Happy Viewing

After talking with the Neuros guy, Joe Born, at LUG Radio Live 2007, I decided to buy a Neuros OSD at a special LRL discount of ร‚ยฃ100 including delivery from the US (you need to know the magic code…). I ordered it on Friday and it arrived today. Now that’s service.

The Neuros OSD is essentially a networked audio/visual device, which plays your music and video files and displays your photos from any number of sources, be it across a network using NFS or Samba, from a removable disk over USB and Firewire, from compact flash, SD, MMC and memory stick. It also records and encodes incoming signals from TV, DVD, DVD, PVR, cable, satellite, camcorder etc. The ability to browse and play videos from Youtube was announced in June.

This sounds like a bargain to me. Think Apple TV without the price tag. Admittedly, it doesn’t have built in storage or wireless (though it can allegedly use a USB wireless dongle), it relies on your having USB, Firewire or networked storage but this suits me to the ground. I don’t like my media stored all over the place, I would rather keep it on my desktop and pull it over on demand; and I’d rather do that over 100 Mb ethernet than wireless.

For me, this box just does what I want and a little more. I don’t buy in to the Apple/iPod suite of applications, devices and wallet taxing (Apple announced $200 price cuts on the iPhone today, 2 months after release, in a move which looks a lot like shafting it’s hardcore fans with an early adopters tax). Yes I could have bought a hard disk PVR for a little more, maybe a lot more I don’t know, but this device is small and it means I don’t have to carry a PC from the computer room to the bedroom any more. I also means I don’t have to try to work out why the soundcard isn’t outputting sound to the TV or why the picture from the TV out on my PC is sometimes grey and fuzzy on the TV regardless of OS, resolution or colour depth. And it has a remote control, so no more carrying a keybord to login and mouse to click stuff with.

And another thing. It runs Linux and there is a bustling development community adding new features to the built in software, which you can upgrade at any time you choose, or you can set it to upgrade automatically so you get the latest features at your convenience. It fits in with my recent thought that I should support devices I believe are doing the right thing for their users, or at least are running Linux. I bought a GP2X for the same reason, though admittedly it’s gathering dust since a week after I bought it because I can’t play half of the games I want to without a keyboard or a better controller. There is no DRM here to determine what media I can play on my device or what I can do with media I play on my device like with the iPod, the Zune, and probably the Apple TV. It’s my media, my way.

I’m delighted with this at the moment, but admittedly I haven’t turned it on yet as I’m at work and it cam with a US power adapter, so I’ll have to buy a converter or find a power adapter with the right size plug, ampage and voltage.

Whether this kit is ready for the non-technical user, I’m not sure, but for technical people this is great. Maybe it is if you know how about file sharing and IP addresses or USB disks.

I’ll tell you more when I get the thing turned on.

SNMP and Other Good Stuff

I wrote a basic SNMP and MRTG tutorial for Windows and Linux on my wiki last night, just to collate most of what I’d picked up in the last few months, so go feast yourselves.

Also, I found myself repeatedly referring to a site called Linux Home Networking, which was written by a guy who decided to stop paying for hosting and do it at home instead, so I thought I should share the link with you. The site assumes you have experience with Linux but are a novice sysadmin and covers the basics from networking and interface management, to Apache web hosting, DNS, mail, MySQL, NFS, Samba, NTP, quotas, software RAID, LVM, centralised logins, centralised syslogging, kernel tuning and network monitoring and management with Squid, SNMP, IP Tables, and VPNs.

It’s quite a read for the novice Linux sysadmin or people wanting to set up home servers. It is also available as a paid for PDF and was expanded upon for the book The Linux Quick Fix Notebook. The best thing about the material is that it’s fast to read, much unlike the O’Reilly books on Samba and DNS, where you read 4 chapters on protocol descriptions and background before you touch anything (they still have their place though). It’s a great getting started and as a quick reference manual. No, I’m not on commission. I recommended it to one of my colleagues and I recommend it to you if you’re a budding Linux sysadmin.

While I’m here I’d also like to pimp Howto Forge, a site which publishes constantly new and updated howtos for almost any server or system application, though primarily focused on server stuff for the novice. I keep it in my RSS reader and look at anything I think I might have to do in the future. Again, great for beginning a new learning curve or for one off projects.

But read my SNMP howto first.

