Mario Fux

Posts Tagged ‘education’

KDE, families and Randa

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

First and foremost I’d like to thank the KDE e.V. that they invited me to extended board meeting in Berlin two weeks ago. I got some more insights in the board’s work and could participate in the fundraising workshop on Saturday. So what did we learn?

“Ask, ask again and ask for more” and “KISS – Keep it simple and smart”. I hope to be able to apply this and the other things we learned to the fundraising campaign for the Randa Meetings 2014 which we’re going to launch in the next weeks.

Another thing where I was quite active in the last weeks is the “recruitment” for people that should come to Randa this summer. As you of course already know, two of the topics this year are the KDE SDK and the porting of apps to KF5 and other platforms. Thus I tried to get in contact with KDE-Mac people and then also got in contact with people from Macports. I’m currently working on bringing the technical parts of the discussion back to KDE-Mac mailing list.

And I’m working further to bring Windows, Android and the aforementioned Mac people to Randa. So if you’re interested and I did not yet get in contact with you (under which rock were you hiding?;-) get in contact, please. One of my personal goals is it by the way to get some “foreign” machines to our CI park, namely Windows, Mac, Android and Co ;-). There e.g. the CI people could be of valueable help.

On another topic or actually the middle one in the title above: I’m happy to tell you that this year we’ve already three or four participants registered for the Randa Meetings whom will bring their families with them to Randa. Don’t fear, none of the money of the KDE e.V. will be used to pay their accommodation or travel and food costs. They will pay for their families’ stay. But why do I think that this is so nice?

Because I think this is an important step and the right direction. A huge problem of many free software communities is the fact, that contributors leave after they get graduated or get families. So it’s (IMNSHO) only in the best interest of KDE if there are possibilities for KDE contributors to bring their families to KDE meetings. It is nice if you can hack on KDE software during the day and eat lunch and dinner with your family and spend the evening with them. And who knows probably we need to organize a day nursery in the coming years.

But what about the coming years and my family? First and foremost I’d like to write here a huge and humongous thank you to my family, the small and the big one and even some farther relatives. Without them I couldn’t organize these meetings in Randa. So as you may have already read some time back I decided to found an association for the Randa Meetings and each year since the founding I was searching for some local sponsors for some expense allowance for me and some other helpers. Do you have any idea what amount of work it is to cook for this crowd for a whole week. You won’t believe how much KDE and free software people eat ;-).

And to be honest for the coming years I plan to stabilize this expense allowance or even small wage even more. But don’t fear (again ;-). None of the money of the KDE e.V. or the planned fundraising campaign will land in my wallet! I just want to be able to keep the Randa Meetings alive for the next years (I roughly estimate to work one to one and a half month on the organization of a single edition of the Randa Meetings) and thus look for new opportunities. So if you have some ideas tell me or at least participate in this is short and tiny (takes around a minute to fill in) survey or poll about this topic. Would be nice to have it widespread…

But what’s next for the Randa Meetings beneath the fundraising campaign? In the coming days I plan to poke and email the people and groups that are already registered for the sprints in Randa that they should check their data, check their groups and see who is missing and who needs to be poked. We need to fix a more or less final budget till the end of April.

So stay tuned when we launch the fundraising campaign for the Randa Meetings and help us to spread the word. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to flattr me below ;-).

PS: This blog post already got a bit larger than planned but here is another PS ;-):
PPS: In the coming days I plan as well to check the wiki pages for the Randa Meetings and add some information about the some hardware present at this year’s meetings (e.g. touch screen, WeTabs, etc.) which you can use and I will add some additional information for families.

Thanks for your help and please go on!

Friday, February 14th, 2014

First and foremost I’d like to thank all the people who already took some time and participated in the questionnaire for my diploma thesis and KDE.

But it’s not over yet (last chance is on 25th of February) and we still need more data and as a member of KDE I know we can do more and better. I got some feedback about the length of the questionnaire and that some questions (mostly the once at the beginning of the questionnaire about the 12 different tasks) are quite abstract and difficult. But please try it, try your best and take the time and brain power. The remaining part of the questionnaire (after these two pages with the tasks questions) is quite easy and quickly done.

So if you already started the questionnaire and gave up then or needed to run for something else: no problem, you can reopen the questionnaire and continue where you left. And don’t forget the chance to win something nice  – but just if you complete and submit the questionnaire.

