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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Mind reading computers? 

This story is just plain scary, researchers have found that the brain reacts differently to different stimuli, and have developed software that can say which stimuli the person was subjected to, even when they don't know it themselves. The scientists have plans to make it possible for the software to know what kind of mood a person is in, even if they are mentally stable, perhaps even "reading" your thoughts.

Surely this invades any sense of privacy that anybody could have. It really doesn't matter what I think, what matters is how I act on it.

For example, if I became extremely annoyed at someone and felt like murdering them, this would only be a passing thought, and as long as I didn't act on it, it would have no relevance, but if my mind were read while I was thinking this, surely I could then be charged for conspiring to murder, even if I had no intention of carrying out such action. For that matter, what right does anybody have to find out what I am thinking, unless I inform them. I have to wonder how anybody can create such technology and think it is a good idea.


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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Congratulations ACTION, you've done it again... 

Well, they've done it again, once again ACTION have made a complete mess of a change to their service.
ACTION have just recently changed their timetables. The good news is that they finally accounted for the extra time it takes the Buses to get through the Canberra Centre bus stop, the bad news is that they forgot that it takes longer to get along Bullumbir Street than Bunda Street and haven't accounted for that...so the buses are still late.

ACTION also modified the morning services of the 38 bus in a very bizzare way. Previously the 38 was running at 8:25, 8:40 & 8:53 along Ainslie Avenue, and if I managed to miss the 8:53, I could catch a 36 at 8:55ish. The new arrangement sees two 38's arriving around 8:30 (they both arrive at the same time due to the traffic light delays on Bullumbir Street) and there isn't another one until 8:55 (which never arrives until 9:00 or later). The 36 timetable has also been modified in such a way that it is earlie than the 8:30 buses, and later than the 8:55 bus.

My grumble here is that the 38 used to be relatively predictable, it was every 15 minutes, and I could catch a 36 if I missed the 38. Now due to the insanity of the new bus timetable, I have to be ready for the bus before 8:30 (previously 8:40 or 8:53 would be acceptable), or I will not be able to catch one until at least 9am, which makes me rather late.

I do have a theory about this bus timetable change. ACTION knew that I catch a 38 (or 36) from Ainslie avenue in the morning to get to Dickson College. They knew this, because I was a person who made a lot of noise about safety issues at the Canberra Centre bus stop, most of which remain unaddressed, and I eventually got tired of making noise after it became clear that they had no intention of ever doing anything to fix the problem. I could just be paranoid, but there is a chance that ACTION have decided that I am a nuisance, and therefore don't deserve a decent bus service. I can see no other such bizzare changes to other timetables in Canberra, only the Ainslie Avenue routes. If ACTION think that it was a good idea to do this, they should expect some angry correspondence. I am certain that they will do nothing to fix the problems, but they do deserve an amount of angry noise.

On the plus side, ACTION have moved their fleet of horrible new green buses over to the 300 series intertown buses, meaning that I don't have to catch them. Those things were never designed for suburban roads, they are too low to the ground, and have very little suspension. They are still pretty dreadful on the major roads, but at least they don't have to rattle, clatter & bang as much. The Green buses continue to service the 34 (Hospital run).

Naturally ACTION have taken their policy of "It doesn't work, so we'll give it to everyone" and applied it to the Weston Creek area services. They were designed to make the buses act like Taxi's at night. People would ring the ACTION phone number and say that they wanted to catch a bus from wherever they were. This service simply wasn't working in Weston Creek, some people were waiting more than an hour for a bus. ACTION in their infinite wisdom have decided that this is a great system and expanded it to all of Canberra (except certain parts of Yarrulumla, which currently have high nightime patronage of buses) and called it Flexibus. "Buses are not Taxi's" is my quote, if you need to get somewhere after 7PM, get a lift or ring a Taxi, you'll be waiting all night for a Flexibus.


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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

AFL Coverage In Canberra 

I've discussed this numerous times on Google Groups, so I'll make it brief. Thankyou to 2CA for making it possible to hear live AFL coverage on a regular basis in Canberra. They have cornered the market by providing the *only* commercial radio AFL coverage in Canberra, and they also are the only place that are regular with the coverage. The ABC do cover it, but they are not regular, they shuffle it over to News Radio whenever they take the NRL, and often News Radio just cut into other programs with it, and provide no information about when it will be on. 2CA are regular, they do Friday night from 7PM, Saturday & Sunday from Midday, and other special days whenever they happen.

