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The SeaGL 2017 Call for Papers is now open!

Are you from the US Northwest area? Have something cool to tell or show from the open source world? Then you should apply to give a talk at SeaGL this year!

SeaGL is a grassroots technical conference, taking place in Seattle, WA, United States in October 6-7th. It’s dedicated to spreading knowledge about the GNU/Linux community and free/libre/open-source software/hardware. I went last year, and there’s a lot of cool people with amazing stories on multiple open source topics. Now, we want to hear from you.

I’m sure there’s a lot of you with cool projects that you want to share with the world. Go ahead! This fourth year there’s 20-minute talks, where you can give a quick introduction to your piece of software/hardware, or 50-minute talks, where you can do a demo, and go in-depth about your project. Is it going to be your first talk ever? SeaGL is a great place to get started! Have questions about your talk proposal? They have weekly office hours in the #seagl channel on freenode to give you a hand!

Conferences like SeaGL are powered by their own attendees, so it’d be great to see new faces around showing off amazing stuff. I hope to see many new names on the schedule, as well as some other familiar ones.  Propose a talk, and hopefully, I’ll see you in October! And hurry – CFP closes on August 6th, midnight PDT.

Announcing UbuCon Latin America 2017

It’s my pleasure to announce UbuCon Latin America 2017! For a third consecutive year, we’ll be holding it at the University of Lima, Peru. This year’s conference will take place August 18-19th.

UbuCon Latin America is a conference where people from LatAm and the rest of the world get together to discuss the state of the art of Ubuntu, as well as cool things you can do with it. We are planning on two days full of Ubuntu topics!

Travel and accommodation information can be found here.

We would also like you to participate. If you have a talk you’d like to present, please fill out the call for papers. It will only be open for a couple weeks. After that, we’ll be publishing our schedule.

Would you like to sponsor UbuCon Latin America this year? Send an email to jose@ubuntu.com and we’ll get back in touch!

I hope to see you all in Lima, Peru in just a couple months!

Social Media Management vs. Community Management?

I personally stopped blogging a while ago, but I kinda feel this is a necessary blog post. A while ago, a professor used the term Community Manager interchangeably with Social Media Manager. I made a quick comment about them not being the same, and later some friends started questioning my reasoning.

Last week during OSCON, I was chatting with a friend about this same topic. A startup asked me to help them as a community manager about a year ago. I gladly accepted, but then they just started assigning me social media work.

And these are not the only cases. I have seen several people use both terms interchangeably, which they are not. I guess it’s time for me to burst the bubble that has been wrapped around both terms.

In order to do that, let’s explain, in very simple words, the job of both of them. Let’s start with the social media managers. Their job is, as the title says, to manage social media channels. Post on Facebook, respond to Twitter replies, make sure people feel welcome when they visit any of the social media channels, and automatically represent the brand/product through social media.

Community managers, on the other side, focus on building communities around a product or service. To put it simpler, they make sure that there’s people that care about the product, that contribute to the ecosystem, that work with the provider to make it better. Social media management is a part of their job. It is a core function, because it is one of the channels that allow them to communicate with people to hear their concerns and project the provider’s voice about the product. However, it is not their only job. They also have to go out and meet with people, in real life. Talk with higher-ups to voice the concerns. Hear how the product is impacting people’s life in order to make a change, or continue on the same good path.

With this, I’m not trying to devalue the work of social media managers. On the other hand, they are have a very valuable job. Imagine all those companies with social media profiles, without the funny comments. No message replies if you had a question. Horrible, right? Managing these channels is as important, so brands/products are ‘alive’ on the interwebs. Being a community manager is not only managing a channel. Therefore, they are not comparable jobs.

Each of the positions is different, even though they complement each other pretty well. But I hope that with this post you can understand a little bit more about the inside job of both community managers and social media managers. In a fast-paced world like ours today, these two can make a huge difference between having a presence online, or not. So, next time, if you’re looking for a community manager, don’t expect them to do only social media work. And viceversa – if you’re looking for a social media manager, don’t expect them to build community out of social media.

Ubuntu Conferences in November

Hey everyone!

