31 July 2009

Water fountains

My intention with those pictures was not to go for a wallpaper proposal, but only to provide some stock photography and maybe a source for ideas so I circulated the gallery address only on the mailing list, but apparently they have some fans so probably is a good idea to provide a link for everybody:

[fountain] [fountain] [fountain] [fountain]
[fountain] [fountain] [fountain] [fountain]

Too bad the fountains are so dirty, in the most traditional style of my city, but they can be refreshing in such a hot summer afternoon.

29 July 2009

Artwork for Fedora 12 Alpha

One day after the scheduled deadline we gathered a healthy amount of design concepts for Fedora 12 (there may be a couple more getting today as an exception, but that is all).

[f12 themes]

The next step is to polish them a bit and package for the Alpha release, put the graphics in the hand of as many users as possible and receive the much needed early feedback, helping us to improve and not repeat the unfortunate situation from F11, when the graphics were changed very late in the process, post-Beta (well, seeing the concepts we have so far, I am qute confident this won't happen).

So please have a look at the graphic concepts and make your voice heard.

27 July 2009

Submission deadline for Fedora 12 artwork

For Fedora 12 we have a schedule for the artwork process and tomorrow, Tue 2009-07-28, we have a milestone: Wallpaper Design for Alpha, which is important enough so I feel the need to repeat here what i wrote on the Design Team list

The deadline is supposed to be about submitting concepts, not finished images.[...]

According to the schedule, after this deadline we have one more week for some polishing (*not* final, release quality work) and packaging.

This should work as a reminder: if you work on some concepts and have not shared them with the team yet, please do it. I think this development cycle we will enforce deadlines and schedule, so if a submission comes too late, it may be too late.

In other words, we want the designs in the distro as early as possible ("release early, release often"), even if they are not very polished and want early feedback from the large community, unlike F11 when the graphics were replaced late in the process, post-beta.

The best way to submit a design is to upload it to the wiki page and write to the list.

20 July 2009

Macros ...or hate me for being an ass

I am an ass. People show me some of their photos which they are proud about and usually I rain on their parade and comment about ways I think the photo could have been better. As I did a few days ago, when tw2113 showed me a flower macro he thinks could make a cool Fedora wallpaper and I commented about focus, placement and angles, just like the ass I am.

Now Sunday while I was "hunting" in the park I stumbled upon a bush with the same flowers as in Michael's shot so I simply had to try my ideas in my own photo and it got like this:


If you are not a huge fan of such extreme close-ups, there is also a moderate version available.

After the Firefox 3.5 Release Party

Even if we had a few hiccups (the biggest of them when some clueless janitors wanted to seal the University building exactly a half hour before the time our presentation was supposed to start for an upcoming admission exam, even if we had all the needed approvals), in my opinion the Firefox 3.5 Release Party was a success.

Firefox 3.5 Release Party

We had a good audience of about 30 people (consider we targeted university students and it was the summer break) and (I guess Firefox is an unusual FLOSS project) about one third of them being girls (most of them female CS students) - the perfect excuse for me to from a RMS reference as part of my speech (which I doubt was understood by anybody).

Firefox 3.5 Release Party

I am fully aware I am not a great speaker (didn't have many opportunities to develop this skill so far), but I think my presentation was not bad: I tried to keep it simple, direct and friendly (see the slides). I also used the opportunity to proudly wear a Fedora tattoo and to distribute a few F11 LiveCDs, I am shameless!

Firefox 3.5 Release Party Firefox 3.5 Release Party

Following me, Tibi delivered a more technical (and shorter) presentation. He showcased some of the FF 3.5 awesomeness (like the combination of Canvas, multimedia playback and interactivity).

Firefox 3.5 Release Party

But enough with the formal stuff, after the presentation we wend for some (sponsored) beer, pizza and good time in a nearby place:
Firefox 3.5 Release Party

A lot more photos can be viewed in the gallery hosted at our gallery.

