Ever since they started the Velocity Conference in the US I’ve wanted to attend one and this year I finally made it to the Santa Clara Velocity (2013). I was lucky enough to attend a tutorial in each of the four slots: Monitoring and Observability - Theo Schlossnagle Bits on the Wire - Mark Nottingham Using Amazon Web Services for MySQL at Scale - Laine Campbell Managing PostgreSQL with Ansible in EC2 - Jay Edwards I attended Mark and Theos talks based on upon previous experience of them as presenters. Read on →

Well, that’s another FOSDEM over with. In general this year seemed the same as the last couple of years but slightly bigger than usual (although it seems that way every year). The (newish) K building was in full swing with dozens of project stalls and dev rooms. The usual suspects - virtualisation / cloud, configuration management and MySQL rooms had nearly as many people trying to get in to the rooms as they did sitting down. Read on →

For sysadmins and devopsy type people the next couple of months are full of chances to meet and learn from your European peers - We start off with the return of PuppetCamp to its home in Gent. Puppetcamps are a great, informal way to see how other people are using Puppet and put names to faces. A number of the more active European community members will be present and Ghent is a lovely city so it’s worth a couple of days out of the office - and then of course you can stay for … the 800 pound gorilla of Free and Open conferences - FOSDEM 2013. Read on →


I never thought I’d use a cliche like “David vs Goliath” but considering the two speakers at London Devops it does seem a little apt. Andrew Godwin from ep.io, a Python hosting platform, was the first speaker, and he did an excellent job of explaining their internal platform, how they make their decisions and what makes them special. While it was both an interesting and engaging talk it did leave me a little worried about the size of the operation. Read on →

Last year at one of the many Belgium tech events Kris mentioned a conference called LOAD (2010) to me. I was a little late in booking the hotel and in the end I couldn’t make it over - and judging by the quality of this years event that was a big mistake. While it’s nice to spend time in the devops world and talk about communication, processes and how to merge development and operational tool-chains sometimes it’s nice to focus on solid, production grade sysadmining; and LOAD was the perfect conference for it. Read on →

Tonights (the March 2011) London OpenSolaris User Group (LOSUG) was a little different to usual and while the topics have always been quite diverse we’ve never had as seditious a talk as one covering the Solaris fork, OpenIndiana, Illumos and the OpenSolaris community. Alasdair Lumsden did an excellent job of explaining the new projects, why they exist and what they’re aiming for. As someone who took a few steps back when Oracle purchased Solaris it was an interesting catch up. Read on →


Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to attend a lot of different events focused on quite a few different programming languages, but none of them match the sheer enthusiasm and love of the language that you get from London PM. While there is always a contingent of LPMers at Perl conferences held further abroad the London Perl Workshop is my yearly chance to see lots of old friends, what they’ve been up to and discuss what’s coming next in our field. Read on →

This’ll be a short write up for a short talk. I went to the July 2010 GLLUG Android Talk where Sunny Aujla explained some of the history behind Android, Googles Linux operating system for mobile devices. He gave a brief overview of how the system differed from the main stream kernel, details of some of the interactions between the mainline kernel devs and the Google Android team and fielded a fair few questions about the tool chain and ideal uses. Read on →

To me puppet has always been a major evolutionary step up on the sysadmin tool chain. I consider it important enough to be ranked alongside version control systems and virtualisation as one of those mental leaps that leads to better management and enables more flexible solutions than you could offer before understanding it. While I’m quite a long term member of the puppet community I’m no where near as active as I should be, but even I couldn’t miss the chance to attend PuppetCamp Europe, and I’m glad I didn’t! Read on →

The LOSUG seems to be the user group with the least cross over of attendees that I go to. It seems to be a three part mix - Sun engineers going along to meet co-workers and get the external eye on to what’s happening in different parts of the project, Unix people with dozens of years of experience who want something technical and interesting that matters on the server and people that don’t listen to the speaker and then ask questions that, quite frankly, they should be embarrassed over. Read on →

Over the years there have been a handful of GLLUG members that have given so many interesting talks that I’ll always turn up to watch them - and Richard Jones is definitely in that short list. The website does an excellent job of explaining: “libguestfs is a library for accessing and modifying virtual machine (VM) disk images. Amongst the things this is good for: making batch configuration changes to guests, viewing and editing files inside guests (virt-cat, virt-edit), getting disk used/free statistics (virt-df), migrating between virtualization systems (virt-p2v), performing partial backups, performing partial guest clones, cloning VMs and changing registry/UUID/hostname info, and much else besides.” but it doesn’t quite convey how cool it is to spin up access in to a windows machine in a handful of seconds and then dump out the registry key you’re looking for - all from a Linux command line. Read on →

This month was the first of the London DevOps tech talks. Organised by R I Pienaar and masterfully shepherded on the evening by Chris Read about thirty sysadmins (and some developers, project managers and scrum masters) met for a series of impromptu discussions, beer and pizza While there was no formal schedule for the evening Chris led the group in a fishbowl, seeding some ideas and then watched the conversations bloom. Read on →


