[ProgSoc] Progsoc: what do we provide of value?

Tomislav Bozic tomchristmas at progsoc.org
Mon Sep 4 21:54:16 AEST 2017

On 04/09/17 18:07, Bryn Davies wrote:

> I'm physically distant now (Melbourne) and 
> also sure I'm overdue in membership payments / have my account locked at 
> the moment.  

Wish I could unlock your account, although it appears that with the 
recent migration, LDAP is no longer configured as expected.

Truth be told, it was a unilateral decision on my part when I was 
President to re-enforce an Account Locking Policy[1] that already 
existed. I announced my intentions publicly, of course, but no-one 
opposed me[2], so I did an audit of all the accounts and -- with my 
nifty locking script -- locked the accounts of everyone that hadn't paid 
their membership.

I had the best of intentions. Back then, I was against corporate 
sponsorships. I didn't like being beholden to the whims of some faceless 
corporate conglomerate telling ProgSoc how to spend the money they had 
given us. I believed that we could, and should, be self-funding and 
self-reliant, without any external support. This Juche-esque attitude 
was the rationale behind locking accounts. My intended effects were 
two-fold: revenue raising and also to engage past and current members.

I have since learned that my fears were unfounded. Corporate 
sponsorships are invaluable for both club and company. Apart from the 
industry connections forged, said sponsorships enable us to host 
top-quality events. Our ProgComps and hackathon would not have been 
anywhere near as good without sponsors. Besides, ProgSoc has had 
long-standing arrangements over the years with many companies (e.g. the 
now-defunct, aforementioned Sun and, more recently, my employer).

Nowadays, locking the accounts is kind of silly and pointless, since 
no-one uses the ProgSoc infrastructure. So, if I could, I would just 
unlock everyone's accounts. That is, if it's OK with everyone...

 > I think a great first society project would be an automatic
 > notification
 > of dues expiry and some tool to let me calculate my progsoc back
 > taxes. *blush*

You know, I had started work on a Rails-based registration and account 
management system years ago. It was an excuse to try out Rails, really. 
It never got finished, unfortunately.

 > p.s. In related news, I'm sure some of you saw this progsoc historical
 > related news today:
 > https://www.itwire.com/open-sauce/79738-bye,-bye-solaris,-it-was-
 > a-nice-ride-while-it-lasted.html


I guess if you really still need future Solaris support, there is illumos...


[1] http://progsoc.org/wiki/Account_Locking_Policy

[2] Well, John Elliot did, but that was months after I had done it. We 
had a temporary falling out as a result. We have long since reconciled. 
This was the catalyst for ProgClub (http://www.progclub.org)

