FrOSCon: Mistakes were Made: Education Edition talk slides and notes

I just finished giving my keynote at FrOSCon, and am pasting the notes I spoke from below. This was meant to be read aloud, of course. Where it says [slide] in the text is where the slides advance.

Update: My slides are now available on the FrOSCon site.

FrOSCon – Mistakes Were Made: Education Edition


Thank you so much for inviting me here to FrOSCon. This is my first time visiting Bonn, and my first time enjoying Kรถlsch. I enjoyed quite a lot last night at the social event.

Especially, I would like to thank Scotty and Holgar who picked me up at the train station, Inga who talked with me at length on Thursday night. All the volunteers who have done a terrific job making this conference happen. Thank you all so much for a wonderful experience, and for cooking all the food last night!

And I promised to show off the laser etching on my laptop I had done here by the local hackerspace. I come from the PostgreSQL community, so I got an elephant etched into the laptop. It only costs 10 euro and looks awesome.


I’ve also made a page of resources for this talk. I’ll be quoting some facts and figures and this pirate pad has links to all the documents I quoted.

For those of you from countries other than Ireland, Great Britain, United States, German and Turkey – if you know where to get a copy of computer science curriculum standards for your country, please add a link. Right at the top of this pirate pad is a link to another pirate pad where we’re collecting links to curriculum standards.


And finally, this talk is really a speech, without a lot of bullet points. So, the slides will hopefully be helpful and interesting, but occasionally I will be showing nothing on a slide as I speak. This is a feature, not a bug.


For the past few years, I’ve been giving talks about mistakes, starting with problems I had keeping chickens alive in my backyard. Here’s a map of my failures. Scotty is familiar with the video that is online that tells the whole story of how all these chickens died.

Next, I talked about system administration failures – like what happens when a new sysadmin runs UNIX find commands to clean up — and delete all the zero length files, including devices, on a system. Or how to take down a data center with four network cables and spanning tree turned off. Here’s a tip: it really only takes first cable.
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Submissions for Lightning Talks for Postgres Open being accepted

By popular demand, we’re having a session of lightning talks at Postgres Open this year!

What is a lightning talk, you ask? It’s a 5-minute talk on a topic of your choosing. (For this conference, it should be at least vaguely postgres- or database-related.) Make it as serious or entertaining as you like. If you’ve never given a talk at a conference before, this is a great way to try it out. The audience is forgiving, and it’s only 5 minutes!

Slides are not required, but are helpful.

The session will be 5pm – 6pm on Tuesday, Sept 18. Sign up today!

There’s a limited number of spaces, so get your talks in now! ๐Ÿ™‚

(Many thanks to Gabrielle for writing this blog post!)

(And psst – don’t forget to buy your tickets! ๐Ÿ™‚

LA Postgres first meeting is on for Tuesday, Aug 28!

The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 28, at 7:30pm at 701 Santa Monica Blvd Suite 310, Santa Monica, CA.

From the latest posting on the Meetup group:

Beer and Stories

We huffed and we puffed and now we got beer at the meeting (thanks Beers will be exchanged for interesting Posgres stories and facts you have so ya better brush on your favorite Postgres bits.

Here is a good resource for that:

Parking is offering free parking which as we all is a precious resource in LA. Since its gated a volunteer will be there to meet you and let you in. Please get there on time as the volunteers who will be letting you in are also part of a Meetup and will not be available shortly after it starts. We will leave you phone numbers to call just in case. There is also fairly cheap parking right across the street at the library in case you need more parking.

Lightning Talks

There will be lightning talk sign up at Meetup and we will have various video connectors. Still if you know you are planning to give on let us know.

How to communicate with LA Postgres Organizers

Here are few ways I figured our you can reach us.

Twitter: @lapostgres
Freenode IRC: #lapostgres (

See ya there!

Postgres Open 2012 schedule announced!

We’re pleased to announce the Postgres Open 2012 schedule!

A very special thanks to EnterpriseDB and Herkou for their Partner sponsorships. Please get in touch if you’d like to sponsor the conference this year!

Please see a list of our currently accepted talks and keynotes below:

  1. Keynote – Jacob Kaplan-Moss
  2. Deploying maximum HA architecture with Postgres by Denish Patel
  3. PostgreSQL Backup Strategies by Magnus Hagander
  4. PostgreSQL Access Controls (AuthN, AuthZ, Perms) by Stephen Frost
  5. Full-text search – seek and ye shall find by Dan Scott
  6. PostgreSQL When It's Not Your Job by Christophe Pettus
  7. Programming the SQL Way with Common Table Expressions by Bruce Momjian
  8. High Availability with PostgreSQL and Pacemaker by Shaun M. Thomas
  9. This Is PostGIS by Paul Ramsey with ?
  10. Super Jumbo Deluxe by Josh Berkus
  11. Using the PostgreSQL System Catalogs by Robert Haas
  12. Range Types in PostgreSQL 9.2 – Your Life Will Never Be the Same by Jonathan S. Katz
  13. DVDStore Benchmark and PostgreSQL by Jignesh Shah
  14. PG Extractor – A smarter pg_dump by Keith Fiske
  15. Performance Improvements in PostgreSQL 9.2 by Robert Haas
  16. Logging: Not Just for Lumberjacks by Gabrielle Roth
  17. Choosing a logical replication system: Slony vs Bucardo by David Christensen
  18. PostgreSQL on ZFS: Replication, Backup, and Human Disaster Recovery by Keith Paskett
  19. 12 Years of PostgreSQL in Critical Messaging by John Scott
  20. Embracing the Web with JSON and PLV8 by Will Leinweber
  21. Retail DDL by Andrew Dunstan
  22. An object oriented approach to data driven software development by David Benoit
  23. A Shared-nothing cluster system: Postgres-XC by Amit Khandekar
  24. Scaling out by distributing and replicating data in Postgres-XC by Ashutosh Bapat
  25. Disaster Recovery of PostgreSQL databases in Business Critical environments by Gabriele Bartolini
  26. Leveraging PLV8 in Javascript-heavy Web Applications by Taras Mitran
  27. PostgreSQL in the cloud: Theory and Practice by John Melesky
  28. Query Logging and Workload Analysis by Greg Smith
  29. A Batch of Commit Batching by Peter Geoghegan
  30. Large Scale MySQL Migration to PostgreSQL by Dimitri Fontaine
  31. Temporal Database Demo by Jeff Davis
  32. Performance Scaling Roadmap by Greg Smith
  33. Postgres is the new default โ€“ how we transitioned our platform at Engine Yard and why you should too by Ines Sombra
  34. How Akiban Implemented a New Database Compatible with the PostgreSQL Protocol by Ori Herrnstadt
  35. Scaling Postgres with some help from Redis by Josiah Carlson
  36. Lightning Talks by Gavin Roy

Stay tuned for our call for Lighting Talks.

Re-thinking “Mistakes were made”: free and open source software and teaching

I’m working on my keynote for FrOSCon right now.

They asked for me to revisit the “Mistakes were Made” talk. My introduction will probably be a lot the same. A core idea is a theory that the ratio of failure to success remains mostly constant over time. So, in order to succeed a lot, we need to be trying and failing a lot more.

But this talk, I am planning to go into what concerns me the most about open source software: succession.
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Call for Presentations for Postgres Open 2012 is open

Postgres Open welcomes your talks and workshops for our conference. Presentations should be oriented towards the business or development user of PostgreSQL, and should have substantial technical content. Submissions are due by 11:59pm, June 26, 2012.

Last year’s conference had about 175 attendees from all over the world, and included speakers from EnterpriseDB, Heroku, 2nd Quadrant, Hewlett Packard and PG Experts — our first sponsors for 2012. We also had speakers from startups like Urban Airship, and financial services companies that use Postgres at the core of their analytics.

Submit a proposal today!

Currently we are looking for seven kinds of talks:

Briefs (20min): short technical topics, product introductions, and mini-case studies.

Scaling (50min): experiences, tools and technical details of how you scaled PostgreSQL to meet unusual challenges. Talks about scaling typically cover PostgreSQL in high throughput or high concurrency environments, big-data, data-warehousing, sharding and replication for scaling purposes.

Products (50min): technical presentations on your PostgreSQL-related product or project, either open source or proprietary. These should cover both the “how” and the “why” of usage.

HOWTOs (50min): Brief DBA or developer-oriented presentations of how to solve a problem, accomplish a task, or achieve a goal with PostgreSQL and related tools. This includes performance tuning, application development, database architecture, and features.

Innovations (50min): Presentations on new PostgreSQL features and related projects or ones in development. Cutting-edge code, tools and techniques with users can make use of today are welcome.

Case Studies (50min): Detailed stories on how a company or organization accomplished extraordinary things with PostgreSQL, or how they migrated from another DBMS. Preferably, Case Studies should be presented or co-presented by a member of the organization involved.

Workshops (3 hours): hands-on tutorials which thoroughly ground attendees in a particular technology, technique, product or tool. Workshops should include demonstrations, audience interaction, and optionally, guided hands-on exercises. If attendees need to arrive with specific software installed, please note it in the talk description.

Postgres Open is dedicated to providing high-quality content to attendees. As such, we request that all presenters be executives, team leaders, engineers or architects (not sales or marketing line staff). Presentations should have substantial technical or educational content. If you have questions about whether or not a particular presentation topic is appropriate, please contact

Submit a proposal today! Submissions are due by 11:59pm, June 26, 2012.

Thoughts from Think Out Loud’s Women in Tech radio broadcast

I was on the radio program Think Out Loud here in Portland this morning. Before getting on the radio, I prepared a few things to say and wanted to share a longer form of what I was thinking.

I’ve been blogging more about women’s issues in relation to open source community and technology more generally. The experience is finally something that’s pretty fun — because there is finally research, success stories and a real sense of optimism among my friends and colleagues.

This is in no small part because of the wonderful experiences I’ve had working in open source and on PostgreSQL.

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Facebook acquires Instagram (and a Postgres cluster) for $1billion

Today’s big story is that Facebook just acquired Instagram for $1 billion.

Instagram is a hugely popular image sharing app – until recently only for iPhone. Last week they released an Android version, which caused many of my friends to finally start using it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

But you know what’s an even bigger story? Instagram runs Postgres. And, their engineering team has been posting juicy tidbits about PGFouine and pgbouncer over the last year.

I love that companies are succeeding with Postgres in a huge way.

We’re seeing Postgres become the default technology choice for new tech companies. As those companies grow or are acquired, we’ll see Postgres becoming an important part of many more organizations.

It’s no coincidence that Bruce posted this morning about “The New Postgres Era“. The quality of the Postgres community’s software products is recognized, and the developers who use our software are succeeding.