Digger and the Hugo Awards

Okay, no OpenNMS or open source content today, but since most free software geeks also like fantasy and science fiction literature I figure this might be of interest to the three people who read this blog.

One of the highest honors a writer of this genre can receive is a Hugo Award. They are given out every year by the World Science Fiction Society at their annual convention. This year I learned that anyone attending the convention can vote for the Hugo Award winners. I thought it was something like the Academy Awards where only other people in the business could vote. I was wrong. Better yet, I learned that by becoming a supporting member, anyone can vote even without attending the convention.

How great is that?

This is important to me, since a friend of mine, Ursula Vernon, has had her graphic novel series Digger nominated in the “Best Graphic Story” category. I think it would be awesome if someone who lives in Pittsboro, North Carolina, won a Hugo Award. Plus, her work is pretty fantastic on its own. And if Patrick Rothfuss can pimp out his editor, I can pimp out my friend.

Before I lose more readers with another “TL;DR” post, I just want to encourage anyone with a love of science fiction and fantasy to sign up as a supporting member and to vote. It’s US$50, but you get digital copies of most of the nominated work (DRM-free, and no, don’t ask me for a copy). If you bought just the “Best Novel” nominees it would be way more than fifty bucks, and you get exposed to amazing shorter work that rarely finds a market.

I always like to be an informed voter, so I am making a dedicated effort to read all of the nominees. Well, except for “Best Graphic Story” since my mind’s made up on that one. (Well, and Betsy Wollheim for “Best Editor – Long Form” since I trust Patrick’s judgement)

Digger is about a wombat. Wombats are marsupials native to Australia that dig extensive tunnel systems. The story starts out with our heroine digging (as wombats are wont to do) but she gets lost and emerges in a world both like and unlike her own. In an attempt to find her way back home, she enlists the help of a talking statue of the god Ganesh, unintentionally partners with a childlike shadow being (who gets her out of a couple of tight places involving hyenas) and listens to the prophecies of an oracular slug.

Cool huh?

The comics are available online, but I plan to buy the printed volumes. I am rationing them, one a month (I just ordered Volume 2 from Amazon). Check them out and then remember to vote! I also want to point out that the other nominees involve teams of people – Ursula both writes and illustrates her work – so that should be worth some extra consideration.

As far as the other Hugo Award categories, I’m working my way through the “Best Novel” nominees. The one to beat will be George R.R. Martin’s A Dance with Dragons which is the fifth book in the Song of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones) series. I pre-ordered this and read it the day it came out and I wasn’t disappointed, so while it is a bit cliché it has my vote at the moment.

I just finished Embassytown by China Miéville last night. I enjoyed Kraken, but didn’t like this one as much. It starts off a lot like Stephenson’s Anathem, with a lot of linguistics that don’t make a lot of sense until you just plow through it for fifty pages or so. Unlike Anathem it is much more a book focused on the link between language and thought. Like pizza, when Miéville is good he’s really good and when he’s bad he’s still pretty good, I did enjoy the book and read the second half pretty much in one sitting, but if I am honest with myself I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as A Dance with Dragons.

Tonight I start Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey. I’ve never read anything by him but perhaps since he has two middle initials he can give Martin a run for the money. (grin)

UPDATE: Leviathan Wakes is awesome. At the moment it is my choice for the Hugo Award. I read it as non-stop as I could.

In part it was due to the writing style. “James S. A. Corey” is the pen name of a pair of authors, one who worked for George R. R. Martin. There is Martin DNA all over this book. It starts off with a rather brutal and shocking scene, but then they don’t return to it for several hundred pages. Every chapter is written from the point of view of one of the two main characters (although in third person) and most end in cliff hangers which makes you want to read the next one.

I ordered Caliban’s War, the second book in the series, halfway through this one.

Although this may make me sound a little like Harlan Ellison who, in his dotage, seems to be claiming to have written every science fiction story, I find myself making comparisons between any modern space opera that involves genetic mutation with Donaldson’s Gap series, Leviathan brings enough uniqueness and style to the genre that I’m certain I’ll devour the series.