And if there are any questions, feedback or you need help don’t hesitate a moment to write me an email or ping me on IRC ( as unormal.

Thanks a lot for your help and tell your fellow KDE mates about this questionnaire
Mario Fux

I need your help. Diploma thesis about media choice and usage in KDE

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Dear KDE mates and contributors

Finally the end of my studies is near and thus I’m currently in the process of writing my diploma thesis. I’ve worked hard during the last weeks and months on a questionnaire which shall collect some data for my thesis. Furthermore the data of this survey will be interesting for the KDE community as well.

So please take some time and add it to your todo list or, even better, go directly to my questionnaire and help me make a great diploma thesis and improve the KDE community in some ways.

The questionnaire takes some 20 to 30 minutes and will show you some interesting facts about our community in the last 15 years. At the end of the questionnaire you’ll find a way to participate in a draw where you can even win something nice.

So once again: Old and young people of KDE, documentation writers, developers, translators, bug reporters and triagers, packagers and all the others of you who contribute to all that makes KDE a great community with great software and more, please take some time and help me to filled in questionnaires from all over the world.

Thanks to all for reading and helping and towards the summer of 2014 you can read here what all the data you gave me showed us and where we can learn and improve.

Thanks in advance
Mario Fux

I’m going to Randa 2011

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Ok. I’m actually almost there already ;-). But I hope you are ready to go there and you got all the emails (some people told me that the mails landed in their spam folders). Look at the kde-events archive if you’re unsure.

If you come by plane you should have received an additional email with details about the train ticket from the airport to Randa. If you didn’t get this email or still need such a ticket contact me asap (fux at the KDE servers). This is the last chance!

There is a sprint page on the community wiki where we collect information about this year’s meeting. Thus if you blog before, during or after the meeting please add your post to the community wiki page. Do the same with the picture collections you take in Randa or on the way there or back ;-).

And here is something you can use in your blog posts about the Randa 2011 meeting. Some banners done by the first year informatics trainees of the vocational school Visp (Valais/Switzerland):

Oh and btw the above mentioned sprint page is the black or information board for important information during the sprint. Read you next as I’d like to report you about our work of the last weekend: wiring the house in Randa and thus taking the house apart ;-).

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We need you for Nepomuk (integration)!

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

First I’d like to thank David Vignoni for his work on the logo for the Randa meeting. It’s the basis for the work of the young informatic trainees. But the results are still secret (as even I haven’t seen anything myself but get the first results at the end of this week ;-).

And now to the ideas and proposals (btw this has nothing in common with the GSoC ideas of KDE!). As you probably or hopefully already know the KDE Nepomuk team will have a meeting in Randa this June (from the 1st to the 7th of this month) and we still want application developers to integrate this technology in their application or to work on some interesting and great new ideas. And there will be really good help as Sebastian Trüg will be in Randa and he is going to do one or the other workshop of Nepomuk basics. And here are some ideas and thoughts of mine to start your imagination engines:

  • The KDE semantic clipboard. There is some code in the old subversion playground of KDE and in December 2010 I wrote a paper about this topic. In short, this clipboard enhances to normal one with the capability of knowing what (in the context of meaning) it copy-and-pastes. This clipboard does not just copy numbers and formatting but addresses, geographic coordinates or blbliographic references. Take a look and bring it to a releasable state. There are even some solution proposals in the above mentioned paper.
  • All of the new KDE PIM application use Nepomuk technology through their Akonadi interactions.
  • Digikam had (or has?) some capabilities to exchange its information and metadata with the Nepomuk storage. What about tagging your pictures with the contacts (and PIMO::Persons) of the new Kaddressbook and projects which are then usable system wide.
  • And Amarok had (or again has?) some functions to share it’s music database with Nepomuk and thus make it system wide and not just enclosed in one applicatition.
  • But there are as well good examples for existing Nepomuk integration: Bangarang. A multimedia player which remembers what you like, what music and videos you have on your system and where is more information about this media data (in the web).
  • Another idea could be a (scientific) paper or article collector which understands the connections (or quotations) between the articles and that the strings at the top (authors) are actually persons and the references at the end of the articles are actually links and thus relations to other papers and articles. Take a look at the SWRC ontology.
  • Yet another project which extensively uses Nepomuk is the new KDE Telepathy framework. They don’t just invent yet another represenation of a person and its contacts but use PIMO::Person and thus make connections to them system wide comprehensible and reusable.
  • And let’s not forget the Plasma framework and its activities. But there is more and better information about this on the site of ivan Cukic.
  • Or something completely new. An ontology for TV series, recordings and shows… (Update: Sebastian told me that there is already one: NMM. And Bangarang and some other applications use it.)
  • And there is Zeitgeist and QtZeitgeist

Enough ideas? And last but not at all least and I almost forgot it: two ideas for plasmoids (and corresponding dataengines).