After an embarrassing tale of misunderstanding, wrong locations and blind luck I recently ended up at the Introduction to data processing with Hadoop and Pig talk over at SkillsMatter - and it was excellent. For those that don’t know about Hadoop, it’s an OpenSource Java framework for data-intensive distributed applications. It enables applications to work with thousands of nodes and petabytes of data. Hadoop was inspired by Google’s MapReduce and Google File System (GFS) papers. Read on →

Despite the fact a large percentage of the DJUGL meetups have occurred in the building I work in I’ve been very lax in attending one, and it’s been my loss. The crowd was friendly, the pizza and diet coke plentiful and the speakers enjoyable, and I’ve got every intension of making the next meeting - especially if it’s in the same building. Gareth Rushgrove started the talks with a subject very dear to my heart, deployment. Read on →

A couple of days ago I had the chance to attend a talk on PAM and AppArmor at Skills Matter. To be honest it wasn’t what I expected, the subject level was very beginner focused, PAM only received scant coverage and the other tools were all old hands like a port scan with nmap or basic IP Tables rules. The evenings highlight for me was the coverage of AppArmor, both because it’s a very neat tech that seems orders of magnitude easier to use then SELinux and secondly because the last time I saw it mentioned was when Crispin Cowan spoke at GLLUG. Read on →

Last weekend I joined the hordes and worked my way from London to Seigburg for FrOSCon 2009. Along the way I experienced an airport evacuation due to fire alarm, a delayed flight, four trains (one in the wrong direction) and numerous kindly old German ladies that took pity on me and gradually got me in the right direction. And it was worth every second. I’d never really considered going to FrOSCon before, the percentage of talks given in German is quite high and I don’t speak a word of the language but this year there was an excellent line up of speakers (all presenting in English) in the OpenSQLCamp room. Read on →

I recently headed up to the August NWRug in Manchester, firstly because it’s been a while since I’ve seen Will Jessop, the organiser (and more importantly a mate) and secondly because I was interested in Capistrano. While we use puppet at work for the more strategic stuff, such as ensuring machines start off with a well-defined configuration, I’ve been in need of something to perform sets of tasks against defined groups of servers. Read on →

Over the last week I’ve been up in Birmingham catching up with some old friends and attending some talks at the little get together of around 450 Pythonistas that was EuroPython 2009. This was my second Python conference. The first was PyCon 2008, which was so well organised (by many of the same team as this years EuroPython) that I was inspired to come back. And I wasn’t disappointed. There were a lot of very good talks, some that have planted seeds that I’ll have to come back and try to find the time to look at and some that showed me things I plan on using in the very near future (such as py.test). Read on →

I wasn’t able to get to the actual talks but luckily the Moose talk slides are now all online (apart from Moose for Ruby programmers which has instead been expanded in to a blog post). By all reports it was another excellent night and I’ll have to keep the evening free for the next one. Now I’ve read the slides and heard so much positive feedback I think it’s time I tried Moose for a couple of projects. Read on →

I’m going to try and get to more LOSUG meetings this year and the January presentation by MC Brown has done nothing to put me off. Although some of the audience tried their best… First up - the good. The actual presentation, MySQL/DTrace and Memcached, was very well done. The speaker was funny, well rehearsed and knew his material extremely well. The MySQL DTrace probes are made to be used in demos and are very enticing. Read on →

LOSUG is one of Londons best kept tech secrets. It’s hosted in a nice venue, often has a very knowledgeable audience full of Sun engineers and this month will be covering MySQL/DTrace and Memcached. If you’re a sysadmin or a developer interested in getting more, or better, metrics and understanding of how and what your system is doing make sure you book a place.


It’s actually a good month for dynamic language fans in London as we’ve got both the London Perl Workshop and the inaugural Ruby Manor - both of which I’ll be attending. Although, as a sysadmin, I feel a little bad about not making it to the Linux 2008 event (organised by the UKUUG) I couldn’t really justify the time and cost this year. The talks were a decent selection but not enough to get me up to Manchester on my own budget for a weekend. Read on →

I made it along to my first ever London Python User Group tonight, and from what the regulars said about the turn out so did a lot of other people. Over 50 people in attendance is very respectable. The first talk was a bit of a let down, it felt really long, quite slow moving and could have been much better as a lightning talk. Shame it was the best part of over an hour. Read on →

At $DAYJOB I’m working with a strong team of Python (and Django) developers so over the last couple of months my interest in the language has grown. Thanks to YAPC::EU not being very exciting this year I had a spare slot in my “conference schedule” and went to the highly recommended (by me and previous attendees I’d spoken to) PyCon UK. I’m glad I did. I was more than a little out of my depth in most of the talks but a lot of the speakers were excellent, especially Raymond Hettinger - who I ended up stalking (by accident) and seeing all of his talks. Read on →

