Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Two notable tech birthdays

Creative Commons and G33k D1nner celebrated birthdays, 6th & 3rd, respectively, on 12/16/08. The LA Weekly even came out to cover the festivities.

The Los Angeles G33k D1nners are where folks of the huge, yet still burgeoning LA Tech Community get together to geek out over food, fun & drinks. Very cool event, way cool people.

Creative Commons is a movement that is VERY close to my heart. I mentioned it briefly here a little over a year ago. As I said in that post, Creative Commons is where open source met multimedia & their beautiful love child was CC. Just imagine a world where multimedia content of all types is provided by its authors under varying license types. You can also check out some of their many cool projects. I love CC because it is just one of the many ways that open source is invading the mainstream.

M$ patches IE

Microsoft patched Internet Exploder...err, Explorer today. After the internet was abuzz over ¨forgetting¨ to patch IE in its monthly patch last week, Microsoft had to respond. The issue was two-fold. First, Microsoft wasn´t going to be able to patch again until January. Also, and more importantly, the IE security gaffe was not only HUGE but it affected ALL Windows users since IE is installed automatically when Windows is installed and CANNOT be uninstalled.

There were already tons of reports gushing over the sheer amount of exploits that were already circulating. So yea, they patched it but if you´re browsing this in IE, stop it already! There is not one feature in IE that´s not in Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera, etc. Not to mention that most of these browsers not only do it better but are also more secure. Of course, your mileage may vary, especially if you´re using one of those browsers on a Windows machine.

The emergency patch can be found on the Microsoft website. So please go download it even if you´re not using IE as your browser on a Windows box.

ps. I feel very dirty tagging this post w/Microsoft & Security as those are terms that, for as long as I can remember, have been mutually exclusive. You´d figure M$ would spend some of their money on creating solid, secure software but I guess they´re more worried about saving that p.o.s. operating system codenamed Project Mohave...errr, Vista.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Songbird 1.0 released!

So Songbird finally went 1.0 Gold! Its release today marks a major milestone for this free yet feature-rich, do-it-all media player. As a long-time user and minor contributor, I can honestly say that it is a wonderful product and solution for us music heads. Songbird is an open source media player powered by the Mozilla engine (yes, as in Firefox).

For those of you yet to try out this awesome media player, here are some of the features that I dig:
Browse the web while you play your tunes
Tabbed browsing
Ability to play/download media files from any web page you´re browsing integration so you can rate your own tracks
Shoutcast radio
MashTape integration
Complete customization through add-ons (called ¨feathers¨)
You can check out the full feature set here.

Download it today and feel the power of open source and media at your fingertips. Songbird runs on the big three operating systems: Linux (any distro), Mac and Windows so don´t be alarmed when you visit the download page. It is smart enough to detect your current OS and only provides that option for download.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Awesome weekend

Wow, what an awesome weekend!

Friday night started with my buddy Oscar & I heading out to support our old high school by attending this year's Homecoming Game. I hadn't been to a football game since being at their CIF Championship game in 2006. The young men & women did an outstanding job of putting together a very fun event & Verb won the game convincingly. I saw and spoke with several old coaches, teachers & administrators. There were also a few guys I recognized from back in the day but by far the BEST moment came when we saw Gavino. I've known Gavino since we were 6 years old but we had all lost track of him for many years. The cipher is now complete & Gavino will forever be a part of it.

That was only the beginning, though, as I headed off to Firecracker's 10th Anniversary event in Chinatown. This is my favorite club in all of the U.S (been going for like 708 years since my friend Lea put me onto it)! Why, you ask? A very diverse crowd (both ethnically & age-wise) that enjoys a good time dancing led by phat beats-spinning DJs is the draw. Additionally, there's no dress code (they want you to be creative), a minimal cover charge & no pretentiousness allowed. For a few hours, you feel like you're not in Los Angeles. Headlining was Biz Markie (whom I'd never seen live) which was a treat for someone like myself who grew up listening to him- he killed it on the turntables as he drove us down a trip through memory lane. The resident DJ's were killin' it as usual (especially Coleman) & the other special, guest DJs (like Tittsworth) had us dancing all night long. Put it like this, I'm an old fogey but the music was so darn good I forgot about my age as I slipped back into my old "battling" days. Sure, I was sore the next day but I had such a great time & met so many cool folks that it didn't even faze me. Here's to 10 more years, Firecracker Crew!

