Bad Voltage Live 2015

This week we did the first Bad Voltage live show, at the SCaLE conference in Los Angeles. It was the first time that Bryan, Jono, Jeremy, and I had actually all been in the same place. And it was a really good laugh.

We’d been planning this for some time, as you can imagine. The show normally has discussions about technical things, reviews, and amusing things, and the live show had that in spades. It also had hundreds of glowsticks, fifty rubber ducks, Bryan Lunduke dressed in a towel, Jeremy giving us all insects to eat (which we all did, apart from Jono who has still not eaten an insect because he is a little child), a very very young child saying that Jono and I are bobbins, a chap on a video calling Jono something considerably more offensive which we were forced to bleep out, a shower made from a tent, shots of Fireball rum, some Creme Eggs, a trivia quiz run by Jorge Castro, and competitions where audience members won a System76 Galago UltraPro laptop, a PogoLinux server, and a BananaPi from Owncloud. And lots of people liked it.

I rather enjoyed the discussions. We had two. The first was about the idea of having a “developer mode” for Linux desktops. This was actually a result of an idea posted to G+ by Sam Hewitt where he said

How controversial would a “developer mode” be for a Linux desktop environment? For instance it would hide things like the terminal, debug tools, etc. from an application overview/menu/launcher.

Now, I happen to think that this is a good idea. Bryan (and the SCaLE audience generally) do not. I have some reservations, and you can read about those on the G+ post and watch the discussion in the show video, but it’s a really interesting topic; it shows up how people think about their desktop, what assumptions we make about it, and how the mainstream think perhaps differently from some existing Ubuntu users.

We also discussed the recently-released Ubuntu phone. My detailed review is still being written, but this was a good chance to talk about the phone and whether it’s brilliant or bollocks.

So, watch the show! It’s available on YouTube at and you should watch it; you’ll like it. Tell us about what you thought of the show on our forum at And next year, come to SCaLE. It’s a really great conference, and I for one would like to say a really big thank you to Ilan and Gareth, who were super-duper helpful and then were prepared to dress up in clown outfits for the show. Nice one, chaps. Couldn’t have done it without you.

I’d also like to personally thank Melissa Sealy, who is the most helpful member of hotel staff I have ever met. We were putting up posters that Jono designed around the hotel and she showed up (she’s some sort of all-powerful floor manager or something) and we expected the Mother Of All Bollockings for sticking the posters on the walls. And indeed, she said: don’t stick posters on my walls, you horrible reprobates. And then she said: but you can stick them on boards and put the boards on easels, no problem. And then found us eight easels. And then later on when we were sorting out the beer for the live event she sorted everything out. And she knew about the secret after-hours party in one of the conference rooms and found it amusing. Nice one, Melissa. Your bosses at the Hilton LAX ought to give you a pay rise or a big bunch of flowers or something.

Come to Bad Voltage Live when we do another one. And watch this one here!

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