Temperamental Power Supply Wed, Feb 23. 2011
Today, the ATX power supply for the PandaStack I described in my last post is working happily. I have no idea what changed... which is a bit worrisome.
PandaStack Tue, Feb 22. 2011
Our "PandaStack" of PandaBoard builders (shown here with 9 of the 15 builders installed) is now ready to run as part of the Fedora ARM build farm. However, I've run into a weird problem -- the ATX power supply I bought to power the boards works fine with 1-3 boards, but Something Bad happens when a fourth board is connected. It's not a capacity issue as far as I can see; it seems to be related to noise. Time to borrow a scope and take a close look at waveforms ... in the meantime, we'll power some of the boards with the ATX supply and some with stand-alone power bricks.
PandaBoard Building Fedora-ARM Mon, Feb 7. 2011
We're adding a group of dual-core, 1GHz, 1GB PanadaBoards to the Fedora-ARM build farm. Paul Whalen and I hacked up the PandaBoard builder filesystem at FUDCon and I tested it with the farm on Thursday -- so far, it appears to build about twice as fast as the older GuruPlug builders. The PandaBoard's randomly-assigned-at-boot MAC addresses did force us to take a new approach to builder identity, though, because our previous approach of serving the identity via DHCP was no longer practical.
We ordered a total of 15 PandaBoards; 12 have arrived, and the others should be shipped shortly.Two are being set aside for testing, and we'll get the other ten building as soon as possible.
Our plan is to stack the boards on threaded rods, powered by an ATX power supply; the stack will be run on its side (with the boards oriented vertically) to aid in convection cooling. More photos to follow as we get this running! (Yes, that is a Powered by Fedora badge on there )
Coyotes on the Runway Sat, Jan 29. 2011
So I've safely arrived at FUDCon. Oddly, our plane was delayed for two reasons: the inbound flight was late due to a storm in Winnipeg (not so odd), and there was a "Coyote Strike" by a plane that landed just before we took off -- so they had to check that the runway area was animal-free before we were cleared for takeoff.
Coyotes in Arizona, yes. But Toronto?!
Looking forward to a great day of talks tomorrow! Hope I have two brain cells awake to rub together -- doubly so for the students, who are now on the prowl for food...
Changing the Open Web Fri, Jan 28. 2011
My colleagues in the Centre for Development of Open Technology have been doing some amazing work enhancing the open web. One of their libraries, Popcorn.js, enables web video to move beyond being a box on the page to become a part of the hyperlinked, dynamic web. With a ton of frantic hacking by the Popcorn team which began on Tuesday morning (!), PBS launched an interesting web page that night showing analyst's comments synchronized to a video of the US President's State of the Union speech. PBS comments about the effort are posted on The Rundown.
Update: Dave Humphrey has blogged about the work that he and his team did on the SOTU page with PBS.
Fedora, Seneca, and FUDCon Tempe Thu, Jan 27. 2011
This semester is the fourth time that I've run the Software Build and Release (SBR600) course at Seneca College, and we have record enrollment – a full house! This course is one of a number of open source courses connected with the Centre for Development of Open Technology; it is a professional option in our Computer Systems Technology program, which focuses on network and system administration, and it has two goals:
- Teach software build and release (aka Release Engineering/Build Team) principles, technology, and skills
- Teach how to contribute effectively in an open source community
The students are currently researching and selecting projects from a short list of potential projects which have been screened for manageable size and practical real-world value. This semester, many of these projects are focused on the Fedora ARM secondary architecture, since the ARM buildsystem is physically located at Seneca, but some projects are related to different areas within Fedora (or, in one case, Fedora+Mozilla). In all cases, the students are expected to work with the community, use community communication tools and practices, and ultimately, advance the state of the respective area to which their project contributes. That means that if new software is packaged, it will be put through package review and end up in Fedora; if scripts or programs are written, they will be reviewed and committed upstream; and if documentation is written, it will end up in an appropriate and accessible place such as the wiki.
On Friday, ten SBR600 students will be traveling with Paul Whalen and me to FUDCon Tempe – eight students from the current semester and two from the previous semester. They're looking forward to making connections with other Fedorans, hearing about the latest and greatest technology, hacking, and generally starting down the road to becoming active contributors.
Please join us! -- I invite you to check out what we're doing, either in the usual Fedora places or in the #seneca channel on Freenode, on the Seneca wiki, or on Planet CDOT.