twittering on 2009-09-29

  • @btmspox oh yeah, & mountain biking. learned the "brake hard w/front brakes before obstacle == endo" lesson first time out, a couple times. #
  • @notbenh definitely! can I sign you up for February? Or we could do a dec 17th session. esp if there's interpretive dance. #
  • quintessential portland weather: sunny AND raining. #
  • @jkuramot i would like to put this: http://bit.ly/lTQOL on the front of that bike and take it for a spin! #
  • awesome! RT @StevenWalling: Just signed up for @OpenSQLCamp Portland. #
  • catching up on TAL #
  • @rebekahgolden there's a full-color poster and activity sheet that i hope you find from that first pic. #
  • i feel the sniffles coming on. :/ #
  • @mattly wow. i didn't know that. i'll justify it with the, you know, 8 block walk over. #

twittering on 2009-09-28

Responding to offensive presentations at conferences

How to handle WTF conference presentation moments.

How to handle WTF conference presentation moments.

On a couple mailing lists I participate in, people have raised the question: “When something offensive occurs during a conference presentation, what’s the right response from the audience and/or conference organizers?”

Unfortunately, at least one of these discussion lists is private, so I can’t directly quote the individuals who posted. But the content was worth sharing, so I’m summarizing the group’s thoughts in my own words below.

Here are some of the suggestions for handling offensive, unprofessional or inappropriate presentation content:

  • Train session monitors for a conference to contact the conference chair in the event of an issue, so that the conference chair can make a decision on whether to stop the talk or directly address the issue immediately (or later)
  • Conference chairs/committees make it clear to presenters up front what the expectations are (Presentation be rated G/PG-13/R, none of the “seven forbidden words” allowed, no commercial pitches, etc) — and there were dissenting opinions about this (esp G-rated issue — examples were given of things that were G-rated but also incredibly offensive depictions of women and minorities)
  • Screening presentations ahead of time (typically not something that open source conferences are able to do because of the habits of our presenters, and the rapidly evolving nature of the topics, but possible for a subset of presentations)
  • Audience members could address something that is offensive during Q&A (and audience members are encouraged to operate under the assumption that the speaker unintentionally offended)
  • Leave room for judgment on the part of conference organizers when developing community standards, as conferences are an “intentional community” and are free to set standards which are more or less strict than other conferences/communities
  • Bake a WTF cake, and serve it to the presenter (WAY underutilized tactic)

One theme that emerged was the need for some kind of immediate response that communicated both to the audience and the speaker that something was wrong. However, many situations require individuals to use their best judgment in responding, and stopping a talk should likely be left to the discretion of a conference chair.

Also, treating the speaker as though they have made an honest mistake and did not intend to offend anyone (I have yet to experience a situation where this was not the case, personally) is always the right way to start a conversation about it.

Photo courtesy of SanFranAnnie, under a Creative Commons License

User Group Idea: Present what you do for work

Ta da!

Ta da!

One consistently interesting topic for our PDXPUG meetings has essentially been show and tell. Presenters answer the question: what is it that I do for work?

We’ve had oceanography, GIS, relational algebra and even MySQL presentations that stem from this idea.

For the most part, those of us who do database work are so specialized that we might gloss over the details of our job to avoid boring our friends and colleagues to death. The fact is though, much of the work that we do *can* be made interesting for 30 or 45 minutes. And what better forum than a group of dedicated database geeks?

Some angles I’ve seen work are:

  • Giving background on the how and why of data collection (for example: Discussing probes that collect location, temperature and salinity in the ocean: how they communicate back to the mainland, data quality issues, failure modes);
  • Explaining a schema design and sample queries that work with it;
  • Going through a refactoring exercise with an existing database;
  • Describing a particularly difficult to deal with problem or incident (database migrations!) and how you did (or didn’t) solve the issues that occurred along the way;
  • Turning your meeting topic into a drinking game.

Our favorite meeting topic for drinking games is relational algebra.

The important thing about these types of presentations is that the person presenting picks the most interesting parts of their job to talk about. Enthusiasm for work shines through, and draws in the audience — a great thing when you haven’t given many presentations.

What are some topics you’ve seen, or would like to see covered related to a person’s day job?

