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.

Mistakes...
Mistakes…

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

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.

Conference Recap – The awe inspiring quality & number of conferences in Cascadia!

Rails 2013 Conf (April 29th-May 1st)

The Rails 2013 Conference kicked off for me, with a short bike ride through town to the conference center. The Portland conference center is one of the most connected conference centers I’ve seen; light rail, streetcar, bus, bicycle boulevards, trails & of course pedestrian access is all available. I personally have no idea if you can drive to it, but I hear there is parking & such for drivers.

Streetcars
Streetcars

Rails Conf however clearly places itself in the category of a conference of people that give a shit! This is evident in so many things among the community, from the inclusive nature creating one of the most diverse groups of developers to the fact they handed out 7 day transit passes upon picking up your Rails Conf Pass!

Bikes!
Bikes!

The keynote was by DHH (obviously right?). He laid out where the Rails stack is, some roadmap topics & drew out how much the community had grown. Overall, Rails is now in the state of maintain and grow the ideal. Considering its inclusive nature I hope to see it continue to grow and to increase options out there for people getting into software development.

Railsconf 2013
Railsconf 2013

I also met a number of people while at the conference. One person I ran into again was Travis, who lives out yonder in Jacksonville, Florida and works with Hashrocket. Travis & I, besides the pure metal, have Jacksonville as common stomping ground. Last year I’d met him while the Hash Rocket Crew were in town. We discussed Portland, where to go and how to get there, plus what Hashrocket has been up to in regards to use around Mongo, other databases and how Ruby on Rails was treating them. The conclusion, all good on the dev front!

One of these days though, the Hashrocket crew is just gonna have to move to Portland. Sorry Jacksonville, we’ll visit one day. 😉

For the later half of the conferene I actually dove out and headed down for some client discussions in the country of Southern California. Nathan Aschbacher headed up Basho attendance at the conference from this point on. Which reminds me, I’ve gotta get a sitrep with Nathan…

RICON East (May 13th & 14th)

RICON East
RICON East

Ok, so I didn’t actually attend RICON East (sad face), I had far too many things to handle over here in Portlandia – but I watched over 1/3rd of the talks via the 1080p live stream. The basic idea of the RICON Conferences, is a conference series focused on distributed systems. Riak is of course a distributed database, falling into that category, but RICON is by no means merely about Riak at all. At RICON the talks range from competing products to acedemic heavy hitting talks about how, where and why distributed systems are the future of computing. They may touch on things you may be familiar with such as;

  • PaaS (Platform as a Service)
  • Existing databases and how they may fit into the fabric of distributed systems (such as Postgresql)
  • How to scale distributed across AWS Cloud Services, Azure or other cloud providers
RICON East
RICON East

As the videos are posted online I’ll be providing some blog entries around the talks. It will however be extremely difficult to choose the first to review, just as RICON back in October of 2012, every single talk was far above the modicum of the median!

Two immediate two talks that stand out was Christopher Meiklejohn’s @cmeik talk, doing a bit o’ proofs and all, in realtime off the cuff and all. It was merely a 5 minute lightnight talk, but holy shit this guy can roll through and hand off intelligence via a talk so fast in blew my mind!

The other talk was Kyle’s, AKA @aphry, who went through network partitions with databases. Basically destroying any comfort you might have with your database being effective at getting reads in a partition event. Kyle knows his stuff, that is without doubt.

There are many others, so subscribe keep reading and I’ll be posting them in the coming weeks.

Node PDX 2013 (May 16th & 17th)

Horse_js and other characters, planning some JavaScript hacking!
Horse_js and other characters, planning some JavaScript hacking!

Holy moley we did it, again! Thanks to EVERYBODY out there in the community for helping us pull together another kick ass Node PDX event! That’s two years in a row now! My fellow cohort of Troy Howard @thoward37 and Luc Perkins @lucperkins had hustled like some crazed worker bees to get everything together and ready – as always a lot always comes together the last minute and we don’t get a wink of sleep until its all done and everybody has had a good time!

Node PDX Sticker Selection was WICKED COOL!
Node PDX Sticker Selection was WICKED COOL!

Node PDX, it’s pretty self descriptive. It’s a one Node.js conference that also includes topics on hardware, javascript on the client side and a host of other topics. It’s also Portland specific. We have Portland Local Roasted Coffee (thanks Ristretto for the pour over & Coava for the custom roast!), Portland Beer (thanks brew capital of the world!), Portland Food (thanks Nicolas’!), Portland DJs (thanks Monika Mhz!), Portland Bands and tons of Portland wierdness all over the place. It’s always a good time! We get the notion at Node PDX, with all the Portlandia spread all over it’s one of the reasons that 8-12 people move to and get hired in Portland after this conference every year (it might become a larger range, as there are a few people planning to make the move in the coming months!).