Saturday was going pretty quietly along until my friends Vero & Adriana invited me to go with them to see a band. So happy I tagged along as I'd never been to that venue (Bordello's- the old Little Pedro's- next to Little Tokyo). One of their friends is in a band called the Boogaloo Assassins & they were great- fusing Latin Jazz with percussion, great vocals & a fun vibe. Up next was Humo Verde, a Latin ska, dancehall & reggae band that was really awesome & reminded me a lot of Quinto Sol.

Sunday, I headed over to my buddy Dan's as he wants me to collaborate with him on a MediaWiki project (more on that later, you'll want to hear about this sweet project). We did some work, did some research & then hung out & watched some football games also.

Great weekend filled with music & technology...what else could a geekmeister, like myself, want?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Website of the Week - new President!

In a landslide victory, this week's Website of the Week is:

The office of President-elect Obama

The Obama speech got me!

So there were two moments that really got me all emotional during the acceptance speech festivities. During President-elect Obama's speech when he started talking about the 106 year-old lady, reflecting on her plight and what she must've seen got me.

But the one that really got me was when the camera panned to the crowd and captured Jesse Jackson Sr.. Seeing him open up emotionally like that reminded me that he was so young during the Civil Rights Movement of the 60's when he was very involved with the Rev. Dr. Marlin Luther King's peace movement. He was THERE for all that discrimination and, yet, still trudged on.

People will say what they will about Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. but what they cannot say is that he has not "been there or done that." After all, he took the early lumps of attempting to become the first African-American president. Which, imho, paved the way (somewhat) for President-elect Obama's victory.

ps. I'm glad I was wrong about the long lines.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Obama's President! Download a free remix

So today is the day (ya, shoulda posted this earlier) where Lars Behrenroth of Deeper Shades of House was going to release a FREE remix in honor of President Obama utilizing words from a speech he gave in Berlin addressing 200,000 people in July 2008. The free download link is only active until 11:59pm tonight so hurry up!

From the site:
In celebration of election day in the USA, you will be able to download the current Deeper Shades Recordings release 006 "Now Is The Time" by Matt Flores at no charge.


2008's Hanging Chad

So I've told a couple friends of my prediction for this year's "issue" at the voting booths & figured I should put my money (words?) where my mouth is & post it:

I predict this year's "hanging chad" issue to be the really long lines at the voting places.

I know, not much of a prediction w/the voting almost over but it's something I've been thinking about for a while.

Hopefully, there are no issues so that whichever candidate wins out doesn't have to answer to 4 years of questions regarding it. But something tells me there's going to be issues reported- if simply for the fact of all the reports touting how many new voters will be coming out to vote in force. For example, a leader of the A.C.O.R.N. organization was on CNN Sunday night speaking on how they'd gotten 400,000 new voters registered!

Personally, I'd prefer to be wrong about my prediction. :)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Progressive Voter Guide

So I've been traveling a lot the last few months- for work & otherwise. During my free time, I've been teaching myself some new things & working on some personal projects (Stay Tuned for more details on these later).

There's a really cool site I got turned onto & it would've been one of my "Sites of the Week" because it's VERY cool.
Courage Campaign is a website for Progressive California voters. It is supported by various progressive organizations & they have a full listing on their site.

What's really, really cool is that they have a Progressive Voter guide for Californians in 2008. I like because it does a good job of explaining & summarizing the Propositions on this year's ballot. What I'm suggesting to all my open-minded friends is for them to print out the 2-pager & take it with them to the voting booths, tomorrow.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Website of the Week

So I've been actively searching out either very cool or very conscious (social, eco, etc.) websites. Hence, the long hiatus. But never fear, I've stacked up several cool sites that are sure to get your inner Che "ooh'ing" & "ahh"ing."