> On 31 August 2017 at 20:28, Tomislav Bozic <tomchristmas at progsoc.org 
> <mailto:tomchristmas at progsoc.org>> wrote:
>     On 31/08/17 18:24, Tom Hale wrote:
>         Progsoc offers me:
>         ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>         * a *.edu.au email address (which I use for discounted goodies)
>     Never really took advantage of that...
>     Apparently you can (or could at some point) get an
>     @alumni.uts.edu.au <http://alumni.uts.edu.au> email address, but I'm
>     really not sure.
>     I would like to know: when WAS the last time we created a new
>     account for members? I believe that last time I did it personally
>     was in 2013, when I last manned the O-Day stall. Not sure if any new
>     accounts have been created since. But I digress...
>         What I would like from Progsoc:
>         ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>         * An artificial intelligence project to work on, with guidance from
>         experienced mentors. I'm currently half way through Andrew Ng's
>         excellent and free Machine Learning course[1].
>     Great idea. First, find the mentors.
>         * Assistance in processor grind for kaggle competitions[2] and
>         future
>         machine learning projects. My Thai house on a lake costs $300 a
>         month.
>     $300? You lucky expletive...
>         I have a laptop with on-board
>         Intel 520 graphics chipset which I foresee won't be great at the
>         kaggle
>         competitions that I intend to participate in.
>             => Offers of GPU processor time on would be greatly
>         appreciated, as
>         would society funded access to cloud machines.
>     A ProgSoc AWS account or similar such could be worth investigating.
>     Or if we had a hackerspace, build our own PlayStation GPU farm. Or
>     similar such.
>         Oh, please correct the factual errors (and add what I've missed). I
>         guess that there are many like me who would appreciate being
>         brought up
>         to speed.
>     That's what I'm here for!
>         ### TFM
>         Past: A tree-book manual, introduction to hacker culture, Unix and
>         peculiarities of the SoCS[3] machines. This took bunches of time
>         to keep
>         up-to-date. Book sales provided revenue for the society.
>         Now: Nobody is interested in tree-books any more. Nobody can be
>         arsed
>         creating an updated ebook version. I question if anyone would
>         even value
>         it, when "OK google" can be verbally asked these days.
>     We did publish the last TFM in 2013[1]. Took us about four years of
>     intermittent editing to get it out the door. I don't think we sold
>     any more than five copies of that run, to be honest. I believe the
>     surplus copies were turfed out when we vacated 10.3.380a. Hopefully
>     we have at least one copy in storage.
>     Shortly after publishing the final TFM, we wikified its contents and
>     posted it here: [2] It's sort of an "eternal" edition of TFM now.
>     People are more than welcome to update it as they see fit. If they
>     have an account, of course.
>     Before we published the last TFM, we meticulously OCR-scanned and
>     HTML-ified all of the previous editions of TFM and the Sun User
>     Guide we had in our possession (as well as two editions lent to us
>     by Stephen Gowing) and uploaded them all here: [3]. Yeah, I
>     should've made PDFs of the originals as well. Sue me.
>         ### Always-on internet servers
>         Past: When students were still dialling into the SoCS modem pool
>         for net
>         access, having shell access to an always-online server was valuable.
>         Now: 4G tethering, broadband at home.
>     Not to mention a web server that offered way more than Geocities and
>     their ilk did, all for $10/year. Which you can still get with us, by
>     the way. If someone can create an account for you.
>         ### A programming environment
>         Past: Various compilers and tools not available on the SoCS
>         servers were
>         installed for use by members
>         Now: I am not sufficiently aware of the configuration state to
>         comment
>         as to where things are technologically. But what value would we
>         offer
>         above say someone installing Ubuntu?
>     We have compilers on niflheim. But they're of little use to the
>     average member these days.
>         ### Support with programming questions
>         Past: People used to post questions regarding programming for
>         assistance.
>         Now: It's been a few years since a question like this appeared
>         on-list.
>         General questions go to StackOverflow presumably. Individual
>         "where's my
>         bug" questions are not asked.
>     Probably for the best, to be honest.
>     Now, if it was students asking for help with their programming
>     subjects on the other hand...
>     Actually, we gave at least two talks in the early teens (the exact
>     years escape me now -- probably 2010 and 2011) to Programming
>     Fundamentals students offering advice on how to do the assignments
>     amongst other things. They were pretty well-attended, as you would
>     imagine. Worth resurrecting.
>         ### Projects
