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!


A Day in The Life of

So I sat down and hacked up a new version of I snagged a site theme and skin from Theme Forest and ran with it. Broke apart each of a few sections to get a minimally viable site up within 24 hours. I got interrupted a few times with a few other things I needed to wrap up, more about those things later. For now I put together the site, check it out @ I also put together a video of the hack session during various stages of getting the site live.

During the video I also have a few excursions away form the code to help stay focused on the code. At one point I’m actually working on the Junction App too. Also, keep an eye on it and you can see my Sublime 2 usage, iMac, Lenovo Carbon X1, Ubuntu and a whole slew of other tech. More on all those things too, for now… here’s the video.

…and yeah, no real code complexities or such, mostly an excuse to make a video to some oddball dubstep from the scraps of video I put together during building Hope it was entertaining, cheers – Adron.

Merging Ideas : Transit and Tech

So I got up on a Saturday, pondering what routes and buses would need to be taken to go from Belltown to Fremont here in the Seattle area.  Because I live here and have a transit oriented mind (I do write Transit Sleuth also…) I know which buses come where that would make a trip to Fremont real easy.  Fortunately there is a site called here in Seattle that helps one that likes to effectively use transit.  The core Metro, Pierce County, Sound Transit, and other sites are of minimal use in comparison.  They can give you basic routing but other than that there isn’t a lot of other information for the hard core transit user.

So this Saturday morning I stumbled into an idea that wouldn’t be too expensive to implement within the cloud (either Azure or AWS).  Here’s my initial idea without any research done except to know that somewhere, somehow, Metro, Sound Transit, and the other authorities in the Seattle area offer some type of data and GPS location feeds.

Transit & Logistics Cloud Idea
Transit & Logistics Cloud Idea

The connectivity shown in the diagram above is nice and all, but what exactly do I want for a front end?  That’s the next point, what is needed is a truly flexible dashboard.  One needs to be able to actually query against locations and find multiple options to the various places they’re trying to travel to.  For instance, the trip from Belltown to Fremont isn’t just one bus.  I could easily get the 17, 30, 26, or 28.  But there isn’t an easy way to identify and track all of the nearby bus stop locations that those buses travel by on their route.  That’s where a dashboard of statuses and location information would come into play.

The idea would be able to track multiple bus stops in a particular location for various buses going in all directions.  This seems like a feasible idea.  The extension of that would be to get the stops within X distance from a particular location, possibly derived from an iPhone or some such.  I’d like to use this on an RIA for the Windows 7 Series, Blackberry, and iPhone – which I assume would be a boon for anyone that uses the Metro, Sound Transit, or surrounding services.

I have collected the following information for this prospective project.

The Open Source Project that currently does bus tracking and other transit related information has some great research done already, which may be useful.

King County Metro has a page of Q & A for developers.  The GTFS Data for Metro is available too.

A really good discovery I found was the UW Research.  This site has all sorts of web services information related to traffic and transit.  In addition there is specific .NET examples and such.  Always nice to see the examples in the code or tech stack that I intend to use.