NOLA Vieux Carré Hack n’ Life n’ Lagniappe

I’ve been organizing conferences (with other awesome organizers of course, it’s never a singular person getting that work done!) for a long while now and they’re what they are. Then along came the pandemic and splat, in person conferences became extinct. I’m sure they’ll be back, but I’m not entirely sure they ought to come back. At least, they ought not come back in the same way they existed pre-pandemic time.

Mississippi River in New Orleans along the ole’ Crescent

There’s another type of get together that I’ve been thinking of that I’m really excited about. This experience, I was fortunate enough to experience a bunch of years ago in New Orleans with an awesome group of folks. To add a little context to this, I lived in New Orleans for a good while and grew up about 45 minutes from the city across the state line in Mississippi. With that, I feel like I’ve got a little bit of context for living the New Orleans lifestyle. I must add, it is distinctively and specifically a very unique lifestyle among these United States. Living a New Orleans life is like nothing else in these United States, not even remotely!

When I lived in the area I loved many aspects of this city and there were aspects that I was not happy with. The city has a few parts that make the famous south side of Chicago seem like a peaceful hippy village, but on the other side of the spectrum New Orleans has an intense passion and love among its people. The city is amazing, beautiful, and honestly a marvel of engineering (it’s below sea level). This city, always standing as a monument to passion, music, love, and more is prominent throughout the city. This passion and love of life itself is a positive among positives that in the end, vastly outweigh any of the negatives.

A Dose of That NOLA Life

It’s that famous street y’all!

This adventure I experienced a number of years ago went something like this. In 2010 I had a conference to attend where I was going to speak about various data analysis techniques, coding project ideas, and related technologies around web and data analytics. At the time I worked for a company called WebTrends with a solid bunch. The conference was all set and would be a great time, but it wasn’t the key experience of this trip.

Some friends with a business startup that also were attending the conference decided to rent a house down near Decatur Street. They rented this house and turned it into a coder’s house for a full week! It was a wildly entertaining, enjoyable, unique, and worthwhile experience to undertake. In addition we were wildly productive! Implementing a number of features, swarming on some ideas, and writing up a number of ideas for future implementation while thinking out the design in a great thorough way. It was spectacular!

But there was more, much more to this truly excellent trip. We had access to New Orleans after all which is well known for truly epic food – arguably some of the best options – to explore flavors, tastes, and truly expansive ideas in foodie explorations! The local creole food, the surrounding local southern food, and the combinations therein are unto themselves not comparable in any other part of the United States. Also no, New York, San Francisco, Portland, or anywhere doesn’t even come close in food comparisons and I’m not even going to engage in that silliness. New Orleans food is a culinary delight in it’s own world ranking! As can be see below…

In addition since I knew the city well there were streets to walk, places to explore such as Jax Brewery, the markets, the levies along the riverfront, a riverwalk that’s great, steamship paddle wheelers that traverse the Mississippi river for some amazing explorations, views, and food too!

Ok, ok, ok so that’s a lot of me telling you about the awesomeness of New Orleans. If you’re not into the idea of exploring or visiting the city I can’t really do much more to sell you on the trip. But the next aspect of this post I’ll detail an idea of forming a krewe to head south to the city of New Orleans, build awesome software, eat wonderful food, and generally live the relaxed life for a solid week or so. The idea is this krewe will be a parade of its own that’ll setup shop and live this for the escape, the celebration, and the experience of it all! If this sounds interesting to you, read on, here’s the details.

How This Would Work

For some, we’d join onboard the City of New Orleans, the Crescent, or the Sunset Limited into New Orleans. For others the option of choice may be to fly into the Louis Armstrong Airport or even take the train in from Chicago, Memphis, or other place onboard the City of New Orleans or out of Washington DC, Charlotte, Atlanta, Montgomery or elsewhere onboard the Crescent. Upon arriving we’d converge at the house or houses we’d choose for this adventure where we’d live for the week and get setup for the projects we’d do during the week. That night we’d gather for a grand dinner at our first excellent destination.

Day one dinner at Lil Dizzy’s Cafe & Coding Plans

The first day we’d all get breakfast at Lil Dizzy’s Cafe or somewhere thereabouts. There we’ll get fueled up with a most epic food win and then depart to gather to plot what we’ll create for the week. This is when we’d get a full plan and some goals together as a group. Decide if we want to break out further into groups (depending on our overall group size) and such. We’d find a good place (likely organized well before the trip) and gather there, post-wicked-awesome-amazing good breakfast, and get into all this. This one goal, would be the goal for day one!

Looking at that sinking (yes, by almost an inch per year!) Central Business District in New Orleans!

Day two rolling in… later rise, more good food, and coding time

Day two rolling in. We’d rise a bit later, get some piping hot coffee and maybe a kicker at Cafe Du Monde for the start of day two. Once collected we’d gather for some day hacking or maybe checking out the brewery blocks (it’s more than just breweries, just sayin’). Then we’d get in some evening coding, building, and creating then back into some food and entertainment of whatever sort for the evening. Possibly some jazz at Julius Kimbrough’s Prime Example, Little Gem Saloon, or the Spotted Cat. Either way, a good time and good evening however we want to slice and dice it up.