And here I am, packing to go in yet another adventure. If you are near the Seattle area, I encourage you to go to SeaGl, a volunteer-ran conference. I will be speaking about Juju, and we’ll also have an Ubuntu table!

On the other hand, I will also be at UbuCon Europe. If you are in Germany, make sure to attend!

If you are going to be at any of those conferences, make sure to come by and say hi – I’d love to see you.

Time to jump on a plane!

Ubuntu and Juju at Ohio Linux Fest this weekend!

Hey everyone! Just a quick announcement that Ubuntu and Juju will be at Ohio Linux Fest this weekend. The event takes place at the Hyatt Regency Columbus, in Columbus, OH on Friday and Saturday. If you can drop by, please say hi!

I will be giving a talk about Juju on Saturday at 3pm. Ubuntu will be running a table as well. If you are going to be attending the event, please drop by the table. We’ll have some Ubuntu phones for demo, I can help you with Juju stuff, and some other community members will be there as well. If you have an Official Ubuntu Book, 9th Edition, I’d be happy to sign it for you. Elizabeth K. Joseph is going to be at the event as well, so you can get signatures from two different authors!

If you want to volunteer at the Ubuntu table we’ll be having, please drop me an email to jose@ubuntu.com. Otherwise, come by, we can grab a coffee or dinner after the event. Looking forward to seeing you soon!

Juju Client Now Works Properly On All Linuxes!

Hello everyone! This is a guest post by Menno Smits, who works on the Juju team. He originally announced this great news in the Juju mailing list (which you should all subscribe to!), and I thought it was definitely worth to announce in the Planet. Stay tuned to the mailing list for more great announcements, which I feel are going to come now that we are moving to RCs of Juju 2.0.

Juju 2.0 is just around the corner and there’s so much great stuff in the release. It really is streets ahead of the 1.x series.

One improvement that’s recently landed is that the Juju client will now work on any Linux distribution. Up until now, the client hasn’t been usable on variants of Linux for which Juju didn’t have explicit support (Ubuntu and CentOS). This has now been fixed – the client will now work on any Linux distribution. Testing has been done with Fedora, Debian and Arch, but any Linux distribution should now be OK to use.

It’s worth noting that when using local Juju binaries (i.e. a `juju` and `jujud` which you’ve built yourself or that someone has sent you), checks in the `juju bootstrap` command have been relaxed. This way, a Juju client running on any Linux flavour can bootstrap a controller running any of the supported Ubuntu series. Previously, it wasn’t possible for a client running a non-Ubuntu distribution to bootstrap a Juju controller using local Juju binaries.

All this is great news for people who are wanting to get started with Juju but are not running Ubuntu on their workstations. These changes will be available in the Juju 2.0 rc1 release.

And we’re back with UbuCon Latin America 2016!

I promised we’d be back, and here we are! Took us just a couple months to get things up and rolling, but UbuCon Latin America is now being organized. This year, we decided we’ll be hosting it in Lima, Peru again, on the 5-6th August!

We have now opened the Call for Papers for the conference. If you are willing to speak at UbuConLA, just fill out this form. Also, if you have any talk suggestions send us an email to info@ubuconla.org. We’ll be more than happy to see if we can get a talk in on the topic you’re interested.

On the other hand, we are looking for sponsors! If you or someone you know is interested in sponsoring our event, feel free to drop us an email to sponsors@ubuconla.org. We’ll be more than happy to answer all your questions about sponsorship, so email us anytime.

Registration for the conference will open soon, so stay tuned!

Ubuntu’s back at OSCON this year!

You read it right! After several years of being absent, Ubuntu is going to be present at OSCON this 2016. We are going to be there as a non-profit, so make sure you visit us at booth 631-3.

It has been several years since we had a presence as exhibitors, and I am glad to say we’re going to have awesome things this year. It’s also OSCON’s first year at Austin. New year, new venue! But getting to the point,  we will have:

  • System76 laptops so you can play and experience with Ubuntu Desktop
  • A couple Nexus 4 phones, so you can try out Ubuntu Touch
  • A bq M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet so you can see how beautiful it is, and see convergence in action (thanks Popey!)
  • A Mycroft! (Thanks to the Mycroft guys, can’t wait to see one in person myself!)
  • Some swag for free (first come-first serve basis, make sure to drop by!)
  • And a raffle for the Official Ubuntu Book, 8th Edition!

