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Dan McDougall
Worked at Liftoff Software
Lives in Jacksonville, FL
123 followers|89,430 views
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Security Engineer
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  • Liftoff Software
    CEO
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Tagline
Having someone to blame is never an effective strategy.
Introduction
I'm the CEO and Chief Engineer at Liftoff Software.  I'm also a security geek and an open source software developer.  Here's a few things I'm responsible for:
Bragging rights
Winner of the $200,000 RouterStation UI/Firmware Challenge
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Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
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Jacksonville, FL
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Dan McDougall

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The great thing about quadcopters is that they're so simple!
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Impressive catastrophic soda can failure.

It exploded as I grabbed it from the fridge. Thanks to my cat-like reflexes I stayed dry but I can't say the same of the fridge! Took a while to clean up three mess.
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Need to cool it with the powerball hand excercises.
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One of our friends decided to take a nap in the front door
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Opened up my Prius hood to put in some windshield washer fluid and had a surprise waiting for me. "Awe, rats!" Took me quite a while to repair the wiring that was chewed through.
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Ubuntu on Acer Aspire S5: It works but you'll need the following bits of information:

The 12.10 installation disk won't work.  There's a bug in the kernel that causes corruption with the HD 4000 graphics driver. See:  http://www.linux-archive.org/debian-kernel/711401-bug-690198-linux-image-3-2-0-4-686-pae-screen-corruption-flickering-acer-aspire-s5.html  Use the 12.04.1 Alternate install disk (try this link to download it: http://mirror.anl.gov/pub/ubuntu-iso/DVDs/ubuntu/12.04.1/release/ubuntu-12.04.1-alternate-amd64+mac.iso).  I tried to use the 'nomodeset' option (F6 in the installer) but while it initially appeared to work it eventually hung with a black screen.

You'll need to go into the BIOS (F2 at boot) and disable the fake BIOS RAID.  Change it to "AHCI".  Also make sure that you enable the boot menu (F12) so you can select your boot media (I used a USB DVD ROM).

Once you've got the Alternate installer running make sure you tell it not to attempt to detect software RAID (the correct answer is, "no").  For some reason if you select, "yes" it won't be able to detect your hard drives and partitions.

Here's how I configured my S5:

* Deleted all existing partitions.
* Created a software (Linux kernel) RAID 0 spanning both 128GB SSD drives (your S5 might have two 64GB drives).
* Created a 5GB swap partition (so I can hibernate)
* Created an ext4 partition to hold / (I'm not one for separate /boot, /home etc)

Note about wifi:  I couldn't get wifi to work in the installer.  Not a big deal though...  Wifi will work fine once you boot into Ubuntu "for real."

Once I successfully booted into Ubuntu (after installation) I verified that everything (important) works as it should:  Wifi, graphics, etc.  In fact, I'm staring at a completed "apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade" right now.

Next I'll be attempting the in-place upgrade to Ubuntu 12.10 under the hopes that I won't run into that HD 4000 graphics corruption bug.  If I do have that problem I'll probably just run with the old kernel (staying at 12.10) until it is fixed (yes you can do that!).

I'll make another post with the results of the upgrade soon.

UPDATE: After "apt-get dist-upgrade" in 12.04.1 and rebooting I'm getting the graphics corruption problem.  I'm going to attempt to upgrade to 12.10 to see if that fixes it.  If not I'll just switch to that original kernal.

UPDATE 2: After fooling around I was able to work around the display corruption problem by suspending (close laptop) and resuming (open it back up).  Currently searching the Ubuntu bugs to make sure this has been reported.  If not I'll report it myself.

UPDATE 3: Some time in the past month (today is 2012-01-23) the Ubuntu devs fixed the "video corruption on boot issue."  They probably backported the fix from later kernel versions.  I noticed the problem was fixed when I rebooted my laptop for the first time in about a month last night.  Good job Ubuntu!

For reference, the Thunderbolt port and Bluetooth still aren't working.  Can't say I care much.  Based on some (brief) research I suspect they'll both be fixed in the next version of Ubuntu which is due in April (13.04).  If you care, that is.

UPDATE 4/28/2013:  I did an in-place upgrade to Ubuntu 13.04 when it came out a few days ago (do-release-upgrade) and everything is working fine with the exception of the Fn brightness control.  That key combination is no longer recognized for some reason (not even by xev).  Not a big deal though--I'll figure out what's wrong, fix it, and submit a patch to the Ubuntu devs ('cuz I know my way around Linux input =).

I am also happy to report that Bluetooth works now!  The Thunderbolt port does not work via hotplug but will probably work with coldplug (plugged in on boot).  I will test it with my Apple Thunderbolt-to-Ethernet adapter soon.

EDIT: I can confirm that the Apple Thunderbolt gigabit Ethernet adapter works if you have it plugged in on boot (coldplug).  However, if you unplug it later the kernel will still think it is connected and you'll get all sorts of wacky errors in 'dmesg'.  "modprobe -r tg3" makes it calm down.