This week's winner is:
In honor of this week's shaker here in Southern Cali... :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

LA Perl Mongers

So I recently joined the LA Perl Mongers group. It´s something I should´ve done a LONG time ago but, hey, better late than never right?

I´ll be attending my first meeting tomorrow night. In a weird coincidence, it just so happens that this meeting will be hosted by Ticketmaster. It´s a little-known fact that TM´s a big open source shop who´s made several contributions to the open source community. I might just run into some old, cool co-workers & look forward to learning about Log4perl. So, for me, it´ll be a win-win-win so I can´t wait!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Website of the Week

Now that's what I'm talkin' bout, Willis...holding our politicians accountable! Was watching an episode of Law & Order: CI & remembered this very cool site.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Obama + LAMP = solid!

I always knew Obama would know what the heck is REALLY up!

There might be some who don't know what LAMP is. It's an open source development environment that includes:

L - Linux (the operating system)
A - Apache (the web server)
M - MySQL (the database)
P - PHP (or Perl) (the programming language)

There's several different variations like LAPP (PostgreSQL instead of MySQL) where you can exchange certain components and still be going all open source.

Friday, May 30, 2008

WTF moment of the week

So I'm starting something new- a weekly post on the WTF Moment of the Week. This week's candidates are:

-Rachel Ray- terrorist?
-Hillary Clinton's Enron-esque accounting (creative math. claims victory in popular vote)

& the winner of this week's WTF moment is:
Dunkin' Donuts for caving to a right-wing blogger who claimed Rachel Ray's scarf was jihadist. Orly? Said blogger didn't say jack when Megan McCain (daughter of John) was photographed w/a similar scarf later! This reminds me of Craig Hodges wearing a daishiki to the White House after a Bulls championship. Yea, Hodges has been "black-balled" from basketball ever since. WTF!

Monday, May 12, 2008

MySQL conflict!

Houston, we have a conflict! Firestarter Events´ SQL Learning Day down in Irvine which *might* be useful/informative vs the LAMPSIG meeting where I KNOW this month's topic is going to be useful right off the bat!

You might be thinking, ¨a 6 hour conference hosted my Microsoft vs. a 2 hour meeting down in mid-city? Slam dunk?¨ Not so fast! The main reason why it´s a tough call is that the Firestarter event is centered completely around Microsoft technology. This is fine but the top 3 environments I run are all Linux (#4 is my windows XP box). The SQL-DEV track (the one I´d be most interested in) is all based on .NET. I worked in a .NET environment long enough to know I don´t have much interest in spending my free time on it. The SQL-ITPro track, if anything, is the LAMPSIG competitor. So, hence, the quandary.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

MySQL permissions @ the next LAMPSIG

MySQL permissions is the focus of this month´s LAMPSIG meeting. Solomon Chang, a MySQL author, will be presenting. As always, we´ll be descending upon the local IHOP after the meeting where folks can unwind & meet everyone else.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Met Teddy Riley & Miguel Angel Rodriguez

Tonite at Arroyo (in Arcadia, CA). While posts like these are rare, I was overly-impressed by how nice, easy-going & humble they both were. Of course, my phone's on the fritz so couldn't take a pic w/Teddy Riley (/sigh) but my boy Obie was with me later & Mr. Miguel Angel Rodriguez was nice enough to grace me with a picture (boy is my mom going to be happy about that as it is one of her favorite artists).

Good music + good friends + (unexpected) down-to-earth folks = a good night!

Friday, March 21, 2008

I chose a CMS

So after checking out all the rest, I think I chose the best: Drupal! While I made this decision a couple months back, it´s just now that I´ve gotten the sandbox & time to actually start playing in it- after testing distros & configuring LAMP stacks.

I can´t wait either, as I´ve got roughly 8 sites to work on by the end of the year. Drupal + teaching myself PHP = fun times ahead.

I should note that my old work buddy & good friend, Marco hooked me up with his old Professional PHP Programming book...good lookin´ out! :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


My International Women's Day celebration started by giving thanks for being blessed with having so many wonderful women in my life- my mom, grandma, sisters & close female friends.