  • A person plasmoid which shows all files, documents, addresses, persons, music, pictures, etc. related to this person and if you drag and drop something to this plasmoid the things get related (and not tagged with the string of this person’s name (and if you don’t know yet the important difference, please ask as I seem to be a bad teacher and explainer then)). Imagine something like a plasmoid with the name and picture of the person and in the config some checkboxes for all related resources (documents, audio files, persons, etc.) which should be displayed in the plasmoid.
  • There is actually no second idea but an almost infinite number: more plasmoids (and dataengines) for other resources like projects, geographic locations (imagine a radar like plasmoid with resources depending on their proximity.)

I think these are some ideas and possible projects. As we want to send the e.V. board an estimated budget for Randa 2011 meeting we’d like to close the registration at the end of the this week.

And here are some more news about sponsoring and Randa 2011:

  • 200.00 CHF by a private person.
  • 500.00 CHF reducation for house renting (and thus another 500.00 CHF less for the e.V. budget).

If you have other or more ideas don’t hesitate to talk with us and do this live at the Randa 2011 meeting! For further questions just come to our mailing list.

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KDE work day 11: QML and ICT@school

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

Morning dear readers. It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m sitting in the train from Valais, Switzerland to Bern back home. There is already some text written for this blog post but my (one of them 😉 plan for this one-hour-journey is it to clean it up and bring it in a publishable form and push the submit button when I’m at home. So what happened the last week?

On Wednesday I filmed another presentation of Prof. Petko at the university of Zurich (last time I filmed a presentation of him about "serious games"). The presentation was about ICT (information and communication technologies) in school and education and it was interesting to listen to him talking about Equador (right?) and Portugal where there is one PC per child which is not yet reached (or even targeted) in the oh-so-rich Switzerland. Somehow embarassing and somehow understandable if you know about the fear of technology in this area of the world. But you know which systems run on the PCs in Equador or Portugal? No? Ever heard about OLPC, Linux, KDE and Free Software?

But now to the four todo items I listed in my last blog post and thus to the first miss.

Instead of NLP and Sonnet code reading I did some QML and QtQuick learning and hacking. The screenshots below shows my playground to learn QML. It’s a prototype or rebuild of a bus stop information board. Not coincidentally it shows the train stops you pass when you arrive at the Zurich airport and want to go to Randa by train. I hope or try to extend this further to a plasma based information board for different stuff. We have a lot of great data sources ("dataengines" and "services" in Plasma speech) and for the public transportation stop display I’ll try to use the public transport dataengine by Friedrich Karl Tilman Pülz (if you read this is there any official release coming?). If it’s better to develop a new Plasma containment or if an applet or plasmoid is enough needs to be discussed with the Plasma professionals ;-).

Public transport stop information

My second todo item was it to further continue my KDE development enviroment and as a newer llibdbusmenu-qt-dev package arrived finally in Debian sid I succeeded here ;-). But now there is another new problem. The software doesn’t find the Oxygen icons. Another todo item was further work on the registration form for the Randa 2011 which I hope to finish tomorrow or the day after. Concerning Randa I’m in contact with two teachers of the local vocational school (both of them or participants of my Linux course) about a possible meeting of their pupils and the KDE guys in Randa. The two guys teach informatics and electro techniques at this school. And this btw wipes off my last todo items as yesterday I did another lecture (or three 😉 of my current Linux course.

And before I list my KDE work items for the next week here are some random thoughts of the last week:

  • KMyMoney is a really great financial tool with great documentation. Take a look if not yet done.
  • The Calligra Stage GSoC idea about a plasma presentation widget would be perfect for my planned Plasma Information Board (PIB?;-).

Todo for the coming week:

  • Read Sonnet code and write one or two concepts for my NLP and CL (computational linguistics) projects.
  • Finish the registration form for the Randa 2011 meeting.
  • Bring some Oxygen into my KDE development enviroment ;-).
  • Further working and playing with QML.
  • Finish the German translation of the KDE Booklet (if there is no more help I need to convince B. to help me as he has holidays ;-).

