Category Archives: Community

TRIP REPORT: O’Reilly Velocity & Software Architecture Conf 2019

This past week the O’Reilly Velocity and Software Architecture Conferences took place. I’ve attended both before, the 2nd time for Velocity in San Jose and the 2nd time for Software Architecture, however this time in San Jose and the last I attended was in London. The locations for these conferences dictate much about what is presented and how conversations, meeting and interacting, learning, and explorations take place during the conference, but more on those specifics in a moment.

The overarching theme from keynotes and many of the conversations I had met on a few key topics:

  1. When you’re building software, and you want to do it well you first and foremost must, absolutely must, invest in the people building your software.
  2. Focus on simplicity, remove complexity at every opportunity.
  3. Organizational structure can have direct impact in the complexity or simplicity of software, structure your organization efficiently and make every effort to keep it simple.

TLDR; Keep your people happy, focus on simplicity, minimize organizational noise from bureaucracy.

Topically Elaborating on Edge and Serverless

Ok, so a number of conversations came up around edge computing and serverless. Both interesting, but it also seems like there isn’t a strong play for the Enterprise is either space just yet. At this point however, a lot of enterprises are struggling with their Kubernetes, Cloud, and Hybrid solutions enough as it is that they haven’t even broached the edge compute and serverless realm. But that hasn’t stopped a lot of forward thinking individuals to start tackling how to cut out a useful spectrum of application with both edge and serverless.

Serverless Oh My!

Serverless, like so many other names, is kind of a garbage name at first. It effectively tells us nothing useful. It’s a word that requires more words just to give it meaning. It’s kind of like if I said “I like food!” What does this even mean? So, everybody eats food and most people like it, so what does “I like food!” actually mean? Same with serverless, because the first thing it doesn’t mean is a system that has no servers. What it generally means is something about your applications and you not doing anything with servers. It’s the mythic NoOps by simply removing the computers somehow.

Serverless, or simply code that executes via compute, and you get a result, has actually been around for some time. There were a number of startups that were well ahead of AWS Lambda and the other respective implementations that Azure and GCP have. These startups had been attempting to usher in what it took AWS’s massiveness and clout to actually get people to pay attention to. Serverless however has gone far beyond merely Lambda at AWS and now we’ve got to contend not only with the option in the existing cloud providers but where, how, and when can we get it into our data centers! The TLDR is that enterprise wants serverless and they’re interested in throwing it onto Kubernetes or whatever they’ve got. But often the infrastructure and systems to really make use of this simply isn’t there.

Most of the conversations I had evolved around the who, what, where, when, and how do we make use of these options for what we do? This is where most companies, at least enterprise and large companies, currently seem to be in the market. Then there are the companies that have already made the leap and are doing all sorts of stuff with Lambda and related serverless offerings. The gulf, that middle ground, doesn’t seem to have been broached by many others. Everybody, anecdotally of course, seems to be either trying to figure out how to start or already made the leap!

Edge Compute

This kept coming up, regardless of how or what people defined it as, it came up as something a number of people were very interested in. This notion, loosely based around using edge devices; smart phones, IoT devices, your car, or your washer for example, it could be almost anything. These devices do compute on the edge and thus the term. However it’s interesting because it isn’t like, for example, cloud computing that has core features like compute, storage, and related elements. Edge computing can run the gamut of any device doing any kind of work and the related capabilities of that device. It kind of leaves the space wide open. However, there were a few focal points that kept coming up.

The most common topic that came up around edge computing was doing tasks at point of presence. Such as having a phone do facial recognition, computing path finding (i.e. traffic directions), and related compute on the device versus round tripping it back to the cloud. It almost seems like after all these years of pushing things to the server we’re really starting in earnest to bring smart processes and tasks back to the devices we have in hand – no pun intended. It’s an interesting space, interesting paradigms, and I’m still not ready to call a specific thing within the world of edge compute and say, “that’s the next billion dollar idea”. Largely because, there are a lot of billion dollar ideas out there these days.

Speaking of edge compute and serverless, my fellow DataStaxian also had a few of these conversations on said topics. Patrick wrote up a post on a few observations over on the DataStax blog “Velocity Conference Shows What’s Gaining Velocity in Data Management“.

Geographic Location

As I mentioned, this set of conferences is in San Jose, the home of Silicon Valley, but the southern segment of the area. It’s a walk-able area with a number of places to break out from the conference and really dig into the hallway tracks (i.e. impromptu conversations!) that come up. For those willing to jump on the light rail, or scooter around, San Jose opens up even more to the local area providing a wide variety of coffee, food, and other operations to share conversations over.