I recently went to the London 2008 Google Dev Day (the title of my post doesn’t lie!) and while it was lovely to be near that hallowed grass (only half of which was actually down) the talks themselves left a lot to be desired - actual technical content. I’m not sure if I’m the wrong audience in that I’ve already looked at the front pages and the code samples but I hoped, given the word developer in the events title, that it’d be a bit more tech heavy. Read on →

Since I’ve been asked where about at the conference I am I should probably mention that I’m not attending YAPC::EU this year. Despite the excellent job the organisers did last year at the Nordic Perl Workshop a combination of factors stopped me going back to Copenhagen. The first one (and it’s shallow but true) is that I’ve been there now. I like conferences in places I’ve never been before. If I’m going to spend a chunk of my own cash on travel I want to grab an extra day or two and have a wonder around. Read on →

Over the last couple of years (apart from this year oddly enough) I’ve been to a fair few tech conferences and one of the most annoying things about them (especially YAPCs) are the opening talks. If you’re lucky you get a good keynote. Otherwise you get either a bad sponsor session or even, don’t be afraid - you don’t have to attend, a “Getting the most out of a YAPC” talk. Read on →

I attended the Advances in OpenSolaris Network Administration talk hosted by LOSUG over at London Bridge last night. And no one mentioned MySQL. I came out of the session with a couple of pages of notes but two things really stuck out - the talk covered the new developments as a sequential feature list rather than showing you something cool or interesting and then explaining how the new technologies made it possible. Read on →


The Workshop On Offensive Technologies (WOOT 07) might be the most interesting new conference this year. If it plays its cards right it’ll be a good mix of the more underground groups, infosec professionals and security think tanks. We need more events like this in the UK. Don’t know how nice I’ll have to be to management to try and get a ticket but it’ll probably be worth it.

I’ve been in bed for most of the last week and a half (apart from two very short staffed days in the office) with the cold / flu bug that seems to stalk through our office on permanent rotation. Apart from the general feeling ill and lots of sleeping I missed a GLLUG and the first London Puppet Muppets meeting. But I did decide to go to the 2007 Nordic Perl Workshop, an event I’ve managed to miss for the last three years. Read on →

I recently went to the second Google London OpenSource Jam over at Belgrave House. I’ve been aware of some of the London Google evenings but I’ve never made the effort to go, how ever there were a couple of people I’ve not seen for ages on the attendee list for this one so I decided to sign up. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting but what I got was more than a little weird, part pre-2000 dotcom and part group hug; it wasn’t really my kind of event. Read on →

I’m a lurker on the Puppet mailing list and after some discussions John Arundel has stepped up and done the organising for the first Puppet London Users Meet - Thursday, March 22. I’m not using Puppet yet but I’m thinking of heading along to hear peoples adoption stories. I’ve also been thinking about the lack of a sysadmin community in London since GLLUG became a lot more newbie friendly and SAGE-WISE faded out. Read on →

Tomorrow sees the unofficial start of FOSDEM 2007. A ride on Eurostar, meet up with some of the London techs, food and then to the usual pub in the evening - it’s the only way for a Linux geek to spend a Friday night in February. This year we don’t have RMS (no song! Oh YES!) and I’ve now (twice) seen the talk I was most looking forward to (Puppet - good talk) so I think I’ll be spending more time in the dev rooms and less in the main tracks. Read on →

My first session of the day (I was lucky enough to spend a big chunk of the real first one talking to Richard Weideman, the Education Programme Manager at Canonical) was recommended to me by all the local people I know at the conference - and it was as good as they said. Unlike most people who speak on these topics at Linux / OpenSource / Free Software conferences, Kimberlee Weatherall IS a lawyer (IP) and was actively involved in the amendments to the Australian laws. Read on →

I was back in the LinuxChix room for the next (two separate half) session. Jacinta Richardson gave a short, pragmatic and quite practical, primer on social networking. The material was solid if basic - although from looking around while she spoke it seemed to be perfectly targeted to the majority of the people in the room - much note taking was going on. Val Henson then presented on salary negotiation and how to close the pay gap. Read on →

My second day of talks began with the ever enjoyable Jono Bacon (a fellow Brit and all round top guy) introducing Jokosher, a new sound editing project for GNOME. He covered how it came to be (a mobilising of some of the LUG Radio audience) and took the audience through some of its features (with some very Slayeresque backing music). The session went well and the audience soon feel in to a rapport with him. Read on →

I’ve been running on an ever diminishing amount of battery since yesterday morning, which was when my VAIO power adaptor decided to go boom. And it did go boom. If you’ve heard stories about a strange foreign man setting off the smoke alarms in one of Sydneys highest regarded hotels then they may be true. I’m not going to comment. EVER. So this morning I made an unplanned trip to the Sydney Sony Centre and spent 200AUD on a new transformer. Read on →