I am a Mole

Apologies to those who won’t care in the slightest…

Despite being far from green-fingered, I have an enormous garden. Due to not being very keen in the garden it is frequently hugely overgrown on the top-half which is thankfully hidden from view from the house by several large trees. The bottom half however is a source of pain. It’s visible and that means I have to do something to keep it in some kind of condition, which due to working full-time and hating gardening, is rare.

So yesterday, for the second time this year, we set about belatedly trying to mow and strim room to sunbathe and generally enjoy the oversized garden. My parents came round with an extra lawnmower and strimmer and about 4 hours later we had a garden again.

We discovered a few interesting things about our garden in between. The first was that we share it with numerous frogs, toads and newts, a number of whom I had to carefully avoid or guide away from danger. We also share it with a small bees nest, which unfortunately I accidentally mowed through as it was hidden in the grass. It seems that came as as much of a shock to the bees as it did to me and I had to spend the rest of the afternoon avoiding 2 or 3 irritated bees who had been out of the nest at the time and were looking for their home. My bad.

The other thing, and this is still amusing me, is that we have a mole. And he lives in a hole. In my garden. So now I keep hearing this daft voice in the back of my head singing “I am a mole and I live in a hole” and it frequently leaks out of my lips, accompanied by mental images of a singing cartoon mole and the Jasper Carrot stand up routine.

The lower end of the garden, until yesterday covered by a large trampoline and mounds of long grass, is covered by mole hills, which my mother proceeded to flatten with a shovel and tell me that we will have to get rid of it or it will destroy the whole lawn. My reaction was that I don’t really mind sharing my lawn, as we both need somewhere to live and it didn’t deserve to die just so my hardly bowling green standard lawn could look nice.

After being flattened, it looks like a mud patch and despite being slightly amused about having a mole (especially as the count of the number of molehills was mistaken for for the number of moles, “15 moles?”), I thought nothing more about it apart from planning to tell everyone that I had a mole.

This morning I awoke to see around 6 new, quite large mole hills and a couple of near-surface passageways. So, now I have to decide what to do with my mole and I’d like your opinion, the dafter the better, but perhaps with some useful ideas.

So, with the fact in mind that I have little time to invest in doing it, I ask you the following question:

Do I kill the critter, have the pesky varmint scared away somehow, or just leave it munching worms and laugh at its molehills?

And That Would be Me


Yesterday was Sysadmin Day, the one day per year where you get to show your thanks for the people who set up your PC and network and keep everything working to bring you all of the things you use your PC for. Thats the Internet, E-Mail, your word processor and maintain the networks which allow you to watch Youtube and so on.

We’re the people who answer the phone at 2am on Sunday morning when the E-Mail server dies and we go in to work to fix it. We’re the people who get to ferret around under your desk, dealing with your irritation and frustration at not being able to do what you want as you stuff your face with your lunch while we fix your problem at 1:15 pm, dizzy with hunger, because you did something stupid. We’re the people that Administer the Systems, thats the servers, the networks, the desktop computers. We’re the people that stop you getting spam, viruses, we weigh up thousands of options, possibilities and alternatives to bring you the best service we can and you only bitch when it goes wrong.

And yesterday was your day to say thank you. And I bet you didn’t, but I guess you didn’t realise. I’ve long told people that as a Sysadmin, people don’t really care whether I live or die until something goes wrong, in which case they would like to execute over the phone. It wouldn’t hurt you to show your thanks when one of my fellow Sysadmins saves your day as very few people ever do. It’s a job where people don’t know you exist while things are going well, they only know about you when things go wrong, so in many cases it’s the Chinese doctor approach – it’s my job to make sure it doesn’t become ill, which is of course impossible, just a sliding scale of reducing problems to a minimum. There is a great page on how to help save your sysadmin’s time.

Just say thank you next time and let your sysadmin eat their lunch in peace.

First Thoughts on Fedora 7

So as I said, I installed Fedora 7 and that I’d complain later. Well I installed F7 on a decent box to play with Kerberos, SELinux, LDAP, to give Fedora a shot to see what it’s like on the other side of the fence and to play with stuff like Evolution and a load of other apps which I’ve never given a chance (Evolution irritates me for a number of reasons so I’ve never used it properly). Fedora are doing some cool stuff and I’d like to familiarise myself with some of the stuff that would be useful at work and useful in the future. Besides I think Red Hat are putting together a fearsome stack of middleware, which doesn’t mean so much to me at the moment, but maybe it should and maybe it will in the future.

