Tag Archives: presentation

nbdkit / FOSDEM test presentation about better loop mounts for Linux

I’ve submitted a talk about nbdkit, our flexible pluggable NBD server, to FOSDEM next February. This is going to be about using NBD as a better way to do loop mounts in Linux.

In preparation I gave a very early version of the talk to a small Red Hat audience.

Video link: http://oirase.annexia.org/rwmj.wp.com/rjones-nbdkit-tech-talk-2018-11-19.mp4

Sorry about the slow start. You may want to skip to 2 mins to get past the intro.

Summary of what’s in the talk:

  1. Demo of regular, plain loop mounting.
  2. Demo of loop mounting an XZ-compressed disk image using NBD + nbdkit.
  3. Slides about how loop device compares to NBD.
  4. Slides about nbdkit plugins and filters.
  5. Using VMware VDDK to access a VMDK file.
  6. Creating a giant disk costing EUR 300 million(!)
  7. Visualizing a single filesystem.
  8. Visualizing RAID 5.
  9. Writing a plugin in shell script (live demo).
  10. Summary.



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Edward Tufte interview

Edward Tufte is important, not because he’s come up with a magic scientific rule to present data, but because he’s saying we should present methodically and scientifically. I was reading a terrible PowerPoint “stack” today about some complex engineering problem and all the time I was just thinking about Tufte’s brilliant exposition of the use of PowerPoint at NASA during the Columbia accident.

There is an interesting feature article in the Washington Monthly.

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Tech Talk PSE 1.0.0 released

Tech Talk PSE home page and downloads

Tech Talk PSE is technical demonstration software which doesn’t suck. It uses Mozilla’s rendering engine to display slides, so it’s easy to use (just write HTML) and powerful. And you can intersperse your talk with shell scripts to run demonstrations.

New in version 1.0.0 is a menu that lets you jump straight to different parts of your talk and take screenshots:

Here is a talk I gave at GLLUG using Tech Talk PSE.

I think that Tech Talk PSE may be one of the best programs I’ve ever written. Let’s compare it to “OpenOffice Impress”:

  OpenOffice Tech Talk PSE
Open source Yes Yes
Play videos Yes Yes
Open a shell during a talk No Yes
Use your own editor No Yes
Induces RSI during use Mouse-controlled Keyboard-controlled
Lines of code 109 (approx) 850
Comes in Platinum edition No Yes

It’s better than OpenOffice on any measure. Yet even if you include all the autoconf, documentation and examples, it’s only 1 kLoC and was written over 3 days in my spare time. For giving technical demonstrations, it’s totally “Right”, where OpenOffice is basically “Wrong”.


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Tech Talk PSE, now a bit usable

You can run arbitrary commands, shells, editors etc during your presentation. Here, I run a gnome-terminal with a prepopulated command history:

Download it from my git repository. The requirements are fairly light: perl, perl-Gtk2 and perl-Gtk2-MozEmbed (all in Fedora).

Previous angry rant about presentation software.

The diagram in the first slide was done using PGF and Tikz 2.00 (examples) (manual).


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