The Bad, The Ugly and The Good Bits :: Sexism, VMworld 2012 & Smart Cool People

The Divide in Technologists…

Sexism & Those That are Building Tech

There seems to be a pretty distinctive divide in the technology industry today. There are the young, open minded, devop oriented, free-thinking individuals and then there are the old guard of IT. This later group still brings the “booth babes” and finds an incessant need to assume all women aren’t technologists (which I might add is utter bullshit). This is when I’m going to rant for a minute.

[rant=on]

Ok guys, pull your heads out of your collective asses. I’ve spoke to 11 ladies that are hard core technologists, that would take your old guard IT and replace your sorry ass with a shell script plus some cloud computing and leave you to the dogs. They’re programmers, devops pros, hackers and entrepreneurs  Simply, they kick as much ass as anybody, so shove off.

This however brings up the question, “Why the hell does the conference still perpetuate this bullshit with booth babes and mindless dribble?”  Seriously, can we focus on the technology, the reason we’re here? To learn, to build, to maintain, create and extend our services and capabilities that we work with? Can we not have a mass of “talent” come and stand around just so aging IT guys can ogle their breasts with roaming eyeballs?

Don’t get me wrong, beautiful people are great, and when done tastefully things can be fun. One of the ladies I work with mentioned it’d be great if Thor showed up and hung out at the conference (cuz ya see, we have a product called Thor, and this data company had Data attend. (Brent Spiner)).

I could go on. Simply put, companies and conference organizers need to own up and get with the times. For those of us that are a little evolved past nuckle dragging we should stand up to this time of nonsense. There’s a reason we’re at a conference and it damn well shouldn’t be to devalue people as objects and ogle various body parts.

[rant=off]

Ok, back on track with the successful bits. There were, after all a lot of successful bits and the sexism is a small, yet very sad and noticeable part of the event. The other good news is the amount of women’s groups that are getting together these days to code  (and I also find it unfortunate that to create a positive environment, women usually have to entirely disengage with men, and it is generally men’s fault)  Yup I said code. Rails Girls, Code n’ Splode and many others. So if you’re reading this and are female, check these groups out and get hacking & devoping.

The Big Move, PaaS is Starting to Rock!

VMware made serveral announcements around Cloud Foundry, which is pretty huge. The momentum is still growing, the community is still growing, and the energy is contagious. There’s been some egregious accusations and suggestions that the Cloud Foundry ecosystem is going to collapse. This is, however one of the more absurd notions I’ve heard in months. This definitely falls into the category of FUD flinging with no concrete notion. Lucas (@cardmagic) from AppFog lays out a bit of reality though, and the 20k people at VMworld and the thousands using and hundreds coding to Cloud Foundry give a resounding shout of,

“HELL NO”

Cloud Foundry is not collapsing, VMware is not taking an unfair advantage, and they’re in a position to win along with all the rest of the advocates of PaaS and open source. The thing is, things can indeed be win-win. They don’t have to be win-lose and the later thinking is negative to the industry and counter to the reality of open source.

Either way, toss any ideas this is going away out of your minds. I know most of you already have.

Smart People, Networking and a Few Rounds

The greatest thing about these conferences is the ability to network and meet face to face with hundreds of people that I do business with everyday. These range from people I hack code with, to people I help implement Cloud Foundry or people that simply are involved in the community too. To me, the most valuable ROI is the networking at a conference. Just to throw a few out there, I got to catch up with…

  • Dave McCrory @mccrory – This guy is awesome, if you get to work with him you’re a lucky soul. He’s heading up WMG as SVP of Platform Engineering now to get some cool things built and build out a solid team, which I look forward to hearing about!
  • Andy Piper @andypiper – Andy is VMware’s Cloud Foundry Dev Advocate of Great Britain. I got to meet Andy a while back and got to team up with him and many others to catch up on Cloud Foundry, see were things are heading, talk through some ideas and generally cause mischief around San Francisco.
  • James Watters @wattersjames – I always love running into this guy. Top notch smart, snarky and always ready to go through who’s who and who’s doing what in cloud technology. He’s the VMware Director of Ecosystem for Cloud Foundry and they’re damn lucky to have this guy!
  • Brian McClain @brianmmcclain – When I was originally writing Brian’s name out, I mispelled it “brain” and almost just left it this way. Brian is all over the Cloud Foundry realm working with BOSH, pushing forward with Cloud Foundry in an enterprise environment, and generally always ready to dive into the tech heavy deep end. Always great chatting with Brian about the details and whatever random code adventures come up!

…and there were dozens of others I got to catch up with. Mark Kropf, Ken Robertson, Daine Mueller, Jeremy Voorhis and almost got to catch up with Derek Collison too. Well, there’s always the next trip to San Francisco! If you’re into the Cloud Foundry space, into PaaS technologies, or just interested definitely reach out, follow these guys on twitter, and make an effort to meet them.

