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"The only frontiers are in your mind"
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Get Blogged by JoKi

Jochen Kirstaetter (2014)

The only frontiers are in your mind, welcome to my blog sphere. Your host at is Jochen Kirstätter aka JoKi.

Dive into the weird world of a professional Software Craftsman and follow his daily victories and struggles with modern technology at IOS Indian Ocean Software Ltd. Although living on a tropical island, I'm a business owner and entrepreneur in different industry sectors. Mainly operating in the development of tailor-made software solutions since more than 15 years, I also venture into the world of beauty and body care. You can either meet me at the weekly Code & Coffee meetups of the Mauritius Software Craftsmanship Community or reach me on Twitter @JKirstaetter

This blog is also about Flic en Flac and the beautiful island of Mauritius, my home.

Sincerely, JoKi



Upgrade to Xubuntu 15.04 - Vivid Vervet
Linux 09 May 2015 - 

Running an operating system like Ubuntu or any of its derivates, like ie. Xubuntu, comes with some nice treats (and threats?). One of the nice things is that you'll get a scheduled upgrade approximately every six months. Usually, around April and October of each year. Meaning there are two releases per year resulting in those version numbers [Year].04 and [Year].10. Also, ever two years the April edition of Ubuntu is classified as a Long-Term Support (LTS) version which keeps an extended period of time. A nice touch and surely interesting for professional installations of Ubuntu but eventually not too practical for the daily use at home or when you're interested in latest versions.

Preparing the system

These steps are the same every time you decide to upgrade to the latest release. Eventually, you might be interested to update older installation and have a read here: 

In general, you should have a look at the official upgrade documentation of Ubuntu. Next, get your recent system up-to-date before you consider to upgrade. Also, take care that there are no pending partial upgrades or packages on hold. This might have a negative impact on the installation process of the newer packages. So, before you think about upgrading you have to ensure that your current system is running on the latest packages. This can be done easily via a terminal like so:

$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get -y dist-upgrade --fix-missing

xubuntu 1504 uptodate

Next, we are going to initiate the upgrade itself:

$ sudo update-manager

As a result the graphical Software Updater should inform you that a newer version of Ubuntu is available for installation.

xubuntu 1504 uptodate

Ubuntu's Software Updater informs you whether an upgrade is available

Running the upgrade

After clicking 'Upgrade...' or 'Yes, Upgrade Now' you will be presented with information about the new version.

xubuntu 1504 uptodate

Details about Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet)

Simply continue with the procedure and your system will be analysed for the next steps.

xubuntu 1504 uptodate

Analysing the existing system and preparing the actual upgrade to 15.04

xubuntu 1504 uptodate

Next, we are at the point of no return. Last confirmation dialog before having a coffee break while your machine is occupied to download the necessary packages. Not the best bandwidth at hand after all... yours might be faster.

xubuntu 1504 uptodate

Are you really sure that you want to start the upgrade? Let's go and have fun!

Anyway, bye bye Unique Unicorn and Welcome Vivid Vervet!

In case that you added any additional repositories like Medibuntu or PPAs you will be informed that they are going to be disabled during the upgrade and they might require some manual intervention after completion.

xubuntu 1504 uptodate

Ubuntu is playing safe and third party repositories are disabled during the upgrade

Well, depending on your internet bandwidth this might take something between a couple of minutes and some hours to download all the packages and then trigger the actual installation process. In my case I left my PC unattended during the night.

xubuntu 1504 uptodate

At the end Xubuntu will ask you whether you would like to remove old and obsolete packages of the previous version.

xubuntu 1504 uptodate

Time to reboot

xubuntu 1504 uptodate

Finally, it's time to restart your system and see what's going to happen... In my case absolutely nothing unexpected. The system booted the new kernel 3.19.0 as usual and I was greeted by a new login screen.

Honestly, 'same' system as before - which is good and I love that fact of consistency - and I can continue to work productively. And also Software Updater confirms that we just had a painless upgrade:

xubuntu 1504 uptodate

System is running Ubuntu 15.04 - Vivid Vervet - and up to date

See you in six months again... ;-)

Post-scriptum

In case that you would to upgrade to the latest development version of Ubuntu, run the following command in a console:

$ sudo update-manager -d

And repeat all steps as described above.

