Friday, September 30, 2011

"Open Source" to Drugs and Alcohol

[Chief B-Day Bill and I before
the tipi ceremonies]
First the K's and C's...

The Drug - Kalumet

If you translate the words on the polish Wikipedia page, you will see that a kalumet is what many people refer to as a peace pipe.  The English page translates this word to calumet with a C.  Traditionally, smoking this ceremonial pipe sealed a covenant or treaty.  A common material for calumet pipe bowls is red pipestone (catlinite).  If you search the internet you may even find a pipe stem made by an Apache (Native American group).

[Making Engineering version
of "Rocket Fuel"]
The Alcohol - Karaf

If you translate the words on the dutch Wikipedia page, you will see that a karaf changes to the word Carafe with a C (and an e), which is a decorative bottle.  If you then hit the English link on the left hand side of the page the word changes to decanter, a container used for the decantation of liquid such as wine.  A decanter is used to keep the sediment from a liquid such as wine in the bottom of the the container instead of in your drink.  Unlike the "Rocket Fuel" container pictured to the left, there were many things floating in those drinks.  I'm not sure if there is any real distinction between a carafe and a decanter, but whenever I see something in Stokes labeled with either, they look the same to me.

Before you start thinking I have an interesting life filled with Kalumet's and Karaf's, I'll tell you what this post is really about now.

I signed up for Nabble and gave a PMC (Project Management Committee) from the ASF (Apache Software Foundation) my non-binding +1 vote for the acceptance of Kamulet to join the Apache Incubator.  And no, Apache isn't a native at this point, it consists of many open source projects like Kalumet, which is no longer a physical pipe...kept in a incubator?  Voting lead me to a senior architect of Talend and before I knew it, I was listed as a Initial Committer for the Apache Incubator project, Kalumet.  If this post is starting to sound Greek (Polish or Dutch) to you, see how the ASF works.  Shortly after I faxed along the ICLA (Individual Contributor License Agreement), my name showed up on the ASF Committers Index.  A day or so later Apache's secretary emailed me to let me know they acknowledged the receipt of my ICLA, which was filed in the ASF records.
For those of you who have wondered what the beginning of an open source project looks like, these are some baby steps I've taken:
  • Installed a JDK (Standard Edition Java Development Kit) the SE (Standard Edition).  To read more on what a JDK is, see Wikipedia's JDK page.
  • Installed Maven - According to their site, "Apache Maven is a software project management and comprehension tool".  More information is listed on their what is Maven page.
  • Setup JAVA_HOME, MVN_HOME, and PATH environment variables.  For those of you who do not know, MVN stands for Maven.
  • Installed TortoiseSVN - A Windows Apache Subversion client that integrates itself into windows explorer and is used for source control.  You can "checkout" files in a project (such as an Apache project) into a windows folder using this tool.  In my case, the first project I checked out was Karaf, just to see what an Apache project would look like. According to Apache's site Karaf "is a small OSGi based runtime which provides a lightweight container onto which various components and applications can be deployed"
  • Installed Pidgeon - I was invited to join the Kalumet community channel (catchy).  So I installed this universal chat client that (more importantly) supports the IRC chat network.  It is located on a server called on the #Kalumet channel.
Other then that I am catching up on buzz words that are mentioned around this post like many of you are probably doing right now after reading this post.

I'd like to thank a Karaf PMC member for bringing this opportunity to me :)

[Waiting at MUN for the movie to
start. Image by Jamie Goodyear]
In other Geek news, if you haven't heard of PHD Comics (where PHD stands for Piled Higher and Deeper) I recommend you see the comics.  This month, MUN had a showing of The PHD Movie.  I enjoyed the fact that the characters actually looked like the drawn characters.  Read more about the movie experience from I Code by the Sea.  But for fans who missed it I'd like to add that you already saw the punch lines, as the movie was essentially the first part of the comics.  If you'd like your campus to show the movie,  find out how.