It seems like a really nice desktop and the theme is great, though I thought the FC6 theme was nicer. I took the tougher path by leaving SELinux in enforcing mode and it hasn’t been a problem yet apart from when it wouldn’t let kadmind, the Kerberos admin daemon touch it’s own log file and after a bit of dithering, I took the SELinux Troubleshooter’s advice and ran restorecon -v /var/log/kadmind.log which solved the problem, guess I should look at what that actually does and whether it’s a bad thing from a security point of view.

A few things I noticed about Fedora:

  • No graphical package manager, or none that I can find.

Why not? Ok, well maybe I missed it out in the installer, I picked all of my own packages. Most people including me know that I can use yum or install synaptic or whatever else the Fedora people use, but well that means people who are new to Linux won’t have a clue what to do to install stuff. Most people don’t know how to search google in way that gets them a specific technical answer, such as how to install software on Fedora. It’s only one thing, but I think this might be among the reasons why Ubuntu seems to be getting more of the new users. Aside from getting it’s name in the headlines and into people’s heads, these things are easy straight off in Ubuntu. Maybe grabbing new users isn’t part of Fedora’s primary objectives, but it ought to be. New Linux users mean mind share, exposure, community and developers and contributors of the future.

  • The fonts don’t look as good as Ubuntu.

Don’t know why that is, they appear to use the same font and the same rendering scheme. It’s a trivial issue but one that bugs me.

  • Gnome starts fast as hell.

Almost immediately after login, I have a desktop. Unbelievable. No splash screen or anything.

  • No installer CD iso

DVD or a Live CD only. This isn’t a biggie but it took a few mins to figure out. On my designated flaky client machines for my Kerberos etc test setup, they only have 256MB RAM, a 2GHz Celeron and a CD drive, no DVD drive, the Live CD craaaaaaaaawls, I’m talking 20-30 seconds for the next step to load from the CD after clicking the Next button. This might be a flaky CD drive though. The installer makes me initialise the swap partition immediately after creation, which is cool by me but later on, the system froze (flaky hardware I suspect) and so I decided to enable the swap partition as soon as I could after the Live CD booted to make the system more responsive, but then the installer kept bailing saying that my swap partition hasn’t been initialized and that I should click OK to reboot, which I dutifully did and left the machine to reboot. Three apparent reboots and 3 aborted installs later and the installer is still saying the same thing, so now I come to the conclusion that clicking OK to reboot isn’t making the machine reboot, so I’ll have to struggle on with no swap and imagine what I could have done with my wasted evening had the machine rebooted when I clicked OK, as the label suggested.

I should abandon my flaky hardware and just use it as an opportunity to try Xen virtual machines as my client machines, but I want to try out real physically networked hardware to make sure my thing is working as I expect, rather than being some fluke which is down to the fact that things are working by being on the same physical machine. I want the packets to go across the wires. I also don’t want to have to learn too many new subjects as once, which might mean I start to forget details as it all merges into one. It also means I won’t fall into the trap where if something doesn’t work I don’t have to dig into several software stacks that I don’t understand to see which one is causing the issue.

  • Fedora has some great GUI tools which make fiddly things simple.

Like switching MTA without having to fiddle with the alternatives command. I did that once for a self-compiled Exim install on FC4 and it was a pain in the ass. Like having an authentication configuration tool to turn on stuff like Kerberos and LDAP authentication. Like GUI tools to manage DNS, Apache and NFS (though I prefer the raw config files for each of these). Fedora make some of the more complicated stuff easy. No more fiddling with PAM, though I will be doing things the hard way. I could at least do it the easy way and then see what the config files look like afterwards.

