Maintaining multiple websites

As we have just finished upgrading the Beijing GNU/Linux User Group website I was realising that I actually maintain around 10+ community sites using various pieces of software (and plug-ins) and I was curious to hear how people in the same position were keeping track of all this. I currently use a mixture of emails, Gjots, Firefox built-in password manager (which loses password every now and then) and of course, my neurones. I am in fact wondering how the tasks could be optimised to make sure you get to track every single piece of software used, security announcements, new releases, special custom job done here and there, “watch-out lists” when you’re doing a server move or re-install, know which site to update when there is such a need to upgrade and probably more. So what are you tips or experiences on the matter?

Already 6 months in South China

terrapins and lizard pondIt’s been now 6 months that Pockey and I have left Beijing and moved to Shantou. A great decision if you ask me, and we can now enjoy summertime for about 9+ months of the year (I’ve been wearing only shorts since I arrived – not the same pair though ;-)), our lizards and turtles get to see and appreciate the real sun (which is much better than UV and heat lamps like we had to have in Beijing) and they even have a small pond where they can bathe and swim. It’s a real pleasure to be finally able to have them live almost like in the wild and give them so much space, plants and trees to climb on (about 5 times the space on the photo). The iguanas however still prefer to be hand fed (seems someone has been spoiling them), and living in a climate closer to where they come from allows us to find much more diversity of salads and fruits all year long. Again another positive change from Beijing. On this note I guess that the fresh marine air we have here is also a lot healthier for both the reptiles and us…

waveOn my end I have been able to finally refocus on my contributions to the Free Software projects I am involved in such as Software Freedom Day and GNOME.Asia. I haven’t been able to catch up with all of them yet but it’s well on the way. I also had the chance to meet Richard Stallman in Shenzhen in August “all by myself” and it was a rather pleasant and enriching experience. I am now planning for a new release of RUR-PLE, some work on Greenboard and maybe some integration with the GNOME Education suite. I also attended the GNOME.Asia Summit in August for which the GNOME Foundation generously paid all my expenses to go there and present my work with GNOME applications in Education. I met a wealth of great people and there is definitely a lot more to write about (next post?). I should probably also start a GNU/Linux User Group, as I have to admit to miss the fun of the Beijing LUG and all my buddies there. Last but not least Shantou is also bringing me the opportunity to surf a lot more than Beijing! 😉 So a view like this one is something quite common and which I definitely appreciate.

Oh and yes, I’ve also caught up with cooking (which I did a lot when I was living in France back then – don’t ask when!). Tempted now? Well drop me an email if you’re in town and we’ll take you around. 😀

The death of my LCD screen

And after leaving Beijing and being so quiet, my faithful Thinkpad has also decided to go quiet… well I can still work on about 3-400 pixel width (by 1050 high) one could argue. The problem is that I see no reason to upgrade, the machine runs fast enough and I doubt a new laptop will bring me anything better (than this 4 years old one).

So it’s getting fixed (580rmb, 3-4 days) and I shall soon rejoice 😀

Blogging on ZDNet Asia

Following the steps of Michael and Peter I’ve just started to blog on ZDNet Asia yesterday. My writings there will be a lot more “journalistic” than my random stories over here and covering Linux and Open Source in China, and not what I personally get involved with. Most likely I will also add the feed to the BLUG Planet but only once I’m done writing a feed filter that removes the add in the default feed. If there are any specific topic that you would like to be covered just leave a comment at either place.

New phone number

Some of you might have received a SMS from me this morning, I have switched mobile provider and therefore have a new number. I’ll keep the old one for another month during the transition period. Why did I switch? Well the main reason is that I am getting about 10 to 20 SMS and 1-3 MMS spam a day with China Mobile. Being a “Diamond member” (the highest membership level at China Mobile) I did call them a week ago to ask to solve the problem (there are many many technical solutions they could implement) but the only two things they could tell me is that they got an award for fighting spam (???) and that I should install a software on my phone to do that. Note that I started to get spam from day one with them. I suspect their staff are just selling customer data for a few bucks. I still told the customer representative I gave them a week to address the issue or else I would switch carrier. Nothing has happened, so here I come China Unicom. On top of not getting spam (at least at the beginning) I’ll get the pleasure to enjoy 3G on my phone (as China Mobile only supports the Chinese 3G standard on overpriced handsets made only for the Chinese market) and flat rate calling all over China.

I won’t post my new number here, but for those of you who know me, do not hesitate to either send me an sms or drop me an email to get the new number.

2010 starting full speed

Moonos - an Englightenment Ubuntu based distro!I hope everybody had a great time over Christmas and the new year festivities. It’s not really my preferred time of the year for various reasons, but that doesn’t mean other people can’t enjoy ;-)! So I have been focusing my time and energy on Open Source stuff, namely RUR-PLE, some GNOME.Asia related stuff, Greenboard of course, our pilots in migrant schools and Software Freedom Day planning for 2010.
On top of those activities I will start blogging for ZDNet Asia about Linux and Open Source in China, most likely organize the Beijing chapter of the Global Ignite Week with O’Reilly and the cool guys from the Beijing LUG, while trying to get a Hackerspace started in Beijing with a few other enthusiasts from various communities (but mainly from the BLUG though for now).
And finally I am happily providing hosting space for two open source projects, the Phnom Penh LUG, a growing Linux community in Cambodia, and moonOS, a lightweight Ubuntu based distribution (using Enlightenment) started by a cool Cambodian guy with whom I chat almost daily nowadays as we’re working on other open source stuff together. I’ll probably come back to all of those but for sure it’s more than enough to keep me away from writing here…

Software Freedom International 2010 Presidency

Catching up with life since my return from GNOME.Asia Summit as a lot of things have happened as well last month. On December 1st the SFD General Assembly was held (IRC meeting) and as our former president Robert Schumann stepped down I was elected the new president for 2010! This is definitely a big responsibility and I will try to keep up the good work that has been carried out since 2004. The good thing is that we have more board members this coming year (some new ones and some older ones) which hopefully will help us to do more. I want to thank everyone for their support and more specifically my colleagues from SFI, our sponsors, the members of the Beijing LUG and all the SFD team leaders around the world without whom we would never have done so much. so, Thank you all!

I proposed today…

Pockeyand she said YESSSS. For those knowing us it won’t be a big surprise as we’ve been already over 6 years together. For those knowing me, it’s probably a surprise as you know what I think about “getting married” (I’ve just lost a few beers). Overall I believe it was the right thing to do and considering the YESSSS I got, definitely it did make Pockey happy!

Lemote sponsorship of GNOME.Asia Summit 2009

lemoteAs some of you know, both Pockey and I were at the GNOME.Asia Summit in Ho Chi Minh City this month. A lot of things happened and I will have to get back to this later. I just wanted to thank Lemote and more specifically Zhang Fuxin for his continuous support to the Beijing LUG and Open Source. On top of taking part in Software Freedom Day this year and using this opportunity to announce their new all-in-one desktop computer they have also agreed to sponsor the GNOME.Asia Summit with two Yeeloong laptop that were used for short Linux courses during the conference and that will be then donated to the computer lab in Ho Chi Minh City to be used as hacking devices. We all hope to see a lot of Vietnamese Open Source Software be ported to MIPS and more participation to our growing Loongson communities. And for those who can read Chinese you’ll be happy to know that Lemote has just launched a new Chinese version of their website!