Room 23: Surviving a Brain Hemorrhage

Room 23 is the true story of Kavita Basi.  An English lady in the prime of life, healthy with friends, family and career who one day had a headache which rapidly turned into an emergency trip to hospital.  Aquired brain injury happens for a bunch of reasons, from physical trauma to CSF leak but in this case it was a subarachnoid hemorrhage, an uncommon type of stroke caused by a burst blood vessel in the brain (a ruptured brain aneurysm).  There’s no warning for any of this and she covers how it feels so unfair.  She spent several weeks in hospital and even out of hospital had a long and slow recovery.  The books follows her successes and sticking points.  She covers how such sudden and severe illness affects those around her but also the support she got.  A common feature of aquired head injury is changes in personality and this is noteable in how it changed her approach to work and colleages.  A true story of love and loss, happyness and sadness, frustration and overcoming challenges.


Advanced White Water Kayak Leader Training

I did an Advanced White Water Kayak Leader Training course at Glenmore Lodge with Bruce Joliffe who together with George Fell make a fun duo to paddle with. I’ve done this before when it was called 5 Star Leader but I didn’t have enough experience to go to assessment.

We went to the Findhorn Gorge section starting at Randolph’s Leap. I thought Randolph’s Leap looked fun to do and most of the group and trainer agreed but the second trainer asked how we could cover a section of rapid we haven’t considered and given time constraints and that we hadn’t been on the water so didn’t know each other’s capabilities we decided to skip it. This shows how a two overlooked issues, overlooked, can change the whole decision.

When doing a rapid consider ASL – Assess if it’s do-able, Safety set up and finally Line for paddling. Most people consider these in the wrong order.

It can be useful to visulise the rapid once you have looked at it and before paddling it.

When reading a rapid have a look at what could go wrong. If you can’t see the rapid work out what worst-case-scenario hidden tree etc could be in the unseen rapid. Just because there is a route consider what problems may occur and how likely they are. There is a tree stuck in one rapid on the Findhorn and a first drop goes either to safety or into the tree and it would be hard to guarantee which.

3×3 criteria from avalanche and hill danger is also useful for running rivers, considering conditions, character and people against planning, selecting and cataract. I don’t know much more about this, it’s quite involved.

Heuristics means a quick mental way of making a decision based on a rule-of-thumb.

Pertinent means relevant to a situation.

Sit upright and forward, good posture is important when surfing (or anything) and having your blade infront when supporting is essential.

Bruce’s observations were all spot on as well as his knowledge of and use of the river.

One the Sunday we were on the Spean gorge, a low river which annoyingly has no gauge near it. We played at catching eddies and tried more boofs (it’s all about the timing) and lead folks down the rapids.

A fun weekend which highlighted how I’m still now at the standard needed for an Advanced White Water Leader but shows me what I need to do to get there.

It’s not uncommon to come across some dusty corner of KDE which hasn’t been touched in ages and has only half implemented features. One of the joys of KDE is being able to plunge in and fix any such problem areas. But it’s quite a surprise when a high profile area of KDE ends up unmaintained. is one such area and it was getting embarrassing. February 2016 we had a sprint where a new theme was rolled out on the main pages making the website look fresh and act responsively on mobiles but since then, for various failures of management, nothing has happened. So while the neon build servers were down for shuffling to a new machine I looked into why Plasma release announcements were updated but not Frameworks or Applications announcments. I’d automated Plasma announcements a while ago but it turns out the other announcements are still done manually, so I updated those and poked the people involved. Then of course I got stuck looking at all the other pages which hadn’t been ported to the new theme. On review there were not actually too many of them, if you ignore the announcements, the website is not very large.

Many of the pages could be just forwarded to more recent equivalents such as getting the history page (last update in 2003) to point to or the presentation slides page (last update for KDE 4 release) to point to a more up to date wiki page.

