Tuesday Mar 20, 2007

The Other Three are...

In answer to Saturday's Bar Bet, the Patron Saints of Scotland, England and Wales are: Andrew, George and David.

 St Patrick - Ireland
 St Andrew - Scotland
 St George - England

St. David - Wales


Whats particularly interesting, which my boss Simon (I had to put in this glam shot ;-) turned me on to, is the fact that Union Jack (technically the Union Flag) is actually made up of the flags of the three of the four guys above:

Flag of St George + Flag of St Andrew + Flag of St Patrick = Union Jack

Turns out the reason St David didnt get his flag included is because Wales was a principality and not a kingdom.  Thats a bummer cause I think it would have been totaly cool to have a dragon right in the middle of the Union Jack! 

Pau for now...

Saturday Mar 17, 2007

Bar Bet -- Can you name the other Three?

Well today is Saint Patrick's day, a day for revelry and libations in many locations across the globe.

Now most people know that St. Pat is the patron saint of Ireland, the guy who chased all the snakes out of Eire. (Fun facts to know and tell:  St. Patrick's real name was Maewyn Succat.  Do you think growing up he got teased about his name by the other kids on the playground?)

The question is, can you name the other three patron saints that make up the fab four of Great Britain and Ireland?  That is to say, who are the patron saints of England, Scotland and Wales?

One hint, the patron saint of England is NOT Simon Templar.

Tune in next time for the answers (no fair using Google).

Pau for now... 

Wednesday Jan 31, 2007

The Freedom Fighters take Kamuela

As promised, albeit a day or two late, here is the pictorial oddessey documenting the "Freedom Fighters" tour of the Big Island, or more accurately our trip from Kona to Kamuela.

Kamuela (aka Waimea\*) is a fascinating place.  Its a small interior town on the Big Island of Hawaii and is the center for ranching activities and paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) culture.  To give you a sense of size of this culture, the Parker Ranch in and around Waimea is the largest privately-owned cattle ranch in the US (and you thought everything was bigger in Texas).  At the same time Kamuela is also home to the headquarters of two of the most advanced astronomical observatories in the world, the Keck Observatory and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope.

It was at the Canada-France-Hawaii facility at 3,000 feet that we gave our talks on Free Software.

\*Since there are a bunch of Waimeas in Hawaii, the USPS and many of the locals use the name "Kamuela" to refer to the town.

Kona Airport

Above: Our merry band assembles after arriving in Kona.  From left to right: Jim Thompson, entrepreneur, free software supporter and organizer of our trip; Scott Belford, Director of  the Hawaii Open Source Education Foundation (HOSEF) and the organizer of PFOSSCON;  Richard Stallman (aka RMS) founder of the Free Software movement.


On the ride from the Kona airport to Kamuela, we were treated to a veritable global potpourri of music from RMS's personal traveling collection (conveniently stored in the CD spindle case that you get when you buy blank disks.)  Our aural travels took us from Holland to Japan to Bali to Peru all at a relatively high volume (Richard freely admits that he has trouble hearing these days).


The Grounds at the Kamuela Inn

Above: The view from my room at the ultra homey Kamuela Inn.

The Waimea Coffee Company

Above: Before an early dinner and our talk we had some time to kill so we made the half mile trek over to the Waimea Coffee Company, located smack dab in the middle of this bustling town. We chilled, drank coffee and checked out the view and email.

 The Daniel Thiebaut Restaurant

 Above:  We had an early dinner a  few hundred yards from the Coffee Company at Daniel Thiebaut's  which featured a blend of Asian, French and contemporary cuisine. (My recommendation is to get the Ali'i special)


 Above:  Our meal amongst the Aloha shirts.  For dinner our group was joined by Sarah-with-an-H and Bill Wiecking.


Presenting at CFHT

Above: RMS led off and I then came in for the big close :)

Back at Kona Airport - Aloha

 Above: Our work is done here.  Time to head back to the mainland.  


Tune in next time for --  RMS's alter-ego "St. Ignucius."


Pau for now... 

Note: I used the GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) today for the first time and loved it, free software at its best!  I was able to shrink the photos above and then fool with the contrast, brightness and pump up the clarity.  I can see it becoming a very addictive tool.



Friday Jan 05, 2007

Bring on the Light

A couple weeks ago was one of my favorite days of the year up here in the northern hemisphere, December 21 aka the-shortest-day-of-the-year .  Its one my favorites because from here on out, at least until the other solstice, the days get longer and longer.  Im big into sunlight, not necessarily basking in it, although there are worse things you could do on a summer afternoon, but being able to look out my windows at home, work or in the car and see it.  Basically, I'll have to confess, like the late great John Denver once proclaimed, sunshine on my shoulder, makes me happy (even if it is coming through a window like it is now).

As a result, in past years at this time I have found myself obsessed with weather.com and regularly checking on the widening of the gap between sunrise and sunset.  This year Im a bit distracted, what with the new kids and the upcoming move, but I did manage to log in on the 22nd and check out the amount of daylight at few spots around the world.  I've even thrown in a token Southern Hemisphere locale for reference.   

Here is what I found the day after the solstice (from darkest to lightest). 

  Barrow Reykjavik Edinburgh San Jose
Tokyo Austin Honolulu Capetown
 04hrs   8min6hrs   58min9hrs       35 min
9hrs 45min
10hrs 11min
10hrs 51min
14hrs 25min
 Sunrise NA 11:22 am
8:43 am
7:19 am 6:47 am  7:24 am
 7:05 am
 5:32 am
 Sunset NA3:30 pm
 3:41 pm
 4:54 pm
 4:32 pm
 5:35 pm
 5:56 pm
 7:57 pm


Not sure if there is any big a-ha here other than, given the choice, right now I would prefer to be in Capetown rather than Barrow Alaska.  Taking a less dramatic comparison, it is interesting to see that when we move from San Jose to Austin we will be getting almost 45 more minutes of light. 

I hope check back in on these cities in a few months and see how things have changed.

Pau for now...



I look after Sun's relationships with the various GNU/Linux communities as well as our relationship with the FSF. Last year, my family and I emigrated from Silicon Valley to Austin, TX.


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