OSCON: We’re at the end…

I’m finally getting to blog, and here are a few highlights:

* “Mistakes were made” was a great time. Thank you everyone who shared stories. And those of you who attended, please connect with me – email or whatever, and let’s continue our discussions about failure.
* I have a little bit of editing to do left on the harder, better, faster, stronger slides. Talk ratings have been very high (thank you audience! 🙂 Should have that up tomorrow!
* Not having a booth at OSCON was a real bummer for Postgres. We need to figure out a way to make this happen for us every year.
* Great having the time to connect with old friends in the hallways this week.
* Thanks O’Reilly for supporting our open source community.
* Thanks Google Open Source Programs office for bringing together open source leaders yet again this year for some important conversations.

Thank you everyone from the Postgres community who contributed to the Postgres day just before OSCON. All the speakers and their talks are listed here.

We need to keep having adjunct events like this! I think LCA has it right scheduling Mini-BoFs to provide networking opportunities for the distinct groups. I think OSCON should formalize this next year, and figure out a way of facilitating those groups in a more structured way.

I have another blog post brewing about difficult conversations.. but that’s going to have to wait until after I enjoy the brewers fest!

OSCON: Postgres represent! And my links for Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger talk

I’m giving a couple talks at OSCON this year. The first is on Tuesday, 10:40am room C123: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger: Postgres 9.1. The other is Mistakes were Made, Wednesday at 1:40pm in room D136.

My colleague Robert Treat is giving a Pro PostgreSQL workshop Wednesday at 1:40pm too, room 204. He’s also giving a Scalability Patterns talk at 4:20pm Tuesday. I’m sure his talks will be awesome. 🙂

And here are the rest of the talks tagged with PostgreSQL.

Also remember — there’s a PgDay tomorrow at the Oregon Convention Center!

I’m pushing my examples for my 9.1 talk into a github repo. It should be populated with whatever I decide to use for the talk by Monday evening.

Building 9.1 for me on Mac OS X (leopard!) involved the following:

git tag -l | grep REL9_1
git checkout REL9_1_BETA2
./configure --with-perl --with-python --prefix=/opt/pg91beta2 --with-readline
make install

Normal caveats apply – you need X Code of a reasonably recent version, and a bunch of support libraries to make this happen. I haven’t rebuilt from scratch on OS X in a long time, but now I realize that maybe I aught to go through the pain and document this again.

But I digress!

I have a long list of resources for this talk and wanted to share. Probably in the slides for the talk, I’ll provide shortlinks so that people can pull them up and read instead of listening to me 😀

Here’s my links:

And if you’re wondering about the title, I took it from an great Daft Punk song that fans have created some epic videos of:

Getting ready for OSCON, code of conduct and cultural change

UPDATE: See bottom of post.

I totally should be working on my talks right now, but instead I’ve been talking with people about the lack of a code of conduct for OSCON.

I’ve written before about cultural resistance, and how I think it fits in with changes that must happen in technical communities when we invite more women in.

One of those changes is making it clear that women (and other minorities) are not just tolerated in public spaces, but that they are explicitly wanted there.

I think OSCON has made great strides in that direction by changing their marketing materials to include the faces of women. Sarah Novotny, co-chair of OSCON, travelled extensively to invite women face-to-face to submit talks. There are many women speaking at OSCON this year.

OSCON put the time and energy into creating a sense that women were already attending (which they are), and that they wanted more.

So, why all the fuss about having a code of conduct? Well, this community is changing.

What people think of as “summer camp for geeks” is this year a gathering that by definition includes people who haven’t previously been part of the OSCON community. When a community (which OSCON definitely is) sets out to change the gender percentages, it needs to be clear that the women are being invited to join and shape the culture, not just show up to be tourists of the existing culture.

The leadership of the conference needs to establish with existing attendees that the cultural change is wanted. The fact is, OSCON is a for-profit enterprise, with a business driving the event. Grassroots activism is helpful in encouraging change, but ultimately, the owners of the brand need to make a statement in addition to the marketing.

I applaud Jono Bacon for his creation of an anti-harassment policy for the Community Leadership Summit. I also am heartened at O’Reilly’s recent tweet that they are following this conversation.