It continued, although in a completely unrelated manner, by picking up a friend so we could carpool over to the LA Webspinners meeting. Pete Benjamin was discussing SEO strategies so it was a very worthwhile drive to the Westside.

I then headed over to the Mujeres de Maiz event @ Self Help Graphics to continue the festivities. A bit about the locale:
-lots of GREAT art & artists on hand
-a wonderful movie presentation where 6 international films were showcased (all roughly 10 minutes long, each) on a continuous loop in the theater
-great skits & musical vibes headlined by In Lak Ech
-wonderful people & a great, family-type environment where I saw babies in their mothers' arms all the way to grandparents!

Then, I was fortunate enough to attend DFR´s 10th Anniversary Benefit concert again this year (thanks for the phat hook Fidel & B12!). Last year's concert was bangin' & so was this year's!
-Medusa killed it AGAIN, this year! I couldn't make it out to her album release party but made up for it by not just vibin', I actually found myself breaking out the old hip hop moves (phat beats + great lycs will do that to your body hehe)
-different venue (last year was more all day event vs. this year's downtown rooftop, nighttime affair) but very good to see the crowd growing yearly.
-CYPRESS HILL was the surprise performer this year (last year it was Will.I.Am from Black Eyed Peas)! DJ Muggs was already there, so it was hella cool to see 'em all together again!

-I also met this cat named Tolteka (@ both events) & his album is HOT!!!

A GREAT day filled with knowledge, culture, great music & cool peeps!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

International Women´s Day!

Today, March 8th, is International Women´s Day. It has been getting celebrated since 1911. There´s a local chapter here in LA.

Suheir Hammad has a poem as a blog entry there. I was blessed to hear Suheir at last year´s Divine Forces benefit concert where part of the proceeds went to inner-city youth programs.

Lots of events going on today including:
March in front of federal bldg @ noon followed by rally. Heck, Bambu is even going to be droppin´ some lyrics
Mujeres de Maiz event @ Self Help Graphics - 5-9pm
DFR´s 10th Anniversary Benefit concert - while not an event tied to International Women´s Day, it´s still a red pill slangin´ event!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

MySQL the focus at the next LAMPSIG

MySQL will be getting discussed this coming Saturday at the next LAMPSIG meeting. Looks like it´ll be a discussion on how to use more familiar languages to execute stored procs in MySQL. I couldn´t think of a better way to exercise my old PERL skillz! ;)

Ronald Stewart presenting at the next SGVLUG

Ronald Stewart, Creative Director of the Trinity Audio Group will be speaking at the next San Gabriel Valley Linux User Group. He will be presenting the yet-to-be-released InDaMixx appliance. A full-featured, hand-held recording studio built on Linux (a customized version of 64Studio, to be more specific).

I met Ron at SCALE 6 & am excited to be working with him on the InDaMixx project. I´m doubly-excited because having this type of talk might be just what the Linux ProAudio SIG (special interest group) needs to get kick-started. I´ve heard zero traffic on that list since I joined a while back.

Hmm, thinking I should just take the lead & start drumming up support to get the Linux Audio group going...

Sunday, March 02, 2008

BarcampLA-5 was pimpin´!!!

My 2nd most favorite saying is ¨Pimpin´ ain´t easy, but someone´s gotta do it!¨ It seems like I´ve been missing out before this weekend but BarcampLA-5 sure was ¨doin´ it.¨

Great event. Every single person I met was very cool, down-to-earth & into technology. I spoke with some great folks & can´t wait to go to the next one. The tracks were so good, that I stayed late on Sunday to catch the SEO talk (which was very informative) even if it made me late for my LAMPSIG Planning Committee meeting. Like I said about SCALE 6X, you know an event is good when you´re having to make really tough decisions on which talks to attend.