Getting back from lunch with more time to spare than I expected I continued hunting Jon Oxer. His Self Healing MySQL Schema talk was interesting but I’m not sure we’d ever use it. In essence he keeps a copy of his schema with the relevant application module (as a reference) and, using error trapping, any time a query hits certain error conditions, such as a table not existing, it looks up the reference schema and if it knows about it then it creates it on the fly. Read on →

The first session on my list was Pia Waugh on Open Source in Australian Education, I wasn’t that interested in the topic (Aus is a long way from home) but I was looking forward to seeing her present, I’ve been told she’s a great speaker (nothing like raising the audiences expectations ;)) but I’ve never been able to pin people down on any details on her style; so I thought I’d have a look-see. Read on →

My hotel has two connectivity options, I can either sit in the lounge and pay by the minute to use a machine any one could have installed anything on or I can pay silly money to get wireless for a couple of hours - and to add insult to injury if you buy a days worth you get a cap on how much you can download. Starbucks has never looked so appealing! Read on →

After trying to get out here for an LCA over the last three years I finally made it for Sydney 2007, and so far so good. The venue is huge, the University of New South Wales is full of big, open airy spaces between buildings and it’s lovely to walk around. The rooms themselves were a little hard to find at first (the LCA team put a lot of signs up in the first break which really helped) but they’re functional and have people presenting in them so what more can I ask for? Read on →


Technical conferences shouldn’t start before 10am. Although I’m no expert I’ve attended a lot and helped organise a few events and this has become one of my rules. Now let’s see if I can convince you with some of my ‘whys’. Firstly (and this is close to my heart) the stereotype of geeks working late at night isn’t without a touch of truth, a lot of us are night owls and cherish the opportunity to grab an extra hour or so in the morning. Read on →

I’ve been very slack in mentioning that the 2006 London Perl Workshop is go! It’s being held at Westminster (because they pretty much rock) and we’re looking for potential speakers. If you’ve got something interesting to say about perl please have a look at the Call for papers and seriously consider submitting a talk.

Today I was fortunate enough to head down to the JP Morgan building in John Winter street for, my first and, the second UK Subversion User Group Meeting. First up the audience, it was in the high twenties, which surprised me, and included a lot of people in suits; only a handful of us were casually dressed in jeans, untucked shirts or trainers. I didn’t get to stay too long afterwards to chat, although my employer was gracious enough to allow a couple of hours in the middle of the day to attend and I didn’t want to push my luck too far. Read on →

If I was a bad man I’d suggest it might be time for a separate Javascript developers room at FOSDEM 2007 (looks like the 24-25th February 2007). They had a couple of talks on JS related subjects last year (Dojo and Selenium) and they seemed to go well. dConstruct and the London Javascript nights have proved the interest is there… And you’d have a bundle of the Mozilla people at the same conference as potential speakers. Read on →

I’ve been very remiss about blogging the July Ask Later evening, organised by Steve Coast and Tom Carden. The format was different to any presentations I’ve seen before, each speaker had 20 seconds to present each of their 20 slides, and no way of altering the timing. BWHAHAHA. The first speaker had me worried, without trying to sound harsh, his timing was off and my fears about sudden rushing as a slide changed before he was finished and awkward silences in between came flooding back to me. Read on →

Here’s a link shot to some of the events I want to try and get to over the next two months, they’ve mostly not been very well advertised: Steve Coast on Geospatial Open Source Activity - hosted by the BCS on September 9th. I’ve not kept up with Steves bundle of projects (OpenStreetmap and OpenPostcodes among a scary number of others) so I want to get along and see what he’s been up to. Read on →

And you should be too! YAPC::Europe 2006 is my first YAPC since 2001; when I stopped working as a Perl developer I started spending my cash and holiday time on more relevant conferences. Now I’m working in a heavily perl shop they’ve been gracious enough to pay for my attendance in Birmingham. Where they have curry. Lots of curry. And a Perl conference, but I should get my priorities right ;) There are a number of great talks in the schedule but I’m especially looking forward to Marty Pauley and Karen Pauley, who have a couple of talks each and are both excellent speakers - Marty is one of the most animate, likable speakers I’ve ever seen and Karen has a perspective on the IT industry that’s always worth listening to, Tim Bunce on DBI (THE horses mouth when it comes to DBI), Dave Cross talking about actual databases (you know, the ones with views, stored procedures and real replication) and a couple of SNMP talks which’ll be useful for work.

