OS Bridge Day 1… Coffee, Missing Angular JS, Distributed Systems, Lego, Hardware, Terraformer…

OS Bridge Day 1 kicked off. I had more than a few goals to achieve for the day.

  1. Give my presentation “Data and Applications Across the Void :: Distributing Systems“, the first with this layout, of key topics and concepts around distributed systems.
  2. Meet Jason Denizac @_jden for coffee at Public Domain and catch up.
  3. Attend Beer Um’ Tuesday Too (i.e. B.U.T.T.) the almost unknown yet known beer meetup from the mind of genius Jerry Sievert @jerrysievert and march over with a contingent from OS Bridge.
  4. Attend the following: Kicking Impostor Syndrome in the Head, Test Driven Development with Angular JS and Terraformer.
  5. Plot next steps involving Bosh, Cloud Foundry, Riak and OpenShift.

Upon arriving I checked in and got the super sweet water bottle that the OS Bridge team got for speaker gifts. Gotta say good job, something a bit different, something that’s quality and something worth keeping! I dig it. I immediately washed it out and carried it around for thirst quenching the rest of the day.

Kicking Impostor Syndrome in the Head

This talk tackled the ideas of how to be more inclusive, allow people to actually gain buy in and confidence in the work they’re doing. This is a hugely important set of ideas that most of the large corporate world has no clue about. Thus the dramatically lower productivity, individual leadership, pride and happiness that people have working in large corporate enterprises & especially Government. This is a space that should be an extremely high priority for those businesses to study.


Denise Paolucci did a great job engaging the crowd and relaying the ideas of how to improve work environments to really bring out the best in people. Simply, it occurred to me this could be summarized as, “Don’t be a dick, how to kick ass, and build the whole team to do just that!

The talk included ideas such as making it safe to fail, don’t scapegoat someone around an idea that doesn’t work, but try a new path and move toward succeeding. Don’t setup people to fail, because that drags everybody down. Document things even when everybody supposedly knows those things. The list goes on, but that’s a good base for the ideas.

Check out Dreamwith Studios for more of Denise’s work.

Test Driven Development with Angular JS

This session was presented by Joe Eames @josepheames. I really wanted to go check this out, as I’ve been keen on AngularJS the last couple months but have not been able to work with it as much as I’d like to. So any exposure is good exposure in my book. This is when the bad news kicked in, I had to run off and take care of some minor priorities. Errands, ugh.

For those like me, that either weren’t at OS Bridge or missed this session, this one will be put up live at some point so keep an eye out for the videos being posted. For an immediate fix, Joe has a podcast at JavaScript Jabber. He’s also got a site related to doing TDD & JavaScript at Test Driven JS.

The standard mode of arrival at OS Bridge.
The standard mode of arrival at OS Bridge.

DIY Electric Vehicles

My friend, beverage connoisseur and JavaScripting genius Jerry Sievert @jerrysievert strolled by and mentioned DIY Electric Vehicles, DIY Electric Cars, DIY Electric Bikes and DIY DIY DIY DIY Stuffs. So I packed and headed to this workshop without any original plan to attend anything at this time.

This was a solid session with an introduction to electric vehicles, what they look like, how they work, what types of batteries are good for this use and coverage of Benjamin Kero’s @bkero DIY Electric Bike. Really cool stuff, and something that I really want to expand on and connect even more tech, similar to this plus something like Helios Bars.

Next up…


Terraformer is a project kicked off by Jerry Sievert @jerrysievert that provides some pretty solid mapping toolkit. For more information on this project, check out these links:

Jerry showing off other cool Terraformer features.
Jerry showing off other cool Terraformer features.

Hacker Lounge

During and after all the sessions OS Bridge is fairly well known for its awesome Hacker Lounge. Before many arrived, early in the morning just before the first keynote I snapped a wide angle of the Hacker Lounge…

Hacker Lounge, unoccupied.
Hacker Lounge, unoccupied.

…and here’s a few shots of the Hacker Lounge in full effect.

A wide angle of activity ala the Hacker Lounge. Click for full size image.
A wide angle of activity ala the Hacker Lounge. Click for full size image.

…the Lego table for solutions…

Lego table!
Lego table!

…and hardware hacking.

Hardware hacking, a little soldering brings together different worlds.
Hardware hacking, a little soldering brings together different worlds.

That’s it for day one. Happy hacking.

OS Bridge 2012 :: Day #1 :: How I Got Here…

All OS Bridge Attendees
The bikes of OS Bridge Attendees, we’re cool like that… (Click for full size image)

Today was the kick off of OS Bridge 2012. I jumped aboard my trusty steed (bicycle) for the mighty 6 block ride to the conference. Yeah, I could have just walked, but I just felt like getting their the fastest way possible. After arriving I was immediately faced with two great greetings. The first one went like this.

The “Do you do .NET still” Introduction

Hey Adron, how are you?

I’m good, and you?