I will be writing a letter to 2CA about this shortly.


I Must be really old in dog years!!
Samuel's lcaLIVE http://smoothwallsamuel.blogspot.com
Samuel @ LCA2005 http://lca2005.linux.org.au/security_miniconf/abstracts.html
Protect your network www.smoothwall.org

And another good thing about 2CA is that they still transmit in AM (as opposed to FM ).
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Monday, April 25, 2005

More stuff on the seminar website 

You can now find the overhead presentation and notes on the seminar website
The overhead presentation in it's previous location had some bugs. It is no longer available in the old location, and has been updated in it's new location.
The new location also has significantly better download speeds than the old location.


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The week that was...a day late 

This is a multipurpose post, one, it is the last regular installment of Samuel's lcaLIVE. Two, it doubles as my official feedback email to the LCA organisers. Three, it tripples (???) as a school assignment due in a few days (I have to write a gonzo style random article about anything...it's easier to just use this).

That was without a doubt, one of the best weeks I have ever had. It all started on Sunday of course, actually no, it started on Saturday night (I could argue with myself that it started when my former boss heard that LCA was coming to Canberra...but I won't) when I decided to go to the early registration on Sunday because I thought that it would be much quieter, and I could get lost without missing anything. I also decided to fix up my old printout of the LCA timetable, after a long heap of scribbles, I just gave up and printed it again.

Sunday saw me register and pick up my conference bag, badge & T-Shirt. I also managed to get partially lost on the way to the venue, "Noooooo, I'm a Canberran, I don't need a map, I can memorise a campus map." The first statement was true, as for the others...well, always look at the ground.

Sunday night was the time for finishing writing my seminar and practicing it, Michael was right, it was too long. I shortened it and made it to bed at 2am

Monday arrived, and so did I, I was early for the Security Miniconf, and became tempted by the Purple Pickle's offer of filling my LCA mug with coffee for $3.10, I walked out the wrong doors, had the wrong building number in mind and declared that "That creek shouldn't be there!" I was lost again, thankfully, somebody told me that there was a building of food out the other doors. That is where I found a nice place that filled my mug for $2.80, I however thought that the Miniconf started at 10:00, but due to my lack of a miniconf timetable, I was wrong, it started at 9:30 and I missed the first 10 minutes of the first installment of SE Linux with Russell Coker. I decided that I should borrow a laptop to make use of the wireless network, and make my blog fit it's title of "Samuel's lcaLIVE"...I rang a friend and they offered for me to pick one up.

Monday night saw me putting the final touches to my seminar, which actually means creating the entire visual experience (Overhead Presentation in english), this saw me in bed at 3am...and a few fun mistakes that weren't spotted. The printer also played up (due to me turing off the wrong computer) and made one page of my notes almost unreadable)

Tuesday came around, I had to rush out to Majura Primary in the morning (approximately 30 minutes from civic by bus), pick up the laptop, rush back to LCA and be there by 10am for the start of day two of the Security Miniconf. That all went fine, well, the "getting out the door" part did anyway. I was carrying three bags, one for the usual stuff, coffee, various papers, etc, a second for the video camera and a third for the tripod. I got out to Majura Primary, waited for a few minutes, unnamed person shows up and has forgotten the laptop, I rush back to civic on the bus (OK, I had to wait for the bus to run late first) whilst making changes to my seminar notes. At the Miniconf I made more changes to my seminar notes (which made it look like I was going to repeat the seminar before me, to the people behind me).

11am, seminar time, Michael announces a five minute break to allow me to get my stuff setup (Thanks Michael for the assistance), and then I start. 30 seconds in and Michael is getting up and walking down to the front, which makes me think that he is kicking me off...he was actually turing the volume up at the request of a person up the back...during the seminar I stumble across a slide which had a few problems, first one I noticed was the squiggle under the word "SmoothWall", which proves that I did the diagram in Word due to frustrations with other programs, the second, and more embarrasing and funny problem, was the public IP address used in the diagram (123.456.789.012) which is obviously very very wrong (If you don't know why, see http://computer.howstuffworks.com/question549.htm). Apart from that, the 50-60 people did seem to enjoy the seminar. I however was exhausted, and needed a cup of coffee...I would have like to deliver that seminar again though, maybe I will one day.

