Zombie puppet teaser…
Just a quick note that I’m helping start Puppet PDX and I posted some details over here. Configuration management is awesome stuff, and if you live in the Portland area, you should come check out the new group. We’re meeting at Paddy’s, 6pm on 2/27/09.
My waffles will probably not look as good as this.
People often ask me for advice on how to motivate and get people excited about coming to meetings, participating in user groups and contributing to projects. I’m going to try to blog more about the things I do that work.
Friends in Portland know that I often use food (and sometimes alcohol) bribes to get them to come over to my house to hang out, and then do work that is best done with a group (recall a major weeding project in my front yard).
We needed a few good folks to help out with the next phase of our Open Conference Ware application, and so I decided to reuse this “get house chores done” trick to hopefully motivate a few hungry developers to work with us on the next phase of the project.
When I sent out the message, I got both an enthusiastic “Hell yes, I’ll come for waffles”, and an “Oh man, I already had plans — which, if they fall through, I will totally be there for the waffles.”
I’m sure that the good people who stepped up to help us would have done so anyway. But, if I can provide a warm breakfast while we hack away on wireframes, why not? And, after I tweeted what we were up to, I got another volunteer!
Image courtesy of rizkapb, Creative Commons 2.0 generic license.
Last year was the third year that PDXPUG has been operating in Portland, and I decided to look back at our year of meetings. Here goes:
January 11 – 10 things you can use in PostgreSQL 8.3
February 26 – Extreme Database Makeover: RT
March 20 – Managing Internet Services: Using the right tool for the job
April 17 – Rails on PostgreSQL
May 15 – PostgreSQL for Pythoneers
June 19 – The relational model
July 20 – PDXPUG DAY!, and the schedule
August 21 – Tsearch2 and Materialized Views (Guest speaker from Seattle!!)
September 18 – The Visual Planner
October 16 – Point In Time Recovery
November 20 – Reviewed 8.4 features with the help of depesz’s blog
December – Coder’s Social
Thanks everyone who gave talks and attended meetings! User groups are only as good as the people who participate in them, and this list shows just how talented, diverse and fun the Postgres community is in Portland. I love you guys!
Looking forward – once again, we’ve already scheduled talks through the next four months! I feel like the group is running on its own momentum, and that is a fabulous feeling. We have a data visualization talk, another Extreme Database Makeover, and hopefully a presentation about teaching database theory with PostgreSQL.
Our next meeting is on January 15, 7pm with Stephen Jazdzewski traveling all the way from Eugene to present SplendidCRM, a formerly Microsoft SQL-only system that is now compatible with PostgreSQL. I am happy to see more of our Microsoft colleagues joining and presenting to the user group communities, as I’ve always felt they are underrepresented in our groups. Also, I’m happy to host another out-of-town presenter here in Portland! Hope to see you on the 15th.
How to have fun, PostgreSQL-style
Those of you in town on Friday evening are welcome to join us at Paddy’s at 6pm for dinner:
Paddy’s Bar & Grill
65 SW Yamhill St
Portland, OR 97204
The reservation is under ‘Selena’, and we’ll be sitting in the front. The MAX runs directly in front of the restaurant.
Food is good – vegetarian-friendly, but not necessarily vegan or gluten-free. Those looking for those types of food options, let me know – there are actually excellent places nearby to eat, and you could join us a little later for socializing after a proper meal.
I’ll be directing those that want dinner at the Code Sprint over there – so I asked for 20 seats. Please comment or email me if you plan to attend, so that I can ask for more space if we fill up.
This isn’t a sponsored dinner – so we’ll all go dutch, unless a generous member of a company would like to sponsor us 🙂
I imagine several members of PDXPUG will be there. Can’t wait to see you all!
actually, i love this cup. thanks, eric! 🙂
It’s a bit late for an “announcement”, but Gabrielle and I are re-presenting the User Groups talk to the Portland Linux Users Group tonight. We’re all about audience participation, and so we’re going to focus on helping PLUG pick a few topics and presenters for upcoming meetings. And whatever else they want to talk about 🙂
Meeting starts at 7pm and here’s where:
Fariborz Maseeh College of Engineering & Computer Science Building
Room FAB 86-01 (This is in the basement.)
The building is on SW 4th across from SW College Street.
See location H-10 on map at http://pdxLinux.org/campus_map.jpg
Beer afterward at Jax!
Jax Bar And Restaurant
826 SW 2nd Avenue
photo from Chris Zakorchemny
One OSCON session that made me think was “Does Open Source need to be organic?” The panel contained Brian Aker (MySQL), Rob Lanphier (Linden Lab), Stephen O’Grady (Redmonk), Theodore Ts’o (Linux Foundation). The session was less about business vs. community, and more about how to increase community involvement in your projects.