VMware’s VMworld Summary

VMworld was good times, for sure. There were the hiccups as I pointed out, but overall a great experience, the organizers did a solid job (still would help if they could crack down on the companies that perpetuate sexism and BS over content on the booth/show floor, but otherwise, kudos on a job well done). It was great catching up with the brain power in the industry and finally meeting many people I’d been wanting to. I even wrote more than a few lines of code and tested out a few deployment ideas based on the conversations. This, in the end, is exactly what the conference is truly about.  Cheers!

The Adron Code Tour, Let’s Hack, Bike and Talk Hard Core Technology

I’m aiming to do over the first couple of months of 2013, to come to various towns throughout the United States and prospectively parts of Europe & England to code, bike, code some more, bike and generally hang out with the coders that are making waves and getting work done in the particular cities that I’m visiting. That’s where my question comes into play.

What towns should I visit, and who’s interested in hacking some code, talking shop, biking around town, showing me the places to be and generally hanging out? A few of the cities that are on my list of places to visit already include the following.

United States Stops

  • Spokane, Washington
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Portland, Oregon (this doesn’t really count, since I live here)
  • Oakland, California
  • San Francisco, California
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Orange County, California
  • San Diego, California
  • Austin, Texas
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • New York, New York
  • Boca Raton, Florida
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • New Orleans, Louisiana,
  • Charlotte, North Carolina

England & Europe Stops

  • London, England
  • Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Copenhagen, Denmark

So that’s the list so far. I’ve got a lot of logistics to figure out. But it still leaves the question, who else is up for a visit? Is there a user group in your town that I should stop at? Anything related to PaaS, Cloud Computing, or Coding & Software Craftsmanship you’d like me to come speak about?

The things I’ll be aiming to hack on and blog, code, discuss and find out what each local community is focusing on and trying to make progress on includes these things:

Key Discussion Topics : I’d love to talk with as many people as possible about these.

  • PaaS – Platform as a Service Technologies. What are you using? AppHarbor, AppFog, Tier 3, AWS, Azure or something else?
  • Cloud Computing – What do you see as the greatest benefits, but more importantly what are the greatest issues to resolve and make progress around in your country, community and in your day to day job?
  • What’s the stack, framework and languages that you deal with on a daily basis? What’s your polyglot soup and what trends are you seeing?

Polyglot Soup : Are you hitting the Node.js, .NET, Java, Ruby on Rails, Sinatra or is the focus elsewhere?

  • What’s the feel for Ruby on Rails, Sinatra and the ruby community in general in your area?
  • How’s the Java vs. .NET peacetime activities (cuz ya know the war is over). How are each holding up under Oracle and Microsoft respectively? Are you still using them anywhere?
  • What’s the Node.js community like in your area? Are you doing full JavaScript stack development yet?
  • Hitting any of the outlier languages that have big impacts like; Go, Scala, F#, Erlang or any of the others? Powerful languages with an extremely small development community. I’m always curious about the activities here.

Feel free to send me an e-mail, call me, txt me, message me, skype me, or please comment below! I’m open to all ideas and thoughts. If you have a couch I can crash on, have a suggestion about a cool hotel, an awesome place to visit in one of these cities, please let me know. Over the next few months I’ll be trying to figure out this tour of mine and will be finalizing the locations soon, which I’ll announce and blog heavily on what we’ll hack, etc. I’ll also alude to the biking adventures I’ll partake upon.

Biking wild and coding crazy, cheers!

A Tour of My Workspace & Dev Tools – Virtual & Physical

First off, here’s a tour of my physical space where I do the bulk of my coding when I’m not travelling.

Right Side Monitors (and iPad3)

Right Side Monitors (and iPad3) Click for full size image

The second bit, a good many months ago I published my developer tools list, which is still available in my blog entry “My Current Windows Developer Machine“. That entry however is very outdated. I’ve since dropped the Windows OS as my primary developer platform operating system for a deluge of reasons. In it’s place is OS-X, Ubuntu, and VMs for Windows and other operating systems. Even though I’ve changed my OS of choice, and boy has life been much simpler ever since, I still do a ton of .NET & C# Development. My toolset however has been minimized for Windows. It now includes the following.

Music Generation

Music Generation (Click for full size image)

Virtualized Windows Development Machine

  • Windows 7
  • Visual Studio 2010 w/ SP1 + other downloads available at http://www.asp.net
  • ReSharper ( I keep this updated, even if I buy it out of pocket because it saves THAT much time w/ .NET Dev )

Yup, my Windows machine is now THAT simplified. Dev on it is just as easy or easier before. With an SSD drive in my MacBook Air and the iMac I have w/ 16GB of RAM, it’s easy to have the VM perform BETTER than a natively installed version of Windows 7. I know it is hard to believe, but it is true. But I digress, I won’t try to sell you on that. Give it a try, research it, you’ll need to know for sure yourself to make that leap.