Every talk I attended was really great, but the highlights (for me) were:
Travis Savo´s talk on Digital Lifeforms (I´m still trippin´ out on that concept & what they´ve been able to do).
Alex Peake´s presentation on his very cool company & what they´re doing to change the world (really looking forward to collaborating on some things, both musically & on the non-profit tip).
Ethan Bauley´s chat on business models & getting VC funding (really smart, cool cat who I´m so taking to lunch!)
Strom Carlson´s impromptu session on how to DJ 101 was awesome. Matter of fact, I´ve already told all my Morrissey fan friends about where he spins on Saturday nights @ Hully Gully in Downey & we´ll be dropping in on some of his sessions.
ArtLung´s interactive chat on Wordpress was really informative. Everyone there was really helpful & there was a great discussion on what folks were using w/their Wordpress sites.

There were others who were also good & a TON of others which I didn´t have a chance to even visit. I can´t wait ´til the next one & run into some of the cool folks there!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Heading over to Barcamp LA

Barcamp LA starts later this morning! I can´t wait to attend as it´ll be my first one.

I was hoping to attend the 2012 Conference as it´s only a 1-day event & there´s NOTHING like this that´s ever gone down. I´m hoping to drop by regardless & soak up some knowledge...

Having to decide between two very revolutionary conferences is a nice problem to have. :)

Friday, February 29, 2008

Black History Month Ends on a GREAT note!

I was listening to Beneath the Surface on KPFK today & host Jerry Quickley was getting all emotional as he played large excerpts of Malcolm X speeches. Also listened earlier & heard Cynthia McKinney! Talk about some great, inspirational people who aren´t afraid of telling the truth!

Heck, this whole year started off great on KPFK! This comes as no surprise if you´ve ever listened but if you haven´t switch your dial off of all the commercial nonsense & listen to an independent voice. Talk about RED_PILLS!! OMG, KPFK doles out nothing but...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Microsoft Heroes Happen Here

LA kickoff event just happened but I´m going to go see what all the fuss is about in April in Anaheim.

I know I talk a lot of smack about M$, their monopolistic practices, vendor lock-in strategies they employ & how they generally just ¨scare¨ you into buying their bloated, buggy products but having the whole story isn´t a bad thing. I just want to be fully-informed.

EU Fines Microsoft 1.3 BILLION!!!

So it finally happened! They´ve been getting sued by the whole EU for years & finally got fined.

I blogged about it almost a year ago (well, made a small comment on it) but went a bit more in-depth on the historical tip. I talk about it as I run into SO many people that had no idea this was going on. Sure, all the slashdotters knew the 411, but this is something you didn´t even hear an iota of on the mainstream media (they prefer to talk about less-relevant stuff like ´roided up baseball players).

Just remember, the U.S. isn´t holding M$ accountable here in the states for the EXACT same practices they were accused of overseas. It´s not gonna happen, too much of the government´s infrastructure is built on Microsoft products. $250 toilet seat covers are actually sounding like a good investment now...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

IBM Linux Kid Commercial

So this is the new Linux commercial. The last one I mentioned was a spoof on the Mac commercials making fun of Windows. This new one is a bit more serious but still pretty accurate. ;)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I might not have time to help out on WINE

With all the goings-ons & the two projects I´ve just realized I need to jump on, I might not have time to help out on the Wine project. Well, I´ll be throwing bug reports at it but I was hoping to get more involved.

I heard about WINE a couple years back when I used to (have time to) play WoW & heard someone had found a way to play it on a Linux box (WoW was only released with Windows & Mac OS X install clients). I tested it out & sure enough, it was definitely playable. Ever since then, I´d occasionally throw something new at it & see if I could finally get fully off the evil empire (tm).

I then met Dan Kegel at a Linux Installfest event. Months later, he gave a talk to SGV LUG on Wine & Zumastor (another pretty sweet project). That´s when I found out he was heavily involved in those projects (as well as leading the Picasa for Linux project). We talked at length at SCALE 6 & I was really excited....then BAM!

Once free time arises, I´ll definitely be helping out more on this wonderful project! :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It´s about to get real busy

Well after the wonderful SCALE 6X conference, there were a few things born out of that. My conversation w/Zak started as a question re: whether he´d seen something on the internet that I´d thought about for like 3 years (but I hadn´t seen anything after repeated google searches). Even though I´ve never done anything like this"before, Zak encouraged me to basically just start it. He´s totally right, so my 1st project is starting a tech-based non-profit. It´ll be a web-based tool & since I´m going to have to teach myself a few things to create the cool features I want to provide the community, it´s going to take a while...stay tuned.

