Brenda's Homepage


I finally got byteflow up and running.

Fair Isle Knitting - progress

I've tried King Harald's Street Hat from a book, here is that pattern done three ways.

King Harald's Street Hat - purples - flat/right side - medium
Knitted flat on 2 needles, size 3 mm. Gauge 25 st/31 rows on 4 square inches.
King Harald's Street Hat - purples - flat/wrong side - medium
Wrong side - purple and lavender.

This is the first attempt - purple and lavender.

King Harald's Street Hat - multi-colour - circular/right side - medium
Knitted circular on 4 double-pointed needles, size 2 1/4 mm. Gauge 32 st/37 rows on 4 square inches.
King Harald's Street Hat - multi-colour - circular/wrong side - medium
Wrong side - multicolours.

This looks like a mitt, but it's just a practice piece. It has no thumb, and it's too big to be a mitt. It is actually a mini-hat. The pattern called for 7 colours, and I used 7 colours, but the gradations between my colours (ie, what I could find in the store here in Ottawa in winter 2009/2010) and the colours of the book are different. I should have combined them a bit differently, to avoid "cutting" the pattern (big difference in lightness/darkness in background at top/bottom of pattern vs middle of pattern). I should have made the foreground out of light colours (say, bright pink/pale pink/lavender) and background out of darks (say red/burgundy/purple), instead of trying to keep the burgundy/pink/red for background and purple/ lavender/pale pink for foreground.

But anyway, that's why I knit that piece, to find out stuff like that. And to try out the "weave in and out the colours as I knit" technique, and the decrease technique on the crown.

King Harald's Street Hat - burgundy/green - flat/right side -
Knit flat on circlar needle, 2mm. Gauge 38 1/2 st / 32 rows on 4 square inches.
King Harald's Street Hat - burgundy/green - flat/wrong side - medium
Wrong side - burgundy and green.

This one is on circular needles, although it is a flat piece. I need to measure the gauge (this why I did these three pieces). I'm aiming for 32 st x 32 rows on 4 square inches. I think one of these is 38 1/2 stitches x 32 rows ... how to fix that?!? All the above is with the same size of yarn - next I will try a gauge swatch with smaller yarn and bigger needles and see how that comes out. I really need some new mittens, I hope it goes well and I can start the mittens soon.

Amanda on a Debian system

I'm looking at getting amanda going again for backups. The Debian amanda package doesn't really conform to the Debian packaging standards out of the box, unfortunately.

Some of the problems are:

  • the package re-uses the debian "backup" user's home directory, which is used for something else (naive backups of the package-management conf files, and maybe /etc/passwd and /etc/group)
  • the amanda log files are not kept in /var/log
  • the amanda runtime files (tapelist, etc) are kept under /etc

Some solutions could be:

  • make a different amanda user than backup with it's own home directory
  • move the amanda log files to /var/log (or at least out of /etc)
  • put the vtapes and the holding disk together under a configuration name: /srv/backups/DailySet1/{vtapes,holding}
  • move the amanda runtime files somewhere under /var (maybe /var/lib/amanda?)

From reading the amanda BTS page, perhaps moving the logfiles will be difficult.

Issues - amanda is used on many unix platforms, not just Linux - so they are not going to conform to the FHS.

It seems amanda support has been moved to zmanda's servers ...

Here are my notes on amanda-on-debian, so far.

Fair Isle Knitting

I'm starting to learn two-colour and multi-colour knitting - here are some pictures of the first three squares. I have to practice the two-colour technique before trying to make anything for real. I will use the squares to put under the teapot, to absorb the drips from pouring. Next will be smallish projects like hats and mitts while I get the tension and gauge more consistent.

Picture of first attempts at 2-colour knitted squares - fronts Picture of first attempts at 2-colour knitted squares - backs Picture of first attempts at 2-colour knitted squares - backs

The fun part is that I'm knitting with both hands - one colour being fed through the fingers of one hand, and the other colour being fed through the fingers of the other hand.

I learned to knit "English" style (feeding the yarn through the fingers of the right hand). But I've heard that knitting "German" or "continental" style is more efficient, so decided to try it. That led directly to "well if I can knit with both hands, why not both hands at once"?

It turns out other people have already thought of that, and the people at Philosopher's Wool even have a video that shows how to do it, which I borrowed from Deb Wilson. Unfortunately it only shows how to knit the two colours, not how to purl. But I figured it out eventually.