All in all, the geographic location for the event is solid, being in the center of the city where it is. However one issue did arise, the Marriott lost power as an electrical fire in the control room of the multi-story hotel blew out the power. At last I checked upon leaving, it still didn’t have power! With the temperature at 105f going on multiple days at this point, the hotel because extremely hot inside, and being a kind of sealed airspace the air calculators also weren’t refreshing the air. That left a number of guests in less than stellar condition to attend, let alone attain value, from the conference events. Myself I ended up checking out in short order, getting sick the last day of the conference anyway, and being unable to provide the presentation that I had paired up with Lena (@lenadroid) for! I’ve been thinking, that maybe she and I can provide an online version of it for those that had wanted to hear us present on “Flexible Cloud Architectures: Decision Making Best Practices“.

Next year’s Velocity looks like it’ll be in Santa Clara, which doesn’t really excite me as it’s kind of a nebula of sprawling suburbia of boredom. This is were location becomes fundamental to what will or what can be the potential of secondary and tertiary conversations at a conference like this. Don’t get me wrong, the hallway track is excellent, but having options to step out and walk across the street from the event to converse further adds a tremendous value.

Santa Clara simply doesn’t do that unfortunately.

The fortunate thing between now and then, albeit the conference is moving to Santa Clara, they’re having subsequent conferences in the Velocity series in Berlin, and Software Architecture Conf series in the amazing cities of New York and Berlin. Those locations are worth traveling to for far more than a conference, increasing my interest in attending both of those future events. I’m looking forward to these!

Twitter Talk @VelocityConf

From @DataStaxDevs a thread! Click through for all ~17 parts.

Some Build Engineer Work – Click through for the whole construction thread.

Some of the Keynote Threads

Alena Hall – @lenadroid

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jessica Kerr – @jessitron

 

 

 

 

 

…and there were a bunch of others too, solid, check out the hash tag of #velocityconf to read up on more.

The Lagniappe

After the conference I finally managed to pick up a pocket Constitution.

 

 

 

If you’re ever in search of good coffee in San Jose, one place I found that’s tops is Academic Coffee, both the coffee and service are great. Good jovial crew and lots of cyclists in and out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making progress on the CaSMa, tweeted a bit on the topic while en route to the conference. If you’d like to get involved, please do let me know!

Other arbitrary statistics:

  • Stickers collected: 11 unique, ~7 of each. Total: 77 stickers.
  • T-shirt Swag: 2.
  • Conversations @ DataStax Booth: 11
  • Hallway Track Conversations: 7
  • Coffee Consumed: 9 over 3 days.
  • Twitter Filters Discussed: 123.
  • Fuel burned to compensate for electrical fire damage for the time of the conference: Approximately 5k gallons of fuel for the Marriott Hotel and no idea how much more fuel was or is still being burned to power the hotel.
  • Times the power still went off even with the diesel engine power trailer attached: 4.

Lots of Events & Topical Tech Discussions

This week we just had Ryan Zhang present at the Seattle Scalability Meetup. I did a little short presentation just showing some tools that I’ve been using as of late; DataGrip, and related schema migrations and Docker containers as I work through the schema migrations. It was a solid meetup and excellent conversation after meetup, big thanks to everybody who came out to the meetup and joined us for a round of drinks, amazing cheese curds and hummus at Collin’s afterwards! It was a great meetup and looking forward to getting together again on May 28th with Guinevere (@guincodes) presenting “The PR That Wouldn’t Merge“!

In other upcoming events that I’ll be at either presenting or attending. The events I’m attending let’s get talk, I’m always interested in meeting new people and learning about you’re working on, what you’re learning, and where and what efforts are of interest to you. For the events I’m presenting at the same applies, plus I’ll be standing among all the persons and presenting whatever tidbit of knowledge I’ve come to present. Hopefully it’ll be useful and informative for you and we can continue the conversation after the presentation and we all gain more insight, ideas, and ways to move forward more productively with our respective efforts. Here’s a list of the next big meetups and conferences I’m either speaking at or attending, and hope to see and meet many of you dear \m/ readers there!

In Flight to Apache Cassandra Days

Another flight down to the bay area. Today it was Alaska Air Flight 330 from Seattle to San Jose. It was mostly a clear day at start, with a solid layer of bright cloud cover exiting Washington on the way down to Oregon. As we crossed over that arbitrary human defined line of Oregon and California, nature presented us with even more perfectly glowing bright cloud cover. This is Cascadia after all and it’s basically covered in clouds the majority of the time. On departure I also noted Bremerton has three aircraft carriers in dock along with a normal plethora of other naval vessels. The amount of naval power in the area is always pretty awe inspiring.

Why was I in flight once again? I am heading down to teach with Jeff Carpenter (@jscarp) at the South Bay Cassandra User Group‘s Cassandra Day events. These are single day events, where we cover an introduction to Apache Cassandra, concepts of data-modeling for Apache Cassandra, and then a wrap up of application development with the respective drivers. Now if you aren’t in Santa Clara – or ya know Menlo Park, San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco, or well, the surrounding area – there are other days scheduled! We also have days scheduled that aren’t even located in the Bay, so check out the full list of events:

https://www.datastax.com/company/events

NOTE: If you’re interested in Seattle, Portland, or Vancouver BC area events, scroll all the way down to the end of this blog entry I’ve got more details for you!