  • With a little knowledge, Fedora isn’t as package shallow as it might seem

The one thing that has always bugged me about almost every non-Debian based distribution is the package manager and the depth of the repositories. Hand’s down apt and .debs push yum and .rpms into the ground, but yum is usable. It’s a bit irritating how it updates the package lists every time you touch it, but yum is ok. It’s the depth of the repositories that bugs me more. On Debian and Ubuntu (with Universe) you have around 19,000 packages. On Fedora you have a few thousand and that doesn’t include a lot of the things I want in my repositories. It seems that Fedora has quite a few 3rd party repos, such atrpms, thatfleminggent (formerly Enlartenment), livna, dag wieers and so on, you just have to know about them and then work out how to set them up. Once you’ve done it then you’re cool, but it’s still an irritation that you have to trust 3rd party packages, albeit well respected ones. The thing is though, I’ve found that the 3rd party repos tend to install their packages over the official ones where they overlap when you update and in some cases cause dependency problems, so you either have to install what you want and then disable the 3rd party repos and track 3rd party updates for sensitive packages or just live with a mixed system and sometimes broken dependency situation. Maybe I’m just a crap Fedora user.

  • Fedora machines never seem to power down

I’ve never seen one power off and I have 50 at work. They always seem to say they have powered off but don’t. The first version of Ubuntu, Warty, did this, the second, Breezy didn’t. Thats around 2 years ago. Debian hasn’t done this as long as I have used it (Potato was my first I think) and people say Debian is behind the times. Maybe this is a kernel patch that Fedora doesn’t ship for ideological reasons. I don’t know but it gets on my nerves.

Note to Fedora/RH users before they start blowing flames into my comments: I’m happy to hear you tell me how I should be doing it this way rather than that way. Take these comments as coming from an Ubuntu desktop and Fedora/Red Hat/Centos CLI user. I’ve no recent experience of using Fedora as a desktop.

Well thats all for now, more when I’m not pissed off with waiting for a stupid ass machine to install all night.

Back in the Saddle

OK so I have a few seconds to breathe. I finished my last CCNA 2nd semester exam on Tuesday and aced it, which cheered me up as I hadn’t really prepared as well as I should have done.

Since my CCNA is over until September, LUG Radio is on a break for the summer and the extraordinary month or so of late nights spent emailing people to organise LUG Radio Live is over, I’ve decided to spend my newly found few spare hours swotting up on new stuff that has been bugging me to investigate it for the last year or two, that’s stuff like Kerberos, LDAP, Xen, SELinux and giving Fedora a good shot at my desktop amongst other things. Who knows, I might even get around to doing some more work testing Jokosher, finish setting up my home studio, setting up an Asterisk box and finally learn Python.

Red Hat and Fedora are really rocking in some cool ways at the moment, they have nailed down things which I’m still waiting to see as part of the distribution on Ubuntu like Xen, SELinux and so on. I think the RH/F way on the server is a lot more straight forward too. It was discussed on a LUG Radio episode (one I wasn’t on I think, like that narrows it down…), whether distros offer all of their work to the wider community or whether they keep stuff in house. For the life of me, I could never understand why other distros didn’t use the Mandrake installer back in the day when installers were all text mode only and I still can’t understand why a lot of distros haven’t borrowed Red Hat’s setup tool, y’know, the setup command, not the installer. It makes life so much easier to configure which services run at boot than reading the man page for update-rc.d every time. Ok so maybe it’s easier when you do it on a daily basis, but I shouldn’t have to carry around in my head how to do that when I can run setup and tick boxes. All of the split config for Exim and Apache pisses me off too, it doesn’t need to be that hard. Oh yeah and the last Ubuntu servers I used fell over almost daily, so I replaced them. No more stability problems ๐Ÿ™‚

So yeah I installed Fedora 7 on a spare machine and set about configuring Kerberos and some other stuff, I’m kinda stuck now though cos my designated client machines (a couple of flaky cast-off machines) are being flaky and keep croaking during the install. I put this down to bad hardware than a bad installer, but it’s irritating. I’ll complain about this in another post.

So, yeah, having freed up some time, I’ve suitably filled it again but at least it feels like I’m doing something I think is valuable and rewarding. I get bored if I don’t have something to work on or something to learn.

See you in the Experts Lounge.


Received in a logwatch email from one of my servers today:

--------------------- Fortune Begin ------------------------

You will have a long and unpleasant discussion with your supervisor.

---------------------- Fortune End -------------------------


Too Busy to Post

Hi everyone. Well the title says it all. I guess people are waiting for me to post about LUG Radio Live 2007, the announcement of Ade’s departure, LUG Radio Live USA, Adam Sweet’s Gong-a-Thong Lightbulb Talk Extravaganza and what it’s like to stand up in front of 300 people wearing only a thong and so on. Well I just don’t have time to at the moment but I might soon-ish. The same goes for everyone who has been sending me Facebook invitations.