I do find German style knitting is significantly more efficient than English style. Another interesting point is that purl stitches are about the same difficulty as knit stitches in German style and unlike English style, where they take longer and many people find them more difficult. Also it takes virtually no time to switch between knit and purl with German knitting. But, I'm not as fast with the German style yet. I need more practice to get to that stage.


I went to my first dance camp this year (2008) - it was great but my feet hurt and my dance shoes are worn out. Guess I have to work on that ...

Contra dancing in Montreal

Knitty Gritty

Another knitting page forms.
picture of Brenda's half-knitted sweater picture of Ellen's half-knitted sweater

Contra dance festivals

A couple of upcoming contra dance weekends:

LPI exam

The next LPI exam in the Ottawa area will be on Oct. 28, 2007. This exam will be given at the end of scott5's Linux intro at the Ottawa Talent Initiative. More details to come.


I just learned how to say "Godparents" in French - parrains et marraines - when I translated an announcement about this page to English:


Dan's conference - again. BSDCAN 2006

Unmaintained Software Clearinghouse

Ever wanted to contribute to a Free Software project, but didn't know where to start? Didn't want to re-invent the wheel, or step on anyone's toes? Check out this web site, that keeps track of free software whose authors are no longer around... software that needs a loving hand, that needs to be adopted by someone like you!

What's New(ish) in Fitzroy Harbour

My friend and fellow webmaster Gord has been having fun with these sites:

Come! Sing Messiah!

Canadian Amateur Musicians/Musiciens Amateurs Canadien(ne)s organizes a participatory Messiah musical event every year - I used to go when I lived in Montreal, and I've tried it out here in Ottawa. It's a lot of fun!

Another open-source project

Spread some love around. Homepage of

Copyright2005, July 3 in Montreal

Richard Stallman is coming to Montreal to give a presentation and participate in a Question/Answer Panel. Should be fun!

LPI exam, Saturday May 28

How to get to the exam: location (the location page was lost)

Registration here (registration closed).

Small postscript poster or pdf poster (the posters were also lost) - please print out and post at your workplace or wherever else you think interested people might see it. Thanks!

OCLUG Free Tech Seminar

I will give a talk on init at ExitCertified on March 31. This will be an extended version of the lightning talk I did in January.

See the announcement.

Slides: (subject to change before the talk. Subject to change after the talk, too :-)

Lightning Talk

I gave one of the lightning talks at the last OCLUG meeting, Tuesday January 4, 2005. My talk was on the linux init scripts , and the init program. Postscript version, PDF version.

Next LPI exam, Dec 11

Please visit the ovsage web site to register this time: (registration closed)

How to get to the exam: location

Another LPI Exam

Saturday September 25 at Altera (in Kanata), 2 sittings, 11:00 and 13:00. Register here .

OSW Kickoff meeting was July 17

The minutes will go up on the osw wiki Real Soon Now. In the meantime we still use the mailing list and irc to discuss stuff. You can subscribe to the mailing list by sending an empty message to

  • planning-request at lists-osw-ca with a subject of "subscribe".
  • The irc channel is at server, channel #osw.

If you're interested in helping, please sign up and let your time preference be known.

  • The proposed agenda is on a wiki at

Please update it if you think it needs it - thanks!

The next big tasks will be:

  • project plan
  • business plan
  • some organizational stuff (who does the committee consist of, what's a quorum etc)
  • outline of advertizing/marketing campaign

LPI exams

In association with OVSAGE, I held an LPI exam on Saturday July 10 at Altera's offices in Kanata. Next exam at the same place in September (date TBA).


BSDCAN was great! Dan did a great job of organizing it, and I had fun as one of several volunteers.

Open Source Weekend 2004

I helped to organize Open Source Weekend 2004 (link no longer valid). Here's a mention of it in the May issue of the Monitor. It was a big event and was the result of the combined effort of dozens of people.

We are starting to organize next year's Open Source Weekend on the day of the LPI exam, mentioned above! If you're interested in helping, please contact me or info (at) osw (dot) ca and let us know how you'd like to contribute. All kinds of help is required, but especially fund raising and liaising with sponsors/potential sponsors.

Regular Expression Workshop

The student account contents are complete except for the mail folder. The mail folder was about 300KB by itself. You can use those scripts on any mail folder in mbox format. (Be sure to copy the mail folder to another name and use the copy to experiment on.)

Intro to amanda

Some links, in no particular order