The conference starts Monday the 16th May (tomorrow!) but the Expo Hall opens on Tuesday night. You could say we start on Wednesday 🙂 If you are going to be there, don’t forget to drop by and say hi. It’s my first time at OSCON, so we’ll see how the conference is. I am pretty excited about it – hope to see several of you there!

Let’s Code-In!

A while ago I got an email saying that organization registration is now open for the Google Code-In contest. For those of you who don’t know what it is, it consists on a list of tasks provided by different open source organizations, from which high school students can pick any and help the organization. The students whose work outstands, they will be taken to the Googleplex for a tour and some more neat stuff. Why am I telling you all of this, you ask? Because I would like Ubuntu to be a part of the contest this year!

In order to participate as an organization, we need to register by Wednesday (already tomorrow in some parts of the world!) and make sure we can provide between 150 and 500 tasks. However, I can not do this on my own. We need a team of people willing to provide tasks for the students.

Now, think of it this way. We are going to be able to harvest new contributors, help them get involved with open source, and build a new generation of Ubuntu contributors, even Ubuntu Members.

If your team or project inside Ubuntu could use a hand, please do not hesitate on contacting me for more information on how to become a mentor. Or even better, if you want to help organize things for GCI, drop me a line! My email address is jose ubuntu com, or you can find me as jose on freenode. Ah, and if you want to take a look at the discussion we’ve been having, you can check the ubuntu-community-team mailing list thread. Oh, and if you have any questions at all, I’ll be more than happy to answer those too 🙂

I definitely hope to count with you all in this upcoming project, and that we get accepted as an organization. Can’t see anything but great things coming from the project!

Android Wear: A 10 Months Retrospective

It was the early morning of a November day. My dad got here from the US, and he was carrying a small squared box for me. It was my brand new LG G Watch. A solid 10 months have passed since I turned it on for the first time, and I have seen Android Wear evolve so much, I feel it is now the time to do a slight review on how the device has made a difference in my lifestyle.

I guess the first thing to start with is the hardware, so…

Hardware

Going to the basics, you can see a square watch. It has a little hole in the side that faces you, which is the microphone. It has a touch screen that lets you interact with the watch. It has a rubber adjustable band, just as you would expect from the watch. At the back, you will be able to find 4 charging pins, that will get in contact with the dock’s pins and make the watch charge. It has Bluetooth, but does not have Wi-Fi. It also has a bunch of sensors, but it lacks from a light sensor, so there’s no automatic brightness settings. Pretty simple so far, huh? But it’s changed, and you can see some wear (pun intended) on the watch.

If you take a really close look into the screen, you will be able to see that there’s a small scratch on the screen. Also, there’s a little dent on one of the borders. However, all of this was caused because I excessively use my watch, and I tend to move my arm a lot, no matter whether I am in an open or closed space. So, yes, I’ve bumped my watch several times, and the screen is almost intact, the borders look really nice and, watch-wise, all parts are working almost-perfectly. I’ve been having some problems with my dock lately, where it just disconnects and reconnects randomly, but changing cables seems to solve the problem (or at least does not wake me up anymore!).

The band is a different story. The little strap that makes sure you don’t have a piece of rubber hanging on your wrist (I don’t know the name, sorry!) seems like it’s not as thick as it was when it got here. Also, the band has been losing it’s matte appearance and become a bit more glossy on the outside on the parts where the metal saves it from moving. This is not much of a problem for me, since I have been looking into replacing the band with a custom band in the near future. I haven’t found any options that I like so far, though.

This brings us to another point. You can change the watch’s band so easily that you can even do it on your own. As a real-life example, I took out my watch’s band inside a moving airplane, just because I was bored and it was fun. I don’t recommend it, though – if there’s turbulence you may lose the little pieces! There are several 18mm watch bands around the interwebz, that you can just buy one you like and put it on your watch. Make sure it fits with both your style and your watch! With that, I believe I have covered most (if not all) the physical aspects of the watch, so let’s move on to the software.

