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Ask Slashdot: Event Sign-Up Software Options For a Non-Profit?

Mathieu Lutfy CiviCRM (104 comments)

They should only go with custom code up to a certain extent. The organization should have the freedom to choose its own service provider (including volunteers). I'm probably stating the obvious, but if there is too much custom code they will be forced to spend a lot to rewrite code when volunteers rotate (and most likely will want to roll their own fancier solution), spend a lot of energy/time/money to maintain the code, or have difficulties finding volunteers who want to get involved in such a mess.

I don't know the specifics of your use-case, but CiviCRM is a Free Software contact relationship management software aimed specifically at non-profits. It has a large community of users and developers. While the community mostly operates on non-profit budgets, it includes users such as the FSF, EFF, Wikimedia, sub-orgs of UNESCO, Amnesty International, NY State Senate, etc. I use it for my small local clients, but I'm happy to be able to pool ressources with such organisations.

While turn-key tools can only do so much, you would probably have better chances of customizing that to fit your needs, and in the long term, the organization can turn to specialized service providers if necessary, without restarting from scratch.

Heck, worst case, if your volunteers are PHP-averse and don't feel like spending too much time customizing the application, you can write just a front-end application to it, and use the CiviCRM REST API to store the data. Writing a whole new application just for that seems like a huge waste of ressources, and does not seem sustainable. An event management tool has a ton of small but critical features to think about.

If they think it will be hard to learn an existing generic tool, imagine how hard it will be for new staff/volunteers to use a completely custom tool. Not to mention that if your organisation has an aim of promoting common good, community building, etc, they should also participate in existing Free Software projects :)

about 2 months ago
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Comcast Carrying 1Tbit/s of IPv6 Internet Traffic

Mathieu Lutfy Re:Crap Traffic (146 comments)

Would be nice to have more details about that, and the proportion with IPv4 scans/crap.

Personally, I've been pleasantly surprised when going to the US, that random places (small motels, AirBNB places) had native IPv6. In some cases, they even had weird broken NAT, but working IPv6.

This migration to IPv6 has to happen one day or another. May as well be in front of the curve, with regards to privacy, security, topology and performance.

about 5 months ago
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Firefox 29: Redesign

Mathieu Lutfy Re:It has a combined address/search bar (688 comments)

You can also use custom keywords with Bookmarks:
http://kb.mozillazine.org/Usin...

I alias google to "g", so when I want to search, i just type in the location bar: "g these are my search terms".

It's also practical to do Google searches in specific languages. For example, I use "ge" for google-english, "gf" for google-french, etc.

about 8 months ago
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With HTTPS Everywhere, Is Firefox Now the Most Secure Mobile Browser?

Mathieu Lutfy Re:NSA has the ssl keys (279 comments)

nonsense.. that's a blanket statement that doesn't mean anything, implying that we should only consider absolutely secure solutions that will protect against all attacks. There is no one size fits all. Adding a layer of security that "will thwart MOST prying eyes" is well worth it, just don't expect it to be bullet proof and understand how it works, what it protects from.

If I recall correctly one of the initial aims of "https everywhere" was to protect people using public wifi. Hijacking FB accounts on public wifi became a common attack (and many others). It's a low-hanging fruit that encouraged a lot of websites to enable and fix their SSL for everyone.

Not to mention.. even if the NSA had keys from the major SSL cert vendors: you probably meant: they have the private key of Google/Facebook/etc, since the cert vendor key itself only signs the cert, it does not provide the private key that encrypts the communication.

Even then, don't use Google/FB. A lot of Snowden docs talked about tracking using the IDs from those services, although nothing has indicated that they have private keys of google/fb, it assumed that google/fb traffic was non-SSL. It's also a big leap to assume that they can generate/obtain private keys for other non-cloud services.

about a year ago
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Only One US City Makes "Top Ten Internet Cities Worldwide" List

Mathieu Lutfy Re:Montreal? MONTREAL!? (240 comments)

We do have a duopoly (3 if, for businesses, you include FibreNoire), but to be fair, it competes pretty well to other north-american cities. Bell now supports fiber-to-the-home in most central borroughs, and Videotron keeps upgrading their network. (although, of course, you should deal with a reseller for a better deal and less dysfunctional tech support) If only Bell operated as a normal company, and not a marketing dystopia...

I have a 30/10 mbps VDSL/fttn connection using Teksavvy, with IPv6 enabled, for around 60$/month including dry-loop, 300 GB/month cap (unlimited during the night).