BTW I see your flattring as some mean of voting as well. The more one of my posts get flattred the more you seem to like it and the more I should work on this particular work.

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KDE work day 7: NLP, conf files and success

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

The distance between two of my KDE work day reports each week get’s a bit bigger but I think it’s still quite regular and I’ll do my best to bring it back on track. Thanks to all the people who flattr me (the FSFE wordpress software got a flattr plugin now 😉 and thanks to all the people who "just" read my blog. An idea for next year is to provide other facilities to donate and probably even to vote on what you prefer me to work ;-).

This week I’ve done some personal work on two of the KDE wikis. On techbase I inserted a first very (very) raw draft for a collection of KDE software configuration files and directories and data storage files and directories. I’ll start with the apps I use myself most often. Actually I don’t know if it’s possible to edit one other user’s personal page on the wikis but later I’d like to move this part of my personal page anyway to a better place. By the way underneath there you still find an attempt to collect the release dates (past and future) of different GNU/Linux distributions.

Some more work went into the personal page on the KDE community wiki: There I collect information about free (as in speech) NLP tools. NLP stands for natural language processing and programming and consists of almost everything that brings natural languages and computer together. This page is work in progress and thus will change a lot before it get’s excluded from the personal page area. But here fits the same as with the other page: If it’s possible to edit it and you’ve some good information to add do so, please! Additionally you find there some NLP stuff already in and around KDE.

And then there is something that happened last week which makes me quite proud and I’d like to share with you. There is even some connection to KDE ;-). In one of my last blog post I wrote about a paper I had to hand in about the "KDE semantic clipboard". It got accepted and last week on Thursday I had an oral test about it (actually something similar to my last exam for my minor computer sciences). And you know what? Best mark! A 6.0 here in Switzerland and the professor and my advisor told me that this work and exam appears to be one of a major student. Great… I couldn’t resist to ask if there is a possibility to do a doctoral thesis when I’ve finished my studies and they once again said yes ;-).

But I’m not yet sure if I want and will do a doctoral thesis afterwards. First I still need to write my diploma thesis in education which needs a lot of motivation as my major topic (education) isn’t that interesting for me anymore.

I try to keep the rest of this blog post as short as possible. The work on the morphological API for KDE (and thus Sonnet) goes on, if you’re interested in helping (or lurking) in the organization of the next Randa meeting subscribe to the kde-events mailing list till tomorrow or the day after and I joined the game as well.

And the last thing for this time the promised english language learning links:

Serious games, KDE and Co

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

The half vegatarian half carnivore pizza is in the oven and before the TV show about some Wikileaks background story starts I’ve some minutes to start writing my blog entry about "serious games", a very interesting presentation I visited yesterday, and some other KDE stuff.

As it’s part of my job to sometimes record guest presentations at or of our institute (of education) yesterday I had the possibility to visit a presentation about "serious games". The presenter was a former teacher of mine (now professor) who taught me a lot about education and media. "Serious games" is a concept about computer games with an educational and teaching background. The audience consisted almost exclusively of women (female human beings are the majority in the educational sciences and business in Switzerland). Unfortunately the prejudices about the anti-social character of gamers and a causal relation between players of violent games and violent acts are still alive. This even though there is no study which underpins these ideas and some studies exist that show even the opposite of the former.

The presentation was very interesting and entertaining and I hope to take some ideas for my diploma thesis. At the end the presenter showed some interesting free (probably not as in speech) browser games with a "serious" background. I hope to post some of them in the next days when I’m finished with cutting and uploading of the taken recording. And by the way: our institute provides a nice video portal about school lessons in different languages. Not all are free to watch and the website is still only in German but useful and interesting nonetheless (and finally works on Linux (with Flash ;-( as well).

On another thing today I got my svn-soon-git KDE developer account and a batch of KDE business cards was in B’s and my postbox.

Oh and yesterday I got my english grammar test back. A better mark than I expected. And if there is some intereste I would post the links I collected during this course to leverage my english. So are you interested in english grammar exercises and grammar rules?


KDE work day > 3: A short note

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

It’s quite some time since I last blogged. I wanted to report every week about my KDE work day: one day dedicated only to KDE, be it development, research, documentation. Unfortunately I didn’t succeed in reporting about it. But I more or less managed to work one day each week for my KDE skills.

