Without Fear – A look at speaking at the ACM Reflections Projections 2012 Conference

This past weeked, October 5-7, 2012 was the ACM Reflections Projections 2012 Conference at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign).  I was honored to have been asked to speak at this conference and even more so humbled by the amount of students who showed up to hear me speak at 10am on a Saturday morning.  I learned while I was there that 10am was considered early by college student standards. This realization humored me and also made me feel slightly old, but I got over the feeling old part. :-)

Amber Graner and Stefano Zacchiroli

This event is a student lead event, or what we would consider in F/OSS circles a community organized event.  As someone who has helped organize more events than I care to admit in my adult life, I have to admit this group of students have their act together.  From arranging transportation, overnight rooms, meals and the over all conference itself; they have it down to a science.  Luckily the ACM students have access to the campus and the Computer Science building, but they really made the conference educational and enjoyable for the speakers and the attendees.

When I agreed to give a talk I had an idea of what I wanted to talk about, but it was in no way as polished as I wanted it to be and over the next few months added my thoughts and what I wanted to say to an ever growing list of wisdom I wish I had learned from being involved in the Ubuntu and other FOSS commuities. Needless to say I didn’t get to say it all in 45 minutes but I thought I did a good job.  My talk was title: Without Fear – You don’t need permission to contribute to your own destiny! This talk was about the various fears I overcame in these last few years and what I learned beyond the technology that I now apply in my everyday life that makes me a more confident and successful contributor to my personal, professional, and project life.  I had the opportunity to watch the recorded version of my talk this morning (yes they already have it online and available).  I am my own worst critic so I’ll let you decide if the message of “No Fear” shined through or not.

Stefano Zacchiroli and Nathan Handler

The other cool thing was that I asked my parents if they wanted to come with me to Illinois (My dad’s family lives there).  My dad couldn’t, but my mom agreed to go with me and drive most of the way from Union Mills, NC to Urbana, IL.  It was, as some of you who are friends on Facebook might have noticed, a very fun adventure that was had by all. (OK all is just my mom and I, but you get the point).  My mom is a really funny lady with a totally wicked sense of humor.  I think I needed the road trip with my mom, I don’t care how old I get, I believe I will always need my mom, or at least have the need to know she is there and understands.  I also hope that as my kids grow older and set out on their own paths in this world they will have those moments where they just want some time with their awesome and delightful mom.

And finally, I got the opportunity to meet Nathan Handler of Ubuntu Community fame!  Yes, he is real, no he isn’t a bot, nor is he a cyborg. And for those who doubt he’s real, here’s a picture of Nathan with Stefano Zacchiroli (Debian Project Leader).  Stefano spoke at this event too,  and as always it was great to catch up with him and talk about Debian.  Good stuffs!

This was an incredible experience and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to speak and meet the ACM students, the other speakers and attendees.


Summary and Success: Linaro’s First Virtual Connect

Engineers at Linaro held their first ever Virtual Linaro Connect event last week (13 – 17 August  2012) and by all accounts it was a success.  Many thanks to the planners, the presenters, and the participants for making this Virtual Connect event successful!

The event was held using Google + Hangouts on Air allowing for multiple presenters, live streaming and each of the 15 sessions was recorded for future viewing. You can  find the session on the Linaro On Air YouTube Channel and Google + Page.

In case you missed the Virtual Connect, or your wondering what the fuss is about, or maybe you’re trying to decide if you should attend the next Linaro Connect event in person then check out these sessions for a taste of what the future of Linux on Arm is all about.

Here’s the list of the sessions and the presenters from the Virtual Connect.

Speaking of the future and Linaro Connect Events, the next Linaro Connect (LCE 12 Copenhagen) will be held from 29 October  to  2 November 2012 at the Bella Center located in Copenhagen, Denmark. More information about LCE 12 can be found on the Linaro Connect site. Updates will be added throughout the coming weeks so stay tuned! (If those dates and venue sound familiar to some that’s because Linaro Connect and UDS are co-located this time around.  Hope to see you there:-D )


Using Color to Improve Your Office Space and Daily Routine

No, I’m not talking about the movie.