However, for hosting, while there may be OVH for cloud stuff, we really lack quality alternatives for traditional hosting. There is some offering, but lots of room for improvement.

I also participate in http://www.reseaulibre.ca/ to 1- create our own decentralised user-operated backbone, 2- fun with networking, 3- have an alternative to bell/videotron.

about a year ago
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The Last GUADEC?

Mathieu Lutfy Google Trends vs Debian "popcon" (376 comments)

More reliable than Google-Trends: Debian "popcon", a program that Debian users are offered to install and report their program usage.

http://qa.debian.org/popcon.php?package=gnome-shell (40k installed / 20k votes)
http://qa.debian.org/popcon.php?package=xfwm4 (16k installed, 8k votes)
http://qa.debian.org/popcon-graph.php?packages=kde-window-manager (14k installed, 8k votes)
http://qa.debian.org/popcon-graph.php?packages=xserver-xorg (80k installed, 25k votes)

The stats being what they are, you can't really compare the 40k gnome-shell installs with the 16k xfwm4 (gnome-shell is installed by default, which makes the 16k xfwm more impressive, I guess), but you can make some conclusions.

And yeah, I like gnome-shell / Gnome3. Sometimes after a crash (I run debian-experimental packages), I return to fvwm for a few hours, but I always end back onto gnome-shell. "it works", is pleasant to use, and if necessary, there are ways to customize it.

A few months ago, I had forked and published an extension for hiding the top panel. I was surprised of all the feedback and number of users it got. Better yet, someone else stepped up to maintain it and does a great job.

Seriously.. way too many trolls, and most of the rest don't bother to comment.

about a year ago
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How a Programmer Gets By On $16K/Yr: He Moves to Malaysia

Mathieu Lutfy Re:Once you are in can you get out? (523 comments)

If you're doing R&D on a project that you later want to commercialize, and you don't need to physically meet clients (or you have someone else who can represent you).. and no kids/family to take care of, you may as well lower your cost of living as much as possible.

The problem is when your business model assumes you'll be in Malaysia forever, then you're stuck.

I lived in Eastern Europe (BG) for 2 years. I would bill as a canadian company, get paid in Canada, then transfer money back. The cost of living wasn't very different though (circa 2002), when you even things out. Living in "poorer" countries looks appealing at first, but when you look further than the cost of food and beer, the costs of housing, health system, education system, social inequalities / security, etc. you usually don't want to stay there too long.

about 2 years ago
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Home Server On IPv6-only Internet Connection?

Mathieu Lutfy Toredo (164 comments)

Have you tried Toredo? (apt-get install miredo)

It goes through relays, so you will probably want to only use it for small transfers. Alternatively, you can use a Linode VPS, which have IPv6 enabled by default, so you can configure an ipsec tunnel or equivalent from there.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Is Your Favorite Monitor For Programming?

Mathieu Lutfy 24" 1920x1200 + secondary screen (375 comments)

I have a Samsung S24A450UW (1920x1200) + a legacy secondary screen (an odd 1680x1050).

I like having two screens. The main screen has most of my work stuff, and has multiple virtual-desktops. The secondary screen is static, and shows mostly mail, irc, todo lists, and a secondary firefox window for reference stuff. (I use Gnome 3, but presumably most window managers have that option, although I moved to Gnome 3 after 10 years with FVWM, but it had become too annoying to configure correctly)

I also find it nice to have 1920x1200, and not a 1920x1080, unless you plan using the screen vertically. I even use an extention to hide Gnome's panel, which I found was a waste of space. https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/545/hide-top-bar/

about 2 years ago
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Is It Time For the US To Ditch the Dollar Bill?

Mathieu Lutfy Re:Came here looking for the Planet Money link (943 comments)

Although the main argument of the linked article on why it's more expensive, is that people tend to hold on to coins (put them in useless jars) rather than use them, so the government had to produce 1.6 dollar coins for each 1$ paper billed replaced.

In the linked PDF file [1], search for "1.6", you will find this sentence in the same paragraph:

"However, in both cases, once the transition was complete, coin
production was very low or even nil in some years. Therefore, we
determined that a 1.5-to-1 replacement rate would be appropriate for our analysisâ"low enough to avoid an excess of $1 coins without creating an undue risk of producing too few."

It was only a transition issue, there is no mention about people forgetting about those coins in jars. A 1$ coin is useful, it's what is usually given as a tip for a beer in a pub, so I find the argument that people put them in jars kind of odd..

[1]Âhttp://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11281.pdf

about 2 years ago
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Is It Time For the US To Ditch the Dollar Bill?