This is me, take it or leave it NL.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Extremez

[Pocket with NL Extremez at the
Clarenville Drag-way]
Despite the title, I'm not going to rant about the NL Extremez motorcycle community, though I did have a great time racing them at the Clarenville Dragway and doing the Ride for Sight.  The first part of this post is more "car driven".  I apologize for the pun, it's late.  I was never a car fan until I realized how upset I was after someone modded my Lottus without letting me Grand Turismo.  First thing's first, never mess with a girl's Lottus.

Then this September I started noticing cars, race cars, lots of them.  Now, it could have been because all the Newfie race car drivers decided to go for a spin at the same time, or because of the fact it was during the 10th Newfoundland Targa (54 cars finished). For those of you who don't know about Targa Newfoundland according to their site, it is the first and only event of it's kind to be held in North America.  This September, a multimillion dollar, one of a kind, Ferrari Enzo, plunged into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Marystown, Newfoundland.  The owner (God love him) handled it quite well.  Read the CTV news article.

[Ferrari Enzo crashes into the ocean]

I was discussing this event to a owner of a Porche 911 and he started talking about his to-do list for his trip to Vegas.  In case you are one of the many people who suck at being a tourist like me, I want to let you in on several unique maybe-not-so-obvious experiences that you can have if you ever decide to travel to Vegas.  I'll also mention several local alternatives.

[Racing an opponent at the
Clarenville Dragway]
#1. Locally, you can pull off a quarter mile on the Clarenville Drag-way, wait for Targa Newfoundland and chuck out a lot of dough, or pull some illegal stunts elsewhere.  So, why don't you race against your friends in a Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porche, Audi, or other fancy car of your choice on the Las Vegas Speedway with the Exotic Racing school.  Yes, you can do this.  Yes, you can go fast.  Watch the video below to see the track.

[Flying in Australia]
I'm a bit of a thrill seeker so I admit, I was a little envious, and he couldn't stop there.  He knew I flew 48 hours one Christmas morning to meet a girl my age from Australia whom I've never met in person before but use to MUD with a copious amount when I was 13.  He knew that new years day, my last day in Australia, she dropped me off in a field and said she'd be back later.  In the field was a shack.  I walked to the shack and people were inside prepping to drop me out of a airplane flying over 14,000 feet in the air.  This brings us to his second event.  He sent me an email with the subject line "it's not quite a skydive but it's the best I can do...".  Inside the email was a link to the video below.

#2. Jump off the Stratosphere with SkyJump Las Vegas.  If you YouTube this, you will get many entertaining reactions of people taking their very first jump from the SkyJump's wrist camera which can be supplied during the event.  You can do this during the day or night.  For those who cannot make it to Vegas to zip through the sky, there are several local options.  Marble Zip Tours has eight zip lines and is located in (you guessed it) the Marble Mountain ski resort in Corner Brook.  Here is a blog of someone who has experienced it.  Marble Zip Tours also have ATV tours.  Zip the North Atlantic has seven zip lines (according to the government) and is located in Petty Harbour, 20 minutes from downtown St. John's.

[SkyJump off the Stratosphere]

So, go to Las Vegas next week.  Beat the bald Ferrari driver.  This is me, zip-lining to the races NL.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My "Petcock"

[My Ninja, "Pocket"]
Computing has revolutionized the way motorcycles work for the better in many ways.  But it makes me cry a little inside to see the way it's impacting the old biker culture. Motorcycle manufactures are adding more and more electronics to inform users (GPS, onboard computers), improve safety (ABS, oxygen sensors, electronic ignition), and perform other tasks (12V sockets so you can charge your batteries). For example, according to Aprilia, it is standard for their naked bike (the “Shiver”) to come equipped with all these options.  I'd also like to point out that they have some great "naked" slogans which you can see if you click some of the reference links on this post.

[Pocket and friends in rural NL]
If you observe bikes parked in the Tim Horton's parking lot on a warm Thursday night (lot night) in Paradise Newfoundland, you'll notice the older the bike, the greater the chance it will have a carburetor. You can also come to the same conclusion by looking through years of bike specifications on manufacturers websites such as Kawasaki's, as you can watch many of the newer bike engines switch to fuel injected models (minus a few such as the Ninja 250R).