 
Mugg & Bean - Nightmare at Bagatelle
User Rating:★★★★★ / 5
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General 04 May 2015 - 

It took me quite some while to decide whether I should write about this culinary topic or not. In general, I try to keep it like Thumper - "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all..." but unfortunately this won't change the situation in the first place and second, it's not recommended to hold back (constructive) criticism in order to assist to improve things. In case of Mugg & Bean at Bagatelle particularly it's already since a very long time that I'm saying nothin'...

Bright and shiny opening

Mugg & Bean isn't new to myself at all. I've been to M&B in South Africa several times and having the news that there'll be a franchise in Mauritius was very welcoming. Even though I skipped the opening period on purpose for various reasons I have to admit that the initial service, offerings and gusto was to my personal liking. Surely, a place to recommend among friends and family. We have been there on several occassions and the overall experience right at the beginning was positive. You know, this typical feel-good feeling after having had a nice meal and pleasant waitron service.

Where's light, there're shades

Unfortunately, M&B's lucky strike didn't last for long and personally I had the impression that the decline started as soon as the initial management and trainers from South Africa left the building, or better said flew back. The first disappointing visit happened for a lunch break together with my BWE and my dear mother. Well, you know lunch break, you'd like to go out and instead of grabbing a sandwich from the super market or picking some snacks from the merchants on the street, we decided to stop by at M&B to have a quick bite. Hm, talking a quick... it was only our patience that went away quickly. First of all, in an half-filled restaurant with many empty tables left we were seated but not asked for drinks. Finally, after roughly 20 minutes someone of the waitron staff remembered that new guests have arrived and brought us menu cards and asked for the drinks. It's not like we were hungry and eventually might have limited time for a lunch break but okay at least we a waitress now. The drinks were brought after another 20 minutes in, and then we were finally allowed to place our orders for food. Seriously? Round about 40 minutes just sitting there and waiting for soft drinks and/or juices? And obviously, we were not the only ones. A couple two tables next to us had to wait approximately 30 minutes for their drinks. Alright, as we were sitting nicely and had some topics to talk about we waited patiently for our dishes... Oh boy, you might have guessed it. Another 35 minutes later the first two plates were brought over, and then another 5 minutes later the missing third one. I won't go into the details but there were bits and pieces wrong and we couldn't be bothered because of being too hungry to argue. Besides having a second, more weird waiter which seemed to have a personal pleasure in terms of sneaking up on guests from behind repetitively, all three of us had probably the worst lunch ever. And to close that horrible lunch "experience" we had to wait another 25(!) minutes between asking for the check and finally being allowed to pay.

Regular location for meetings of MSCC and LUGM

Well, surely this lunch event must have been an exceptional experience you'd might argue. Hm, I wished it would have been... Let's talk a little bit about my involvement in local IT communities, namely Mauritius Software Craftsmanship Community (MSCC) and the Linux User Group of Mauritius/Meta (LUGM). We have this habit to organise little get-togethers of six to ten people and meet at an easy accessible location. Frankly, some love the bottomless caffee at Mugg & Bean and therefore we arranged quite a number of meetings over there. As the kids are with me on Saturdays I have to take care of their well-being and nutrition. Okay, the food selection even for children is quite tempting and after all it's about having a good time. Despite the business generated for the restaurant. Personally, I'm a fan of milk-shakes... and it would have been great that M&B would be able to deliver but quite frankly over a period of at least six (6!) months I was always told that the machine is broken and that milk-shakes cannot be served. Okay, I can understand that things break and it takes a little bit longer to get them fixed up here on this remote island but... more than six months? A well-known brand like Mugg & Bean? And the shakes are still offered according to their menu cards? Come on! Just put a blank sticker over drinks or meals you cannot serve...

But that's not all... choosing other drinks or menus randomly from the menu ended up in a simply answer by the waitress: "Sorry, it's not available". I finally gave up, and started to ask what's available today without even bothering to look at the card anymore. And despite the declining trend of drinks and dishes it became obvious that the standards of cleanliness followed the same trend. Guests had to leave the restaurant in order to lighten their pressure around the hips - for several weeks or even months because the rest room upstairs was in a bad state! Sitting near the big window panels with a view on the fountain outside revealed a disgusting observation of grease on the door panels in the cake and tart section. Cups, plates and cutlery usually had a stain from previous meals, too. And finally, one of our MSCC members got some extra nutrition in his pot of tea which submerged in his cup after pouring the final drops of green tea... boiled cockroach!