Russell had more SE Linux on Tuesday afternoon, it went waaaay over time, but it was fun, and was definetly the highlight of the Security Miniconf.

That night I ran the video of my seminar and was very disappointed to find the audio almost inaudible. I was releived to find that the organisers had recorded it though...or so I hoped.

Wednesday was the start of the "real" conference, and saw the announcement of special prizes, 1GB flash drive each seminar, and IBM Laptop each day.Wednesday was tutorial day, this was good, I attended the "Recovering from HDD disasters" and "Building user interfaces with video and 3D graphics for fun and profit" one. I thoroughly enjoyed the second one, the speaker couldn't decide who to give the flash drive to, so we played heads and tails, and I won. By this stage I had found the magical terminal room as well...that made me happy. I also found out that my seminar had been officially recorded, and the audio would be available in about a month. The lovely people at ibiblio.org also replied to my email and gave me webspace for my LCA video and associated materials.

Thursday saw Tridge's keynote, and his bitkeeper comments. That was very good & proved three things. One, ZDNet had a reporter at LCA. Two, The Register adapt people's blogs and turn them into articles. Three, Slashdot are really really annoying and stupid people. My blog was among the first places on the net to have the Tridge story (I think ZDNet beat me to it), The Register however, were definetly after me, and had no more info than my blog...I have no problem with them using my matrial, but I would prefer them to have some kind of acknowledgement of my name rather than "delegate". Slashdot are just plain annoying, the Tridge V Linus V Bitkeeper story has been the top story for a while, I had the important update on it, and it was rejected, instead they went and accepted somebody else's version of the story who submitted it hours after mine had been rejected, this isn't the first thing of mine slashdot have rejected, it is in fact, a continuation of their apparent policy of rejecting all of my submissions, no matter how important or interesting they may be.

Thursday lunchtime saw Russell Coker playing Augmented Reality Quake, he did manage to accidentally break,turn off, or cause temporary incapacitation of equipment, which I jokingly put down to his body having SE Linux Policies. SE Linux is fantastic, and if you don't know anything about it, then please do.

On Thursday night I played with the audio of my seminar and managed to get something semi-usable. This made me happy, and had me thinking of an interim release.

Friday was yet another great day, plenty happened, but I was very tired, and needed a constant supply of coffee to stay awake. Unfortunately there were a few mishaps with speakers and the timetable, and I had to rearrange my viewing schedule, but it was fun none-the-less. I think it was friday that the Tux Racer seminar was on, this was fantastic. I have read that it wasn't technical enough for LCA, but I think that it is important to have at least one non technical seminar per day, it helps prevent brain melt...and also helps lift the mood, especially near the end of the week when everybody is tired and overloaded with information.

At lunch time Friday I finally had a go at Augmented Reality Quake, which was quite fun.

Friday night saw me uploading the interim release of the video of my seminar (which you can download from www.ibiblio.org/netsec/). I will be making a proper release of higher quality, properly edited video and DVD after the official LCA audio & video is released.

Saturday saw Eben Moglen speak, he got a standing ovation, and so he should. His consistent legal defence of open source software has seen it flourish, and proven to business that it *is* the future. (OK, Microsoft still need a bit more convincing, but a look at the sponsors of LCA should prove just how much business value it.)

The organisers were, for the most part, friendly and helpful. They were under an enourmous amount of pressure (I know, I've organised stuff before, and it is a credit to them that they managed to make it look seamless and under control, the better you hide the late organisation, the better you have done.) A few times they were a bit snappy, but this is understandable, the amount of pressure they were under, the massive organisational effort, and dealing with idiots that tried to steal everyone's passwords with rogue APs, and other idiots who felt the need to float various beverages through lecture theatres that were marked "No Food Or Drink", can't have been easy, especially when the latter idiots complained about it in their blog. They worked hard to keep as many people happy as possible, this included the caterers, and as such, the white mugs were to stay inside. Thankyou to the organisers, this was fantastic.

The people who packaged the flash drives obviously didn't expect anybody to ever have a need to use them...but I finally got my flash drive out today (because I actually thought about doing it), and I now have 1256 MB of portable storage.

