31 October 2011

...and the winners are...

The Wikipedia photography contest has ended, the jury made its duty and now we are ready to announce the results (this blog is the first to break the news). So who won?

The first place: Union Square of Timișoara

Timisoara - Union Square at sunrise

The second place: "Sfânta Treime" church in Sibiu

Interior al Bisericii parohiale romano-catolice "Sf. Treime"

Third place: the ruins in Bociulesti

La Ruine - Bociulesti - Vedere laterala>

Old city panorama:

Panorama Centrul Vechi 2

Mavros-Cantacuzino manor:
Conacul Mavros-Cantacuzino

Alba Iulia citadel gate:
Poartă - Cetatea Alba Carolina

Caraiman cross:
Crucea comemorativă a Eroilor români din primul război mondial

Densuș church:
XIII century church from Densuş

Alba Iulia citadel:
De paza

Chiajna monastery:
Mănăstirea Chiajna - Giulești

All the 10 images above go to the European final contest, good luck friends!

28 October 2011

Welcome to the Revolution, baby!

The article is in French, so not that easy to understand by everyone, but some group, called "Union des Photographers Professionnels" are opposing the Wiki Loves Monuments photography contest. Why such a stupid thing? Below is a translation of the relevant paragraphs by strainu:

"Presented as a philanthropic operation, this initiative looks more like a commercial action. Indeed, the participation is conditioned by the acceptance of a CC license allowing the commercial reuse of the pictures.

Private or public entities can therefore use this pictures legally as postcards, posters, books or as illustrations in the press.

The professional photographers living from the copyrights are worried by this initiative [...]"

Newsflash! That is the point, Freedom is about empowering people and changing the system, it obsoletes some structures and creates some others instead. We are not any more in the old world, when a photographer, of an artist in general, was like a god, now people have tools and access to distribution channels and participate directly in the creation of the culture, without money barriers and monopolies. I am glad to pe part of this.

25 October 2011

The dice, the manga and the anime

I am not sure: the world is small after all or the little things we do really change it, even if a tiny bit. Either of those should be true.

Last week-end I was (with my camera, of course) at Nijikon, the anime convention taking place every October in Bucharest: there was cosplay, manga, anime, plush toys, really many things. And while wandering around searching for some photographer's prey, I noticed a wheel of fortune improvised at a manga booth:


Something there looked familiar, but I wasn't sure about it and had no way to verify it on the spot. In the evening, I was really tired arriving home, and forgot to check, so the next day couldn't ask the guys about it the second day, I checked only after the event ended:


Yup, the dice image is part of my Free clipart collection - one of my first drawings with Inkscape, made many years ago, so it looks quite weak, but still they found it useful.

Thise clipart images somehow managed to leave home, make a trip to California and return home by the way of the manga. Yes, the world is small.

For cosplay pics, I am sure my readers know where to look :p

20 October 2011

Judging for WMLRO

wikiI believe in transparency and think an open community has to be transparent, so I am going for full-disclosure on the inner workings of the judging process for the Romanian Wiki Loves Monuments contest.

So after September, when the contest ended, the first thing we did was to merge the submissions made to Flickr into the ones already at Wikimedia Commons and count them.

The team is small, 2 organizers, 3 jury members, one person shared by both teams, so 4 people in total, the number of submissions had to be made manageable. For this we had each member of the jury go trough all submissions and make an initial selection, as his proposal. Each of us proposed around 100 images.

Then the image lists were merged, sorted, and the duplicates removed, resulting in a final selection of 284 images, those were marked in a special Wikimedia Commons category, have a look at it, is supposed to contain the best images.

The harder part is the next one: all 284 pictures will be reviewed by each member of the jury and each will receive a rating on 3 categories: technical, originality and usefulness, the final note will be the average of all 3 notes, and this will be the winning order.

For this we needed an application, preferably web-based and since I am way to lazy to code a web app for a single use, I went to the darkside and used a proprietary solution: Google Docs. It has 2 godsends: one is the ability to be collaboratively edited at the same time by multiple users, and the other is a formula, "=IMAGE(URL, view)".