Software

This aspect from the watch is the one I love the most. When I bought it, it was just a ‘get your notifications without taking your phone off your pocket’ device. However, it has evolved into something else much more than that.

Again, the initial main purpose of getting the G Watch was, for me, getting my notifications while I was in class, without bothering teachers. And if it was something important I could switch to it. The first big change I saw was the addition of Wrist Gestures. It meant I could now eat an ice cream cone and check/reply to my notifications, but AT THE SAME TIME! How amazing could that be?

Applications were there since the beginning. As an example, there was a calculator application, as well as tic-tac-toe and some other games and utilities. When Wear 5.0 was released applications had a complete makeover, and several started appearing. There’s now fully-working Hangouts on mobile, and the most exciting for me was Ingress. Replying from within any of these apps or the cards shown up on the main screen now lets you draw an emoji, and even though your drawing skills may not be that good, it recognizes what you’re trying to draw. I also found out about Together, a Wear app that lets you send messages to another friend’s watch face directly! I haven’t had the change to try this one out since I’m the only one of my local friends with a Wear device, so we’ll have to see how it works. If you want to test it out with me, let me know in the comments and I’ll update the review with this app!

Theater mode is also one of my favorite features on the watch. There are times, like when you go to the cinema, when you don’t want any light coming out from your watch, even if the watch face is set to always on. Or you don’t want any vibrations to interrupt that movie. So you set up theater mode, and, with a touch, you get both. And until you disable it, it won’t have the watch (or your phone!) with the screen always on, and notifications will not go through.

Screen lock arrived in 5.0, and it lets you auto-lock your watch as soon as it detects it’s no longer on your wrist or when it disconnects from your phone. You can set up a pattern lock that’s at least four dots ‘long’, and it will automatically apply. However, I had to disable this because I had a problem: I have been travelling a bit more than usual in the last couple months, which meant I had to put my watch in Airplane Mode. This meant my watch would be disconnected from my phone, and every time I wanted to take a look at the time, I would not be able to since the screen would be locked. When I arrived to my destination I set it back to on. This is one small thing I’d like to customize, but it’s definitely a security risk if you think about it. We’ll see how it develops, or if it stays this way.

The G Watch is lacking something, though. It does not have Wi-Fi available, which means you are not able to leave your phone behind and just use your watch. To be honest, I don’t know where this would be useful for me, but it’s something that’s not on the G Watch.

Finally, watch faces! This is the most amazing part of the watch, because you can download as many watch faces as you want (or as your watches storage lets you) and change them as frequently as you wish. For me, that meant that I had a watch face for formal wear / university, and one for the rest. And since there are several in the Google Play Store, you can either download one that has already been created and that you like, or create a new one from scratch. The two I commonly use are both downloaded from the Play Store, but I love them. The first one is called SkyMaster, and it is inspired behind the pilot’s concept of a watch: whenever you took a look at it you should be able to get the basic information, all at a glimpse. I have it set to show the time, the date, a second time (UTC), both my watch and phone’s battery, and the outside temperature. This it the one I use the most, because it has all the information ready for me when I look at my wrist. I don’t even have to take my phone out to get an estimate of the battery and to decide whether I need to plug it to my power bank or not. Of course, since watch faces are in the Play Store, that means that there are both free and paid watch faces. I have been able to get a couple great free ones, as well as some cool paid ones. I even catched a deal once.

Conclusion

The LG G Watch is definitely a great device. And not only because of the device itself, but because Android Wear powers it in a way that the device enables you to do whatever you may think in your wrist. Of course, it is not designed to replace your phone at all, but as an extender.

To me, it did turn out to be as useful as I could’ve thought, and I don’t have any regrets on buying it. Definitely a must if you are a busy person, moving around, or just someone who wants to extend their phone. If you see a deal for a G Watch and don’t care much about the Wi-Fi functionality, I would say take it.

The reason why I got the device was because it had a square look itself. Just as people want a Moto360 because it’s round, I wanted a G Watch because it was square. And it is a device that has, certainly, not let me down. I do believe that this is just the start for Android Wear and that a lot of new things are going to pop up in 2016. But until then, I’m happy with it, and I would say that you would be too.