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2014/01/30 A couple of days in Alpine
π 2014-01-30 01:01 in Snow
Thanks to a company ski trip, I got to go to North Lake Tahoe at the end of January.

Unfortunately caltrans has been making people put chains even if there is no snow on the road, it took us forever to get there and then because conditions at Squaw were so bad despite the recent snow, I went to Alpine, but that took another 1h+ due to the inefficient shuttle system. In the end, I was at the top of the first lift around noon.


spider boxter with chains, nice...
spider boxter with chains, nice...


you could still find some snow if you were willing to risk core shots
you could still find some snow if you were willing to risk core shots

rock garden? Well at least they're being honest about it
rock garden? Well at least they're being honest about it

yeah, I went riding through that, anything for powder
yeah, I went riding through that, anything for powder


and core shots I got, I had to cut this out with my swiss army knife
and core shots I got, I had to cut this out with my swiss army knife

mmh, I think I got a bit lost out of bounds, my only way down was in powder.
mmh, I think I got a bit lost out of bounds, my only way down was in powder.

later in the afternoon, we got some sun
later in the afternoon, we got some sun

ok, that's better
ok, that's better

The next morning, I went back with some coworkers. Thanks to sucky transortation and Squaw sucking, it took us a mere 1h15 to get to Alpine and we missed first chairs and new overnight snow. Grr...

waiting for shuttle #2
waiting for shuttle #2

first lift, finally
first lift, finally


Hi Matt
Hi Matt

Alpine had good snowmaking
Alpine had good snowmaking

Last chair
Last chair

See more images for A couple of days in Alpine
2014/01/30 Chrome Ski Trip
π 2014-01-30 01:01 in Google
We got lucky to be have a ski trip in Tahoe, so I got up at some ungodly hour in the morning to catch a bus to Tahoe.

If you like snow, you can read more about alpine and see pictures.

The evening party and food were great (well, except for the once again way way too loud music), thanks to the organizers for putting this together.

How yeah, the theme was Cowboys and Aliens.

'empathic listening to your life issues', love it :
'empathic listening to your life issues', love it :





the mad scientist, fear!
the mad scientist, fear!



See more images for Chrome Ski Trip
2014/01/20 Diving off Rottnest Island
π 2014-01-20 01:01 in Diving
I had planned to take Jennifer to Rottnest Island, and figured that instead of taking a boring ferry, we could take a dive boat, do 2 dives, and then have the boat nicely drop us off at the island (actually there are no more dive outfits on the island, so it was the best way to dive and visit the island at the same time):





Some of the dive pictures are below. Unfortunately, the water was pretty cold (19C) and the differential was enough to instantly fog my camera lens on contact of the low temperature. Thankfully I had my gopro as a backup.

Visibility was somewhat poor, but we got to see cool critters:
















this is where the plentiful lobsters were supposed to go :)
this is where the plentiful lobsters were supposed to go :)



Between the 2 drives, we had a good "healthy" Australia BBQ lunch:


See more images for Diving off Rottnest Island
2014/01/19 Sydney in a half day
π 2014-01-19 01:01 in Australia, Trips

After our successful Sydney in a day last year, we tried Sydney in a half day this time :)

This was not really a plan to spend so little time in Sydney, but with our flights it worked out that way, we got a hellish red eye from Perth, and I figured it'd be more fun to spend 6 hours in Sydney than sit in the airport.

We went to the botanical gardens after stopping by Google to drop our luggage:









I had brought seeds to feed the cockatoos we saw last year. I love those birds:

I finally found some customers
I finally found some customers

an interested customer :)
an interested customer :)




it brought a twig to exchange for seeds :)
it brought a twig to exchange for seeds :)

The video shows how one wasn't shy at all, but the two other ones really wanted the seeds, but were too shy to take them from our hands. Per Jennifer didn't get them to eat from her hand this year.

These are Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and many have been tagged so that people can report sightings on this Cockatoo Wingtag facebook page. They're fun and intelligent birds from what people have been reporting.