Day three, onward and forward and advance!

Day three and onward would continue along this theme. Dynamic organization with a loosely coupled and loosely designed scheduled workflow. Mostly to keep it flexible to live NOLA while we’re there. All the while we get to build something as a krewe (team, crew, cohort, however you’d call the group)!

This would continue for the rest of the week. I’ll have more ideas, more to this proposal, more to this trip coming in subsequent blog posts. This post has one purpose, to get the idea introduced to you dear reader and to start the conversation about getting this event put together. If you’d be interested in this idea, please reach out to me via Twitter @Adron, or you can message me via my Contact Form, or if you have some other means – txt me, sms me, slack me, or whatever – that’ll work too. Whatever the medium, let’s get a conversation started about traveling down to the Crescent City for an EPIC week of food, life, music, and hacking together a solution for whatever it is we create!

For more on this, follow me on Twitter, stay tuned here on the blog, and eventually we’ll get an organizing krewe together and start getting together more specifics, like dates and travel times, core ideas, and more.

Cheers!

References:

  • New Orleans skyline as featured image above is from Wikipedia Commons.
  • I did try to make sure there wasn’t rights issues with all those glorious food pictures, but will fix if anything is contested.

TRIP REPORT: QCon SF 2019, Amtrak Coast Starlight, #Bikelife in San Francisco, and Thoughts

This past week has been QCon. I departed last Sunday on the Coast Starlight. My preference is to take the train when it’s possible. Sometimes the schedule allows it, sometimes it doesn’t. This trip, the schedule was perfect for a little coding time on the train, reading, and introspection. Taking the train always gives me a bunch of time to do these things uninterupted while being comfortable and enjoying the countryside rolling by.

The train got out of the station and I cut some video for a VLOG episode or two. To note, I’ve got more than a few, some linked in this post, VLOG’s of the week and the various adventure. I hope they’re interesting and in some cases informational! Feel free to ask questions, I’m more than happy to elaborate on any of the videos, content, and the related topics.

Departing Seattle for San Francisco to attend QCon

The train departs at 9:45am from King Street Station. If I had to drive or take transit I’d have to get up at about 6am to get there and fiddle with luggage and all that, but since I was cycling bikelife style to the station, I got up around 7:15. However, I didn’t follow that schedule a made a coffee stop on the way.

When I arrived at the station I saw one of those post boards that showed the old Union Station near the King Street Station and I point out a few details about the two. I included some tips for bike life traveling via the train too. Rolled on out to the platform and boarded. Watch the video for a shrot summary of my departure and boarding the train.

The countryside is beautiful on this trip, and getting into Oakland and the ferry ride across the bay is spectacular. I had to, of course, VLOG a bit of that too.

After getting in I made my way back down via Valencia onto Market Street to the Hyatt for QCon Day 1 events. A VLOG on that run with a little montage and then some thoughts.

First thoughts, it won’t be soon enough that get get SOV (Single Occupant Vehicles) off of Market Street altogether. The street is used in a vastly superior way having transit, active transport, and work vehicles as is. Having SOV’s plying the streets just makes it dangerous and clogs up the whole thing, but alas, that’s just a first though.

I got into QCon and was super stoked to catch a few talks and talk to fellow data folks. I had noted though, even as a sponsor, our badges don’t get us access to anything really but the sponsorship hallway. That was kind of a bummer, so in the interim I had to work some magic so that I could catch some talks!

Palumi & Langauges of Infrastructure by Joe Duffy was the first talk I wanted to see. Alas, with scheduling I couldn’t make it. The description read,

“We have all become cloud developers. Every day we use the cloud to supercharge our applications, deliver new capabilities, and reach scales previously unheard of. Leveraging the cloud effectively, however, means navigating and mastering the ever-expanding infrastructure landscape, including public cloud services for compute, data, and AI; containers, serverless, and Kubernetes; hybrid environments; and even SaaS — often many at once.

Join us to learn about the modern languages, tools, and techniques that leading-edge companies are using to innovate in this world of ever-increasing cloud capabilities. We will explore: how to create, deploy, and manage cloud applications and infrastructures; approaches for cloud architectures and continuous delivery; and how modularity and reuse is being applied to infrastructure to tame the complexity, boost productivity, and ensure secure best practices.”

Hopefully we can get Joe to come speak at Seattle Scalability in the coming year! I’d even like to setup a hack day akin to a workshop to try out some of these techniques and related languages for infrastructure for the meet! Ping me Joe and we’ll make it happen!

The next talk I really wanted to catch too was Lachlan‘s “Helm 3: A Mariner’s Delight”.

“Adjusting your spyglass and looking out over the water, you can see how useful a package manager like Helm is. Perhaps you’ve used it to manage the fractal complexity of packages on your Kubernetes clusters (without losing track of versions stashed in the hold). But Helm 3 is rumored to be different, and you’re ready to get started on this exciting voyage – as soon as you have some idea of what’s port and what’s starboard!

In this story-fueled session, we’ll take you through differences from the Helm of yore, tips for a successful rollout or upgrade, and opportunities to shape the project’s future. The cloud native waters can be choppy, but a technical deep dive powered by open source tooling will steer you right!”