A wide angle view of Holocene where Node PDX magic happened!
A wide angle view of Holocene where Node PDX magic happened!

The talks this year increased in number, but maintained a solid range of topics. We had a node.js disco talk, client side JavaScript, sensors and node.js, and even heard about people’s personal stories of how they got into programming JavaScript. Excellent talks, and as with RICON, I’ll be posting a blog entry and adding a few penny thoughts of my own to each talk.

Polyglot Conference 2013 (May 24th Workshops, 25th Conference)

Tea & Chris kick off Polyglot Conference 2013!
Tea & Chris kick off Polyglot Conference 2013!
A smiling crowd!
A smiling crowd!

Polyglot Conference was held in Vancouver again this year, with clear intent to expand to Portland and Seattle in the coming year or two. I’m super stoked about this and will definitely be looking to help out – if you’re interested in helping let me know and I’ll get you in contact with the entire crew that’s been handling things so far!

Polyglot Conference itself is a yearly conference held as an open spaces event. The way open space conferences work is described well on Wikipedia were it is referred to as Open Spaces Technology.

The crowds amass to order the chaos of tracks.
The crowds amass to order the chaos of tracks.

The biggest problem with this conference, is that it’s technically only one day. I hope that we can extend it to two days for next year – and hopefully even have the Seattle and Portland branches go with an extended two day itenerary.

A counting system...
A counting system…

This year the break out sessions that that I attended included “Dev Tools”, “How to Be a Better Programmer”, “Go (Language) Noises”, other great sessions and I threw down a session of my own on “Distributed Systems”. Overall, great time and great sessions! I had a blast and am looking forward to next year.

By the way, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this at the beginning of this blog entry, but this is only THE BEGINNING OF SUMMER IN CASCADIA! I’ll have more coverage of these events and others coming up, the roadmap includes OS Bridge (where I’m also speaking) and Portland’s notorious OSCON.

Until the next conference, keep hacking on that next bad ass piece of software, cheers!

Write the Docs, Railsconf Portland, RICON East, Node PDX, Vancouver Polyglot, Open Source Bridge and OSCON…

…if you are deciding what to attend this year, here’s the top of the list.

Just a few key conferences that will kick ass in technical & academic content. The other great thing about these conferences is that they either have a “code of ethics” or are reknown for real conference diversity vs. the “hey a bunch of privileged sameness all ended up in this room purely out of meritocracy” nonsense. So you can rest assured that at these conferences you’ll have interesting conversations, be actively involved in things that will expand our personal sphere of the world and in the end leave you dramatically more enriched than those “corporate warm body vacation conferences“. This list doesn’t mean I’ll be able to make it to all of them, but each conference I’m in some way intimately involved with and fully support with the “Conference Seal of Approval“! So here we go…

Write the Docs – April 8th and 9th – @writethedocs – A new movement, to know where we are, where we’ve been and where we’re going. Get here, know how and why to bring knowledge forth through documentation. This is not your grandpa’s documentation.

Portland RailsConf 2013 – April 29th-May 2nd – @railsconf – The rails community has grown by leaps and bounds. Regardless of your love or hate for the framework, it’s revolutionized the way web applications are built over the last decade.

RICON East in New York City – May 13th & 14th – @basho – (I do work for Basho, but this is on here because RICON last year ROCKED and meets the requirements, come see for yourself!)  🙂

Node PDX – May 16th & 17th – @nodepdx – Troy Howard and I are putting this together, we’re working hard to make sure it’s more of what you want, more than it was last year and kicking to the curb the things you don’t want. So come hack some node, JavaScript and enjoy yourselves.

Polyglot 2013 – May 24th through the 26th – @polyglotConf – Open spaces, with tons of really, truly smart people with no presumptuous marketing and sales bullshit to get in the way. This is about software development, across the realms of frameworks, languages and more.

OS Bridge – June 18th through the 21st – @osbridge – open source bridges the divide here and new thinking is created. You have to attend to see…

OSCON – July 22nd through the 26th – @oscon – This is the premier open source conference in North America. It’s in Portland. Nuff’ said.

I’ll be at a few more conferences this year, but these are the key conferences, if you have to pick one to go to, it should be on this list. If you can go to one or two others, pick em’ from this list. Software + Data + Giant Phat Data + NoSQL + Future Thinking + Leaders o’ Thoughts == Top Conference List.

See ya there. Cheers!