Doing well, hey…  so are you still doing that .NET stuff?

OS Bridge 2012
OS Bridge 2012

Funny how after all this time of using JavaScript, working with Node.js, Ruby, deploying with Sinatra and Rails and even tweaking around with Objective-C that I still get this question. I’ve branched out, I’m not a limited, mono-language, mort Microsoft programmer. Technically I never have been, I’ve always had a passion for things besides the Microsoft ‘just feed me’ stack. It just happened to pay my bills for a while. What is really happening here though, to paraphrase, is someone asking “so are you working with any interesting problems these days?

The sad fact that most programmers, even people who code with .NET everyday, feel and observe almost nothing interesting happening in the .NET stack these days. Generally almost no startups use it. The vast majority of scientists don’t. Overall there isn’t much of it in colleges either these days. All for a deluge of reasons.

Rest assured, I’ve observed this, and this is merely a single reason that I commonly use many other languages. This is the reason I never get mad when people ask me this. I understand the preloaded context, it’s ok. Microsoft & their communities did this to the .NET stack, it’s unfortunate.

The simple truth is that many companies trying to solve hard problems, do genomic research, figure out how to launch rockets, and other really exciting interesting problems use almost anything except Microsoft’s stack. So yes, I’m doing .NET stuff, but I do a ton of other things based on what the job requires. I’m a firm believer of using the right tool for the job, and sometimes that is indeed .NET. So what was my answer?

Yeah, still doing .NET. Along with Node.js with JavaScript, Ruby, working on learning some Scala, how to test better in Javascript and Ruby, and even trying to schedule myself some time to jump into Go!

Yup, I was more prepared for this question than I was in the past.

The next introduction that came at me was much simpler.

Hey Adron, how goes things?

Things go well

What is it you do these days? I know you’re working with Iron Foundry and blog with New Relic sometimes, but what do you actually do besides that?

I went on to explain my rather exhaustive range of work I do. Ranging from the coding to the organizational community things. All good stuff that led our conversation down different routes.

Both of these introductions went well and I dig both of them, albeit I need a pre-printed response to the .NET question. Breakfast muffins were great and then the several hundred people at the conference went to find seats in the main sanctuary room for the keynote.

The Keynote

A few key quotes from the keynote by Sumana Harihareswara (@brainwane), via Twitter.

@demew#osb12 is already off to a ridiculous start because of the KEYNOTE ORGANIST” Really?

to change open source girls have to be able to say about the local open source event “its okay mom, there will be other girls there”#osb12

“Help these kids fight their parents!” #osb12

The summary of the keynote is one that should resound loudly in America,

…being free is better than being safe…”

Session Notes

NGINX Talk w/ Cliff Wells

Nginx, Overview and Deployment

The first session I attended was the session on Nginx by Cliff Wells (@cliff_wells). A few notes from this session:

  • NGINX is the #2 web server.  (Really? I figured it was Apache and then… hmmm, maybe this IS true.)
  • Get a static file serving boost from NGINX, ala, don’t make Node.js serve your static files. (Yup, know this all too well now.)
  • NGINX cannot spawn processes and cannot block.  (This is not Node.js, which is a good thing, it does the other work.)

There were a few other bits, but those were the main takeaways. The main reason I jumped into this session was because I wanted a more context around what NGINX is exactly. I got some of this, which is handy to know since this server is used in so many projects I’ve been working recently. Specifically it is readily used in Cloud Foundry.

How We Went Remote

This talk seemed like a keen match to a lot of the work I do. I’m remote for about 90% or more of my work these days. I code remotely, work up blog entries, articles, media calls, and related communications all from locations that are remote from their point of presence.

…errr, well, I tried to attend this one. Some work coding priorities trumped the evening session so I had to jet out of the conference. I did, as I coded away, kept an eye on all the tweets coming from the conference. It sounded like a great session. I have, unto the topic, a whole lot more to add. So maybe I can just spawn this into a blog entry at some point.

With that, have no fear, I’ll be back tomorrow for day #2 & the respective coverage of the event!

OS Bridge 2012++ Hacker Lounge++

I’ve submitted some talks to OS Bridge so I hope to see a ton of people there! 🙂 The two sessions that I’ve put forth, if accepted of course, go something like this.

Removing the Operating System Barrier with Platform as a Service (PaaS) (45 minute session)

This session will cover the major advances of platform as a service technology, what’s available in the OSS space to enable faster, easier, higher quality software development cycles in the cloud. The session will complete with a demo of PAAS technology in use, deploying a highly scalable, distributed & dispersed web application.

This session will show why PAAS is the way of the future for application deployments. Enterprise, small business, and especially startups will want to learn more about the available PAAS OSS technology and also learn about what is coming in the near future.

The presentation is setup to not only cover the immediate technologies of IAAS and SAAS in relation to PAASbut also real life examples of how PAAS gives a competitive advantage to any software development effort.