Others are worth reviving such as KDE screenshots page, press contacts, support page. The contents could still do with some pondering on what is useful but while they exist we shouldn’t pretend they don’t so I updated those and added back links to them.

While many of these pages are hard to find or not linked at all from they are still the top hits in Google when you search for “KDE presentation” or “kde history” or “kde support” so it is worth not looking like we are a dead project.

There were also obvious bugs that needed fixed for example the cookie-opt-out banner didn’t let you opt out, the font didn’t get loaded, the favicon was inconsistent.

All of these are easy enough fixes but the technical barrier is too high to get it done easily (you need special permission to have access to reasonably enough) and the social barrier is far too high (you will get complaints when changing something high profile like this, far easier to just let it rot). I’m not sure how to solve this but KDE should work out a way to allow project maintenance tasks like this be more open.

Anyway yay, is now new theme everywhere (except old announcements) and pages have up to date content.

There is a TODO item to track website improvements if you’re interested in helping, although it missed the main one which is the stalled port to WordPress, again a place it just needs someone to plunge in and do the work. It’s satisfying because it’s a high profile improvement but alas it highlights some failings in a mature community project like ours.

Planet KDE Categories

Jings no wonder people find computer programming scary when the most easily accessible lanugage, JavaScript, is also the most messy one.

Occationally people would mention to me that the categories on Planet KDE didn’t work and eventually I looked into it and it mostly worked but also sometimes maybe it didn’t.  Turns out we were checking for no cookies being set and if not we’d set some defaults for the categories.  But sometimes the CDN would set a cookie first and ours would not get set at all. This was hard to recreate as it didn’t happen when working locally of course.  And then our JavaScript had at least three different ways to run the initial-setup code but there’s no easy way to just read a cookie, madness I tell you.  Anyway it should be fixed now and set categories by default but only if it hasn’t set some before so you may still have to manually choose which you read.

In the Configure Feed menu at the top you can select to read blogs in different languages.  By default it shows only blogs in English, as well as Dot News, Project News and any User blogs who have asked to be added (only two are listed in our config).  You can also show blogs in Chinese (also only 2 listed), Italian (none listed), Polish (one), Portugese (two), Spanish (four but kdeblog by Jose is especially prolific) or French (none).  Work to be done includes working out how to make this apply to the RSS feed.



Planet KDE Twitter Feed

Some years ago I added an embedded Twitter feed to the side of Planet KDE.  This replaced the earlier feed manually curated feeds from and twitter which people added but had since died out (in the case of and been blocked (in the case of Twitter).  That embedded Twitter feed used the #KDE tag and while there was the odd off topic or abusive post for the most part it was an interesting way to browse what the people of the internet were saying about us.  However Twitter shut that off a few months ago which you could well argue is what happens with closed proprietary services.

We do now have a Mastodon account but my limited knowledge and web searching on the subject doesn’t give a way to embed a hashtag feed and the critical mass doesn’t seem to be there yet, and maybe it never will due to the federated-with-permissions model just creating more silos.

So now I’ve added a manually curated Twitter feed back to Planet KDE with KDE people and projects.  This may not give us an insight into what the wider internet community is thinking but it might be an easy way to engage more about KDE people and projects as a community.  Or it might not, I haven’t decided yet and I’m happy to take feedback on whether it should stay.

In the mean time ping me to be added to the list or subscribe a bug on to request you or someone you know or or your project be added (or removed).  Also volunteers wanted to help curate the feed, ping me to help out.


Red Hat and KDE

By a strange coincidence the news broke this morning that RHEL is deprecating KDE. The real surprise here is that RHEL supported KDE all.  Back in the 90s they were entirely against KDE and put lots of effort into our friendly rivals Gnome.  It made some sense since at the time Qt was under a not-quite-free licence and there’s no reason why a company would want to support another company’s lock in as well as shipping incompatible licences.  By the time Qt become fully free they were firmly behind Gnome.  Meanwhile Rex and a team of hard working volunteers packaged it anyway and gained many users.  When Red Hat was turned into the all open Fedora and the closed RHEL, Fedora was able to embrace KDE as it should but at some point the Fedora Next initiative again put KDE software in second place. Meanwhile RHEL did use Plasma 4 and hired a number of developers to help us in our time of need which was fabulous but all except one have left some time ago and nobody expected it to continue for long.

