All That Tech… SITREP: Elastic Meetup & Quote Center Updates

QC_377x285I started working with the Quote Center (QC) back in November, and wrote about it in “After 816 Days I’m Taking a Job!” Now that I’m a few months into the effort, it’s sitrep time. Sitrep, btw is military speak for Situational Report.

The three core priorities I have at Quote Center in my role are: Community Contributions, Site Reliability, and Talent Recon.

Community Contributions (& Organizing)

Some of the progress I’ve made, is direct and immediate involvement with some really interesting groups here in Portland. The first seemed a prime option, and that’s the Elastic User Group.

Myself and some of the QC Team traveled late last year to check out the Elasticon Tour stop in Seattle. It was an educational experience where I got some of my first introductions to Elasticsearch and also a new product Elastic had just released recently called Beats. I was fairly impressed by what I saw and several other things aligned perfectly for follow up community involvement after that.

I’ve since kept in touch with the Elastic Team and started coordinating the Elastic User Group in Portland (Join the group on Meetup for future meetings & content). In March the group will be hosting a great meetup from Ward & Jason…

Kafka, Java, Ruby, React, and Elasticsearch w/ Ward Cunningham and Jason Clark

Monday, Mar 28, 2016, 6:30 PM

Lucky Lab
915 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Portland, OR

13 Elastic Portlandians Attending

New Relic receives tons of metrics. Large customers can report thousands of uniquely named metrics per minute, but they want to search and chart them in nearly realtime.We’ve turned to Elasticsearch on this problem, tuning it for this write-heavy workload. With small, frequently duplicated documents, it’s been an interesting challenge to optimize …

Check out this Meetup →

So be sure to RSVP for that meetup as it’s looking to be a really interesting presentation.

The second group I’ve stepped up to help out with is the Docker Meetup here in Portland. The first meetup we have planned at this time is from Casey West.

How Platforms Work

Wednesday, Mar 16, 2016, 6:30 PM

New Relic
111 Southwest 5th Avenue #2800 Portland, OR

48 Dockers Attending

Platforms: either you have one or you’re building one. Over the years I’ve observed six high-level characteristics common to production environments which are operationally mature. This talk will explain in detail the six capabilities in an operationally mature production environment. I will also demo these capabilities live.Working in Internet i…

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Site Reliability

One of the other priorities I’ve been focusing on is standard site reliability. Everything from automation to continuous integration and deployment. I’ve been making progress, albeit at this stage going from zero to something, in the space of a site reliability practice takes time. I’ve achieved a few good milestones however, which will help build upon the next steps of the progress.

We’ve started to slowly streamline and change our practice around Rackspace and AWS Usage. This is a very good thing as we move toward a faster paced continuous integration process around our various projects. At this time it’s a wide mixture of .NET Solutions that we’re moving toward .NET Core. At the same time there are some Node.js and other project stacks that we’re adding to our build server process.

Team City

Our build server at this time is shaping up to be Team City. We have some build processes that are running in Jenkins, but those are being moved off and onto a TeamCity Server for a number of reasons. I’m going to outline these reasons and I’m happy to hear any reasons there may be other better options. So feel free to throw a tweet at me or leave a comment or three.

  1. Jetbrains has a pretty solid and reliable product in Team City. It tends to be cohesive in building the core types of applications that we would prospectively have: Java, .NET, Node.js, C/C++ and a few others. That makes it easy to get all projects onto one build server type.
  2. TeamCity has intelligence about what is and isn’t available for Java & .NET, enabling various package management and other capabilities without extensive scripting or extra coding needed. There are numerous plugins to help with these capabilities also.
  3. TeamCity has fairly solid, quick, and informative support.

Those are my top reasons at this point. Another reason, which isn’t really something I felt should be enumerated, because it’s a feeling versus something I’ve confirmed. That is, the Jenkins Community honestly feels a bit haphazard and disconnected. Maybe I’m just not asking or haven’t seen the right forums to read or something, but I’ve found it a frustrating experience to deal with the Jenkins Server and find information and help regarding getting a disparate and wide ranging set of tech stacks building on it. TeamCity has always just been easy, and getting some continuous integration going the easiest way possible is very appealing.