UPDATE 8/08/2013: A recent kernel update within Ubuntu 13.04 has broken the power saving feature of the ath9k driver when used with the AR9462 chipset (used by the Aspire S5).  So if you're like me and had:

    /sbin/iwconfig wlan0 power on

...in a script inside /etc/laptop-mode/batt-start/ (mine is named acer_aspire_s5.sh) you'll want to comment it out for now:

    #/sbin/iwconfig wlan0 power on

It shouldn't have too much of an impact on battery life as the power saving feature of that chipset isn't all that great to begin with (CPU and display are the most important factors).
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And what about vsphere client on ubuntu ,Wine only ?
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Dan McDougall

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I recently pushed commits to GateOne that enable setting your own custom font and font size in terminals (independent of the global font settings and themes).  I also pre-loaded Gate One with loads of great, free monospace fonts from Google's Web Font Directory as well as Red Hat's Liberation Mono and Adobe's Source Code Pro fonts.

Here's a screenshot of the new settings (Liberation Mono is being used in the background via 'top'):  http://i.imgur.com/3TR8ghR.png

Another important feature I added was the ability to set your font to just 'monospace'.  Why is this important?  If you choose this option Gate One will use whatever monospace font you've configured in your browser.  So if you want to use something exotic you are free to do so!  Just configure your browser to use that font and tell Gate One to use 'monospace'.

Try it out:

    git clone https://github.com/liftoff/GateOne.git     cd GateOne; sudo python setup.py install

*More semi-interesting details:*  In order for this feature to work I had to write a woff_info.py (generic) Python module to examine the metadata included in WOFF font files so I could extract things like the "Family Name" (e.g. 'Anonymous Pro'), and "Subfamily Name" (e.g. 'bold') from the SNFT table data included in the file(s).  Before this exercise I had no idea what "SNFT table data" was or that such information could even be extracted from WOFF fonts.

Thanks to the success of the woff_info.py module you can now just drop whatever .woff file(s) you want in your gateone/applications/terminal/static/fonts directory and they'll magically show up for users to select in their preferences (no restart necessary!).  It is even smart about detecting and (properly) using the correct .woff file for specific "subfamilies" (aka styles) of fonts.

So for example, if your terminal output includes bold/italic text the browser will be instructed--via carefully constructed CSS--to use the 'bold' or 'italic' version of the font where appropriate (if available).

I searched the web before I added this feature looking for examples of other open source web apps that let you select your own fonts in this way and came up with nothing.  Sadly, this is all too common for a lot of the features I've added to Gate One over the years.  Blazing new trails is a lot of hard work and discovery!

Hopefully Gate One will be the new gold standard for user font choice in web applications!  The fact that I was able to get this working says a lot about how far the web has come as an application platform.  Just a few years ago setting your own fonts inside of web applications would have been impossible!
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DIY laser projector alignment test. Parts list: Arduino (Olimex 32u4 right now but maybe a Diavolino later), DVD player motor, $0.32 red laser LED from eBay, a number of small wooden discs (circle base with a constructed cylinder in the middle), 8 1/2 inch craft mirrors, 8 tiny wood screws, a hall effect sensor to measure RPMs, a small magnet taken from a broken Magnetix toy (just one piece, actually), and lots of hot glue. Mounted inside cheap plastic bin with a few small prototyping boards and ribbon cables to keep things neat & tidy.

BTW: I love hot glue!

More pictures to come (still working out kinks in the software). 
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Just wanted to say that I'm surprised you can't just order pre-assembled things like this! It's made of the cheapest of cheap parts and it only only requires one (yes just one!) Arduino pin to control. It's the equivalent to a 128 x 8 LED display!

EDIT: Actually two pins since you need one to read the hall effect sensor. I also want to add that it required no resistors! The internal pull-up resistors of the Arduino were all I needed.
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Picked up this gem for $2 at the flea market today.  It is in flawless condition--it even came pre-loaded with staples!  It appears to be <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002XJKW7M/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B002XJKW7M&linkCode=as2&tag=youknowwhatcom">this model</a> which (if you click that link) you can see sells for ~$24 when new.

I've always wanted something like this so I could re-staple pages that have become separated from children's books (regular staplers are just an inch or two too short).  I can also call upon my inner Crocodile Dundee, "You call that a stapler?  No.  *THIS* is a stapler!"
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I ordered that $250 ARM Samsung Chromebook a while back so I could use it to test Gate One on Chrome OS.  Now that I've spent some real time with it I have two things to report:

1) Gate One runs amazingly well.
2) For the price, this laptop is amazing.

Now I know why it is the #1 selling laptop on Amazon.
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Yes I am. It is great when I'm using my phone and notice that someone is wrong on the internet. It's so much quicker to grab the Chromebook than to unplug my primary laptop so I can lay out an eloquent smackdown. The keyboard seems to be holding up to my righteously raging fingers quite well!
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Jolly the elf had some fun with the Tinker Toys last night!
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