Wednesday Oct 10, 2007

Tuesday at CEC

I had planned for a 5:30am start to get some online stuff out of the way before breakfast. My alarm had other ideas, not waking me up until 6:30am. I lay in bed for a bit thinking my room mate was showering etc, only realizing about 20 minutes later that it wasn't him and he had wandered off somewhere. Got down to breakfast about 7:15 and came across someone else I'd hoped to meet in Martin Canoy (who helps manage the Performance V-Team). Interesting eating breakfast in a room that had a semi-trailer parked up the front with a black-box on it.

The general session started at 8am with Introductions by Dan Berg and the a talk from our VP for Eco Responsibility David Douglas. One of the standouts in this for me was the work done on the Santa-Clara Data-Center. This site is now a showcase for a green data-centre and tours are conducted through it for companies interested in just what we did. We were encouraged to get customers to tour it, but I would love to see a few you-tube clips put up about it it and perhaps a 30 minute documentary that we could give out on a DVD (are you listening guys), as the world is a lot bigger than the Bay area.

Next up we again we had Jonathan spend some time talking to us and answering some surprisingly targeted questions, all handled very well.

After a short coffee break, we came back for the release of the new T2 boxes. I have to say that these boxes look awesome and are going to kick some major ass in the marketplace. Given the launch was done in front of 3500-4000 technical people, it was observed during the question tat te type of questions that the panel were receiving were a lot more technical than they would normally get during a product launch. Many of the questions focused on the desire for a T2 based laptop or workstation, to whic Andy joking replied along the lines of "I can't comment on future products". When the workstation question came up he pointed back to "i thought we were looking at a laptop" or something like that :) One of the questions asked about a dual socket T2 based machine, and it was confirmed that this is currently being worked on. Now that will be a box to contend with!

During the break between 11 & 12, I spent some time at the Second Life booth in the pavilion, giving a second avatar in the same general area as the one they were using to show things off.

I had a whole lot of breakouts I wanted to go to today, but I also wanted to get some Solaris Certifications done. Unfortunately, the room only seated 30 people and when it opened at 12:15pm, the queue already had 45 in it. The took the sensible move of taking folks names and giving them a rough estimate of when they should come back. After getting my name on the list I wandered over to the installfest and started a live-upgrade of this notebook to nevada build 74 (as I was having some punchin problems with build 73). After I got the initial copy done and the upgrade kicked off, I went back to the certifications to find that there were only about half a dozen people in front of me on the list. I only had to wait 5-10 minutes to get in.

I was a little concerned that as I was doing these examinations cold, that I might not get through. I should not have worried. My 16 years of SA, as well as maintaining my own machines while at Sun, and doing kernel work and Open Solaris Advocacy stood me in good stead.

The Solaris 10 Admin (part one) allowed 90 minutes to complete it and had a 61% pass mark. I finished it in 30 minutes and scored 71.2%. Woo hoo. Heartened by this I spoke to a proctor and asked if I could do part 2 as I'd only used 30 minutes of the potential 90. He agreed and I started part 2. This was a little harder, but I knocked it over in 45 minutes and scored 70.5. So now I'm certified (well you knew I was certifiable, but that's another story).

Wandered back to the installfest to pick up my notebook. Ran up the new build and was pleasantly surprised to see punchin working correctly.

By the time all this had finished, the final breakout session was about to start, but there really wasn't anything I wanted to see in there. As it was now 6pm, headed back to my room to get change for the party at the Palms, as the buses were leaving at 7pm. I'm glad I did, as when I got back down to the lobby at about 6:40, there was already a very long line for the buses.

The party was a blast. The live band was awesome. There was also a number of games put on for us, like air hockey, video mountain biking, surfing, gun fighting, etc. The mountain biking game was murderous and really wore you out in a hurry, of course not being able to adjust the seat to a proper height made pedaling difficult. The game I fell in love with, though, was a water skiing one. Anyone who played it understood just why you would get to the whooping and hollering while you were doing it. It was incredible fun I lost count of the number of times I rode it!

I spent a lot of tonight looking for a couple of friends from the US that I wanted to spend some time with, but didn't manage to find them. Maybe they didn't go, maybe there was just too many people (note to self, get phone numbers next time). I did find a few Australian colleagues whom I spent time with, and Bob Sneed introduced me to some really nice friends of his whom I also spent some quality time with. Oh I also met Bela Amade from the EMEA cluster group who I have also done a lot of work with, as well as a number of other folks that I had backlined escalations with, whose names are too many to recall this late at night (sorry folks, I did enjoy meeting you, it's always good to put a face to a name).

