SCaLE 20x – Day 2

I got up fairly early on Saturday and went through my presentation one final time. When working on a new talk there is a point where the feeling I get when thinking about having to present it goes from anxiety to eagerness and that happened this morning, so I felt ready to go.

The conference started off with a keynote by Arun Gupta, who is a VP at Intel focused on open ecosystems.

Arun Gupta Keynote

His talk was about using open source cultural best practices within an organization, and he used specific examples of how that was being done at Intel. It was the first time I had seen the abbreviation “CW*2” which stands for that Zen quote about “Chop wood, carry water“. While that phrase has a lot of different meanings, when applied to open source it references the idea that as a member of an open source community one should not only just focus on the high profile aspects of the project but also the more mundane ones that actually keep the project alive.

After the keynote it was time for my presentation. I was originally scheduled to speak on Sunday morning but due to a conflict I got a spot on Saturday. I was grateful as I like to get my responsibilities out of the way so I can enjoy the rest of the weekend without worrying about them.

Me at the end of my presentation (image yoinked from Zoe Steinkamp’s LinkedIn feed)

I did a talk on open source business models and how things have changed in the past decade or so. My “hook” was to do the presentation in the format of an old school text adventure.

It was fun (and yes, there was a grue reference). It seemed to go over well with the audience and there were a number of great questions afterward.

With that over I decided to walk down the road to grab lunch when I ran into Gareth Greenaway. Gareth was one of the original organizers of SCaLE and it was cool to be able to catch up. He is currently doing some amazing things over at Salt.

SCaLE always has a wonderful hallway track and I also got to see John Willis. I had not seen him in years although we used to cross paths much more frequently and it was nice to be able to catch up. He is a co-author on a new book called “Investments Unlimited” which chronicles the DevOps journey of a financial institution.

I also had some time to wander around the Expo floor. I try to minimize the amount of swag I bring home but I’ve started to collect those little enamel pins that some people give out.

Enamel pins on my backpack

Tha AlmaLinux pin was given to me by the amazing benny Vasquez who was spreading the word about their project which helps fill in the gap left by the CentOS project migrating to CentOS Stream.

Me and benny Vasquez

This year I spent a lot more time in sessions than I normally do as they were just so good. Many times I found myself having to decide between three or more talks that occurred at the same time.

One that I didn’t want to miss was given by Zoe Steinkamp on using InfluxDB to monitor the health of plants.

Zoe Steinkamp

I spent much of my professional career in observability and monitoring so I have a soft spot for unique applications of the technology. Zoe uses sensors to feed information about humidity, sunlight, etc. from her houseplants into InfluxDB so that she can use that information to maintain them in the best of health. My spouse keeps koi and I do something similar to monitor water temperature.

The next presentation I attended was on the Fediverse. Now I have never been much of a social media person, and last year I deleted my Twitter account which left LinkedIn as my only mainstream service. I do have a Mastodon account and with the recent migration of a lot of people to the platform I do find it useful, although I don’t spend nearly as much time on it as I did Twitter. I think it has a lot of potential, however, and what it really needs is that killer app to make it easier to use.

Bob Murphy presents on the Fediverse

Bob Murphy did a great talk on how the Fediverse is not Mastodon, and he introduced me to a number of other services that use ActivityPub, which is the underlying protocol. For example, there are sites that focus on image as well as video sharing, not just microblogging. Speaking of blogging, Automattic (the company behind WordPress) announced that they acquired the makers of an ActivityPub plugin to bring the technology in-house and it seems like they plan to make it a core part of their app.

The final talk I attended was given by Michael Coté. I’ve known Coté for over two decades back when he lived in Texas and it was nice to see him again (he’s living over in Yurrip these days).

Coté on Developer Platforms

As usual, he provided some great insights on what he is calling “platform engineering” (think DevOps mashed up with SRE).

After the talks were over I met up with some friends for dinner. Now I am a fan of the television series The Big Bang Theory. It is set at Caltech which is located in Pasadena, and there is even a street named “The Big Bang Theory Way” (my picture of the street sign didn’t come out, unfortunately). During the weekend I kept hearing people talk about a place called “Lucky Baldwins”. I thought it was a joke since the character of Sheldon in the TV show makes a reference to the place in an episode called “The Irish Pub Formulation” but it turns out it exists.

Lucky Baldwins

We stopped there for a drink and ended up staying for dinner. It was a nice ending to a busy day.