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Luke Chadwick
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Luke Chadwick

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Hi <Insert Recruiters Name>,
  Thank you, but I am not looking for roles at this time. If I was, I'm well connected with others within the Ruby community and would not need the services of a recruiter. I'm sure you will discover at some point that this is the case for most people within the Ruby on Rails community (perhaps this tidbit will save you some wasted time).

In any case, cold calling for Ruby on Rails developers tells me you know almost nothing about Ruby and associated technologies. Which does not encourage me that a relationship would be beneficial.

For example, tell me what you know about the following (googling is cheating):

Agile
        Pair programming
        Card walls
        Iterations
        TDD/BDD
        Getto Testing
        Redis / MongoDB
        Chef / Puppet

Maybe, just maybe, if you can prove you know more than nothing about the above subjects, I'll connect with you on LinkedIn.


- Luke
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Luke Chadwick

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Love this quote:

"For me, coding is a form of self-expression. The company controls the most effective means of self-expression I have. This is unacceptable to me as an individual, therefore I must leave." - Justin Frankel
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Luke Chadwick

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I defended against a #zergrush on Google Search.
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Luke Chadwick

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It's about time we all secured our gmail accounts.
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Luke Chadwick

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Technology: What ails the Linux desktop? Part I.

The basic failure of the free Linux desktop is that it's, perversely, not free enough.

There's been a string of Linux desktop quality problems, specific incidents reported by +Linas Vepstas , +Jon Masters , +Linus Torvalds and others, and reading the related G+ discussions made me aware that many OSS developers don't realize what a deep hole we are in.

The desktop Linux suckage we are seeing today - on basically all the major Linux distributions - are the final symptoms of mistakes made 10-20 years ago - the death cries of a platform.

Desktop Linux distributions are trying to "own" 20 thousand application packages consisting of over a billion lines of code and have created parallel, mostly closed ecosystems around them. The typical update latency for an app is weeks for security fixes (sometimes months) and months (sometimes years) for major features. They are centrally planned, hierarchical organizations instead of distributed, democratic free societies.

What did the (mostly closed source) competition do? It went into the exact opposite direction: Apple/iOS and Google/Android consist of around a hundred tightly integrated core packages only, managed as a single well-focused project. Those are developed and QA-ed with 10 times the intensity of the 10,000 packages that Linux distributions control. It is a lot easier to QA 10 million lines of code than to QA 1000 million lines of code.

To provide variety and utility to users they instead opened up the platform to third party apps and made sure this outsourcing process works smoothly: most new packages are added with a few days of latency (at most a few weeks), app updates are pushed with hours of latency (at most a few days) - basically it goes as fast as the application project wishes to push it. There's very little practical restrictions on the apps - they can enter the marketplace almost automatically.

In contrast to that, for a new package to enter the major Linux desktop projects needs many months of needless bureaucracy and often politics.

As a result the iOS and Android platforms were able to grow to hundreds of thousands of applications and will probably scale fine beyond a million of apps.

(Yes, we all heard of the cases where Apple or Google banned an app. Don't listen to what they say but see what they do: there's literally hundreds of thousands of apps on both of the big app markets - they are, for all practical purposes, free marketplaces from the user's point of view.)

The Linux package management method system works reasonably well in the enterprise (which is a hierarchical, centrally planned organization in most cases), but desktop Linux on the other hand stopped scaling 10 years ago, at the 1000 packages limit...

Desktop Linux users are, naturally, voting with their feet: they prefer an open marketplace over (from their perspective) micro-managed, closed and low quality Linux desktop distributions.

This is Part I of a larger post. You can find the second post here, which talks about what I think the solution to these problems would be:

https://plus.google.com/u/0/109922199462633401279/posts/VSdDJnscewS
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Luke Chadwick

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I bought a digital video download today that required a video player from Leaping Brain. As usual, the proprietary player wasn't great and to transfer it to my iPhone I'd need another proprietary player. Ugh. But I browsed around and found that the video had been downloaded into a hidden directory as a bunch of .mov files. Great, except none of the files would play.