So the deprecation is not really new or news and being picked up by the news is poor timing for Red Hat, it’s unclear if they want some distraction from the IBM news or just The Register playing around.  The community has always been much better at supporting out software for their users, maybe now the community run EPEL archive can include modern Plasma 5 instead of being stuck on the much poorer previous release.

Plasma 5 is now lightweight and feature full.  We get new users and people rediscovering us every day who report it as the most usable and pleasant way to run their day.  From my recent trip in Barcelona I can see how a range of different users from university to schools to government consider Plasma 5 the best way to support a large user base.  We now ship on high end devices such as the KDE Slimbook down to the low spec value device of Pinebook.  Our software leads the field in many areas such as video editor Kdenlive, or painting app Krita or educational suite GCompris.  Our range of projects is wider than ever before with textbook project WikiToLearn allowing new ways to learn and we ship our own software through KDE Windows, Flatpak builds and KDE neon with Debs, Snaps and Docker images.

It is a pity that RHEL users won’t be there to enjoy it by default. But, then again, they never really were. KDE is collaborative, open, privacy aware and with a vast scope of interesting projects after 22 years we continue to push the boundaries of what is possible and fun.

kgraphviewer 2.4.3

KGraphViewer, your favourite visualiser of .dot files, has a new update.

  • Switch KgvPageLayout to QPageSize for page size handling
  • Avoid double top-level layout in KGVSimplePrintingPageSetup
  • Fix layout of page layout & size dialog
  • Remove unused dependency KIO
  • Fix minor typo
  • Update kgraphviewer docbook
  • Make sure the Graphviz library directories are known to the linker

Thanks to Pino, Michael, Yuri, Berkhard, Ben and translators for their continued gardening of this project.

Git tag v2.4.3a 4ff52f959f03291659db58554901d536356764e2


GPG Signature

Signed by Jonathan Riddell GPG key fingerprint ‘2D1D 5B05 8835 7787 DE9E  E225 EC94 D18F 7F05 997E’


Akademy Group Photo Automator

Every year we take a group photo at Akademy and then me or one of the Kennies manually marks up the faces so people can tag them and we can know who we all are and build community.  This is quite old school effort so this year I followed a mangazine tutorial and made Akademy Group Photo Automator to do it.  This uses an AI library called face_recognition to do the hard work and Docker to manage the hard work and spits out the necessary HTML.  It was a quick attempt and I’m not sure it did much good in the end alas.  The group photos tend to be quite disorganised and whoever takes it upon themselves to direct it each year makes basic mistakes like putting everyone on a flat stage or making everyone wave their hands about which means many of the faces are half covered and not recognised.  And it seems like the library is not a fan of glasses.  It also outputs rect coordinates rather than circle ones which ment Kenny had to do many adjustments.  Still it’s an interesting quick dive into a new area for me and maybe next year I’ll get it smoother.

Faces recognised





KDE neon Bionic Update

The work to rebase KDE neon on Bionic is progressing. Apologies if it feels slow but it’s keeping our infrastructure busy while continuing with the xenial builds alongside.  I’ve just managed to get the package version check to turn green which means all the packages are now built.  The installable ISOs are also green on our builders, but we’re keeping them hidden until we’ve ironed out the bugs.  The two installers we use have some quirks and hacks that need tidied up but the automated install tests are also turning green.  Some of you have already found our preliminary instructions for doing the upgrade and it seems to be working for everyone who has tried it, but “it seems to be working” is not what we want, “it is working” is what we want and while the git-unstable edition is green in the tests the user edition is not so some more tidying up to be done there. We’ll announce the installable ISOs and upgrade more formally for beta testing once the tests are green and turn on the full upgrade shortly after.  Hasta pronto.