Some acknowledgements are in order: I want to thank to the Mozilla organization for providing sponsorship, whitout it the event wouldn't be so successful, to the Romanian Mozilla community (especially to Irina for her logistic help and to Alex, who helped on the technical side), to the wonderful guys from Ceata who took care of all the aspects, from the University arrangements to the restaurant, to Andrei from openSUSE for his logistic help and to all the people to came, see and endured us. All of you contributed to this successful event! Thank you.

17 July 2009

Apricot x2

Trying to figure out what I like better: delicate apricot tree blossom from a few months ago:

Blossoming trees: Apricot

Or tasty apricot fruits from today:
Delicious apricot

Now I got hungry for playing with the fruit photos... must wait until I get home and eat the rest of them :p

PS: trying to make those photos available as wallpapers as soon as we manage to sort out the Fedora image gallery thingy (now in evaluation stage)...

How to get to the FF 3.5 release party

I think my invitation to the Firefox 3.5 release party from a few days ago may have been misread: even if we start with a couple of presentations held in a room offered by the Polithehnica University, the event is open for everyone, not students-only, so don't be afraid to come (and we will have free beer!)

If you are not familiar with PUB, here is how you can get there:


16 July 2009

FLOSSCamp 2009

After a successful first edition last year, it the time for the 2009 edition of the Romanian FOSS cotnributors gathering.

FLOSSCamp 2008: a successful first edition

This year it will be held also near Păltiniș (Sibiu), in a beautiful natural place called Curmătura Ștezii, read more details on the official page.
[FOSSCamp 2009]
Curmătura Ștezii is waiting for all the Romanian geeks

And also this year we expect it to be bigger, better and ...uncut :p people from Grupul pentru Software Liber, Fedora, Mozilla, Ubuntu + KiwiLinux România, Grupul de utilizator linux Arad, Ceata, Sibiu Linux User Group are expected to participate.

So join us for some fun and, hopefully, productive, time!

14 July 2009

Wallpapers, contests, infrastructure, freedom

I see people in the Fedora community looking up to the Ubuntu way: short sighted, taking convenience over freedom, like the karmic wallpaper contest which is held at flickr and wonder how they ended contributing to Fedora (well, this is rhetorics, I know how, is all about the money).

As opposed, we at the Design Team are playing these days with something that was on the wish list for over a year: a self-hosted test instance of Gallery2, exploring some ways to get the larger community in submitting graphic work, instant feedback and a better collaboration platform, all this while keeping the freedom.

Is too soon to say more about that, as we are in the early stages, but we are trying a new and more inclusive approach for wallpapers in Fedora 12: instead of just one default which you may or may not like, provide a default and an additional set, from where you have a better change to find something to your liking. And to make everyone really happy, the plan is to have both collaboration and a kind of contest.

On a sideline, I can't stop thinking about the Microsoft-Yahoo negotiations, which are going in secret these days, may get to a conclusion and suddenly have the graphics for your favorite Linux distro hosted by a Microsoft service. That would be funny!

Note1: if know why using flickr is a better option for Canonical's business model, is all about marketing and flickr offers the best marketing exposure. It also works for the targeted submitters, who are not long time contributors, but independent artists with an one-shot try to enrich their portfolio.

Note2: a good deal of the images in the flickr pool are useless, without paying a "pro" account, you can't upload images at an usable resolution, only previews (the limit it at 1024 pixels).

Note3: we are not flickr haters, we have our own group, but that is not used for anything mission-critical.

13 July 2009

Replacement speakers or Firefox 3.5 release party in Bucharest

Spread Firefox Affiliate ButtonWith Irina, the local geek goddess and Alexandru, the main translator, not available for the Firefox 3.5 Release Party in Bucharest, is the time to bring in a backup solution, the replacement speakers, Tibi from Ceata and me from Fedora and stuff, hope this will be good enough for an enthusiastic audience.

So Saturday 18 July, at the Polithehnica University of Bucharest starting with 16:00, in the room EG301 we will have an "official" presentation (I will talk about the new features in FF 3.5 and Tibi will cover a more technical audience, speaking about HTML 5), spiced up with some swag and then will go out to nearby location for some (free) beer & food (yes, free as in free beer, most likely in the Bucharest style, "mici si bere").