I’ll get around to them soon.

LUG Radio Live 2007

Is this weekend!

If you haven’t bought tickets already, you can still get them on the door. It kicks off this Friday night with the annual meet and drink at the Hogshead pub in Wolverhampton city centre. Then, 10am Saturday morning the doors at the Light House Media Centre in Wolverhampton city centre will open and all of you smelly, unwashed geeks will get chance to gawp appreciatively at the God’s of Internet podcasting… The rest of the LUG Radio team and I will also be there, with the talks schedule starting at 11am.

The day runs through ’til 6pm on Saturday, when we recover ourselves before reconvening for a night of careless abandon at the Light House, drinking until someone falls asleep upside down, while their friends dance badly to the Macarena.

We then meet again at 10am Sunday, nursing sore heads and hurt pride for another day of geekfoolery, before throwing in the towel and taking our sorry selves home, knowing we had a kick ass weekend. That is unless you follow the hardcore amongst us down to one of the hotels for a relaxing Sunday evening wind-down beer.

I didn’t get chance to blog this before as I was swamped and then away on holiday, but the follow up to the Freedom March video was released. I present the second LRL 2007 trailer:

Don’t Listen Alone

This really was a lot of fun to make.

Also, Roger Light (aka Oojah) produced a spoof on the Freedom March video, entitled :

The One Man Freedom March

Absolutely brilliant. That’s all his own hair too, somehow.

All the details you need are at http://www.lugradio.org/live/

See you at the weekend.

Back From Holiday

Got back from a week away on Saturday and back to work today. I didn’t realise how worn down I was, well, actually I did because I felt it, but I didn’t realise how far from normal I was. I’ve been like a zombie for the last 2 months or so, I’ve been pulling late nights at work, trying to get my Cisco CCNA semester 2 finished and helping organise LUG Radio Live 2007. It’s been an exhausting few months.

So, now I’m back in the saddle and it’s all about to happen, my CCNA stuff is all due within the next 2 weeks, it’s LUG Radio Live this weekend and most of my critical work stuff has been done. So, it’s still chaos as I’ll be occupied for at least the next 2 weeks almost 24 hours a day but it will then be over until the new LUG Radio season starts and my 3rd Cisco semester kicks of later in the year.

See you on the other side, gringo.

Bluetooth in Gnome

Ok, so after my rant the other day about making Bluetooth easy in Gnome, I decided to take a look at the situation for the first time in a while.

Yes, it’s been about 6 months or even a year since I last tried to set up bluetooth on Linux and now I have a new Dell XPS M1710 notebook with a built in bluetooth module. So I took a look in Synaptic, I’m running Feisty so maybe it’s easier these days. I installed bluez-gnome and gnome-bluetooth and was able to use my phone to set up a connection to my bluetooth module, enter a pin on my phone, was prompted by my laptop to insert the pin into the dialog box and bingo. I was able to send files to my phone using Nautilus’ Send-to dialog and send files to my notebook after starting the bluetooth daemon and opening Gnome-Bluetooth.

So, success, but it could be easier I guess but it’s not as hard as I remember. All I have to do now is work out how to use my phone as a modem and perhaps browse my phone over bluetooth.

Oh and work out how to get my internal modem to work, but that’s a job for another day.

The Freedom March

LUG Radio Live registrations are now open. Tickets are 5 GBP up front or on the door, 3 GBP if you can mail show @ lugradio . org with the lamest reason you can think of and free entry for international travellers with a valid airline ticket and exhibitors. If you want to be part of the exhibition, do a 5 minute Light Bulb Talk, or tale part in the hour of power, then mail show @ lugradio . org.

There are forty speakers on three stages, Birds of a feather sessions, an exhibition, Adam Sweet’s Gong-A-Thong Lighbulb Talk Extravaganza, the Mass Debate, The Hour of Power, a dedicated evening event and some of the coolest, friendliest bunch of people in the world. LUG Radio Live really is all about the people and the community around the event. You’d be missing out not to be there.

In another announcement, we are proud to announce the The Freedom March video.

Please go ahead and link to it. Details on the page for downloads and links.