All New Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Black Sails

One of the complains about the new streaming entertainment world is that it removes the collective experience of everyone watching the same programme on telly the night before then discussing it. At least in the international world I tend to live in that was never much of an option and instead it is a common topic of conversation now when I meet with people around the world to discuss the best series from the world of media. So allow me to recommend a couple which seem to have missed many people’s conciousness.

On the original streaming media site BBC iPlayer radio there’s a whole new 6th series of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. 40 years in the making and still full of whimsical understated comedy about life. And best of all they’re repeating the 1st, 2nd and just started 3rd series of the show.

Back in telly land I was reluctant to pay money for the privilage of spending my life watching telly but a student discount made Amazon Prime a tempting offer for my girlfriend.  I discovered Black Sails which is the best telly I’ve ever seen.  A prequal to Scottish classic Treasure Island with Captain Flint (who you’ll remember only appears in the original book as a parrot) and John Silver, it impressively mixes in real life pirates from 18th century Carribean.  The production qualities are superb, filming on water is always expensive (see Water World or Titanic or even Lost) and here they had to recreate several near full-size sailing boats.  The plotting is ideal with allegiances changing every episode or two in a mostly plausable way.  And it successfully ends before running out of energy.  I’m a fan.

Meanwhile on Netflix I wasn’t especially interested in the new Star Trek but it turns out to include space tardegrades and therefor became much more exciting.


KDE Slimbook II at Scottish Linux User Group 20th Anniversary

Glasgow’s group of Linux nerds has been gathering for 20 years so I was pleased to eat lots of curry at the Scottish Linux User Group’s 20th anniversary dinner.  In the pub afterwards I showed off the new KDE Slimbook II and recorded a little intro.  It’s maybe not the most slick presenting skills but it’s my first time making a video 🙂

The partnership with KDE and Slimbook is unique in the open source world and it’s really exciting they want to continue it with this new even-higher end model.  Faster memory, faster hard disk, larger screen, larger touchpad, USB-C, better wifi signal, this baby has it all. It’s a bargain too from only 700euro.


A Decade of Plasma

I realised that it’s now a decade of KDE releasing its Plasma desktop.  The KDE 4 release event was in January 2008.  Google were kind enough to give us their office space and smoothies and hot tubs to give some talks and plan a way forward.

The KDE 4 release has gained something of a poor reputation, at the time we still shipped Kubuntu with KDE 3 and made a separate unsupported release for Plasma, but I remember it being perfectly useable and notable for being the foundation that would keep KDE software alive.  It had been clear for sometime that Kicker and the other elements of the KDE 3 desktop were functional but unlikely to gain much going forward.  When Qt 4 was announced back in (I’m pretty sure) 2004 Akademy in Ludwigsberg it was seen as a chance to bring KDE’s desktop back up to date and leap forward.  It took 4 long years and to keep community momentum going we had to release even if we did say it would eat your babies.


Kubuntu at KDE 4 release event

Somewhere along the way it felt like KDE’s desktop lost mindshare with major distros going with other desktops and the rise of lightweight desktops.  But KDE’s software always had the best technological underpinnings with Qt and then QtQuick plus the move to modularise kdelibs into many KDE Frameworks.

This week we released Plasma 5.12 LTS and what a fabulous reception we are getting.  The combination of simple and familiar by default but customisable and functional is making many people realise what an offering we now have with Plasma. When we tried Plasma on an ARM laptop recently we realised it used less memory then the “lightweight” Linux desktop that laptop used pre-installed.  Qt being optimised for embedded use means KDE’s offerings are fast whether you’re experimenting with Plasma Mobile or using it on the very latest KDE Slimbook II means it’ll run smooth and fast.