From there it was just a short walk to circular quay where we went to get a jet boat ride:






The jet boat ride was fun and wet (I know, what were the odds? :). That boat had enough power to do 360 turns in the water. Cool way to see the Sydney harbour :)












Last, but not least, we went to Google for lunch, and I got a few pictures from there, and then from the Sydney airport before flying home:






See more images for Sydney in a half day
2014/01/19 Another quick lunch in the Google Sydney Office
π 2014-01-19 01:01 in Google
Since we had a few hours to kill in Sydney between 2 flights, we went for a walk in the morning and a jetboat ride, and after that went for lunch at the Google Sydney office with a few coworkers. Huge thanks to Brendan and Jamie for having taken time to give us a tour after lunch:


















Did I mention they have a frigg'in monorail?




it's a conference room inside, by the way :)
it's a conference room inside, by the way :)



But the gbike from Mountain View that somehow got very lost and ended up in Sydney was a winner by far. Big props to the culprits who made this happen :)


nice :)
nice :)


2014/01/18 Visit of Caversham Wildlife Park and Fremantle
π 2014-01-18 01:01 in Australia, Trips
After being on Rottnest Island, we took an early ferry and a longish cab ride to a wildlife park north of Perth, Caversham to go mollest animals.

It was a fun little zoo to visit:



















I love those birds
I love those birds










good thing I had bird seeds with me :)
good thing I had bird seeds with me :)






Finally, it was time to go molest some kangaroos










After finishing the zoo, we took a cab back to Fremantle to spend the rest of the day before going to the airport for our flight home:


We had 15mn to visit the marine museum before it closed:







the fast ferry to Rottnest
the fast ferry to Rottnest













After sunset on the beach, we had a good dinner before going to the airport for a hellish red eye to Sydney:




2014/01/17 Visiting Rottnest Island
π 2014-01-17 01:01 in Australia, Trips
Arrival at Rottnest after being dropped off by our diving boat after 2 dives around Rottnest Island that morning.


bikes are the best way to get around
bikes are the best way to get around

We went to our room first, and right away we had a hungry quokka came to our room. Thankfully I had some bird seeds that are ok for them to eat, whereas other foods can make them sick. They are the cutest marsupials:






After that, we went for a bike ride for what we had left of the day:






we saw more quokkas on the road
we saw more quokkas on the road













Quokkas are actually nocturnal, so we saw many more at night:


we had to b careful not to bike over them
we had to b careful not to bike over them

The next morning, our little friend came back for more (we left some water for it):


And we went back out to take the first ferry out:



See more images for Visiting Rottnest Island
2014/01/11 Diving around Xmas Island
π 2014-01-11 01:01 in Diving
Jennifer and I have to thank the Dirk and Linus travel agency for this one. My original plan was to go to Ningaloo Reef after Perth, but January is just very much the wrong season to go, many dive shops are half closed during that time, and odds of sighting a whale shark in January are about 0.

So Jennifer and I flew to Xmas Island from Perth after linux.conf.au was over, and met Dirk and Linus there who had arrived the previous day. Turns out Xmas Island should really be part of Indonesia if you look at a map (it's just south of Jakarta. It is however quite far from Raja Ampat where we dived a few months prior), but for historical reasons, Australia got it as a territory some time back, and it's a 4H flight from Perth (thankfully, with a real plane and no luggage restriction like Lord Howe Island).
There is a lot to see on the island, but I have a separate post on our visit of Xmas Island and its many crabs.

There is a single dive shop on the Island, Wet n Dry run by Hama, and he did a great job getting us good dive sites every day, even if we came at a time when whales sharks which are usually not uncommon happened to be allusive during the week we were there. Hama does a great job running the dive shop. He does 2 dives a day every morning, and knows all the spots you can go dive at depending on the day's current conditions. Between dives, he usually got us a spot to snorkel where we could see dolphins or other cool critters while he was changing tanks on the boat between the dives.



Hana, hard at work :)
Hana, hard at work :)

We got privileged to get Lynne as a guide who made sure to show us her world famous clit rock as well as phallus cavern :)

'Yes, post on the internet about my clit rock, I named it!'
'Yes, post on the internet about my clit rock, I named it!'