I'm now looking forward to next year's LCA in Dunedin, I'm considering submitting an abstract to it so that I can speak again (and avoid many of the costs). It should be good, and I hope to be able to make it there.

I am pleased to be able to announce that during LCA, my webserver logs hit 90% for firefox usage, and 45% for Linux usage. Good to see the educated people hitting my webserver.

I calculated that I've lost about 14 hours sleep during the conference, and will now have to work on reclaiming it (sitting here typing this isn't helping).

This is the last regular update to Samuel's lcaLIVE, I will be making an index post soon to provide quick and easy access to all the lcaLIVE entries. My blog will now continue as normal (which has a new definition, previously normal meant that there were no entries, I will try to update the blog at least once a week from now on.)

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel's lcaLIVE

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Saturday, April 23, 2005

The search for the Purple Pickle 

Well, I decided yesterday at lunch time to find that Purple Pickle Cafe, I had been told that it was "down the ramp and around the corner", perhaps "Down the ramp, turn right, walk across the bridge over the creek, turn right, it's somehwere down there on your right".

I had tried to find it earlier in the week, but gave up in frustration, yesterday I decided to work out where it was, looking at the outside maps, it told me it was in the University Union building...looking at my paper version, it was in a closely numbered building that isn't exactly close. I found it eventually...

Today should be interesting, it is the last day of the conference, this week has certainly gone quickly.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel's lcaLIVE

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Interim Video Online 

Thanks to the lovely people at ibiblio.org you may now visit http://www.ibiblio.org/netsec/ to see the video. I am however uploading the video via SCP as I write this, but it should be finished soon.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel's lcaLIVE

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Friday, April 22, 2005

Well, a day of utter confusion... 

I forgot it was Friday...I mean, I knew that it was Friday, but it just didn't register in my head...so I forgot to make the connection between that and the heap of Friday changes to the LCA timetable. One seminar of note today was the one about Tux Racer...I was actually expecting yet another seminar of code and theory (I've managed to avoid most of those), and it wasn't my first choice, but the seminar I was going to attend was either cancelled or moved (Can't remember which), so I attended "Extending Tux Racer" which was actually quite fun...I think Tux enjoyed it as well. Some other seminar I was going to attend was also cancelled or moved (whichever the other one wasn't), and the last seminar of the day I felt like letting my brain rest and saw "Remastering Knoppix" which was good.

I tried what Russell did yesterday, Lunchtime Quake...good fun, I also discovered that I have a small head. Bizzarely (or maybe it proves my theory about Russell), there was nothing wrong with the little yellow gun, and it was working fine today.

Note: The "Russell and SE Linux" jokes are just that, jokes...and based on Russell reply to my email, he enjoyed them. SE Linux is a fantastic project...and if you don't know anything about it, then you should learn about it. See Russell's site for more info than you'll ever need on SE Linux

Linus & Linus had some more quotes today, but I didn't take photos of them...maybe tommorow.

These are the seminars that I thought were the best of LCA (I will be emailing this to the organisers for their collaboration of the three best of's for tommorow, unfortunately, miniconfs and tutorials are not able to participate, but I'm including them here anyway)

There, I think that should do it...

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel's lcaLIVE

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Interim Video is rendering RIGHT NOW!! 

Yes, that is correct, the interim video is rendering right now, once that has happened I will make a little index page for the ibiblio site (thanks to the lovely people at ibiblio.org) and then post the link here. For those of you who missed the announcement previously, this is an interim release of my seminar about small business network security...the audio isn't great, and I'll have to wait a month for official working audio, at that time, I will do some proper editing on the video (currently it just has titles and a couple bits of text, plus the camera vision...eventually it will have decent audio and relevant presentation slides in it.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel's lcaLIVE

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Another day... 

Yes, I know, I didn't get the video online last night, hopefully tonight.
I've had so much fun at lca so far that I am thinking of ways to get to New Zealand for lca2006...the obvious one is to submit an abstract...maybe something along the lines of "Helping Windows users migrate to Linux".

I didn't make it to the Asterisk seminar yesterday as I went to the DDRaid thing instead....that's where the pictures of the "dream machine" and the "big stick of pointyness" came from.

I'll give you my list of potential best of's later.