The hit: I recently got sent away to the 2006 Exim Course in Cambridge. The main presenter, Dr Philip Hazel, who’s also the author of Exim, was a good presenter. The material seemed well rehearsed, nicely paced and covered a fair amount of ground over the three days - he also knows pretty much everything about Exim so the audience questions were always quickly answered. There were also two guest speakers, who had an hour each. Read on →

I’d originally planned to get to all of these, and even though I’m no longer sure which ones I’ll be able to attend I thought I should at least mention them: LUG Radio Live 2006 - Sat 22nd and Sun 23rd July 2006. Jono Bacon and one of the most talked about events from last year (which I’m gutted I missed). This is going to be excellent. YAPC::Europe 2006 - Brummie Edition - 30th August to 1st September 2006. Read on →

When you think about Web Services you think about Amazon. And that’s how good a job Jeff Barr, web services evangelist at Amazon, does! Speaking in London on May 15th, for one night only, we’re fortunate to have Jeff presenting on their stable of Web Services: AWS, S3 and the mechanical turk. Come along and listen to the ideas, views and experiences of someone uniquely positioned in one of the biggest and most advanced companies offering developer access to Web Services. Read on →

I seem to be partly involved in the first London JavaScript Night, there’s not much to say about it really, other than we’ve got two top notch speakers. The full details are online and if you want to attend then sign up!

This years FOSDEM had some representatives from the LPI conducting exams. LPI also did something similar at last years Linux Expo, and each time people seemed to really like the chance to take the exams cheaply and discuss their preparation with other candidates before the session. And then come out bonded from the pressure :) To me this seems to be a perfect opportunity for some group collaboration at a LUG level. Read on →

With a mere two days notice the London Linux/Unix community managed to pull together an impressive 22 people to see Crispin Cowan, chief architect of AppArmor (and previously CTO and co-founder of Immunix) present AppArmor. The talk went down well, you can now get a video of the material from the FOSDEM AppArmor presentation and see for yourself, and afterwards the speaker came out to the pub and managed to keep a crowd entertained until the witching hour. Read on →

After a previous false start I’m pleased to announce the March London Perl Mongers technical meeting will actually be happening! Presenting on the night are the two main speakers - Dave Cross : "What's Wrong With ORM?" Richard Jones : "OCaml for Perl Programmers" And a Cornish handful of quality lightning talks (5 minutes each) - Alistair McGlinchy : "Net::SNMP and Cisco" Leon Brocard : "Make real things with PDF::API2" Nicholas Clark : "The Perl Foundation, their money, and how to get it." Paul Hammond : "Introduction to JSON" Stig Brautaset : "Module::Build::Kwalitee" Tom Hukins : "Tracing code with Aspect.pm" The tech meet will begin at 19:15 at the Fotango offices and should end about 20:30. Read on →

Update: It’s on! The talk starts at 19:00 on 2006-02-28 and is being held at the Fotango offices. For one night only Crispin Cowan, chief architect of AppArmor (and previously CTO and co-founder of Immunix) will be available to give his excellent talk on AppArmor to a lucky London audience. What’s the catch? It’s tomorrow (Tuesday 28th of Feb) or nothing! Crispin is only in London for a couple of days and has a single slot in his diary, and he’s graciously said he’d give his talk if we’re interested. Read on →

I’ve not been able to get to any tech events since early November so I’m feeling more than a little out of touch. Fortunately the next couple of months will make up for the lack of geek conversation. We’ve got a London PM tech meet on Feb the 16th (I’ll link to it as as soon as I get the announcements out). The ever incredible FOSDEM on the 25th and 26th (with the usual Friday night warm up) of Feb. Read on →


The day seemed to get worse by the hour, first the pub phoned to cancel my booked room, they’d let me have it for free but then someone offered them a 1000 pound for the night so they dropped my reservation, and then we had a double booked room at the venue and had to kick out the occupants. After these hickups two of the speakers arrived and things actually started to fit together. Read on →

It’s a little late in the day to change any of the details but I’ve had to move the venue from Morgan Stanley in Cabot Square to the New Cavendish Street campus of Westminster University (Streetmap). Some of you may recognise the venue, we hold a lot of GLLUGs there. The reason for the move is a great one, the demand for seats has far surpassed my expectations. The original venue had room for 100 people, 120 at a push. Read on →

Update: the venue has changed! Please see the London Frameworks Night Update page. I’m pleased to announce that on the 17th of November, starting at 19:00 and being held in Morgan Stanley at Cabot Square, is the first ever London Web Frameworks evening! We were incredibly lucky with the line up and we’re proud to present: Matt Trout - Catalyst Catalyst core developer and author of DBIx::Class. Simon Willison - Django Javascript guru, Sitepoint author, Pythonista and Yahoo! Read on →

Update: the venue has changed! Please see the London Frameworks Night Update page. I’m delighted to announce that the London Web Frameworks night will actually be happening! It’s due to happen on the 17th of November and starts at 19:00. Thanks to Ben Evans we’ve got a venue (Morgan Stanley at Cabot Square) and we’ve got three damn fine speakers. Presenting Django we’ve got Simon Willison. Showcasing Rails is Matt Biddulph and to cover Catalyst we’ve got Matt Trout, one of its developers. Read on →

