All posts by Grant

2014 Birthdays of GNU (31) and Linux (23)

Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry
The GNU project was announced September 27, 1983 – 31 years ago. While the video by Stephen Fry is six years old the context is similar.

The Linux kernel was announced August 25, 1991 – 23 years ago. We share the 20th anniversary video on the front of our web page as an introduction to newcomers.

I hope people can learn a bit more during the upcoming annual Software Freedom Day and join me in focusing on the benefits and common parts of software we run today. The histories of FOSS (including GNU) and linux are views of the same story, like it or not. Each story is incomplete without the other.

Mailman Form

Sometimes small changes can make a big difference. mailman-before Visitors to our website had to click through and read a rather wordy page to subscribe to our email list. I wanted to make it easier for web visitors to subscribe and remove the need to click an extra link. The FAQ mailman-after of mailman had the answer to my question: 4.33. How do I put a subscribe form for my list on a web page? I think the result is much better and the HTML wasn’t difficult.

shout out to #eepodcast

Walter & Yarro
Walter & Yarro
Thanks for the shout out from the podcast this week. I have been listening for a few weeks now. Ian and I have been talking about improving our podcasting efforts and we’ve talked about some of the production improvements we could make and how these Aussies do it. Keep up the good work.

In Episode 32 a couple weeks ago When, Why And How To Seek Out A Partner When Starting A Business I listened as Yaro (@yarostarak) explained that Walter (@techiewalter) and Yaro were rushed that week. He explained how they usually gossip before the show and therefore can focus during the show without recording personal gossip. The show notes say “You have to make it through the first ten minutes of the show where Walter and I ramble about what we got up to during the previous week…” The advice is very good about how to approach different kinds of relationships when working with people in early stage start ups.

Episode 33 started out on a bad foot. Yaro made a small error and said “episode 23″ when he meant 33 for What You Should Know Before Creating A Software Product. Walter called him on it. No big deal. After responding to some other #eepodcast conversations I was surprised. I guess Yaro forgot about what he said in the previous episode. I think my intentions were not conveyed accurately. Sorry about that. I inadvertently used to send this to them:

I hope the #eepodcast guys gossip _before_ recording the next podcast

A bit of nostalgia followed about the dreams of twelve year old former selves and the motivations for doing start ups. Early on transformers, fast cars, travel and unlimited chocolate motivates many a 12 year old boy. This was helpful to me. The reality sometimes doesn’t measure up to common start up stereotypes. After all, start up people need to sell others to work hard after joining a start up company! Research from the Founders Dilemmas validates this. It’s often the case you have the best day of your life and the worst day of your life every day during the incubation phase of a start up.

The episode went on to cover an important topic, SaaS product and company development, with some history from Nikki Durkin, Cranky Ads, Airbnb and Twitter.

Feedback was requested concerning the topic of the next podcast. I would love to hear more about Walters early 2013 learning from listening to three months of SaaS founder interviews. His map of the process required to develop SaaS software companies might not map onto my experience last year with a SaaS start up. His use of whiteboards mapping out and synthesizing the process used by founders may be difficult to distill into one episode but worth the effort and may lead to a series (as mentioned) or a book. Tight feedback to whittle down MVPs, customer development, outbound sales and inbound sales were mentioned as important parts of the process.

Best wishes for sorting out the work visa issues this week. I look forward to the next podcast. Comments via twitter using the hash tag #eepodcast were requested. Comments are welcome here as well.

Podcasting Host

caffelascala-southNow that things seem to have settled down a bit for us we’re talking with a few people about joining us as a host of our podcast. If you know of someone who might be interested, please let us know.

I’ve been blogging at about the fast lane proposed rules threatening Net Neutrality and the Internet as we know it. Please join the conversations there and let us know what you think.

HTTPS Enabled

Security and feelings of safety are fascinating topics. Individuals rely on security and personal codes all the time for their own needs. Those tasked with the security needs of other people have developed a language for describing many possibilities that may feel unlikely or remote to individuals. A balance of computer and network security defenses must be chosen to take reasonable precautions against security threats without unnecessarily impeding the use of the resources one is protecting. Every day software developers and criminals race against each other to find and fix (or exploit) vulnerabilities in software, often working with others and publishing their results. We entrust our data safety to systems administrators to keep things running smoothly and to both establish and maintain good security practices at all times. For multi-user systems trust and responsibility are shared.

People can view your wordpress or other browsing if they share a network with you by simply listening in. HTTP Secure (HTTPS) encrypts your browsing so it is more difficult to see. Though even this is not guaranteed it is much more secure than not encrypted traffic. Recent headlines about the “heartbleed” vulnerability have brought new attention to software and security. Encryption is warranted when you are providing authentication credentials (like passwords) via your web browser. To setup HTTPS you must obtain a certificate for your server from an authority. Several organizations provide this service for free such as and The plugin wordpress-https enables encrypted connections.

Your Own URL Shortener

yourls-screenshotWhy should others get all the fun shortening urls? I’ve installed as Your Own URL Shortener. The screenshots on the page give a good feel for the tool. The most complicated part of the setup was creating a mysql userid and database for the software to use.

Which short URL services do you use and why?


dvlug-20140509Our new wordpress site using a slightly modified TwentyFourteen theme is live. Please provide feedback on how things look on different devices. I’ve enabled some plugins, some to prevent common spam activities. It’s amazing how much interest spammers have in small sites like ours. I’d like to share experiences with other wordpress bloggers.