So how does my app look? Is a spreadsheet, first column is the image thumbnail, made with "=IMAGE(URL, view)", the second is the URL of the image page, to be easily consulted at full size, then a series of columns for noting follow, the last one is a general purpose comments column. Each jury member has 3 columns for notes (technical, originality, usefulness) and an automatic total, a pondered sum of his notes (technical * 30% + originality * 50% + usefulness * 20%), then the sums are averaged. Quite simple. And you can see a read-only copy of this spreadsheet, reuse the model if you have any use for it.

Now there is a little over a week, until the end of the next week, while the jurors have the time to give their notes and then they will meet face to face for any eventual arbitration and final review.

14 October 2011

October RLUG meeting

Yesterday happened the October RLUG meet in Bucharest, this time I withhold from delivering a presentation, since lately I was focused mostly on the Wikipedia contest, with very little time for anything else, I presented about it last month, will do it again next month, don't want to bore too many people. But I still did my "media" job.


So we have a small photo gallery from the event and video recordings for the presentations: OpenPGP key signing party (such a party may follow) and Linux install fest review (past week-end ROSEdu kept a successful Ubuntu install party).

11 October 2011

Autumn wallpapers

Not sure how much opportunity for photography I'll get this autumn, so when in Milano I stumbled upon a couple of parks with nice light and autumn colors, I took a few pictures which are now wallpaper sized and released freely for use:


Meaty matters

I am slightly disappointed for Never not making the code name for F17, this way I cannot put in practice a traditionally bad joking cartoon with a story along the lines of "hey dude, you are still using F14 on your desktop? that's ancient, is almost the age of... W7", "well, i want an usable desktop", "are you a caveman? mobile phone interface are now all the rage, you must upgrade! when will you upgrade?", "never", "hahaha, you stupid! 'never' is the code name for F17","i knew that, and F17 may have at least an Xfce *i* can use".

But is not that bad, the Beefy Miracle sets a precedent, we will surely try again and maybe, just maybe, legal will be OK with it and won't block Bacon again and it will make for F18. And for those keeping release parties for F16 (we will most likely skip it again in Bucharest), having a hot dog for everyone is basically a must.

10 October 2011

Late to the voting but still in time

After FUDCon I got caught by a lot of work, realizing very little about the world around, so somehow I missed the announcement for the F17 codename vote. And, with disappointment, I should acknowledge beefy miracle it was not my first option, as I expected (and I waited for... years), I felt into temptation by never (with "beefy miracle" as a close and single second), it enables for so many bad jokes... "when **** will ****? in F17, never!!!"

04 October 2011

From Milano: the big photo dump

I was asked repeatedly about my photos from the Milano FUDCon, when and where will be posted and I always replied a big photo dump is coming in the next days, after I get home. And that time is now, I am posting, as I did with the other previous FUDCons, a big dump with many photos, barely sorted and unedited: I don't have that much free time and I was not making art there. Bigger versions may be available upon request, but you can use them freely, as in CC-BY-SA, anyway.

When time will be available, hopefully this week, I am going to dump a bunch of my "travel" photos, with what I saw from the city. Probably it will be linked only from the photography blog.

The problem of too many

After the submission period for Wiki Loves Monuments ended with around 5800 pictures from Romanian contributors, it was decided to leave the uploader working, so the people wanting to continue posting pictures with monuments have this shortcut handy. But something happened, the form was not edited enough (don't look at me, I am not an admin) and it continued to leave some categories on the pictures' metadata and even after the contest formally ended, we continued to see the uploads increasing, the following couple of days and they climbed to over 6000.
While this is cool and dandy for Wikipedia, for the Romanian culture and for the project gathering continued contributors, is not that good for the contest itself, we had a number of pictures to deal with somehow.... not manually, since the tools are not that great. Being away for FUDCon, I missed the opportunity to signal the problem in due time, my colleague was away too, so quite a few pictures piled-up.
But never is too late, yesterday a bot started working, cleaning the categories for some 270+ pics (yes, that awesome are our contributors), we are back to 5767 pictures for the contest, to which there may be some uploads from Flickr to be sync-ed and about 152 pics from the organizers to be removed. So we are looking at well over 6000 pictures as a result of this campaign, with around 5700 of them eligible for the contest.