Today for me:
9:00 Andrew Morton
10:30 Morning tea
11:00 Cairo, making graphics easy to print.
12:00 Lunch
13:30 WorldForge
14:30 Rapid application development using C# under GNOME
15:30 Afternoon tea
16:00 Towards a small, efficient Linux hardware inventory system
17:00Module hot-swapping for Dynamic Update and reconfiguration in K42

Say hello to me, I don't bite

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel's lcaLIVE

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Thursday, April 21, 2005

At this rate 

At this rate we are going to end up with a new law firm "Linus, Linus, Tux & Associates"

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel's lcaLIVE

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Have I become a news source? 

Quite possibly... ZDNet obviously had a reporter at lca who reported on the Tridge event, whilst The Register, apart from some info about why Tridge was at LCA, and some history of the story have no more info than my blog in their story, they also mention attendees as a source... See the story here

btw, some new photos on the photo gallery

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel's lcaLIVE

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NEWS FLASH: Tridge describes bitkeeper at lca 

This morning at Linux.conf.au tridge described how he worked out the bitkeeper protocol.
Connect to a bitkeeper server with telnet and type "?" (without the quotes of course).

Tridge also refuted being a wizard...

On a slightly related note, Linus & Linus have new quotes today, and the lca vikings are preventing people from taking white mugs outside (pictures coming soon)

As for my seminar video, well I played with the audio last night, there are still large chunks of non-understandable speech, but it would probably do as an interim release...please note that the interim release will not have any presentation slides editied in, as I can't really tell when I brought them up. Once I have the microphone audio I will then be able to edit in the slides and use the camera audio as background noise. I will also be able at that stage to add titles and other important stuff, including creating a DVD and placing the iso online, which, thanks to the lovely people at ibiblio.org, will be available for download at a decent speed...

According to google alerts, this blog has now been indexed and is appearing in search results, googlebot has also visited the photo gallery, so hopefully that will appear on google shortly as well. Last night while editing the audio, I was watching my webserver spitting logs, and was glad to see that people are using the ubuntu cd's available from the registration desk at lca.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel's lcaLIVE

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The important question... 

To bring coffee or not to bring coffee, that is the question....and it is a very important one that I'm thinking about right now. I do prefer my coffee, and it gives me caffeine in thermos....ANSWER: Bring Coffee

Todays Lineup for me
9:00 Keynote with Tridge, listen to Samba, win a laptop
10:30 Morning Tea
11:00 Netem
12:00 Lunch (and likely blog update)
13:30 Linux Kernel Scalibilty
14:30 The awesomeness of Asterisk
15:30 Afternoon Tea
16:00 Virtualizing Linux on PPC64
17:00 Fighting Spammers with Exim and SA-Exim

If you bump into me during the day, say hello, I'm not as scary as I look.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel's lcaLIVE

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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Beginners Luck 

Wow, what a day...
Firstly we had the Conference Opening...Tux came in, and brought along Linus and his twin (who is also called Linus), bizzarely, Linus & Linus haven't been doing much except standing about watching food all day.

The organisers have arranged some great prizes, each day during the keynote talk they will give away an IBM Thinkpad, Tux almost ran away with one. (And you may now attend the keynotes...I'm not overly concerend about the laptops anymore...keep reading to find out why...hint, it has something to do with the title)

Recovering from HDD disasters was quite interesting....unfortunately due to the late night I've had recently, I almost fell asleep during it...I found a cure though...COFFEE

With myself awake I was able to concentrate on important stuff like what food was available...and something else...ummmmm....hmmmmmm...ah, that's right, the seminars...nearly forgot about them...

I discovered something about automatic doors today. You can go out, but you ain't coming back in...unless the door is nice and feels like opening the one you aren't standing in front of.

The other seminar I attended today was the Building User Interfaces With Video And 3D Graphics For Fun And Profit...some of it went straight over the top of my head, but all in all, it was an excellent seminar. Anyway, at the end of each seminar, one lucky person will win a 1GB flash drive, Wayne (the speaker for the seminar) couldn't decide who to give the flash drive to, so it was a game of Heads and Tails, something I've never played before...well, beginners luck it was, I won the flash drive :-D

One important bit of news...I can't get the microphone audio from my seminar for about a month...so if you are good with audio and want to have a go at cleaning up my audio, let me know.

Photos from this can be found at http://goggo.dyndns.org/gallery/Linux-Conf-Au-2005?page=3

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel's lcaLIVE

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And so the exciting LCA news starts... 