Introduction to Apache Cassandra

In the introduction to Apache Cassandra we cover an overview of the architecture and features of the distributed database. Starting off with a definition of a distributed hash ring and how this is used in Apache Cassandra to provide data storage across the nodes that make up the Apache Cassandra Database. Moving on we’ll get into the other capabilities, trade offs of data replication between nodes, configuration settings, and a lot more.

Data Modeling

For data modeling we start off with a short review of relational database data modeling to provide something that is more familiar for many people. From this, we then build off of many concepts around denormalization, breaking apart various levels of normalization forms, and then get into the thinking and approach behind modeling an application in a distributed database and go deeper with details around Apache Cassandra.

Application Development

For application development, focusing around the Java language and technology stack, we’ll start with some concepts around how the drivers connect to and work with Apache Cassandra. We’ll open up some code too, get into some code changes and additions, to get more familiar with how the driver works and some of the capabilities of the driver itself.

Most of the code, concepts, and related material in use around Java and the tech stack are directly usable on C#, JavaScript, and even using the community open source Go CQL Library.

Coming soon…

In the coming weeks (ok, maybe a month or two) we’ll be updating this material for Apache Cassandra v4 and additionally, I’m aiming to line up some half day and probably some full day workshops in the Cascadian region: Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver BC. They’ll be almost identical except for a few tweaks, but you’ll have to RSVP to find out the details!

Also, if you’re in between any of those cities and have a stop on the Amtrak Cascades, let me know and we’ll get an RSVP list started for your city and see if we can get the required attendee count to make it official!

Meetup Video: “Does the Cloud Kill Open Source?”

🆕 Had a great time at the last Seattle Scalability Meetup. I’ve also just finished processing and fixing up the talk video from this last Seattle Scalability Meetup. I feel like I’ve finally gotten the process of streaming and getting things put together post-stream so that I can make them available almost immediately afterwards.

Here @rseroter gives us a full review of various business models, open source licenses, and a solid situational report on cloud providers and open source.

Join the meetup group here: https://www.meetup.com/Seattle-Scalability-Meetup/

The next meetup on April 23rd we’ve got Dr. Ryan Zhang coming in to talk about serverless options. More details, and additional topic content will be coming soon.

Then in May, on the 28th, Guinevere (@guincodes) is going to present “The Pull Request That Wouldn’t Merge”. More details, and additional topic content will be coming soon.

Here’s some of the talks I streamed recently. Note, didn’t have the gear setup all that well just yet, but the content is there!

Adding and Returning Value to the Community via Twitter, LinkedIn, and Twitch

Twitter-512Twitter

Goal: Grow our follower count and reach, entertain, laugh, make hot takes – as one does on Twitter, educate, and get value out of it ourselves.

Don’t!

  • Don’t buy followers (i.e. don’t pay anybody that promises X followers, market share, or whatever it is they’re selling). We can’t trust this method as it’s often just a pile of Russian bots or other garbage followers. This does nothing to increase visibility and penetration to those that want, are interested in, or need to communicate with us (i.e. customers and fans).
  • Do not just repost things via RT or use tooling to just post arbitrary things. People notice this and won’t follow or will unfollow you. It’s a sure fire way to be blacklisted as *marketing* which will involve going to zero eyeballs, even when the account statistics keep showing people see it.
  • Do not post identical or similar content one tweet after another. i.e. Don’t post a marketing blurb with one image, then post another marketing blurb with another image that’s exactly the same size, theme, and fill up the entire tweet stream this way. The followers you get will not be active, will not be who you actually want to speak with or interact with, and don’t really add value over time if this is all that is done. It’s similar to those blog theft sites that just re-post the exact RSS stream and then, by proxy, get blacklisted and erased from Google/search results.

Do!

  • Just make it about you. Grow your personal brand first and foremost. Such as “Dern this is a wicked awesome band.” or “Wow, best burger in the world” and add pictures, content, and other interesting things for people. It doesn’t have to be “I just cured all diseases yo, check me out!” you can, and people will follow based on honesty, integrity, taking a stance, being informative, and providing useful information of all sorts. But more than anything they’ll follow the person not any specific *thing* you’re selling, pushing or what not. So be yourself, share, and be involved with the network you create.
  • Build things you’re interested in, especially when they’re related in some way to products and services you like to use and find interesting – i.e. Apache Cassandra, DSE, Databases, Application Development, etc. Build on these things via threading, via initiating discussion with others that are discussing these things, and among all this find valuable fellow Twitterers that you want to be connected to. This helps all involved, you, your network, the company, the people and companies you connect to, and more. Bringing the network wide with an on point effort around topics will dramatically increase your collective opportunity but also anything and everybody around you.
  • When retweeting, intersperse it among other things, and happily add content to RT’s. In other words don’t just make it endless retweets, but just throw in a few retweets for things you’re interested in or support, and then have your regular stream of tweets, links, and other content.
  • Use emoticons, use pictures, and definitely blurt memes out there. Aim to have fun with Twitter.