Some quotes from this week:

“Plasma, as tested on KDE neon specifically, is almost perfect” Ask Noah Show

“This is the real deal.. I’m going all in on this.. ” Linux Unplugged

“Become a Plasma Puppy”

Elite Ubuntu community spod Alan Pope tired to install KDE neon in aeroplane mode (fails because of a bug which we have since fixed, thanks for the poke).

Chris Fisher takes the Plasma Desktop Challenge, can’t wait to find out what he says next week.

On Reddit Plasma 5.12 post:

“KDE plasma is literally worlds ahead of anything I’ve ever seen. It’s one project where I felt I had to donate to let them know I loved it!”
“I’ve switched to Plasma a little over a year ago and have loved it ever since. I’m glad they’re working so hard on it!”
“Yay! Good to see Kickass Desktop Environment get an update!”

Or here’s a random IRC conversation I had today in a LUG channel

<yeehi> Riddell – I adore KDE now!
<yeehi> It is gobsmackingly beautiful
<yeehi> I put in the 12.0 LTS updates yesterday, maybe over a hundered packages, and all the time I was thinking, “Man, I just love those KDE developers!
<yeehi> It is such a pleasure to use and see. Also, I have been finding it to be my most stable GNU+Linux experience

So after a decade of hard work I’m definitely feeling the good vibes this week. Take the Plasma Challenge and be a Plasma Puppy! KDE Plasma is lightweight, functional and rocking your laptop.



Maintenance of Tenement Communal Property

There is a motion discussing Maintenance of Tenement Communal Property next week in parliament which asks that “the government should review the situation and consider any legislative changes, new initiatives, enhanced use of existing rules and/or further action by local authorities that could facilitate improved upkeep of Scheme Property.”  I couldn’t agree more as I’ve written several times about the problems my tenement has here.  In summary we have 11 flats in the tenement, 8 of them rented out, and nobody besides me, not one person, will look at the property to ensure it is maintained.  They won’t communicate with their neighbours to discuss the communal property.  Some examples from 2017:

I took Findholm to a council HMO licence panel to object to them getting a licence for a job they were not doing.  I explained how they had done unilateral incomplete repairs when they had an immediate leak and how this had left cement blocking the gutter and the damn in the attic continued because of the incomplete nature of their repair.  I explained how they had never communicated with their neighbours about this except in response to my questions.  The council said they had to organise a stair meeting.  This they failed to do until I told them and guided them through how to do it.  At the stair meeting they said they were just here to help us organise and everyone else would know better how to maintain the property than them.  They did have a quote to replace the whole roof which would have cost a fortune and would not have fixed the leaks in the chimney stacks.  They had never bothered to look at the roof and seemed surprised that I should expect them to have done so.  I organised these repairs and completed the task they had chosen not to do.  The council passed Findholm’s HMO licence without question, licensing them to do a job they had not done.

I organised a second set of repairs for a blocked communal drain pipe. Graeme Inglis is another landlord who has never once communicated with his neighbours or done any maintainance.  When payment was due he kicked out the single mother and her child from his flat and sold it. His agent, Dick Rudkin, sent only terse e-mails asking not to be communicated with and with a non-functional e-mail address for the owner.  The money did come through after the deadline so someone had been receiving my e-mails or letters but not returned with a single word of communication.

In August one of the owners/landlords reported water ingress in a window in his flat, this means the property clearly doesn’t meet the Repairing Standard and is illegal to rent out.  Already busy with the second communal repair I was organising for the year I asked if anyone could help him and got zero reply.  When I asked people individually they were all impolite and made me sound unreasonable for expecting them to do their jobs.  Neil Baxter said he’d be out the country until December, eventually asked his agent Braemore Lettings to send “a contractor”, nothing more has been heard from them even answers to simple queries like what the contractor was contracted to do.  Owner Morag Bramwell called me aggressive for asking when she would look at it.  And Colin Pretty, agent to a flat for Hamish and Julie Middleton did eventually look at it then refused to discuss it with me or any of the neighours saying I’d “be waiting a very long time” if I expected him to do his job.  Nothing has happened here and the property is being rented out illegally but all the landlords.

