ptop – meeting summary from last nights pdxpug

Last night’s meeting was about ptop and Mark Wong’s efforts to make an interactive, command-line tool for monitoring the current status of a PostgreSQL database.

For our meeting, Mark set up a test operating system on a USB drive, and bravely demo’d his new software.

Mark got the idea for ptop a few months ago, and went looking for the source code to top to get started. After a few days of hacking, he had a some useful features he wanted to share. So, he’s set up a project and started gathering developers:

The features currently supported include displaying:

  • Current queries
  • Query plans
  • Locks
  • User table statistics
  • User index statistics

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PostgreSQL Conference Fall 2007 – only two more days

We’re taking care of all the last minute details – making sure we have enough coffee Saturday morning, getting nametags printed, stuffing folders and practicing (or in some cases finishing) talks.

I created a special page for my conference posts. I’ve included links to public transportation, all the maps to find your way to and from the conference location and the party, cab info, and links to all my other posts which have more detailed information.

There is free public wireless access inside the PSU engineering building. I’ll have information on how to connect when you arrive. Please send any questions you have to the attendees mailing list (here are the archives).

We are making video and audio recordings of the conference. I’ll announce here when they’re available and make them all available from the conference page.

PostgreSQL Conference Fall 2007 – Where to eat lunch

Screenshot of conference mapThanks to many suggestions from PDXPUG‘s mailling list and Gabrielle Roth‘s patience with Google Maps, we have a great map of the area around the conference. She was kind enough to put the nearest parking garage ($9/day) on the map as well. If you’re looking for some parking that’s a bit more affordable but a further walk away, try Smart Park. You could also park on the East side of the river, and walk across one of our beautiful bridges or hop on a bus or the Max (you’ll need to transfer to a Bus or the Street Car from the Max to get to PSU campus). To figure out where and when to ride public transit, you can call for live help at 503-238-RIDE, or use the Trip Planner.

Portland has great food. If you’re going to be in town for a couple of days, there are great restaurants walking distance from the downtown hotels (Higgins, Typhoon!, Saucebox, many others), on the waterfront (Three Degrees, McCormick and Schmick’s), and over on NW 23rd/21st (Paley’s Place, Lucy’s Table, Serratto, Muu Muu’s). You can get directly to NW on the Streetcar, which has a stop one block from the conference. And of course there are many food carts throughout the city. If you want even more suggestions, check out the Willamette Week’s top 100 restaurants in Portland.

Those of you who have come to Portland for OSCON the last couple of years probably know about a few of the great places on the East side of the river. We’ll be on the west side, and there’s a ton of great places to explore.

PostgreSQL Conference Fall 2007 – talk descriptions are up!

I just finished updating the Talks page for PostgreSQL Conference Fall 2007. There are so many great folks giving talks — Neil Conway, Josh Berkus, Robert Treat, David Fetter and Robert Hodges are all flying in. It’ll be great to see Josh, Robert and David again! I’m excited to meet Neil and Robert, both of whom I’ve heard great things about.

PDXPUG will be represented by Mark Wong and David Wheeler. Mark will be talking about performance, building on a talk he gave last year to PDXPUG on performance and TPC benchmarks. This conference talk will be focused on practical tools one can use with PostgreSQL. David’s talk will be about his recent work with Ruby on Rails and PostgreSQL. David was kind enough to give PDXPUG’s very first talk, about PL/PgSQL.

We also have Webb Sprague from Eugene, OR coming out to talk about PostGIS. We’re hoping to get him out for user group meetings some time. Eugene is about two hours away from Portland, so we occasionally have visitors (hi Andrew!) to PDXPUG and PerlMongers from there. And of course Joshua Drake will be there.

Another great thing about having this conference at PSU is that members of the database reading group folks will be sure to attend. And our favorite relational algebra teachers will certainly be there.

As of today, we’ve almost filled up our event space! So if you haven’t registered yet, register now.

a women-focused users group: the very, very beginning

I mentioned nearly a month ago that we were starting a group whose goal is to get more women involved in open source. We had our first group meeting this evening.

We decided on a “chaining” strategy for invitations – no broadcasts on mailing lists we aren’t subscribed to, and people should feel a bit responsible for the folks that they bring along. The accountability for group participation is one thing that I feel strongly about, and there was rough consensus, so looks like that will stand for now.

There was some talk about maintaining at least 50% women in the group. Ultimately, I don’t think a percentage will matter if we have a strong group identity. But it got me thinking – what are the elements of this group that will keep me interested and will continue to draw women in? And then, what can I do to help maintain the group’s identity and goals?

One idea I had was the socratic seminar. Another was a goal of 100% participation in every meeting. During today’s meeting, three of us mentioned that we’d gone to a series of user group meetings without ever saying a word. What I like about the 100% participation goal is that combined with a socratic seminar, it would be radically different from other user group meetings I’ve been to.

For structure, I thought we could have our show-and-tell, followed by an hour or so of group work, and then a post-group-work sharing. I think that the sharing piece is key. And if we keep ’em short – and timed – I think it could be a very interesting.

We’ll see how things go. I offered to talk next month about the temporal database stuff I’ve been working on with Jeff. I asked for five minutes and thought it would be a nice jumping-off point for a smaller group to run off and work on database stuff for an hour. We’ll see if I can make a 5-minute presentation that is useful about temporal data.