Tux paid us a visit, he managed to bring along Linus as well...two of him in fact, their is a third one that can walk and talk, but he hasn't turned up.

If you weren't at the welcome this morning, you might have missed out on winning a laptop...three (or was it four) names were called before the laptop was given away. There will be one given away each day at the keynote, so if you don't mind, don't attend them...the less people in attendance, the more chance I can win a laptop...although Tux does have a habit of trying to run away with them.

I have a picture of Tux, but I forgot my card reader, so I'll have to put it online tonight.

I forgot to mention yesterday, if you know nothing of SE Linux, the learn something about it...it is exciting, and possibly the best development in security of recent times.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel's lcaLIVE

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Anybody know where I can buy a box of sleep? 

This is definite insanity, even when I'm not writing stuff for seminars I can't get to bed at a human time...2:30 was the time I got to bed...Maybe the Acton Supermarket sells Sleep In A Box. (oops, if you took that the wrong way, please re-read it in conjunction with the title ;-)

Today is tutorial day, starting with the conference opening at 9am, then I plan on attending "Recovering from Hard Drive disasters" in T3...same room, and I think that was covered during the PyFlag stuff in the security miniconf...at least it will be in depth this time. That session includes morning tea from 11:00-11:30. After that session is Lunch @ 13:00-14:00. Then I plan on attending "Building User Interfaces With Video & 3D Graphics For Fun & Profit...again in T3, includes afternoon tea from 15:30-16:00, then concludes at 17:30, at which time I'll have to head home to take my doggie for a walkies.

Good news about the video of my seminar...I have secured some hosting with Ibiblio.org...very good news indeed.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel's lcaLIVE

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Photos...and audio problems... 

I have good news, and bad news.
Good news: I have updated my photo gallery, it now has many more photos of LCA, including various frames from my seminar video.
Bad News: The video of my seminar isn't quite the quality I expected, the video is fine, but the audio is BAD. It is semi audible, but their is too much echo in those conference rooms, and it has picked up an awful lot of noise from people moving about. On the plus side, it clearly picked up the audio of the best question I was asked, and did a reasonable job on most of the others...even the ones from down the front...pity it didn't pick up the audio of me, down the front, facing the camera with the same clarity.

This isn't all bad though, it is certainly a minor setback, but I will ask an organiser if I can get a copy of the audio from my seminar (the stuff the microphone picked up...which is an clear). I really don't see how this can be a problem, so once I have done that, I will be able to put together the video properly. I will probably use the camera audio as background audience noise...and give it some extra volume when something important is said.

If you attended my seminar (The small business network security one at 11am Tuesday in MCC T3, Security Miniconf) and asked a question, and remember what you asked, could you please drop my a line, the audio is semi-clear, and I can roughly work out some of them, but others I may have to summarise...all help is appreciated. In fact, if you attended and remember what was asked, your feedback would also be great. Comment here or email (My email address is floating about in numerous places, google search my name and follow the links!!...no spam please.)

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel's lcaLIVE

Enjoyed looking through your gallery, Samuel.
Just in case you want to do something similar in the future, you might like to look at Network Notepad (http://www.networknotepad.com/), it's free and a useful little app for drawing network diagrams.
OK, Thanks for that. I did have a program designed for a different task (Cisco Packet Tracer) which I was going to use, but the newer versions are annoying, and I've lost my old versions and I didn't feel like doing something strenuous at 1am.

Thnaks for the link...I'll be sure to give it a whirl.

(My comments don't require a "reporting for" line!!)
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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I spoke...and then needed coffee. 

Well, my seminar went according to plan...well almost, I did run ahead of schedule and had to slow down a bit, but other than that it was fine. There were about 50-60 people in the room, so all in all I had a decent audience. I will have a video out shortly (note to LCA organisers if you are reading this: The video is from my video camera, I decided to do it that way as it gives me control over editing etc...I beleive that you have some video thing going...and that's great, but for my purposes I like control)

One interesting thing that did come out of it. One person asked a question about how SmoothWall knows that an update is valid, at first I thought that this was a question about the md5 check during update installation...they then clarified and asked how SmoothWall knows that the MD5 checksum is valid, this is a good question. When you think about it, there is no way for it to be absolutely sure as it gets the update list by means of a http request. I will be passing their suggestion of ssl/certificates on to the dev team.