Monitoring

We use a number of resources for monitoring of our systems. New Relic is one of them, and they’re great, however it’s a bit tough when things are locked down inside of a closed (physically closed) network. How does one monitor those systems and the respective network? Well, you get Nagios or something of the sort installed and running.

I installed it, but Nagios left me with another one of those dirty feelings like I just spilled a bunch of sour milk everywhere. I went about cleaning up the Nagios mess I’d made and, upon attending the aforementioned Elasticon Tour Stop in Seattle, decided to give Beats a try. After a solid couple weeks of testing and confirming the various things work well and would work well for our specific needs, I went about deploying Beats among our systems.

So far, albeit only being a few weeks into using Beats (and still learning how to actually make reports in Kibana) Beats appears to have been a good decision. Dramatically more cohesive and not spastically splintered all over the place like Nagios. I’m already looking into adding additional Beats beyond the known three; Topbeats, Packetbeats, and Filebeats. There are a number of other beats that we could add specific to our needs, that would be good open source projects. Stay tuned for those, I’ll talk about them in this space and get a release out to all as soon as we lay a single line of code for those.

Talent Recon

Currently, nothing to report, but more to come in the space of talent recon.

Aside

Elastic Search, Beats, & Learning in Portland

Recently I attended the Elasticon Tour Stop in Seattle with @thebigscaryguy & the Elastic Team we have at the Home Depot Quote Center. I have always dug Elastic Search a bit and after the tour stop & some research I was very interested in Beats too. After that we decided we’d help to kick start the Portland Elastic Meetup again. So I reached out, as usual, via twitter first for a pulse on interest.

I got some immediate interest in a few tweets from @WardCunningham @tweetcaco and others that made me think, “yup, definitely something worth pursuing!

Next Steps…

Next I’m aiming to get a few speakers lined up. This is where I’d love your help. What would you like to hear about? What would you like to learn? Want to learn more about Elastic, Beats, or some other Lucene related, distributed style system, or something inside or even outside of Elastic’s product offerings? Let me know about what you’d like to hear about and the team will make it happen one way or another!

 

 

RSVP for the Geek Train to .NET Fringe

Cascadian Flag

Cascadian Flag

The .NET Fringe Conference guests coming from northern Cascadia (north of Portland) will have the excellent benefit of taking the Geek Train to the conference. It’s also only $10 friggin’ bucks!

RSVP link here | RSVP link here | RSVP link here | RSVP link here | RSVP link here

Departure

We’ll depart Saturday, April 11th at 2pm, with an ETA into Portland at 5:50pm.

Itinerary

  • 1:40pm Arrive at train station in Seattle to join group for boarding. **
  • 2:00pm Departing Seattle King Street Station (i.e. you better be on the train)
  • 2:10pm We’ll be seated and get setup for…
  • 2:15pm We’ll break into teams of ~4 or so people (or however many of us there are we’ll break out to a reasonable size groups).
  • 2:17pm I’ll announce hacking goals and ideas for the teams and we’ll launch into coding. More information will be announced soon, but suffice it to say we’ll be planning a hack around geo and logistics based solutions! The solutions hacking begins!
  • – – – much hacking and enjoying of the trip occurs here! :) – – –
  • 5:00pm We announce who’s completed what and we’ll demo and discuss the app awesomeness of what we’ve managed to come up with.
  • 5:50pm or before we arrive in Portland and the fringe fun shall begin.

I’ll have more information posted here along with some other ideas about what the hackfest will include, so stay tuned and also be sure to follow @dotnetfringe, and check out all the speakers to start figuring out your plans!

Geek Train from Seattle to Portland

April 12th-14th is the epic .NET Fringe Conference. For those coming from Seattle for the conference, there’s going to be a geek train, there however one major decision that needs to be made. What departure should we board to get to Portland. This is where I’ll need your help to decide. There will be a mini-hack, wifi, food, and likely we’ll actually get the entire car to ourselves with enough of a crew. So sign up, vote, vote often and frequently for your preferred departure time! I’ll see you on the train!

Along with the departure, the trip, events for the trip and more information will be posted on the .NET Fringe site soon, along with additional ideas here.