Damian Conway, who had a number of happy customers in his “Presentation Akido” tutorial, has just managed to raise the ante for all other keynote speakers. His keynote, an amazingly coherent group of geek jokes and parodies of keynotes we’ve seen so far, was the funniest thing at the the conference. And they’ve got Jeff Waugh here! I don’t know if it’s been recorded but if it has someone needs to leak it now. Read on →

I head off to Amsterdam today for EuroOSCON, I’m booked in to the tutorials so there is no way I can make it in time tomorrow morning. This is my first O’Reilly conference (Euro FOO Camp wasn’t a normal con) and I’m a little nervous. I’ve got no idea what to expect. Still half the “fun” is wandering around lost trying to spot friendly faces among the sea of ThinkGeek T-Shirts. Read on →

Last night was the first ever week night GLLUG. We were lucky enough to have Jeff Waugh come and speak to us as part of his BadgerBadgerBadger tour (although he didn’t do the dance :)). He presented some of the recent innovations and newer projects in the Gnome ecosphere before moving on to an overview of Ubuntu and its infrastructure. I only know the basics about Ubuntu (I had a play with the warthog release) but from the presentation last night it was easy to see that it’s not just the software which is important. Read on →

I normally think of a topic, gather a list of potential speakers, send out some emails and then keep my fingers crossed. This time I’m attempting to put together an evening of talks on the topic of web frameworks in dynamic languages. I’m hoping to get someone to speak on Django, Rails and either Maypole or Catalyst (I don’t know much about either) and a then put them in a room with a crowd of Perl, Python and Ruby developers and see if we can start some conversations. Read on →

In the past I posted about the possibility of Jeff Waugh coming to GLLUG and I can now happily confirm he will be joining us on October 14th for the evening. This is a day after the next Ubuntu release so we might get the first talk on the shiny new features before we go for food and drink at the near by Greenman pub. This GLLUG will be a lot shorter than the usual and will be more socially focused as it’s on a Friday evening. Read on →

A busy Thursday night began with the UKUUG AGM. With just over twenty people present Ray Miller, council chairman, went through the details for the last year. While the full information will be available in the minutes (which should be in the next UKUUG news letter) there are a couple of points that I feel warrant a mention. Firstly was some great news. Alasdair Kergon, who pretty much singlehandedly organises the Linux conference each year, was made an honourary UKUUG member. Read on →

I try to get to a lot of technical conferences, you meet cool people, you learn lots and (this is going to sound bad…) it gives you a chance to measure yourself against your peers who actually care about what they do. Not just the 9-5 people that don’t even own a home PC. In the next couple of months there’s a small torrent of events coming up and I’m going to see how many I can get to. Read on →

Ubuntu’s Jeff Waugh is going to be a very busy man. Before he even gets to the first O’Reilly EuroOSCON, which is being held in Amsterdam in October, he’s stopping off at a Gnome convention, LUG meetings and we’re hoping to get him out for an evening in London. Details are a bit slim at the moment, I don’t have a venue or a confirmed plan for the evening, but with a little luck we’ll get Jeff to talk about Ubuntu, Linux on the desktop and what it’s like being Debians agile sibling and then go for food and drink. Read on →

For years now when I’ve needed a bundle of CD’s done quickly and I can’t be bothered to do the whole thing myself I’ve used the Linux Emporium. They are cheap, quick and know their market. Today I was lucky enough to meet the man who runs it and see part of the operation (a pretty big CD duplicator!) Steve is doing a lot of the thankless leg-work and maintaining the infrastructure we’re going to be using (including the wireless network I’m posting this through) and he deserves some kudos for his efforts. Read on →

The UKUUG tutorials are usually both top notch and start too early for most people to travel to the venue on the day. At every conference past the first one attended the people with more understanding bosses, or in my case holiday time, travel up on the day before and camp down for an early start. Or at least that’s the plan… After being given the run around by some well meaning but uninformed staff, “I’m here to register for the conference.” “How is it?” “Um… I’ll let you know. Read on →

OSCON in the US is one of the premier OpenSource events. While I’ve never actually been to one, it seems to attract a lot of top notch speakers and, judging from the blog posts written in the aftermath, an interesting and diverse audience of smart people. I was seriously considering going to the US version this year (the dollar vs sterling exchange rate is very favourable at the moment and I’ve never been to the US) but I decided to hold out for the European OSCON instead. Read on →

I’m going to take a break from my session by session breakdown and point out some other resources instead. OpenTech Recordings OpenTech photos on Flickr. I even show up in some; but if you're lucky you won't see notice those ones ;) OpenTech del.icio.us tag. OpenTech Technorati search OpenTech coverage at Newsforge. I really enjoyed OpenTech and the organisers did an excellent job with the venue, speakers and keeping everything moving. Read on →

James Larsson’s talk was a short, media clip packed one in which he presented things you shouldn’t do with hardware. From playing music through a monitor (very cool visual effects) to a very sick mouse-trap made from a broken monitor to removing capacitors from a running system until it crashed the videos were amusing but worrying. This man must never even look at my laptops…