Steaks and mititei on the grillSo I got your attention?

Update: added the starting time

09 July 2009

The hard way of printing photos

I don't print photos, almost everything I did so far with photography far was for online use only, do I don't own (and don't plan to buy) a photo printer. But exceptionally, for a small project, I needed some prints (about 50 photos), so went to the nearest shop (like 5 minutes from my office) with the photos on an USB stick.

Much to my disappointment I was told: "sorry, our USB reader does not work, come again next week". FTW? Waste a CD for that? I don't feel like doing that... And I learned from my co-workers this happen often. How hard is to have a working USB port on the computer? Or maybe I got to talk with the stupidest guy on the planet?

Conclusion: if you live in Bucharest, try to avoid Nic Classic if you have something to print.

07 July 2009

How to get things done (really?)

Pretending we are planning the local release party for Firefox 3.5, yesterday evening I meet with a few guys from Ceata and we talking a bit about the release party and FUDCon, but most of the time we ended playing the Shogun board game, which was fun: conquer a province, talk about beer price at the party, build a castle, remember the Berlin zoo, harvest some rice, give some F11 LiveCD and so on...


Unfortunately I had to leave early, before the game ended, so I can get the last subway to home. Not sure if the guys are still playing or if they felt asleep after too much gamins, as they servers (web, mailing lists) are down without anyone noticing. Wake-up, voinicii mei!

Own stupidity = data loss

I have little space available on my hard drive, so I bought an external (USB) drive for photo storage, a little slow but it does its job: I download photos from my camera, review them, delete those defective, select a few to resize and publish on web and once in awhile copy the photos to the external drive and delete them from my desktop, to make room for more downloads from the camera (yes, I know I am stupid for not having a backup, but until now I escaped the consequences of that).

Well, it seems my process is prone to human error and that just happened: the huge majority of the photos taken this year in May are gone (thousands of photos). Most likely I got confused in the directory structure and delete some folders before making the much needed copy first.

Alex suggested PhotoRec (packaged in fedora as part of testdisk) and despite my skepticism I gave it a try (the PC had nothing better to do overnight anyway) and, as expected, it recovered almost nothing (images in the Firefox cache from a couple of years ago are useless): if you have ~30GB of free space, download photos, delete them, download another, delete and so on, the task is impossible (but the tool is powerful).


I could pay Yahoo some money for access to a small selection of heavily resized images, but that would be good only as a preview, so here are a few highlights of what I lost (again, from a pool of thousands):
Orange flower Boat Show: The White Hat Boat Show: Bunnies Purple Iris After the Rain Iris Living Statue First rose of the year Snail after the rain Rose after the Rain Rose after the Rain Rose after the Rain Ziua mamelor de ingeri: tears Ziua mamelor de ingeri: looking up Making honey: Black locust / Facind mire: salcim Rose close-up Rose close-up Rose close-up Strawberries in my garden Jam roses / Trandafiri de dulceata

In a somewhat similar situation other people had a more energetic approach and started writing photo management software but I show the national spirit, get totally bummed and observe: "life is NOT a pony farm".

01 July 2009

Two FUDCons at once?

It possible to attend two FUDCons at once? It seems I managed to do this in an indirect way and without even knowing: while I was in Berlin for the European FUDCon, the guys at LATAM FUDCon were near a place called "Nicu's Bar & Restaurante".

photo stolen from tatica's photostream

The great FUDCon photo dump

There is a rule for photographers: take a lot of photos but then make a strict selection and show the world only a very few, the best from a photo session, those that are truly great. This way people will think you are a great photographer, they won't ever know you had "poor" or "mediocre" photos. Hell, they should not know even about your "good" ones, only about the "great".

I often break this and post a bit too much of my photos, but today I'll mark the triumph of the quantity over quality, posting a gallery with all the photos I made in Berlin at FUDCon (over 1300), I had people asking for them so I provide. Even if this cost me a bit of reputation as a photographer :D

fudcon berlin photos