I don’t think that codes of conduct are the perfect solution. But how else do we communicate to everyone participating that the change is happening, and that they need to accommodate new members *who are very different from them* during a period of cultural adjustment? That’s not a rhetorical question — I am genuinely interested in answers to this question.

I’ve updated my profile to state that I am pro-code-of-conduct, and included a link to anti-harassment resources, which I think should be part of an overall code of conduct. Donna put up a wikipage with easy to cut-n-paste additions for OSCON speaker profiles. If you agree that a code of conduct is a positive direction, please join us!

UPDATE: Tim O’Reilly has blogged about his expectations in a post titled “Sexual Harassment at Technical Conferences: A Big No-No” regarding a code of conduct for conferences under the O’Reilly umbrella going forward.

Aww. Thanks! :) And I just cleaned out my inbox.

Thank you everyone who responded to my post over the last couple of days. It was overwhelming and awesome. I am grateful to have so many people that care about me, and who are working on so many fascinating, world-changing and difficult problems.

I’ve tried to reply to everyone that sent me a personal note.

While doing that, I realized that I’ve reached the end of what I can manage in my personal email, and have just completely cleaned out my inbox. Apologies to anyone that was expecting a response. Honestly, the likelihood that I would get to it without doing something drastic was approaching zero.

If I missed replying to you for some reason in the last few weeks, please resend your message. Or better, catch me on Google+ or Twitter.

Shaking the etch-a-sketch

So. I’m a free agent.

I’ve got some consulting work lined up, a few projects to keep me busy (Postgres Open, a new online class, and some writing). I’m speaking a couple times at OSCON at the end of the month and MC’ing Puppet Conf. And, I’m advising a good friend on her first business, and another on opening up data at a big company.

Looking forward — I’d love to hear what you all are working on, and a chance to catch up over a beer or coffee in the next month. I am looking for a new thing to do, but taking my time.

Plus — it’s summer. Scott and I have done some major work on the yard, and have parties and movie viewings planned until the pond freezes over.

You’re totally invited.

Looking for worthy “mistakes were made” stories

I’m giving a couple talks at OSCON this year! One of them is titled “Mistakes were made“, and I need a few good stories.

I’m focused on web operations, but really, any stories where there was a plan, and it went horribly wrong, would be great. And, I’d love to know whether whatever went wrong ultimately got fixed, hacked around or was just left as-is.


The end, and what happens next.

We buried grandpa today.

This was my first funeral. And the first time I’d been present for an honor guard, the three rounds of weapons fire, the folding and presenting of the flag, and the three symbolic rounds given to my grandmother. Scott took that picture.

I spoke at the funeral. I broke down. I met Grandpa’s niece Sheila for the first time. I missed meeting Grandpa’s brother, Forrest.

I made meatballs for the wake, and drank Dead Guy Ale. We talked with Grandma about what was coming next, and I’m worried.

Before we went to Austin Funeral Home, I talked with Grandma about her outfit, whether it was appropriate to wear yellow. She said this was her best outfit, and she didn’t want to upset anyone with it. I told her that she could wear whatever she damn well pleased.

I wish my grandfather was still here. I’m afraid for my grandma. She wants to learn everything she needs to learn to be independent. But it’s all very difficult for her.

I tried to find a pillbox for her today, and the one I found was just too hard to use. I set up speed dialing on the cel phone and put the phone on a special table for her so that she’d always know where it was. They’re going to set up a land-line, but everything just takes too long.

I talked with my sister about what to do next. She lives the closest, and talked about bringing Grandma to her church, trying to get some help for the next few weeks. I keep thinking words like “transition” and “opportunity”, and I feel like such an asshole. My grandma is afraid, and I live really far away.

I got a sheaf of paper, and wrote a note to Grandma asking her to write for me. I promised to type everything up and send it back to her.

A few people from the church came to the wake, drank punch and paid their respects. Our cousins drove back to Spokane.

We stayed, and my sister’s boyfriend sang songs on the porch. I talked with my brother about his life now, and how he’s commuting to Butte for work on gas lines with the pipefitter’s union, and how his daughter is back in Kalispell. I reminisced about our father’s welding, and how he’d always been offended when clerks at trailer rental places questioned the structural integrity of his strange, custom-welded bumper.

Scott played with his nephew, I sat with Grandma.

The weather was perfect and the sky was clear.

I’m still up, writing lists. Wondering if I found all the important things, and wishing that I had more time.