See you there ๐Ÿ™‚

What’s Missing from Your Gnome Desktop?

I know people have their pet hate, peeve, or thing that isn’t there on the Linux desktop and the guys discussed this on LUG Radio recently. Everybody knows about binary 3d accelerated graphics drivers, suspend and resume, wireless LAN drivers and so on, but I’d like to propose another which, I suspect, shouldn’t be too hard to fix, since it’s only an interface issue as far as I can see:


Everybody has a mobile phone. A lot of us geekier types would like to send files back and forth between our phones and our PCs, sync phone to PC (where there is a suitable standard) and back again, I would like to be easily able to use my phone as a modem when I’m in the middle of nowhere to make running repairs on remote servers, or use my bluetooth earpiece as a microphone. I know all of this is possible because I’ve done it on my work Powerbook (apart from the microphone thing) and I’d like to be able to do this easily on my new Linux notebook (which I’m about to blast a small fortune on) without having to spend an hour or two searching for howtos, configuring Bluetooth, sorting out pin numbers and using gnome-obex-send from the command-line, or searching Google to see how on Earth to use a mobile phone over Bluetooth as a dial-up modem under Linux.

Pairing, configuring with PIN numbers and so on should be easy, the Bluetooth stack should be as easy to set up as installing it and configuring params in a GUI. Sending files in Nautilus should be as easy as right-clicking something and choosing Send -> Using Bluetooth -> To DeviceName. I know some of this is there, but what I mean is that this could all be easier. Doing this on a Mac is easy, but it could be even easier. It could be there from the beginning, it could be built right into Gnome. No installing your Bluetooth stack, then Gnome-Bluetooth and fiddling with gnome-obex-send. Everybody has a mobile phone these days, it should be really easy.

Of course I have no intention of helping as I’m can’t program for shit, in any language, (maybe some shell, tied to Zenity ;)) and it may well be harder than I am suggesting, but well, it’s just one thing I think which should be fixed.

For some reason I seem to be the only one that I have heard mention this. Apart from Bastien Nocera that is. I think we could be the best at this quite easily.

What do you think is missing from your Gnome Desktop?

Crappy Machine

Dear Lazyweb, I need your help. My main desktop has started falling over under heavy load. That’s when playing games and when encoding video or some other computationally intensive task. It switches off, the monitor goes black and all parts stop spinning/whirring, though the power light is still on.

I tried a PSU tester and it shows no fault. I tried memtest86 but it switches off after a short time. I don’t think I have suitable spare RAM to hand and I don’t have a spare motherboard or CPU. I may be able to lay my hands on some but I think they may be borked.

I’m normally excellent at identifying hardware faults but this time I need your suggestions.

Hello LUG Radio

So, the cat is out of the bag. Tiny Matt Revell is leaving LUG Radio to persue other things. Jono’s accouncement is here and pics are here. I was expecting to have to keep this under my hat until after Monday’s episode, but it seems to have been announced in advance. I’m truly sorry to see Matt leave, I thought he offered a perspective that often hadn’t been considered by the others or myself and was also the perfect counterweight to the 2 loudest presenters. I would have liked to have said this in the show, but the conversation ran away from me. Best wishes Matt.

So, that leaves a space on the team and having been hovering around since the very beginning and then stepping up to fill in when one of the guys couldn’t make it, the guys offered me the spot. I must say I’m delighted to take over and more than a little intimidated about what I have to live up to, I hope you’ll be patient with me.

I feel a little like the Sid Vicious of LUG Radio, the superfan since the beginning, several of my comments appeared as quotes on the very first LUG Radio website. I have been a listener since the first episode, I just hope that unlike Sid Vicious I am able to cope with moving from the audience to the team.

So who am I? An introduction is here, but for now, my name is Adam Sweet, I’m a 30 year old Linux Sysadmin from Wolverhampton and go by the slightly crap IRC nick of Drinky for historical reasons. I was a professional musician for around 5 years and then after a few career changes, I came to computers late at the age of 23. I had a Spectrum and ZX81 when I was a kid but music pushed that out of the way in my teens. I’ve had to learn fast and within a year of getting my first PC, I decided to do a Computer Science degree and discovered Linux. I realised at university that I was a crap programmer and became more interested in the systems and networking side. I’ve been using Linux for around 6 and a half years now. I use Ubuntu at home and Debian/Fedora/Centos on various servers.