Here's the map of where we went:

Before the pictures, here is a great summary video from Dirk:

Below are some of the pictures I took.


one cave I surfaced in during a dive
one cave I surfaced in during a dive







a few fish
a few fish

a few more fish
a few more fish

a few more other fish :)
a few more other fish :)

clown fish can be mean :)
clown fish can be mean :)



our partners in crime
our partners in crime








I love this juvenile rockmover wrasse:



Fish being cleaned:

those fish can turn from black to white with their mood.
those fish can turn from black to white with their mood.

I love these big puffer fishes:

Between the dives, we got to snorkel at nice spots:

snorkel with dolphins
snorkel with dolphins






some quick vids where we got to snorkel with dolphins, Manta Ray, big fish and sharks:

Between dives, we also got to see little fish that liked to jump on rocks and apparently could breathe air for a while:

those fish jump on the rock and seem to breathe air
those fish jump on the rock and seem to breathe air

Frigrate birds seen from the dive boat:


And that was it, after 5 days of diving, we got to see quite a bit in super clear water. Xmas Island was definitely a good place to go to, even if we didn't see any whale sharks :)

See more images for Diving around Xmas Island
2014/01/11 Visiting Xmas Island
π 2014-01-11 01:01 in Australia, Trips
Again, thanks to the Dirk and Linus travel agency, we elected to fly to Xmas Island after LCA 2013 since it was a better time of the season to go compared to Ningaloo Reef which is awesome, but very low season in January. The main reason was to go diving in warm easy waters with great visibility.

As seen from the plane, Xmas Island is reasonably large, you definitely need a car to get around
As seen from the plane, Xmas Island is reasonably large, you definitely need a car to get around

Thankfully they have a real runway that allows full size jets to land (along with proper luggage)
Thankfully they have a real runway that allows full size jets to land (along with proper luggage)

Our hotel was called "the sunset", I wonder why :)






Some dinners, we at in our hotel room with basic cooking facilities, others we ate in restaurants:


The island had a lot of industry linked to phosphate mining:






Unfortunately, people from other countries have figured out that they can just take boats to show up as refugees and flee to Australia:





Anyway, back to visiting the island, we covered a lot of the island thanks to the rental car:

This is the lovely 4x4 we got. It was full of dings and scratches, and that turned out to be a feature since we sure got a lot more scratches while driving between trees and plants and trying to avoid running over crabs that were everywhere.


We used our beaten up 4x4 rental to drive around the island to some hikes, remote beaches, and interesting viewing points, and it was definitely worth it. While they call themselves "the other galapagos" this is over-reaching, but they do have lots of cool birds, many many kinds of crabs, boobie birds, and more.


look at the webbed feet around the branches
look at the webbed feet around the branches






We also got to see flying foxes (bats):




We also had many lizards and geckos:



This of course does not count the diving which was quite good in warm easy waters with great visibility.

After the dives in the morning, we used our rental car to go visit the Island, and it was a lot of fun to see so many crabs. From what we were told, the ubiquitous red crabs that are all over, including crossing the road everywhere, making driving interesting, aren't good to eat, but the robber/coconut crabs are, however they are protected. To be honest, I grew attached to those little red crabs, they are not afraid of humans, I've been able to give them food to their claw which they grabbed and ate slowly, and they do a great job recycling organic matter (animal or vegetal).
I have so many crab pictures, it was hard to select a few:

we missed the big crab migration, but some roads were still closed due to too many crabs
we missed the big crab migration, but some roads were still closed due to too many crabs

those little guys were fearless and all over, including the road
those little guys were fearless and all over, including the road

coconut crabs
coconut crabs

we found this coconut crab white driving back at night
we found this coconut crab white driving back at night

beauty
beauty

this little guy went hiding in the urinal during a rainfall, maybe not the best move
this little guy went hiding in the urinal during a rainfall, maybe not the best move


