17 Days to the UC: From Detroit to the Hoosier State
By Duleepa Wijayawardhana on Apr 02, 2009
So it's been a bit more difficult updating the blog with my travels. If it weren't for Twitter and Facebook I suspect some people would have thought I had disappeared off the face of the planet, perhaps even swallowed up by America's midwest, maybe even never have left Detroit... but truth to tell, all has been going fine so far. I've travelled Greyhound and Amtrak, dodged cars with my backpack and had deep philosophical conversations with taxi drivers. So 17 days to go, 9 more campuses and 1800 miles to go before I reach the 2009 MySQL Users Conference!
In Detroit, I met the Wayne State University Sun Campus Ambassador, Mumtaz Dawoodi, and WSU Linux Users Group President, Jason Rogers. They had organized a talk at WSU for about 25 people or so with huge amounts of Pizza courtesy of Sun. I gave my, now standard, What the MySQL is this presentation and went on to a light session of question and answers on MySQL.
Jason and Mumtaz then gave me a nice tour of Detroit's urban decay for me to photograph.
Next day, I was on my way via Greyhound to South Bend, Indiana. Contrary to what people had told me, Detroit Greyhound station was fine. I was not mugged, stabbed, or otherwise want to flee for my life.
At South Bend I met up with Notre Dame senior, Charles Lamanna who toured me through Notre Dame's beautiful campus and then presented to about 25 or 30 folks. This was a much broader group and I even had to explain "Relational Databases". Overall good questions and special gift cards for being able to say my name correctly (Charles' Idea ;).
From there a rather frantic day of Greyhound to Chicago to give a talk to Illinois Institute of Technology. This was set up by Tristan Sloughter and professor Wai Gen Yee during his Advanced DB slot. I bored them all with a talk on horizontal scaling with MySQL, but a pleasant change from explaining what MySQL was.
Some of what I am learning about universities I could have guessed. Databases come very late in the learning life cycle. Open source databases may be used by the students (sometimes) but generally proprietary databases like DB2 (in Canada) and Oracle (in the US) seem to be what are used for teaching. There is great misunderstanding about MySQL and it's use of Storage Engines, as in many don't realize that there are different storage engines and that they do different things.
Certainly practical studies on MySQL or databases seem to be fairly lacking in general terms.
Thanks again to all that have helped so far. Today it is Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana... 6-8 pm Lawson Computer Science Building.
Here are some pictures provided by the Campus Ambassadors for Wayne State and McMaster.
The audience at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
Yours truly saying something about Gopher and Archie.
Jason Rogers addresses the Wayne State group behind a a mountain of pizza.
The audience at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.