Upon returning from New England, where I spent Thanksgiving, I fell victim to a horrible cold that left me feeling pretty awful for about 3 days (thank goodness I work from home, I took some naps but didn’t need to call out entirely), and had a long tail that stretched on for 10 days. It was such a relief a few days ago when I finally started to have mornings where I didn’t wake up with a runny nose and cough.
The first weekend in December began with MJ’s work holiday party at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View on Friday evening. I had never been to the museum and for the party it wasn’t really set up for wandering around exhibits, but I was able to see the fascinating Mastering the Game: A History of Computer Chess exhibit and they had live demos of their Babbage’s Difference Engine No. 2 (I saw its twin in London at the Science Museum a couple years ago, but didn’t see a demo then). I’ll certainly have to go back after they’ve finished renovations and can have a more complete tour.
Saturday morning I drove up to ZaReason in Berkeley to pick up a demo and review laptop. I had approached them earlier in the week to request a demo when I learned a client would be in town and was interested in an Ubuntu demo – unfortunately none of my laptops were up to the task (so, do I demo the Pentium 3 running Debian and fluxbox, or my pink-and-covered-with-pony-stickers Dell Mini9 with Ubuntu 8.04 on it? Oh dear…). They quickly put together a basic Strata Pro 15 for me with a 40G SSD and 10.10 installed. My review of the laptop will be coming once I finish up with some more battery life tests, but so far I’m quite impressed and am seriously looking at the Strata 13 (perhaps my only complaint thus far, the 15 is toooooo big!). After I picked up the laptop it was off to an uneventful dentist visit and lunch at Tad’s Steaks on Powell, which for a whim was a pleasant surprise – good food, reasonable prices and generous portions. That night MJ and I went out to see Tangled at the Century theater in the Westfield, a theater I hadn’t yet been to. Tangled was delightful, I am tempted to go see it again.
Sunday was blissfully plan free and I took advantage of the time to catch up with the mountain of email and tasks I had on my list from before Thanksgiving. Plus I was able to do some tests on the Strata 15, get my holiday cards all written and do some much-needed work around the condo. And as silly as it sounds for it to be a noteworthy thing we bought and MJ installed a new sliding trash can for under the kitchen sink. Why noteworthy? This is the only one we found with slim enough measurements and a reasonable size can (for the curious: 8 gal. Undercounter Pull-Out Can)! It’s working out really well, it’s nice to finally have a proper kitchen trash can. That evening I chaired an Ubuntu California team meeting where James Tatum and I unveiled a demo of the team website, which we’d been working on for a couple weeks. Hopefully we’ll be planning to launch it by the next meeting (December 19th).
This past week was also filled with a lot of catching up and preparing for upcoming events, the only event I went to all week was the San Francisco Ubuntu Hour on Wednesday night which we wrapped up with dinner over at Thirsty Bear Brewing Company on Howard. It was while we were enjoying dinner that I saw the adorable case that one of the attendees had for her Android phone, she bought it from the freshonmondays Etsy shop out of Oakland – and she does custom ones! I ordered mine the next day, magenta Android on a light pink case, I should have it within the next couple days. One of the things I had been meaning to catch up on is some software testing projects, both infrastructure and beta stuff (the Debian Squeeze Beta2 installer came out last week). I’ve found that for this infrastructure work I’ve been increasingly using KVM on my desktop for quick virtualized installs rather than Xen on my firewall. It makes sense as a natural progression, since Xen requires virtualization-aware kernels and my new desktop, having the virtualization bit and far more power makes a whole lot more sense for testing more vanilla installs. I’ve also been doing a fair amount of work with KVM’s failover mechanisms and storage solutions (drbd is still king for a cheap solution, but it’s not as bulletproof as I had initially thought), and obvious limitations aside I am quite liking how simple and useful libvirt is. I think my next virtual install will be some testing of Xubuntu 11.04, the awesome Xubuntu dev team is shooting for XFCE 4.8 for this release and just finished rebuilding the plugins for the new panel, exciting news!
Yesterday was another day full of catch up work, perhaps most worthy of note I finally got some of the Ubuntu Women mentoring documentation tackled. We also finally purchased health insurance for both the cats, going with Embrace Pet Insurance with a high deductible since we’re really looking to have this in case of accident or chronic illness. For dinner we headed up to North Beach for dinner at The House, which turns out to have the most exquisite creme brulee.
Today we headed up to BerkeleyLUG. Good meeting, good pizza, and Jack Deslippe was kind enough to give away some of the little Android figures, of which I now have one of (thanks again Jack!). This evening was spent with the thrilling task of grocery shopping which, admittedly, we hadn’t done properly since before I left for my Thanksgiving trip.
This week is shaping up to be a busy one. Tomorrow I am taking the afternoon off to join others in an interactive studio audience to promote Linux in schools on ABC 7 Live. We’ll see how it goes, at the very least it will be interesting to be part of a studio audience (I never have before) and to meet others who are interested in technology in education. I’ll be sure write up a full report of the experience and to take pictures as I’m able! Tuesday we’re attending the annual HOA meeting and event in the lobby of our building, Wednesday I’m leaving work early again (I am so fortunate to have an understanding boss!) to head over to the Partimus Fundraising Event at the Creative Arts Charter School. Thursday evening following the Americas Membership Board Meeting I’ll be enjoying the night in, no doubt catching up on project work which will spill into Friday. Saturday is MJ’s birthday! Not sure what we’ll do during the day, but a trip to his favorite sushi place is looking good for the evening.