Mathieu Lutfy Re:Man, I hate coins. Hate 'em. (943 comments)

I rarely have more than 3-4 dollar coins in my wallet. You can easily use them on a payment.

1 or 5 Â coins, on the other hand, keep accumulating unless you want to waste time counting the exact cash while other people are waiting in line. I'm glad Canada is getting rid of the 1Â.

The attachment of people in the US to their dollar bill reflects how hard, as a nation, it is to move forward.. people are strongly attached to silly symbols.

about 2 years ago
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IPv6 Must Be Enabled On All US Government Sites By Sunday

Mathieu Lutfy Re:I blame the ISPs (179 comments)

What kind of challenges will they face? It's not like they're turning off IPv4. Sites will be dual-stack, and many of them have been for quite some time already.

Google/Youtube, Facebook and many other mainstream sites have already enabled IPv6 on June 6th 2012.

PS: Comcast has been enabling IPv6 by default to some of their customers (5% ?). I was in a small US country-side hotel in March 2012, they had really broken NAT, but their IPv6 was working fine. I also have dual-stack native IPv6 at home (Canada, TekSavvy ISP). Works great, lots of fun to route public subnets to access points and routers that connect with neighbours. I even announce my address block on our neighbourhood mesh network.

more than 2 years ago
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Project Byzantium: Zero To Ad-Hoc Mesh Network In 60 Seconds (Video)

Mathieu Lutfy Re:Mesh network in Montreal (124 comments)

We're not there yet, our network is relatively small and geeky, we're installing lots of antennas these days (we just did a bulk order of 25 ubnt bullets with 15dbi antennas, and aprox 10-12 nodes already running).

Most mesh routing protocols have features to limit bandwidth. It's also possible to control that on the exit node (those who provide Internet connectivity).

A fun thing about mesh networks: the more users you have, the more capacity there is (more nodes relaying traffic). The challenge is then on the exit nodes, and there's ways to control that. However, I think that as Byzantium is doing, we want to rely as much as possible on inter-mesh usage (apps that are "auto-discovery-happy" and decentralized).

For example, our wiki runs ikiwiki, which, thanks to its git backend, allows us to run multiple "master" instances.

more than 2 years ago
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Project Byzantium: Zero To Ad-Hoc Mesh Network In 60 Seconds (Video)

Mathieu Lutfy Re:Mesh network in Montreal (124 comments)

oops, I meant: babeld or batman-adv

more than 2 years ago
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Project Byzantium: Zero To Ad-Hoc Mesh Network In 60 Seconds (Video)

Mathieu Lutfy Re:forget food, get on the internet (124 comments)

Seriously? In a flood, earthquake or political uprising, you food, water and shelter, obviously, but you will need communications too.

That's like saying we shouldn't focus on software freedom because there is still lots of hunger in the world, dictators and corporate overlords running wild. We do what we do because we're good at it.

So what are you up to? :)

more than 2 years ago
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Project Byzantium: Zero To Ad-Hoc Mesh Network In 60 Seconds (Video)

Mathieu Lutfy Re:Why not... (124 comments)

Why not simply flip your WiFi port from 'infrastructure' to 'ad-hoc'?

In regular ad-hoc, you can see the people around you, but not reach their neighbours (there is no routing by default). Byzantium uses babeld, which is a routing layer over an "ad hoc" mode. The mesh network automatically recalculates routes, depending on their signal and link saturation. If you're into networking, it's really trivial to setup and lots of fun (especially with ipv6, although ipv4 works too of course).

more than 2 years ago
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Project Byzantium: Zero To Ad-Hoc Mesh Network In 60 Seconds (Video)

Mathieu Lutfy Mesh network in Montreal (124 comments)

We're building a mesh network in Montreal, putting antennas on our roofs or windows. It's impressive what can be done with OpenWRT running babeld or babeld, and 100$ or less worth of hardware. Also a nice way to connect various free software hacking groups, and.. neighbours. http://wiki.reseaulibre.ca/

Check out also: http://freenetworkfoundation.org/

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Quebec gov sued for ignoring Free Software

Mathieu Lutfy Mathieu Lutfy writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Mathieu Lutfy writes "The CBC is reporting that "Quebec's open-source software association is suing the provincial government, saying it is giving preferential treatment to Microsoft Corp. by buying the company's products rather than using free alternatives. [...] Government buyers are using an exception in provincial law that allows them to buy directly from a proprietary vendor when there are no options available, but Facil said that loophole is being abused and goes against other legal requirements to buy locally.". The group also has a press release in English."
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