This is just from the last year. None of the owners or their agents seem willing or capable of looking at the property, discussing it with their neighbours or helping with repairs.  It’s their jobs to do so or it’s their homes to live in but they are not interested and there’s no means to convince them to do it.  None of them are fit and proper to be landlords but the set up of the law, licensing and the culture of cheap mortgage money during the last Labour government means they are encouraged to take on jobs they do not do.  Renters are not interested in problems which will occur several years down the line, it’s not worth the hassle to them.

So it needs a requirement on owners and agents that they will look at the property and discuss it with co-owners at least annually.  If they are not able to walk up a ladder and look they should not be allowed to rent property.  It needs co-owners to be able to take owners to housing tribunals in the way renters already can.  And it needs councils to give a damn enough that agents and owners who do not do the basics of their jobs  are removed them from the landlord register.



On Brexit

In 2015 the Conservative party won the UK election on a manifesto promise of holding a referendum on the UK’s EU membership.  I highlighted this by changing my Facebook profile picture but was told this was unnecessary.

The referendum was a depressing affair.  Nobody took it seriously even though the consequences were huge. None of the political parties wanted to work together to create a decent In campaign, they were so divided within themselves in England and had such a bad memory of getting a bad reputation from working together during the Scottish independence referendum.  I went to an SNP meeting with the MEP Alyn Smith who told us all why being in the EU was such a useful thing, I asked him what we could do to help campaign on it and he shrugged and said there was some stuff SNP members could buy if they wanted.

I quit the SNP and joined the Greens, not from any specific annoyance just a longer term realisation that I tended to agree with their policies more. But the Greens had also decided not to have any campaigning, at least locally.  When someone was hired three months before the referendum to run the Green EU campaign I e-mail them asking to run a stall but got no reply. Eventually I was told the e-mail address advertised didn’t work.

Days before the referendum people still told me there was nothing to worry about. Only there was.  Then the media and politicians and everyone said we’d stay in the single market and custom’s union. Only that wasn’t to be either. I still hear people say that something will happen to fudge the issue or revert it because nobody would be so daft as to destroy so many sensible arrangements, this despite over two years of all the signs saying terrible things will happen and that being exactly what has happened.

The UK government uses the rhetoric “no deal is better than a bad deal”.  Yet nobody challenges that.  No deal means we lose our freedom to travel to Paris or Barcelona.  Currently we can work in these cities as easy as we can Birmingham or Glasgow, that right will be gone.  It means hundreds of thousands of new Scots being forced to move back overseas (and more in the rest of the UK) with hundreds of thousands of emigrated Scots coming back often to use pensions and health services.  It means no nuclear material for our power stations.  It means the system of food will break with farms being immediately unsustainable due to minimal subsidies or labour.  It means our ability to take our government to court when they want to lock us up for no reason (which was common in Northern Ireland not too long ago) is gone.  It means great schemes which allow my girlfriend to spend some months in the Netherlands for university will be gone.  It means science research will be killed off.  For that matter the funding for our universities will dry up due to lack of students from the EU.  I won’t be able to use a phone for free in the EU as I can now.  I’m contracted by a German company to work, I have no idea if this will even be legal or if my monthly bank transfer for pay will be possible.  No deal will be a social and economic disaster, and while it is hard for people to believe it will be that bad, it is exactly what Theresa May is promising, just as David Cameron promised a referendum nobody thought would happen.

I joined a couple of anti-EU social media forums during the referendum to see what the arguments could be.  They quickly turned to talk of “our race being the only one to voluntarily wipe itself out”, there’s nothing to argue with that so I quit.  The seemingly rational chair of that forum was last seen posting links to the EDL founder on Twitter.  There is no reason I have ever seen for leaving the EU which isn’t a horrible British nationalist racism.