OpenNMS and the Leap Second Bug

While this may be pretty old news for most, but I figured I’d post something about it anyway.

At midnight the morning of July 1st, an extra second was added to “official time” in order to keep clock in sync with the Earth’s rotation. This had a negative impact on certain machines, especially Linux machines running Java.

Since most OpenNMS installs are on Linux machines and it is written in Java, this could negatively impact OpenNMS performance.

We had one support ticket opened that was caused by this problem. In this case, OpenNMS was being run as a VM guest and it was the host machine that needed to be rebooted in order to clear the problem. The symptoms involved the CPU being pegged at 100% and OpenNMS never starting.

New OpenNMS Book – in English!

As we start work on the English language OpenNMS book, which is turning into a rather large undertaking, imagine my surprise when I found out that one has already been written.

Yes! Amazingly, you can get an OpenNMS book for about US$0.50 a page containing content scraped from Wikipedia. While I’m not about to drop US$63 to see this for myself, I just wanted to warn everyone that the publishers of this “book” have absolutely no relationship with the OpenNMS Project and I, in no way, have endorsed it.

Betascript is a an imprint of VDM Publishing which is known for repackaging content from Wikipedia, and the latter reports that a Swiss newspaper “described VDM’s practices as controversial and bordering on deception”. This book will consist of the Wikipedia pages for OpenNMS, Network Monitoring, Network Management and FCAPS. Save yourself the money and just click and print them yourself.

At the moment, the only “real” OpenNMS book is in German. This English language book should be avoided. I am working with Amazon to see what our options are for getting it removed.

Somebody's Watchin' You

My news sites are heating up about the discovery of a database created by iOS on iPhones that track everywhere you go. While no malicious intent has been uncovered (the information doesn’t seem to go anywhere), one has to wonder why Apple added it and what the ultimate purpose could be. Also, I’m curious as to why Apple never disclosed this to their users.

Using an application called iPhoneTracker, the data can be extracted and displayed. I’ve been pretty busy, it looks like.

Note: I love that the developers of the app also tell you how to access the data directly, for the truly paranoid.

While I love my iPhone, I am pretty certain that it is the last Apple phone I will own. I just can no longer ignore the privacy issues, and although I am far short of abstaining from carrying a phone altogether, and am becoming much more of a freetard than I’ve been in the past.

Quibids

Forget Twitter. Forget Facebook. The real money site is Quibids.

I was just introduced to the site today, and I am so upset that I didn’t think of this first. Seriously, this is a website made to print money.

Quibids touts themselves as a “entertainment site” but it is basically an auction site with a few novel twists. They sell a number of new, popular items for incredibly low final prices, but of course, there is a catch.

In fact, there are several. Here are the two major ones:

  1. It costs $0.60 to make a bid.
  2. Each bid only increases the price by one cent (or some other small, set amount).

Brilliant.

Think about it – Quibids purchases a iPad for $800. They sell it for $100, but that’s 10,000 bids or a total of $6000 just in bid fees. Add the $100 for the item and that’s a tidy profit of $5300.

Now, sure, someone could potentially get the item for $100.60 plus shipping, but my guess is that it doesn’t happen often. There is no “sniping” on Quibids. As an auction is about to expire time is added as long as people are still bidding. Plus, they don’t care if you pay or not – you have to prepay for the bids and they don’t ship anything until you pay for the item.

Just to make sure no one feels cheated, they will even sell you the item at their cost minus the amount you paid to bid. So I am sure there are people out their thinking – what the heck, if I don’t win I can still buy the item at full price and not “lose” anything.

It gets better. There are limits to how many auctions a person can win as well as the value of the items they can win in a certain period of time. But you can bid on “limit busters” to remove those limits.

I’m in awe.

There were times I used to think I was clever. I was wrong.

Albert Rodriguez Marti

This is a totally non-OpenNMS, non-open-source post.

Since last March I’ve been studying classical guitar. I’ve always wanted to learn how to play and I found a great local instructor in Jonah Garson.