Not surprisingly, any meetups of both user groups were done at other locations in Bagatelle. And there are plenty of other blog articles and photos documenting on that one, too.

New management - maybe a fresh wind of service?

During the MSCC meetup on entrepreneurship back in August 2014 one of the attendees mentioned that he's very close to the current manager of Mugg & Bean and that the new person in charge would like to meet and listen to our previous experience. Alright, we agreed on a time and location somewhere else in Bagatelle and had a great conversation about the stories you just read in the previous paragraphs. Funny side-note: The M&B manager had a fidelity card from that other cafe. Which might tell you a lot actually...

Honestly, I didn't bother to follow up on any kind of improvements but only by listening to other MSCC craftsmen about their recent visits, gave me enough information that it wouldn't be worth to spend any further time at that place. Not now, not in the future.

Granting a wish... 

... I guess that might be the only explanation why I finally agreed this morning to give it another shot. My BWE was already "chasing" me since weeks that she'd love to have a proper breakfast in the morning compared to the range of small bites at Vida e Caffe, also at Bagatelle. Since months, the weekly Code & Coffee meetings of the MSCC have been carried out at the little cafe opposite the Emtel showroom, and so far it had been always great. Even though the music might be too enthusiastic sometimes but the staff is always friendly and pays attention to their clients' demands.

Anyway, judgement day at Mugg & Bean... all those months I could convince my BWE that it wouldn't be an option to have a meal there anymore. I can't say what was the key aspect during the drive to Bagatelle but I accepted that we should give M&B another shot. Maybe things might have improved since last time. Okay, okay... let's give it a try.

Oh boy! What a fatal mistake!

Despite having six people from the waitron staff lurking around near the main entrance or the kitchen passage we didn't get that much attention. The kitchen was not yet ready... I mean, yeah, why would a breakfast place need to have a ready kitchen in the morning? Okay, let's wait for some 15 to 25 minutes then...
And let's see about the drinks? My BWE asked for a cup of regular black coffee... "Sorry, we don't have coffee right now". What? You have coffee-themed wallpapers all over the place and you cannot serve a simple cup of plain black coffee?
On the other hand, my first choice of drink from the menu... "Sorry, it's not available". What the flipping banana? Am I cursed in terms of food selections? And no it wasn't a milk-shake! That would have been a good choice as they somehow managed to fix their shake machine. Luckily, ordering our morning dishes wasn't an obstacle at all, just waiting... and waiting...

I didn't run a stop-watch but roughly after 45 to 50 minutes later we got our food, well partly. The South African Farm breakfast with additional Beef Strips came first, not my choice and some minutes later I was finally served with a portion of Mexican Scrambles and an additional portion of Country Fries. The beef was not seasoned and tasted blunt after all, the fries had tepid temperature rather than being hot, and taking into consideration that the scrambled eggs might have been put into an oven or microwave judging on the amount of liquid in the small gratin bowl. Honestly, disgusting look and even more horrible taste!

Mugg & Bean world-wide - No, thank you!

Seriously, it is not my intention to blackmail a brand with this posting but frankly speaking after all those months of continuous negative experience at Mugg & Bean in Bagatelle, I won't have another meal for a very long time in one of their branches. No matter where it is located. And believe me, Mugg & Bean isn't the first franchise I completely ditched for more than a decade. McDonalds' back in Germany had (and still have) that bad habit of putting too much salt on their french fries. And so, I went to spent my money somewhere else.

Please share your experience with either Mugg & Bean (Bagatelle or somewhere else) or other food places. Thanks!

 
Preparations for Developers Conference 2015
User Rating:★★★★★ / 1
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Community 20 February 2015 - 

The First of its Kind in Mauritius

Developers Conference 2015 is the first event in Mauritius, maybe even in the Indian Ocean which is organised as a "classic" conference. Yes, there have been various vendor-specific bootcamps in the past but never anything like this.

"From craftsmen - For craftsmen"

This year's conference is first time organised by the Mauritius Software Craftsmanship Community (MSCC) in partnership with a number of local and international companies. Although the MSCC was founded back in 2013 it quickly became clear that our tropical island has a certain lack of informational and technical events. During some monthly meetups we spoke about this situation and that it would be very interesting and delightful to organise such an event.