The arguments in the media are about the rights of immigrants and the Irish border.  Those are very important.  But I never see anything about my rights and freedoms which are about to be taken away.  And I never see anything about any other UK border which is about to get a lot more closed.  The media and politicians never make these fundamental points.

A clearly incompetent UK government is failing to make the slightest attempt to solve a problem of their own making and is now calling the EU “the enemy”.  The Scottish Government has made some sensible suggestions but been ignored. The UK parties seem to be unable to understand there’s a different legal system here never mind another layer of government who will be affected. The UK is taking all the powers which the Scotland Act said were for the Scottish parliament, it is destroying the devolution settlement.  It is destroying the UK parliament too.

(1) A Minister of the Crown may by regulations make such provision as the Minister considers appropriate for the purposes of implementing the withdrawal agreement if the Minister considers that such provision should be in force on or before exit day.

(2) Regulations under this section may make any provision that could be made by an Act of Parliament (including modifying this Act).

The EU Withdrawl bill killing hundreds of years of English and British democracy.

That’s from the government who talk about being a big fan of free trade.  Nobody ever queries why they are taking us out of the biggest free trade block there is.  Nobody queries suggestions that a post-brexit deal will be better than the single market. You can not get a better free trade deal than a single market.  Nobody makes the point that a free trade deal is a very bad thing without the associated regulations to protect workers rights, the environment and every other tragedy of the commons for which governments exist.

The leave campaign was a fraud. Vast amounts of money went to the DUP to hide the source, who then used in outside Northern Ireland.  The UK government has now decided not to make them publish the sources even though this was what all the parties in Northern Ireland were told would happen, it’s no coincidence the DUP is now the supporter of the UK government.  The Vote Leave part of that campaign lied about 350 million pounds a week, but besides being a lie it’s a meaningless figure since no government spending is given in amount per week. How does that compare to the annual NHS budget? Anyone who cares will already have realised it’s a lie and anyone who doesn’t want to care won’t care.

The EU is one of our four layer of government.  That’s one layer of government too many for my liking but it makes no sense to get rid of the top layer which helps neighbouring countries work together to sort out the boring stuff like office chair standards and keep an eye on each other for basic rights and freedoms. It’s not sufficiently democratic, but that is mostly a facet of people’s unwillingness to see it as just another layer of government rather than as some international talking shop. Like all governments it screws up, when it apologised for paramilitary force being used to stop a vote in Catalunya this last week it failed itself and its 500 million citizens badly.  But it’s not a reason to want to kill off that government layer.

I’m angry and frustrated and exhausted at the politicians, public and media.  The SNP, who won this year’s UK election in Scotland, are a shining beacon of light at Westminster and I look forward to a Scottish independence referendum on the issue but it may well not happen and it’ll be as filled with nonsense about being too small and too wee and PR-company made “grassroots” campaigns about Vote no Borders as it was previously, and people will believe that.  I plan to apply for an Irish passport but I really don’t want to move away from the country and city and family and friends I call home.


KGraphViewer 2.4.2

KGraphViewer 2.4.2 has been released.

KGraphViewer is a visualiser for Graphviz’s DOT format of graphs.

Changelog compared to 2.4.0:

  • add missing find dependency macro
  • Fix broken reloading and broken layout changing due to lost filename
  • kgraphviewer_part.rc: set fallback text for toplevel menu entries
  • desktop-mime-but-no-exec-code
  • Codefix, comparisons were meant to be assignments

KGraphViewer 2.4.1 was made with an incorrect internal version number and should be ignored

It can be used by massif-visualizer to add graphing features.