I have found the computer terminal room, which is now a compulsory for me as the person I was going to borrow a laptop from forgot to bring it...no Tux Racer during seminars I guess!

I was planning on having some self vanity and suggesting my seminar for one of the "best of" repeats on Saturday, but there is no way I could do that again this week, for one thing, I didn't need my notes as much as I expected, and as such, a lot of it was ad-lib, I knew what I was going to say, but never ran to the script properly. Apart from that, it was physically exhausting, I'm glad I had my coffee with me!!

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel's lcaLIVE

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Remember I said I had to print my notes for my seminar...well, that was fun...I like printing double sided across the network, print pages 1;3;5, good, print pages 2;4;6, good, turn off computer I'm not using, printer makes funny noise....yep, I turned off the print server...now page two is double printed for most of it. So if you're in my seminar today, expect me to squint at my notes!!

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel's lcaLIVE

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Gaaaargh!!! Finished!!! 

It is 2:25am and I have finally finished preparing my LCA presentation...for my benifit I have mirrored my OOo file on my webserver just in case the CD dies...if you want a sneak peek (exclusive to Samuel's lcaLIVE) then take a loot at http://goggo.dyndns.org/lcaOOo2.odp for an OOo 2.0 beta file or http://goggo.dyndns.org/lcaOOo2.sxi for a OOo 1.x file.
Note that this is only an exclusivity to lcaLIVE until the end of the seminar (midday GMT+10) when I start releasing files publicly.
Oops, forgot to print my notes....now printing...

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel's lcaLIVE

I Must be really old in dog years!!
Samuel's lcaLIVE http://smoothwallsamuel.blogspot.com
Samuel @ LCA2005 http://lca2005.linux.org.au/security_miniconf/abstracts.html
Protect your network www.smoothwall.org

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Monday, April 18, 2005


Well, the coments for this blog (there were none, so I created one) weren't appearing on the main page...there wasn't even anything to tell you if there were any comments...pathetic template I guess.
Anyway, I decided to update the template...this *should* have been a longish process, choose a new template, add all my links back in, decide I don't like the template and start all over again. Instead I just copied the comments code from the permalink section on to the main page section of the template and added a few line breaks.

To be honest, I like this template, I like the colour scheme, it is just has some painful default settings. Oh well, I feel like I've acomplished something :-)

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel's lcaLIVE

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And so ends the first day 

Well, all in all, an interesting day, no hassles (except for working out where I was on the blasted map...it does help when you remember the correct building number..."That creek shouldn't be there!"). Found a nice coffee place 30 seconds from the LCA venue (out the *other* door) that filled my LCA mug for $2.80...a whole 30c better than the other place that is a lot further away.

The automatic doors are odd, simply wouldn't open for me from inside...they opened for everybody else, but not for me. Ended up using the other *other* door (that is not a typo).

During a pyFlag seminar I had an idea for my own seminar, only minor, but perhaps even a potential mod for SmoothWall.

This is Samuel's lcaLIVE, and I should be updating it more often during the day, but at the moment I don't have the facilities. I should be borrowing a laptop tommorow, which should be useful and help make this a bit more "LIVE".

SELinux is very interesting, and possibly one of the more useful things you could use, as I discovered today, and OWASP is also quite interesting...not overly applicable to me, but certainly a very good guide to securing stuff.

Ever since setting up a personal webserver I have been driven insane by the over simplicity of awstats, it is functional, but it has no real power. pyFlag on the other hand, would do a much better job of web server log analysis (or other log analysis or hdd forensics), and it prodcues pie graphs as well, which are much better for representing proprotions of totals than those bar graphs used by awstats.

Tonight I have to finish preparing my LCA seminar for tommorow.

It appears that there will not be a live video stream tommorow, however things later in the week probably will be. I guess I could try twisting somebodies arm over it, but it's not that big a deal, they are all being filmed and should be available online later in the week, and I'll have my own video of my seminar online ASAP.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel's lcaLIVE

Testing comments thing...nothing to see here!
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The morning of the first day of the LCA 

To the tune of "The Twelve Days Of Christmas"
"Twas the morning of the first day of the LCA
And Samuel is happy today.
The days of the Linux conference are here
And I live rather near..."
OK OK I'll stop singing...but it is official, I live 20 minutes away from LCA by foot.
Today I plan on spening most of my day at the Security Miniconf which should be quite good, I might also try and meet up with an old work colleague who is running one of the other miniconfs.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel's lcaLIVE

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Seminar speech ready, presentation still to come. 