Also, the monthly meetings of the MSCC are usually topic-centered and most amazingly we had solid technical information and good presenters - even though none is a professional trainer - during the last couple of month. The Developers Conference is just the consequent development of this process - our thirst for more information in the world of modern IT.

Mauritius has been branded "Cyber Island" in the Indian Ocean... Opinions in those matters vary but with this conference we strive to improve the general attribution of our island. Mauritius has great political stability and economical advantages for foreign investors, and the most precious resource Mauritius has to offer is people's knowledge.
The ICT sector in Mauritius is growing since years and maturing as the fourth pillar of our economy. With its geographical position Mauritius is also welcome as a business and knowledge hub between Africa and Asia.

Welcome to the first ever Developers Conference in Mauritius!

Extras & Specialties - It's not all about sessions

Apart from the technical sessions and presentations during the day the conference is going to be complemented with additional activities of different types. Our venues provide lots of space for some extra fun...

Stroll around and get some inspiration from our side activities. Socialise with other attendees offline and seize the opportunity to get some ideas for DIY projects from others.

Global Azure Bootcamp Again!

In April of 2013 we held the first Global Windows Azure Bootcamp at more than 90 locations around the globe! In March 2014 we topped that with 136 locations!

This year we are again doing a one day deep dive class to help thousands of people get up to speed on developing Cloud Computing Applications for Azure.

In addition to this great learning opportunity we will have another set of hands on labs.

Hack-a-thon - Programming is a lifestyle

Tired of listening and talking? Let the source code fly!

The Developers Conference is a great chance to show your programming skills. Team up with other developers and solve a variety of challenging tasks. There will be different categories of competitions and we will organise different prices for the winners and runner-ups.

A hack-a-thon is not only fun but also a solid way to put your skills on the table. Be part of it...

Touch-typing Contest - Show us your keyboard skills

Working with computers is bound to typing your source code, specifications or any kind of documentation via keyboard since decades. New alternatives like speech recognition are still in their early phase of development and practical use. Which leads us ultimately to the following questions:

Do you know about touch-typing or speedtyping? How good are your skills?

Show us and other participants your impressive speedtyping skills and compete among each other in various competitions and races. The typing speed is usually measured in words-per-minute (WPM), and a word is standardized to five characters or keystrokes.

Ubuntu 15.04 - Celebrating Vivid Vervet

The next version of Ubuntu is highly anticipated with its continuous development towards an unified user experience on the desktop, on the server, in the cloud, or on the mobile platform. Welcome the Internet of Things (IoT).

Mark Shuttleworth introduced the new version Ubuntu and its foray into the mobile space some months back:

"This is a time when every electronic thing can be an Internet thing, and that’s a chance for us to bring our platform, with its security and its long term support, to a vast and important field. In a world where almost any device can be smart, and also subverted, our shared efforts to make trusted and trustworthy systems might find fertile ground."

Bring your laptop or USB pendrives to receive a copy of the latest incarnation of Ubuntu, and step into a world of open source.

DIY projects - Raspberry Pi, Arduino, any...

You are more of a hardware geek? You like to pull up your sleeves and get cracking with single-board computers (SBC) like the Raspberry Pi, the Arduino, or other models? Then the maker space will be the right place to demo your Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects to the rest of the audience.

Learn the latest trends about small hardware projects and get some inspiration from others.

Networking - Communication and exchange with others

Communication with your environment is an essential part of everyone's life. And it doesn't matter whether you are actually living in a rural area in the middle of nowhere, within the pulsating heart of a big city, or in my case on a wonderful island in the Indian Ocean. The ability to exchange your thoughts, your experience and your worries with another person helps you to get different points of view and new ideas on how to resolve an issue you might be confronted with.

Take the chance to exchange with other attendees in the reception area or on the balcony. Have some interesting conversations about software development, latest information gained during one of the presentations and let others know about your ups & downs in your projects.

Also, join the Mauritius Software Craftsmanship Community and be part of the local IT community.

The MSCC is a community for those who care and are proud of what they do. For those developers, regardless how experienced they are, who want to improve and master their craft.

It is a community for those who believe that being average is just not good enough.

Join the community and stay informed.

 
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