smart Phones Aren't - Reason #3

I love movies. I especially love seeing movies in an old-fashioned movie theatre. The smell of popcorn. The immersiveness. The whole sensory experience. Well, almost...

Why oh why must I, my friends, and my family be subjected to nonsense warnings that precede every movie shown in a theatre? You know the ones: "Silence your phone", "Silence is golden", "It only takes one phone call to ruin a movie", etc, etc.

Even with all that preamble, there is inevitably someone at the theatre that ignores it, or is too distracted by their phone to see the warning. So, the messages are largely ineffective. Oh, the irony!

Let's think about this for a minute. According to the MPAA, "More than two thirds of the U.S./Canada population...227.8 million people went to the movies at least once in 2013"
(Source: http://www.mpaa.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/MPAA-Theatrical-Market-St...)

Let's take the most conservative view of this statistic. Assume that the total number of person-movies that year was 227.8 million. And, let's also assume that each one of these movies was preceded by a 10-second "Silence your cell phone" message.

That amounts to over 632,000 hours , or 26,365 days, or 72 years of lost time, in one year. "Smart" phone manufacturers, this is a problem you could have solved years ago. For just how many years has this been a solvable problem? My guess is 10.

"Smart" phone manufacturers, you are wasting my time. You are forcing theatres to air useless reminders and distractions. In economic terms, that's called an externality: pushing the costs onto others so you don't have to incur them yourself.

That's right. 720 years lost, in North America alone.

Stop this nonsense. Humanity has better things to do.

I'm sorry "smart" phones. You are as dumb as the day you were born. Think about it. It's really not that hard. Don't be fooled by the name. Movie theatres don't move. You know when you're inside one. Maybe it's time to pay attention?!

With the upcoming Ubuntu Phones, perhaps we, the people that believe in our shared humanity, can give back humanity this precious time it needs to get on with life and perhaps the chance to use this time to solve just one problem to make the world a better place...

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Our best chance at a phone that respects humanity is here:
http://www.ubuntu.com/phone

More reasons "smart phones aren't are here:
http://blog.josephliau.com/documenting-the-death-of-the-dumb-telephone-p...
http://randall.executiv.es/dumbphones02
http://randall.executiv.es/dumbphones01

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image by daniel
https://www.flickr.com/photos/number657/

Why Smart Phones Aren't - Reason #2

I ride public transit, a lot. This gives me the "privilege" to (too often) overhear important matters that are being discussed over the phone.

Can you guess the most common use case for "smart" phones? Apparently it's to obtain the answer to the world's most important question: "Where are you?"

Really? We can send a rover to Mars but we can't solve this problem. Is the world engaged in one giant game of "where's Waldo?" I have yet to meet a phone that is smart.

Phones have GPS, wifi, and of course cellular signalling. They also are programmable. One would think that an off-the-shelf "smart" phone would eliminate the "Where are you?" call once and for all. Or, could it be that the mobile carriers love to prey on people by forcing them to consume and be billed for lots and lots of extraneous voice minutes? Hmm...

So, I'm sorry phones. You are *not* smart. You are still as dumb as the first feature phones.

I remain optimistic that the Ubuntu Phone will overcome this issue. In my lifetime, I hope to be riding a bus, a subway, or a streetcar never to hear the words "Where are you?" uttered again.

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"Where's Waldo" image by William Murphy
https://www.flickr.com/photos/infomatique/

Why Smart Phones Aren't - Reason #1

I was ranting to some of my colleagues the other day about "smart" phones, and just how really dumb they are. The topic generated a lively discussion so I thought I'd share the fun!

I have yet to meet a phone that is smart.

Phones have GPS, motion sensing, and NFC, yada yada, yet they still alert/ring when someone is driving. Has society not learned that distracted driving kills people? Not cool.

So, I'm sorry phones. You are *not* smart. You are as dumb as the first feature phones.

Having said that, I still have optimism that the the Ubuntu Phone will become the world's first truly smart phone, respecting its owner and "doing the right thing".

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dumb phone image by Tom Hoyle
https://www.flickr.com/photos/tomhoyle1985/

Discount Offer for Ubuntu Members - Get Certified!

Are you an Ubuntu Member? Have you ever wanted to get a technical certification?

My buddy Jorge Castro has an offer for you! Please take a look at this page over on Ubuntu Discourse:

http://discourse.ubuntu.com/t/100-off-linux-foundation-certification-for-ubuntu-members/1915

In Jorge's words, "Go rock that exam!"

I'm Back!

Greetings Planet! First, I'd like to apologize for not posting in a long while. Life has been, shall we say, interesting!

Up until the end of August, my focus has been on (non-Ubuntu-related) client work as part of my IT cyber-security consulting practice. This has meant that I've been traveling back and forth between San Francisco and Vancouver BC, living and working in both of these beautiful cities. This has also meant that I've been somewhat time-starved to do some of the things I've historically enjoyed doing in the Ubuntu world, blogging being one of those things.

So, what happened at the end of August? That's a bit of *great* news that I'll save that for an upcoming post. ;)

Putting Some Spin Back Into Ubuntu

What would the Ubuntu logo look like if it really did spin?

That's a question explored recently by Andrew Kvalheim, a talented member of Ubuntu Vancouver.

I can't really add much more to his eloquent analysis other than to share it with all of you. Click the circle of friends below to read Andrew's thoughts... and to see it spin!

Click to see the spin!Click to see the spin!

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Thanks Andrew for your permission to cite.

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