My main development OS these days however is OS-X, and here’s my stack of tools for it.

  • Ruby on Rails (It comes w/ the default install, but in case hit the site to check out the latest bits)
  • Gems so I can get any of those shiny bits I need.
  • Node.js w/ Express.js generally.
  • WebStorm for PHP/JavaScript/Ndoe.js hacking w/ an IDE => Check out JetBrains
  • IntelliJ for Java Dev => Check out JetBrains
  • Objective-C with XCode (easy, just grab it via the app store)
  • TextMate
  • Sublime 2

For office things, I sometimes use Microsoft Office, but generally Google Docs works just fine.

For video editing and creation, such as the video above I use ScreenFlow. Again, something you can easily get via the App Store.

I use MOU for editing README.md files on github, cuz it makes life simpler.  :)

…and that about wraps it up. Enjoy. If you have any suggestions, thoughts, or rants, please let me know in the comments!  Cheers!

Day #1 => Cloud Expo & Cloud Bootcamp

Thanks to Larry Carvalho and Krishnan Subramanian for lining me up to speak at the kick off bootcamp keynote and for a PaaS Session at the Cloud Expo Boot Camp. I had a great time and was able to cover some great material with the audience. It was great to hear a number of companies and people diving into PaaS Technology and learning about what this technology can do.

The audience, above all was very open to the idea of openness with technologies that are open. See the theme there? ;) There were a few resounding themes to things people would like to see added to the Open Source PaaS Solutions such as Cloud Foundry, Iron Foundry and Open Shift. Here are a couple of these;

  • People want to have continuous deployment or continuous integration features added to the PaaS Capabilities so that the PaaS doesn’t just deploy code blindly. The two companies that came up that have some capabilities around continuous deployment and integration are AppHarbor and CloudBees. But the stronger ask from the audience was for there to be some type of integration with one of the open offerings like Cloud Foundry or Open Shift. Some discussion also followed around these capabilities being a default “service” within a PaaS or even IaaS offering.
  • The other thing that brought up a lot of questions was the architecture behind the various PaaS Solutions. I walked the audience through a description based on what I wrote up in “Cloud Foundry Architecture – Removing the Operating System Barriers with PaaS Part 4“. It generally tends to fit similar architectures in the PaaS realm and most of the audience liked the idea of how PaaS operations are working.
If you attended either of my talks and want to check out the PaaS Providers that came up during questions and discussions, here’s the one’s I can remember:
  • Tier 3 – Enterprise grade IaaS and PaaS w/ the Web Fabric Product. This company I currently work for, they’re doing a rock solid job with the offering.
  • AppFog – Very application focused and IaaS autonomous, i.e. you can pick AWS, HP Cloud, or Azure with more options to come in the future. I’ve worked with these guys also and they too kick ass!
  • AppHarbor – .NET focused PaaS running atop AWS, provides a free tier and continuous integration and rollback features. I haven’t worked for these guys, but I’ve met everyone on the team and they’re all top notch. Props guys! :)
  • CloudBees – Java focused PaaS with Enterprise focused CI/CD capabilities with Jenkins.
  • Heroku – These are the guys who kicked off the whole PaaS thing a few years ago. They started Ruby on Rails focused but also cover Java and Node.js too.
  • EngineYard – A solid PaaS offering running primarily atop AWS with some IaaS style features available too.
  • Windows Azure – Microsoft’s cloud offering, with a lot of updates around Node.js lately. They’ve traditionally focused on .NET, but lately have put as much or more focus on Node.js. Looks like things are improving in the Azure Camp.

More to come tomorrow with DeployCon at the Cloud Expo.  Until then, cheers.

Coder Society Inaugural Kick Off!

As promised, the Coder Society is kicking off!  There will be more information at the Coder Society Site, but I wanted to get information posted here too. The first meeting for Coder Society in Portland will be this coming April 7th. The Seattle meeting will be on May 5th. Our first meetings will cover the following get things done goals! So bring your skills, your passion to learn, and your desire to do!

To RSVP for the Portland Meeting or RSVP for the Seattle Meeting.

Here’s a review of our goals for the meeting:

Primary Goal: PolyGlot Systems
For this we would do a simple project where we pick technologies using at least two different programming languages and have them perform different roles in an application and share information across something neutral like ZMQ or Redis. Some of the options would be to implement with C# + Node.js/JavaScript + Ruby/Sinatra is a good starting point.

Stories: We’re kicking off the meeting goal with a theme many software developers will be super familiar with. Coffee!