I’ll be using a presentation, asking the audience questions to involve them, and also some prospective video along with a real production style deployment of code to involve the audience.

Putting It Together, Letting Apps Lead the Cycle, TDD in the Cloud (1 hr 45 min)

I’ll be taking a deep dive into cloud architectures and how to build applications, generally at the PaaS level mixed with a little IaaS, to get people rolling with high velocity, high quality, and without the need to worry about the little things.

Want to learn about why PaaS and cloud computing is altering the very fabric of the development cycle? Want to know how to dive in with some abstractions and behavioral practices on the cloud, using PaaS, to bring apps, prototypes, and UX to market faster than anyone else? I’ll be touching on all of these things during this long form session. The sessions will step through these core concepts and ideas.

  • How to get up and running using cloud computing technologies and specifically to take advantage of PaaS providers.
  • How to bring UX designs and prototypes into a usable state even faster.
  • How to bridge that gap between development, test, QA, user acceptance testing, staging, and production (or whatever environments…) without blowing the bank.
  • How to scale, once the cycle is in place and continuous deployment is ready.

OS Bridge == Great Time, Great Experience, and Lots of Learning

OS Bridge is by far one of the best conferences in the northwest, in addition it isn’t stupidly expensive (sign up now for a cheap $225 bills (in April it bounces up to $300, so hurry up, that $75 bucks will feed your for the whole week at the spectacular Portland food carts!)
Either way, I hope to see all you bad ass coders there so I can buy ya some drinks, eat some meals with everybody, and starting thinking about the next awesome thing!

OS Bridge Week in Review

This is the first time I’ve attended OS Bridge. I’d known about it before while living in PDX. I had seen numerous people sitting in Bailey’s, Backspace, and other places around town after the days of the conference in past years. This year I actually got to experience it myself and am stoked with the experience!

The conference started off proper on Tuesday and is wrapping up today (Friday). It has been a great ride. The conference is a community organized event, but you’d think it was a high end professional conference in many ways. The food was awesome, the sessions covered a huge range of topics, and people at the conference had a great attitude and energy around learning about the open source community and what it’s about!

High Points

There are a couple of things that really stood out to me above other aspects of the conference.


People in the OSS Community are not like other communities that I have often interacted with in the past. The OSS Community as a whole is a lot less likely to focus on negatives and instead is much more focused on learning, knowing new technologies, and creation of new software ideas, experiences, and opportunities. This by far sets the OSS Community apart from many other software communities. Open source software, with its very positive attitude about the future is in turn becoming the future of software development (Arguable, it already is).


The projects are some of the most wide ranging of many conferences that I’ve attended. Ranging from algorithms of odd complexities to zoological studies. There is no unturned stone in the realm of open source software. One of the binding themes in most of the projects, which is really what brings out an awesome aspect of open source, is that the projects are very community driven. I don’t mean just software community, but communities in general. The transit app, which of course would be one of my favorites (re: Transit Sleuth), is centered around enabling businesses within a community to encourage transit usage (something I strongly believe is fundamental to strong communities in urban areas). One other project was a geolocation game (see last blog entry) that encouraged socializing IRL (In Real Life) instead of just via the Internet on a device. This is the type of software that truly changes the way we live, the way we interact, and the way we as people better ourselves.

Panoramic Portland, Oregon (Click for larger image)
Panoramic Portland, Oregon (Click for larger image)


The final thing I wanted to mention, was how awesome Portland is for a conference like this. Many cities are NOT good for technical conferences, at least if you intend to geek out, study, learn, and actually make progress.  Las Vegas is often used and it is a horrible city. Los Angeles, can be good sometimes but often the conferences are held in the middle of nowhere. The list of places that are bad for conferences can get long, and conference organizers should take note. But Portland has a uniqueness that is unlike anywhere else in the United States. The list of positives is massive. The city is walkable, leave your car far away from the city, life is better here without it. The food options are huge, with the best food cart scene in the United States, arguably the world (see the tail end of my day #2 Coverage). Anthony Bordain has literally said the best food cities in America are New Orleans, Portland, Seattle, and New York which I can absolutely agree with (having lived in all but one of those cities now, but visited all of them many times). The list continues; coffee, beer, food, walk ability, massive bookstore (Powell’s), etc., etc.


I’m just gonna hit up a bullet list for this purpose, because the summary items are simple:

  • Portland is one of the best cities for technical conferences, hands down.
  • The people and the projects these people are working on at OS Bridge are amazing, life changing projects!
With that, I’m wrapping up my OS Bridge Coverage. I’m looking forward to next year already and seeing familiar and new faces. May the code flow forth on your open source efforts. Cheers!
Total Event Coverage by me, Adron:  Day #1, Day #2, and Day #3 Big news and Day #3 Review.
Coverage by John DeRosa:  Day #1, Day #2, Day #3, and Day #4.
Coverage by @Demew: Open Source Bridge 2011