It has been a busy summer thus far. In addition to my day job at RealTraps, which keeps me quite busy by helping people make their realities sound better, I have been writing quite a bit, and also doing some mixing & recording.

alley-fistMost of the writing has been over at Gods & Radicals, where I’ve written 3 articles since the last update here:

Also, I published here my first ever published article, written way back in 2000 when I was a student at USM. It’s a piece called A Barnraising In Cyberspace: Linux & The Free Software Movement, and is an analysis of my early days using Linux back in 1999, as well as some of my thoughts about the broader potentials of the Free software movement as a commons (though I didn’t really have that language of the commons back then). I think the piece holds up really well, if I do say so myself.

In addition to the writing, much of my free time has been spent working on Morgan Lindenschmidt‘s next EP, which is coming along beautifully. Not that I’m biased, but it’s great fun watching this young artist continue to grow in every possible way as an artist. I can’t wait for the world to hear this stuff.

I’ve also been trying to spend more time outside, given that it’s summer and I live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. So, yeah. Busy time of year. Not too conducive to lots of writing online. Let the lamentations begin.


Kobo Touch: First Impressions

I finally received the Kobo Touch today. I thought I’d write up some first impressions.

First, this unit is a definite upgrade in heft over the Amazon Kindle. It is much sturdier and just feels more solidly built. This is a touch screen unit, whereas my old kindle used buttons on the side for page turning. I have to say I’m not a huge fan of touchscreens in general, I find they get matted up and worn looking from all the skin contact. I’d probably rather have a clean screen for a device like this.

One con is that the unit could not be activated until it ran the Official Kobo Software(tm), which of course only runs on Windows or Mac. Linux users are out of luck. I tried to install the Kobo software under Wine but it didn’t work. So I booted over to Windows, and initialized the software.

As soon as that was done, I came back to Linux and to my eBook collection I maintain using Calibre. I like Calibre a lot, though it is a bit clunky. I was then able to disable auto-syncing on the Kobo and upload my book collection.

So…. yay! I have an ebook reader again, and it isn’t a kindle. Both of these are wonderful things.

Ancestry and Technology

I recently made a breakthrough in my genealogical study of my ancestors, which was one of the catalysts for creating this site, to give me a fixed place to document it. I finally saw a book that other family members had, which traced my Norwegian ancestry back to the year 740. When I saw that, I paired it with some other genealogical research online and was able to trace it back to before the Common Era (ie, before the birth of Christ).

As a result of documenting this, I am exploring various software options to do it. One is to simply create a webpage that lists the ancestry back, generation by generation. Another is to use specialized genealogy software, which looks like a good option at the moment.

I’m a big fan of free software and use it whenever possible. There is a free program called Gramps, and it looks very promising. It’s basically a large database tweaked specifically for geneology, and it can generate all sorts of charts and reports.

In addition, I am in the process of scanning the book that was sent to me. The original was self-published in limited runs, so this will make the information more accessible to family members.

I’ll be keeping things updated as I go, but this is a good initial entry.