“Yahoo has gone from not as good as Google to a very interesting company” – Ben Hammersley. To most of us Jeremy Zawodny is Mr Yahoo, he’s the only face we see (and blog we read) from one of the bigger tech companies and while his blog is well worth reading it’s always good to hear someone with his background speak in person. The session covered a lot of small bits and pieces such as the need for a standard way to authenticate to webservices and APIs (without using the whole WS-* stack). Read on →

“What are you wearing?” “A kilt.” “No man, that’s a skirt…” “It’s a kilt. I’m telling you…” “Uhhh it’s pink, has flowers and shoulder straps.” “It’s a pretty kilt.” From: bash.org. The third session of the day was introduced by Ben Hammersley in a kilt. Which he then pulled up as he ran up the stairs and gave the first three rows, and the speaker (who he obviously knew) a view of his arse; fortunately this was after the lunch break. Read on →

I’ll be honest, I had no intension of sitting through this session but after buying Perl Testing: A Developer’s Notebook and Perl Best Practices I was too late to even stand in the Media Hacking session so I went back to the big theatre and sat through what was possibly (in my opinion) the worst session of the day. Now I know Ted Nelson is a smart guy and he’s got some very interesting ideas and perspectives but as a speaker I didn’t like him. Read on →

On Saturday (July 23rd) I made my way across London to the NTK/UKUUG/BBC OpenTech event, carrying on the tradition of NOTCON and sponsored by the BBC it had an impressive list of speakers including Jeremy Zawodny (Yahoos best PR) and Ted Nelson. The crowd was a pretty varied one, along with the usual London Perl Mongers, London Linux users, Debian dudes and UKUUG people there were a lot of people that seemed to be more culture and media orientated. Read on →

After an initial problem with the projectors that looked like it was about to sink the whole day (if you saw me at that point I looked like I was about to either explode or cry :)) we managed to get the equipment sorted and all four talks (with five speakers) went almost perfectly to plan. The only talk that overran was the Xen talk, which was due to the number of audience questions. Read on →

Is out and hitting mailing lists now. You can find the full details on this very site at the Unixdaemon GLLUG June 2005 page. Organising this meeting has been quite strange, the speakers roster has changed almost completely from my original plan, the dates moved and, because of the summer, a lot of my usual routes of publicity have either cut back or gone off on holiday. I’m actually very proud of the talks we have and the quality of the speakers that have freely given up their Saturday to come and talk so it’s a shame were not getting full exposure. Read on →

I’m pleased to announce that the next GLLUG meeting will be held on June 11th between 13:30 and 18:00 at New Cavendish Street campus of Westminster University. This is located in the shadow of the BT Tower. The nearest tube stations are Great Portland Street, Warren Street and Goodge Street. Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Circus are also within easy walking distance. New Cavendish Street campus on Streetmap. This event is FREE to members and non-members. Read on →

I’m happy to announce the addition of a talk on SVK by its author, Chia-liang Kao, at the June 2005 GLLUG. He’s graciously volunteered some of his time to take us through the headaches of version control, how SVK removes a number of them and, and this is my favourite bit, how to use it for distributed /etc versioning without any version control artifacts getting spread across the file system. I’ve heard a couple of people make very positive comments about CLK’s previous presentations so this should be good!

My employer uses a lot of OpenSource software and develops custom applications with Perl. It has a very strong tech team with ties to a number of online projects and where possible it likes to give things back. I’ve been lucky enough to have been handed some money with which to show our appreciation to the different OpenSource communities whose work we use. While it’s not a huge amount of money it is both a nice gesture on the companies part (it shows they understand both the advantages we can reap from OpenSource and encourages it’s technical staff to stay in contact with their peers) it’s also one of the highlights of my job. Read on →

It will happen! I’ve just been a bit slow in getting information out about it. This is the second GLLUG I’ve put together and while it’s fun it does take a little more planning and effort than I have the time to commit on a continual basis. This time we’re lucky enough to have three talks (at the time of writing this entry!), Matthew Block from Bytemark; the people I rent the UML box that hosts this site from. Read on →

Back in November I read a post by describing the idea of Code Brews. After writing up my own Initial thoughts on Code Brews I got distracted and forgot all about it. Christmas has that effect on me… After spending some time clearing out some old half-written documents I stumbled on the blog entry and decided to try and kick it off again. I’ve sent an email to six London based techs asking if they are interested in doing a sort of show-and-tell and I’m waiting for responses. Read on →

Mind Hacks is an O’Reilly book that examines specific operations of the brain and presents simple experiments (do try this at home :)) to illustrate how it works and how, occasionally, you can fool it. O’Reilly and Foyles held a join event in the Foyles gallery in London where they had both of the books main authors do a short introduction to the topic and explain what the book was about. Read on →

There were three talks at the March GLLUG and I can now happily link to slides from two of them. Bruce Richardson’s Linux HA and Martin Michlmayr’s Quality Issues in Free Software projects. Hopefully these will soon be linked to on the GLLUG website. The first talk of the day, by Pete Ryland, involved a live demo and no slides so there isn’t really anything to link to on that one; until we get the audio recordings sorted anyway.