Examples of good Twitterers that really provide high value to followers, but also back to the Twitterer themselves in the way of speaking opportunities and all sorts of other things:

LinkedIn-512LinkedIn

Goal: Build an extensive professional network and return value to the LinkedIn Network of connections you have.

Don’t!

  • Don’t use LinkedIn like Facebook. This is obvious but for some reason much the world doesn’t seem to get this, so it feels like it needs stated for the LOL’s. i.e. Don’t hit on people, don’t ask people out on dates, just talk business. Ideally leave politics out of it too.
  • Ideally, don’t send droves of InMail messages to people unless that’s specifically the game being played on LinkedIn. For more grassroots and non-marketing community focus, just interact with people directly, that you know, and don’t arbitrary chase down people you do NOT actually know. This is another thing that decreases authenticity, and makes an individual – even if not – appear like they’re shilling for something.

Do!

  • Post content regularly about what you’re working on, provide links, and provide respective researched content for other mediums you might have like Medium, a blog, Twitter, and all that jazz.
  • Talk about your professional achievements and whatever else that might come up related to your work, hobbies (pending some business relation or something you do/did professional, i.e. like the music you play, or other hobby of sorts). Sometimes hobbies count too, so put that content into rotation now and again too. But do remember, if it fits better on Facebook than LinkedIn, just don’t post it on LinkedIn.
  • Reach out if there is legitimate business that you are both involved in. Start that as a simple conversation, not a sale, not something pushy, just simple, friendly, curious conversation.

Examples of good LinkedIn Accounts, that use their accounts for benefit for themselves but also provide benefit directly or indirectly for all of us:

iconmonstr-twitch-5Twitch

Goal: Grow our follower count and increase our collective content and work material to show, teach, work, and hang out with viewers to build tomorrow’s best, most kick ass, wicked awesome applications, data science analysis, and more!

Don’t!

  • Not a whole lot here yet. Twitch is kind of wide open and not a lot of no no’s here. Don’t do illegal things is all I’ve got at the moment.

Do!

  • Setup your OBS or streaming process so that you have chat on screen, chat somewhere you can monitor it, code is clear and fonts are readable, you add all the interaction content you can for new follows (alerts), subscribes (alerts), and whatever else comes up.
  • When on stream, take your time, interact with people that follow, subscribe, or chat/whisper with you.
  • Don’t worry about making mistakes, just work through them, let the audience help if they offer it. Even if you know that they’re wrong, work through things with them and let them get involved. Then lead into the correct fix, etc. This is a great way to teach and build involvement on stream so that everybody gets a win, and you get an advocate to your own advocacy.
  • If you’re going to heavily curse or do anything even slightly liberal/conservative/religious/ideological etc it’s probably best to mark one’s stream as 13 or older (I think that’s the setting).

Some excellent Twitch streamers to reference for their involvement, OBS setup, configuration, and general awesomeness in the community.

That’s it for this post. Got more do’s or don’ts? Lemme know, will start a repo!

A little lagniappe for ya, that hygge feeling.

Art, JavaScript, and Machine Learning with Amy Cheng at ML4ALL 2018

One talk that opened my mind to new ideas about where, how, and when to use machine learning was Amy Cheng’s @am3thyst talk on Machine Learning, Art, and JavaScript. I introduced her last year in my previous post, and am linking the talk below. Give it a watch, it’s worth the listen!

ML4ALL 2019 is on. CFP is still open, a little longer. It’s closing on the 18th. In addition we’ve got tickets available for early birds, but those will be gone soon too so pick one up while you can, it’s only a $200.00 bucks. You’ll basically be getting a ticket to conference that’ll be 10x the value of one of these big corporate conferences for $200 bucks, in the awesome city of Portland, and I can promise you it’ll be a conference you’ll get more out of then you currently think you will! Join us, it’s going to be a great time!

Machine Learning, Protocols, Classification, and Clustering

Today Suz Hinton @noopkat and Amanda Moran @AmandaDataStax are presenting, “Alternative Protocols – how offline machines can still talk to each other” and “Classification and Clustering Algorithms paired with Wine and Chocolate” respectively. The aim is to stream these talks tonight too on my Thrashing Code Twitch Channel. If you can attend in person, we’re almost at capacity so make sure you snag one of the remaining RSVP’s.

Here’s some more details on the speakers for tonight.

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