LugRadio Live and Silverback

Published • 03 Aug 2008

LugRadio Live

LugRadio was the premier open source/free software podcast featuring the Internet’s Jono Bacon, famous web developer Stuart ‘Aq’ Langridge, and sysadmins Adam Sweet and Chris Proctor. The second season ended with a weekend live recording and conference, ‘LugRadio Live’, in Wolverhampton, UK.

Following the initial announcement that LugRadio were to conclude their show at the end of season five (to the dismay of the many listeners including myself), this year’s LugRadio Live (LRL) in the UK was to be the last ever given the podcast had come to an end. It was therefore a must attend.

LugRadio Live was literally a rocking event — rock music blared from the speakers half the time and there was a true “Chinny Raccoon” (LugRadio’s mascot), a custom made raccoon outfit as worn by Ben Thorp. Both the exhibitions and talks were all of a high calibre of which Bruno Bord’s talk “Baguette on Snails” probably being the top highlight. The show — the final episode of LugRadio — was of course also a good laugh, and for those who were by chance bored Bytemark’s portable gaming center ensured there was something to kill time with.

Of course the news is that due to the strong persuasion of fans LRL will continue to run annually despite the conclusion of the podcast. Given it is the premier open source/free software event in the UK, it would have been a great loss to the community if this just past LRLwas indeed the final one. To get a feel for what the event is like check out Flickr photos and make sure you try to make it next year.

Recordings of the talks should make their way online within the next few weeks. I presented on the Tango Desktop Project — particularly on the re-licensing into the public domain. I was originally going to demonstrate the creation of Tango-styled icons but decided in the last minute to alter the focus of the presentation. I think I disappointed some people with the move — if I make it to next year’s LRL I’ll submit another paper.


I suspect that the word would have traveled far across the Intertubes that Silverback is now out and available (it was even mentioned by Leisa Reichelt at GUADEC), so I won’t mention it for long here. Silverback is a USD $49.95 program by Clearleft that turns a Mac into a mini portable usability testing lab — for the price it’s a must-have for anyone working in the fields of usability and accessibility in the software and web production industry. Although it doesn’t give you the amount of data that a specialised usability testing lab might provide, Silverback doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, it’s as portable as your Mac and suits every use case I’ve ever needed.

I did run into a small issue regarding licensing after my purchase: I used a friend’s credit card and with no option to purchase the license for another, my friend whose name was the credit card holder was the subsequent recipient licensee — not myself. For taxation purposes and simply for the sake of correctness I started a discussion on Clearleft’s pages regarding the issue. I received an email response within thirty-six hours of the post and had the issue sorted out in no time. Thanks to Sophie over at Clearleft for the help.

Silverback main window

There are a number of reviews of Silverback — by Jonathan Christopher, .net magazine, and graphiceyedea — check them out if you’re unconvinced.

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