02 October 2011

My FUDCon finale

After FUDCon ended, I wandered a bit in the Milano city center and one of the things I did was to meet this happy group offering free hugs (surely i received some). Told them I have friends at home doing such things (didn't tell I am kind of their "official" photographer)... maybe we, FOSS communities, should do it too? It would put a more human light.

free hugs
free hugs
free hugs

Thoughts on WLMRO

Still at FUDCon and still not having digested completely the Wiki Loves Monuments campaign numbers, here are are some fresh feelings about it:

Should I be sad due to my friends who promised to participate and didn't or the friends who didn't even considerate participating? No, this was not the point, you can't force someone to volunteer and community work is not for everyone.

Should I be sad due to local companies not interested is sponsoring the contest? No, this was not the point to buy contributions, but to make people understand how fun can be to participate. Surely, I wish we could have better rewards, but we are not marketeers and the economy is slow.

Should I be sad my country placed on the 10th position from 18 participant European countries, behind some smaller ones? No, it was not such type of contest, in fact it was well expected, knowing how little spread is the community work around here. And we also placed in front of many other countries.

Should I be sad about the guy who tried to put a personal vendetta against the campaign and me personally, throwing mud at every possible step? No, there are loons everywhere and there is the saying "let the dogs bark, the caravan is moving forward", the noise was ignored.

Should I be happy we gathered 5800 free pictures with monuments from my country in an one single month? Yes, definitely, this in one degree of magnitude over my (pessimistic, I admit) expectations, we showed is possible.

Should I be proud about the accomplishment? I am not sure, on one hand, I have to acknowledge we could have been done a much better job, on the other we basically were only two people doing the organizational work and it was our first project of such magnitude.

Should I think about doing it, or something similar, again? Why not?

The baby and the beer

People never learn not to dare me, because I don't need much pushing intro doing nasty things or simply trolling, so is this funny picture. And my model didn't even needed directions, like the "baby, make love with the beer" cliché:

robyn and beer
Problem? :D I'm just doing my hackfest!

Beefy stuff that matters

Also on the beginning of the last FUDCon day there was a "Fedora trivia" were a few Beefy Miracle T-shirts were awarded. Lucky winners...

beefy miracle

Milano: FUDCon/Hackfest

The last day of the FUDCon is for hackfests, so we started with hackfest planning for the day:


I, for one, started with hacking a muffin:


Someone gave me the idea, I could do it but most likely won't: do a photoshooting hackfest on the building roof... any victim volunteering?

FUDPub Milano

A tradition for every FUDCon is the FUDPub, and for the Milano FUDCon it just happened this night at an Italian pizzeria. Unfortunately is late and I am very tired, so for now one picture should suffice, good night, see you tomorrow :)


01 October 2011

FUDCon group photos

You know I am evil (and nasty, and a perv and much more), no naturally I want to steal the thunder from the official Milano FUDCon photographers and come first with a group photo. In fact with two, since I am twice as evil (I am evil and my evil twin is evil too). But I will give them a favor, my pics are quite non-standard, from some more extreme angles, so is a place for each of us under the sun.

Thank You for WLMRO

At FUDCon, I am taking my breath after delivering an Inkscape session/workshop/demo/presentation (the picture below is taken by Adrian, my friend) and using this time to say something to a bunch of awesome people.


What I have to say is a big and warm thank you! to the awesome contributors to the Romanian Wiki Loves Monuments campaign, which closed last night (we are now going to the next stage, centralizing pictures, passing them to the jury and awarding a few prizes). My highest dreams were not even close to it, but the total we reached is around 5800 pictures (more precise numbers after we clean and add the last items from the Flcikr queue). I am barely find my words, so I will shut-up for the moment and return to the conference:


FUDCon started

So, finally, the Milano FUDCon started:


The first thing was, as expected, Jarred's foreword and opening:


And then the BarCamp talks pitch, still on-going:


Now I have to run and pitch my own session, see you later!

...few minutes later (couldn't post, the Wi-Fi was down for a while), now the talks are pitched, waiting for people to vote on them:


The Lady and the Tramp

Since someone dared me to post this night this picture worthy of a Disney movie, taken at the FUDCon warm-up party, I had to do it, I leave on you to guess who is the Lady and who is the Tramp. Good night everyone!


FUDCon Milano, Day 1

Today was the first day of probably the shortest FUDCon ever, with some of the Fedora contributors gathered here in Milano going in the evening near the city center for a warm-up party:

I didn't stay long, since I had to be near a computer with internet access and some silence, having to end the photography contest (more on that probably later tomorrow, for now will say only this: aroudt 5700 pics!)