>         Past: Projects were rallying points for members, whether they
>         came to
>         fruition or not. Some that come to mind are the Olympic brick
>         inscriptions, a b33r/coke powered server, long-range wifi access to
>         Progsoc, and a Jukebox
>         Now: No projects have happened for a long time. I wonder if we have
>         sufficient cohesion / interest to be able to get consensus and
>         momentum
>         on a project... but perhaps a project is exactly what we need.
>     Our last project was, I believe, in 2014 with our 'Norman' keyless
>     access project, when we still had the room. Carlin and D'Netto can
>     tell us more about that, if they're reading this...
>     I do remember Jacob Dunk creating an app for the Verge Festival at
>     Sydney Uni in 2013, which was awesome, because we actually wrote
>     some software in the name of ProgSoc.
>     There was the programmable bar fridge idea that was mooted at our
>     meetup last Thursday...
>         ### Meet ups
>         Past: Social gatherings, hanging out with like-minded peeps.
>         Now: Unsure. The ravens' scrolls don't reach to Thailand.
>         Subsidised /
>         free events are a perennial winner.
>     When I joined in 2008, we really didn't do much in the way of
>     events. We didn't need to, really. We had our own room, and that's
>     all we needed for our weekly meetings.
>     Eventually, though, we decided to be a bit more social and
>     community-minded. We spread our wings with talks in 2011 (see
>     below). Then, in 2012, we held the very first UTS Programming
>     Competition[4]. It was so successful, we held four more consecutive
>     editions from 2013 to 2016 inclusive. Who knows, we might resume the
>     ProgComp next year...
>     Our best month ever in my opinion was March of 2014. To celebrate
>     our 25th anniversary, we hosted not only a programming competition,
>     but also our first, and to date, only weekend hackathon,
>     Code2Day[5]. Yes, we actually did a HACKATHON. This is what ProgSoc
>     has been capable of.
>     To say it was a mammoth undertaking to stage not one, but TWO major
>     events in one month, is an understatement. But we were a crack team
>     and we pulled it off. It really was the high point of ProgSoc. I had
>     never been prouder to have been part of the club at that point.
>     Then ProgSoc's slow decline began. After losing the room in 2015, we
>     never truly recovered. Hopefully with a concerted effort on
>     everyone's part our fortunes will change!
>         ### Sharing of knowledge / talks
>         Presentations on particular topics of clue. I'm pretty sure that
>         this
>         has happened a few times in the past, but can't remember an
>         instance of it.
>         Now: Tom mentioned that a shared space could be used for such.
>     I remember 2011 being The Year of Talks for ProgSoc. We had at least
>     four: apart from the aforementioned ProgFun talk, we did IPv6,
>     network security and something related to web development, I think.
>     My memories are fading.
>     My colleague would like to give a talk on User Experience -- stay
>     tuned for that! Also, we'd like to get that guy from Dev Diner[6]
>     back for another talk -- his presentation on Virtual Reality in 2016
>     was well-received and reasonably well-attended.
>         * What *you* currently value about Progsoc. Why are you (still)
>         here?
>     Because I love ProgSoc with all my heart. I gave so much to it and
>     it gave me so much in return. I got more out of it than any
>     coursework or any other experience at UTS. I am who I am today
>     because of ProgSoc -- that's no exaggeration.
>     And I want others to have a similar experience.
>         * What you *would* value, ie what you hope Progsoc will provide.
>         * What Progsoc could provide to the community (Progsoc, FoEaIT, UTS,
>         Sydney, Australia...)?
>     The possibilities are endless.
>     Tom
>     P.S. The people who should be reading this and responding (i.e. not
>     old timers) are not likely to be subscribed to this mailing list, sadly.
>     [1] http://progsoc.org/wiki/Printed_Publications#TFM
>     <http://progsoc.org/wiki/Printed_Publications#TFM>
>     [2] http://progsoc.org/wiki/TFM:Contents
>     <http://progsoc.org/wiki/TFM:Contents>
>     [3] http://progsoc.org/wiki/Printed_Publications#Past_Publications
>     <http://progsoc.org/wiki/Printed_Publications#Past_Publications>
>     [4] http://progsoc.org/wiki/Programming_Competitions
>     <http://progsoc.org/wiki/Programming_Competitions>
>     [5] http://progsoc.org/code2day/
>     [6] https://devdiner.com/
>     -----------------------------------------------------
>     To judiciously use split infinitives is fine by me...
>     _______________________________________________
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> -- 
> "And let us consider again, that all the law is not in the hand of Giant 
> Despair: others, so far as I can understand, have been taken by him as 
> well as we, and yet have escaped out of his hands."
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To judiciously use split infinitives is fine by me...

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