As I mentioned before I was heavily involved in putting this meeting together. And it seemed to go pretty well! We had three speakers but we had to shuffle the order around a bit, one was a little late and one was having technical problems. With very little time for preparation Pete Ryland stepped up and drew in the crowd. There were actually a couple of people from Ubuntu (and the Debian UK mailing list) which added a fair amount of clue to the audiences questions. Read on →

Last weekend I ended up being (just about) well enough to to travel over to FOSDEM in Brussels. I’ve done FOSDEM every year and it’s always excellent. The combination of great talks, friendly atmosphere and getting to meet people you don’t see often enough mixed in with some heavy socialising, good meals and late nights makes it my favourite event each year. I was lucky enough to travel over with a rag-tag group of Linux geeks, Perl people, a RedHat employee and a Debian developer… Not exactly a cohesive group but it seemed to work! Read on →

I’ve been a GLLUG member for a good few years now, I’ve attended meetings, worked on the stall at the London Linux Expos and even given a talk at one of the meetings (I’d like to say sorry for that…) but the March 2005 GLLUG meeting is the first meeting I’ve organised. With the able (and essential) assistance of Bruce “way too deep to have a blog or site for people to link to” Richardson we’ve got a grand total of three speakers and are hosting the meeting at Fotangos offices. Read on →

Every February there are two excellent tech events, the UKUUG LISA/Winter Conference and FOSDEM; my event of the year. Due to prior commitments I’m not going to able to make it to the Winter Con this year which means I’m all the more excited about FOSDEM. I’m heading over on the 25th and returning on the 27th with a bunch of the London Perl/Linux people, so if you’re about come and say “hello”. Read on →


Google recently held a short talk in London (they are recruiting for their ‘new’ Dublin office) that covered a couple of interesting topics such as redundancy using commodity technology (LOTS of cheap machines with the same data), how to create rolling brown outs (rooms packed full of 80 1U servers in every rack seems to do it) and how to horizontally scale everything to meet their needs. The one slide that really caught my attention was mostly flippant but makes an important point about the kind of traffic they are dealing with: 1000 queries per second ... Read on →

GLLUG, the Greater London Linux User Group, had a user meeting yesterday. It had about twenty people turn up. While this may not seem too bad this is a group that has peaked at 120 people at a single meeting and had a thriving mailing list. After the three main talks the GLLUG admin team, and a few bystanders (including me), had a chat about what we can do in the future to try and reverse the trend of diminishing numbers. Read on →

Over at Longhorn blogs Bill Evjen has posted an entry about Code Brews, an event where a small group of techs meet up and, by the sound of it, have a cross between a show and tell and a number of short tutorials. I have to say I’m very jealous. Now that I’m working as a full time sysadmin I don’t get to spend any real time writing code so just to keep my hand in I read a number of developers blogs to keep abreast of the emerging ideas. Read on →

I’d never heard of the Web 2.0 conference (an O’Reilly event) until Jeremy Zawodny started to blog his attendance but now I wish I’d have gone along (let us ignore the very high attendance cost and the fact I’m in the wrong country :).) His full Web2.0 archive is well worth digging through if you have any interest in where the commercial interest in the web is pointing.

After their 2004 AGM UKUUG arranged for Jon Haslam, a Software Engineer at Sun Microsystems, to give a presentation on DTrace. While I missed the first thirty minutes of slides I did get to see the ninety minutes of practical demonstrations. The official DTrace spiel, “Dynamic Tracing (DTrace) is one of the hot, new technologies in the next revision of Sun’s Operating System, Solaris 10. DTrace provides the ability to generate concise answers to almost arbitrary questions about the behaviour of your systems, from the top of the application through to the bottom of the kernel.” sounds quite impressive. Read on →

I was lucky enough to take a long lunch and amble down to see Larry Lessig’s presentation at UCL on the Creative Commons Licenses last week, firstly it’s worth noting that Mr Lessig is a very slick speaker, he obviously invests a lot of time in his presentations and it shows. The slides were very shiny and incorporated a lot of multimedia, video clips ranged from a mash-up of a Charley Brown cartoon with an Outkast sound-track (the song was Hey Ya) to Blair and Bush singing love-songs; the latter was interesting as the whole video was created from public footage. Read on →

I’ve been to every Linux World Expo at Olympia in London and each year it gets a little bit more depressing. Earlier events have had such marvels as a giant ice penguin (provided by SGI) that had vodka flowing though its veins and Jon Maddog Hall pointing out how insane it is to refuse entrance to students to a Linux focused event (watching the management squirm was great fun) this year we had… well nothing of any real note. Read on →