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Open Source Source June 27, 2009

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I have been approached by an author in the US who is writing a book on bartering, the book title is The ABCs of Barter and Trade Exchanges by Trish A. Truitt. The book is due for publication at the end of July at the earliest. They will also have a web site which is due to go live soon the link is: http://www.ABCsOfBarter.com The reason for the contact is that she wants to reference one of my tutorials on You Tube in her publication, I have of course said yes. The tutorial that she is interested in is my Open Office tutorial, which is just an introduction to the program. I figured that a tutorial was not really necessary as most users of the Internet would already be familiar with a myriad of word processing programmes. However Trish thought that the style was clear and concise enough to warrant a mention in her book.

We have been chatting for a while now and it was clear that she did not want to reference a You Tube link in her book. I suggested that I create a wiki and embed the video there. The result is that I have now created an open source wiki for all of my Open Source software tutorials. It is a repository of tutorials organised by application and will continue to grow in the weeks and months ahead. Indeed today I will be sitting down and re-creating the ‘addons’ tutorial that I have already created and will also create a series of Calc tutorials for inclusion on this specific Open Source wiki.

The address is: http://opensourcesource.wikispaces.com


It is all coming together… May 29, 2008

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I was on the phone today to the guys at Novell, letting them know of our open source plans, they were very keen to hear more and we discussed options for “…getting the word on the streets.” We are pushing ahead. After I put the phone down I ordered 22 HP small form factor workstations. 5 of these will go into our new library and will represent the first of our true open source machines in school. Our library software AccessIT is based on an open source database and so the OPAC machines will be swapped over to the new system one at at a time and then the two issues machines will follow. The remaining machines are all destined for our ICT suite and will be dual booted in the first instance. However on the Windows partition I will load up all the open source windows variants that will be on the other Linux partition.

I am hoping to actually link Open Office Writer to the MS word icon and see if anyone notices the difference! I will simply package the new software as the latest update and see who squeals. I suspect that not many will. The biggest issue will be the actual swap from a Windows interface to the SUSE desktop environment and getting these Windows users to stop thinking like a Windows user to get things to work.

Today we got our first server built with SUSE server 10, early days yet and it has no function on the domain other than to be a Linux machine! We have also dual booted another couple of legacy laptops without any bother. We would have done one of the AP’s machines, but she was out on a course. She will be our first advocate in the field to run with our dual boot platforms.

Today has also been good for other reasons to. I have been hatching a plan to share our wonderful gully online for a while now. You can see it from Google Earth and in this video I made last year to let the students at Woodford know where we are in the world. It is my intention and has been for a long time to get a wireless gimbaled web cam set up at a bird feeding station somewhere in the gully so that we can share our wonderful resource online. I will stream live to the web and record the feed of Tuis feeding or whatever aspect we decide to record. The live stuff will be played via Mogulus and the recorded stuff will be played while we are offline and asleep, again via Mogulus so that the Northern hemisphere and other time zones can share in our bounty. Today I hope to have convinced one of the teachers on the supertanker to design a G+T course to create feed stations to attract the birds to the camera and in addition to investigate the potential to create a solar panel array to keep the camera charged all the times without the need for cables everywhere.

Finally today marked the start of this year’s robotics challenge. The students are excited and I am raring to go. This years challenge is designed to be a display at the art exhibition at the end of term three. The students have to build a standard NXT out of the box robot and then design an arm that can carry a whiteboard marker pen. The pen has to be able to be lifted and dropped so that they can control where the pen makes contact with the drawing surface. They will then have to write a program or programmes that create art, watch this space as I upload videos of their progress. Thursday afternoons have never been such fun, that is since the robotics programme on Friday mornings last year!