  • A coffee drinker wants to add a rating for the coffee beverage.
  • A coffee drinker wants to list the price of the coffee beverage.
  • A coffee drinker wants to review the Barista.
  • A coffee drinker wants to rate the Barista.
  • A coffee drinker wants to know where the beverage.
  • A coffee drinker wants to know where the Barista was working.
  • A coffee drinker doesn’t want to read huge reviews.
  • A Barista wants to be able to list their coffees they use.
  • A Barista wants to be able to comment on reviews.
  • A Barista wants to be able to list their prices for coffee.
  • A Barista wants to be able to select their specialty.
  • A Barista or coffee drinker wants to be able to add or view outlets, wifi, or other information about the coffee shop.
  • A coffee drinker wants to be able to “follow” their favorite Barista.
  • A Barista wants to be able to send an alert to all of their coffee drinkers.

Arbitrary Limits:

  • Coffee Drinks are limited to: Cappuccinos, Lattes, Mochas, Macchiatos, Espresso.
  • Server Availability: 6x Ubuntu Server 10.04 LTS

Frameworks: After splitting into teams, we’ll iron out which frameworks we want to use and implement using the choice frameworks.

  • Node.js + Express.js / Bricks.js
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Ruby + Sinatra
  • ASP.NET MVC
  • Java w/ Spring
  • Python
  • Django
  • Flask
  • Assembly. Ya know, for the insanely hard core. :)

Database:

  • Mongo DB!

Prerequisites:

  • Bring a Laptop (or computing device you can do development on).
  • Bring some familiarity for setting up and using your development platform. This could be .NET, Ruby on Rails, Sinatra, Node.js, PHP, or whatever.
  • Bring a spirit to learn about new frameworks, get all polyglot, and have fun.

Meeting Workflow:

  1. The meeting will join.
  2. Teams will form.
  3. The kanban board will be explained and setup for use by the teams.
  4. We’ll unpack the user stories, setup workflow, and idea behind the meeting will be reviewed.
  5. Select team technology & domain element (barista or coffee drinker).
  6. Setup tasks within teams.
  7. Pick pairs to work on tasks.
  8. Code… implement…
  9. After implementation, we’ll review everything, and trade war stories.

Coder Society: Vote, Group, Create!

A New Kind of User Group…  Coders Unite Pt 2!

Call it a hackathon, coder session, workshop, or whatever. What it is not, is a presentation. What am I talking about? A user group effort that I’m working, and mentioned recently regarding coders uniting, on with others that will be centered around doing something, a range of things, during a specific time frame, to expand one’s knowledge, skills, or help mentor on the specific thing that is being worked on. Instead of me going on and on with an explanation, I’ll describe a scenario from this new user group.

Vote, Group, Create!

First a conversation kicks off a thread (sign up to kick off a thread yourself). From that thread a topic arrises that people want to work with, work on, learn more about, and try to implement. Recently one of these topics that has come up is Continuous Deployment. The idea has been batted around now for a few weeks and it is ripe for a meet up and for a group to get together and actually implement a solution. This is a perfect example of something that can be implemented in a set time, with a group of people, individuals can then take that knowledge and go forth to make their development shops better.

So join the e-mail list, help us come up with ideas, and we’ll see you at an upcoming meet up and we’ll build something awesome!

Google Groups
Coder Society
Visit this group

AppFog, Fort of Awesome & Node PDX Updated!

Time for the secret to be out of the bag. I’m currently working on contract with the awesome company of AppFog in the Fort of Awesome. Let me tell you, it is indeed awesome too! You might ask why I am working with them? How do I align with them? What is it they do?

Well you’re in luck, I’ll tell you all about it.

A few months ago, I started really digging into PaaS more. Not that I needed a reason, because I’m one of those “PaaS is the future” guys. I see this as a huge shift, kind of like when the developer world moved on from Assembly and punch cards to C & C++. It’s a big deal, and it is shifting the way companies build apps, the way they stay competitive, and stand out and above the herd with better process, better capabilities, and more efficient operations. PaaS, is the path to tomorrow.

What is AppFog building? Currently if you’re fortunate enough to have beta access, you may be able to play with the amazing PaaS offering that they’re putting together, and I’ve stepped forward to help put even more awesome into it with their kick ass team! So what will AppFog be aiming for? Well, it is an impressive list, check it out!

Help us out, take the poll and get your favorite technology added to the list! There’s a whole list of other things that will be coming too, this is just the basic big hitters list.  :)

In other news, Node PDX has just finished the list of speakers, we’re finalizing the rest of the sponsors and related things, and just waiting (ok, we’re really busting our butts over here running around to make sure this is a cool event for all you node coders!)

Some of the cool things you’ll be able to look forward to is…

…and awesome Saturday “open drinks” party w/ New Relic! So be sure to be there for that…

We’ve aimed to get everyone a Node PDX t-shirt…

…and more. So go get RSVPed already, time is running out.