these guys were more shy
these guys were more shy



coconut crabs come in different colors
coconut crabs come in different colors

a beautiful blue one
a beautiful blue one

the path was littered with crabs
the path was littered with crabs

this coconut crab found in the rocks had eggs
this coconut crab found in the rocks had eggs

ghost crab
ghost crab

the ubiquitous red crabs eat all debris, vegetal or animal
the ubiquitous red crabs eat all debris, vegetal or animal


we were able to feed the crabs some leaves, which they were happy to take from us
we were able to feed the crabs some leaves, which they were happy to take from us

all shapes and sizes
all shapes and sizes

unfortunately, many get run over
unfortunately, many get run over

Many other pictures from driving around and hiking to beaches:


blowhole
blowhole


we actually got to use the 4x4
we actually got to use the 4x4

Jennifer had to chase the coconut crabs I couldn't safely drive around
Jennifer had to chase the coconut crabs I couldn't safely drive around


remote beach we drove and hiked to
remote beach we drove and hiked to


the tracks are from turtles that came to nest
the tracks are from turtles that came to nest

Jennifer tried to channel her inner monkey to go get a coconut
Jennifer tried to channel her inner monkey to go get a coconut

I was able to shake one down for her :)
I was able to shake one down for her :)



these crabs can't swim, but they lay eggs in the ocean
these crabs can't swim, but they lay eggs in the ocean










they were underwhelming when we arrived, bad timing
they were underwhelming when we arrived, bad timing

A couple of late afternons, we went to Margaret Knol to finish the day. We got to see some birds and flying bats:





See more images for Visiting Xmas Island
2014/01/10 Flying a B737 Sim at the Perth Flight Experience in Perth
π 2014-01-10 01:01 in Flying
I happened to be in Perth for a linux conference, and after finding out about the Flight Experience Sim in Paris that was booked for weeks solid when I was there, I found out that they had a location in Perth too, and that was where I was going to be next, so it was perfect.







The pilot I flew with gave me a good overview of what to do and what's involved in flying big iron with passengers compared to what I usually fly.

Here are a few videos:

Dusk takeoff from LAX:

Landing at a SFO:

Landing at a small airport in the Alps:

I got to see the gear running all this, lots of computers:


2014/01/06 Linux.conf.au 2014 in Perth
π 2014-01-06 01:01 in Linux
It had been 11 years since I went to the last LCA in Perth, and I was excited to go again. As always, thanks to the volunteers who made this happen this year.

I was excited to do the arduino miniconf this year since it was to make a GSM phone.






this looks almost like my nokia phone from 1999
this looks almost like my nokia phone from 1999

We had some good keynotes this year too, my eagerly awaited favourite being of course Jon's arduino in space.







And Tridge was the lucky deserving recipient of the Rusty Wrench award this year:


I definitely enjoyed his ardupilot talk



Of course, like each year, I enjoyed socializing with my international friends:









See more images for Linux.conf.au 2014 in Perth
2014/01/06 My Live Upgrading Many Thousands of Servers ProdNG talk at Linux.conf.au 2014
π 2014-01-06 01:01 in Linux
LCA 2014 was the last event I gave my ProdNG talk at, the summary of 3.5 years of work at Google and the craziest upgrade I've done in my life. I also wrote a more detailled ProdNG LISA/Usenix Paper if you'd like more details.


The fancy talk description is here:

This talk will look at how we upgraded our ancient linux distribution on all the Google production servers to a more modern one based on debian stripped down and built from source.
We do live upgrades on running machines using an rsync-like rollout mechanism, and we slowly switched distributions on the fly without rebooting or downtime unless required by separately upgraded kernel, but doing a 10 year jump of linux userspace without breaking users was no piece of cake.
The talk will explain how something so crazy made sense, was even possible, executed, and worked out, as well as recommendations for maintaining linux big servers and dealing with upstream upgrades.

The video:

If you'd like the presentation in other formats:

  • ProdNG.odp
  • ProdNG.pdf
  • html (full screen)
  • More importantly, you can get the ProdNG LISA Paper which has many more details on how the upgrade went and the implementation.