Now, I am not saying to work efficiently from home you have to do what I have done, but I wanted to share with you what works for me.

We didn’t want colors that were too dark or too light.  We wanted something that was motivating.   I think its called color psychology or something like that; anyway; we went with shades of orange and yellow (think earthy colors).  (I don’t think Pete thought anything about the meaning of the colors only that he liked them).

I was curious as to why these colors worked so well and put us both in better more productive moods.

According to “Color_Expert”  there is a good reason why these colors work.

The Meaning of Yellow is:

Yellow shines with optimism, enlightenment, and happiness. Shades of golden yellow carry the promise of a positive future. Yellow will advance from surrounding colors and instill optimism and energy, as well as spark creative thoughts

How the color yellow affects us mentally and physically

  • Mentally stimulating
  • Stimulates the nervous system
  • Activates memory
  • Encourages communication

The Meaning of Orange is:

Orange, a close relative of red, sparks more controversy than any other hue. There is usually strong positive or negative association to orange and true orange generally elicits a stronger “love it” or “hate it” response than other colors. Fun and flamboyant orange radiates warmth and energy. Interestingly, some of the tones of orange such as terra cotta, peach or rust have very broad appeal.

How the color orange affects us mentally and physically

  • Stimulates activity
  • Stimulates appetite
  • Encourages socialization

I know just adding these colors to the walls improved my overall attitude a lot. You can find out more about your favorite colors and their meanings here.

I also added curtains, a bookshelf, a table, new lamp, a cork board, white board, a new printer, got rid of junk, put everything in it’s place and was even up early this morning excited to actually write this an other blog posts today along with other tasks I needed to accomplish. I also added some motivational art and picture frames to remind me to be positive.(See photos above) The only think I can think of adding is maybe some plants but that would mean I need to water them.

(Ok, so I may be slightly snarky about the whiteboard, but I really do find using one helpful)

If you are looking for other tips about setting up your office or working from home Mary Sherwood Sevinsky offers some good suggestions in her 14 Tips for Working From Home article.

So if you are new to working from home or looking for ways to incorporate color into your Office Space I hope you find some tips you can use here.  Happy Monday!


Meaning and Benefits of Community Contribution

Great communication instead focuses on clarity, detail, objective thought, and a consistently high quality of interaction ~Jono Bacon:  The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation (Theory in Practice)

What is your community?  Do you belong to one or many?  How has that contribution shaped you and made you a better community member?  How do you define community and encourage others? What are the benefits to community contribution?

What does community mean?

According to Dictionary.com “community’ means:

  • 1. a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.
  • 2. a locality inhabited by such a group.
  • 3. a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists (usually preceded by the ): the business community; the community of scholars.
  • 4. a group of associated nations sharing common interests or a common heritage: the community of Western Europe.
  • 5. Ecclesiastical . a group of men or women leading a common life according to a rule.

And in The Art of Community, my friend Jono starts the Preface with, “Community is a funny ol’ word.” which to me kinda’ summarizes the difficulty of defining community.  In that statement,  I found myself nodding in agreement as it’s not only a “funny” word;  it is a word that has the ability to bring forth a whole list of emotions and actions.

Questions to ponder.

  • * Community is__________.
  • * Community means_________.
  • * Community does_____________.

Pretty generic right?  OK; so let’s personalize those a little.

  • * My community is _______ to me.
  • * My community means _________to me.
  • * My community does __________for me.
  • * I contribute to my community by____________.

What comes to mind?  How do you finish those  sentences?

Recently, I had to think about some talk topics for a session I’ve been asked to give in October at a college in Illinois.  I narrowed it down to 3 topics:

  • 1 - So you think you know what you want to be when you grow up. How our lives can change and how technology can shape that future (specifically FOSS)
  • 2 - Thinking Globally Acting Locally – Applying Open Source Philosophies to your local communities.
  • 3 - Hear me roar! Finding a more confident and successful you through open source contributions.

