Leadership Summed Up

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.

-commonly attributed to Antoine de Saint Exupéry

I saw this most recently in Neil deGrasse Tyson’s testimony to Congress. I think it applies very broadly.

People aren’t machines, and actually react very poorly to detailed mindless instructions. But give them a goal, a vision, something they believe in and think they can do, and you’ll find that you only need to do minor direction to accomplish those goals.

You got your tinkertoy in my lincoln log

I apparently am lacking in imagination. It never occurred to me that all my childhood construction sets: Lego, Lincoln Log, Tinker Toys should work together. So my mind was completely blown when I saw this:

Ever wanted to connect your Legos and Tinkertoys together? Now you can  and much more. Announcing the Free Universal Construction Kit: a set of adapters for complete interoperability between 10 popular construction toys.

I mean wow, just wow.

Here comes the Leap Second

The tzdata update which includes the leap second for Ubuntu just came down the pipe:

Version 2012b-0ubuntu0.11.10:

* New upstream release 2012b:
– Update DST rules for Chile (LP: #948328), Armenia, Samoa, Cuba,
Falkland.
– Fix historic DST rules for Canada.
– Add leap seconds for June 2012.

This is why you need to apply updates regularly, and make sure you are on a supported distro. I’m very curious how mobile is going to handle this, as this will be the first leap second addition any of the major Smart Phone OSes has ever had to deal with.

What’s your Google footprint

Last night, after the Drupal Meetup, we were having many interesting conversations at the bar. One started as a question about why I did so much open source activity. There are a lot of answers there, though mostly at this point open source is just in my DNA. If I do something, I open it, because that’s what I now do.

But I posed as a return question for everyone to think about what their Google footprint was. If you search for your name, what comes up? how much of that is you?

“Sean Dague” in google returns: About 652,000 results (0.14 seconds). I am sure 99% of that is me.

Page 1 is (in order): my blog, my twitter account, my linked in profile, my directory entry in android market, a comment I wrote on greenmonk blog, my github, my old (long dead blog), my quora account, my meetup profile, my CPAN account. Some of that is current and used, some of it isn’t so current, but because google ranks the communities important, it bubbles up.

If you start going through pages you’ll see contributions to projects I’ve done, bugs filed, mailing list posts, presentations at conferences, retreads of my listings in twitter and android market on 3rd party sites. A public life on the internet that dates back to about 2001 (there may be earlier stuff, but that’s when I started being consciously active in the open source world).

I can live with that, it’s a reasonable picture of who I am, that future friends, associates, employers can all use and see for background. The amount of content I put out on my blog means that it will remain hit one for my name. It also means that I’m always on the front page of “Dague” in google as well. Having an uncommon name is actually an incredible boon in the 21st century if you want to build a reputation. Something that I hated as a kid, is something I’m very pleased about now.

Much like your credit score, your google footprint isn’t ever completely in your control. But you can be very deliberate about putting out content, in code, comments, emails, blog posts, public social network artifacts, which will shape that footprint to be some representation of you.

Take a minute today an look at your Google footprint, and see what picture the internet gets of you.

I’d love to hear stories, challenges, or completely new ideas in comments, so please post. And just think, that will also add to and shape your Google footprint.

My Unity Tweaks

Last night our MHVLUG meeting was a Desktop Shootout, where people showed off their Linux desktop environments what they liked and what they didn’t. I went last, presenting Unity, and got a few good questions and comments about how I did things.

White listing the Tray

I have a number of apps (RedShift GUI and an IBM firewall thing being prime examples) that minimize to the system tray. Under default Unity this means there is no UI for them. So I’ve done a broad white listing all all applications in the tray. It definitely looks a little uglier now, but at least it works. 🙂

Alt Tab

The default alt tab behavior drives me nuts, because it collapses 2 chrome windows into a single item. So you can’t quickly use it to flip between 2 browser windows. This is provided by the Unity compiz plugin. Fortunately you can just load up one of the other compiz switchers instead.

Run ccsm (Compiz Config Settings Manager) and scroll down to the Window Manangement section. You’ll want to enable “Application Switcher” and configure Next Window (All windows) key stroke there.

If there are other questions you think off, please just ask in comments, and I’ll update the post with the answers.

Never give up, never surrender

Late today I worked out a Thunderbird RSS issue I’d been having for years (at least 5). It’s the kind of problem that I come back to every six months or so, and this time it got triggered because someone closed the bug I filed.

It was a really good feeling. On the way home the thing that came to mind was just the phrase: “never give up, never surrender“.

On to the next problem.