    >

    2014/01/05 Perth Australia, Monkey Mia, Shark Bay
    π 2014-01-05 01:01 in Australia, Trips
    Thanks to Linux.conf.au 2014 in Perth, Jennifer and I got to go to Perth this year (second time for me after a first trip to Perth in 2003).

    Due to merely asking, and some super nice pilots in the B747 we were taking from SFO to Sydney, the captain not only let me sit in his chair, but even took the picture for me :)



    cute!
    cute!

    After a dinner and night in Perth, we took an early private flight to Monkey Mia and Shark Bay. Putting the price aside (flying in Australia is not cheap), the owner unfortunately used the flight to check out one of his pilots, so we had an extra person in the plane which does not have much room, and we did a long 3H-ish flight in the cramped back seats of a Mooney. It was pretty miserable, but we got to Monkey Mia eventually. Unfortunately we got there too late for the last dolphin beach sighting of the day, so having arrived there after missing the main attraction was a bit disappointing.

    I've flown the slightly faster version of this plane, I don't consider it a 4 seater
    I've flown the slightly faster version of this plane, I don't consider it a 4 seater

    but we had 4 of us inside, it probably stretched the allowed payload
    but we had 4 of us inside, it probably stretched the allowed payload

    downtown perth
    downtown perth







    this board told us that we'd likely be out of luck for seeing dolphins that day
    this board told us that we'd likely be out of luck for seeing dolphins that day





    the dolphins swimming close to shore, but not interested in coming to see us
    the dolphins swimming close to shore, but not interested in coming to see us

    so we had a very expensive $100 burger (pilot saying)
    so we had a very expensive $100 burger (pilot saying)

    actually we got lucky and saw some wild emus
    actually we got lucky and saw some wild emus







    Next, we flew to Hamelin Pool to see Stromatolites by Shark Bay. Those cool organisms are now believed to have created part or most of the oxygen on earth, some 2 billion years ago. Unfortunately they helped create most of the animal life that exists on earth today, and in turn the fishes apparently though they tasted good and ate most of them. The few surviving ones are there because they are in very salty water that most sea animals don't like, and that's the case in Shark Bay:








    this looks a bit dry, and it sure was hot and dry
    this looks a bit dry, and it sure was hot and dry

    this wild kangaroo didn't seem to mind.
    this wild kangaroo didn't seem to mind.

    After long flight back, I snapped a few pictures from Perth:




    Naval museum and Fremantle in the back
    Naval museum and Fremantle in the back


    Some pictures of Perth University:



    the women are not impressed, tough crowd
    the women are not impressed, tough crowd

    but they could be bought with food easily :)
    but they could be bought with food easily :)

    During the conference, one early morning, I went for a walk in the big park between Perth University and downtown Perth:










    As for Perth itself, I didn't have any time to go visit it until the last evening after my flight in the B747 Simulator at Perth Flight Experience





    I do have a few pictures from around the University where we had the conference, though:





    And the university:





    Jennifer and I walked around town a bit, had dinner, and got ready for our flight the next day to Christmas Island to see crabs and to dive


    More pages: July 2018 June 2018 May 2018 April 2018 March 2018 February 2018 January 2018 December 2017 November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 March 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 July 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006 May 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 October 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 May 2005 April 2005 March 2005 February 2005 January 2005 December 2004 November 2004 October 2004 September 2004 August 2004 July 2004 June 2004 May 2004 April 2004 March 2004 February 2004 January 2004 October 2003 August 2003 July 2003 May 2003 April 2003 March 2003 January 2003 November 2002 October 2002 July 2002 May 2002 April 2002 March 2002 February 2002 November 2001 October 2001 September 2001 August 2001 July 2001 June 2001 May 2001 April 2001 March 2001 February 2001 January 2001 December 2000 November 2000 October 2000 September 2000 August 2000 July 2000 June 2000 April 1999 March 1999 September 1997 August 1997 July 1996 September 1993 July 1991 December 1988 December 1985 January 1980