Category Archives: TRIP REPORTS

TRIP REPORT: Accelerate 2019 in Washington DC, I mean National Harbor!

Trip Time.

Today’s trip care of Alaska Airlines Flight 2 out of SEATAC Airport (Seattle & Tacoma’s airport) to National (Reagan) in Alexandria, Virginia. I’ll be staying there and commuting daily across the Potomoc River to Gaylord Resort and Convention Center (at National Harbor). I decided I’d write up something about this trip for a few specific reasons:

  1. I finally purchased a Bromptown Bicycle which I’ve been wanting to attain and use for my trips that require air travel or don’t have enough space for a proper bicycle.
  2. The adventure is entirely new to me, I’ve not been to these locations at any point in my life. New for me, new for those reading this (or adventuring along with me on my Twitch channel).
  3. I also picked up a number of new things that I want to see how they’ll work for streaming while on the go. These include; Android Phone, a new dual Go Pro + Phone mount for the bike, and among these a few existing devices like my trusty set of GoPro Cameras.
  4. I flew over via first class for various reasons. I thus, wanted to share some of the advantages and why I think it’s more than worth it to fly first class vs. coach and why companies should rethink their ideas around this when positions require frequent travel and working on the go.

Leaving Cascadia

The first thing I did was pack up the Brompton. I got a hardshell case to go along with it since I’d read during my research the airlines sometimes will snap off parts of the bike when a softshell case is used. The other advantage, the hardshell case has wheels! Inside this I also put my front mount messenger bag and some bungie cables so I can mount this stuff up to the bike upon arrival.

Once that was packed it was time to get the Mission Workshop ARKIV backpack I have locked and loaded. In my pack, which is the large of the two sizes, I get all my cloths, toothbrush, razors, and related amenities. In the side pouches that I mount up specific for longer trips I put my power brick and other electric plugs I’d need regularly in the quickest to access pouches. The other things go in various assorted pockets here and there. Since this is such a short trip, I also skip the outer backpack laptop pouch and just put the laptop in the inner sleeve.

Stats

Backpack w/ Laptop: 22 lbs. (with laptop)
Hardshell w/ Bike: 32 lbs.

All in all, a fairly heavy load, but the cool thing is with the configuration and post-arrival setup I have there isn’t actually much to carry. Backpack goes on my back and the hardshell case rolls along like a carry on. What makes it even easier, I’ve got an express bus with plenty of space and light rail with special areas specific for luggage like this. My 17x Express arrives on time, I board and ride off with my pack and hard shell sitting right next to me.

When I arrive downtown I merely pack up and roll downstairs to the Sound Transit LINK, board the train and off to the airport I go. No need to mess with a driver, no need for chatter or worrying about the implications of social anxiety or evils of clicking “don’t talk to me uber driver”. Just board and go. Then, read a book, check your phone, or whatever comes to mind. That’s what I do.

At the airport I strolled and rolled into the first class lounge, which I attempted to record via my new Android with the Twitch app. It… went oddly I’m assuming. Let’s take a look here.

Once I got situated in the lounge I made some pancakes – a tradition I have now – and sat down for some coding. The seats are comfortable, the views are great, and along with the coding I get to nerd out on all the planes taking on and off. At least, when one is flying in and out of C Gate at SEATAC. N Gates are kind of “meh”.

Eventually I left the relaxing lounge and headed into the boarding area of C Gates. The Alaska Air 737-900 arrived and started deplaning. With deplaning, boarding, and refueling done for the trip back east to DC we headed back out on the tarmac to queue up 15th in line to take off. Check that out, total plane traffic jam!

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Once in the air we flew through some piddly turbulence and into more clouds. Clearing 10,000 foot laptops came out and a little bit more coding resumed. In addition I started this post, took a few pictures, and knocked out a few other things I needed to do.

After a while food and drink services began. In first class anything over an hour can safely assume a meal will be served. This time it was tortellini or a sandwich of some sort. I got the tortellini. The meal is then served in three parts. Starting with a little salad and soup, entree, and then wrapped up with a desert.