Normally it wasn’t a whole day just for this but several hours during the week and mostly all hours summed up to more than a day. So there is and was a lot going on.

I did a lot of work on my Qt skills. Tried several things about linguistic stuff like stemming, part of speech tagging. Most of the stuff not really worth publishing. And there is other stuff. Stuff not yet ready to talk about in the public. But hopefully soon.

And there was and is this Qt and KDE programming course in my local LUG: We’re still on it and the number of participants grows!

And even Konqi and his tale are alive. In my brain. There will be another story but I don’t know when and I don’t know when I’ll tell you more about this two bigger projects. But I will. I just wanted to let you know that I’m still alive and coding, reading, organizing, thinking, brainstorming, talking, discussing, ….

Oh and almost forgot this: I’m now since 6 weeks in the English Grammar foundation course. Do you see a difference ;-)?


KDE work day 2 – git and lugo

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

So good morning dear readers. It took a long time for this new and next entry of mine about my kde work days. But I’ve an excuse. I moved – and the new and better internet connection starts to work from the 19th of August. Till then I’m online only when I’m in the office and on some swiss train stations occasionally. It’s now more than two or three weeks since the last entry and I want to start right on about some stuff I did or tried.

Last Friday I started a serie of programming courses at my local LUG (the LUGO – Linux User Group Oberwallis). I’m not yet good in developing with Qt and KDE but I tought that I could give and share my new knowledge with some other LUG mates as I go on. And we already were a group of four people increasing in the next course. There are some spare notes and nine slides of a short presentation. Probably I still write some text of what I told them. But the course shall and will be quite interactive as we are all on different knowledge. So if and when you’re in Switzerland and speak German visit us. The next course is on Friday, the 10th of September 2010. Oh and btw. This Friday, the 13th of August, we have another general meeting at our LUG with some presentations about Linux on different devices (and of course a short presentation by me about KDE mobile) and somehow an integrated release party for KDE SC 4.5.0.

Then I read and tried some of the git stuff in the last weeks. As the projects grow (more than one file) and version control system begins to make sense and which could be better suited than git (no flame war about vcs please – I’ve choosen git because Qt already switched to it and KDE will finally switch to it in the next months). So here is a short summary and listing of some git commands:

  • "man git-log" or "git help log" to get information about the git log command
  • "git init" in a directory to create and initialize a new git respository
  • "git add ." to add the current directory to the cache (index) and
  • "git commit" to finally commit it
  • "git commit -a" to commit all new changes without explicitely adding them
  • "git diff –cached" to see the changes and
  • "git log", "git log -p" or "git log –stat –summary" to view the history
  • "git branch <newBranch>" creates a new branch and
  • "git merge <newBranch>" merges it with the master branch (what a surprise 😉
  • "git clone <localOrRemoteUrl> <newName>" clones another repository
  • "git pull <otherRepo> master" merges the changes of the otherRepo with your master and
  • "git fetch <otherRepo> master" does the same without merging
  • "gitk" is a graphical history and diff browser for git

All the stuff I read or learned is from the gittutorial and git documentation (aptitude install git-doc on a Debian system ;-).

As you probably already noticed I’m somehow interested in semantic and natural language stuff. Some months ago I asked some friends of mine to send me five to ten (5-10) sentences in natural (human) language about searches they want to do on their computers. Something like: "show me all the text documents I worked on last week and tagged with ‘project X’". So here is a wish to you or job for you: Send me some such natural language query (english or german, probably some french once, that’s all I speak and understand ;-), preferably from collegues or friends who are not power users but normal computer users. I want to analyse them and try something out.

As this blog entry is already longer than expected I want to add some information about myself. You should now my name and that I like (or love?;-) free software and thus KDE. I’m 31 years old, life in Switzerland (grew up in the south of it and life now somewhere in the middle (who knows where and read the last entry?;-). Eleven years ago I finished my schooling as a primary school teacher but decided to study which I hope to finish in the spring of 2012. My major at the university is education and social education and the minors are computer sciences (with a special interest in AI and semantic web engineering) and computational linguistics.

And to end this entry. There is a new Qt technology coming up about the semantic web and desktop: QtSparql… (but Soprano is worth a look as well to say the least) and soon you’ll find here more information about Konqi the dragon…