(Side note: #2 seems to be the one most people would like to hear according to my Facebook friends who commented)

And just last night I had the opportunity to speak to a local event coordinator in the town where I live.  We talked about how and why people contribute to “community”. When trying to narrow their focus on what community means to them and who they were targeting with their message I asked them those questions above.  I talked about the online and physical community and it was a great exchange.  During the conversation I was asked, “Why do people participate in community?” and “Why should children be encouraged to participate?”

Now any of you who know me well, know I could have talked for hours on just those 2 questions and you’ll be happy to now I didn’t.  I did tie in a little about all 3 of the topics I am contemplating for my talk though. Luckily for them I had just read an article by Kimberly P. Johnson in Foothills Spotlights Magazine entitled “How does your community grow?’ where she did a beautiful job of summing up the benefits of community contribution.  The same benefits Johnson lists (though she is speaking the benefit of children participating in local community contributions) in her article are the same ones I continually tell people they will get out of their contributions to a project. These benefits include:

Benefits of Community Contribution

  • * Developing Communication Skills
  • * Endorsing Volunteerism
  • * Promoting self-esteem and confidence
  • * Gaining experience and leadership skills
  • * Building community collaboration

Remember when contributing to open source projects all of these benefits plus those lovely technical skills you may be seeking can be gained through your contributions. So, what does your community mean to you?  Do you see similarities in the benefits you get out of your contributions to different types of communities? If so, what? What has been to you the best lesson you’ve learned through your community contributions?


Interview with Deepak Saxena and Vicky Janicki about the Linux Kernel Training Topics being offered at Q2.12 Linaro Connect in Hong Kong.

UPDATE: Here’s the link to the actual interview on youtube – http://youtu.be/5WiZA-b_XNg (There’s also some useful reference links in the notes there)

Later tonight, around 8pm EST/5pmPST/0000UTC I’ll be interviewing Deepak Saxena, Tech Lead for the Kernel Team at Linaro and Vicky Janicki, Program Director for Member Services at Linaro about the training sessions which will be offered to attendees during the Q2.12 Linaro Connect event being held at the Gold Coast Hotel in Hong Kong from 28 May through 1 June, 2012.  This interview will be live and both streamed and recorded using Google + Hangouts on Air.

We’ll be discussing the following ‘Into Training’ sessions, which are currently scheduled to take place on Monday 28 June 2012. More about the schedule can be found on the Linaro Connect schedule page.

Upstreaming 101 -In this training session Deepak, will cover the basic “Whys” and “Hows” of upstreaming. In the “Why” section, will quickly go over the reasons that working with upstream is beneficial and in the “How” section will discuss both code design choices and also low level commands used to generate upstream ready patches.

Introduction to GitMatt Waddel, FAE and Support Engineer at Linaro, will teach attendees about Git-the distributed version control system used by developers to manage the Linux kernel. Matt will walk attendees though the basics of using Git find it in this session.

Introduction to the ARM SoC tree – In this session, Arnd Bergmann, the ARM SoC tree maintainer, gives attendees and overview of the ARM SoC Tree.

Introduction to Device Tree – In this session, Thomas Abraham, of the Linaro Kernel Working Group, will provide an overview of creating Device Tree bindings for new and existing platforms and SoCs.

Introduction to PinMux/Pin Control – For this session, Linus Walleij, Kernel Engineer at Linaro, will discuss how to develop a driver and give an over view of the API.

So if you want to hear more about what attendees can look forward to during these sessions, which we will try to stream live via hangouts on air during the Connect event,  but which will be recorded and made available on the Connect Website after the event, then you can view the interview via my Google+ Page or my Youtube Channel starting tonight, Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 8pm EST/5PM PST/0000 UTC.