Download from:

49438b4e6cca69d2e658de50059f045ede42cfe78ee97cece35959e29ffb85c9 kgraphviewer-2.4.2.tar.xz

Signed with my PGP key
2D1D 5B05 8835 7787 DE9E E225 EC94 D18F 7F05 997E
Jonathan Riddell <>

Surf Kayak Safety and Rescue

Photo by Tony Hammond

I went on the Glenmore Lodge to take the kayak out for the day.  It was led by elite surf paddlers Tracy and Ian Sherrington and a couple of other staff and there was about 14 of us punters there.  We all had a great time trying different boats, surfing on easy waves then surfing on the Shitpipe, a great and mostly consistent wave on a reef which means you can sit alongside and watch before you join in.

We did some safety and rescue training, here’s some notes while I remember.

If you have a capsized paddler out their boat in deep water you can do a deep water rescue similar to on a river.  The problem is that decent surf kayaks are much lower lying than a creek boat or sea kayak so getting the paddler back in will end up with the boat being filled with water.  I did this the first time and then paddled through the surf with me and another rescuer on either side of the victim in his swamped to empty on shore.

One way to keep the boat from not getting swamped is to have the rescuer and victim boat parallel but facing different directions. A second rescuer holds the bow of the victim’s boat down while the victim climbs onto the rescuer’s boat and into his boat.

Another way is to have two rescuers side-by-side put the victim’s boat onto their bows, the victim then climbs onto the bow and into his boat before being pushed off.

If you are being blown into the surf zone get a helper to drag you out to sea.

More likely you’ll have a swimmer and swamped boat in the surf.  Easiest way to get in is have the casualty swimming into shore, probably holding onto their paddle and paddling with it.  A rescuer can nudge the boat onto shore while full of water.  Rescuer should stay a safe distance away from a swimmer, a common problem is the rescue boat causing an injury.

Another way to bring a swimmer to shore is have them hold onto the back of your boat as rescuer, possibly holding onto the back of the cockpit.

Boats should always have airbags in them.  Many of the experienced paddlers at the gathering didn’t get their foundation safety and rescue right so that’s worth practicing.

Keep a first aid kit, warm drink, clothes, group shelter etc near.  Use a mobile phone (but beware that touch screen is unlikely to work with wet hands so consider a simpler waterproof model), possibly a locator beacon and possibly VHF radio around (but beware VHF is line of site only so contact is often limited).

Signals are similar to on river, pointing in direction of travel, hand on head for come to me. if unsure go to shore.  Distress signal for swimmers is clenched fist waving side-to-side.

Swim lines on boats are important, especially since a lot of surf kayaks seem to have tiny grab handles.

Beware of rip currents and paddle along the shore or in a ferry glide if you get one.


KGraphViewer 2.4.0

KGraphViewer 2.4.0 has been released.

KGraphViewer is a visualiser for Graphviz’s DOT format of graphs.

This ports KGraphViewer to use KDE Frameworks 5 and Qt 5.

It can be used by massif-visualizer to add graphing features.

Download from:

88c2fd6514e49404cfd76cdac8ae910511979768477f77095d2f53dca0f231b4 kgraphviewer-2.4.0.tar.xz

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Jonathan Riddell <>

massif-visualizer 0.7.0 released

Massif Visualizer is a visualiser for output generated by Valgrind’s massif tool.  It shows you graphs which measure how much heap memory your program uses.

Download link:

f8a4cc23c80a259a9edac989e957c48ed308cf9da9caeef19eec3ffb52361f6d  massif-visualizer-0.7.0.tar.xz

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Jonathan Riddell with 0xEC94D18F7F05997E.

It has an optional dependency on KGraphViewer which is due for a release shortly.


QQC2 Desktop Style Beta Release

Using Breeze

Using Oxygen

qqc2-desktop-style is a style for Qt Quick Controls 2 to make it follow your desktop’s theme.

It will be released with a future release of KDE Frameworks 5 but in the mean time it’s due to be an optional dependency to Plasma 5.11 which has a beta next week.

Download the beta now: sha256 checksum is

PGP signature is mine:
Jonathan Riddell with 0xEC94D18F7F05997E.