[The petcock is connected
to the gas tank!]
Now let's look at Aprilia, one of the first bike manufacturers to introduce an innovative ride-by-wire throttle technology on a production bike (Motorcycle Consumer News). Similar in idea to the "Fly-by-wire" technology in a airplane, this fuel injector electronically controls the throttle valve aperture and is selectable by Aprilia's “Tri-Map”. Aprilia's Tri-Map has three modes which gives the user the ability to “detune” the engine by pushing the button on the right switch block (Motorino). This alters the throttle response and/or cuts the horsepower (Motorcycle Consumer News), enabling the rider to have the quick zippy response of a sport bike, a smoother touring approach for those longer rides, or a more cautious response for those riding in rainy weather. These three modes can be seen on the LCD display connected to the on-board computer which receives and processes information and is equipped with it's own memory for self-diagnostics. Just to add to the impressiveness, the screen also shows gear engaged, map selected, ambient temperature, trip time and a clock (Aprilia).

[Emergency downtown St. John's
Pocket fix with handy assistant]
As technology advances, the old biker culture falls to the wayside. The days of a person tinkering with their mechanic skills in the garage and cleaning their "carbs" with their buddies are dwindling, as there are less parts to play with without paying a price. As of September 14th, 2011 typing "fix carburetor" into a search engine such as Google returns top results with keywords like “repair”. Doing the same for “fix fuel injector” returns top results with keywords like “Replacing”. Some argue that fuel injectors are better because they are more proficient and emission friendly (Motorino). But, after questioning a Professor of Computer Science who is currently a proud owner of a “Aprilia Shiver”, he admitted the inconveniences of not being able to fix parts of his bike due to the electronics. As the systems become more electronic, it gets beyond the scope of the average biker enthusiast, mechanic or even computer scientist to fix (even if it's computer related). Sadly this means the “fix it yourself” culture changes to “buy it yourself”. Every year I meet more and more people who consider themselves "motorcycle enthusiasts" who are afraid to "touch their parts".  When you see little ol' me arguing with a guy in the Cape Spear parking lot trying to convince him that changing oil isn't a scary thing, it's a sad day.  Especially when his response is, "it's to risky".  All the joy is gone.

[Pocket on the highway to Clarenville
Photo by Roger Price]
What does fuel injection mean to me? There will be a day in the future where I won't be able to make double entendres about a "Petcock" vibrating between someones legs. I love my 2009 Ninja 250R. This is me, take it or leave it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hello (blogger) world!

First off, I'd like to introduce this blog.  I've determined there is no singular topic I want to blog about consistently, so this will be a mishmash of experiences, events, and unrelated topics.

Now to introduce myself.  I'm a Software Developer from Newfoundland.  Below is a little bit of information about my background so you'll know what to expect from this blog.  If you don't like a topic, read the next one!  There is quite the unrelated variety.
  • Fitness- I've been a dancer since 1991.  I've done jazz, modern, hip-hop, tap, ballet, and was in a performing group that did performances in town.  Since then I've also started doing pilates, yoga, hooping, and hiking.  I've been on a health kick/quest lately, so there will probably be some fitness topics at some point.
  • Music - I'm not exceptionally talented but I do have a variety of instruments that I play or own with the hopes to play.  Flute, piano, keyboard, organ, guitar, accordion, glockenspiels, and of course, the recorder to name a few.
  • Motorcycles - I am a proud owner of a 2009 Kawasaki Ninja 250R Special Edition Motorcycle.  Some people would say unusually proud.  Below is a cute little commercial of my favorite bike.
  • Pets - I've owned lizards, snakes, cats, hamsters, birds, newts, frogs and fish.  There has been a significant number of people who have contacted me stating that they knew I was a herpetologist (I'm not, nor do I claim to be) and have asked for my help.  I've also had to play vet a couple times due to the complete lack of vet's educated on certain exotic animals.
  • Gaming - I randomly visit people I use to MUD with when I was 13, some of them also randomly visit me.  This once lead me into a shack in the middle of a field in Australia.  In the shack was a parachute.  These days I avoid gaming because when I start I stop doing everything else.
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering - I'm a bit of a computer nerd.
[Commercial of my favorite bike]

This is me, take it or leave it.