Brian Aker mentioned Launchpad, and the way that it handles code forks. Forks are integrated into the system using a new revision control system – Bazaar. The forks are front and center – allowing all developers on the project to add forks and update them, incorporating them in with the primary code distribution point. This model reinforces the idea that forks are natural and can be positive evolutions in open source projects.
My big take-away: If you want to increase community contribution to open source projects, provide public and easy-to use interfaces. Publish your API early and create pluggable interfaces! Let developers add functionality and publish their add-ons easily, both in your project’s development space and on their own.
The same principal can be applied to the people side of open source projects. In your organization, make roles, tasks and responsibilities transparent. Let everyone – inside AND outside the project – know what they could be doing to get things done. The mistake that many projects make is assuming that people know what they could be doing.
Think of the people-side of projects the same way as you think about the code. Documented APIs are the same as public mailing lists, blog entries and wikis that reveal what your organization is actually doing, and how new people can get involved. Roles and titles that are meaningful let people know who they should bring their ideas to. And that lowers barriers to participation.
Leadership is not just telling people what to do – it’s inspiring, facilitating and then getting out of the way of people who are willing and capable of doing things on their own. Community grown from inspiration, and then fed by encouragement, fun and recognition of accomplishment, are the ones that last. And these communities are the ones that I want to be part of.
After the People For Geeks talk
, I presented “Running a Successful User Group” with Gabrielle Roth on Wednesday. You can find our slides and our presentation handout over on Bacon and Tech
. The handout is pretty cool, take a minute and print it out!
Here’s my slide deck from People for Geeks. Will be uploading to slideshare soon!
The talk is about leading user groups and steps for managing volunteers, and how to have fun!
photo courtesy of Dan Browning
Registration for PDXPUG Day on July 20, 2008 is open! Please sign up and let us know what size t-shirt you’d like. We’re requesting a $20 donation (by cash or check) at the door. All proceeds to to Software in the Public Interest, a 501(c)3 organization that is used to fund PostgreSQL advocacy.
Registration for OSCON is not required to attend.
Registering also gets you in the door at the Gotham Tavern, our after-party location close to the convention center!
Our line-up of talks includes:
PostgreSQL Unit Testing with pgTAP – David Wheeler
Inside the PostgreSQL Shared Buffer Cache – Greg Smith
Muldis D – Portable Databases At Full Power – Darren Duncan
A Streaming Database Talk – Rafael J. FernÃ¡ndez-Moctezuma
Using GLORP to connect Squeak Smalltalk to PostgreSQL – RandalSchwartz
Fighting Disease with PostgreSQL Full Text Search and JRuby on Rails – Mike Herrick
All Your GIS Are Belong to You – Abe Gillespie
What’s PgUS – Joshua Drake
Sign up today!
PgCon was a very exciting conference, with a lot of people from Europe, Asia, Australia and South America traveling to be part of it. I read that 175 people attended, and based on how crowded both parties were, it’s not hard to believe!
The biggest announcement for me was that the PostgreSQL Europe is finally a non-profit organization! I made a slide for my lightning talk with Magnus, Gabriele, Jean-Paul and Andreas on it:
I got a ton of great feedback about the User Groupalooza slides. I also enjoyed meeting Jean-Paul Argudo, a fellow Drupaler.
There were a bunch of community-focused conversations, some focused inward on developers, some looking out to the rest of the world from inside Pg, and others from the outside looking in:
- Bruce Momjian’s Keynote – Bruce looked at the future of Pg development from the perspective of a 12-year veteran. This was an inspirational talk, and many people referenced his thoughts throughout the rest of the conference.
- Andrew Sullivan’s Pg Project management – Andrew started a conversation among Pg developers about how development is *supposed* to happen, how it actually happens, and what the dev community might do to change things or leave them as they are
- Susanne Ebrecht’s talk on what PostgreSQL could learn from MySQL
- Lightning Talks – I did the lightning talk on User Groups
- Peter Eisenstraut’s talk on Release Management. This talk was a lot about the infrastructure and an overview of how the project manages software releases. It included a list of active developers, overview of what -core actually does, and descriptions of various duties people are performing to maintain postgresql.org and the associated services.
All the talks were recorded, so I look forward to listening to them again – without the distraction of Twitter! 🙂
A couple talks I thought were really great for web developers were:
- Magnus Hagander’s search.postgresql.org talk gave some great examples and code showing how to use PostgreSQL’s tsearch capabilities with a PHP-based website.
- Clark Evan’s talk on HTSQL, a REST-ful web inteface application. It looks pretty cool and I’m interested in trying it out. They are using it for medical records report generation and have even given the ability to generate queries to the end users.
Thanks so much to Dan who got me to the conference this year! I learned a lot, and really enjoyed meeting so many people that I’ve only communicated with over email for the past three years.