Well, it is 1:20am and I've cut down the speech to something more useable, and I'll adapt it depending on timing (that could be fun with the OOo presentation).
Anyways, my "I work better in a slightly sleep deprived state" mood is now disappearing and bed looks nice, I was hoping to have the OOo presentation done tonight, looks like I'll have to do it after the days proceedings at LCA. Stay tuned for more news and info.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel's lcaLIVE

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Seminar is too long 

Michael was right, I'm going to have to shorten it. My talking went for an hour, I need to get it down to about 45 minutes to allow time for the Q&A session. There is some stuff I can delete, so we'll see how we go.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel's lcaLIVE

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Sunday, April 17, 2005

Practice Run 

Yes, I know that I am probably dreadfully late with this considering that it is only 1 day, 11 hours and 55 minutes until my seminar, but I am now going to have my first proper practice run.
I have created the outline notes and printed them, now I disappear to an empty room and pretend to be delivering the finshed product to an audience. Once I'm done I'll make and neccessary changes and then produce the slideshow (in Open Office 2.0 Beta of course!)

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel's lcaLIVE

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Me & My Conference Bag 

The items:
Front: Discount Linux books, Linux.Conf.Au balloon, Mastering Requirements Process booklet, See Yourself In Canberra booklet.
Furhter back: IT Security In Government booklet, VOIP World booklet, Builder Magazine, Accelerate Your Application Performance booklet.
Furhter back: Some bizzare network cable extender (I think), HP multipurpose tool, Linux.Conf.Au handbook, Pen (Blue), Spirax note pad 200 pages, Multi Page Linux.Conf.Au programme, single page minituare Linux.Conf.Au programme, Sun Developers Toolkit DVD (trial versions of Sun software and more).
Back: Me, ANU Campus Map, Name Tag, Discount voucher for Purple Pickle Cafe, Linux.Conf.Au nametag holder, Insulated travel mug with screw-on lid and LCA logo, Linux.Conf.Au conference bag.
Background: Linux.Conf.Au shirt

My photo gallery is now the home of Samuel's lcaLIVE photos!!

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel's lcaLIVE

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Always look at the ground! 

Well, I set off for LCA check-in just after 3pm today. I didn't bring a map as I had viewed the map on the LCA website enough times to know where I was going....or so I thought. After a few bendy roads and some carparks that "you just can't see on a map" I found some buildings, and quite a few people...seemed good, then I realised that it might not be such a good thing, I spotted the ANU Drill Hall Gallery, a people magnet, suddenly "Is this the right street" was going through my head. I turned left, went down the road and found a construction site...and extension of some faculty, "uh oh". Ahead of that was the copland building and conference theatre, "that looks familiar, but why doesn't the road continue, and shouldn't this road be over there???"...Turned right and walked along a path...A sign telling me which way to go to the Manning Clark Centre...walking up the stairs, it's not that building, it's not that building either...ahhhh, there it is.
It appears that all photos of it are taken from the other direction, which is wonderful, as it provides no landmarks whatsoever.

Anyways I went in an collected my bag of goodies (aka "shwag") which I will put a photo up for shortly. On the way out I spotted somebody that looked familiar from a video of LCA2004, google shirt, tallish, yes, I think it was Marc Merlin, I could be mistaken, but it certainly looked like him.

On the way out I noticed something, on the ground written in red "Linux.Conf.Au" and an arrow pointing to the venue...should have looked at the ground

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel's lcaLIVE

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Welcome to Samuel's lcaLIVE 

Greetings internet traveller, welcome to my blog, the official site of Samuel's lcaLIVE.
Over the next week or so, Samuel's lcaLIVE will bring you all the latest news and information relating to me and Linux.Conf.Au 2005

Today is Sunday 17 April 2005 and the first day of the week of LCA, I will be going to the venue today to complete my registration. I could do that tommorow morning, but I expect that there will be a large amount of people doing that tommorow morning. While I am down there I will try to find out some information about live video/audio of the event.

Today I am putting the final touches on my seminar which will occur at 11am on Tuesday, stay tuned for more details.

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