And what can I bring to LUG Radio and why did they choose me? Well, first thing is that I live nearby and have known Jono and Aq through Wolves LUG since before LUG Radio and Ade since before he joined the team, again through Wolves LUG. I remember Matt, Jono and Aq, discussing the idea at a LUG Meeting. I appeared briefly in Season 1, Episode 5 as a silent guest and then filled in for the first time in the last episode of Season 2. Since then I’ve filled in on numerous occasions and hopefully, learned to break through the barrage of noise that is a LUG Radio recording. I have to say that, normally when I’ve filled in, I get less than 24 hours notice so don’t get to do much research and don’t know who most of the interviewees are at all until we interview them. So, I’ve been hanging around since the beginning and share a similar humour to the rest of the team which I guess is why I have been asked to join the team.

Being a sysadmin means I spend my days staring at terminals and am focused on technical implementation rather than the greater philosophies of the Free Software world, it remains to be seen how that will influence the show or my participation in it. I’ve always been a facilitator rather than a leader, I’ll hold things together and provide you a platform to build on rather than win you the game. At football I’m a goalkeeper, at cricket I was wicket keeper, as a musician I was a bass player and at work I’m a sysadmin.

So, here I am, it’s a big role to fill and we have a fantastic community of people around us, I hope I can do it justice. I’ll see you for Season 4 Episode 20 as my first episode as a full-time presenter. I’m sure we’d all like to wish Matt the best.

Greetings Planet #Lugradio

Hello to everyone on Planet #LUGRadio ๐Ÿ™‚

While you’re here, I need your help. As some of you may know, I’ll be hosting Adam Sweet’s Gong-A-Thong Lightbulb Talk Extravaganza at LRL 2007. An hour long segment of 3 minute talks. Thats a lot of talks. And I need you to speak. I need people to get in touch with submissions for quick 3-5 minute talks about something cool, something you’re working on, something you can’t live without and things people need to know. You can rant if you’re not just talking shit, you can promote your favourite app or distro, or project or worthy cause. I just need to hear from you so I’m not going to be standing there scratching my nuts for an hour.

Oh and I need exhibitors for, well the exhibition. I don’t know yet how much space I’ve got or how many exhibitors I need, but I need people to get in touch about possible stands in the exhibition area. We’re looking for something a bit cool this year, so if you have some mind-boggling demo, some hot booth-babes or booth-dudes (albeit booth-dudes will have limited appeal with this audience ;)), something impressive to show off I’d like to hear from you.

And finally, if you haven’t already done so, I need you advertise the event. If you haven’t already done so, we have some logos and images for you to post on your blog or as a banner on your website. If you’re coming or not, you can help make this a bumper event by telling everyone you know. Got a machine with a lot of log in accounts? Change your motd to let everyone know about LUG Radio Live 2007. I might try to convince the guys that there should be a prize for the best guerilla advertising campaign.

You can send your submissions and suggestions to show@lugradio.org

Thanks for listening. I look forward to seeing you there ๐Ÿ™‚

Nostalgic Shocker

Every year I seem to go through a nostalgic phase when something pops up to remind me of a TV comedy, a film or a band that I really liked in my teens and I go on a hunt for all of the albums or episodes that I used to have on poorly copied audio cassettes or video tapes recorded from the TV.

A few years ago it was tracking down the Who video that changed my whole view on what being a bass guitarist meant, the Sugar album Copper Blue and Bandwagonesque by Teenage Fanclub. Then it was getting the sci-fi series V on DVD. Last year it was buying up stuff by the Boo Radleys (bizarrely released by my own former record label) and now this year, the song Away From Here by The Enemy reminded me of Mega City Four. That’s how indie rock should sound. So I decided to go buy some Mega City Four stuff and while I was at it I tracked down Trains, Boats and Planes by The Frank and Walters.

The Frank and Walters had just released Happy Busman and were on Channel 4 show The Word, the week before I went to my first ever concert – The Inspiral Carpets at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall, supported by Airhead (anyone else remember Funny How?) and the Franks themselves. I was deaf the next day.

A few months later I saw Mega City Four and they were excellent, however I was shocked to discover tonight that lead singer Wiz died just before Christmas. Shit. More eloquent words fail me.