Photo courtesy of exfordy, via Creative Commons license

Weekly tweet digest for 2009-09-27

  • Coat hooks are really underappreciated. #
  • aurgh! what is up with the stupid ads on osdir obscuring all useful content. >plonk< #
  • @dukeleto LOL. thanks. #
  • it feels satisfying to say 'kick' when i want database replication to start. #
  • @ramereth awesome! i'll c u there tomorrow. #
  • @iwangbin and 8.4 has \ef, to edit a function. #
  • @eggyknap @magnushagander or s/inactive/"horse head"/ #
  • @eggyknap LOL! #
  • @eggyknap @magnushagander I think I now have a new unifying theme for the bucardo talks. in reply to eggyknap #
  • @magnushagander if that's what we have to do to have sweet, multi-master replication… #bucardo #
  • RT @magnushagander: Thank you #postgres for letting me do a 6-level nested subselect in a DELETE, and actually producing the correct result! #
  • @hal_pomeranz there was none, sadly, as I was unable to participate. we'll just have to do it again! #
  • @sycobuny it will if the FK is part of a PK or a UNIQUE constraint. but I am not familiar with all the reasoning behind that. #
  • @adamd also vanilla milkshakes from mcdonalds. no joke. #
  • oh right. i was making coffee. #
  • @ahockley the PKL is one of my favorite beers! #
  • how many data migrations do we need in one night? #
  • @pjf yes to finite, but no to well-behaved. i think i'm finally done for today. :) #
  • sad that i missed out on seeing so many people in town for linuxcon. #
  • @ramereth working. it's good to have work :) #
  • @sarahsharp haha! awesome! #
  • "follow the leader" – using screen for training, or just because it's fun: http://bit.ly/ShnUF (from @xdeadcodex) #
  • @Marsee that looks great! i'll be sure to stop by. #
  • Eating delicious tamales. Watching bucardo go. #
  • @donpdonp you're in my 'hood! #
  • another night, another database migration. #
  • @garethgreenaway you have a sick sense of humor. #
  • had a philly cheesesteak sandwich today w/@edaypdx.i sat downwind as he talked about #vegfest (3700 ppl!) & we worked on #opensqlcamp #
  • @garethgreenaway the vpns. #
  • gonna make ONE MORE trip out to get brake pads for #crossbike. and a cable hanger. #alwaysforgettingsomething #
  • @SyntaxPolice nice work on the racing!! #
  • @SyntaxPolice no! i still don't have brakes fully put together on my bike. today, i finally have all the parts, so maybe next weekend? #
  • favorite phrase from 'community' (the sitcom): douche-ray vision. #
  • maiden voyage of #crossbike was awesome. sans front brake cuz my wrenches are too small :/ #
  • also, there was some kind of conspiracy involved with the lack of an 11mm wrench in this set. #
  • @richburroughs are prime numbers a tool of capitalist oppressors? #
  • animals to raise at home (popular mechanics!) http://bit.ly/7bGE5 #

twittering on 2009-09-27

  • gonna make ONE MORE trip out to get brake pads for #crossbike. and a cable hanger. #alwaysforgettingsomething #
  • @SyntaxPolice nice work on the racing!! #
  • @SyntaxPolice no! i still don't have brakes fully put together on my bike. today, i finally have all the parts, so maybe next weekend? #
  • favorite phrase from 'community' (the sitcom): douche-ray vision. #
  • maiden voyage of #crossbike was awesome. sans front brake cuz my wrenches are too small :/ #
  • also, there was some kind of conspiracy involved with the lack of an 11mm wrench in this set. #
  • @richburroughs are prime numbers a tool of capitalist oppressors? #
  • animals to raise at home (popular mechanics!) http://bit.ly/7bGE5 #

twittering on 2009-09-24

  • how many data migrations do we need in one night? #
  • @pjf yes to finite, but no to well-behaved. i think i'm finally done for today. :) #
  • sad that i missed out on seeing so many people in town for linuxcon. #
  • @ramereth working. it's good to have work :) #
  • @sarahsharp haha! awesome! #
  • "follow the leader" – using screen for training, or just because it's fun: http://bit.ly/ShnUF (from @xdeadcodex) #
  • @Marsee that looks great! i'll be sure to stop by. #
  • Eating delicious tamales. Watching bucardo go. #
  • @donpdonp you're in my 'hood! #

twittering on 2009-09-24

  • how many data migrations do we need in one night? #
  • @pjf yes to finite, but no to well-behaved. i think i'm finally done for today. :) #
  • sad that i missed out on seeing so many people in town for linuxcon. #
  • @ramereth working. it's good to have work :) #
  • @sarahsharp haha! awesome! #
  • "follow the leader" – using screen for training, or just because it's fun: http://bit.ly/ShnUF (from @xdeadcodex) #
  • @Marsee that looks great! i'll be sure to stop by. #
  • Eating delicious tamales. Watching bucardo go. #
  • @donpdonp you're in my 'hood! #