About 10:45, they started herding us to the buses (as the last bus back would be at 11). I continues chatting with one of the folks Bob introduced me too while traveling back on the bus.

All in all a wonderful day. We've got the group specific meetings tomorrow and after that I am doing a podcast with Don Grantham, which should be fun.

I forgot to mention that on Monday at lunch I also met someone else I had ben hoping to meet. Dimitri DeWild. Dimitri works in a similar group to me in EMEA, and we have long communicated with each other over email and IM.

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Catching up - Monday at CEC

I'm more behind than I wanted to be blogging my time here.

I started Monday nice and early with a Breakfast with Ian White. A lovely breakfast, I shared a table with Ian, Linda Park (VP for Services in APAC), Chris Gerhard, Cive King, and some others whose names escape me at this time of night the following day (sorry folks).

We then had a marathon general session which probably could have used a break as about I can recall about it was listening to Andy Bechtolsheim.

Lunch (boxed roll and some other bits and pieces), then breakout sessions for the afternoon.

The standout sessions for me were the Performance ones presented by my mate Bob Sneed and another by Jim Mauro. There was also an interesting session on how support services might use Second Life to do some delivery.

For a while it appeared that dinner on Monday night was going to be fend for yourself, but instead I went up to the unconference. There were probably only about 40-50 people attended this and I find that a shame as it was a damned good session, and they fed us hot dogs and beer.

The unconference consisted of two parts.

  • Ten selected to take folks of to various rooms to give a presentation, and
  • the remainder and any other volunteers to participate in speed-geeking

We had thirteen folks want to present in a room so a vote was held to determine who got rooms.

Speek Geeking is interesting.

The idea is that you get 10 people in front of aboard with butchers paper, and they get five minutes to give a presentation to the folks at the table in front of them. At the end of the five minutes the listeners move to the next table. Every listener is given a poker chip and at the end they give the chip to the speaker they enjoyed the most, and that speaker gets a prize.

Hal Stern spoke on "DRM is for morons", Bob Sneed did five minutes on capacity planning, Clive King did some basic SGRT, and I gave an impromptu five minutes on the development of a DTrace bourne shell provider. There were more speakers, but as I was a speaker I didn't get to hear these and the listed ones are the ones I can recall. I got a grand total of four chips, so wasn't even in the running. I think the winner got 27. As I said earlier this session was a lot of fun and it would ave been nice if it had been better attended.

A few of us including Bob Sneed, Rodney Lindner and myself hung around socializing for quite some time after the session finished, and I didn't get to bed until about 1am. I really can't remember what I did after we broke up and before I went to bed, maybe it will come back to me :)

More on Tuesday soon.

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Tuesday Oct 09, 2007

a first at CEC (for me anyway)

About three hours before I laft last Saturday, I got a gate open email for a bugfix that I was putting back into on10-patch (the Solaris 10 Patch gate). I decided that generally the gatekeepers want you available for a bit after it. As I was flying that day, it probably was not a good idea to do it then.

So, before the Speed Geeking at the unconference (more on that later), I wandered down to the Sun Pavilion, got myself punched in and did the putback while sat on the floor conected through wireless.

When I mentioned tis two Hal Stern he made the point that I had to blog thos. So, here you go Hal!

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Monday Oct 08, 2007

First day at CEC

OK, I'm currently sitting in the hallway outside the ballroom where the general sessions will be held in the morning and it's after midnight.

I've only just managed to get connectivity in the last six hours as the wireless access points have been turned on. My phone only just started working today to, although I've been here 24 hours.

Enough moaning :)

I managed 14 hours sleep last night so I think I'm over the jet lag from te flight between Sydney and Las Vegas.

Went along to the APAC Technical council meeting earlier today to hear John Greaves talk about the Principal Engineer programme (or whatever it is going to be renamed after today) and it seems pretty much the track that I'm interested in following.

Caught up with a few folks that I intended to today including Sara Turner and Leon Nicodemus (I hope I spelled that correctly) at the reception drinks.

Afterwards, I adjourned to another bar in the Paris Casino with Clive King, Chris Gerard and a few others for some cleansing Ales. While on this subject, I have to say that what they have done with the Paris Casino is amazing. With the work done on the ceiling you have the impression that you are outside on a Parisian twilight early evening, constantly. While I can see the advantage to casino of having you lose track of the time and the like, it was still a very pleasant way to spend an hour or so wit colleagues.

I'm also having a play around wit CEC 2007, and these folks have done a marvelous job in te setup to provide access to the sessions and breakouts to those unable to attend in person.

More tomorrow!

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* - Solaris and Network Domain, Technical Support Centre


Alan is a kernel and performance engineer based in Australia who tends to have the nasty calls gravitate towards him

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