But again, my scheduling and access prevented this but I’m hopeful. This next week is KubeCon and I should be able to catch up with a number of people, maybe even Lachlan, on the Helm 3 bits!

Other talks that I might have or might not have officially attended included “Beyond Microservices: Streams, State and Scalability”, “Better Living through Software at The Human Utility”, and “Parsing JSON Really Quickly: Lessons Learned”. I hear they were all spectacular talks! 😉

Day 2 rolled in. Talked with Auth0 and Solace at their respective booths, if you’re curious.

After all that, another solid QCon, I’ll make sure to get a full pass next time if I can make it. Unless of course they fix that ranked access sponsorship pass mess, then I’d happily opt for that again. It is after all rather interesting to speak with all the companies.

After the conference I put together an exit VLOG. Enoy! Catch everybody next time!

Next week, on to KubeCon, cuz two conferences in two weeks is like a two-fer!

 

Happy Year 5 of the Birth of The New Stack

This is the 2nd post in a series of posts on OSCON 2019, the first is “OSCON: What it is.“.

Happy 5th Birthday to The New Stack

I tend to write a lot of articles, documentation, and all sorts of various things. It’s one of the many things I enjoy doing. A while back my friend Alex approached me and presented this new idea for a tech publication he was starting. He mentioned he’d love for me to put a few articles in if I were interested. I was, and over the next several months as the company got rolling I added a few articles to the mix!

In those early days Alex started with all sorts of ideas about things to add to the medium beyond just articles. Over these last 5 years he’s worked diligently with a team of great writers, coders, and others to make those ideas happen! Here are a few of my favorite sections of The New Stack.

Podcasts – Of course there had to be a podcast the The New Stack right! Just recently there’s been some whiz bang awesome episodes. Check these out for a wide range of interesting tech topics.

Again, happy birthday to all at the The New Stack, hope OSCON was most excellent and awesome for y’all. Cheers!

 

2x More 2019 Seattle Area Conferences

We’re halfway through the year now. In Seattle what’s going on in this later half? Here are a few of the conferences, camps, or code related events I’ve purchased tickets to over the last few months.

Seattle Code Camp – September 14th – I have attended a few, and even spoken at some of the code camps here in Seattle. Every time I’ve had a good time and enjoyed a number of very educational conversations. For an idea of the range of topics, also check out the schedule – it’s HUGE!

API City Conference – September 5th – API City is another non-profit community conference that I attended for the first time last year. Again, the sessions were good but the conversations, like with Seattle Code Camp, are what made this conference valuable.

Both of these conferences are extremely high value for the dollar. Arguably, I’d say these provide more value than some of the conferences that are in the $2000-3000 price range, which is mind boggling, but that’s what you get when the community comes together on something that people have a shared interest in!

Either one, or both, hope to see you there.

 

OSCON: What it is.

This is the first of a few articles I’m going to write over the next couple of weeks related to the O’Reilly Open Source Conference, or what is more colloquially called OSCON. Before the conference event topic let us sync up on understanding exactly what this conference has been, what it was intended to be, and what it is today and its roots in open source.

OSCON was inaugurated in 1999 with its first conference held in Portland, Oregon. The location, that generally, has been the accepted home of OSCON. There have been other OSCON events in other locations but the sentiment remains – OSCON is a Portland conference and it’s a bit rough going in other cities hosting the conference.

OSCON started as a conference centered around the open source community since day one. It’s consistently held that course even when open source was regularly lamented, insulted, and cursed by the software industry. At one point Microsoft, the biggest of big software companies in the early days of OSCON relentlessly attacked open source. Steve Ballmer stated, “Linux is a Cancer” back in 2001.

Jim Allchin attacked open source as “the worst”.

Even the founder Bill Gates even went on record saying open source would make it so, “nobody can ever improve the software”.

Microsoft execs weren’t the only ones, just some of the richest, prominent, and loudest about berating the licensing model. Many corporations and others attacked it as communist and in other ways. But OSCON continued onward every year with solid turnout in Portland. The community continued to grow. But considering where we are now, that might seem a bit obvious. But way back then it wasn’t so obvious that open source licenses and related open models would become the way a vast percentage of software would be developed, as it is today.

But here we are!

OSCON started around those earlier days when open source was more often maligned than celebrated. At least in the business world and in the places the vast majority of us were, or would have been employed. When it started the conference aimed high and achieved a lot of victories in bringing together key people within the industry to grow open source development from multiple angles. As time went on OSCON expanded, as did its host library of open source books, on all the tools, options, and available solutions that were being created via open source licensing and the plethora of development paradigms.

Fast forward to today and OSCON is still that stalwart conference that brings people together, from those early days, to people that have just joined the open source communities today. This cohesive gathering of minds has a very low barrier for entry with its hallway pass, all the way to standard – more expensive fare – that covers the whole conference, specific and special gatherings, presentations, demos, and related activities.

Stay tuned, subscribe to the blog, and my next post I’ll take you on a whirlwind tour of more OSCON events, The New Stack‘s birthday at the conference, and more.