A Week of Conferences and Travel

This week is a double conference extravaganza! That also means that this week is a double travel extravaganza, so you can expect to see a lot of moaning about airports over on twitter. Feel free to heckle me back as I travel across the country from Portland, to San Francisco, to Columbus, and back again.

RICON

On Wednesday and Thursday, I’m heading down to San Francisco to attend RICON. RICON is being put on by Basho – they’re the fine folks who make a distributed key-value store known as Riak.

RICON is more than a conference about Riak. Yes, there are going to be talks about Riak, but RICON is a conference focused on distributed systems. Let’s face it – we know that scaling up is expensive and presents a unique set of challenges around performance and budget. Scaling out presents a different set of problems. The ability to spin up hundreds of AWS instances in a matter of minutes means that we all have access to the type of scale out capabilities that were previously reserved for people with a lot of rack space.

RICON promises to bring together people who are building distributed systems. I know a few of the speakers and I’ve seen a few more of them present at different venues. These are the people who are building distributed systems in response to concrete needs. It’s not like these are developers faced with products that might go viral; these are software engineers solving problems that require large scale distributed systems.

The best part about going to RICON (any conference, really) is chatting with attendees and speakers. I’m looking forward to having interesting conversations around building distributed systems.

P.S. If you’re interested in see what all the fuss is about, the entire event is being streamed live.

Columbus Code Camp

Before moving out to scenic Portland, OR, I lived in or around Columbus, OH for 14 years. I have a lot of friends back in Columbus and, thanks to some sponsorship from Red Gate I’ll be heading back to speak at the Columbus Code Camp. A few years ago, I spoke at the inaugural Columbus Code Camp and I’m honored to be making it back this year.

While I’m in town, I’ll be giving my presentation “Failure to Launch: Code, Upload, and Explode.” This talk focuses on the importance of code performance in a world where we can attach a dollar value to every wasted CPU cycle. It’s not flattering to show off your terrible software development skills, but I’ve really pulled out all of the stops with this sample code to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes that I have – we’ll be learning from various failures in my past.

I’m excited to share my terrible code with the world, but I’m even more excited to see some of the other talks and meet up with various folks I know from the Columbus technology world. Code camps and other local events are a great way to get introduced to new ideas that you may not find at a more specialized conference.

The Theme

I’m not just excited about crazy distributed systems or hearing myself talk. I’m excited about hanging out with practitioners: the people who are putting their hands on code and solving difficult problems every day. Getting a chance to chat with attendees and presenters makes attending strange and interesting conferences worth the price of admission. Sometimes I even skip sessions just so I can chat with smart folks in the hallways.

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