The soup was tasty, I was somewhat surprised by this. Where as the salad was merely a salad with some cherry tomatoes, carrots, and greens. Nothing real special, but then of course it’s a salad so not like there’s much expectation.

The tortellini was pretty good. Even in comparison to other food outside of the airlines. A little salt and pepper brought it up just slightly to something I’d even have been happy with in an actual restaurant!

Finally we wrapped up with some Salt & Straw for desert. Considering this is an airplane I was kind of amazed they’d get Salt & Straw, but then again, Alaska Airlines does like to play to the local products and all!

After food, a couple more hours of coding and prep for the oncoming days of Accelerate.

Arrival in the District of Columbia

I arrived in DC, retrieved my Brompton and racked up the case it packs in and threw my bag on the front. Now for a 26 minute bike ride from the airport to Alexandria.

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On the way, the setting was magnificent with honey suckle providing a divine fragrance while I road along the bike trail along the Potomac River. The moon shined down, almost full, and in spectacular fashion!

Eventually I arrived at my new home for the week. The ride a success, an experiment that it was.

Bootcamp!

NOTE: I am an employee at DataStax, just so you know, in case you didn’t know. I always do my best to give you the direct details, but just so you don’t think I’m being a shill here. Some people don’t seem to be able to determine how people and occupations are correlated, so I like to keep things on the up and up.

First day, or maybe it’s zero day on account of zero based indexes and all, bootcamp kicked off!

In the boot camp we covered a lot of material to get attendees up to speed on Apache Cassandra. To boot, Patrick McFadin announced that everybody would get to use DataStax Constellation, our new Cassandra as a Service offering – currently in test. The awesomeness about this whole bootcamp was that we provided Constellation for everybody, without a blip on the radar! No system issues came up, albeit we crossed a few programmatic network wires that were crisscrossed but that got remedied in seconds. With that all wrapped up, released, with a bow on top, bootcamp went off without a hitch. Also a huge shout out to the dozens of team members that provided support throughout the room of 300+ attendees!

Good times in success!

Day 1 – Announcing DataStax Constellation

The first day, based on our zero based index numbering of conference days, started with Billy Bosworth CEO of DataStax giving keynote number one.

In the keynote Billy talks about the direction of DataStax and the upcoming releases, and current releases as of Accelerate 2019. Then Chelsea Navo joins Billy to do a LIVE – emphasis on a LIVE demo of DataStax Enterprise (i.e. Apache Cassandra and all the goodies) running multi-cloud in Azure, AWS, and GCP.

9:23 – Demo of DataStax Enterprise – Multi-cloud in real life. “Not a pretend demo!

15:17 – Chealsea shows how we introduced a little chaos into the mix, and introduces the ability to simply and easily bring a datacenter down. In realtime, as the related reads and writes are occurring. Nothing stops, not even a blip… whoops, did I spoil it? Give it a watch, it’s a solid keynote demo!

At the 20 minute mark, Billy introduced DataStax Constellation. Watch it, learn more, etc. Following that Billy talks about Insights, which will be built in and services based AI, system health, and related capabilities within the cloud offering.

After the keynote, everybody broke out into technical sessions on a wide, very wide range of topics. From Apache Cassandra to DataStax to Kafka to Vue.js! Great day!

Day 2 – Apache Cassandra v4.0

On day two Billy starts off the keynotes, and introduces others including Nate McCall. Nate is the Apache Cassandra PMC Chair & committer to the project. He dove into the new features, capabilities, and changes of v4.

Next up is DataStax CTO (and founder!) and Apache Cassandra committer of yore, and more, Jonothan Ellis! (video is time point linked below so you can dive right into the talk).

After the keynotes more technical sessions. I attended some architecture discussions around graph and related technology. Lots of good conversations. I really enjoyed it, and to wrap it all up that evening we had an ending keynote with Keren Elazari.

Departure

I had a great time, and as I always like a little lagniappe. Here’s some photos from the trip back. If you’d like to join DataStax Accelerate for 2020, give a good look at the upcoming conference next year!