Portland-Startup-Week

Update 3 – Portland Startup Week – Docker, Fig, Women in Tech, Wearables & A Hackfest

Here’s some great events coming up the first week of February for Portland Startup Week! Are you planning on attending any of these or others during the week? Let me know of other good events related to Portland Startup Week and I’ll get those posted too.

Sailing Away From Dependency Hell with Docker & Fig
Tuesday Feb 3: 12-1 PST

Deconstructing Women in Technology: What’s the Data Really Telling Us
Tuesday Feb 3: 5-6 PST

Portland Startup Week Where are your Wearables Hackfest with Quick Left & Name.com
Wednesday Feb 4: Hackfest: 6:00-10

I’ll be attending the hackfest and hope to team up with anyone that has been hacking IoT or other hardware and wearables to try to put together something new – or even to discuss what we might build in the future. Either way, it should be a great time and I look forward to teaming up with people to build some awesome.

Cheers!

I’ve Officially Sent This Email Over 100 Times to Recruiters Looking for .NET Developers

Job Description

Here’s the letter, it’s kind of LOLz! I know it’s tough to find .NET Developers (or replace .NET with Java Developers or X Enterprise Language), so CIOs, CTOs and others take note. Here’s what I experience and what I see all the time, embodied in a letter. I will put effort into hooking people up with good jobs, that fit the person, and persons that fit the job, but lately I’ve seen companies that do .NET work in the Portland, Seattle and especially San Francisco areas become exceedingly desperate for .NET Developers. This is what my general response looks like.

“Hello Recruiter Looking for .NET Developer(s), thanks for reaching out to me, however I regret to inform you that I don’t know a single .NET Developer in Portland Oregon looking for work. It seems all the .NET Developers have either A: gone to work for Microsoft on Node.js Technologies, B: switched from being a .NET Developer to a Software Developer or otherwise C: left the field and don’t want to see any software ever again (which always makes me sad when people burn out, but alas, hopefully they find something they love). It’s a funny world we live in.

Even though I’m fairly well connected in Portland, Seattle, Vancouver (BC) and even San Francisco it is rare for me to meet someone who wants to do pure .NET Development. If there is I’ll connect them with you. However if you know a company that is porting away from .NET, building greenfield applications in Node.js, Ruby on Rails or other open source stacks I have a few software developers that might be interested.

Cheers”

Even though this letter is geared toward recruiters looking for coders, there is another letter that I’d like to write to a lot of other companies, that goes something like this,

“Dear Sir or Madam At X Corp Enterprise,

Please realize that lumping a person into the position you’re requesting (.NET Developer) is a career limiting maneuver for many in the occupation of software developers. We software developers are people who solve problems, it happens that we do this with code written on computers. The computers execute that code for us thus resolving the problems that you face. This helps X Corp Enterprise do business better! It’s a great relationship in many ways, but please don’t limit our future careers by mislabeling us.

Also, we’re not resources. That’s just a scummy thing for a human to call another human. Thanks for reading this letter, have a great day at X Corp Enterprise!”

I’d be happy to refer .NETters (or Javaers or COBOLers or RPGers or whatever), but seriously, it seems to be a lost cause out there, even more so for mid-level or beginning developers. Barely a soul is looking for a job as a .NET Developer, but I know a few that look for jobs as software developers every couple of weeks.

Speaking of which, if you are looking for work and you want a filtered list of the cool companies and related information of who to work for in Seattle, Portland or elsewhere in Cascadia reach out to me and let me know who you are. I’m more than happy to help you filter through the mine field of companies and job listings. Cheers!

Addendum:

Docker Portland, Docker Hack Day & Portland Docker Logo -> Represent!

I threw together a Portland Docker logo user group banner today.

Why did I create a Portland docker logo? Because tomorrow is the Portland docker user group meet up. RSVP the group and check it out. I won’t be able to make this meet up but I will be attending and participating regularly. It’s at New Relic, so easy to find, great views and epic tech to discuss. Let me know how it goes.

On December 3rd, which I hope to be able to attend, it’s Docker Global Hack Day! Check out more by following the @dockerhackday and log into IRC and join #docker. Happy hacking, cheers!