Jonah has been involved in music most of his life, and one of the things he does is schedule and promote musical acts. Next month he is introducing classical guitarist Albert Rodriguez Marti to the United States in a concert in Carrboro, NC.

I can only hope to approximate this man’s talent with the guitar in my lifetime. He’s been in conservatory since age 11, so he has a bit of a head start.

If you are local and like music, please come on out. I’ll be there all dressed up, so if you want to see me in a suit this is probably one of your best chances.

You can track this event on Facebook (if you are in to that sort of thing) or read the information below.

Guitarist Albert Rodriguez Marti begins his American performance career on Sunday, February 27th, with a one-night engagement at Carrboro North Carolina’s Century Hall.

Most recently selected as one of four finalists for the Andrés Segovia International Guitar Competition in Linares, Jaen (Spain), Marti will graduate from the Manuel Castillo Conservatory of Seville this spring, with the intention of continuing his studies in the U.S. at New York’s Manhattan School of Music under composer David Starobin.

The February 27th program will vaguely trace the development of the instrument and discipline from the Baroque Period through the 20th Century, and will lead off with a performance in full of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Suite for Lute BWV 997 in A minor.

~ GENERAL ADMISSION ~

~ DRESS ATTIRE RECOMMENDED ~

~ PURCHASE ADVANCE TICKETS SECURELY ONLINE ~
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/145157

For more information about the program or purchasing tickets contact producer Jonah Garson at 919.619.5467.

PROGRAMME
GUITAR, BAROQUE to XX CENTURY

PART ONE
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Suite for Lute BWV 997 in A minor
Prelude
Fugue
Sarabande
Gigue/Double

Johann Kaspar Mertz (1806-1856)
Elegie

Salvador Brotons (1959)
Two Sugestions
Balada
Tocatta

PART TWO
Joaquín Turina (1882 – 1949)
Sonata Op. 16
Allegro Moderatto
Andante
Allegro Vivo

Antonio José (1902-1936)
Sonata
Allegro Moderato
Minueto
Pavana Triste

Georg Greve and the Cross of Merit

Some people may wonder why we choose to hold the OpenNMS Users Conference in Europe, specifically Germany. One of the reasons is that we’ve found that folks in Europe tend to both understand free and open source software, as well as appreciating its value.

This is not to say that we don’t love our users in the US, we do, but can anyone see the US government awarding, say, Richard Stallman the Presidential Medal of Freedom?

Well, Georg Greve, the founder of the Free Software Foundation Europe, wrote on his blog today that he has been awarded the Cross of Merit by the Federal Republic of Germany. It is in recognition of his work toward increasing freedom and independence, and specifically for his work for “Free Software and Open Standards”.

Amazing, huh?

Congratulations to Georg and may this just be a beginning.

The Linux Link Tech Show

Okay, I’m scared. I was recently invited to participate on The Linux Link Tech Show (check it out on Wednesday, 3 March). I said, sure, but that was before I actually listened to an episode. It’s pretty wide open.

At least I should be able to deal with the format, since each show is over 2+ hours long. I once applied to participate in a 5 minute lightening talk and the guys at the office just laughed, saying that it takes me more than 5 minutes to say my name.

Also, there doesn’t seem to be many limitations on language. I got bleeped on FLOSS for a rather minor vulgarity, so it will be interesting to see if I can keep it clean.

Anyway, if you have a couple of hours to kill next Wednesday, check it out.

OpenNMS Users Conference Registration Now Open

Last year, with the help of Nethinks in Germany, we held the first OpenNMS Users Conference. It was a lot of fun and so we’re doing it again this year, and registration is now open.

It will be held 6-7 May at the Le Meridien Parkhotel in Frankfurt.

Building on the success of the last conference, we’ve extended it to span two days instead of one. The first day will consist of presentations, while the second will be made up of workshops.

I am especially excited that most of the presentations are being given by end users of OpenNMS and not people either associated with the OpenNMS Group or the Order of the Green Polo. The workshops, however, feature a long list of well known contributors and should provide for a high level of technical training.

The cost for both days is 499€, but if you register by 10 March you can save 60€.

Space is limited so register early, and I look forward to seeing you there.