The 2nd thing I´m now working on is the IndaMixx project. I also met Ron @ SCALE & we had some real good conversations.

I´m really looking forward to the creation of a service for the community-based, grass roots organizations through technology as well as being a part of a revolutionary musical endeavor.

Monday, February 11, 2008

SCALE 6X- Rockin' OSS Conference

Wow! What a great event! I can´t believe it took me this long to finally attend one. Boy have I missed out. The speakers were great, the topics terrific & there were lots of friendly people around.

I spent the majority of my time hopping back & forth between the Open Source Software in Education (OSSIE) & the Women in Open Source (WIOS) tracks. Both had interesting presentations & informative dialogue between presenters & audience. My favorite was Angela Byron´s talk on Drupal. I heard about Drupal a year ago but have just recently been evaluating CMS solutions & Drupal was my clear winner so it was a nice coincidence to hear Angela´s talk. I also attended some really cool Birds of a Feather (BoF), especially the WINE one as I´m looking forward to contributing a bit more than just using the product. ;)

The OSSIE & WIOS tracks were no more but there was still lots of great presentations being given. My favorite was the talk by Zak Greant. I was so blown away by how progressive-minded his talk was that I approached him & we talked at length about how open source can be used as a tool to effect positive societal change. More on what that spawned later. The Haiku presentation by Bruno was also great. Another great project I´d love to contribute to (if time permits). The reception was nice & many folks won really nice gifts. Grats. :)

The final day started with a great keynote by Stormy Peters. I´d seen her presentation on Friday so I knew it would be well worth it. The first 2 presentations I visited were about legalities in open source. Karen Sandler and Robert Scott did a really nice job explaining what are, usually, very convoluted issues. I really wanted to visit the Creative Commons presentation but I´ve known about CC for a long time & am currently charting the ways that I´m going to release my music projects using this tool (again, a topic for another day). I chose the sysadmin presentation over my friend´s Distributed MySQL presentation (I know he forgives me, hehe).

A wonderful conference that was worth every penny. I´m booking early again next year! :)

Thursday, February 07, 2008

On the eve of SCALE 6X

So it's the eve of this year's Southern California Linux Expo aka SCALE & I can't wait. The schedule is jam-packed with topics I'm interested in. Heck, even the Birds of a Feather (anyone being able to create a mini-conference of like-minded folks is such a cool idea!) events seem super interesting. The Friday ("pre-SCALE") lineup has tracks that are right up my alley- open source solutions in healthcare IT, open source in education & women in open source. All are things I've either worked on directly or evangelized about.

All that plus seeing several current & (I'm sure) long-lost friends should be really cool. The only 2 other conferences I'm equally excited about are UbuntuLive & ComiCon. ;)

Thursday, January 31, 2008

PHP or bust in ´08!

A couple years back, I wanted to teach myself PHP but time hasn´t been very friendly or a readily available commodity around here so it hasn´t happened, yet. But ´08 is the year I do it!

I figure I´ll start off with a CMS that is based on PHP & go from there. I´m sure I´ll want to creat custom modules, at some point, so that´ll be nice for the hands-on practice. Well, that´s the plan anyway, it might vary a bit later. ;)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

MLK Speech

I heard a great speech this morning given originally in 1968 in front of UC Berkeley's Sprowl Hall. It would be MLK's final speech in California & sounded like it was still relevant today, 40 years later. I was driving to my job & had goosebumps the throughout the WHOLE speech. We were blessed to have people like Dr. King, but they were taken too, too early from us.

From the Vault Radio was the source of the speech (I think that´s part of the Pacifica Archives). So when you go to KPFK, look up the archives for this day & download everything during the morning commute hours, You´ll be glad you did.

We still need you, Dr. King! Thank you, Pacifica, FTV & KPFK for dedicating resources to preserving such wonderful free speech!