It turned out the actual player, launched from their compiled app, was a Python wrapper around some VLC libraries. Nothing funny going on, as far as I could tell, but when I tried to launch the player directly, nothing happened. The compiled app was modifying the .mov files right before they were loaded into the player, and then reverting the file on disk. According to http://leapingbrain.com/mod-machine/faq/:

 "We apply our BrainTrust™ proprietary video encryption to your movies before we upload them to our servers. If someone ever was able to gain access to your content, the files would be useless and unplayable, because they are stored in a scrambled, encrypted format. Once downloaded to the user’s hard drive, the files are still encrypted and only readable via the MOD Machine Player by a legitimate owner. We are not aware of a better DRM scheme than ours. Where Windows Media DRM is easily crackable, and doesn’t run on Macs, BrainTrust™ works great on Windows 8, Vista, Windows XP and Mac, and is virtually uncrackable."

Virtually uncrackable? Well, since they load the file from a Python script, it's easy to make a copy of the "decrypted" file before it's reverted. Having done so, I was curious to see the encryption scheme. By comparing the binary files, I discovered the "proprietary video encryption" algorithm: for the first 15kB, each 1kB block has its initial bytes xor'd with the string "RANDOM_STRING". That's the "scrambled, encrypted format" that leaves these files "useless and unplayable".
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Luke Chadwick

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"You can't effectively publish online without the help of other people, and they're not very interested in helping anonymous people, presumably because the ratio of trouble to profit isn't good enough"
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I've been doing a lot of thinking about Open Data. I've come to the conclusion that Factual isn't really what it promises to be as far as an Open Data platform.

Seems like just another opportunity to trick community members into building something that can be sold.
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Luke Chadwick

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Quite ticked off with Google+ because it uploaded photos that I took on my phone (without asking). It was mostly a problem because they were photos I'd taken of work whiteboards.

If you have an android phone then be sure to turn off 'Instant Upload' in the Google+ application preferences.
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Had the same issue with Nicole's phone burned to 3GB of data in a week or less eat her credit !!! cost us $40 for more credit,
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Luke Chadwick

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Technology: What ails the Linux desktop? Part II.

And yes, I hear you say "but desktop Linux is free software!". The fact is, free software matters to developers and organizations primarily, but on the user side, the free code behind Linux desktops is immaterial if free software does not deliver benefits such as actual freedom of use.

So, to fix desktop Linux we need a radically different software distribution model: less of a cathedral, more of a bazaar. The technology for that is arguably non-trivial:

- it would require a safe sandbox enforced both on the kernel and on the user-space side. Today installing a package is an all-or-nothing security proposition on most desktop Linux distributions. Users want to be free to install and run untrusted code.

- totally flat package dependencies (i.e. a package update does not forcibly pull in other package updates - content duplication can be eliminated at a different [for example file system] level).

- a guaranteed ABI platform going forward (once a package is installed it will never break or require forced updates again). Users want to be free of update pressure from the rest of the system, if they choose to.

- a mesh network of bandwidth. Users want to be free of central dependencies.

- a graph of cryptographically strong application reputation and review/trust status, so that different needs of security can be served: a corporate server requires different package credentials as someone trying out a new game on a smartphone. This kind of reputation system allows people to go with the mass (and thus seek protection in numbers), or go with authority (and thus seek protection by delegated expertise) - or a mix of these concepts.

The Android market comes close functionally I think, except the truly distributed mesh network and structured reputation architecture, and it's not FOSS either, of course.

I see elements of this thinking in the Gnome3 extensions 'market' - but it does not really handle security nor does it guarantee a stable platform.

Free software has stupidly followed closed source practices 10-15 years ago and we never seriously challenged those flawed closed source software distribution and platform assumptions. Today closed software has taken a leap and FOSS will have to react or go extinct. I think FOSS software will eventually react - I think free software is ultimately in the position to deliver such software distribution technology.

[ This is part two of the article, the first part can be found at: https://plus.google.com/u/0/109922199462633401279/posts/HgdeFDfRzNe ]
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Geek since birth. DevOp. Ruby Developer. Lover. Idealist.
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Had to get an SSD replaced under warranty for a Macbook Air. Tried to take it to Chadstone, where we bought it, but they wanted us to make an appointment to get it assessed several days in the future. I took it to MYMAC the following morning, and they had it checked in for repair a few minutes later. The lady at the service counter was friendly, efficient and knowledgable. One business day later they sent me an SMS letting me know that the computer was ready to pick up. Took only a few minutes to collect. I'd still be waiting for an appointment at the Apple store. Will buy my next Mac from here instead of Chadstone.
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Santucci's is by far my favourite cafe in Melbourne. The Yarra Valley Feta & Scrambled Eggs is second to none as far as breakfasts go.The staff are friendly and the coffee is good!
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